LiveSheffield snow: Live traffic and travel updates as cars stuck and buses diverted on icy roads
Welcome to The Star’s live blog on Wednesday February 10 as Beast from the East 2 brings snow and bitterly cold winds.
Follow this live blog for updates on the weather and how it is impacting traffic and travel in the area, plus updates on the coronavirus situation in Sheffield and South Yorkshire.
Sheffield Coronavirus LIVE:
Last updated: Friday, 19 February, 2021, 14:34
- Traffic: closure A1M southbound at J36 Warmsworth, Doncaster following accident
- Boris Johnson will lead a Downing Street press conference on coronavirus on Wednesday afternoon.
- Met Office issues yellow warning for snow in Sheffield and South Yorkshire
- South Yorkshire Community Transport providers offer a free return journey to a Covid-19 vaccination site for priority groups
- Health secretary expected to announce compulsory tests for travellers isolating after arriving in country
- Updates on bus services as they happen
A further five patients with Covid-19 have sadly died in South Yorkshire hospitals
The latest NHS figures released today show three people died in Barnsley Hospital and two in Sheffield.
A further 315 people, who tested positive for the Coronavirus (Covid-19) have died, bringing the total number of confirmed reported deaths in hospitals in England to 80,739. Patients were aged between 13 and 103 years old.
All except 26 (aged 13 to 96 years old) had known underlying health conditions.
Professor Neil Ferguson told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the “downside of taking bigger risks is you risk having to lock down again which is even more disruptive economically and socially”.
He added: “I am encouraged by the cautious approach being taken, an incremental approach which I think will be adopted, namely relax one thing and see what the impact is, relax again.
“And it still may well be that by the end of May, we’re in a very different country than we are today.”
He said this meant rules would still be in place “but I think society will be a lot more normal”.
But he said that depended on things panning out as hoped, and as the current data suggests they will.
“There are threats out there, we don’t know for instance quite how effective the vaccines are, how long immunity will last, there is the threat of variants,” he said.
“So we have to be driven by the data and the trends we see.”
Latest Covid infection rates in South Yorkshire, as Sheffield's cases fall but Doncaster's rise
Sheffield’s Covid infection rate is continuing to fall but Doncaster is one of the only places in the country where new cases are rising, latest figures show.
Foreign Office minister James Cleverly said it would be “wrong” for him to speculate on whether summer holidays will be allowed this year.
Speaking to BBC Breakfast, he said: “The Prime Minister will be setting out exactly what restrictions we are able to ease and when in as much detail as he is able.
“But we cannot give guarantees because that is not how viruses work. Our vaccination programme, our current set of restrictions have been effective, we know that. We are currently assessing how effective and what the implications might be of certain options.
“But ultimately we want to open up society, the economy as much as we are able but only on the condition that it is safe to do so.”
On summer holidays, he added: “I get how frustrating this is, it’s completely natural. We all want to get a break from this, I get that. But it would wrong for me to start speculating now.
“We are assessing the numbers, we are making a judgment based on the science and we will be making an announcement on Monday. I can’t go further than that.”
Dr Richard Hatchett, chief executive of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, has said surplus vaccines need to be shared with poorer countries “to suppress transmission globally as fast as we can” and stop vaccine-resistant mutations emerging.
He told the BBC’s Today programme: “Many countries, including the UK, will be in a position of oversupply. They have more vaccines than are needed to vaccinate the population.”
Asked about holding back extra vaccines for booster shots for UK residents, he said: “There is a lot we don’t know about the vaccines currently.
“There are concerns that the immunity they cause may wane over time and that booster jabs may be needed. That is not known yet.
“I think what individual countries need to protect their populations and to keep their populations protected is still to be determined.
“What we do know is clearly the virus is rampant around the world.
“We know that we’re in a race with the virus and the longer the virus circulates and transmission is high, the more likely we are to see the emergence of mutations that may render our vaccines useless, frankly.
“So we need to suppress transmission globally as fast as we can.”
One in four people in South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw have received their first covid-19 vaccination.
Accoring to the latest figures 346,475 people have had a jab out of an adult population of 1.4 million.
Mark Harper, the chairman of the Covid Recovery Group (CRG) of lockdown sceptic Tories, has said “draconian” restrictions cannot be justified once the most vulnerable have been vaccinated.
The CRG has written to Boris Johnson demanding an end to controls in England by the end of April – by which point the top nine priority groups should have received the jab.
“We’ve set out in the letter what we think is sensible. They’re not random, arbitrary timetables. It’s linked very much to the rollout of the vaccine,” he told Times Radio.
“Once you have vaccinated the top nine groups – who represent 99% of the people who have sadly died from Covid and about 80% of those who are seriously ill – I don’t think there is a justification for all of these draconian restrictions.
“Once you have protected people from serious illness and from death, I don’t think these draconian restrictions of not being able to meet your family, not see your friends, not see your children, not see your parents, not visit people in care homes, I don’t think they are justifiable anymore.”
Covid-19 cases have dropped by 80% since the start of January and hospital admissions have reduced by 60% with a 50% decrease in people in hospital with the virus, epidemiologist Professor Tim Spector has told Sky News’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the plan is to get 99% of those who are at risk of dying given their first Covid-19 vaccine dose by the end of April.
“And by doing so taking the fatality out of this virus, we are in a much better position to proceed to start to ease the lockdown.
“We’ve just talked about the way we’re going to do it, starting with schools and non-essential retail.
“I don’t think you can set though an arbitrary target and not be evidence-led, which is why the review point on the 22nd February is so important,” he told Sophy Ridge On Sunday on Sky News.
Asked if he agrees that if all nine priority groups are vaccinated then restrictions should end, he said the Government will not make what feels to him like a “slightly arbitrary commitment without reviewing the impact that measures have had on the transmission and the hospital admissions of the virus”.
Mr Raab said it will be “evidence-led”, adding: “But we share the ambition to get out of lockdown to transition to a better place for economic reasons, for jobs, for livelihoods, for the most vulnerable in our society, and for everyone’s mental health.”
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has said the Government is “on track” to meet its target of offering a coronavirus jab to the 15 million people in its four top priority groups by Monday.
Mr Raab told Sky News’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme that the Government hoped to begin reopening schools in England on March 8 as planned.
“We need to wait to evaluate the data carefully and allow those plans to be put in place,” he said.
“Because we are making progress I think we can be confident we will be able to start that process.”
However, he said the Government would take a “careful” approach towards the easing of lockdown restrictions.
“We do need to be very careful how we proceed. We have made good progress. We don’t want to see that unravel because we go too far too quick,” he said.
Covid jabs extended to over-65s and vulnerable groups from Monday
NHS staff will begin vaccinating people aged 65 to 69 and those who are clinically vulnerable against Covid from tomorrow (Monday) with over one million people already invited to book a jab.
£3,000 in Covid fines handed out after smokers caught using Sheffield shisha lounge
Ten people were fined for breaching Covid lockdown rules in Sheffield after police caught them fleeing a shisha lounge where they had been smoking.
Boris Johnson has said he is “optimistic” he will be able to begin announcing the easing of restrictions when he sets out his “roadmap” out of lockdown in England on February 22.
Speaking during a visit to the Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies plant in Billingham, Teesside, where the new Novavax vaccine will be manufactured, the Prime Minister said: “I’m optimistic, I won’t hide it from you. I’m optimistic, but we have to be cautious.”
He said his first priority remained opening schools in England on March 8 to be followed by other sectors.
“Our children’s education is our number one priority, but then working forward, getting non-essential retail open as well and then, in due course as and when we can prudently, cautiously, of course we want to be opening hospitality as well,” he said.
“I will be trying to set out as much as I possibly can in as much detail as I can, always understanding that we have to be wary of the pattern of disease. We don’t want to be forced into any kind of retreat or reverse ferret.”
A further 436 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospital in England, bringing the total number of confirmed deaths reported in hospitals to 78,588, NHS England said on Saturday
Patients were aged between 21 and 100. All except ten, aged between 49 and 89, had known underlying health conditions.
The deaths were between January 4 and February 12.
There were 58 other deaths reported with no positive Covid-19 test result.