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Jan.04, 2022: @acenewsservices

#AceDailyNews says here’s today’s Newspaper Headlines: ‘Backlash’ at masks in schools and merge classes to cope with #COVID19 staffing crisis” is how the Guardian sums up the contents of an email sent by the Department of Education to school headteachers in England on Sunday. The paper reports the new advice urged heads to consider using support staff as fill-in teachers, combining classes into larger groups, or using hybrid learning -a mix of online and face-to-face teaching – to keep schools open.

The Daily Telegraph 3 January
The Daily Telegraph’s lead says government plans to require secondary school pupils in England to wear face masks in classrooms were met with a “backlash” after a drop in the country’s daily Covid cases. It says top Conservative MPs, one of the government’s scientific advisors, charities and parent groups have warned of the long-term impact of masks on childrens’ mental health. Ex Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith tells the paper that current data shows we must “hold our nerve” and imposing masks in classrooms is “premature”.

#NHS staffing ‘crisis’ with one in 10 staff absent from work on New Year’s Eve amid surging #Omicron cases, the Daily Mirror warns the health service is battling a “staffing meltdown”. The paper says it is part of an emergency facing the public sector, which has been warned to prepare for 25% of the workforce being off with Covid or self-isolating.

BBC News: Staff:

Meanwhile the i’s front page reports that Prime Minister Boris Johnson will “put off” introducing tougher rules in England amid “uncertainty” over current Covid data. A review is due this week, but the paper says changes are “unlikely” despite the high number of infections. Omicron, the i adds, has sparked disruption to key services such as bin collections and transport – while NHS staff shortages are now so “acute” that non-urgent care may have to be cancelled.

But the Times says ministers are “confident” there is nothing in the data to justify the introduction of further Covid curbs in England, quoting comments by Steve Barclay and Edward Argar on Sunday. Ahead of this week’s government review of England’s Plan B measures and travel testing requirements, the paper reveals the Plan B curbs are “almost certain” to remain, but the rule requiring people to take a pre-departure Covid test before arriving in England is “likely” to be dropped.

In a similar vein, the Daily Express reports the PM is “holding his nerve” and will not bring in further Covid curbs in England. But amid an “expected NHS staffing crisis”, the paper adds that Mr Johnson has ordered a “major crisis plan” that will see ministers “work around the clock to test preparations for a worst-case scenario”.

The Daily Mail leads on a different story – the “growing pressure” on Mr Johnson over “soaring” energy bills. The paper says backbenchers want the prime minister to scrap green taxes that account for a quarter of electricity bills – and cost families as much as £200 a year.

The Daily Star’s front page warns Britain is set for an “Arctic shock” this week as temperatures are due to plummet from “record highs” at New Year to -10C.

Both the Guardian and the Times highlight the government’s guidance to head teachers in England that they should consider merging classes to cope with a Covid staffing crisis. 

In an email from the Department for Education, heads were also told they could resort to hybrid learning – with some classes taught remotely and some face-to-face. 

The Daily Express says secondary schools have also been told to ramp up testing, with all pupils to take a lateral flow test in school before rejoining lessons after the Christmas break, as well as to carry on getting tested twice a week.

According to the Daily Telegraph, the government faces a backlash against its decision to require secondary school children to wear face masks. Former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said the decision was premature, given that the number of Covid cases fell on Sunday and the growth in hospital admissions has slowed. Former Conservative minister David Jones said masks could have a counterproductive effect on children’s education.

A staffing crisis in the NHS, described as a potential “meltdown” leads the Daily Mirror. The paper says one in 10 NHS workers is either sick or self-isolating.

A consultant in north-west England has told the I newspaper the health service is “on the brink” of returning to providing urgent care only, as staff absences and hospital admissions continue to rise. 

Headlining with “Boris holding his nerve as NHS feels strain”, the Daily Express says the prime minister is determined not to introduce more Covid restrictions in England, as officials believe Omicron data indicates they are not yet necessary. But he has asked ministers to test preparedness for the worst case scenario, which could involve the absence of 25% of the 5.6 million public sector workforce.

The Sun’s front page highlights the case of an NHS nurse in Lincolnshire who spent 45 days in intensive care and was close to death after contracting Covid-19, before she was saved by Viagra. Monica Almeida, 37, was given the drug because she’d signed a document saying she was happy to be treated with experimental medicines. She says Viagra expanded her blood vessels and her lungs began to respond to treatment.

The Times has spoken to a veteran of the Grenadier Guards who is calling on Prince Andrew to step down from his role as colonel of the regiment. The Duke of York, who denies any wrongdoing, is facing calls to give up his military titles after the conviction of Ghislaine Maxwell for child sex trafficking. Julian Perreira, a former lance sergeant who served in Afghanistan, said the duke’s continued involvement would “stain” the regiment’s history.

And finally, a report in the Telegraph says prostate cancer could be cured with a “game-changing” one-hour operation that uses electric currents to destroy the most difficult to reach tumours. More than 50,000 cases of the disease are detected every year. The treatments offered normally involve surgery to remove the prostate, and radiotherapy – both of which cause unpleasant side effects. The paper says the new therapy, offered on the NHS for the first time, is carried out much more quickly and less invasively.

#AceNewsDesk report ….Published: Jan.04: 2022:

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