Coronavirus morning headlines as WHO recommends masks in public and Sunday shopping could change (Saturday, June 5)

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Here is a round-up of the latest news in response to the coronavirus pandemic on Saturday, June 5.

Follow updates on the world coronavirus pandemic on our live blog and sign up for our email newsletter alerts by going here.

Confirmed worldwide cases: 6,852,818

Confirmed deaths: 398,282

Confirmed recoveries/discharges: 3,352,066

In Wales the number of people who have died after contracting coronavirus has increased by four.

Public Health Wales (PHW) confirmed the total number of deaths since the outbreak began has reached 1,383.

The NHS trust said the number of overall cases of Covid-19 has risen in 24 hours from 14,238 to 14,314 – an increase of 76.

World Health Organisation’s new advice on face masks

People have been encouraged to wear homemade fabric masks in public where social distancing is not possible, newly-updated World Health Organisation (WHO) advice states.

The WHO previously stressed there was no evidence that wearing a mask – whether medical or other types – by healthy people in the wider community could prevent them from infection with respiratory viruses, including Covid-19.

However it said “evolving” new science now pointed to the use of medical-grade masks in hospital settings – even for those not treating coronavirus patients – as well as similar protection worn by people aged 60 or over, or with underlying health conditions, when outside of their home where social distancing was not possible.

The comments came as Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced all hospital visitors and outpatients will be required to wear face coverings and all hospital staff will be required to wear surgical masks in England from June 15.

The UK Government previously said face coverings would be mandatory on public transport – but, again, only from June 15.

In Wales leading doctors are calling on Welsh Government to change their position on face coverings, saying that they should be worn in areas where people cannot socially distance.

Speaking at the Welsh Government’s daily press conference in Cathays Park, First Minister Mark Drakeford said a decision in Wales would be made next week on whether to change its guidance.

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‘Little or no consultation’ with NHS Trusts on new regulations

NHS Providers deputy chief executive Saffron Cordery has reacted to English health secretary Matt Hancock’s decision on face coverings in hospitals in England by saying NHS Trusts received “little or no consultation” ahead of his announcement.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokeswoman said that while members of the public are “strongly urged” to attend hospital wearing a face covering no-one will be denied care and masks will be provided by the hospital if necessary.

But Ms Cordery said in a statement that a lack of forewarning from the government had left NHS Trusts scrambling to find enough equipment to cater for hospital staff, patients, and visitors.




“[The announcement] of compulsory mask-wearing for all NHS staff working in any part of a hospital is clearly designed to help to ensure that both staff and patients are protected and feel safe,” she said.

“But, as is the case for a number of announcements throughout the pandemic, this has come with little or no consultation with the NHS frontline and without a plan in place to ensure that all trusts will have access to adequate supplies of type one and two masks.”

Shop hours on Sunday could be relaxed

Sunday trading laws could be suspended for a year under UK Government plans to stimulate the economy amid the coronavirus crisis.

Downing Street is said to be drawing up legislation to enable larger supermarkets to open for more than six hours on Sundays, according to The Times.



Customers socially distance themselves
Customers socially distance themselves

The paper also said cafes and pubs would be given fast-track approval to serve food and drink outside, doing away with the need for the 28-day minimum statutory consultation period.

Former prime minister David Cameron was forced to drop plans to extend Sunday trading hours in 2016 after suffering a humiliating Commons defeat which saw 27 Tories joining forces with opposition parties.

The area of Wales that missed coronavirus – and the simple system it set up

As Wales takes the first steps out of lockdown and starts trying to find a way to live with Covid-19, people living in one part of the nation could be forgiven for thinking they have almost entirely escaped the disease which reached crisis points in other parts of Wales.

With just 42 confirmed cases to date, and seven deaths, it seems that in the coastal council area of Ceredigion the virus never really took hold.




The initial flurry of cases in this rural part of Wales was comparable to the starts of the outbreak in the local authorities of Wales that ended up being worst hit by the virus. Yet here it just sort of petered out. The answer could be down to one council’s ‘homemade’ test track and trace system. Find out how it worked here.

Cleaners, cooks and agency staff in care homes will get £500 payment

Kitchen and domestic staff working in care homes will receive a planned £500 extra payment for social care staff, First Minister Mark Drakeford has confirmed.

The payment was announced at the start of May for all care workers delivering personal care.

Mr Drakeford said on Friday that the payment will also be extended to agency staff and nursing staff employed in care homes, as well as personal assistants and domiciliary care workers providing care to people in their own homes.

Arrangements are now being put in place to start making the extra payment to tens of thousands of social care staff across Wales.

But Mr Drakeford said he was upset that the workers will  have to pay tax on the £500 payment they will receive.

Leading scientists call for inquiry to prepare for second wave of coronavirus

A group of leading medics and scientists has called on the Government to hold an urgent inquiry to prepare Britain for a potential second wave of coronavirus in winter.

In a letter to The Guardian, 27 medical and scientific experts have warned that many more Britons may die if a second wave hits at the end of the year and the Government is without “quick, practical solutions to some of the structural problems that have made implementing an effective (coronavirus) response so difficult”.

Signatories to the letter say issues such as “the fragmentation … of the NHS, public health and social care … the channels by which scientific evidence feeds into policy and an inability to plan for necessary goods and services” threaten to undermine the Government’s response to a potential future spike.

They write: “Despite strenuous efforts by health professionals and scientists inside and outside government, the UK has experienced one of the highest death rates from Covid-19 in the world, with the poor and certain minority ethnic groups affected especially badly.

“If, as seems probable, there is a second wave this winter, many more will die unless we find quick, practical solutions to some of (these) structural problems.”

Concerns over R rate in parts of England

Thre are fears over the coronavirus reproduction rate in parts of England, as new data suggested the R value is now around one in the north west.

The value used by the Government remained between 0.7 and 0.9 for the UK as a whole, though the figure has a two-to-three-week lag, meaning it does not account for the latest easing of the lockdown.

The virus in Wales is believed to be sitting at 0.8, according to the Centre for Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Disease (CMMID).

But a separate report from Public Health England (PHE) and Cambridge University, which estimates what the value is currently, put the north west of England on 1.01 and the south west on 1.00.




Mr Hancock told the daily Downing Street press conference that new figures on the R confirm “there is a challenge in the north west of England to address and, to a lesser degree, in the south west of England”.

He said the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) believes the R is below one across the UK but the Government wants to “increasingly have an approach in tackling local lockdowns where we spot a flare-up”.

Schools in Greater Manchester have been advised to delay their wider reopening until at least June 22 because of the infection rate.

Tory MP apologises for attending gathering despite lockdown

A Tory MP has apologised for failing to follow lockdown advice after reportedly attending a barbecue where a number of other people were present.

The Guardian said Bob Seely, who represents the Isle of Wight, went to a gathering hosted by a journalist in the village of Seaview on the island a fortnight ago.



Tory MP Bob Seely
Tory MP Bob Seely

Government guidance was only relaxed at the beginning of this week to allow groups of up to six people to meet in a private garden.

Mr Seely said he was “not expecting” other people to be present when he met with the “acquaintance” to discuss the trial of the NHS contact tracing app on the island.

The MP, who has championed the app, said he thought about leaving the gathering but felt that it was “perhaps overreacting”.

In a statement issued to his local paper, Mr Seely said: “I apologise because, on balance, I called this wrong. It would have been better to have spoken to this person without any others nearby.

“At a sensible distance, we talked in the garden. The others left 15 minutes later and I stayed to talk with this person for a further 20 minutes or so. I then left. I didn’t go inside any building; nor did I have a drink. As it was after normal working hours, my girlfriend was with me.”

Challenges facing our best-loved arts venues

WalesOnline has been investigating the harsh reality of running Wales’ best-loved theatres and show venues when no money is coming in.

From multi-million-pound ticket revenues disappearing to popcorn and ice cream sat going to waste, there are challenges facing venues when “socialising and social distancing just don’t add up”.



The Wales Millenium Centre lit-up blue during the coronavirus lockdown

Until coronavirus, the Wales Millennium Centre has only ever closed for one unscheduled day in its entire 15-year history, which was during the disruptive ‘Beast from the East’ snow of March 2018.

Now, creative director Graeme Farrow has no idea when the centre will be allowed to reopen – and even when it can Graeme has no idea what he can open with. Read our reports on arts venues here.



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