Why Houdini Boris will need escape skills for the perils ahead

PLATELL’S PEOPLE: Why Houdini Boris will need escape skills for the perils ahead

Good news at last. Boris Johnson will not face a criminal inquiry over his friendship with pole-dancing IT entrepreneur Jennifer Arcuri.

The Prime Minister had accompanied her on overseas business trips while Mayor of London, visited her flat for ‘technology lessons’ — and authorised thousands of pounds for her ‘fact-finding’ work.

Many believed Boris was toast. Another affair they thought — though she’s refused to confirm it — but this was different. It involved public money, the alleged misappropriation of taxpayers’ funds.

Now the Independent Office for Police Conduct has declared there’s nothing to investigate.

True, he still faces an ethics inquiry by the Greater London Authority over his relationship with Arcuri. And that’s something that would finish off many a politician — imagine Sunny Jim Callaghan, for instance, facing questions about ‘intimacy’ with a pole-dancing tech expert. But to Boris it’s nothing, now he’s seen off the criminal inquiry. The Houdini of British politics has survived. Again. He really is extraordinary.

Pictured: Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson takes part in the ‘Clap For Our Carers’ initiative in support of the National Health Service (NHS) in Downing Street in London, May 21

That’s not to say life is as rosy as Boris would like it. Yes, he’s got his dream job. But he has lost some of his verve. Hardly surprising since he was in intensive care so recently. He’s not yet back to the man who toured the country with vim and bonhomie before bulldozing his way to victory in the election just months ago.

He’s got a new child to keep him awake all night. He faces a robotic inquisitor at Prime Minister’s Questions in Keir Starmer, and a Labour Party with more zip in its step.

On top of this, we are looking at the worst recession for 300 years and his party’s getting tetchy about his handling of the lockdown. A poll in this newspaper reveals Chancellor Rishi Sunak is the most popular Tory, followed by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab. Boris is third.

Sunak and Raab represent the true hawkish spirit of the Conservative Party, and want to get the economy running again. But Boris sometimes seems indecisive, flapping around like a wounded dove.

Who would want to be in his position now? Well Boris, for sure — as a child he said he wanted to be king of the world. But our political Houdini will need all his skills to escape the perils ahead.

A survey reveals that more than half of Londoners say they will race to their local pub the minute they are allowed to open again. Which just proves how much people lie in surveys. By my calculation, the pub-rush will involve 95 per cent of us…

Union boss’s lesson in spite  

Having been caught describing pupils as ‘mucky’, germ-spreading and snotty, Mary Bousted, leader of the teachers union blocking kids returning to school, apologised. ‘I am wrong sometimes. Blunt probably too often (it’s a Northern thing),’ she said.

What an insult to Northerners. Having almost married a Yorkshireman and spent many happy years up North with him, I know the thing they have in common is a desire for their children to get the schooling many of their generation never had.

How dare Ms Bousted deny all kids that fundamental right with her naked Left-wing posturing.

Our hearts go out to Kate

News that ITV presenter Kate Garraway’s husband Derek Draper is still in hospital, having been there since the end of March, is so saddening.

Especially when we read social media posts from Kate revealing how her heart — and those of their two children — sink ‘every day’, searching for ‘little green shoots of hope that this dreadful disease is easing and that hopefully soon we might all be able to see each other again and hug’.

We wish the same for you Kate, and for your children, and for everyone going though such agony — and that there will come a day when we can all hug again.

Pictured: Kate Garraway with her husband Derek Draper, who is currently in hospital

Receiving news of his knighthood, Captain Tom said: ‘I’d like to thank Her Majesty. I will remain at your service.’ The ex soldier, who’s now 100, will put Queen and country first until the end. Unlike Captain Wales, who served ten years in the Army, then marched off to a life of luxury in a £14 million grace-and-favour Los Angeles mansion with wife Meghan and baby Archie — abandoning Queen and country not far into life’s journey.

I’ve known Anthea Turner a little for a long time and am happy she’s about to marry again after her bankrupt ex, Grant Bovey, ran off with a younger blonde. There is something unconquerable about the former Blue Peter star’s belief in love. A blue badge? No, she deserves a silver one.

Liz still luscious 

I am in awe of Liz Hurley, 54, who posted a picture reclining on a faux fur rug looking simply sensational in a Versace dress she first wore in her early 30s. Two decades on and she can still fit into it! Crikey, after self-isolation in lockdown, eating fast food — all right, junk food — in my Sweaty Betty stretch leggings, I can’t fit into a designer dress I wore two months ago!

Left: Liz Hurley, 54, poses in a dress she first wore in her early 20s. Right: Liz Hurley, pictured at the 1999 CFDA awards in the same dress

She enjoyed eight years as the First Lady married to President Bill Clinton; four years as Secretary of State; she ran for President herself; and she stood by her man after the Monica Lewinsky affair.

A new novel entitled Rodham by the best-selling author Curtis Sittenfeld poses the question: What if Hillary hadn’t married Bill? To which the answer is: Hillary who? 

Corona shout-outs

  • To my pal Kerry who queued in his car for half an hour to get a family pack of KFC on the first day they opened, then dropped it on my doorstep. I am ashamed to say I ate nearly all of it.
  • To Prince Charles for celebrating the nation’s ‘new-found love of gardening’ that has bloomed in lockdown. Like me, Chas is a life-long gardener and I’ve had to make do with last year’s plants as nurseries were shut. Now I can hardly contain my excitement about rooting around in them this weekend.
  • A shout down to the hundreds of people who flocked to my local Hampstead Heath to enjoy the sunshine on Thursday when it reached 82f. No nimbyism here. I don’t begrudge sharing this wooded wilderness and its lakes. I just wish they’d take their dog mess — left in bags — beer cans and pizza boxes home.

Some of the viewers addicted to the teenage TV series Normal People about angst and young love say they need subtitles to understand the Irish accents of the actors, especially that of County Kildare-born hunk Paul Mescal. Oh do get over yourselves. Most of the sensational six-hour series is just adolescent slobbering, kissing and copulating — understandable in any language.

Pop fan’s brave note

Yesterday was the third anniversary of the Manchester Arena bombing, which killed 22 mostly young people at a pop concert.

Services were held throughout the city, and the singer Ariana Grande, who was starring at the arena when the bomb went off, said with feeling: ‘Not a day goes past that this doesn’t affect you and all of us still.’

Those words would chime with Freya Lewis, now 17, who lost her best friend Nell Jones in the blast and suffered terrible injuries herself.

‘Nell will forever be with me. I’m at times overwhelmed by grief,’ she says — before adding, with such an uplifting sense of human spirit: ‘But I feel like I’ve had a second chance, I feel more grateful for everything and everyone.

‘My main goal for the rest of my life is to be happy and remember how lucky I am to be here.’    

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Contact-tracing app will need 80% of smartphone owners to use it

NHS contact-tracing app will only stop the spread of coronavirus if 80 PER CENT of current smartphone owners install it — significantly more than are expected to — researchers warn

  • Experts modelled the impact of a tracing app on coronavirus spread in a city
  • To suppress COVID-19 totally, 56% of the population would need to use the app
  • Ofcom data suggests this equates to four-fifths of current UK smartphone users  
  • However, a past study found only 73.6% of them would be likely to install the app
  • This level of uptake would still help slow the spread and save lives, however
  • Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID

An NHS contact-tracing app would only completely stop the spread of coronavirus if 80 per cent of current smartphone owners use it, researchers have warned.

The team from the University of Oxford simulated how COVID-19 might spread in order to support the development of contact-tracing apps across Europe.

However, a previous survey of potential contact-tracing app users suggested that only 73.6 per cent of UK smartphone users would be likely to install one.

That study, of 6,000 people across five countries, also found that under 80 per cent of phone users in the US and Germany would at least ‘probably’ install such an app. 

Of the five nations, only France and Italy appear likely to secure enough users to make the app effective at completely suppressing coronavirus on its own.

Nevertheless, lower levels of uptake coupled with social distancing efforts would still help to slow the spread of COVID-19 and put off a second lockdown period.

In fact, the team predicts that — regardless of overall uptake — a contact-tracing app could ‘prevent approximately one infection for every one or two users of the app.’ 

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An NHS contact-tracing app would only completely stop the spread of coronavirus if 80 per cent of current smartphone owners use it, researchers have warned


According to the researchers, the app being developed by NHSX would likely work as follows:

‘We need strategies to exit from the lockdown whilst minimising the risk of resurgence,’ said report author Christophe Fraser, of the University of Oxford.

‘Combined with other interventions such as community testing and continued shielding of vulnerable individuals, digital contact tracing can help prevent coronavirus from rapidly re-emerging.’

‘We’ve simulated coronavirus in a model city of 1 million inhabitants with a wide range of realistic epidemiological configurations to explore options for controlling transmission.’

‘A digital contact tracing app, if carefully implemented alongside other measures, has the potential to substantially reduce the number of new coronavirus cases, hospitalisations and ICU admissions.’

‘Our models show we can stop the epidemic if approximately 60% of the population use the app, and even with lower numbers of app users, we still estimate a reduction in the number of coronavirus cases and deaths.’

The uptake required to stop the epidemic — specifically, 56 per cent of the population — is equivalent to 80 per cent of all existing UK smartphone users, based on data from communications regulator Ofcom, Professor Fraser told the BBC. 

These figures, however, work on the assumption that the vulnerable population of people over the age of 70 are ‘shielded’ — that is, kept in quarantine for their own protection. 

The team’s research — looking at how COVID-19 initially spread in China — has found that almost half of all transmissions of the virus between people occurred before symptoms were exhibited.

Their models also indicated that delaying contact tracing by even a day after the onset of symptoms could mean the difference between bringing the spread under control and seeing the coronavirus undergo a resurgence. 

Nevertheless, the app coupled with social distancing efforts would still help to slow the spread of COVID-19 and put off a second lockdown period. In fact, the team predicts that a contact-tracing app could ‘prevent approximately one infection for every one or two users of the app’

The use of such a contact-tracing app would depend on people self-reporting based on symptoms, rather than testing, the team explained.

‘Initiating contact tracing based on symptoms makes sense epidemiologically because it’s fast enough to reach people before they transmit,’ explained report author David Bonsall, also of Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Medicine.

‘Our simulations predict loss of epidemic control when tracing is delayed to wait for test results, and overall results in more deaths, and more people in quarantine.’

However, the team noted that testing of app users after they have self-reported could help to ensure that they and their contacts are released from self-isolation should the test prove that they are, in fact, not infected with coronavirus.

‘You achieve the best of both worlds when virological tests are used to follow-up and promptly release people,’ Dr Bonsall added.

‘With the right configuration, we can all use the technology to save lives and help to protect vulnerable groups.’

‘By openly sharing our models and our algorithm we are providing governments and health services with the epidemiological tools to compare and evaluate different strategies for contact tracing alongside other approaches,’ said Professor Fraser.

‘Enabling all countries to consider optimising the app’s epidemiological settings before and after launch will help to ensure countries make the greatest possible contribution towards controlling the epidemic.’

The full findings of the study can be read on GitHub. 


Social distancing is a term used by health authorities to help slow the spread of coronavirus by keeping an appropriate distance between people.

Australian health authorities recommend at least 1.5 metres between each person at all times.

This is because coronavirus can be transmitted by: 

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Being in the same space for a long period 
  • Touching the same surface 

Social distancing also refers to limiting physical contact with each other as much as possible which has led to authorities encouraging people to work from home, avoid crowded spaces and public transport as much as possible.

Source: Australian Department of Health

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We all need to take responsibility — or we will never get out of coronavirus lockdown – The Sun

WE all know that, in a time of crisis, good leadership is essential. After all, legendary leaders are forged in dark times.

My goodness, aren’t we lucky to have the Queen, whose speech last Sunday was pitch-perfect. It was a magnificent address, from a magnificent woman.

⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates

Her experience and serenity did more to calm and inspire the nation than anything else I can think of as this crisis has unfolded.

Best of all, she reminded us that there will be life beyond this lockdown — that we will meet again.

If we just focus on the here and now, we won’t be able to prepare for the future beyond the virus.

But it’s also true that none of us can think straight when we are in the eye of the storm.

That is where good leadership comes in. It helps us all to hold strong, not to go to pieces and to stick to the guidance given to us.


Everyone looks to the leader to make decisions, and it’s the decisions we make that will chart our way out of the crisis.

Unfortunately, after the Queen’s address to the nation came the news that Prime Minister Boris Johnson had been admitted to hospital intensive care.

At that point, anyone who was in any doubt this illness did not discriminate was forced to reconsider.

At the time of writing, Boris was back on a regular hospital ward. But his illness has been a reminder that any of us are susceptible to Covid-19.

Most people are shocked he is in hospital and sympathise with his pregnant girlfriend Carrie Symonds.

But of course it has raised the question: Who is really in charge if he is not? Without leadership, we all get distinctly uneasy.

We all have leaders in our lives. We are all looking towards them to show us what to do and lead us through it.

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But while they are helping save lives, who is there to help them?

The Sun has launched an appeal to raise £1MILLION for NHS workers.

The Who Cares Wins Appeal aims to get vital support to staff in their hour of need.

We have teamed up with NHS Charities Together in their urgent Covid-19 Appeal to ensure the money gets to exactly who needs it.

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Some companies have stepped up to the plate and are doing good things — reassuring their staff, treating people well and doing their utmost to make sure people will be paid. Some aren’t, of course. But good bosses are taking pay cuts and doing everything they can to keep their businesses alive and look after their staff.

At West Ham United we continue to pay all our full and part-time staff 100 per cent of their wages.

My financial director, my manager and I have all taken a 30 per cent reduction to make sure this happens.

It’s when there’s a crisis like this that we see who is made of what.

Boris’s temporary stand-in, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, while talking about the PM’s hospital admission, referred to him as his boss, his colleague, but also his friend.

Respect and friendship are the key words when it comes to good leadership.

A good leader makes the tough decisions because they are right, but they are also governed by ethics. They want to do the right thing, for the right reasons. They are happy to make personal sacrifices to ensure the majority are looked after.

It is more important now, than ever, to put people before profits.

After three weeks of lockdown, with no chance of a let-up, it’s all too easy to fall prey to catastrophic, even apocalyptic thinking.

But we have to shift our thought process. We have to accept and understand that, at some point, this WILL be over.

When things are calmer and clearer, we can ask what we can do to ensure we are still operating as the world gets back to normal — whatever the new normal is.

The experience we are all living through really is like a storm, which continues to rage.

There are so many unprecedented aspects to this situation and there is not one person in the world who will come out of it unchanged.

So while there are so many challenging and difficult things going on, perhaps this lockdown is a chance for us all to learn more about ourselves.

How are you responding? Have you thought about how you can help others? Have you thought about volunteering for the NHS?

As well as the importance of good leadership, we all have our individual roles when it comes to showing autonomy and courage about our own decisions.

I’m sorry to say, things are going to get a lot worse before they get better.

So we all need to take responsibility — or we will never get out of lockdown.

Watts up with Naomi?

ANYONE who saw the social media video of Naomi Watts reaching breaking point after her printer, vacuum cleaner and dishwasher all broke down will surely have smiled in recognition.

Naomi, who has been self-isolating in her Los Angeles home for three weeks, shared her very understandable anguish with a slow-motion video of herself screaming with the sound of a lion’s roar played in the background.

I think we can all relate to her frustration.

My lockdown revelation?

I am happy to report that I have given up ironing!

Fight's on to learn lessons

WHEN it comes to illness, particularly cancer, I’ve long resisted all the talk of going into battle – mainly because of the unhelpful implication of weakness among those who “lose” that fight by dying.

I feel the same way about descriptions of people “fighting” coronavirus.

Illness is a fact of life. It is not a sign of weakness.

The sad and terrible truth is that some people get this virus and others do not.

Some have it very badly – a whole lot worse than others.

We don’t yet know exactly why. We don’t even know if we have the virus and may infect people.

We don’t know if there are antibodies that can protect us from getting it again, or how long that will take.

We don’t know if there will be a more deadly mutation of the same virus in the future.

There is just too much we don’t know.

But there are some practical things we can do.

We need to help those who have it now, and the NHS and the Government are doing all they can in this regard.

We also need to stop the spread of the virus, through testing. Hopefully that is going to happen soon.

Meanwhile, scientists are also working around the clock to create a vaccine.

Perhaps, most of all, we need to prepare for the possibility that this could all happen again.

We need to learn lessons on food distribution, working from home, adapting our businesses – and having proper personal protection and hospital equipment ready and waiting.

Roots of the problem

AS time ticks on, we are all realising what life is like without the things we used to consider necessities.

Like our hairdressers.

Claudia Winkleman’s Instagram post showing how unmanageable her fringe has become during lockdown made me laugh in recognition.

My hair is grey, long and unkempt.

On the one hand, it’s the least of my worries, which is quite liberating.

Still, I did manage to get my hands on some hair dye for the roots.

Do I care that it’s completely the wrong shade?

NO. I do not.

So please, can we all just agree to turn a blind eye to the way we look when we finally emerge from lockdown?

Let's not give up on Easter

HAPPY Easter Sunday, people. How will you be spending yours?

Personally, I have lost track of what day it is. The past few weeks have been a blur, with every day feeling like a cross between Sunday and Monday.

It was my birthday last week and, without loved ones to hug, friends to see, drinks to be had, it was more or less just another day.

Equally, this is the first time ever that Easter has felt like just another weekend.

But I hope you can find ways to make it special. Just make sure you do so at home.

Time we showed respect

THERE has been talk of schools possibly reopening after the Easter holidays – and who knows whether or not that is true?

But one thing I do know is that, whenever they do reopen, working parents will not only give the most massive sigh of relief, they will all be thanking their children’s teachers profusely for everything that they do.

We will all also be thanking doctors, nurses, all NHS employees, as well as bin men, cleaners, shop assistants and all the other key workers we have under-paid and taken for granted.

I really hope that is one thing which changes as a result of this pandemic.

These people are the backbone of our country.


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You Need to See Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Makeup in Her COVID-19 PSA

Comedy gold! Julia Louis-Dreyfus did her part to encourage her 1.3 million Instagram followers to stay at home during the COVID-19 pandemic — and it’s truly a PSA unlike any other.

See All the Celebrities Who Have Done Their Own At-Home Haircuts Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic

The Seinfeld actress posted a video to her Instagram feed on Wednesday, April 9, filmed in what appears to be her bathroom. “Oh, hi there. It’s me, your friend Julia Louis-Dreyfus,” she told the camera, sporting wild hair, overly penciled eyebrows and dramatic eye makeup.

“You know, normally when I do a PSA like this, I have a hair and makeup team — a professional glam team — who come and help me with my look. But today, they’re staying at home. They’re staying safe and that’s what I would like to ask you to do.”

Hilarie Burton, Busy Philipps and More Stars Who’ve Made Protective Masks During the COVID-19 Crisis

The comedian then proceeded to apply a bold shade of red lipstick, purposely (and hilariously) smearing it all over the lower portion of her face to make a point about her makeup skills — or lack thereof.

Louis-Dreyfus continued to make a serious point even though she made it difficult to look at her with a straight face. “Please stay home,” she said. “Please stay safe and help us flatten the curve. And if you do happen to go out, please maintain 6 feet of physical distance.”




Happy to help get the message out 💋@cagovernor #StayHomeSaveLives

A post shared byJulia Louis-Dreyfus (@officialjld) on

The Veep star captioned the video, “Happy to help get the message out 💋@cagovernor #StayHomeSaveLives.”

Other celebrities have stepped up to film PSA campaigns to encourage social media followers to stay at home. That includes Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ryan Reynolds, Michael Rapaport and more.

Friends and followers were particularly impressed by Louis-Dreyfus’ creative take on the PSA. I’m Sorry actress Andrea Savage commented, “I love everything about this. Thank you.”

One fan commented, “She very well might be the funniest person on the planet.”

How Your Favorite Fashion Brands Are Fighting COVID-19 — From Generous Donations to Gifting Apparel to Medical Professionals

Another comedian who recently lightened the mood on social media was Chelsea Handler. On Tuesday, April 7, the television host jokingly shared a video of herself using her bra as a face mask.

She captioned the Instagram post, “With masks in short supply, we have to take matters into our own hands. Men included. #corona #diy.”

Given the constantly evolving nature of COVID-19, Us Weekly wants our readers to have access to the most accurate resources. For the most up-to-date coronavirus information, guidance, and support, consult the CDC, WHO, and information from local public health officials. If you’re experiencing coronavirus symptoms, call your primary care provider for medical advice.

Listen on Spotify to Get Tressed With Us to get the details of every hair love affair in Hollywood, from the hits and misses on the red carpet to your favorite celebrities’ street style ‘dos (and don’ts!)

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Why we need to lean on Bill Withers and his great music more than ever

It seems like Bill Withers has been in my ear my entire life.

Growing up in a household where ‘70s soul was the soundtrack of our lives, he was right up there with Marvin, Stevie, Diana, Chaka, Teddy P. and other R&B legends — the artists who made me fall in love with music while I was scratching up my dad’s vinyl.

Songs such as “Ain’t No Sunshine,” “Lean on Me” and the funkalicious “Use Me” made him feel like that cool uncle growing up — the one who was a reassuring presence at backyard barbecues and family reunions.

He was the sunshine.

But even before I found out that his sun had set — it was announced on Friday that Mr. Withers had died on Monday from heart complications at 81 — Uncle Bill was heavy on my mind recently.

I was watching “Girls Trip” for the first time to try and escape from the madness in our midst, and there is a scene when Tiffany Haddish, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Queen Latifah and Regina Hall arrive in New Orleans for the Essence Festival to the sound of NOLA brass band the Soul Rebels playing “Lovely Day.” And it is pure joy.

At that moment, I forgot all about the coronavirus, and I was that little kid who just knew it was gonna be a lovely day — pandemic or not.

“Lovely Day” stayed with me in the days after, and I had to take it back to Withers’ 1977 original. As I was struggling to make sense of the world we live in right now, I put that classic — one of the all-time-great songs — on repeat, and it gave me sweet comfort.

But whereas contemporaries such as Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin were almost otherworldly talents, there was something relatable and unassuming about Withers, with his chill, conversational vocals. He was the genius next door.

Even when he got political, as on his great Vietnam War protest song “I Can’t Write Left-Handed,’ he was always approachable.

I had the honor of interviewing Mr. Withers for Essence in 2015 — the same year he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Long before then, he had stopped performing, and when I asked him if he missed it, he responded matter-of-factly: “If I missed it, I’d try to find a way to do it.”

No-nonsense all the way.

Still, he was proud of “the fact that my songs outlived my activity.” Now that is an understatement. His songs will live beyond all of us.

Thank you for letting us lean on you, Uncle Bill.

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Olympic athletes may need to be selected again, says IOC

Athens: Athletes already qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will need to be picked again by their respective National Olympic Committees to compete at the postponed Games in 2021, the International Olympic Committee said on Thursday.

The Olympics have been postponed.Credit:EPA

The IOC and Japanese government succumbed to intense pressure from athletes and sporting bodies around the world last week by agreeing to postpone the Games by a year to 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Some 57 per cent of the 11,000 athletes had already qualified for the Tokyo Games this year before qualification tournaments were scrapped as the virus spread in recent months.

Those athletes, the IOC said, would keep their qualification but would need to be re-selected for next year by their National Olympic Committee again as they represented a nation and not themselves.

"All of the qualifications that have been achieved by National Olympic Committees and individual athletes remain in place," IOC Sports director Kit McConnell said in a conference call.

"Any athlete needs to be individually selected because they represent their NOC. In all sports the NOC retains the right to select the athletes."

The Australian Olympic Committee has already said athletes who had qualified for the Tokyo Olympics will not need to re-qualify.

"The message to the athletes who have qualified is … keep training hard once this crisis passes. The same thing for those athletes who haven't qualified. Keep your spirits up," AOC chief executive Matt Carroll said last week.

The IOC was also in talks with world soccer's governing body FIFA to decide on the men's tournament next year, as only players aged under 23 are allowed to compete apart from a limited number of over-age players per team.

In many cases footballers will be above the age limit next year although having qualified this year.

"In several sports there are specific age regulations, minimum or maximum, for health safety or to provide an age group as in men's football with under-23."

"We are in discussions with FIFA… We have to finalise that in the coming weeks."

The IOC is also striving to make the athletes' village available again after it was planned to be sold off as apartments after this year's Games.

"The village is part of the first priority," the IOC's Olympic Games Executive Director Christophe Dubi said.

"The village is the home away from home, a fantastic development. It is one of the very first tasks to re-secure this fantastic property. Yes, it is absolutely on that urgency list".

Dubi said those first priority venues, including the dozens of sports venues, convention sites and thousands of hotel rooms, would need to be re-secured quickly.

"All of this has to be re-secured for one year later," Dubi said. "It is a massive undertaking to get back to fundamentals." He added that the IOC planned to have finalised talks for those "priority" locations in a matter of weeks.

Reuters, SMH

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Do we REALLY need celebs to raise our spirits?

Do we REALLY need celebs to raise our spirits? FEMAIL writers debate if ‘inspiring’ videos from stars isolating in their mansions help to cheer us up

  • Hannah Betts said we didn’t need virus to prove many celebs need restraining 
  • Rachel Johnson argued that the videos happen to be a light in the darkness 
  • She said she will definitely be watching videos by celebrities at this time
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?


By Hannah Betts  

The world of celebrity very rarely covers itself in glory when it comes to commenting on serious global matters. Witness the many air-brained idiots vapidly expounding their latest pandemic platitudes.

We didn’t need coronavirus to prove to us that most ‘slebs’ should be restrained by their agents, but it has certainly hit the point home.

There they sit in their mansions sounding off about how we, the little people, should respond to this global crisis, without having the faintest notion how terrifying the situation might be for those without million-dollar incomes or 24/7 staff. My favourite has been Madonna, addressing us in Marie Antoinette mode from a petal-strewn bath.

Hannah Betts (pictured) said: ‘We didn’t need coronavirus to prove to us that most ‘slebs’ should be restrained by their agents, but it has certainly hit the point home’

As George Orwell taught us, some animals are more equal than others, and it tends to be those who can afford health insurance and personal chefs who fare better in times like this.

Actress Vanessa Hudgens became this year’s worst example of millennial gloop when she opined: ‘Even if everybody gets it, like, yeah, people are going to die, which is terrible but, like, inevitable?’ She concluded: ‘I don’t know. Maybe I shouldn’t be doing this right now?’ Prompting a collective: ‘D’ya think?’

Even the more well-meaning attempts at cheer have been utterly buttock-clenching. I defy you to endure Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot’s group rendition of Imagine without squirming. Behold: the likes of Natalie Portman, Jimmy Fallon, and Amy Adams warbling without the benefit of sound engineers.

These celebrity interventions aren’t about the public good. They’re about how nutjob the stars go without an audience. What will they be like in a couple of months’ time?

Plus there’s a serious side: by trivialising the situation with their no-brain views, some performers — such as Lost actress Evangeline Lilly — encourage fellow idiots to ignore government warnings. It’s experts we should be listening to, not people paid to impersonate experts in B-movies.

And the thing is, they actually could do some good, if they thought a bit harder. Kevin Bacon is the one celeb I’ll forgive, because his campaign is genuinely sensible and effective. He shared the names of six people he loves that he’s staying home for, then asked them each to share their own list of six more people. As the trend spreads on social media, it demonstrates how rapidly the virus could have passed between them if they hadn’t ‘stayed at home’.

That’s kind of the point right now. Everybody else, kindly step away from the record button. The world has enough problems without being patronised to death by a gaggle of overpaid hoofers.


By Rachel Johnson 

We’ve all seen it by now, admit it —that treacly compilation of earnest Hollywood ‘names’ singing the lyrics to Imagine out of tune.

It hasn’t gone down well. Someone acidly tweeted that every single actor involved should be fined a million pounds and the money doled out to those who had to watch it.

Rachel Johnson (pictured) said: ‘If a celebrity is reading this and someone suggests you record a video, I say, knock yourself out. I’ll definitely be watching!’ 

But I think it’s a light in the current darkness.

There’s nothing I like more than seeing someone who earns ten million dollars a movie sitting in their enormous country kitchen in LA, bored out of their mind, and filming themselves so I can inspect their interiors minutely while they give their all to whispering ‘imagine no possessions’ into their own mobile phone.

And surely we’ve all seen the other celebrity efforts by now, too? Best of all is that cringe Madonna video from the bath, wibbling on about how we’re all in the same boat, while one person films her and another plays the harp.

I understand the general public pushback on these worthy emissions from well-known actors and singers. We civilians are trapped in our rather smaller homes now indefinitely with our other halves, and it hasn’t been an easy year. After all, in January, we got Brexit. In February, coronavirus. In March, the aural torture of celebrities mangling peace anthems. But I happen to think it’s hilarious (the narcissistic self-promoting videos, not the killer virus) and can watch any amount of this stuff.

Arnie Schwarzenegger telling us to ‘fuhggedt’ about restaurants, fuhggedt about going out, and how it’s so much fun to stay home like he does and eat dinner with his donkeys Whiskey and Lulu. Judi Dench putting on bunny ears and telling us to keep laughing in a ten-second clip into which she somehow crammed at least a hundred different facial expressions and tones of voice.

Even Ellen DeGeneres doing Lego in her mansion was watchable, in its way, given how we are all searching for silver linings.

I can see how it has played out in their minds, too. You’re an international celebrity at home alone, tour and movie cancelled, with very good wi-fi and a passionate desire to make a difference during the global pandemic. A passionate desire, too, to continue to connect with your public. To show you care (and to show off your house as well as your emotional hinterland). To show you’re still alive and still for hire on the other side.

And why not? They’re entertainers, after all, not doctors.

So if a celebrity is reading this and someone suggests you record a video, I say, knock yourself out. I’ll definitely be watching!

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Fitness Trainers Need to Get Paid During the Pandemic, Too

Gerren Liles returned from a trip to Italy days before the country went into coronavirus lockdown earlier this month. The New York-based Equinox trainer was set to return to work after a 14-day self-quarantine on Monday.

That was the plan, at least.

“That’s the day the gyms were closed,” Liles told Men’s Health. “My expectation was that I was going to go back to work. Now, it’s basically like I’m back on vacation.”

Liles is among the more fortunate trainers, with a substantial 32.8k Instagram follower count and a solid base in the at-home fitness space as a founding trainer at Mirror, a $1,495 interactive home gym system that streams a variety of different workouts to peoples’ homes. But thousands of other trainers have had to pivot from one-on-one client work to video chat services like FaceTime and fitness apps to stay connected with their charges—and to keep some income coming in during this pandemic.

“Our industry is one that is all about social interaction and a lot of trainers depend on their studios and gyms to train people,” Liles said. “A lot of trainers will want to keep their clients in the loop and this could inspire trainers to start their own digital or virtual training business, but the hustle is hard for those doing this for the first time.”

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PLEASE READ It goes without saying that this is a rough time for all of us. The fitness industry is no different. Many of us are dependent on our gyms or studios we teach at, this is a “if you don’t work, you don’t eat” kind of job. On top of that, our job involves being around people. A lot of coaches have started hosting free live workouts on IG as a way to help you keep your workouts going. From all the convos I’ve seen, it’s purely out of love, and to set an example that when there is a will, there is a way. However, the truth is that many coaches aren’t certain where they’ll be financially weeks from now if our gyms and studios remain closed. I’m pleading with you to PLEASE voluntarily contribute or donate something to the trainers hosting these classes, many don’t feel comfortable asking outright for help, but they need it. It doesn’t have to be a lot, anything will help ease the burden as they endeavor to find new ways to serve you. 1. Ask for their Venmo, CashApp or PayPal after their live workouts. 2. Before their classes, notify one or more friends to join you to help build their network. 3. Post a pic, video or story after their workout to help promote them. 4. Be on the lookout for ventures they present to help steady their business and continue to provide services for you. COACHES, COMMENT below if you are hosting workouts, the kinds of workouts you’re doing and how to direct people to it. CLIENTS, comment below with a trainer who people need to look out for!

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Gyms Face Closures, So Fitness Pros Face Layoffs

At least 15 states have closed all gyms in response to the coronavirus, according to International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA). Some counties and municipalities have also moved to close all fitness facilities. Other states like Virginia and Wisconsin have limited gatherings of 10 or more people, which allows gyms to remain open for personal training only.

“The gym industry is being destroyed by this crisis.”

In some unfortunate cases, those closures have already amounted to more than a temporary pause in service. There have been real ramifications already for gym employees, in the form of layoffs. IHRSA sent a letter to Congress this week requesting that the fitness industry be included in a future stimulus package to support the more than 425,000 people employed by clubs and studios.

“The gym industry is being destroyed by this crisis,” IHRSA spokesperson Meredith Poppler said.

Poppler was unable to provide an accurate number for how many fitness professionals are recently out of work, although gyms have quietly or publicly been laying off trainers and instructors in recent days. Anne M. Mahlum, owner and CEO of D.C.-based Solidcore, announced in an email Thursday that her chain of 72 U.S. studios will lay off 98 percent of employees, which includes 137 full-time employees, 97 part-time employees and 397 coaches. The laid off employees will be paid through the end of March.

“This is a very fluid situation,” added Adam Zeitsiff, president and CEO of Gold’s Gym, in a statement to Men’s Health. “Our team members are very important to us and we are doing our best to manage all aspects of our business so we can ensure our gyms are able to reopen as soon as it is safe for our community. This includes our company-owned gyms as well as our locally-owned franchise locations.”

Trainers Are Adjusting to the Circumstances

Stanley Berry is among the trainers who have gone to Twitter and Instagram to seek to build up a client base that basically disappeared when his Washington, D.C. gym shuttered for at least two weeks. (Berry asked Men’s Health not to identify the gym he’s worked at for the last three years.)

“I know I’m not going to bring as much money because I can’t charge normal rates.”

“A lot of people have been reaching out,” Berry said. “I’m still kind of early, so I’m not getting discouraged yet. I’ve used FaceTime to introduce myself and train some people. There are lots of folks doing it already. I know I’m not going to bring as much money because I can’t charge normal rates.”

Like many trainers who work for major gym chains, Berry is learning his existing client base is a tough sell.

“They’ve already paid for their training at the gym,” Berry said. “They don’t want to have to pay twice.”

Another roadblock: gyms typically have policies that bar trainers from training their existing client base outside their workplace. A spokesperson for Life Time, which is paying its trainers at least through March 29, said that trainers—other than salaried managers—aren’t allowed to lead clients on their own for legal and liability reasons.

How IRL Gyms and Trainers Are Going Online

Displaced trainers and instructors have been quick to explore their virtual options in recent days, as have major gym chains. Planet Fitness, for example, has started to stream workouts to members, while Gold’s Gym has made its GOLD’S AMP app free to anyone through May 31.

“I want people to keep working with their trainers or find another way to support them.”

Trainerize, developer of an iOS and Android app by the same name used by gyms and trainers to set up workouts for clients, is close to agreeing on a deal that would create 1 million accounts for a major chain, the Vancouver-based company’s CEO and co-founder Sharad Mohan told Men’s Health. Mohan declined to specify the chain since the deal was not complete.

“While nobody expected this kind of shutdown, it’s no surprise that gyms are seeking to shift clients to at-home workouts,” Mohan said. “It’s natural that online training is taking off. It’s always been a ‘nice to have’ product for gyms to provide to clients. It’s now become a ‘must have.’”

Trainerize has seen steady growth over the years, but new subscriptions are currently triple the daily levels seen before March 10, according to Mohan.

What Trainers Can Look to Do—and How You Can Help

As bleak as the outlook looks currently, one of the biggest names in the business offered struggling trainers some hope.

“When there is something big like a Katrina or an earthquake, the gym stopped being part of the routine for some die-hard clients,” Beverly Hills-based personal trainer Gunnar Peterson told Men’s Health. “This is a natural time to shift and make changes. If you, as a trainer, stay alert and aware, you will find that some people who weren’t training before will use this shutdown as a way to get their health together.

“I always try to stay positive. That’s just who I am as a human being. If you lose a couple people, don’t panic because you’re going to get some new people. Or maybe those who stayed with you are going to bring new people.”

Peterson, the director of strength and endurance for the Los Angeles Lakers, added that this is the time for trainers to be frugal and to study up.

“Use this time to get better,” Peterson said. “Maybe you can use this time to not only create an online presence that will not just keep your income coming in but surpass what you were already making. It can open doors.”

“Trainers are streaming workouts for free on Instagram and Facebook Live. Send them some money.”

As many trainers take that advice and adjust to this pandemic-forced shift in their careers, Liles said he’s trying to spread the word to get people to support fitness professionals, including by using crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe or via direct payments through Venmo and PayPal to offer financial assistance.

“I don’t want people to take what we do for granted because what we do really benefits peoples’ lives,” Liles added. “I want people to keep working with their trainers or find another way to support them. A lot of trainers are streaming workouts for free on Instagram and Facebook Live. Send them some money.”

Do you want to help? Listen to Liles, and contact your favorite trainer about how you might be able to support them or others in their network who are struggling during this period. Men’s Health will look to highlight as many fitness professionals as possible to support the larger fitness community as we make our way through this crisis together.

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Liverpool in need of Philippe Coutinho type player says Reds legend Thompson, despite Klopp’s side bossing the league – The Sun

LIVERPOOL still need a Philippe Coutinho-style playmaker – despite their 25-point Prem lead and winning the Champions League without him.

That's the view of Reds' legend Phil Thompson, who believes Jurgen Klopp's squad lacks a creative force to unlock packed defences.

Deep-lying attacker Coutinho was Liverpool's main man, even ahead of Mo Salah, when he left Anfield for Barcelona in January 2018.

But the Reds were kings of Europe last term and have destroyed the Premier League challenge of champions Manchester City and Co this season – although coronavirus could yet end the campaign early.

They are also out of all the cups, Atletico Madrid defying the Reds' pressure and chances last Wednesday to win 3-2 at Anfield and KO the Champions league holders 4-2 on aggregate.

And ex-England centre-back Thompson told Sky Sports: "I don't think the Philippe Coutinho one would ever come off again, to get him back, but it's that sort of player that we actually need to unlock packed defences."

Brazil star Coutinho, 27, has never matched his Anfield form since exiting.

But after struggling at Barca, his career has at least stabilised on loan with Bayern Munich.

Nonetheless,huge wages and a likely asking price of £110million-plus make a permanent switch to Germany unlikely.

I still think we need another striker and maybe a little bit more back-up for Andy Robertson

And last month he distanced himself from any talk of a return to Liverpool.

He told Sports Illustrated: "I don't look back. I took another path, and now I am on another journey, much like everyone else.

"I'm focused entirely – just like them – on reaching my dreams."

But the ex-Inter Milan ace added: "Liverpool is flying, and it doesn't surprise me.

"I am so happy for them, because I have so many friends there, former team-mates –so I'm just so happy for them.

"But that's all."

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What you NEED to know about hand sanitiser

What you NEED to know about hand sanitiser: Doctors reveal whether it’s really safe to use your old bottles – and when you must get rid of them

  • Doctors have revealed why you need to pay close attention to expiry dates
  • If your hand sanitiser is out of date, it could be almost totally ineffective
  • The CDC still recommends washing your hands over using hand sanitiser
  • People should scrub their hands for 20 seconds to ensure they’re fully clean

Doctors have revealed why you need to pay close attention to the details on your hand sanitiser bottle – and how using expired products could render them almost ineffective.

According to Healthline, the average shelf life of hand sanitiser is somewhere between two and three years – so if you have a little bottle lurking at the bottom of your handbag and you can’t read the font on it because it’s rubbed off, the chances are it’s time to toss it.

‘The active ingredients are only guaranteed effective until the expiration date,’ Dr. Andrew Alexis, MD, chair of Mount Sinai’s department of dermatology, told Women’s Health. 

‘There are no clear visual signs of expiration so checking the label is the only reliable way to tell if that bottle deserves to be tossed.’ 

Doctors revealed why you need to pay close attention to the details on your hand sanitiser bottle – and how using expired products could render them almost ineffective (stock image)

The alcohol in hand sanitiser disrupts the outer coating of many, but not all, germs; the CDC recommends using a hand sanitiser that contains at 60 per cent alcohol to ensure effectiveness.

However, these products are not very effective against bacterial spores or against viruses that don’t have an outer envelope. Sanitiser is effective against almost everything else.

Washing your hands is better than hand sanitiser, but this is the next best thing.

 Source: LifeHacker

Sales of hand sanitiser have soared in recent weeks, as people rush to get their hands on antibacterial products to prevent the rapid spread of coronavirus. 

The CEO and founder of Australian skincare range, Moogoo, told FEMAIL that their entire six-month stock of anti-bacterial hand gel has been snapped up in just four days. 

While doctors agree that ‘something is better than nothing’ and you can continue to use hand sanitiser once it’s past its best, they highlighted that it’s not always a good idea.

This is because the active ingredient is alcohol, and once it has been exposed to air – even indirectly through the protective bottle – it will become less and less effective.

Coronavirus essential guide: Your top hygiene questions answered 

Does hand-washing really work?

Yes. A new study published by the highly-respected Cochrane Database which summarises and interprets numerous studies says that handwashing cuts the chances of contracting a respiratory illness such as coronavirus by 54 per cent – the best odds of any deterrent.

So wash your hands – scrubbing every bit of skin from your wrist downwards – at every opportunity for at least 20 seconds (or for however long it takes to sing Happy Birthday in your head twice).

Should I use public transport? 

Only if necessary. If you can work from home rather than commuting, and also minimise shopping trips, you will greatly reduce your infection risk.

One recent study in Nottingham found that people who contracted the flu virus in 2011 were nearly six times more likely than others to have travelled by public transport in the five days before developing symptoms.

 lanes, trains and buses are high-risk environments for easily transmitted viruses – and Covid-19 is particularly infectious – to spread on to our hands via surfaces such as handrails, seats and handles.

If I stay at home will I be safe?

No. Family and friends can easily bring in the virus. To reduce this threat, institute a handwashing rule for everyone as soon as they enter the house.

And make sure there is one hand towel for each person. If that’s not practicable, wash towels frequently.

The CDC recommends that you scrub for at least 20 seconds (or for the time period that it takes you to sing Happy Birthday twice) and washing your hands is always better than hand sanitiser (pictured: the WHO’s guide to perfect hand washing)

When it comes to hand washing versus hand sanitiser, all of the experts agree that your go-to should always be washing your hands. 

What is the five-step process to perfect hand washing?

1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.

2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.

3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the ‘Happy Birthday’ song from beginning to end twice.

4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.

5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

The CDC recommends that you scrub for at least 20 seconds (or for the time period that it takes you to sing Happy Birthday twice) and washing your hands is always better than hand sanitiser.

This is because hand sanitisers do not get rid of all types of germs, and they may not be as effective when your hands are dirty or greasy.

‘They might not remove harmful chemicals from hands like pesticides and heavy metals,’ the website reads. 

The agency recommends you wash your hands at frequent intervals to stay healthy, and advises that everyone follow five steps to ensure they are washing their hands the right way.

‘The first step is to wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap,’ the CDC said.

‘Then, lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.’

However the third step is where many people might be falling down.

The CDC recommends you scrub your hands ‘for at least 20 seconds’ – which is the same amount of time it takes to hum Happy Birthday twice.

‘Rinse your hands well under clean, running water,’ the guide advises.

Finally, you should use a clean towel to dry your hands or air dry them.

The agency recommends you wash your hands at frequent intervals to stay healthy, and advises that everyone follow five steps (stock image)

When should you wash your hands? 

Before, during, and after preparing food

Before eating food

Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea

Before and after treating a cut or wound

After using the toilet

After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet

After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing

After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste

After handling pet food or pet treats

After touching garbage

Source: CDC

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