Telecare’s monthly news roundup returns for September 2020. This month, the number on everybody’s lips is six. From the government’s new Rule of Six to the historical musical bursting back onto the West End, let’s dive in.
Rule of Six
A new law came into effect in England on 14th September. The law limits social interactions in an attempt to curb coronavirus infections. Dubbed the ‘rule of six’, this law prohibits gatherings of more than six people in England, in both indoor and outdoor settings.
However, there are of course a few significant exceptions. Schools and workplaces are exempt from the rule. The rule of six also doesn’t apply to jury service, charity services, providing support to vulnerable people, organised sport, weddings and similar ceremonies (up to 30 people), or arrangements where children don’t live in the same household as both of their parents.
Those who break the new law will face fines: £100 for the first offence, doubling with each subsequent breach up to £3,200. Remember, even when meeting up in groups of six or fewer, we all still need to maintain social distancing and wash our hands regularly.
Six the Musical
From a rather gloomy six to a Six that is altogether more cheerful. ‘Six’ the musical is set to be the first show to reopen on London’s West End since theatres closed back in March. The award-winning musical puts Henry VIII’s six wives centre stage as a feisty pop girl band. The socially-distanced 11-week run in London’s Lyric Theatre will go up alongside a simultaneous run in Salford.
Although the production is unlikely to turn a profit due to Covid-19 restrictions, the producers are hoping to restore confidence in the arts. They expect to provide work to around 100 actors, musicians, technicians, and other theatre staff. This will be a great boost to the UK’s theatre industry, which was forced to grind to a halt more than six months ago.
Internal Markets Bill
It’s been another challenging month for the government. After the exam results fiasco at the end of August, the Prime Minister was surely hoping for a few weeks free of scandals. However, the government has lately been the subject of intense criticism from all major parties (including several current and former Conservatives!). Why? It’s all to do with the Internal Markets Bill.
This bill, if passed without amendment, could see the UK knowingly break international law. It would give the government the power to change certain parts of the EU withdrawal agreement. This agreement was already signed by Boris Johnson back in January and is therefore legally binding. However, the PM insists that the agreement puts the flow of goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland at risk. The government admitted that the controversial bill would break the law “in a limited and specific way.” The bill passed its first vote in the House of Commons by 340 votes to 263.
Signs of Life on Venus?
In science news, astronomers recently spotted possible signs of life on Venus. The international team behind the James Clerk Maxwell telescope announced that they had detected phosphine gas in Venus’ atmosphere. On Earth, phosphine is produced by bacteria in oxygen-free environments. The team were careful to explain that they had not spotted actual life forms on the planet. However, one astrophysicist said:
With what we currently know of Venus, the most plausible explanation for phosphine, as fantastical as it might sound, is life.
Although Venus is the closest planet to Earth in the solar system, its atmosphere is highly acidic and phosphine gas itself is toxic. Still, this discovery is very significant. It could lead to pioneering new research to help us understand our galactic neighbour better.