G7 coronavirus outbreak: Angela Merkel’s team hit by infections – Cornwall hotel closed
Joe Biden arrives in the UK for G7 summit
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The two have been affected by the outbreak at the Pedn-Olva Hotel in St Ives, Bloomberg is reporting. The incident puts Mrs Merkel who is due to arrive in the UK at 11am, in a difficult position, especially given the tightness of security at the summit. However, a government spokesman insisted the fact that her bodyguards had been forced to quarantine would have no effect on her involvement in Carbis Bay.
Mrs Merkel is planning to arrive in Cornwall, England, at about noon.
In Berlin, on Thursday evening there was already talk that two members of the Chancellor’s advance security team had been staying at the affected hotel in St Ives.
The outbreak was detected in the hotel on Wednesday, after which it was closed.
A number of staff had been affected, the the hotel has been closed for deep cleaning following discussions with Public Health England (PHE).
A spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also confirmed Ms Merkel would still be attending the summit.
The hotel owners, St Austell Brewery, said: “We can confirm that a number of our team at the Pedn Olva, St Ives, have tested positive for Covid-19.
“We immediately notified Public Health England of these cases and have been working closely with them to ensure we follow all appropriate safety guidelines.
“Following extensive discussions over the last few days with PHE and Cornwall Council, we have taken the decision to fully close the hotel.
“We fully appreciate the inconvenience given the limited accommodation options available in the area at the moment but the safety and security of our team and guests is our upmost priority.
“The hotel will reopen once a full Covid-19 deep clean has taken place and we have the available staff to run it.”
Simon Norris, 62, who also near the hotel, said his wife saw people checking out of the hotel and leaving with bags at about 5pm.
“We don’t have a lot of direct contact with the hotel, I’m really saddened by the outbreak,” he told the PA news agency.
“I feel very sorry for the staff that work there because they have done a lot of work to open the hotel up for the G7 and visitors. It’s extremely disappointing.
“When we’ve gone there they’ve met all the Covid protocols, I think they’ve just been very, very unlucky. It’s a great shame really. Prior to this we have had no incidents of Covid in St Ives.”
Speaking yesterday, Mrs Merkel urged Germans monitor to coronavirus trends in Europe “very closely” as the summer holiday season got underway, especially with the rise of the Delta variant.
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She added: “We can say that the efforts of the past few months have paid off. But we shouldn’t be careless.”
Tight restrictions mean up-to-date COVID-19 tests, which must be registered online, are checked frequently.
Journalists are not allowed to report at the summit, even even collected their accreditati, without having a test on-site.
At hotels, guests are required to test themselves every morning at register the results online in order that they can be shown upon entering venues.
Rachel Wigglesworth, director of Public Health for Cornwall and Isles of Scilly, said that public health teams were used to dealing with outbreaks of coronavirus.
When asked on Sky News on Friday about a hotel, reportedly hosting G7 media and security staff, having to close due to a Covid-19 outbreak she said: “As we know from living with this global pandemic there’s always these cases that arise but we are used to dealing with these sort of incidents across the country now.
“Our public health teams and the expertise around them are helping to support venues where there are any outbreaks and sometimes a business has to make the decision that they operationally cannot continue to work rather than it necessarily being a public health issue where staff have to self isolate.”
She added: “What we are seeing across the country is there are outbreaks, we have slightly increased the rates of Covid over the last few weeks, I think related to the relaxation of the restrictions from May 17, so a lot more cases amongst hospitality venues and amongst younger people that are not vaccinated.
“So we do need to continue to vaccinate but also to then suppress these cases where we do identify them.”
People living in the nearby town of St Ives appear to have their doubts about the arrival of the nation’s leaders.
Andrea Hodgson, 78, said it was “pretty awful” the G7 is being held in Cornwall this year.
Mrs Hodgson told the PA news agency: “It’s totally inappropriate, it’s not climate-friendly, it’s a total waste of money. They’ve closed our hospital, they’ve closed our police station and they are wasting millions and millions of pounds for international people to have a party.
“It could all be done online. I’m really angry about it – the number of people that are coming down all through lockdown. We’ve been locked away here so we can’t even go outside of our front door.”
She added: “The people are being marginalised here – and the G7 is making it worse.”
(More to follow)
(Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg)
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