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U.K.’s Film and TV Charity Launches Two-Year Program For Better Mental Health in Film and TV

The U.K.’s Film and TV Charity has launched the Whole Picture Program, a two-year initiative designed to to improve the mental health and wellbeing of the 200,000 people who work behind the scenes in film, TV and cinema.

The Film and TV Charity has now secured £3 million ($3.87 million) in funding from Amazon Prime Video, Banijay U.K., BBC, BBC Studios, Channel 4, IMG, ITV, Sky, Sky Studios, Sony Pictures Entertainment, The Walt Disney Company, ViacomCBS and WarnerMedia to deliver the program that is supported by the BFI and backed by U.K. mental health charity Mind. The charity estimates that mental health problems, including staff turnover, cost the sector at least £300 million ($387 million) in losses each year.

The program will deliver a toolkit for mentally healthy productions; enhanced professional and peer support for freelancers; people skills and training guides; industry actions to improve behavior; and anti-bullying services and resources.

Alex Pumfrey, CEO of the Film and TV Charity said: “It has been a devastating year for many people in our industry, and it’s clear we cannot afford to return to ‘business as usual’. Our 2019 research showed a mental health crisis in the industry, which has only been exacerbated by the terrible effects of the pandemic.”

More than 9,000 people took part in the research last year, sharing their experiences and stories confidentially, which identified a mental health crisis within the industry. The findings revealed issues including self-harm and bullying. Since then, the pandemic has meant increased isolation and anxiety for many, and Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people in the industry have identified the effect systemic racism and discrimination has on mental health.

“The case for improving the mental health of the industry has never been stronger or more urgent,” added Pumfrey. “This program of work is designed to turn the tide on poor mental health by enhancing the available support, changing behavior and improving ways of working; but this will need to be an industry-wide effort to create sustainable change.”

The project has been on hold for six months whilst the charity has dedicated all of its resources to responding to COVID-19, raising £6.4 million ($8.2 million), and supporting thousands of workers with grants and financial and mental wellbeing services.

Emma Mamo, head of workplace wellbeing at Mind, said: “Unfortunately, self-employed people, freelancers and those in the film and TV industry are among those hit hardest by coronavirus. That’s why we’re pleased to be supporting the Whole Picture Program, which will provide much-needed resource and support to the many experiencing poor mental health in the sector.”

Industry leaders are part of the program’s mental health taskforce and they will work collaboratively to adopt and champion the work both within their own organizations and widely across the sector.

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UK’s coronavirus R rate has reduced, but there’s still ‘widespread growth’

Boris Johnson is expected to announce a three-tier system for local lockdowns to try to stem the spike in cases of coronavirus (David Cliff/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Boris Johnson is expected to announce a three-tier system for local lockdowns to try to stem the spike in cases of coronavirus (David Cliff/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The reproduction rate of coronavirus infection in the UK has reduced to 1.2-1.5 for the seven days to 9 October from 1.3-1.6 in the previous week.

Experts on the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) published the latest figures on Friday.

The site said: “It is SAGE’s expert view… that this week’s estimates are reliable, and that there is still widespread growth of the epidemic across the country.”

On Thursday the latest data from the test and trace scheme showed the number of people testing positive for COVID-19 in the UK had increased by 56% in a week.

The growth rate of infection was stated as between +4% and +9%.

The R rate last Friday was 1.3-1.6, with an estimated growth rate of infection of between +5% and +9%.

The news comes as it was revealed that hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people living in coronavirus ‘hotspots’ could be told to shield this winter to stop the virus “getting out of control”.

Ministers are expected to outline a three-tier lockdown system next week, which could see vulnerable people being told to stay at home.

Figures are based on epidemiological data such as hospital admissions, ICU admissions and deaths, meaning it can take up to three weeks for changes in the spread of disease to be reflected in the estimated reproduction rate due to the time delay between initial infection and the need for hospital care.

Much of the north of England including Bolton (pictured) is under local lockdown (Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images)
Much of the north of England including Bolton (pictured) is under local lockdown (Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images)

Regional leaders have criticised the government for not consulting them ahead of imposing local lockdowns, with Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham saying he would challenge any closures.

And writing in the Daily Telegraph, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the government had “lost control of the virus” and urged ministers to “get a grip”.

Boris Johnson has continued to encourage people to follow the rule of six and ‘hands, face, space’ guidelines, insisting as long as people obey the rules the country will be able to avoid another full lockdown.

On Friday, an Office for National Statistics (ONS) infection survey suggested there were almost a quarter of a million people in the UK infected with coronavirus.

This was nearly double the 116,600 people with COVID the week before.

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UK’s COVID-19 Testing System Hit by Roche Supply Problems | World News

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s COVID-19 testing system, already struggling with a surge in new cases, was facing fresh disruption on Wednesday after Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche

said problems at a new warehouse had delayed the dispatch of some products.

Roche is one of the main suppliers of diagnostic tests to Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) Test and Trace programme, which only days ago was hit by a technical glitch that delayed the reporting of 15,000 positive results.

Roche said the delay in dispatching some of its diagnostic products to the NHS was caused by unforeseen problems that arose during a switch from an old warehouse to a new UK distribution centre in September.

“We deeply regret that there has been a delay in the dispatch of some products and apologise to any of our customers who have been impacted,” Roche said in a statement.

“We are prioritising the dispatch of COVID-19 PCR and antibody tests and doing everything we can to ensure there is no impact on the supply of these to the NHS,” the company added, without specifying whether other products were affected.

Allan Wilson, president of Britain’s Institute of Biomedical Science, said Roche was a major supplier of materials such as reagents needed for routine blood tests, coagulation tests and in cancer diagnostics, as well as COVID-related materials.

“So it’s fair to say that laboratories are already running into supply problems,” Wilson said during an interview on BBC Radio 4. “We’re being very innovative in what we do, and we’re moving stuff around between laboratories, within the NHS, to make sure that all critical tests are fulfilled.”

Wilson said materials would be rationed when appropriate and the NHS was working closely with Roche to try and plug any gaps in the testing pathway.

Roche said staff at the new facility were working day and night to resolve the issue as soon as possible, and that extra staff had been recruited to help.

The timing of Roche’s problems could hardly be worse for Britain, which has seen a surge in new coronavirus infections in September and the testing system struggling to meet demand.

Wilson said a significant drop in Roche’s capacity could potentially have a major impact on NHS Test and Trace.

“The key to this, we’re not sure the duration of this, we’re hearing days or weeks. If it’s days, it will probably have minimal impact, but if it’s weeks, then yes, that could have a considerable impact on our ability to deliver tests across the whole gambit of diagnostic tests in the UK,” he said.

Trade minister Liz Truss said the problem did not appear to be causing delays in the Test and Trace programme at this point.

“There’s no evidence that those tests have been delayed,” Truss told Sky News.

However, British media reported the problem was already causing disruption, with hospital managers unsure whether expected deliveries of swabs and reagents would materialise.

The BBC quoted Tom Lewis, lead clinician for pathology at North Devon District

UK’s Johnson wishes Trump ‘speedy recovery’

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump testing positive for the coronavirus (all times EDT):

4:30 a.m.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is wishing U.S. President Donald Trump a “speedy recovery” from COVID-19.

Johnson tweeted Friday morning: “My best wishes to President Trump and the First Lady. Hope they both have a speedy recovery from coronavirus.”

Johnson was hospitalized for a week in April after he contracted COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. After he was released, the prime minister thanked doctors and nurses at St. Thomas’s Hospital for saving his life. Johnson was treated in the hospital’s intensive care unit, where he received oxygen but was not put on a ventilator.

Trump announced on Twitter early Friday that he and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive for the coronavirus.


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4:20 a.m.

The Kremlin is sending wishes of speedy recovery to U.S. President Donald Trump after he said he and his wife Melania Trump tested positive for the coronavirus.

“We certainly wish President Trump a speedy and easy recovery,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Friday.

Russia currently has the fourth largest coronavirus caseload in the world with over 1.19 million confirmed cases and more than 21,000 deaths. The outbreak in Russia started to grow rapidly in September, with health officials reporting 9,412 new confirmed cases Friday in the largest daily surge since late May.

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3:55 a.m.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is wishing the U.S. president and the first lady a “full and speedy recovery” after they said they tested positive for the coronavirus.

“Like millions of Israelis, Sara and I are thinking of President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump and wish our friends a full and speedy recovery,” Netanyahu tweeted on his official account, referring to his wife.

Netanyahu led an Israeli delegation to the White House for the Sept. 15 signing of normalization agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain at an outdoor ceremony attended by hundreds of people. Attendees did not practice social distancing and most guests did not wear masks.

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2:20 a.m.

Vice President Mike Pence says he and his wife, Karen, are sending their “love and prayers” to President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump after the Trumps announced early Friday that they had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Pence says on Twitter, “We join millions across America praying for their full and swift recovery.”

Trump’s positive test came just hours after he confirmed late Thursday that senior aide Hope Hicks had come down with the virus.

The White House had no immediate comment on whether Pence had been tested after the Trumps’ and Hicks’ diagnoses.

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1:40 a.m.

President Donald Trump’s White House doctor has issued a statement saying the president will continue carrying out his duties “without disruption” after contracting the coronavirus.

Dr. Sean Conley, the physician to the president, says the president and first lady Melania Trump “are both well at this time, and