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Bin Collections Cancelled Across the UK As Government Plans For Public Staff Shortages Amidst Covid Regulations

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Staff shortages across the public sector due to Covid have led to bin collections being cancelled
across the country as the government prepares for a quarter of the workforce to be absent.

Councils in Manchester, Essex, Somerset, and Buckinghamshire have reduced or suspended waste
collection as a result of staff being sick with Covid-19 or being stuck in isolation.

Chelmsford City Council reported that 23 members of staff are currently absent, and that three days’
worth of food waste collections have been cancelled, while 1,000 recycling bins in North Somerset
were not collected.

It comes after the government asked public-sector leaders to prepare for a worst-case scenario in
which up to a quarter of employees are absent as the coronavirus spreads across the country.
Ed Argar, Minister for Health, said asking leaders to make contingency plans was “the responsible
and sensible thing”.

He argued, however, that clinical and scientific advice had advised against reducing self-isolation
from seven to five days to combat absences, as critics had demanded.

Staff absence is also being exacerbated by shortages of lateral flow devices (LFDs) and PCR tests,
which have been reported across the country in the last week. While recent rule changes allow
people to leave self-isolation on days six and seven if they take a test and get a negative result, they
must stay in isolation until day ten if they are unable to take a test.

The government is expected to announce plans this week to prioritise all public sector key workers
for LFDs. It comes after The Telegraph revealed last Friday that ministers were considering allowing
nurses, lorry drivers, and government officials to bypass the testing queue.

Millions of workers in the NHS, education and childcare, national and local government, prisons,
transportation, national security, and funeral service sectors, as well as utilities and food distribution
workers, will have preferential access to the tests under the approved blueprint.

It remains to be seen whether individuals will be required to provide proof of their profession or if
access will be granted based on honesty.

According to the Cabinet Office, omicron-related disruption has been contained in “most parts of the
public sector” so far. However, it was stated that leaders had been asked to test plans against 10%, 20%, and 25% workforce absence rates.

Asked on whether he thought such absence levels were likely to occur, Mr Argar told Times Radio: “I
think we model a range of scenarios up to things we think are highly unlikely, but you still do it
because that’s what a responsible Government does in preparing for all eventualities.”

It comes as the public continues to struggle to obtain rapid tests, exacerbating staff absences
because they are unable to end isolation early unless two negative tests are obtained.

According to figures obtained by The Sunday Times, nearly one-tenth of NHS employees were absent on New Year’s Eve.

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EuroMillions: UK ticket holder claims £184m jackpot

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One lucky ticket-holder’s life has changed forever after winning the £184million EuroMillions jackpot. It means they have become the biggest ever National Lottery winner, operator Camelot has said.

Whoever they are, they have knocked the anonymous winner of £170million in October 2019 off the top spot. They have also become the National Lottery’s 14th winner of more than £100million.

The winner, who is yet to be named, is also the second person in the UK to win the EuroMillions jackpot this year, after someone bagged £109million in February.

The winning numbers were 3, 25, 27, 28 and 29 – plus the Lucky Star numbers 4 and 9. One ticket matched all seven numbers to win £184,262,899.10.

Senior winners’ adviser for the National Lottery, Andy Carter said: “What an amazing night for one UK ticket-holder who has scooped the incredible £184million EuroMillions jackpot – they have become the UK’s biggest ever National Lottery winner.”

The claim will now go through a validation process to ensure terms and conditions are met and once the ticket has been validated the winner can choose whether or not to remain anonymous.

What would you do with all that money?

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food-and-drink

McDonald’s Mondays: How to get a 99p Quarter Pounder Today

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Fans of McDonald’s can enjoy some breakfast and lunch meals for just 99p today as the fast food chain slashes its prices for one day only, marking the return of McDonald’s Mondays.

The fast-food chain’s regular McMuffin will be reduced from £2.29 to just 99p during the breakfast window, which ends at 11am.

Quarter pounders with cheese will also be available for less than £1 on the lunch menu, saving customers £2.20!

The deal is limited to one per person and is only available via the offers section of the McDonald’s app until midnight.

Then just choose how you would like to collect your order via Drive-thru, click and serve, takeaway or in a restaurant.

The cheap deals come as part of McDonald’s weekly Monday offer, which returns today (9 May).

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Entertainment

Dave Chappelle: US Comedian Attacked on Stage in Los Angeles

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US stand-up comedian Dave Chappelle was attacked on stage on Tuesday during a performance at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.

After returning to the stage on Tuesday, the 48-year-old made light of the controversy, suggesting to the audience that the attacker “was a trans man”. Chappelle faced criticism and protests last year when his Netflix special was accused of being transphobic.

According to ABC journalist Stephanie Wash, fellow comic Chris Rock – who was slapped on stage by Will Smith at the Oscars in March – then came on stage with Chappelle. It was said an attacker “lunged” at the comedian as he headlined the event, sending him “flying in the air”.

She said: “It looked like someone was dashing across the stage from the side. He fell backwards on to his back, with his arms and legs up in the air. He was obviously in shock. We were all in shock.

“I thought for a moment OK, is this a prank? Because they had made some Will Smith jokes. Even though Chris Rock was there, Dave was making some jokes, it was fair game, right?”

LAPD confirmed they had taken a man into custody and that he was armed with a replica gun “that can eject a knife blade” when discharged correctly. It is unclear if the man tried to use the weapon.

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