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Migrant crossings into UK from France to be curbed as Priti Patel annouces new Channel clampdown

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/uk-france-migrant-crossing-agreement-b92343.html

Migrant crossings into UK from France to be curbed as Priti Patel annouces new Channel clampdown
T

he number of migrants reaching British shores is to be slashed after the UK reached a new deal with France.

Home Secretary Priti Patel and her French counterpart Gerald Darmanin signed a new agreement aimed at preventing migrants from crossing the English Channel in small boats.

They have agreed to double the number of French police patrolling a 150km stretch of coastline targeted by people-smuggling networks.

However, the Home Office did not say how many more officers would be deployed.

Announcing the news on Saturday, Ms Patel insisted the agreement “will make a difference” to migrant numbers.

She added: “In fact the joint agreement that I signed, which secured the joint intelligence operation, has made a difference – even in the last six months – we have seen that.

“So we know that the French authorities have stopped over 5,000 migrants from crossing into the United Kingdom, we’ve had hundreds of arrests and that’s because of the joint intelligence and communications that we share between both our authorities.

“This new package today that I have just signed with my French counterpart, the French interior minister, effectively doubles the number of police on the French beaches, it invests in more technologies and surveillance (…) and on top of that we are now sharing in terms of toughening up our border security.”

<p>More than 8,000 migrants have crossed the Channel this year</p>
(

More than 8,000 migrants have crossed the Channel this year

/ PA )

The Home Secretary said the number of migrants making the crossing had grown exponentially, in part due to good weather.

But, she went on: “We should not lose sight of the fact that illegal migration exists for one fundamental reason: that is because there are criminal gangs – people traffickers – facilitating this trade.”

On top of that, she said, the cost charged by people traffickers has gone down so “people are putting their lives at risk”.

The announcement was criticised by a charity as an “extraordinary mark of failure” akin to “rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic”.

UK and France agree to make intelligence cell to tackle migrant crossings

Ms Patel and Mr Darmanin also agreed an enhanced package of surveillance technology, with drones, radar equipment, cameras and optronic binoculars.

It is hoped the equipment will help the French deploy officers to the right places to detect migrants and stop them before they start their journey.

The agreement also includes steps to support migrants into accommodation in France, and measures to increase border security at ports in the north and west of the country.

It builds on measures previously agreed which the Home Office said had seen the proportion of crossings intercepted and stopped rise from 41 per cent last year to 60 per cent in recent weeks.

Despite deteriorating weather conditions, the UK’s Border Force has continued to deal with migrants making the dangerous trip from northern France.

The number crossing aboard small boats has rocketed this year, with more than 8,000 reaching the UK – compared with 1,835 in 2019, according to data analysed by the PA news agency.

This is despite the Home Secretary’s vow last year to make such journeys an “infrequent phenomenon”.

A recent report chronicled nearly 300 border-related deaths in and around the English Channel since 1999.

Written by Mael Galisson, from Gisti, a legal service for asylum seekers in France, it described the evolution of border security in and around the Dover Strait as a “history of death”.

It claimed responses to the migrant crisis have become increasingly militarised, forcing people to resort to more dangerous routes.

Bella Sankey, director of humanitarian charity Detention Action, said: “It is an extraordinary mark of failure that the Home Secretary is announcing with such fanfare that she is rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.

“No amount of massaging the numbers masks her refusal to take the sensible step of creating a safe and legal route to the UK from northern France, thereby preventing crossings and child deaths.

“Instead she throws taxpayers’ money away on more of the same measures that stand no chance of having a significant impact on this dangerous state of affairs.”

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Global coronavirus cases hit 100 million on same day UK reaches 100,000 deaths

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/world/global-coronavirus-cases-100-million-b901258.html

Global coronavirus cases hit 100 million on same day UK reaches 100,000 deaths

India has recorded more than 10 million cases and Brazil’s tally is over 8.8 million.

The number was reached on the same day the UK Government’s figure for Covid-19 deaths passed 100,000.

Coronavirus briefing: January 26 round-up as UK death toll exceeds 100,000

Britain is the fifth country in the world to record 100,000 virus-related deaths, after the US, Brazil, India and Mexico.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson offered his “deepest condolences” to the families of coronavirus victims as Government figures showed the UK death toll reached the 100,000 figure.

He said: “We did everything we could”.

Mr Johnson told a Downing Street briefing that it was “hard to compute the sorrow contained in that grim statistic: the years of life lost, the family gatherings not attended and for so many relatives the missed chance to even say goodbye”.

He vowed that as the country came out of the crisis “we will come together as a nation to remember everyone we lost and to honour the selfless heroism of all those on the front line who gave their lives to save others”.

A further 1,631 deaths of people who had tested positive for coronavirus within 28 days were recorded on Tuesday, bringing the UK total to 100,162.

Some 25,000 of those deaths have taken place since the start of the year, in a stark illustration of how the more infectious variant of the virus, first identified in Kent, has ripped across the country.

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UK’s Covid death toll could reach 150,000 before pandemic ‘burns out,’ Sage scientist warns after grim milestone

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/health/covid-death-toll-uk-pandemic-scientists-warning-b901269.html

UK’s Covid death toll could reach 150,000 before pandemic ‘burns out,’ Sage scientist warns after grim milestone
T

he UK could see another 50,000 deaths from coronavirus, a scientist advising the Government has warned after the grim milestone of 100,000 was reached.

He warned that every Covid fatality “represents probably four or five people who survive but are damaged” by the disease.

 Boris Johnson looks down at the podium during a media briefing after the UK recorded 100,000 coronavirus deaths
( Boris Johnson looks down at the podium during a media briefing after the UK recorded 100,000 coronavirus deaths / PA )

“It would really not surprise me if we’re looking at another 40-50,000 deaths before this burns out,” he told BBC’s Newsnight after the 100,000 figure was reached.

Separate data published by statistics agencies places the toll at 115,000.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the milestone was a “national tragedy” and accused the Government of being “behind the curve at every stage” in its response.

His remarks came ahead of grilling Mr Johnson during Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Home Secretary Priti Patel is widely expected to announce a limited plan for new arrivals in England to quarantine in hotels.

Mr Johnson told a Downing Street press conference: “I think on this day I should just really repeat that I am deeply sorry for every life that has been lost and of course as I was Prime Minister I take full responsibility for everything that the Government has done.

“What I can tell you is that we truly did everything we could, and continue to do everything that we can, to minimise loss of life and to minimise suffering in what has been a very, very difficult stage…

“And a very, very difficult crisis for our country, and we will continue to do that, just as every government that is affected by this crisis around the world is continuing to do the same.”

More than 100 million Covid-19 cases recorded worldwide

In March, before the Prime Minister announced the first national lockdown, chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said keeping the death toll below 20,000 would be a “good outcome”.

Referring to the 100,000 deaths now surpassed, Mr Johnson said it was “hard to compute the sorrow contained in that grim statistic”.

England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty braced the country for “a lot more deaths over the next few weeks before the effects of the vaccines begin to be felt” and cautioned against relaxing restrictions “too early”.

Sir Keir, who will appear at PMQs from home while self-isolating, urged the Government to make quarantining in hotels mandatory for all new arrivals as he accused the Prime Minister of having shown a “reluctance to take tough decisions” throughout the pandemic.

There was no official comment following the meeting of the Covid operations committee of senior ministers on Tuesday, but Whitehall sources ahead of the talks suggested the measures could stop short of mandatory hotel quarantines for all arrivals.

They suggested that the measure may only apply to British nationals returning to England from high-risk nations, with passengers expected to cover the price of quarantining.

The Times reported that the committee rejected calls for a full border closure and will instead limit it to those returning from 30 countries already covered by the travel ban, including those in South America, Portugal and Cape Verde, as well as South Africa and neighbouring nations.

If confirmed, Labour’s shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said ministers would be “leaving gaping holes in our nation’s defences” with the “half-baked” proposal.

Northern Ireland’s First Minister Arlene Foster said a four-nations approach to the issue was being taken, while the Welsh Government said it expects to discuss the plans with Westminster.

In Scotland, Deputy First Minister John Swinney said the Scottish Government would “go at least as far” as England in enhancing quarantine arrangements.

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Global coronavirus cases hit 100 million on same day UK reaches grim milestone of 100,000 deaths

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/world/global-coronavirus-cases-100-million-b901258.html

Global coronavirus cases hit 100 million on same day UK reaches grim milestone of 100,000 deaths

India has recorded more than 10 million cases and Brazil’s tally is over 8.8 million.

The number was reached on the same day the UK Government’s figure for Covid-19 deaths passed 100,000.

Coronavirus briefing: January 26 round-up as UK death toll exceeds 100,000

Britain is the fifth country in the world to record 100,000 virus-related deaths, after the US, Brazil, India and Mexico.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson offered his “deepest condolences” to the families of coronavirus victims as Government figures showed the UK death toll reached the 100,000 figure.

He said: “We did everything we could”.

Mr Johnson told a Downing Street briefing that it was “hard to compute the sorrow contained in that grim statistic: the years of life lost, the family gatherings not attended and for so many relatives the missed chance to even say goodbye”.

He vowed that as the country came out of the crisis “we will come together as a nation to remember everyone we lost and to honour the selfless heroism of all those on the front line who gave their lives to save others”.

A further 1,631 deaths of people who had tested positive for coronavirus within 28 days were recorded on Tuesday, bringing the UK total to 100,162.

Some 25,000 of those deaths have taken place since the start of the year, in a stark illustration of how the more infectious variant of the virus, first identified in Kent, has ripped across the country.

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Boris Johnson says ‘we did everything we could’ as UK coronavirus death toll passes 100,000

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/uk-coronavirus-deaths-latest-100000-b901230.html

Boris Johnson says ‘we did everything we could’ as UK coronavirus death toll passes 100,000
B

oris Johnson offered his “deepest condolences” to the families of coronavirus victims as Government figured showed the UK death toll has passed 100,000, saying: “We did everything we could”.

The Prime Minister told a Downing Street briefing that it was “hard to compute the sorrow contained in that grim statistic: the years of life lost, the family gatherings not attended and for so many relatives the missed chance to even say goodbye”.

He vowed that as the country came out of the crisis “we will come together as a nation to remember everyone we lost and to honour the selfless heroism of all those on the front line who gave their lives to save others”

A further 1,631 deaths of people who had tested positive for coronavirus within 28 days  were recorded on Tuesday, bringing the UK total to 100,162.

Some 25,000 of those deaths have taken place since the start of the year, in a stark illustration of how the more infectious variant of the virus, first identified in Kent, has ripped across the country.

Mr Johnson said: “I think on this day I should just really repeat that I am deeply sorry for every life that has been lost and, of course, as I was Prime Minister I take full responsibility for everything that the Government has done.

“What I can tell you is that we truly did everything we could, and continue to do everything that we can, to minimise loss of life and to minimise suffering in what has been a very, very difficult stage, and a very, very difficult crisis for our country, and we will continue to do that, just as every government that is affected by this crisis around the world is continuing to do the same.”

Following the Prime Minister’s comments, England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty said it was a “very sad day”.


Presenting slides of coronavirus data to the Downing Street press conference, he said the number of people testing  positive for coronavirus was “still at a very high number, but it has been coming down”.
He cautioned that Office for National Statistics data demonstrates a slower decrease, adding: “I think we need to be careful we do not relax too early”.

PM: 100,000 deaths exhausts the thesaurus of misery

There were 20,089 new lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK reported on Tuesday, representing a 26.4 drop from the same time last week.

But Prof Whitty said the number of people in hospital with Covid-19 in the UK was still an “incredibly high number”.


This had “flattened off” and was not still rising overall, he said, but was “substantially above the peak in April”.
Prof Whitty said it looked like hospital figures were coming down slightly in areas such as London and the South East and the East of England, but in some areas levels were “still not convincingly reducing”.


<p>Aerial view of graves dug to cope with pandemic deaths in Sutton Coldfield</p>
(

Aerial view of graves dug to cope with pandemic deaths in Sutton Coldfield

/ Getty Images )

He said that deaths of people who had a positive coronavirus test looked as if it was flattening out at a very high level.
Prof Whitty warned that “the number of people dying per day will come down relatively slowly over the next two weeks”.


In a statement, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the grim milestone was “heart-breaking” and warned there is still “a tough period ahead”.

“My thoughts are with each and every person who has lost a loved one – behind these heart-breaking figures are friends, families and neighbours.

“I know how hard the last year has been, but I also know how strong the British public’s determination is and how much we have all pulled together to get through this.”

Mr Hancock added that the vaccine offered a way out of the pandemic.

Starmer: UK death toll is national tragedy

“We’re undertaking a huge national effort to vaccinate the most vulnerable people in our society, with over 6.5 million jabs across the UK to date, and thanks to the brilliance of our scientists and clinicians we know more today about this terrible new virus and how to beat it”, he said.

“The vaccine offers the way out, but we cannot let up now and we sadly still face a tough period ahead. The virus is still spreading and we’re seeing over 3,500 people per day being admitted into hospital.

“The single most important thing we must all do now is stay at home to save lives and protect our NHS.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the Government’s measure of the coronavirus death toll passing 100,000 is a “national tragedy”.

In a statement, Sir Keir said: “This is a national tragedy and a terrible reminder of all that we have lost as a country.

“We must never become numb to these numbers or treat them as just statistics. Every death is a loved one, a friend, a neighbour, a partner or a colleague. It is an empty chair at the dinner table.

“To all those that are mourning, we must promise to learn the lessons of what went wrong and build a more resilient country. That day will come and we will get there together.

“But for now we must remember those that we have lost and be vigilant in the national effort to stay at home, protect our NHS and vaccinate Britain.”

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Why are there still flights coming into the UK and what are the rules for travelling?

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/flights-into-uk-travel-rules-restrictions-quarantine-hotels-b901157.html

Why are there still flights coming into the UK and what are the rules for travelling?

Currently anyone entering the country has to isolate for 10 days, although this policy is set to be beefed up with the introduction of mandatory hotel quarantine for those arrive from high-risk coronavirus hotspots.

What are the current rules?

It means that now arrivals from every destination  need to self-isolate for 10 days, or receive a negative result from a coronavirus test taken at least five days after they enter the UK.

Direct flights from parts of the world with new coronavirus variants, such as South Africa and Brazil, are banned.

Currently all travellers must provide contact details and their UK address. They can then travel – by public transport if necessary – to their home or to the place where they plan to self-isolate.

<p>People queue at terminal 5 of Heathrow Airport, as the spread of the coronavirus disease continues</p>
(

People queue at terminal 5 of Heathrow Airport, as the spread of the coronavirus disease continues

/ PIA JOSEPHSON via REUTERS )

How many people are flying into the UK every day?

The exact number is hard to quantify. Air traffic records stop at 2019, when a record 296,658,000 passengers passed through UK airports on arriving and departing flights. 

This number is believed to have sharply fallen but one newspaper claimed 10,000 people were still coming in a day through Heathrow Airport. These numbers are estimates and can be far lower.

There are anecdotal reports of planes arriving in the UK largely empty, and holiday companies such as TUI have now grounded all flights.

Which jobs are exempt from travel restrictions?

The protected roles include; elite sportspeople, nuclear technology workers, seasonal agricultural workers and other key infrastructure workers.

Drivers of goods need only to provide a passenger locator form and do not need to provide a negative Covid test or self-isolate.

Business directors bringing jobs and investment to the UK, journalists, advertising and performing arts proffessionals were all struck off on January 18.

Despite these rules and exemptions, it is reported there are not any specific reason-for-travel checks by officials on arrivals.

What have other countries done?

Australia and New Zealand both closed their borders to almost all visitors in March, although travellers from New Zealand have been allowed to enter most Australian states without quarantine since October.

In Ireland you must fill in a passenger locator form. Failing to do so results in a fine of £2,200 a prison term of up to six months, or both.

Passengers arriving from South Africa or the UK must have tested negative for the virus within 72 hours of their arrival in Ireland and are still required to isolate for 14 days.

Where are flights coming from?

A look at the Heathrow arrivals board shows dozens of flights arriving from countries including Hong Kong, United Arab Emirates, the United States and Nigeria,  as well as a host of domestic flights.

London Stansted had only four incoming flights scheduled for January 26 from Istanbul and eastern Europe.

Are these rules likely to change soon?

The Prime Minister will discuss proposals for arrivals to quarantine in designated hotels to ensure they follow self-isolation rules with senior ministers on Tuesday.

Reports have suggested that arrivals would have to cover the price of quarantining in hotels for 10 days, potentially setting them back more than £1,000.

When can I book a summer holiday?

Asked whether his advice to people considering booking a summer holiday now was not to do so right now, vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi responded: “Absolutely.

“At the moment, we have reached base camp, if I can describe it as that, with the vaccine deployment programme, over six and a half million people now with the first dose..a long way to go.

“We have had tremendous performance, the NHS family, our armed forces, the private sector, and the brilliant volunteers have come together to deliver this deployment.

“It’s far too early, there are still 37,000 people in hospital with Covid at the moment, it’s far too early for us to even speculate about the summer.”

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