Introducing social distancing at airports is “physically impossible”, the boss of Heathrow has warned.
“Social distancing does not work in any form of public transport, let alone aviation,” John Holland-Kaye said.
But the chief executive of Europe’s busiest airport said airports will have to introduce health-screening and passengers will have to wear masks.
However, the GMB union said the airport must enforce social-distancing to protect staff and passengers.
The union said workers fear contracting the coronavirus from passengers returning from countries where Covid-19 is prevalent. In the past two weeks three GMB members working at Heathrow have lost their lives to the coronavirus.
In an interview with the Press Association news agency, Mr Holland-Kaye said: “It’s just physically impossible to socially distance with any volume of passengers in an airport.”
He said a “better solution” is needed to make air travel safe. “The constraint is not about how many people you can fit on a plane, it will be how many people you can get through an airport safely.”
In a separate interview, with the BBC, Mr Holland-Kaye said that until a coronavirus vaccine could be developed, airports would have to introduce measures to minimise infection once lockdowns started to ease.
“This might include some kind of health screening as you come into the terminal so that if you have a high temperature, you may not be allowed to fly,” he said.
“As you go through the airport, you will probably be wearing a face mask, as people from Asia have been doing ever since Sars (virus) came out.”
Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary backed the call for temperature checks. “Anybody with a temperature of over 38 degrees will be refused entry,” he told the BBC.
Meanwhile, EasyJet has suggested it could leave the middle seats on its planes empty when flights resume.
The GMB has called for urgent action to protect Heathrow airport workers after an over-crowding incident this week. On Tuesday, two flights arrived at the same time from the same country, the union reported.
It said Heathrow allocated just one conveyor belt for up to 500 passengers waiting to collect their bags.
“No social-distancing was enforced in what was a very crowded area,” said Trevlyn McLeod, GMB London region organiser. “These are not safe conditions for passengers and they are not safe working conditions for our members.
“Enforcing social-distancing is essential if our members and airport passengers are to feel that their lives are more important than money,” he said.
One of London’s most famous music venues has been badly damaged in an overnight blaze.
The dome on the roof of Koko in Camden has been destroyed by fire, according to the London Fire Brigade.
Sixty firefighters helped fight the flames after the blaze broke out just before 21:00 GMT on Monday and no injuries have been reported.
The venue which began life as the Camden Theatre in 1900 has hosted stars including Madonna, Coldplay and Prince.
Station commander Jon Lewis said the fire was brought under control at about 02:30 on Tuesday, adding: “Firefighters’ quick action and hard work in the early stages meant the fire was contained to the roof and saved the rest of the building.”
Koko owner Olly Bengough said he was “deeply saddened” by the blaze, adding: “We’ll be doing our best to get the redevelopment of this iconic building back on track.”
Crews will remain at the scene throughout the day and have warned people to stay away from the area.
Koko which was closed for refurbishment, was also previously known as the Camden Palace and Camden Hippodrome and has been one of the capital’s most iconic live music venues for decades.
The Rolling Stones, The Clash and Ed Sheeran are among other star names to have performed at the venue, which is close to Mornington Crescent underground station.
It was reportedly the last venue where AC/DC’s Bon Scott was seen drinking before his death from alcohol poisoning in 1980.
In the early 80s it served as a major venue for the punk and New Romantic scene, with singer Steve Strange of the band Visage holding club nights.
Members of the public have been sharing their Koko memories on Twitter.
Marc Rustic was “absolutely gutted” having seen his first grime gig at Koko.
“MoStack was performing and it was honestly the best night of my life,” he added.
Veteran DJ Tony Blackburn who held his legendary soul nights Shakatak also tweeted about the fire.
Koko and the nearby Roundhouse effectively “bookended” Camden’s music scene, according to music writer Carl Allen.
In between the two are 60 music venues including the Dingwalls and Electric Ballroom, as well as restaurants and pubs.
On Twitter the Roundhouse said it was “really sad” to hear the news about our Camden neighbours.
Camden Council leader Georgia Gould said: “Heartbreaking watching the Camden Palace/Koko up in flames this evening, a building that holds so many memories and means so much to us in Camden.”
The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan thanked the fire brigade for its quick response.
The venue was set to reopen in the spring after a “major state-of-the-art” refurbishment, after the purchase of two adjacent buildings.
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Norwich midfielder Kenny McLean is a doubt to face Crystal Palace because of a foot problem.
Josip Drmic is not expected to return until the weekend, while Ben Godfrey and Timm Klose are long-term absentees.
Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson is again expected to be without a host of first-team players.
Christian Benteke, Gary Cahill, Scott Dann, Jeffrey Schlupp, Andros Townsend, Joel Ward and Patrick van Aanholt are all on the sidelines.
Hodgson has revealed that Martin Kelly played with a muscle strain against Southampton, while Cheikhou Kouyate has said he has a groin issue.
MOTD COMMENTATOR’S NOTES
@chriswisey: There has been a VAR hurricane swirling around the Premier League in recent days, and both Norwich and Crystal Palace found themselves in the eye of the storm.
Norwich really do need to start making marginal gains on those above them. They were the only team in the bottom three not to win during the festive period.
Unsurprisingly, history doesn’t favour teams bottom of the table at the start of the new year. But the Canaries are determined to prove that their attractive, attacking approach is the method to escape the minefield.
VIEW FROM THE DUGOUT
Norwich City head coach Daniel Farke: “The quicker we can get 25 points, the easier we make the period where the mind games begin.
“That is why we go game to game. Don’t be too down or too high with each result.
“We know our situation and what we are trying to achieve. We are the only self-funded club on this level, and compared to the other teams we were not able to spend any money.”
There’s a real spirit about Crystal Palace. Roy Hodgson’s side have come from behind to pick up points against Brighton and West Ham recently.
Norwich are not playing badly and are creating lots of chances. They’re also due a win and went close to beating Tottenham on Saturday.
- Norwich have won only two of the past 18 league meetings.
- Palace have won three of their last four away league games against Norwich, as many as they managed in their previous 15 visits to Carrow Road.
- Norwich have their worst record after 20 matches of a top-flight campaign (W3, D4, L13).
- They have won just one of their last 15 league games and are winless in seven.
- Daniel Farke’s side have conceded at least twice in nine successive top-flight home games, the second longest such run in Premier League history behind Wolves’ 11 in 2012.
- They were the only Premier League side without a win in December, despite leading in five of their seven matches. The Canaries dropped 12 points from winning positions, the most by a team in a single month in Premier League history.
- The side bottom of the Premier League going into a new year has been relegated in 23 of the previous 27 seasons, though three of the four to avoid relegation have done so in the past six seasons.
- Crystal Palace have won just one of their last six Premier League away games, after winning five of the previous seven.
- Roy Hodgson’s side are unbeaten in their 10 matches against the teams who start 2020 in the bottom nine (W6, D4).
- They have scored just four first-half goals this season, with a league-high 78% of their goals coming after the break. The fastest league goal by the Eagles this season was a Luka Milivojevic penalty in the 21st minute against Norwich on 28 September.
- Fourteen of the Eagles’ 20 league games this season were goalless at half-time, which is six more than any other side.
A 60-year-old man has been stabbed to death in a residential street in south London.
Police and ambulance crews were called to reports of a stabbing in Woodcroft Road, Thornton Heath, Croydon, at 21:30 GMT on Monday.
The victim was found outside a property with knife injuries and was pronounced dead at 21:49, the Met Police said.
A 50-year-old man was arrested at the scene on suspicion of murder and taken into custody.
The suspect became unwell while in custody and was transferred to hospital where he is in a stable condition, police said.
Det Ch Insp Simon Harding said: “The victim was found injured in a residential street. While it is not a heavy footfall location, there may have been members of the public travelling through Woodcroft Road who saw something.
“I urge those people to come forward and speak to my officers without delay.
“No matter how insignificant you think it may be please do make the call.
“We are building the sequence of events leading up to and immediately following this attack which has led to a man’s death, your call could complete the picture.”
Inquiries into the circumstances continue.
Singer Ellie Goulding came to the aid of a driver whose car was being pushed sideways along a road by a lorry.
Footage shows a Volkswagen GTi being pushed down Western Avenue, A40, by a Royal Mail delivery lorry near the Greenford roundabout in west London.
Goulding posted on Instagram to criticise other drivers who got out to film the crash and “shout abuse” at the lorry driver.
The Royal Mail says it is investigating the crash.
The truck driver appears astonished to see the car in front of his vehicle, claiming he did not see it, or know it was there.
He can be heard yelling: “I didn’t see him, I honestly didn’t see him.”
Goulding told her 14.4 million Instagram followers: “On a side note, I can’t believe the first instinct of the other drivers who got out was to instantly start filming on their phones and shout abuse at the poor shocked driver, not even checking the other driver was okay.
“What on earth.”
Goulding told BBC Radio 1 she intervened because “no-one was stopping”.
She said: “I think people were desperate to get to work. All these people were just driving on.
“We just drove up right next to it [the lorry] to be like ‘Mate, you’ve got a car on you!'”
The driver who was dragged along the road later messaged the singer “to just say he was OK,” she added.
The Met Police said there were no reported injuries and no arrests have been made.
A Royal Mail spokesman added: “We are very concerned about this incident. We sincerely hope that no one was hurt. We are investigating as a matter of urgency.”
Road safety campaigner Rebecca Ashton told the Victoria Derbyshire programme she hoped it was not a stunt.
She said: “He must have been able to hear the scraping of the tyres – possibly a feeling of pushing a car.”
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With the general election only days away, every party has been making big commitments on NHS spending.
Among other things, the parties have offered more funding, extra GPs, more nurse training and upgraded facilities.
But critics say that in addition to more spending, politicians should focus on better long-term planning for the NHS to ensure its survival.
Commuters are facing disruption as workers on South Western Railway (SWR) begin a 27-day strike.
It comes after talks between the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union and SWR over a long-running dispute over guards on trains broke down.
The operator called the action “unnecessary” and said “more than half” of weekday trains would run, but warned of queues at stations.
The union said the strike is “in defence of passenger safety”.
The RMT said SWR had “point-blank refused” to show any serious movement at talks held at the conciliation service Acas.
The union has been demanding that guards should oversee the operation of doors and perform other safety functions in dispatching trains.
It said the company’s proposals would leave guards as “glorified porters” without any safety responsibilities.
As the strike got under way earlier, disruption was compounded when a man seen carrying an air rifle led to a train being evacuated.
Elsewhere, Sophia Griffiths, who travels from Earlsfield station into central London, said: “Usually when they strike the station is not too bad but today was just nuts.
“I saw the queue outside and thought ‘no way’ – I’ve never seen it that long so I took the bus to Tooting and got the Tube from there.”
She said she was supportive of the striking workers and said it was “crazy they (SWR) would let it get to this”.
The communications officer at Nuffield Council on Bioethics said she was considering cycling to work during the prolonged action and working from home more.
Charlotte Burnell said it took almost an hour to travel from Claygate, Surrey, to Waterloo – a journey which usually takes 34 minutes.
“You can manage a couple of days of strike action but the thought of it going on for 27 days is pretty overwhelming,” she said.
“It’s physically uncomfortable. I was forced to stand awkwardly and my back was killing me.”
Steve Nagioff described passengers “rammed” into a carriage on his commute from Whitton in south west London.
“A woman next to me said that she couldn’t breathe. The train stopped at Richmond and I fell out – luckily other passengers got off the train so I got back on it again.
“It’s just not right – I pay full ticket prices. If the service is going to be like this then it should be free,” he added.
Becky Bartlett, from Wokingham in Berkshire, said she was an hour late for work in London after her regular train was cancelled.
“I have various theatre and gig plans for the month, plus Christmas parties and events, which I have either had to cancel, some at loss of the ticket price, or I’m going to have to pay for a £30+ taxi from Reading just to get home.
“This whole experience is going to be horrific. I’m one day in and I’ve already had enough.”
RMT assistant general secretary Steve Hedley said members were “absolutely furious” with SWR following the Acas talks.
“Of course our members don’t want to lose a month’s money running up to Christmas but they’re prepared to do that to show that safety and accessibility for disabled people is non-negotiable.”
Regional organiser Mick Tosh said the union would consider financial support for any members who suffered particular hardship because of the strike.
SWR said it had offered “a guard on every train, and a safety critical role for that guard”.
Managing director Andy Mellors said the action was “unnecessary” and the issue needed to be settled before a new fleet of modern suburban trains was introduced next year.
“Our assessment is that by having drivers opening and closing doors, that will actually optimise the performance of the network by getting more trains to Waterloo on time.
“We’ve been very clear that we’re committed to keeping a guard on our trains and those guards will have safety critical competencies. Our proposals will make guards more customer facing and improve safety, security and accessibility.”
By Paul Clifton, BBC South transport correspondent
At Chandler’s Ford station this morning, the ticket office door was locked. The platform was empty and all the signs were blank.
It’s going to stay that way for a month. The next train isn’t due until 2 January 2020.
It’s the same story at Swaythling, Millbrook, Dean, Dunbridge and a few other small stations popular with children heading to school as well as daily commuters.
The two sides are trading insults and blaming each other. They haven’t budged in more than two years of strikes.
I don’t think many passengers have any goodwill left at all for either the RMT or South Western Railway – because this month-long strike is going to cause real hardship for hundreds of thousands of people each day.
SWR released a revised timetable and said it would provide longer trains to increase capacity where possible.
The operator runs services between London Waterloo and Portsmouth, Southampton, Bournemouth and Weymouth as well as Reading, Exeter and Bristol. It also operates suburban commuter lines in south-west London, Surrey, Berkshire, and north-east Hampshire.
Strike days are as follows:
- From 00:01 GMT on Monday 2 December until 23:59 on Wednesday 11 December
- From 00:01 on Friday 13 December until 23:59 on Tuesday 24 December
- From 00:01 on Friday 27 December 2019 until 23:59 on 1 January
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A second cinema chain has pulled the gang-themed film Blue Story after seven police officers were injured during a brawl at an entertainment complex.
It comes after youths, some armed with machetes, sparked a police operation at the Star City multiplex in Birmingham.
Vue has banned the film from its 91 UK and Ireland venues and Showcase has also dropped the movie.
The move has prompted a backlash on social media with some labelling the ban as “racist”.
Five teenagers including a girl, 13, were arrested in connection with the disturbance, which involved up to 100 young people in a public area of the multiplex, on Saturday night.
In a statement, Vue said the film opened in 60 of its sites across the UK and Ireland on Friday.
“But during the first 24 hours of the film over 25 significant incidents were reported and escalated to senior management in 16 separate cinemas,” it said.
“This is the biggest number we have ever seen for any film in a such a short time frame.”
A spokeswoman for Vue confirmed police had been called to some of the incidents, but could not confirm exactly how many times.
The Odeon chain says it is not withdrawing the film, but “a number of security measures are in place” for Blue Story screenings, though it refused to elaborate on what they are.
In Birmingham, a note on the door of the Odeon cinema at the Broadway Plaza said staff would be carrying out bag searches throughout the day.
Blue Story’s writer and director, Andrew Onwubolu, said Saturday’s disturbance in Birmingham was “truly unfortunate”.
In an Instagram post on Sunday, the rapper-turned-filmmaker wrote: “Sending love to all those involved in yesterday’s violence at Star City in Birmingham.
“It’s truly unfortunate that a small group of people can ruin things for everybody.
“Blue Story is a film about love not violence.
“I hope that the blame is placed with the individuals and not an indictment of the film itself.
“I pray that we can all learn to live with love and treat each other with tolerance and respect.”
An online petition has been launched calling for the film to be reinstated at Vue cinemas. It attracted more than 6,700 signatures in 18 hours.
The Vue chain has stressed the decision to pull the film was prompted only because of the risk of further violence.
“This decision is not, as some have alleged, based on biased assumptions or concern about the content of the film itself,” it said.
On Saturday, West Midlands Police officers drew Tasers and used a dispersal order to clear the Star City venue.
Footage from inside the multiplex appeared to show fights and people on the floor screaming.
The five teenagers – two girls aged 13 and 14 and three 14-year-old boys – have all now been bailed alongside a 19-year-old man.
Four were held on suspicion of assaulting police and one of the boys was detained on suspicion of obstructing police.
Another of the boys was arrested on suspicion of violent disorder after an image circulated on social media showing a number of youths, with one carrying a machete.
West Midlands police and crime commissioner David Jamieson said the unrest was “very worrying and very disturbing”.
“Some of these children were so young,” he said. “I think parents have a role if they see those sorts of [weapons] in the home, to discipline their own children.”
The teenagers’ bail conditions ban them from leaving home at night, as well as from Star City and any cinema in the UK, police said.
Announcing it was following Vue in cancelling all screenings, Showcase said: “Due to the recent incidents tied to screenings of the film Blue Story, after careful consideration with the film’s distributor, Showcase Cinemas has immediately removed the film from all of our participating cinemas.
“Any guests that have purchased tickets in advance can receive a full refund at the cinema box office. We remain in discussions with the distributor with regards to the possibility of reintroducing the film in due course.
“We apologise for any inconvenience but guest safety remains our top priority.”
Blue Story, which was developed from a YouTube mini-series, follows the life of Timmy who lives in Lewisham but goes to school in Peckham – two parts of south-east London that have a notorious rivalry.
“That part of it was based on my life – it made my school experience very difficult,” director Onwubolu told Radio 1 Newsbeat.
He said he wanted the audience to see past crime statistics and headlines about knife crime, to understand how a “good kid” can lose their way.
“They didn’t come from child abuse or neglectful mothers. What kids go through in the school playground is so intense, it all starts there.”
BBC Films, which developed and co-financed the film, said it was an “outstanding, critically acclaimed debut feature which powerfully depicts the futility of gang violence”.
“It’s an important film from one of the UK’s most exciting new filmmakers which we’re proud to be part of,” it added.
Distributor Paramount Pictures said it was “saddened” by events at Star City but said the movie had had an “incredibly positive reaction and fantastic reviews”.
However, Errol Lawson, a reformed gangster from Birmingham, said the film was “stirring up” violence.
“The spirit behind it is stirring up this undercurrent, or supporting or fuelling this undercurrent, this narrative of violence, youth violence and disregard for life,” he said.
West Midlands Police has not asked for or recommended the film be pulled following Saturday’s violence.
Ch Supt Steve Graham said: “I understand there is a lot of speculation on social media and people are citing that film.
“At this stage we are not jumping to any conclusions. That will form part of our investigations as it carries on.”
Police were called to the complex, in Nechells, at about 17:30 GMT and cleared the area by 21:00. The officers hurt during the disorder suffered minor facial injuries.
Supt Ian Green said: “This was a major outbreak of trouble which left families who were just trying to enjoy a night out at the cinema understandably frightened.
“We worked quickly to move the crowds on, but were met with a very hostile response and officers had to draw Tasers to restore order.
“It’s clear that some of those who went to Star City were intent on causing trouble.”
In Sheffield on Sunday evening, there was an increased police presence around Centertainment on Broughton Lane ahead of the showing of the film after disorder was reported outside the Cineworld within the complex on Saturday.
“Officers carried out patrols of the area to ensure everyone’s safety,” police said in a statement, adding that they would “be liaising with Cineworld over the coming week to discuss further screenings of this film”.
Cineworld has confirmed that it will not be pulling the film.
England head coach Eddie Jones fears some Saracens players could skip the Six Nations campaign to help their club avoid relegation after a 35-point deduction for salary cap breaches.
The deduction leaves the Premiership champions bottom of the table. They have also been fined £5.36m.
Sarries supplied six of the team who started for England in the 32-12 defeat by South Africa in the World Cup final.
“It could have a significant impact,” Jones told BBC Sport.
“It’s something we need to weigh up and look at very carefully.”
Saracens have decided not to appeal against the punishments imposed upon them for infringements over the past three seasons so go from third place to bottom of the Premiership on -22 points, 26 behind second-bottom Leicester.
Jones selected six of their players for the final in Yokohama, led by captain Owen Farrell. The others were Mako and Billy Vunipola, hooker Jamie George, second row Maro Itoje and full-back Elliott Daly, who is yet to play for the club after his summer move from Wasps.
“Obviously there may be some dislocation between Saracens players and the rest of the clubs,” said Jones, who was Saracens’ director of rugby in 2008-09. “That’s a reality.
“So we may have to work to mend those relationships a bit harder, and there might be some Saracens players who feel like they’ve got to play for their club instead of their country, to make sure they don’t go down. So we’ll weigh all those up as they come about.”
Former Sarries and England scrum-half Kyran Bracken believed Jones was correct to be concerned.
“Country comes first traditionally, but the players will feel a sense of loyalty to the club having won so much with them,” the 47-year-old told the BBC News Channel.
“The thought of potentially leaving comrades in the lurch and leaving young guys to it… some will decide to concentrate on Saracens.”
‘I didn’t realise how strong the class structure was’
Ensuring any issues between Saracens players and the rest of the squad do not do any damage is the latest challenge Jones must face as England coach.
Earlier he told BBC Radio 5 Live that the biggest hurdle he faced when he first took the job in January 2016 was getting to grips with the cultural differences within the group.
“I didn’t realise the how strong the class structure was in England, and how that affects the relationships between the players,” the Australian said.
“When you look at the England team from the outside it looks like a very homogeneous group but in fact it’s very diverse and there probably hasn’t been enough understanding of the diversity of the group.
“We spent a lot of time in our World Cup prep making sure we understood the value of diversity.”
A report this year revealed that 37% of male British rugby union internationals came from fee-paying schools.
Jones, who hails from a working class suburb of Sydney, was asked whether the difference came down to the stereotypical rugby divide of “posh public schoolboys and state school kids”.
“Something like that, yeah,” he said.
“If you’ve got a group of people in here now and you’ve got five Japanese people, five Australians and five South Africans, they’ll tend to congregate together and that’s OK if they’re not playing as a team.
“But if those 15 are playing as a team then you want that to be completely mixed, and they’re the subtle things I was reasonably slow to pick up on.”
The Green Party has stood down its candidate to help Labour try to unseat former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith.
Mr Duncan Smith has been MP for Chingford and Woodford Green since 1997, and has a majority of 2,348.
The Green Party, Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru formed an electoral pact earlier this month. Supporting Labour in Chingford does not form part of that pact, the Greens said.
The Conservatives have been contacted for comment.
In a statement the local Green Party said the decision for John Tyne not to contest the election was made with the “ultimate hope of favouring the campaign of the Labour candidate” Faiza Shaheen.
A Green Party spokesperson it “was a decision taken by the local party”.
However, they added: “If Labour were serious in their concern for the environment they should reconsider their isolationist position on arrangements.”
Ms Shaheen, head of the Centre for Labour and Social Studies, said she was “so grateful” for the decision.
She said: “I will continue to fight hard for climate policy and democratic reform.”
The Liberal Democrats have selected Dr Geoffrey Seeff as their prospective parliamentary candidate for the constituency.
Mr Duncan Smith has been MP for the area since 1992, representing Chingford until 1997 when the boundaries were re-drawn to include Woodford Green.
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