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Professor John Edmunds warned that “we haven’t learned from our mistake” when it comes to bringing in restrictions (Image: Channel 4)


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Professor John Edmunds, a member of the Sage advisory group, has said the impact on the 10pm curfew will be trivial as he warned current measures do not go “anywhere near far enough”.

Speaking to the BBC’s Today programme in a personal capacity, the leading epidemiologist said: “I think it’s welcome that we’ve done something. I think working from home if you can is certainly a good idea.”

But, commenting on plans requiring all pubs and restaurants to close earlier from Thursday, he said that “nobody goes to a restaurant after 10pm anyway”.

“I think that’s fairly trivial […] it’ll have very small impact on the epidemic,” he added. 

“Overall, I don’t think that those measures have gone anywhere near far enough. In fact, I don’t even think the measures in Scotland have gone far enough.”

Meanwhile, The Times suggests that other scientific advisers have also warned that the 10pm curfew will have little effect.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) reportedly did not model the effect of a 10pm curfew, and the behavioural science sub-group was also not consulted on the change.

Key members of the committee are said to have told the government there is no evidence that the curfew would be effective.

Prof Edmunds continued: “If you think about the measures we put in place back in March […] We think of the lockdown as a measure but actually it really was a combination of many, many different measures […] A huge raft of measures, actually single measures, all came in at once. 

“And they reduced the reproduction number from about somewhere in the region about 2.7 to about 0.7. So, each one of those individual measures if you break it up is going to have quite a small effect actually on the overall reproduction number…

“In order to stop the epidemic from going any further we have to put a large range of measures in place, a very large range of measures in place.”

The Sage member was also critical of the speed at which the government brought in new measures, claiming  future restrictions will likely “be too late again” to stop cases rising.

“We’ll have the worst of both worlds. Because then, to slow the epidemic and bring it back down again… will mean putting the brakes on the epidemic for a very long time.

“And I think that is what we had to do in March, because we didn’t react quick enough in March. And so I think that I think we haven’t learned from our mistake back then and we’re unfortunately, about to repeat it.”

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Nagorno-Karabakh: The boy who swapped his piano for a gun

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The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan is over, but some families are still waiting for news of their missing relatives.

Bodies are still being counted and identified, and there is no clear information on what has happened to the missing.

Twenty-two-year-old Soghomon was fighting on the Armenian frontline against Azerbaijan. The last time his family heard from him was 1 October.

He was a soldier, but also an artist and a talented piano player.

His father and sister say they can’t give up hope that he will return.

Video by: Sofia Bettiza, Gabriel Chaim and Aren Melikyan

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Afghan car bomb kills at least 40 soldiers

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An attacker detonated an explosive packed vehicle in front of a security base in the Deh Yak district of the province.

According to a statement from the Afghan Ministry of Defense, the attacker was confronted by security forces as he tried to enter the base. No group has claimed responsibility yet.

The blast targeted a compound of the public protection force, a wing of the Afghan security forces, local officials told Reuters. It damaged civilian residences around the compound, and there could be more casualties from there, they said.

Interior ministry spokesman Tariq Arian confirmed that there had been a car bomb blast but did not provide further information on the target or possible casualties.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, when contacted by Reuters, did not confirm or deny responsibility.

Afghanistan has seen a spate of car bombings over the last few months, despite peace talks being under way between negotiation teams of the insurgent Taliban and the government in the Qatari capital of Doha.

Violence in the country, at war for two decades, remains unacceptably high, foreign governments and institutions say, calling for an immediate ceasefire between the Afghan government and Taliban.
Afghan President orders resumption of offensive operations against the Taliban in blow to Trump's deal

Another bombing on Sunday, in the eastern province of Zabul, targeting a top provincial official, killed at least one person and injured 23, said Gul Islam Syaal, the spokesman for the province’s governor.

Haji Ata Jan Haqbayan, head of the provincial council of Zabul, suffered minor injuries in the attack on his convoy.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack on Haqbayan, an outspoken critic of the Taliban.

The Trump administration’s peace deal with the Taliban was dealt a blow in May as the Afghan government announced it was resuming offensive operations against the insurgent group following a spate of deadly terrorist attacks.

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Incoming GOP congresswoman to take aim at AOC with conservative ‘squad’

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Malliotakis, who frequently attacked Ocasio-Cortez during her campaign against Democratic Rep. Max Rose, took aim again at her New York counterpart when asked about the future of the Republican Party.

“I think one of the reasons why we were so motivated to run is seeing the Democratic women being elected in 2018 that don’t necessarily reflect our values, particularly those who are self-described socialists,” Malliotakis said. “I think there’s just a stark contrast between what we’re offering and what people like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are offering. And that’s something that needs to be debated in Washington.”

House Republicans more than doubled the number of women in their conference in November, bringing the number to at least 28 from 13. Democrats, who added a record number of women to their ranks during the 2018 election, have at least 89.

A number of House races still remain uncalled, including New York Republican Claudia Tenney’s challenge against Rep. Anthony Brindisi; Tenney’s lead has narrowed significantly to just 13 votes as of Friday.

Malliotakis, who will be the only Republican to represent New York City in Congress, credited House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Rep. Liz Cheney for their efforts in recruiting “qualified women who have something to share with the American people” for the gains.

“What we stand for are freedom, liberty. We love this nation. We want to see it prevail. We want to see it remain the land of opportunity, what has, in essence, attracted millions of immigrants from around the world, to pursue that American dream,” Malliontakis said. “Somebody like me, daughter of a Cuban refuge, I want to be there to be a part of the discussion, debate and provide a counterview.”

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