Covid-19 public inquiry opens amid anger from bereaved over testimony

Chair Lady Hallett tells families upset their evidence will not be heard directly that they will be ‘at the heart’ of hearing

The bereaved will be “at the heart” of the Covid-19 public inquiry, its chair, Lady Hallett, has pledged at the first public hearing in the investigation into the UK’s handling of the pandemic, which the inquiry’s counsel described as an “unprecedented and vastly difficult undertaking”.

Opening the first module to a sprawling inquiry expected to run for several years, Hallett addressed anger from some of the bereaved that their testimonies may not be heard as direct evidence, by saying: “We shall ensure that those most affected, particularly the bereaved, will be properly consulted.”

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from Coronavirus | The Guardian
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Victoria closes $580m Covid quarantine facility that housed 2,168 guests

North Melbourne facility was built and paid for by commonwealth after Covid leaked out of hotel quarantine program

Victoria’s purpose-built Mickleham quarantine facility will close next week, having cost more than $500m to build and housed 2,168 guests.

The facility, in Melbourne’s outer north, was operated by the Victorian government but built and paid for by the commonwealth, after Covid-19 leaked out of Victoria’s hotel quarantine program.

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from Coronavirus | The Guardian
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Covid has left a third of young people feeling life is out of control – study

Researchers also found more than 60% of 16-25-year-olds are scared about their generation’s future

More than a third of young people feel their life is spiralling out of control, according to findings released to the Guardian ahead of a nationwide campaign that highlights Covid’s impact on the younger generation.

The Prince’s Trust Class of Covid research also found that more than 60% of 16-25-year-olds said they were scared about their generation’s future, having lived through a pandemic only to face a cost-of-living crisis.One in three think their job prospects will never recover from the pandemic.

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from Coronavirus | The Guardian
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‘We gave up so much’: how Covid changed young people’s lives

Young people across the UK reflect on how the pandemic affected them – and continues to shape their futures

In the next phase of the Guardian’s Covid Generation series, young people across the UK reflect on how the Covid pandemic changed their lives and continues to have an effect on their futures.

Marcel Charowski is 12 and lives in London with his parents and sister. He is in his first year of secondary school

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from Coronavirus | The Guardian
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Latest Covid surge a ‘heavy straw on camel’s back’ for every hospital in UK

Health leaders urge vaccination and return to mask-wearing as hospitalisations rise by 37 per cent in a week

Every hospital in the UK is under significant pressure and a new Covid surge is “a very heavy straw on the camel’s back”, health leaders have warned.

At least eight hospitals declared a critical incident, cancelled operations or asked people not to come to A&E unless they were seriously ill last week. One of Britain’s most senior emergency doctor said there were links between incidents like these and the rapid rise in hospitalisations for Covid, up nearly 37% in a week to 7,024. While the Office for National Statistics said it was too early to say if an autumn Covid wave had begun, health leaders said ministers need to urgently address staffing shortages.

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from Coronavirus | The Guardian
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‘It’s just not worth it’: why employers still can’t get staff back to the office

Employees have grown to love the flexibility of remote working, and firms keen to keep their staff can do little about it, surveys find

‘You haven’t been in the office this week. Why?” The worker in question hadn’t expected such an email from his boss. Based in Asia but working for a large US media organisation, he had been on an overseas work trip, and his failure to swipe his pass at the building’s turnstiles while he was away had triggered an alert.

This is an extreme example of business leaders straining to reverse pandemic home working habits, but it reflects an increasingly tense battle within public and private organisations.

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from Coronavirus | The Guardian
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Ending mandatory isolation does not mean Covid is over. But we need to move beyond short-term fixes | Catherine Bennett

The virus is here to stay and we have to find sustainable ways of managing it for the long haul

Changes in Covid-19 policy settings always invoke mixed reactions, and the national cabinet decision to stop isolation requirements for most people is one of the more substantial announcements since the opening of international borders, and the end to supervised quarantine.

Some of us have felt protected by rules, others frustrated by them, while the majority probably sit somewhere in the middle – being reassured that they were there when needed, and relieved when we can ease them safely.

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from Coronavirus | The Guardian
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Australia to end mandatory Covid isolation period and disaster payments for workers

Workers in health, disability and aged care settings will be exempt when both measures are scrapped on 14 October, Anthony Albanese announced

The mandatory Covid isolation requirement will be scrapped following the latest meeting of national cabinet, with exemptions for those working in high risk settings such as health or aged care.

Prime minister Anthony Albanese announced on Friday that disaster payments for workers diagnosed with Covid would also end, with the same exemptions for high risk workplaces.

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from Coronavirus | The Guardian
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Australia news live: Dan Tehan says anti-corruption body will be a ‘knackery’; national cabinet to review Covid isolation

Shadow minister for immigration and citizenship makes comment on social media, linking to newspaper column that compared proposed Nacc to Salem witch trials. Follow the day’s news live

‘Action will be taken’: Husic on Antarctic sexual harassment allegations

Ed Husic, the minister for industry and science, was asked by ABC Radio whether the government will be investigating allegations of bullying, homophobia and sexual harassment for Australians sent to work in Antarctica detailed in a report (see previous post).

It absolutely is concerning … it’s shocking and certainly action will be taken.

Australians sent to work in Antarctica have complained about a widespread and predatory culture of sexual harassment with unwelcome requests for sex, taunting, displays of offensive pornography and homophobia.

Sexual harassment is unacceptable in any workplace anywhere. I was actually gobsmacked to read some of the reports here talking about, you know, pornographic images upon walls. Like, you know … I really did think we had eradicated this sort of thing from Australian workplaces decades ago. It’s not acceptable.

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from Coronavirus | The Guardian
via COVID-19 Alerts

NHS 111 failures led to early Covid deaths, investigation finds

Inquiry says phone service misjudged levels of illness and failed to advise some to seek urgent help

Multiple failures by the NHS 111 telephone advice service early in the pandemic left Covid patients struggling to get care and led directly to some people dying, an investigation has found.

The Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB) looked into the help that NHS 111 gave people with Covid in the weeks before and after the UK entered its first lockdown on 23 March 2020.

The CRS algorithm did not allow for the assessment of any life-threatening illness a caller had – such as obesity, cancer or lung disease – to establish whether they should undergo a clinical assessment.

When many callers reached the core 111 service, there was no way to divert them as intended to the CRS, which was operationally independent of 111.

Although patients who had Covid-19 symptoms as well as underlying health conditions, such as diabetes, were meant to be assessed when they spoke to the core 111 service, some were not.

The number of extra calls to 111 in March 2020 meant that only half were answered.

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from Coronavirus | The Guardian
via COVID-19 Alerts

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