Quarter of crew on nuclear submarine dubbed test positive for Covid

Quarter of crew on £3billion nuclear submarine dubbed ‘HMS sex and cocaine’ test positive for coronavirus after defying orders and going drinking at local bars and strip clubs

  • 35 crew on secretive HMS Vigilant tested positive for Covid, source revealed
  • Among those who tested positive were a doctor and an executive officer
  • Nuclear weapons codes are known by that executive officer and 1 other person
  • Sailors defied orders while docked at the Kings Bay US Navy base in Georgia

A £3billion nuclear submarine dubbed ‘HMS Sex and Cocaine’ has seen a coronavirus outbreak among its rule-breaking crew.

Highly-secretive HMS Vigilant saw more than 35 crewmembers test positive after several left the Kings Bay US Navy base in Georgia, a source has revealed. 

Among those who tested positive – a quarter of the vessels team – was a doctor and an executive officer.

The codes to deploy the nuclear weapons stored on the submarine are known only by that executive officer and one other person, reports suggest. 

Sailors defied orders to go to strip clubs, bars and restaurants in Georgia – which has seen 318,000 coronavirus cases and 7,282 deaths.

One trip saw them travel 200-miles away to a beach in Florida, an insider said.

In other coronavirus news yesterday: 

  • London Mayor Sadiq Khan warned it is ‘inevitable’ London will be plunged into a Tier Two lockdown this week;
  • A poll found Britons do not believe the Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s ‘Three Tier’ lockdown goes far enough;
  • Tory curfew rebels made a symbolic protest against the 10pm pub closure rule but were unable to prevent it;
  • Health minister Helen Whately said care home residents’ families will be treated as key workers with weekly tests;
  • Nicola Sturgeon trolled the PM over his Sage spat, saying her ‘circuit breaker’ is ‘rooted in scientific advice’;
  • Bolton West Conservative MP Chris Green quit as a parliamentary private secretary over the new lockdown.

HMS Vigilant (pictured), a £3billion nuclear submarine dubbed ‘HMS Sex and Cocaine’, has seen a coronavirus outbreak among its lockdown-defying crew

More than 35 crewmembers on highly-secretive HMS Vigilant - one of the four submarines which make up the UK's nuclear deterrent - tested positive after leaving the Kings Bay US Navy base in Georgia (file image), a source has revealed

More than 35 crewmembers on highly-secretive HMS Vigilant – one of the four submarines which make up the UK’s nuclear deterrent – tested positive after leaving the Kings Bay US Navy base in Georgia (file image), a source has revealed

Florida is the third worst-hit state in the US with 738,749 cases in total.

HMS Vigilant makes up part of the UK’s nuclear deterrent – along with four other submarines.

Maintenance work is currently being carried out on Trident 2 – a submarine-launched ballistic missile – which is housed on the vessel. 

A source told The Sun: ‘They have been alongside for weeks and sailors do what sailors do.’ 

A Royal Navy spokesman said: ‘We do not comment on matters related to submarine operations.

‘Where an individual’s conduct falls short of the high standards we expect, we won’t hesitate to take the appropriate action.’ 

HMS Vigilant has been shrouded in controversy over the years.

In 2017, it was revealed that nine servicemen were thrown off the submarine after cocaine was found in their blood.

While the submarine was docked in the US to pick up nuclear warheads, they are alleged to have held drug-fuelled parties – with one man having sex with a prostitute in a swimming pool.

A police report allegedly shows he paid £120 for sex then stole the money back from her purse.

It followed four officers on HMS Vigilant being disciplined for having affairs with fellow crew.

That came to light after an alleged affair between its captain Commander Stuart Armstrong, 41, and Sub-Lieutenant Rebecca Edwards, 25. Both were removed from duty on board.

Another serviceman on the vessel faced court martial after going AWOL and flying to the UK to see his girlfriend. Two more quit in the wake of the scandals. 

The £21trillion cost of Covid: IMF warns the pandemic will cause ‘lasting damage’ to living standards worldwide 

By James Salmon for the Daily Mail 

The Covid crisis will blow a £21trillion hole in the world economy and inflict ‘lasting damage’ on living standards, the International Monetary Fund has warned.

After the total death toll from the pandemic climbed above a million victims, the Washington-based watchdog yesterday spelled out the devastating global impact of the virus on the economy.

In its latest World Economic Outlook, the IMF predicted the crisis would leave financial scars for years while the recovery would be ‘long, uneven and uncertain’.

Setbacks: IMF chief economist Gita Gopinath said the crisis will leave scars and any recovery will be ‘long, uneven and uncertain’

Setbacks: IMF chief economist Gita Gopinath said the crisis will leave scars and any recovery will be ‘long, uneven and uncertain’

It also forecast the total loss in output triggered by the pandemic will hit $28trillion (£21trillion) by the middle of the decade.

This is a dent worth more than the size of the US economy, the largest in the world.

Gita Gopinath, chief economist at the IMF, said this ‘represents a severe setback to the improvement in average living standards across all country groups’.

She added: ‘This crisis will likely leave scars well into the medium term as labour markets take time to heal, investment is held back by uncertainty and balance sheet problems and lost schooling impairs human capital.

‘All countries are now facing what I would call The Long Ascent – a difficult climb that will be long, uneven, and uncertain. And prone to setbacks.

‘The path ahead is clouded with extraordinary uncertainty. Faster progress on health measures, such as vaccines and therapies, could speed up the ascent. But it could also get worse, especially if there is a significant increase in severe outbreaks.’

Despite all this, the IMF has become marginally more optimistic since the summer, predicting the global economy will shrink 4.4 per cent this year.

The IMF forecasts the total loss in output triggered by the pandemic will hit $28trillion (£21trillion) by the middle of the decade

The IMF forecasts the total loss in output triggered by the pandemic will hit $28trillion (£21trillion) by the middle of the decade

This marks an improvement on the 5.2 per cent contraction it predicted in its last World Economic Outlook in June.

The upgrade reflects both that the recession in the second quarter was not quite as severe as previously feared, and that economies around the world have bounced back more quickly than expected as lockdowns have been lifted. 

But even a 4.4 per cent contraction would still amount to the worst worldwide slump since the Great Depression of the 1930s, the Fund said.

The IMF also warned the recovery would be slightly slower than it had previously thought, amid a spike in infections and a fresh wave of lockdowns and restrictions to slow the spread.

This sentiment was echoed by the Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey who told peers on the House of Lords Economic Affairs committee yesterday: ‘The hard yards are still ahead of us.’

Experts have been taken by surprise by the strength of the UK’s economic recovery as the national lockdown which was imposed in March has lifted.

But the introduction of local lockdowns and other restrictions to tackle a second wave of the virus have fuelled fears that the recovery could be snuffed out. 

The IMF slightly upgraded its projection for the UK, predicting the economy will shrink by 9.8 per cent this year, the same as France. 

This compares to a 10.2 per cent fall anticipated in June. The UK is expected to lag behind the eurozone, which is predicted to contract by 8.3 per cent this year.

Of the G7 group of major developed economies, only Italy is expected to fare worse.

But the UK economy is also expected to bounce back by 5.9 per cent next year, more quickly than the eurozone.

The IMF emphasised that the global outlook would have been bleaker without ‘unprecedented fiscal, monetary, and regulatory responses’ to prop up household incomes and businesses.

Gopinath said that the steps taken have ‘helped save lives and livelihoods and helped prevent a financial catastrophe’.

But, as governments contemplate how to tackle the spiralling Covid debts, she warned: ‘It is essential that fiscal and monetary policy support are not prematurely withdrawn, as best as possible.’ 

How England’s Covid-19 outbreak is still NOWHERE near the first peak: Cambridge University experts estimate more than 400,000 people caught Covid-19 the day before lockdown — but say nearly 50,000 are now getting infected daily  

By LUKE ANDREWS FOR MAILONLINE 

Coronavirus infections in England are still more than eight times below the devastating levels they reached in the spring and the country’s outbreak is growing slower than it did in the first wave, according to top scientists.

Cambridge University researchers, whose estimates feed into No 10‘s advisory panel SAGE, believe 47,000 people are currently catching the disease every day in England. This is in line with a separate government-run coronavirus surveillance scheme, which claimed the figure was 45,000 on October 8.

But the academics, who have re-modelled their estimates, now believe 412,000 people caught the virus on March 23, the day Boris Johnson imposed the national lockdown, after cases spiralled rapidly in a matter of weeks. This eventually fizzled out to below 1,000 at the end of July and start of August.

For comparison, health chiefs yesterday posted another 17,234 official cases for the whole of Britain — a figure which has risen 20 per cent in a week. But the true size of the outbreak is not evident in official testing statistics because not everyone who is infected gets tested, or even shows symptoms to warrant a swab.  

Data from the darkest days of the crisis in March and April is also wildly inaccurate because of the government’s lacklustre testing programme, which meant millions of infected Britons went without a test.  

Cambridge experts have tracked statistics on England’s coronavirus outbreak since February, providing frequent predictions for how widespread Covid-19 is across the country as a whole and each region. The team also works backwards to estimate the R rate and the true number of daily infections. 

Despite figures showing cases are still much lower than they were at the time of the peak of the spring pandemic, the academics have projected 500 people could die each day by October 29. This is darker than the bold claims of the government’s top two advisers, who warned the figure could reach 200 by the end of the month.

Data from Public Health England (PHE) and NHS England on Covid-19 confirmed deaths and antibody prevalence is used, alongside information from Google and the ONS on mixing between different age groups, to predict the figures.

The figures come as Britain yesterday recorded more than 100 coronavirus deaths for the first time in four months as officials announced 143 more victims. Department of Health statistics show the grim milestone hadn’t been hit since June 17, when 110 lab-confirmed fatalities were added to the tally. 

Sir Keir Starmer tonight demanded Britain be plunged into a nationwide ‘circuit-breaker’ as soon as possible, as he accused Boris Johnson of losing control of the coronavirus pandemic. Labour’s leader said a complete shutdown lasting two to three weeks could be timed to take place over half-term to minimise disruption but admitted that ‘sacrifices’ would have to be made.

His comments came as a senior minister yesterday admitted national rules will ‘probably’ have to get tougher after it was revealed the Prime Minister is at war with SAGE over demands for a ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown for the whole of the UK as the October school half-term approaches.

This graph shows infections diagnosed by day announced (yellow) and total infections thought to have occurred, according to the model by Cambridge academics (red). It currently estimates there are around 47,000 new infections a day in England

This graph shows infections diagnosed by day announced (yellow) and total infections thought to have occurred, according to the model by Cambridge academics (red). It currently estimates there are around 47,000 new infections a day in England

These graphs show the number of new infections per day thought to have occurred in England and the East of England throughout the pandemic. Numbers go up to October 9. The first blue line represents lockdown being imposed on March 23, and the second is where restrictions began to be lifted

These graphs show the number of new infections per day thought to have occurred in England and the East of England throughout the pandemic. Numbers go up to October 9. The first blue line represents lockdown being imposed on March 23, and the second is where restrictions began to be lifted

These graphs show the number of infections thought to have happened per day during the pandemic up to October 9, according to the Cambridge model. The first blue line represents lockdown being imposed on March 23, and the second is where restrictions began to be lifted

These graphs show the number of infections thought to have happened per day during the pandemic up to October 9, according to the Cambridge model. The first blue line represents lockdown being imposed on March 23, and the second is where restrictions began to be lifted

These graphs show the number of coronavirus infections thought to have happened per day in the North West and the North East and Yorkshire up to October 9, according to the Cambridge model. The first blue line represents lockdown being imposed on March 23, and the second is where restrictions were first lifted on May 11

These graphs show the number of coronavirus infections thought to have happened per day in the North West and the North East and Yorkshire up to October 9, according to the Cambridge model. The first blue line represents lockdown being imposed on March 23, and the second is where restrictions were first lifted on May 11

These graphs show the number of coronavirus infections thought to have happened per day in London and the Midlands up to October 9, according to the Cambridge model. The first blue line represents lockdown being imposed on March 23, and the second is where restrictions were first lifted on May 11

These graphs show the number of coronavirus infections thought to have happened per day in London and the Midlands up to October 9, according to the Cambridge model. The first blue line represents lockdown being imposed on March 23, and the second is where restrictions were first lifted on May 11

Britain records more than 100 Covid-19 deaths 

Britain yesterday recorded more than 100 coronavirus deaths for the first time in four months as officials announced 143 more victims.

Department of Health statistics show the grim milestone hadn’t been hit since June 17, when 110 lab-confirmed fatalities were added to the tally. For comparison, 76 deaths were registered last Tuesday as well as 50 yesterday — but counts on Mondays can be affected by a recording lag at weekends.

Separate data yesterday revealed the number of deaths from Covid-19 in England and Wales has risen for the fourth week in a row, with the disease mentioned on 321 death certificates in the week ending October 2. 

But the same data, from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), shows only one person under the age of 30 has died since August.

Health chiefs yesterday also posted another 17,234 cases, up 18.5 per cent on the figure recorded last Tuesday (14,542). Only 13,972 more positive tests were added to the tally yesterday.

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The latest estimate from the Cambridge team – which goes up until October 9 – claims England is seeing 47,000 new infections a day. But the scientists warn this could actually be as high as 75,000 or as low as 28,000.

The level of infection is set to rise, the team warned, and the number of deaths from coronavirus will likely quadruple within two weeks, reaching between 240 and 690 by October 26.

They estimated the R number is above the dreaded level of one in all of the regions apart from the South West, where they predict it stands at around 0.86.

London has had the highest levels of infection in the country, with one in five residents thought to have been infected. The North West has the second-highest level, with three in twenty residents thought to have been infected.

These numbers remain far below the height of the pandemic, where more than 100,000 people are thought to have been infected every day for 15 days between March 17 and April 1.

On the day lockdown was declared, March 23, the model suggests there may have been as many as 542,000 new infections. But the team’s best guess stood at around 412,000.

Experts are forced to rely on estimates of infections because, at the height of the pandemic, the testing system was unable to diagnose all the cases.

A swabs shortage meant many patients were never tested for the virus even though they were suffering from the tell-tale symptoms, meaning their case wasn’t recorded.

Just one case in every ten was detected in March, according to experts, but by October this has risen markedly to an estimated one in three. 

Although the estimated number of new infections is far below the levels in March, the number of patients in hospital with the virus has surged to the same number as was recorded in the spring.

There were 3,905 patients in England receiving treatment for coronavirus in hospital on October 13, matching the level of 3,097 patients in hospital on March 23. But this was before the peak of 17,172 Covid-19 patients in hospital on April 12. 

The Cambridge University academics estimate around 18,000 people in England were catching the virus every day two weeks before lockdown — only slightly higher than the 15,000 towards the end of September. It can take patients a fortnight, on average, to become seriously ill and need hospital treatment.

These graphs reveal the number of deaths from coronavirus that occurred per day in England and the East of England. The first blue line represents the start of lockdown, March 23, and the second represents the first relaxation of restrictions, May 11. The red dots represent the number of observed deaths

These graphs reveal the number of deaths from coronavirus that occurred per day in England and the East of England. The first blue line represents the start of lockdown, March 23, and the second represents the first relaxation of restrictions, May 11. The red dots represent the number of observed deaths

These graphs reveal the number of deaths from coronavirus that occurred per day in the South East and the South West. The first blue line represents the start of lockdown, March 23, and the second represents the first relaxation of restrictions, May 11. The red dots represent the number of observed deaths

These graphs reveal the number of deaths from coronavirus that occurred per day in the South East and the South West. The first blue line represents the start of lockdown, March 23, and the second represents the first relaxation of restrictions, May 11. The red dots represent the number of observed deaths

These graphs reveal the number of deaths from coronavirus that occurred per day in the North West and the North East and Yorkshire. The first blue line represents the start of lockdown, March 23, and the second represents the first relaxation of restrictions, May 11. The red dots represent the number of observed deaths

These graphs reveal the number of deaths from coronavirus that occurred per day in the North West and the North East and Yorkshire. The first blue line represents the start of lockdown, March 23, and the second represents the first relaxation of restrictions, May 11. The red dots represent the number of observed deaths

These graphs reveal the number of deaths from coronavirus that occurred per day in London and the Midlands. The first blue line represents the start of lockdown, March 23, and the second represents the first relaxation of restrictions, May 11. The red dots represent the number of observed deaths

These graphs reveal the number of deaths from coronavirus that occurred per day in London and the Midlands. The first blue line represents the start of lockdown, March 23, and the second represents the first relaxation of restrictions, May 11. The red dots represent the number of observed deaths

What is the R rate in my area and how is it changing? 

These estimates are based on the model built by academics at the University of Cambridge. The data is presented as location: R rate estimate (Upper and lower variations predicted for the R rate)

East of England: R1.53 (1.16 to 1.94)

London: R1.37 (1.08 to 1.69)

Midlands: R1.39 (1.15 to 1.66)

North East and Yorkshire: R1.52 (1.30 to 1.77)

North West: R1.48 (1.30 to 1.70)

South East: R1.48 (1.12 to 1.86)

South West: R1.21 (0.87 to 1.64) 

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Professor Paul Hunter, an epidemiologist from the University of East Anglia, told MailOnline the discrepancy may be linked to the fact the graph hasn’t been updated since October 9.

‘One of the issues with modelling is we really didn’t have anywhere near the information of what was going on that we have now,’ he said.

‘The incidence data seems to have stopped about October 9, half a week ago, and is still relatively low compared to the peak.

‘But if you look at the deaths incidence, now, on Oct 10, it’s still very low compared to the peak – but what’s happening is they are predicting a big rise over towards the end of the month.

‘The two graphs don’t have the same date ranges in them which I think is part of the confusion and so the incidence is based on current data whereas the deaths is based on predictions.’

It has also been suggested there are so many people hospitalised at present because healthcare staff have more experience with the virus, and act quickly by bringing patients into hospital for early treatment.

It comes as a senior minister yesterday admitted national rules will ‘probably’ have to get tougher after it was revealed Boris Johnson is at war with SAGE over demands for a ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown for the whole of the UK.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick conceded the government is poised to ‘go further’ after the PM unveiled his new ‘Three Tier’ system of local restrictions last night — but only put Merseyside in the harshest category that will see pubs and bars shut.

Mr Jenrick pointed to high rates of infection in areas such as Greater Manchester and Nottingham, appealing for local leaders to agree terms to move up from Tier Two. But he dismissed claims that the government was not being ‘robust’ enough, after bombshell documents slipped out late last night showed its own scientific advisers wanted much more dramatic action.

The extraordinary spat emerged as Mr Johnson gathered his Cabinet for talks on the crisis, with infections threatening to spiral out of control again. Mr Johnson defiantly insisted at a No10 press conference last night that he had no intention of imposing a UK-wide squeeze that would ‘shatter’ the economy.

But within hours the minutes of a SAGE meeting from September 21 were released, showing that is exactly what the key group was suggesting. The timing of the dump by the government — which was out of line with the usual Friday publication schedule — sparked speculation that ministers were trying to bury the news. 

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