Health Secretary Matt Hancock has this afternoon provided an update on the government’s tier system following rise in “new variant” cases detected nationwide.
He addressed the nation in a televised press conference a few moments ago.
He was joined at the podium with Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Jenny Harries and Dr Susan Hopkins of Public Health England, and it comes after a health official confirmed that: “Ministers have met today to assess what further action may be needed to address the rise in cases driven by the new variant.”
Mr Hancock stated that cases have risen across the country by 57% in the last week, with hospital admissions at the highest level since April.
The said against this backdrop, it is “absolutely vital that we act”.
He then announced that from 00.01am on Boxing Day, Sussex, Oxfordshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, parts of Essex not in Tier 4, Waverley in Surrey, and Hampshire will all go into Tier 4.
Bristol, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Swindon, Isle of Wight, New Forest, Northamptonshire, Cheshire and Warrington will go into Tier 3.
Cornwall and Herefordshire will go into Tier 2.
He said the new tier changes “is not news that anyone wants to deliver,” and adds that he is “truly sorry” for the disruption this causes.
Mr Hancock then confirmed that another new variant of COVID-19 has been detected in the UK, with two cases seen so far, adding that they are contacts of cases who have travelled from South Africa over the last few weeks.
Mr Hancock says the development is “highly concerning” because it is yet more transmissible and appears to have mutated further.
He then confirmed that the government is quarantining cases and close contacts of the cases found in the UK – as well as placing “immediate restrictions” on travel from South Africa – and stated that anyone who has been to the country within the last two weeks should quarantine, as well as those who have been close contacts of individuals who have been to the country.
He says the measures are “temporary” while the new strain is being investigated.
It also comes as it was confirmed earlier this afternoon that the UK’s R number has once again risen slightly to between 1.1 and 1.3.
The next official review of the tier system is due on Wednesday 30th December, with the government’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, stating that tighter measures will be needed as the virus “likely” spreads further.
As announced in a joint statement issued by Greater Manchester’s ten directors of public health on Monday, anyone who has travelled to Greater Manchester from Tier 4 areas – or Wales – for Christmas is being told to self-isolate for at ten days.
For the latest information, guidance and support during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the UK, please do refer to official sources at gov.uk/coronavirus.
Ancoats restaurant publicly exposes ‘angry influencer’ after spat over free meal
A restaurant in Ancoats has publicly exposed an influencer (twice…) who tried to ask for a free meal in exchange for exposure.
Lucky Ramen, a tiny spot on Blossom Street that has had queues forming for its noodle soups and Asian brunches, has become embroiled in a spat with an unnamed social media star.
It all started yesterday when the restaurant went public with a message it had received, which was requesting a complimentary brunch in exchange for a post on Instagram.
Lucky Ramen shared the message and wrote that they were ‘thrilled you appreciate our food’ but that the team ‘appreciate paying customers even more’.
They described it as ‘another thrilling DM from a blue tick superstar asking for a free feast in exchange for an Insta post’.
Which was already dramatic enough, but the influencer in question has been quite cross that Lucky Ramen in Ancoats has taken a swipe at them publicly.
It appears they’ve followed up with a much less polite message, saying the independent business is ‘bang out of order’ for trying to expose them.
The influencer asked: “So you think people like us don’t deserve to eat for FREE???”
They argued that they were trying to promote the restaurant for free, offering ‘time, labour, effort and positive energy’ in exchange for the free meal as compensation.
The unnamed user then said: “Your arrogance makes me sick. Haha very funny, you got a couple of giggles but we’re the ones that are laughing.
“We go where we want, eat what we want and lastly – it’s all for free! WHOS LAUGHING NOW???”
Of course, Lucky Ramen hasn’t left that message in the DMs either, once again sharing screenshots on its Instagram page.
And they’ve chosen to smack the influencer with pure sarcasm in retaliation…
They wrote: “Dear angry influencer. Okay, aaalright… you got us! We’re truly sorry for attempting to uncover your behind-the-scenes tactics yesterday and, you know, us trying to make a living and sh*t.
“But hold on, the new message we just got deserves more than a standing ovation!
“This follow-up DM is a total game-changer, and guess what? We’re now rolling out the red carpet for all the free meals you desire. And that’s not all – our chefs are ready to part ways with their Crocs and Birkenstocks, throwing them in as an extra bonus for your tender love and labour! Even my dad’s medal of honour from the Japan war is up for grabs – he’s feeling generous the old geezer, and he’s even contemplating wheeling in his new eco-friendly hybrid wheelchair for you!
“Just hit us up with another DM, let us know when you’re swinging by to collect your well-deserved goodies, and don’t forget to leave a glowing 5-star review on both Google and TripAdvisor.
“We appreciate your understanding and, once again, sorry for the “inconvenience” we caused.
“Bon appétit + Arigato-the-f*ck-outta-here.”
Will the influencer reply again? Someone pass the popcorn.
‘Dangerous’ disqualified driver jailed after crashing into funfair in Wigan
A “dangerous” disqualified driver has been handed jail time after crashing into a funfair in Wigan last year.
Jordan O’Reilly, from Platt Bridge in Wigan, has been sentenced after pleading guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, driving without insurance, perverting the course of justice, and failing to provide a specimen.
The 21-year-old was given three years behind bars following a trial at Bolton Crown Court yesterday (29 February).
O’Reilly’s sentencing comes after he crashed his vehicle into a funfair in Wigan while trying to evade a police pursuit back in October 2023.
#JAILED I A disqualified driver who led police on a chase and crashed into a crowded funfair in #Wigan has been jailed for 3 years
After failing to stop for a Greater Manchester Police (GMP) patrol, O’Reilly then drove in excess of the speed limit and overtook a number of vehicles, all before proceeding to abandon his own moving vehicle to escape.
The vehicle O’Reilly abandoned then carried on moving, and shockingly, ended up colliding with two members of the public at the funfair – with one woman sadly left with “serious injuries” as a result.
But thanks to the help of members of the public, O’Reilly was identified as the driver and later arrested by police.
A ‘dangerous’ disqualified driver has been jailed after crashing into funfair in Wigan / Credit: GMP
After he was released on bail, it was established that he had attempted to engage others into assisting him in evading prosecution.
Speaking following O’Reilly’s sentencing this week, PC Wood, of GMP Transport Unit, commented: “O’Reilly’s disregard to his driving disqualification and actions behind the wheel that day were reckless and dangerous, and he put countless people at risk of harm. The injuries caused to the victim show the consequences dangerous driving has on other people.
“GMP would like to thank the members of the public who ensured that O’Reilly faced justice for his actions.”
PC Wood also took a moment to remind the Greater Manchester public that if they know someone who is driving whist dangerously, or while disqualified or unfit to be doing so, then they should report it to GMP.