Scientists ‘call for three-metre rule’ as shops crack down on masks – Evening Standard


he Prime Minister has faced calls from scientists to introduce a new three-metre social distancing rule in a bid to prevent rising coronavirus cases, it has been reported.

Scientists from the Sage scientific advisory panel want the Government guidance to change from “one metre plus” to “two metres plus”, the Daily Mai. reports. Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said that ministers would “not rule out further action if needed”.

Live updates


London’s solicitors told it’s not safe to attend magistrates court due to Covid

The London Criminal Courts Solicitors’ Association today demanded that magistrates trials are halted except when defendants are being held in prison, with lawyers attending all essential hearings remotely.


Jeremy Hunt says NHS is on an “absolute knife-edge” due to the surge in Covid cases as he urges people to obey coronavirus restrictions

Chairman of the Commons Health Committee and the Tory former health secretary told the BBC: “There is the danger of a large number of additional, avoidable deaths, because of this horrible new strain.


“And, indeed, the strain from South Africa, which seems also to be taking root a little bit in the UK.”


Mr Hunt added: “I think the NHS will in the end find intensive care, critical care, beds for all those who need it. But it is on an absolute knife-edge.”


Waitrose joins rival supermarkets in stopping customers from shopping who refuse to wear a mask in stores, unless medically exempt

Bosses at Waitrose parent company, the John Lewis Partnership, also revealed it would end click-and-collect services based within John Lewis department stores to avoid non-essential travel and in-home services will be carried out only if “essential” to customers’ wellbeing.

Andrew Murphy, group operations director at the John Lewis Partnership, said: “We’ve listened carefully to the clear change in tone and emphasis of the views and information shared by the UK’s governments in recent days.

“While we recognise that the detail of formal guidance has not changed, we feel it is right for us – and in the best interests of our Partners and customers – to take proactive steps to further enhance our Covid security and related operational policies.

“By insisting on the wearing of face coverings, over and above the social distancing measures we already have in place, we aim to make our shops even safer for customers.”


Public Health Scotland reveals the latest data on vaccines in Scotland:

Public Health Scotland said 175,942 people have received the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine by 8:30am on Tuesday January 12, an increase of 12,565 from the previous day.

It added that 2,857 people have received the second dose, an increase of 99.


Asda says it will refuse customers into its stores if they refuse to wear a face covering without a valid medical reason

In a statement, an Asda spokesperson said: “If a customer has forgotten their face covering, we will continue to offer them one free of charge – but should a customer refuse to wear a covering without a valid medical reason and be in any way challenging to our colleagues about doing so – our security colleagues will refuse their entry.”


Sir David Attenborough receives Covid-19 vaccine

The naturalist and broadcaster, 94, is the latest celebrity to reveal they have had the vaccine.


The latest coronavirus figures for England hospitals are in:

A further 747 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospital in England, bringing the total number of confirmed deaths reported in hospitals to 56,816, NHS England said on Tuesday.

Patients were aged between 24 and 101. All except 41, aged between 46 and 97, had known underlying health conditions.

The deaths were between November 23 and January 11, with the majority being on or after January 5.

There were 22 other deaths reported with no positive Covid-19 test result.


London health chiefs set target to vaccinate one million by next month

A target of vaccinating more than one million Londoners against Covid by the middle of next month was revealed by health chiefs today.


Police Federation for Northern Ireland calls for tougher coronavirus regulations to help officers enforce them

Chairman Mark Lindsay said officers need the authority to order people home instead of just issuing guidance.

“Officers say that guidance needs to be strengthened and placed into tougher regulations,” he said.

“Only then will officers be able to order people to return to their homes or run the risk of a fixed penalty notice. Only then will officers have the backing of law to support the actions they take on the roadside or elsewhere.

“It beggars belief that some people wilfully ignore the advice that’s offered. However, they’re not breaking any law when they thank officers for the guidance they are offered and plough on regardless.

“For the minority who flout the guidance, the police must be given full enforcement powers to order them to do what they should be doing anyway, and that is staying at home and not leaving the house unless for permitted activities.

“For as long as we don’t see guidance turned into regulation, we will have abuses.”


Number 10 defends Boris Johnson’s bike ride

Number 10 has insisted Boris Johnson’s bike ride in east London over the weekend was permitted under coronavirus guidance.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman told a Westminster briefing that Mr Johnson was there “taking exercise which is in accordance with the guidance”.

He added: “The Prime Minister acted in accordance with the Covid guidance while he was exercising.

“We have always trusted the public to exercise good judgment throughout the pandemic when we have asked them to exercise locally.”

The spokesman did not say how far someone can travel to take exercise and sidestepped a question on whether people can drive or take public transport to exercise.

Mr Johnson’s press secretary Allegra Stratton, asked if Mr Johnson regretted his bike ride, said: “He will … be doing bike rides again – you all know how much he loves his bike.”