Leeds news LIVE: Chief medical officer Chris Witty warns against hugging elderly relatives this Christmas

Welcome to the Yorkshire Evening Post's live blog.

Friday, 27th November 2020, 8:47 am
Updated Friday, 27th November 2020, 9:44 am

Scroll down for updates.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Chief Medical Officer Chris Witty (photo: Andrew Parsons/10 Downing Street/Crown Copyright/PA Wire).

Leeds news LIVE: Council hold briefing as Tier 3 confirmed for Leeds

Last updated: Friday, 27 November, 2020, 08:42

  • Leeds and West Yorkshire to go into Tier 3 from December 2
  • Mass testing for the city
  • Household mixing banned
  • Bars and restaurants to stay shut
  • Rule of Six applies outside
  • Non-essential shops can open

Chief medical officer warns against hugging elderly relatives this Christmas

People “just have to have sense” and avoid hugging and kissing elderly relatives this Christmas, England’s chief medical officer has said.

Professor Chris Whitty stressed that people should not have such a tactile approach with loved ones this festive season “if you want them to survive to be hugged again”.

The medic, who said he will be “on the wards” over Christmas, said that while hugging is not against the law, it is not a sensible thing to do.

He told a Downing Street press briefing: “Would I want someone to see their family? Of course, that’s what Christmas is about, whether people celebrate Christmas as a festival themselves or from any other belief system. It is an opportunity for families.

“But would I encourage someone to hug and kiss their elderly relatives? No, I would not.

“It’s not against the law, and that’s the whole point. You can do it within the rules that are there but it does not make sense because you could be carrying the virus and if you’ve got an elderly relative, that would not be the thing you want to do in the period where we’re running up to a point where actually we might be able to protect older people.

“I think people just have to have sense and this is very much what I think people will do.”

Chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said people should ensure that if they are mixing households over Christmas that wherever they are is well-ventilated, socially distance where possible and “avoid behaviours that would spread the disease”.

He said: “I think hugging elderly relatives is not something to go out and do, it will increase the spread to a vulnerable population.”

Heath Secretary Matt Hancock has previously appeared to rule out hugging relatives and friends at Christmas.

Speaking on Times Radio earlier this month, he said: “I’ve got no doubt that people will continue to respect social distancing throughout, because we know that that is so important for full control of the virus.”

This week the Government pledged that relatives of care home residents in England will be able to hug their loved ones before Christmas if they test negative for coronavirus and wear protective equipment.

Its winter plan, published on Monday, stated: “The Government is committed, by Christmas, to providing twice-weekly testing to enable all care home residents to have regular visits from up to two visitors.

“If a visitor has a negative test, is wearing appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and follows other infection control measures, then it will be possible for visitors to have physical contact with their loved one, such as providing personal care, holding hands and hugging.”

Leeds will have to meet a number of criteria to move down to Tier 2 on December 16

Council leader Judith Blake said the Government is monitoring infection rates, the trends behind the rates, levels of hospitalisation in the city and the capacity of the health service.

There are a “basket of indicators” which need to be met for the Government to agree to move Leeds to Tier 2 when the tiers are reviewed on December 16.

The council will make the case to move Leeds to Tier 2. 

Cllr Blake said: "There is no one aspect of this that will work on its own, everything will have to work as a package. 

 “We know that we want to work with all of our communities, all of our partners, getting across the different messages and using every tool available - making sure we attack the infection levels at every single level.

“If we rely on one set of measures then this won’t work.”

Plans being developed for mass-vaccination in Leeds

Victoria Eaton, Leeds City Council’s director of public health, has confirmed that plans for rolling out Covid vaccinations across Leeds are well underway.

She said: "It’s great news to have three potential vaccines and we are well on track with plans with the NHS on how to deploy those in Leeds.

"We are looking at a variety of sites both in the NHS and in broader community settings - looking at what that plan might look like, at scale for a city the size of Leeds.

“It will start with health and care workers, people who are 80+ but also care home residents, before moving to mass-vaccination in the New Year.”

Tier 3 restrictions could be reviewed by Government on December 16, council confirms

Council leader Judith Blake has confirmed that the Government will review the Tier 3 measures for Leeds on December 16.

She said there is a chance Leeds could move down to Tier 2 if the Government believes Leeds is moving in the right direction.

Council leader Judith Blake: “We are very disappointed to be in Tier 3”

Leeds City Council are holding a meeting following the announcement of Tier 3 restrictions for Leeds.

Council leader Judith Blake said: “It has been quite a difficult and frustrating day waiting for information this morning and not hearing until after it had gone up on the website.

"Leeds is going into Tier 3 against a backdrop of a significant fall in our infection rate which is now 274 per 100,000 people.

“The rate for over 60s is now at 259 per 100,000 people. This puts Leeds at 59th nationally.

"We want to pay tribute to everyone who has worked so hard - the council, NHS, all of our partners and the public themselves for helping to drive down the infection rates.

“We are very disappointed to be in Tier 3 and we feel very deeply for those in the hospitality sector and in entertainment who are so effected by restrictions in Tier 3."

Leeds pubs and bars react as new Tier 3 rule means they can’t open to customers

Some owners are not happy: 

Leeds pubs and bars react as new Tier 3 rule means they can't open to customers

Leeds will enter Tier 3 when lockdown ends on December 2 which means pubs, bars and restaurants must remain closed.

The location of every new Covid death recorded across Yorkshire hospitals

A total of 65 new Covid deaths have been recorded in Yorkshire hospitals in an update released on Thursday.

Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust: 1

Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust: 4

Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust: 12

Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust: 5

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust: 10

Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust: 12

Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust: 2

The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust: 4

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust: 3

South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust: 4

York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust: 8

The Yorkshire areas with the highest Covid infection rates and which tier they are in

This is the current Covid infection rate of every Yorkshire area - and what tier they have been placed in.

Rates are falling across the region.

The Yorkshire areas with the highest Covid rates as new tiers announced across region

The Government has now confirmed which areas of Yorkshire will go into which tier of lockdown before Christmas.

Leeds reacts to “completely unacceptable” Tier 3 announcement

Here’s what people across the city had to say: 

Leeds reacts to "completely unacceptable" Tier 3 announcement as call for extra cash issued

A Leeds MP has slammed the government's decision to place Leeds back into Tier 3 measures and called for additional financial support for the city.

Mass testing will be coming to Leeds

Downing Street insisted mass testing would be available to all Tier 3 areas.

With 23 million people going into the restrictions from December 2 it remains to be seen how this will be achieved, with details expected to be published next week.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “Local authorities that fall into Tier 3 will be able to apply for support from NHS Test and Trace and the armed forces to deliver a six-week, rapid community testing programme.

“That will include access to a supply of lateral flow tests, support with planning and logistics and funding and communication support.”

In Liverpool, around 2,000 military personnel were involved in a pilot scheme but it was unclear how many troops would be available across all Tier 3 areas.

Page 1 of 4