We’ve had the Durham Dash – now the Somerset Rave!

‘Chaos’ as hundreds pack illegal rave – and continue to arrive at 10am

Locals have described the scene as “chaos”, with the “out of control” event near Bath in Somerset attracting “hundreds and hundreds” of partygoers.

Is this just post lockdown “exuberance” or are people getting the message that Boris and many of his close confidants have strong libertarian leanings? – Owl

Police have blasted “selfish” revellers after a 15-hour stand-off at a huge illegal rave which could be heard 10 miles away.

Stunned neighbours said people were still arriving at 10am today.

Locals have described the scene as “chaos”, with the “out of control” event near Bath in Somerset attracting “hundreds and hundreds” of partygoers.

Police were inundated with calls about the massive party near overnight, and it was still going strong this morning, with crowds ignoring social distancing rules.

It comes as police across the UK battle against rising numbers of illegal gatherings – with two officers injured in clashes in London on Friday.

Huge crowds of ravers descended on the beauty spot in Upper Swainswick, Somerset, late last night, with loud music reported from midnight onwards.

Describing the scene this morning, neighbour Sean Duggan, who was walking with his wife, told Somerset Live : “I’m surprised this chaos is allowed to go on.

“I think its a case of pure stupidity and lack of control…seems all very one sided when the poor residents have to put up with it.

“It’s very out of control .. we got stopped by two ravers who wouldn’t let us past ..it was a bit scary.. I said to my wife, let’s go.”

He said: “(There are) cars parked up all the way up the bypass (A46) on the grass verges.. lots of people around. It would appear to be rave culture fans. The event looks well organised for rave party lovers.”

Mr Duggan added: “People are still arriving. They seem to have a bus going up and down the hill and a white lorry we seen a good few times.

“I counted about three police and hundreds and hundreds of people.”

A spokesman for Avon and Somerset Police said: “We had the first report of a potential unlicensed music event near Bath at 11.21pm on Saturday 18 July.

“Officers attended within 10 minutes, quickly established there were already several hundred people at the location – the former Charmy Down airfield, Upper Swainswick – and called for further resources.

“We had dedicated extra patrols on duty last night to respond to any reported unlicensed music events across the force area. These units were immediately deployed to this incident.

“Officers closed off the approach routes, however people were abandoning vehicles and making their way to the site on foot. Officers were still turning vehicles away at 6.40am today, Sunday 19 July.

“A full risk assessment last night concluded that the potential risks to public safety of an intervention to close an event attended by more than 3000 people in dark and wet conditions were too great.

“There were also other significant incidents across the force area including 120 999 calls which required an immediate police response and the attention of our resources. Therefore the decision was taken to contain the event until daylight hours.”

Chief Superintendent Ian Wylie added: “We’re working with neighbouring forces and other agencies including Bath and North East Somerset Council, highways, and the ambulance service to close down this event in a controlled way and ensure those attending are able to disperse safely.

“We’re sorry for the disruption caused to so many residents by the selfish actions of the organisers of this event and those attending, knowing the problems it would cause and the ongoing risk to public health of large gatherings due to COVID-19.

“We will take appropriate action against those responsible and would ask anyone with evidence which could help to get in touch, quoting reference 1414 of 18 July.”

Another neighbour said: “Residents woke up to loud, thumping music around 5am, didn’t know what it was.

“Usually the only sound in Bath on a Sunday morning is church bells.

“Swainswick valley is a stunning beauty sport, popular with walkers.

“A beautiful little hamlet nestled just behind the hills of Lansdown in the valley, a bit like the Sound of Music.”

UK test and trace system failing in major outbreak zones, leaked analysis shows

England’s “world beating” coronavirus test and trace service is failing to reach more than half the contacts named by infected residents in Blackburn with Darwen – where health chiefs are battling a major outbreak.

[Breaking news – Now the Observer has been told that Hancock, who has insisted repeatedly that local authorities have all the information they need from the track and trace system, is set to give way and allow access to the named data as well other information already provided, such as postcodes, so long as strict data protection rules and conditions are followed.] – How much has this privatised enterprise cost? – Owl

Shaun Lintern Health Correspondent www.independent.co.uk 


Leaked analysis obtained by The Independent shows that across northwest England, the national tracing service is reaching only 52 per cent of all close contacts, leading one senior source to say: “The contact tracing service is now part of the problem we are trying to solve, not the solution.”

The data also shows that less than half of close contacts are being reached in Oldham, St Helens, Manchester and Rochdale. The best performance for the region is in Cheshire East, where a third are still being missed.

The analysis was carried out by Professor Dominic Harrison, the public health director of Blackburn with Darwen borough council.

In the report, sent around the region earlier today, Professor Harrison said: “I have to advise you that I think that the structure, funding, operation and performance of the current test and trace system – in particular the contact tracing system element, is now contributing to the increased risks of Covid-19 in Blackburn with Darwen.”

He warned: “With larger numbers of contacts per case and only just over half of the contact tracing of confirmed cases completed, we are at significant risk of losing control of the capacity to manage this risk due to the failure of the contact tracing.”

He said the borough had the highest percentage of contacts per infected person in the country, meaning “a system failure to trace contacts quickly and comprehensively in this borough amplifies the risk of continued community transmission”.

The professor added: “I need an urgent response in order to mobilise the local capacity asap.”

His findings have left government and Public Health England officials scrambling this weekend to put in place new local contact tracing to pursue those not reached by the national system. If they fail, the outbreak could worsen and lead to a local lockdown like that seen in Leicester.

Boris Johnson had promised a “world beating” test and trace service in May and the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies has been clear that 80 per cent of contacts must be reached within 48 hours to prevent the virus from spreading.

Last week, Blackburn with Darwen saw a spike in infections, with cases rising to 47 per 100,000 people. The council asked residents to limit visitors to their homes and wear face masks in enclosed spaces.

No hype, just the advice and analysis you need

The latest data published on Saturday shows the northwest region has the highest overall rate of infection with 600 cases per 100,000 people.

Professor Harrison’s analysis has exposed a weakness in the national centralised testing and tracing service which was set up and awarded to private companies including Serco alongside the centralised testing in the Lighthouse Laboratories.

Tracers will call a contact 10 times, but if they don’t get through there is little else they can do. Local councils do not have patient level contact details so cannot do their own contact tracing by knocking on doors in affected areas.

Professor Harrison’s report said the success rate of contact tracing via pillar 1 of the government’s strategy, using local NHS and Public Health England labs, was 100 per cent.

Promoting local resources, he said: “We can mobilise a local solution by asking our neighbourhood teams to pick up the contact tracing at local level where local knowledge would increase the success of tracing of these contacts. We feel we would be able to do this both faster and more comprehensively and with more cultural insight.”

He added the problem was replicated in other areas: “It looks like many of the local authorities with high confirmed cases per 100,000 also have amongst the lowest rates of completed contact traces. The implications are obvious.”

In total, there were 799 close contacts identified for the council area in the latest data. “This is the highest number of contacts per case in the northwest,” he said. He added that only 44 per cent had been reached while 56 per cent had not been, making that “the lowest in the northwest”.

He concluded: “I will be doing all I can over the next few days to escalate this issue and seek urgent and immediate solutions – but with the vast majority of contract tracing capacity and investment now placed with remote private sector commissioned service providers, we will struggle to provide the local solution I have outlined.”

Professor Harrison told The Independent he wouldn’t discuss the leaked report and said only that the council was “aware of the low level of ‘contact tracing completions’,” adding: “We are working over this weekend with the national test and trace system and PHE to find immediate, more localised solutions to the issue.”

The prime minister took to Twitter on Saturday to proclaim the government’s approach was working.

He said efforts to control Covid-19 “through targeted, local action” were working and being led by the test and trace service. Next week, the government will unveil new powers to be able to close down businesses and order people to stay at home.

Labour shadow health and social care secretary, Jonathan Ashworth, said: “This is shocking and a far cry from the world beating testing system Boris Johnson promised.

“What we have instead is an ad hoc jumble of different private companies, ministers dragging their feet on giving councils the specific data they need and a failure to contact cases – all for an eye watering £10bn of taxpayer’s money. It’s failures like this that has led to Leicester having to go into lockdown and a highly respected director of public health in Blackburn raising the alarm.”

The Liberal Democrats said the prime minister was not being straight with the public about the test and trace system.

Health spokesperson Munira Wilson said: “What is happening in Blackburn and Darwen drives a coach and horses through the prime minister’s dubious claims to be able to control the virus through targeted, local action.

“This is too serious to be playing politics. From recklessly changing current guidance against the advice of his experts to this, Boris Johnson clearly isn’t being straight with the public.

“The only way to allay fears and keep people safe is with a comprehensive strategy to test, trace and isolate every case of coronavirus.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care said: “NHS Test and Trace has already helped test and isolate more than 180,000 cases – helping us control the spread of the virus, prevent a second wave and save lives.

“The service is working closely with local authorities across England to help manage local outbreaks and data is shared daily.

“We urge anyone with symptoms to get tested for coronavirus as quickly as possible, self-isolate, and you should not leave home unless it is to get tested. The service relies on everyone playing their part – please book a test if you have symptoms, self-isolate and help us trace anyone you’ve been in contact with.”

The COVID Symptom Study reveals six distinct ‘types’ of COVID-19

Data from the COVID Symptom Study has revealed six distinct ‘types’ of COVID-19, which has major implications for treatment and monitoring.

covid.joinzoe.com /post/covid-clusters

Analysis of data from the COVID Symptom Study app, led by researchers from King’s College London and the health technology company ZOE, reveals that there are six distinct ‘types’ of COVID-19, each distinguished by a particular cluster of symptoms. Moreover, the team found that these types differed in the severity of the disease and the need for respiratory support during hospitalisation.

The findings have major implications for clinical management of COVID-19, and could help doctors predict who is most at risk and likely to need hospital care in a second wave of coronavirus infections.

Launched in March in the UK and extended to the US and Sweden, the COVID Symptom Study app asks participants to log their health and any new potential symptoms of COVID-19 on a daily basis. With more than 4 million users, this represents the largest study of its kind in the world.

Although continuous cough, fever and loss of smell (anosmia) are usually highlighted as the three key symptoms of COVID-19, data gathered from app users shows that people can experience a wide range of different symptoms including headaches, muscle pains, fatigue, diarrhoea, confusion, loss of appetite, shortness of breath and more.* The progression and outcomes also vary significantly between people, ranging from mild flu-like symptoms or a simple rash to severe or fatal disease.

To find out whether particular symptoms tend to appear together and how this related to the progression of the disease, the research team used a machine learning algorithm to analyse data from a subset of around 1,600 users in the UK and US with confirmed COVID-19 who had regularly logged their symptoms using the app in March and April.

The analysis revealed six specific groupings of symptoms emerging at characteristic timepoints in the progression of the illness, representing six distinct ‘types’ of COVID-19. The algorithm was then tested by running it on a second independent dataset of 1,000 users in the UK, US and Sweden, who had logged their symptoms during May.

All people reporting symptoms experienced headache and loss of smell, with varying combinations of additional symptoms at various times. Some of these, such as confusion, abdominal pain and shortness of breath, are not widely known as COVID-19 symptoms, yet are hallmarks of the most severe forms of the disease.

The six clusters are as follows:

1 (‘flu-like’ with no fever): Headache, loss of smell, muscle pains, cough, sore throat, chest pain, no fever.

2 (‘flu-like’ with fever): Headache, loss of smell, cough, sore throat, hoarseness, fever, loss of appetite.

3 (gastrointestinal): Headache, loss of smell, loss of appetite, diarrhea, sore throat, chest pain, no cough.

4 (severe level one, fatigue): Headache, loss of smell, cough, fever, hoarseness, chest pain, fatigue.

5 (severe level two, confusion): Headache, loss of smell, loss of appetite, cough, fever, hoarseness, sore throat, chest pain, fatigue, confusion, muscle pain.

6 (severe level three, abdominal and respiratory): Headache, loss of smell, loss of appetite, cough, fever, hoarseness, sore throat, chest pain, fatigue, confusion, muscle pain, shortness of breath, diarrhea, abdominal pain.

Next, the team investigated whether people experiencing particular symptom clusters were more likely to require breathing support in the form of ventilation or additional oxygen.

They discovered that only 1.5% of people with cluster 1, 4.4% of people with cluster 2 and 3.3% of people with cluster 3 COVID-19 required breathing support. These figures were 8.6%, 9.9% and 19.8% for clusters 4,5 and 6 respectively. Furthermore, nearly half of the patients in cluster 6 ended up in hospital, compared with just 16% of those in cluster 1.

Broadly, people with cluster 4,5 or 6 COVID-19 symptoms tended to be older and frailer, and were more likely to be overweight and have pre-existing conditions such as diabetes or lung disease than those with type 1,2 or 3.

The researchers then developed a model combining information about age, sex, BMI and pre-existing conditions together with symptoms gathered over just five days from the onset of the illness.

This was able to predict which cluster a patient falls into and their risk of requiring hospitalisation and breathing support with a higher likelihood of being correct than an existing risk model based purely on age, sex, BMI and pre-existing conditions alone.

Given that most people who require breathing support come to hospital around 13 days after their first symptoms, this extra eight days represents a significant ‘early warning’ as to who is most likely to need more intensive care.

“These findings have important implications for care and monitoring of people who are most vulnerable to severe COVID-19,” explains consultant geriatrician Dr Claire Steves, one of the team working on the study. “If you can predict who these people are at day five, you have time to give them support and early interventions such as monitoring blood oxygen and sugar levels, and ensuring they are properly hydrated – simple care that could be given at home, preventing hospitalisations and saving lives.”

Lead researcher Dr Carole Sudre said:

”Our study illustrates the importance of monitoring symptoms over time to make our predictions about individual risk and outcomes more sophisticated and accurate. This approach is helping us to understand the unfolding story of this disease in each patient so they can get the best care.”

The study highlights the importance of using technology like the COVID Symptom Study app to monitor health and spot the earliest signs of coronavirus infection.

“Being able to gather big datasets through the app and apply machine learning to them is having a profound impact on our understanding of the extent and impact of COVID-19, and human health more widely,” said Sebastien Ourselin, professor of healthcare engineering at King’s College London and senior author of the study.

COVID Symptom Study lead Professor Tim Spector added:

“Data is our most powerful tool in the fight against COVID-19. We urge everyone to get in the habit of using the app daily to log their health over the coming months, helping us to stay ahead of any local hotspots or a second wave of infections.”

A paper detailing the results is available online as a pre-print, and has been submitted to a scientific journal for rapid peer review and publication.


The COVID Symptom Study has now identified skin rash as a key symptom of COVID-19 in up to one in ten cases. However, it was not recognised as a symptom during the time when the data was gathered for this analysis so it is currently unknown how skin rashes map on to these six clusters.

About ZOE

ZOE is a healthcare science company using data-driven research to tackle the world’s health issues. By using machine learning combined with digital technologies like mobile phones, ZOE enables large-scale scientific studies to tackle issues like COVID-19, inflammation and the impact of nutrition on health.

Located in London and Boston, ZOE was founded by Professor Tim Spector of King’s College London, machine learning leader Jonathan Wolf and entrepreneur George Hadjigeorgiou. ZOE has carried out the largest nutritional studies of their kind in the world, and was named one of the Deloitte Fast 50 Rising Stars in 2019 for the company’s contribution to science enabled by technology and machine learning.

For more information on ZOE’s mission and science visit joinzoe.com. Join the waitlist for updates about ZOE products and research studies at joinzoe.com/signup Find us on Instagram @ZOE


Ottery St Mary Writers’ Group Creative Writing Competition

The  Ottery St Mary Writers’ Group is currently running a  Creative Writing Competition, eligible to all ages of writers in the local area. It aims to create a desire amongst young writers and adults alike, to develop their writing skills and also act as a distraction in our currently difficult times.  Poems or short stories based on the theme of ‘Memory’ can be submitted. There will be prizes for each category; the closing date is 15th September 2020. The rules and information can be found on https://otterywriters.wordpress.com or by e-mailing ottery-writer@gmx.com.

Planning Applications validated EDDC week beginning 6 July

Russian socialite, 48, becomes Tory party’s biggest female donor

A Russian socialite has become the Tory party’s biggest donor with gifts totalling to £1.7million – including £45,000 to play tennis with Boris Johnson and £135,000 for dinner with Theresa May.

5-6 minutes

Lubov Chernukhin, who is married to billionaire former Russian minister Vladimir, contributed over £335,000 to the Conservative Party between January and July this year, according to Electoral Commission records.

The banker, 48, gave £200,000 to the Tory election campaign on November 6 last year, the same day the last parliament was dissolved for the general election.

Records also show Mrs Chernukhin made two separate donations of £200,000 and £45,000 on March 16, alongside more than £59,000 on February 27.

The consultant has previously been named as the donor who shelled out for a place on the tennis court with Boris Johnson at a Tory fundraiser in February.

The election regulator said Mrs Chernukhin has given a total of £1,765,804 to the Party since she started donating in 2012, according to The Times.

She also enjoyed a night out with former PM May and six female Cabinet members at the exclusive Goring Hotel in London’s Belgravia in April last year after donating £135,000 at another fundraiser.

At the time, the Tory Party insisted she was not a ‘Putin crony’ after she donated more than £1million over seven years.

Mrs Chernukhin’s husband Vladimir was a Russian deputy finance minister, but she is now a British citizen.

In 2014 David Cameron faced questions after Mrs Chernukhin successfully bid £160,000 at a party fundraising dinner to play tennis against him and Mr Johnson.

The former PM was accused of hypocrisy over the donation, which came at a time when he was pushing for tougher Western sanctions against Moscow in response to its annexation of Crimea and the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.

However, the Tories insist all donations are properly declared and checked.