Sheffield coronavirus news LIVE: Updates as new rapid Covid-19 testing site opens TODAY

Welcome to The Star’s live blog on Thursday February 18.

By Kev Rogers
Thursday, 18th February 2021, 8:23 am
Patient receives her vaccination for Covid-19
Patient receives her vaccination for Covid-19

Follow this live blog for updates on the coronavirus situation in Sheffield plus weather updates and how it is impacting traffic and travel.

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Coronavirus in Sheffield LIVE blog

Last updated: Thursday, 18 February, 2021, 10:43

Yorkshire has R rate of 0.92 so has almost constant prevalence. only North East higher.

Health minister Helen Whately urged the public to be “patient” while waiting for the return of freedoms such as going abroad.

Asked about booking summer holidays, she told ITV’s Good Morning Britain programme: “We need to be a bit patient.

“We’re seeing really good data coming through, clearly on the rates coming right down, though I should remind you and remind viewers that we still have got over 20,000 patients in hospital with Covid.

“On Saturday alone we had over 1,000 new admissions with Covid. So people are still catching it and still being hospitalised. So we need to take this step by step.

“But on Monday the Prime Minister is going to set out the road map for coming out of this and we will see more information then about the steps that we’re going to be able to take to ease the restrictions and get back more towards normal.”

Coronavirus infection rates have fallen by two thirds in England since January

Imperial College London's React study found there has been a "strong decline" in levels of coronavirus infections in England

The study found infections have dropped by two-thirds across England since lockdown began, with an 80% fall in London, taking rates to a similar level to late September 2020.

However virus levels are still high, with one in 200 testing positive between 4 and 13 February.

Health minister Helen Whately said plans for schools testing are a “work in progress”.

Health minister Helen Whately said plans for schools testing are a “work in progress”.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, she said: “There is work being done to look at how testing will help schools come back.

“But there will be more details set out about that next week.”

Asked about press reports that parents could be asked to test their children at home, she added: “I’m not going to get drawn into that, there is work in progress looking at how testing can support schools to come back.

“There’s already testing going on in schools where you have children of key workers and teachers in schools at the moment because schools aren’t completely closed, and there is work going on at the moment about the details of the return to schools, and there will be more said about that next week.”

Health minister Helen Whately said plans for schools testing are a “work in progress”.

Health minister Helen Whately said plans for schools testing are a “work in progress”.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, she said: “There is work being done to look at how testing will help schools come back.

“But there will be more details set out about that next week.”

Asked about press reports that parents could be asked to test their children at home, she added: “I’m not going to get drawn into that, there is work in progress looking at how testing can support schools to come back.

“There’s already testing going on in schools where you have children of key workers and teachers in schools at the moment because schools aren’t completely closed, and there is work going on at the moment about the details of the return to schools, and there will be more said about that next week.”

Health minister Helen Whately said visitors to care homes would still be expected to wear PPE to protect residents even if visiting rules are relaxed.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, she said: “There is still a way to go to see, for instance, whether the vaccine stops people from being infectious and how it plays through.

“Visiting will be taken step by step and we will, for instance, when people come back to more normal visiting, still be asking people to use PPE and follow those kinds of procedures.”

She added: “I don’t want to have to wait for the second vaccination dose. Clearly, that’s really important to give care home residents maximum protection, but I really want us to be able to open up cautiously and carefully.

“To enable residents some contact with family members, because I know it’s just so, so important.”

New lateral flow Covid testing site for people is opening in Sheffield

A new lateral flow testing site is opening in Sheffield, the BBC has reported.

The centre at the English Institute for Sport has been established to extend capacity so that people working with vulnerable people can get regular tests even if they don not have symptoms.

Police cordoned off block of flats after woman sexually assaulted on Sheffield estate

Police cordoned off block of flats after woman sexually assaulted on Sheffield estate

Two men are wanted by the police over a sex attack on a Sheffield estate.

Boris Johnson said easing England’s restrictions would be done in “stages” and noted that reopening of hospitality was one of the last things to return after the first lockdown. The Prime Minister said: “I certainly think that we need to go in stages. We need to go cautiously.

“You have to remember from last year that we opened up hospitality fully as one of the last things that we did because there is obviously an extra risk of transmission from hospitality.

“I know there’s a lot of understandable speculation in the papers and people coming up with theories about what we’re going to do, what we’re going to say, and about the rates of infection, and so on.

“I would just advise everybody just wait, we’ll try and say as much as we can on that.”

Boris Johnson said easing England’s lockdown will be based on a “cautious and prudent approach”.

The Prime Minister was responding to whether he agreed with Professor Dame Angela McLean’s comments to the Science and Technology Committee that any unlocking should be based on “data, not dates”.

Speaking at a mass vaccination centre in Cwmbran, south Wales, Mr Johnson said: “I do think that’s absolutely right.

“That’s why we’ll be setting out what we can on Monday about the way ahead and it’ll be based firmly on a cautious and prudent approach to coming out of lockdown in such a way to be irreversible.

“We want to be going one way from now on, based on the incredible vaccination rollout that you’re seeing in Cwmbran

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