There have been 97 new coronavirus cases and seven COVID-related deaths in Greater Lincolnshire on Tuesday — down from 136 cases and eight deaths this time last week.

The government’s COVID-19 dashboard recorded 69 new cases in Lincolnshire, 18 in North East Lincolnshire and 10 in North Lincolnshire.

On Tuesday, five deaths were registered in Lincolnshire and two in North East Lincolnshire. These figures include deaths both in and out of hospitals, as well as residents in hospitals outside the county.

NHS England reported three new local hospital deaths at United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust and one at Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust.

On Tuesday, national cases increased by 6,391 to 4,188,400, while deaths rose by 343 to 123,296.

In local news, all Lincolnshire schools are preparing to reopen next week, with most primary school pupils returning on Monday and teachers and staff getting tested ahead.

Only children of key workers attended lessons in the latest national lockdown, some 25% of the total number of pupils in Lincolnshire. Now all students will begin to return to face-to-face education from March 8.

This is how one school in Lincolnshire is preparing for Monday’s big return.

All Lincolnshire’s COVID vaccine sites are continuing to offer people their jabs, officials say.

The reassurance comes after it was reported some people believed the major hubs were slowing down their operations.

The organisation which runs Lincolnshire’s vaccination sites said due to demand and supply of the vaccine, not all its sites are open every day.

Lincolnshire has been bucking the trend and increasing in COVID-19 cases over the past couple of weeks, with infection rates in some areas now double the national average.

South Holland is number five in the UK, with a 208.4 infection rate — more than double England’s 102.9 figure as a whole. It’s believed outbreaks among field and factory workers are pushing the numbers up, along with extra testing.

Here’s Greater Lincolnshire’s infection rate up to March 1 according to the government’s dashboard:

Greater Lincolnshire’s infection rates from Feb 22 to Mar 1. | Data: Gov UK / Table: James Mayer for The Lincolnite

In national news, the first assessment of the Brazilian variant of COVID-19, newly identified in the UK, shows it may spread more easily – and evade the immune system.

Scientists from Brazil and the UK estimate the variant, known as P1, is 1.4 to 2.2 times more transmissible than previous versions of coronavirus circulating in Manaus, the Amazon city where it originated.

So far, the hunt for an unidentified person who tested positive for the Brazil variant of coronavirus has narrowed to 379 households in southeast England, the health secretary has said.

Mr Hancock said in the House of Commons on Tuesday: “We must proceed with caution because although we’re moving quickly, the virus moves quickly too.”

Lincolnshire’s COVID cases up to March 2.

Coronavirus data for Greater Lincolnshire on Tuesday, March 2

Greater Lincolnshire includes Lincolnshire and the unitary authorities of North and North East (Northern) Lincolnshire.

53,701 cases (up 97)

  • 37,904 in Lincolnshire (up 69)
  • 8,076 in North Lincolnshire (up 10)
  • 7,721 in North East Lincolnshire (up 18)

2,086 deaths (up seven)

  • 1,533 from Lincolnshire (up five)
  • 299 from North Lincolnshire (no change)
  • 254 from North East Lincolnshire (up two)

of which 1,230 hospital deaths (up four)

  • 764 at United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust (up three)
  • 41 at Lincolnshire Community Health Service hospitals (no change)
  • 1 at Lincolnshire Partnership Foundation Trust (no change)
  • 424 in Northern Lincolnshire (NLAG) (up one)

4,188,400 UK cases, 123,296 deaths

DATA SOURCE — FIGURES CORRECT AT THE TIME OF the latest update. postcode data includes deaths not in healthcare facilities or in hospitals outside authority boundaries.

A student distributed video footage of young children being sexually abused and chatted online about an interest in raping a baby, Lincoln Crown Court was told on Tuesday.

Joshua Sly, who at the time was about to start a course at the University of Lincoln, sent three indecent video clips of children being abused to a Canadian woman he met through an online chat log.

Lisa Hardy, prosecuting, told the court that Sly had a “disturbing conversation” with the woman in which he told her he was performing a sexual act and thinking of raping a baby.

“She told him she had a three-week-old niece. He replied ‘perfect’,” said Mrs Hardy.

Sly’s internet activities attracted the attention of police and in November 2019 officers traced him to an address in uphill Lincoln.

A laptop and an iPhone were taken away and when the items were examined officers found 56 indecent images of children together with five extreme pornographic images.

Miss Hardy said: “On searching these devices what was of significant concern to the officers was the content of the chat he had engaged in on Kik and Skype.”

When Sly was later interviewed he said that at the time he committed the offences he was depressed and lonely.

“He said got into conversation with the Canadian woman and got sucked into a group of people who were into that sort of thing. He became involved with her. It became sexual and she began to send him things.”

The court was told that Sly, now a full-time student at the University of Lincoln, was only just 18 at the time he was involved with the woman and stopped his illegal activities six months before police turned up at his home.

Sly, now 20, of Spital Street, Lincoln, admitted distributing indecent images of children between July and September 2018.

He also admitted three charges of making an indecent image of a child and a further charge of possession of extreme pornographic images.

Christopher Jeyes, in mitigation, said that Sly has since reflected on his behaviour and accepted he has issues.

“It is something that is not easy for him to come to terms with. He is a young man who in many ways is isolated and unsupported.”

He said that Sly had little or no contact with his parents since he was 15 and was very isolated.

Sly was given a 16-month jail sentence suspended for two years with a 30 day rehabilitation activity requirement.

He was ordered to complete a sex offender treatment programme and was placed on the sex offenders register for 10 years. He was also given a 10-year sexual harm prevention order.

A 55-year-old man from Spalding has been accused of racially and verbally abusing a taxi driver in the Lincolnshire town.

John Ronson, of Parkside Crescent in Spalding, has been summonsed to appear at Boston Magistrates Court on March 23 after an investigation.

Lincolnshire Police said he has been charged with an offence of racially aggravated fear or provocation of violence.

This is in relation to an incident in which Ronson was alleged to have racially verbally abused a taxi driver on New Road in Spalding on August 17 last year.

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