SOUTHEND Council has ruled out ever signing up to a 15-minute city scheme which restricts residents’ ability to travel freely across the city.
Councils across the country are signing up to a net zero 2030 scheme and some are including plans for 15-minute cities where residents have everything they need within a 15-minute walk, cycle of public transport ride.
LTN schemes emerged from ‘15-minute city’ ideology: “a residential urban concept in which most daily necessities can be accomplished by either walking or cycling from residents’ homes”. A lovely idea, but if you can’t cycle all your food shopping home, or lug it back because you’re too old or burdened with toddlers, you become a casualty of environmental piety.
The Authority seeks to procure a framework agreement for temporary body storage in the event of an excess deaths situation for the 32 London boroughs and the City of London, led by Westminster City Council. The framework agreement will appoint a single provider and will be for a period of 4 years. This will be a contingency contract, only called upon in the event that an excess deaths situation arises in the future and existing local body storage capacity needs to be augmented.
The over-arching aim of this tender is to provide a single framework supplier that will be able to provide temporary body storage facilities to house deceased in the event of an excess deaths situation. The deceased will be stored with dignity and respect, at locations to be determined based on local London needs at the time and will require some design elements to accommodate local site conditions and constraints, while being capable of rapid deployment, construction and commissioning to an agreed standard. This framework will be procured by the Authority as the pan-London lead, but all London local authorities may call-off against the framework.
This will be a contingency cover framework and as such there is no minimum guarantee of any level of spend or call-off under the framework agreement.
The ‘Unite for Freedom’ anti-lockdown protest in London yesterday was as good-natured and peaceful as the previous anti-lockdown protests I have reported on for spiked. Seeing the sculpture and words was a gladdening moment on a day blessed by sunshine.
…The coverage from major news agencies and outlets told the story of ‘hundreds’ of ‘anti-vaxxers’. ‘Hundreds’ is the downplaying part. It worries me. I was there, and I know it is not true. Do I need to see the news unfold with my own eyes every time in order to fact-check the front pages?
I can’t estimate the numbers because the scale of the crowd was too vast, and moved steadily for many hours through the streets of London. Tens of thousands? Hundreds of thousands? Presumably the Met Police could estimate if they wanted to. The Guardian at least reported ‘vast numbers of people’. The Press Association declared, ‘Hundreds join anti-vaccination protest in central London’. The comments put that misconception straight.
Senior government officials have raised “urgent” concerns about the mass expansion of rapid coronavirus testing, estimating that as few as 2% to 10% of positive results may be accurate in places with low Covid rates, such as London.
…However, leaked emails seen by the Guardian show that senior officials are now considering scaling back the widespread testing of people without symptoms, due to a growing number of false positives.
…On 9 April, the day everyone in England was able to order twice-weekly lateral flow device (LFD) tests, Dyson wrote: “As of today, someone who gets a positive LFD result in (say) London has at best a 25% chance of it being a true positive, but if it is a self-reported test potentially as low as 10% (on an optimistic assumption about specificity) or as low as 2% (on a more pessimistic assumption).”
By plunging London into a Tier Three lockdown, the Government is going to do terrible harm to the city, the entire national economy, and to millions of lives.
No one can predict the number of people who will lose jobs, suffer poor mental health or who will have life-saving operations postponed until too late.
All we can say with any certainty is that all these things will happen, and not to a few isolated people. The harms caused by these new restrictions, like those caused by the previous over-reactions, will be immense.
The Government is withholding much of the information we need to draw our own conclusions about better ways to handle the crisis.
The weekly average number of Covid deaths in the capital is just over a tenth of what it was at its peak in April.
Weekly average Covid admissions to London’s hospitals are a quarter of what were in the spring.
The [UK Government’s] obsession with secrecy is not intended to hide the facts from enemy agents but from us, the general public.
This disease is not like Spanish flu, or the plague. It does not sweep away young and old indiscriminately. In fact, many younger people – now more likely to catch Covid – will have it without even being aware. They will be infected but not affected.
The average age of people dying with a Covid infection is 82 years and four months – 14 months more than the average life expectancy in Britain.
In November the total number of deaths in London was very little different to the average over the past five years.
Covid is a respiratory virus that spreads on the wind. Just look at the leaves blowing around – that’s what viral particles do when we walk past each other.
Cloth or woven paper masks are no barrier to this tiny virus either, as shown by the world’s only controlled study, from Denmark, which found that they only made a small, ‘non-statistically-significant’ difference.
No traces of coronavirus have been found on surfaces and in the air on the London Underground or on buses in the capital city, scientists have said.
Experts from Imperial College London have been carrying out monthly tests on the network, mimicking a passenger journey and taking swabs from escalators, handrails, bus shelters and Oyster Card readers.
Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, has gone back to Plan A, reviving his ‘protect the NHS’ message from March and now wears a facemask with those words on it. The Prime Minister is repeating the slogan. It’s deeply controversial with senior doctors who fear that it discourages the sick from seeking help – which might explain the 28,000 excess at-home deaths over the last few months. The NHS is worried about this and has countered with its own advert, urging people to seek medical help. I looked at this in my latest Daily Telegraph column.
The NHS has learned much from the first wave of Covid. PPE equipment, for example, is now in bountiful supply. Basic medical techniques – better use of blood thinners, oxygen therapy, steroids etc – are having a big impact on survival rates. When Boris Johnson went into intensive care, his survival chances were about 50 per cent. Now, they would be closer to 70 per cent. The trajectory this time is nowhere near as daunting – the below graph shows the rise of Covid patients needing critical care. As the data shows, intensive care unit (ICU) usage is 13 per cent of what it was at the end of March. (These figures are from the Intensive Care National Audit & Research Centre.)
[I]f you believe herd immunity is only reached at 60 per cent, you should be terrified at any loosening of lockdown. If you don’t, then you must reconcile antibody testing that says 80 per cent are still susceptible with the difficulty the virus seems to encounter in marching very far past 20 percent of the population.
That is the reconciliation my hypothesis achieves. I propose that there may exist forms of human resistance to this virus that don’t show up in Covid-19 antibody tests.
[I]n focusing on that Covid antibody test alone as indicating a pass-or-fail immunity, we could be overlooking important ways in which humans may be endowed with, or acquire, other kinds of resistance.
I have not seen the police like this before. Sure, I’ve seen police heavy-handedness; I’ve actually encountered it, on demonstrations many years ago. I’ve seen police harassing homeless people for no good reason. I’ve seen the over-policing of certain streets and certain communities and seen how dispiriting people find it. But this arrogant, sneering barking of orders at sunbathers and mums and homeless people resting under trees on a warm day is completely new. It is lockdown fanaticism in action. This rude and heartless officiousness is the logical conclusion of the culture of hysteria our political and media elites have whipped up over Covid-19.
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