Coronavirus Spain: Hotels close after UK quarantine rule

Hoteliers in Mallorca say they have given up hope of UK tourists returning this summer and are closing their doors as a result. 

Spain was abruptly struck off the UK’s travel corridor list last month and cases have continued to mount since then, with nearly 26,000 new infections announced in the last seven days alone. 

With only a few weeks of the summer holiday season left, hotels say they cannot compete with destinations such as Turkey and Greece where travel routes are still open and which have been luring British holidaymakers with cut-price offers. 

The four-star Fergus Style Soller Beach in Mallorca’s Puerto de Soller is among those to close – leaving some tourists in the lurch shortly before they were due to arrive.   

Spain has seen a worrying rise in coronavirus cases in recent weeks, with nearly 26,000 cases recorded in the last seven days – up from fewer than 3,000 a week in June 

The four-star Fergus Style Soller Beach (pictured) in Mallorca's Puerto de Soller has closed its doors - leaving some tourists in the lurch shortly before they were due to arrive

The four-star Fergus Style Soller Beach (pictured) in Mallorca’s Puerto de Soller has closed its doors – leaving some tourists in the lurch shortly before they were due to arrive

Maria Frontera, the head of the Mallorca hotel federation, said that without the lifting of the quarantine, hotels would now start to close their doors. 

Elsewhere, Tenerife is still pressing for a reversal of UK policy because the Canary Islands holiday season continues into the autumn ‘so there is still time left’, according to the island’s government.

The Balearic and Canary Islands were initially exempt from the Foreign Office warning against non-essential travel but it was later extended to cover them.   

Staff at the Sóller Beach told customers: ‘We are coming to you with not such great news, dear friends: due to the last COVID measures taken by UK Government, we have no other choice than close the hotel for this season.

‘We are devastated and we know that many of you will be too. We hope you all keep safe, positive and looking forward to come as soon as things get better, if not this year, the next one.’

Some visitors said they too were dismayed by the news, with one holidaymaker saying she had just one week to find an alternative.

Mallorca’s hoteliers said they had pinned their hopes on negotiations between island leaders and the British government. 

However, they fear that the continuing increase in coronavirus cases over the last fortnight has sealed their fate. 

In addition, airlines Jet2, TUI Fly and EasyJet announced that they were cancelling many of their flights into August. 

People wearing face masks walk down a shopping street in the Las Delicias neighbourhood of Zaragoza in Spain on Monday

People wearing face masks walk down a shopping street in the Las Delicias neighbourhood of Zaragoza in Spain on Monday  

According to the latest data from Turespaña, since the UK government reimposed quarantine, reservations for Spain have dropped by 80 per cent.

The fall includes holidays in winter 2020/21 and summer 2021 as worried holidaymakers call off plans to travel abroad next year.  

Hoteliers on the Costa del Sol estimate that 90 per cent of British bookings have now been cancelled.  

‘We trust that the quarantine will be reversed so that the tourist activity, which had been restarted, with encouraging results, can be reactivated for the winter campaign,’ said tourism councillor José Gregorio Martín Plata.  

Spain has suffered 25,926 cases in the last seven days, up from 18,272 the week before and fewer than 3,000 per week as recently as June. 

The total has now risen above that in Britain to become the highest in Western Europe, prompting criticism of the Spanish government. 

While France, Germany and Italy have also seen upticks in cases in recent weeks, Spain’s spike is by far the largest among those countries.

There are currently more than 500 outbreak clusters in Spain, according to the health ministry. 

The ministry’s emergencies coordinator Fernando Simon said on Monday that there are cases of community transmission in some places that are ‘not perfectly controlled’ but he said they had ‘gradually subsided’ in recent days. 

Spain’s government defended its response to the coronavirus pandemic on Monday, saying ‘appropriate measures’ were being taken in co-ordination with the regions.  

‘The data shows that we are being very active in tracking and detecting the virus,’ the government said in a statement. 

The government also said it had tested nearly 7.5million people since the start of the pandemic, with over 400,000 tested in the past week alone. 

A healthcare worker dressed in protective gear takes samples from a woman at the La Jota health centre in Zaragoza on Monday

A healthcare worker dressed in protective gear takes samples from a woman at the La Jota health centre in Zaragoza on Monday

Official figures show that 65 people have died from the virus in the last week, bringing the total death toll to 28,576. 

Spain imposed one of the world’s strictest lockdowns after the death toll surged in March and April, but the state of emergency has since been lifted.   

In a letter published in medical journal The Lancet, a group of Spanish health experts called for an independent probe into of the government’s handling of the crisis.

More than 50,000 health workers have been infected, and nearly 20,000 deaths were in nursing homes, the authors said. 

The health experts pointed the finger at a range of errors including poor co-ordination between Madrid and regional governments. 

An an ageing population, vulnerable groups experiencing health and social inequalities, and ‘a lack of preparedness in nursing homes’ were also cited. 

‘These problems were exacerbated by the effects of a decade of austerity that had depleted the health workforce and reduced public health and health system capacities,’ the authors said.  

One signatory, public health professor Ildefonso Hernandez Aguado, said a lack of qualified tracing staff was allowing the disease to spread unseen.

‘Some regions have not understood that this was the key in the months after the lockdown and in the long term,’ he said. 

Aguado stressed that authorities should begin hiring and training new personnel as soon as possible.

He also pointed the finger at Spain’s highly social culture: ‘This is a country that doesn’t understand holding a celebration, or taking a holiday if you’re not going to share them’.

Coronavirus: Why infection attacks some organs and not others

Why does coronavirus attack some organs and not others? Study suggests COVID-19 infection in the lungs makes the heart and brain more vulnerable – but the stomach is not affected

  • Researchers looked at proteins in the lungs and how they interact with proteins the virus uses to infect cells
  • They found 59 lung proteins, which act as the primary activators affecting other organs in the body
  • These trigger in certain proteins in organs such as the heart, kidneys and liver, making them more susceptible to infection
  • Targeting the proteins in the lungs could help prevent future multi-organ failure from coronavirus, the researchers say

We all know that the novel coronavirus impacts the lungs, and can spread to other organs such as the heart, kidneys and liver.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, researchers have struggled to understand why the virus doesn’t impact other sets of organs.

But a new study from Spain suggests that proteins found in the lungs act as the primary activators.

The team, from the University of Zaragoza and the Fundación Agencia Aragonesa para la Investigación y el Desarrollo, in Spain, found that proteins in the lungs are triggered by the virus, which causes proteins in certain organs to activate, making them more susceptible to infection.

Researchers looked at proteins in the lungs and how they interact with proteins the virus uses to infect cells. Pictured: A healthcare worker tends to a patient in the COVID Unit at United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, Texas, July 2

These trigger in certain proteins in organs such as the heart, kidneys and liver, making them more susceptible to infection. Pictured: Members of the medical staff treat a patient who is wearing helmet-based ventilator in the COVID-19 ICU at the United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, Texas, July 28

These trigger in certain proteins in organs such as the heart, kidneys and liver, making them more susceptible to infection. Pictured: Members of the medical staff treat a patient who is wearing helmet-based ventilator in the COVID-19 ICU at the United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, Texas, July 28

The virus uses a protein found on the outside of cells called angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) to enter and infect them.

Once inside a human cell, the viral proteins interact with those in the body, which can lead to either mild or severe effects. 

However, not every organ with abundant amounts of ACE2 is affected by the virus, which the researchers say must mean there is a different pathway for transmission.

‘This receptor is ubiquitous in most human organs, such that if the virus is circulating in the body, it can also enter into other organs and affect them,’ said lead author Dr Ernesto Estrada, a professor in the Institute of Applied Mathematics at the University of Zaragoza. 

‘However, the virus affects some organs selectively and not all, as expected from these potential mechanisms.’ 

For the study, published in the journal Chaos, the team considered how proteins prevalent in the lungs interact with proteins in other organs.

Estrada explained that for proteins to interact with each other, they need to move inside the cell in a ‘subdiffusive’ way.

He described this subdiffusive motion similar to the way a drunkard walks down a crowded street with the crowd presenting obstacles to the drunkard.

Similarly, proteins in a cell must swerve around obstacles to interact, but some exist in the same cell or organ and others do not. 

Taking this into account, Estrada developed a mathematical model which showed there are 59 proteins within the lungs acting as the primary activators for other organs. 

When the virus affects the lungs, this kicks off a chain of events that trigger changes in proteins in other organs. 

However, these changes just occurs in certain organ such as the heart and kidneys and not in others, such as the stomach.

For future research, Estrada says he wants to study if targeting the proteins in the lungs will help prevent future multi-organ failure.

‘Targeting some of these proteins in the lungs with existing drugs will prevent the perturbation of the proteins expressed in organs other than the lungs, avoiding multiorgan failure, which, in many cases, conduces the death of the patient,’ he said. 

Celtic apologise for Boli Bolingoli’s ‘irresponsible stupidity’ after he broke quarantine rules 

Nicola Sturgeon has issued Scotland’s football clubs with a final warning following Celtic defender’s Boli Bolingoli breached Covid-19 protocols by taking an unauthorised trip to Spain.

Scotland’s First Minister said she ‘doesn’t expect’ Celtic or Aberdeen’s Premiership matches this week to go ahead as scheduled.

But she stopped short of cancelling the competition outright just two matches into the campaign.

‘Consider today the yellow card, next time it will be the red card,’ Sturgeon said. 

The Scottish football season could be halted after Boli Bolingoli (left) travelled to Spain – he was introduced as a substitute in Celtic’s 1-1 draw with Kilmarnock on Sunday

The Belgian defender travelled to Spain last week in breach of coronavirus quarantine rules

The Belgian defender travelled to Spain last week in breach of coronavirus quarantine rules

Celtic boss Neil Lennon - who was unaware of the trip - played Bolingoli as a sub on Sunday

Celtic boss Neil Lennon – who was unaware of the trip – played Bolingoli as a sub on Sunday

Bolingoli’s breach of the rules came after two Aberdeen players tested positive for coronavirus after they visited a city centre restaurant following their defeat to Rangers last Saturday. 

The Dons’ game against St Johnstone was called off at the weekend and their home match against Hamilton Academical, scheduled for Wednesday night, and Saturday’s visit to Celtic now look set to follow.

Celtic are also set to play St Mirren away from home on Wednesday evening. 

Sturgeon added: ‘I think my frustration about the Aberdeen Football Club situation was pretty palpable.

‘Every day I am asking members of the public to make huge sacrifices to how they live their lives and the vast majority are doing this and it isn’t easy.

‘We can’t have privileged football players just deciding they are not going to bother. This can’t go on.

‘We have given the football authorities the opportunity to tell us how they’re going to put their house in order.

‘I don’t want the season to be in jeopardy but we have to be very clear this situation is not acceptable.

‘As a minimum, you should not be expecting to see Aberdeen or Celtic play over the course of the coming week.’

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said fans should not expect to see Aberdeen or Celtic play in the coming week but stopped short of suspending the Premiership season

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said fans should not expect to see Aberdeen or Celtic play in the coming week but stopped short of suspending the Premiership season

It came after Celtic condemned the behaviour of Bolingoli after the defender travelled to Spain on an unsanctioned trip in breach of Covid-19 quarantine rules.

The Belgian defender’s action could bring the Scottish football season to a halt after he came on as a late substitute in Celtic’s 1-1 draw at Kilmarnock on Sunday.

Now the reigning Scottish Premiership champions have apologised for Bolingoli’s actions, saying ‘it is difficult to imagine a more irresponsible action in current circumstances.’ 

Bolingoli failed to tell Celtic officials he had visited a high-risk country. Anyone arriving back in the UK from Spain has been required to self-isolate for 14 days since July 26.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon was unaware of the player’s movements when he brought Bolingoli off the bench late on at Rugby Park. 

In a statement released on Tuesday morning, Celtic expressed regret for the player’s ‘stupidity’.

Lennon speaks to Bolingoli before bringing him off the bench in Sunday's game at Rugby Park

Lennon speaks to Bolingoli before bringing him off the bench in Sunday’s game at Rugby Park

It read: ‘Celtic Football Club unreservedly condemns and apologises for the behaviour of the player Boli Bolingoli in travelling to Spain without informing the club and in failing to observe quarantine restrictions.

‘It is difficult to imagine a more irresponsible action in current circumstances and we find it beyond explanation. The Club will take immediate action through our own disciplinary procedures.

‘Celtic are in touch with every SPFL club today, and with all relevant authorities, to apologise for the fact that one of our employees has created so much additional difficulty through his actions.

‘All of our playing and backroom staff have been tested twice for Covid-19 since this incident and all, including the player in question, have tested negative. 

‘While this comes as a relief to all concerned, it in no way diminishes the seriousness or stupidity of the player’s actions. 

Celtic said the defender had tested negative for Covid-19 but an investigation has been started

Celtic said the defender had tested negative for Covid-19 but an investigation has been started

‘Since the Covid-19 crisis began, we have had a safe and healthy squad of players, recording not one positive test. As a club, we have worked tirelessly to ensure a sustained, safe environment for all.

‘We have led the way in working with the football authorities and Scottish Government to establish the most rigorous, effective protocols and working practices, which ultimately led to the resumption of football. We could have done no more in this area. 

‘It is a matter of the deepest regret to us that the behaviour of one individual has jeopardised that reputation and reflected discredit on football more generally.’ 

After belatedly learning of the trip, furious Celtic bosses hauled Bolingoli in for a heated meeting at Parkhead on Monday.

The Belgian sat among team-mates in the stands on Sunday before being brought on

The Belgian sat among team-mates in the stands on Sunday before being brought on

On Monday night the defender – who has since tested negative for the virus – said: ‘I have made a huge mistake. I want to apologise to my manager, my team-mates, the supporters, everyone at Celtic and so many others for letting them down so badly.

‘I am guilty of a major error of judgement. I know what I did was wrong and I know that I must now deal with the consequences.’

The club has now launched an internal probe.

Former Celtic striker Chris Sutton said there should be ‘no way back’ for Bolingoli after his ill-advised trip to Spain.

Sutton tweeted: ‘There should be no way back for Bolingoli at Celtic now. If he knowingly went to Spain before the Kilmarnock game and broke quarantine rules he showed he really doesn’t give a s*** about his teammates, the manager and the support… Celtic should get rid immediately.’

Former Celtic striker Chris Sutton tweeted that there is 'no way back' for Bolingoli at the club

Former Celtic striker Chris Sutton tweeted that there is ‘no way back’ for Bolingoli at the club

His extraordinary behaviour comes after two Aberdeen players became infected with Covid-19 after eight of them visited a city restaurant after the opening day defeat by Rangers.

The players are all now self-isolating and will miss Wednesday’s game with Hamilton – should it get the go-ahead.

Last week, Sturgeon said: ‘They blatantly broke the rules that had been agreed between the SFA, the SPFL, and the Scottish Government, which, to put it mildly, is completely unacceptable.

‘Football has been given the go-ahead on the strict condition that clubs and players abide by the guidance that has been agreed.

‘They put at risk the return of the professional game. To say this incident is deeply regrettable is an understatement.

‘I’m pretty furious about this situation, because it shouldn’t have happened. If that guidance is not going to be adhered to then all bets are off.’

Aberdeen’s match with St Johnstone on Saturday was postponed.

Celtic apologise for Boli Bolingoli’s ‘irresponsible stupidity’ after he broke quarantine rules 

Celtic have condemned the behaviour of Boli Bolingoli after the defender travelled to Spain on an unsanctioned trip in breach of Covid-19 quarantine rules.

The Belgian defender’s action could bring the Scottish football season to a halt after he came on as a late substitute in Celtic’s 1-1 draw at Kilmarnock on Sunday.

Now the reigning Scottish Premiership champions have apologised for Bolingoli’s actions, saying ‘it is difficult to imagine a more irresponsible action in current circumstances.’ 

The Scottish football season could be halted after Boli Bolingoli (left) travelled to Spain – he was introduced as a substitute in Celtic’s 1-1 draw with Kilmarnock on Sunday

The Belgian defender travelled to Spain last week in breach of coronavirus quarantine rules

The Belgian defender travelled to Spain last week in breach of coronavirus quarantine rules

Celtic boss Neil Lennon - who was unaware of the trip - played Bolingoli as a sub on Sunday

Celtic boss Neil Lennon – who was unaware of the trip – played Bolingoli as a sub on Sunday

Bolingoli failed to tell Celtic officials he had visited a high-risk country. Anyone arriving back in the UK from Spain has been required to self-isolate for 14 days since July 26.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon was unaware of the player’s movements when he brought Bolingoli off the bench late on at Rugby Park.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is set to host a press conference on Tuesday lunchtime with speculation mounting the season could be halted. 

In a statement released on Tuesday morning, Celtic expressed regret for the player’s ‘stupidity’.

It read: ‘Celtic Football Club unreservedly condemns and apologises for the behaviour of the player Boli Bolingoli in travelling to Spain without informing the club and in failing to observe quarantine restrictions.

‘It is difficult to imagine a more irresponsible action in current circumstances and we find it beyond explanation. The Club will take immediate action through our own disciplinary procedures.

Lennon speaks to Bolingoli before bringing him off the bench in Sunday's game at Rugby Park

Lennon speaks to Bolingoli before bringing him off the bench in Sunday’s game at Rugby Park

‘Celtic are in touch with every SPFL club today, and with all relevant authorities, to apologise for the fact that one of our employees has created so much additional difficulty through his actions.

‘All of our playing and backroom staff have been tested twice for Covid-19 since this incident and all, including the player in question, have tested negative. 

‘While this comes as a relief to all concerned, it in no way diminishes the seriousness or stupidity of the player’s actions.

‘Since the Covid-19 crisis began, we have had a safe and healthy squad of players, recording not one positive test. As a club, we have worked tirelessly to ensure a sustained, safe environment for all.

‘We have led the way in working with the football authorities and Scottish Government to establish the most rigorous, effective protocols and working practices, which ultimately led to the resumption of football. We could have done no more in this area.

Celtic said the defender had tested negative for Covid-19 but an investigation has been started

Celtic said the defender had tested negative for Covid-19 but an investigation has been started

‘It is a matter of the deepest regret to us that the behaviour of one individual has jeopardised that reputation and reflected discredit on football more generally.’

It came as a spokesman for the Scottish Government suggested this latest breach – in the wake of several Aberdeen players testing positive for Covid-19 – could see the Premiership season halted just two games in.

‘The Scottish Government is aware of reports of a Celtic FC player having broken quarantine rules last week,’ the spokesman said. ‘We are currently in discussion with the club and football governing bodies to establish the facts.

‘If confirmed as another serious incident within Scottish football, where protocols have been breached at the risk of wider public health, then the Scottish Government will have little choice but to consider whether a pause is now needed in the resumption of the game in Scotland.’

After belatedly learning of the trip, furious Celtic bosses hauled Bolingoli in for a heated meeting at Parkhead on Monday.

The Belgian sat among team-mates in the stands on Sunday before being brought on

The Belgian sat among team-mates in the stands on Sunday before being brought on

On Monday night the defender – who has since tested negative for the virus – said: ‘I have made a huge mistake. I want to apologise to my manager, my team-mates, the supporters, everyone at Celtic and so many others for letting them down so badly.

‘I am guilty of a major error of judgement. I know what I did was wrong and I know that I must now deal with the consequences.’

The club has now launched an internal probe.

Former Celtic striker Chris Sutton said there should be ‘no way back’ for Bolingoli after his ill-advised trip to Spain.

Sutton tweeted: ‘There should be no way back for Bolingoli at Celtic now. If he knowingly went to Spain before the Kilmarnock game and broke quarantine rules he showed he really doesn’t give a s*** about his teammates, the manager and the support… Celtic should get rid immediately.’

Former Celtic striker Chris Sutton tweeted that there is 'no way back' for Bolingoli at the club

Former Celtic striker Chris Sutton tweeted that there is ‘no way back’ for Bolingoli at the club

His extraordinary behaviour comes after two Aberdeen players became infected with Covid-19 after eight of them visited a city restaurant after the opening day defeat by Rangers.

The players are all now self-isolating and will miss Wednesday’s game with Hamilton – should it get the go-ahead.

Last week, Sturgeon said: ‘They blatantly broke the rules that had been agreed between the SFA, the SPFL, and the Scottish Government, which, to put it mildly, is completely unacceptable.

‘Football has been given the go-ahead on the strict condition that clubs and players abide by the guidance that has been agreed.

‘They put at risk the return of the professional game. To say this incident is deeply regrettable is an understatement.

‘I’m pretty furious about this situation, because it shouldn’t have happened. If that guidance is not going to be adhered to then all bets are off.’

Aberdeen’s match with St Johnstone on Saturday was postponed.

Two bereaved mothers share a shattering warning after an acne drug

Until about 8.30pm on the evening of Wednesday, May 1, last year, Annabel Wright appeared to be a typical teenage girl, popular at school, revising in her room for a Spanish exam and chatting excitedly with a friend who had just confirmed she would be joining Annabel and her family on holiday to Spain that summer.

But then, to the shock and horror of her family, the 15-year-old killed herself in her bedroom in the family home near Ripon, North Yorkshire.

Annabel had no history of depression and her death came entirely out of the blue to those closest to her. Now her parents are convinced that their daughter was suddenly overwhelmed by suicidal feelings brought on by Roaccutane, an acne drug she had been taking for six months.

‘I know Annabel didn’t want to leave us,’ her mother, Helen Wright, 49, told Good Health. ‘Whatever hit her, hit her like a tidal wave.’

In the terrible months that followed, Helen and husband Simon, 55, discovered that many other young people here and in the U.S. had taken their own lives after being prescribed the same drug.

Annabel Wright, 15, had not history of depression when she killed herself in her bedroom in the family home near Ripon, North Yorkshire

Now her parents are convinced that Annabel (pictured with her mother Helen) was suddenly overwhelmed by suicidal feelings brought on by Roaccutane

Now her parents are convinced that Annabel (pictured with her mother Helen) was suddenly overwhelmed by suicidal feelings brought on by Roaccutane

The active ingredient of Roaccutane (or Accutane, the brand name in the U.S.) is isotretinoin, a substance related to vitamin A and developed in the 1980s by Swiss company Roche. 

Initially a treatment for skin cancer, it also proved to be highly effective in treating acne, reducing the amount of sebum, an oily substance produced by the skin.

The drug has helped thousands of acne sufferers in the UK since it became available in 1983. 

On its website, the British Association of Dermatologists says that after a course of treatment, lasting between 16 and 24 weeks, nine out of ten patients ‘see a significant improvement in their acne’.

But isotretinoin has been linked to a range of serious side-effects, including birth defects in pregnant women and, as Good Health has reported, sexual dysfunction and suicides in young men.

Statistics show that young men, in particular, are at risk of taking their own lives while on, or after taking, the drug. Most of the 71 suicides reported in the UK (up until the end of July) since 1983 were in young men aged mainly between 19 and 29.

But the death of Annabel Wright and a near mirror-image suicide of another girl her age in the U.S. two months ago serve as a stark warning that girls and young women are also vulnerable to this dreadful side-effect of isotretinoin.

This comes as use of the drug has soared, while the number of suicides linked to it has been considerably under-reported, as a Good Health analysis reveals.

Almost 15 months after her daughter’s death, Helen has bravely decided to talk about what happened in the hope of protecting other families.

On the day she died, ‘we’d had dinner together with Annabel’s grandmother Maxine, who was staying with us that week’, she told Good Health.

‘After dinner Annabel cuddled our dog, Monty, which that morning had jumped on her bed and woken her up by licking her face. She got hold of him and said, ‘Are you going to wake me up like that every morning?’. She didn’t know she wasn’t going to wake up again.’

After dinner, her mother and grandmother drove Annabel’s 12-year-old brother William to a Young Farmers’ club, and went for a walk. With homework to do, Annabel chose to stay at home.

At about 8.15pm Annabel’s father Simon, a self-employed businessman, returned from work and went upstairs to have a chat with her.

‘He had a perfectly normal conversation with her,’ says Helen. ‘He asked how her day had been and about her exams [practice exams ahead of mocks in December] and she was absolutely fine about them.’

Courtney Morris, 15, took her own life on May 11 this year, just four weeks after being prescribed 40mg of Accutane, twice daily

Courtney Morris, 15, took her own life on May 11 this year, just four weeks after being prescribed 40mg of Accutane, twice daily

The teenager, who had never suffered from depression, had struggled with acne for a couple of years

The teenager, who had never suffered from depression, had struggled with acne for a couple of years

That afternoon, Annabel had also been chatting with the friend who was going to go on holiday with them. ‘Her mum had just paid her air fare and the girls were so excited because it was definitely going ahead,’ Helen says. And then the unthinkable happened.

A quarter of an hour after she’d had the chat with her father, Annabel went downstairs to the kitchen and then went back to her bedroom. Her grandmother, who popped up for a chat after returning with the others, found Annabel.

‘The ambulance and the police came quickly and the paramedics tried for a long time to resuscitate her, but it was too late.’ William, a week away from his 13th birthday, ‘saw everything’ after Annabel had been discovered, says Helen. ‘He’ll never get over it and nor will we.’

At the time, she says, ‘we had no idea what had happened. All I knew was that she didn’t want to leave us, because why would she have been making plans, revising for an exam that she was never going to sit or asking the dog if he was going to wake her up again in the morning?’

It later emerged that, an hour after chatting excitedly with her friends, Annabel had suddenly sent them a three-word text out of the blue: ‘I feel down.’

Looking back, Helen bitterly regrets being persuaded to put Annabel on Roaccutane. She had been on the antibiotic lymecycline for about a year, and her acne had improved considerably.

But at a routine appointment in September 2018, ‘we saw a different GP who obviously had concerns about Annabel developing resistance to antibiotics’, says Helen. ‘She just said, ‘Your skin’s not perfect, I think we could do better. I’ll refer you to a dermatologist.’ ‘

The dermatologist said immediately she wanted to put Annabel on Roaccutane, suggesting she might be at risk of scarring.

‘She frightened Annabel into taking it,’ says Helen. ‘I’d read that the drug was causing children in the U.S. to take their own lives, but when I raised this with the dermatologist her exact words were, ‘It could be argued that those children took their lives because they were depressed about their skin.’

Annabel began taking 20mg of Roaccutane a day, the most common dosage, on November 14, 2018

Annabel began taking 20mg of Roaccutane a day, the most common dosage, on November 14, 2018

‘And I believed her. But what I know now is that for most kids this drug works and improves their acne, so they’re not attempting suicide when their skin is bad — like Annabel, they are doing it when their skin is already better.’

Annabel began taking 20mg of Roaccutane a day, the most common dosage, on November 14, 2018. At her next appointment, a month later, the dose was increased to 30mg. 

The appointment notes show that her skin was very much improved — having been grade five on the Leeds Acne Grading Scale, which rates the severity of the condition from zero (no acne) to ten, she was now grade one.

However, at Annabel’s appointment on March 7, 2019, the first she had gone to on her own, a different dermatologist did not ask her to remove her make-up — as her mother had done previously.

In his patient letter, he later wrote that ‘unfortunately Annabel was wearing a full face of make-up today and it was more difficult to review. However, there were no new obvious large, inflammatory lesions.’ Yet he increased Annabel’s dose to 40mg. In her mother’s view, there was no need to do so.

In 2014, the UK medicines watchdog the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) issued a drug safety update, reminding doctors of concerns about the ‘possible risk of psychiatric disorders’ associated with isotretinoin. 

And they should ‘monitor all patients for signs of depression and refer for appropriate treatment if necessary’.

Annabel was given no warnings about the possibility of psychiatric side-effects while on isotretinoin, says her mother — while the monitoring on what would prove to be her daughter’s last appointment, on May 1, 2019, amounted to a single question: ‘How’s your mood?’

‘And of course,’ says Helen, who attended the appointment with her daughter, ‘Annabel just said, ‘Fine.’ ‘ This time Annabel’s dose was reduced to 30mg, as she was nearing the end of her course of treatment — but five hours later, she was dead.

While it is not fully understood why the drug might impact mood in this way, a review of studies published in the journal Annals of General Psychiatry in 2009 suggested it might act on various chemical messengers in the brain.What concerns bereaved parents is that more children are being exposed to potential risks.

Analysis of prescription data by Good Health reveals that since the MHRA safety update, the number of prescriptions for isotretinoin in the UK has risen dramatically, from 45,585 in 2015 to 75,470 in 2019 — an increase of 65 per cent. 

Roaccutane, also known as Isotretinoin capsules, are given to patients with severe acne

Roaccutane, also known as Isotretinoin capsules, are given to patients with severe acne

And while data from the MHRA’s drug side-effects reporting scheme shows that only eight of the 71 patients whose suicides have been linked to the drug in the UK were girls or young women, in the U.S. the proportion of female deaths is higher — almost 20 per cent of the 428 recorded suicides linked to the drug.

One of those girls was Courtney Morris, the 15-year-old daughter of Sisalene, a medical assistant. Courtney took her own life on May 11 this year, just four weeks after being prescribed 40mg of Accutane, twice daily.

‘I am still in shock that this happened to my daughter,’ said Sisalene, who lives with husband Tony and their elder daughter, McKenzie, in Weippe, Idaho.

‘I believe with my whole heart that this drug took my daughter’s life,’ she told Good Health. ‘This medication should not continue to be prescribed.’

Courtney had struggled with acne for a couple of years. ‘We had tried several antibiotics and medicated face creams before I would even consider isotretinoin,’ says Sisalene.

When her dermatologist said she would like to put her on the drug, Sisalene told her that she had concerns about its links to depression but these were brushed aside.

‘She told me that when this medication first came out, a young man committed suicide while taking it and the family blamed the drug, so now — to make sure the pharmaceutical companies don’t get sued — they have to list it as a side-effect, just like most medications.’

On the day Courtney took her own life, her mother and McKenzie set off on a hike without her. She wanted to stay home to do some school work.

‘When I left at about 11.30am I told her I loved her and would see her in a little bit,’ Sisalene says.

Courtney did not respond to two text messages her mother sent during the day. ‘I got home around 4.30pm and found my baby had committed suicide,’ she says. Like Annabel, Courtney had never suffered from depression.

‘She had a loving family, good friends, did well in school, played sports, had had no past trauma or mental issues,’ says her mother. The night before she took her own life, Courtney was making plans with a friend to go kayaking and had arranged to babysit for another family that week.

Two days earlier, Courtney had told her mother how excited she was to be starting driving lessons and to get the braces off her teeth. In short, says her mother, ‘There were no signs. She was making plans for her future.’

Sisalene searched her daughter’s phone for clues and talked to her friends, and ‘the only thing that makes any sense is that this medication caused a suicidal impulse’, she says.

‘I feel guilty that I allowed her to take it. I should have done more research, asked more questions, but I was being told it was unlikely depression would occur. Now I have to go on living without my child. I know I cannot ever get my daughter back. But I hope I can warn others of the possible side-effects.’

Roche has continued to deny the drug is responsible for causing depression and suicide.

A spokesperson told Good Health: ‘Millions of patients worldwide have taken Roaccutane but, like most medications, it can have side-effects. That is why we recommend it is prescribed very carefully, with particular consideration regarding any previous history of depression.’

The firm points to three reviews of published research carried out between 2012 and 2019, which have either ‘not shown any significant association between depression and isotretinoin’ or ‘conversely . . . suggest there may be an association between isotretinoin and depressive illness’.

The spokesperson added: ‘Given the conflicting evidence available, all users should be aware of the potential mental health risks associated with isotretinoin use. This is why we include information regarding this in the patient information leaflet.’

Roche stopped selling Accutane in the U.S. in 2009, indicating it had taken the decision partly because its market share had declined dramatically since its patent on isotretinoin had expired in 2002. But the company was also facing ‘high costs from personal-injury lawsuits’ alleging that Accutane had caused ‘certain serious conditions, including . . . inflammatory bowel disease, birth defects and psychiatric disorders’.

Roche told Good Health that it had stopped selling Roaccutane in a number of other countries, including Germany, France and Spain, ‘for business reasons’. Although it continues to sell Roaccutane in the UK, the market for isotretinoin here is dominated by a handful of generic manufacturers.

Six years ago the MHRA appointed an independent scientific advisory group to carry out a review of the evidence, ‘in the light of accumulating concerns regarding psychiatric adverse reactions, particularly depression and suicidal behaviours suspected to be associated with isotretinoin’.

This concluded that while there was insufficient evidence to establish a causal association between isotretinoin and psychiatric disorders, ‘an association could also not be ruled out’.

Last December, due to ‘ongoing concerns about . . . safety’, the MHRA began work on another review of the drug, although this has now been delayed by the

Covid-19 pandemic. But there are concerns that the review won’t reflect the real toll of young lives lost to this drug.

In 2019, the MHRA reduced the number of suicides attributed to isotretinoin via its online Yellow Card reporting system (this is where patients, medical professionals and drug companies can report drug side-effects). It told Good Health that a number of recorded reports of suicide had been identified as duplicates — 39 cases were found to refer to only 13 individual patients.

Yet even the reduced number of 71 suicides recorded by the MHRA is likely to be a gross underestimate. In May last year, the organisation itself estimated that, across all drugs, ‘only 10 per cent of serious reactions . . . are reported’. (The U.S. Food And Drug Administration also believes its reporting system is notified of only 10 per cent serious adverse reactions to drugs.)

In the UK, since the beginning of 2019, rather than the official ten suicides, there could have been at least 100 — and more than 700 rather than 71 since the drug was introduced. In the U.S. the true figure for suicides related to the drug since it was approved could be more than 4,200 rather than the official 428.

A spokesperson for the British Association of Dermatologists said ‘dermatologists are aware of the issues around mood, suicide and isotretinoin’ and that the organisation provided guidance and patient information materials ‘to support best practice around the prescription of isotretinoin’. 

‘However, the evidence around this is inconclusive and we need to follow the advice of regulatory bodies whose role it is to make these assessments.’

Helen Wright says: ‘I understand that for a lot of people it’s been a great drug that has helped them clear up their acne, but we feel very strongly it shouldn’t be given to children. Teenagers have lots of hormonal mood changes and it is difficult for them, and for those around them, to recognise when their mood is not normal.’

A spokesperson for Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust said: ‘We wish to offer our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Annabel Wright.

‘Following her tragic death, the trust commenced an investigation. The coroner is due to hold an inquest into Annabel’s death and we will carefully consider the evidence from the inquest and complete our investigation.’

‘We can’t bring Annabel back,’ Helen says. ‘All we can do is work to make other people aware of the true dangers of this drug.’

For confidential support, phone the Samaritans free on 116 123 or email [email protected]

Scottish football season could be HALTED after Celtic defender Boli Bolingoli travelled to Spain

Scottish football season could be HALTED after it emerges Celtic defender Boli Bolingoli broke quarantine rules with a secret trip to Spain before featuring against Kilmarnock

  • The Scottish football season could be halted after a Celtic star travelled to Spain 
  • Boli Bolingoli visited the country last week on an unsanctioned trip  
  • The trip is a clear breach of coronavirus quarantine rules on all clubs
  • Bolingoli failed to tell club officials that he had visited the high-risk country 

The Scottish football season could be called to a halt after Celtic defender Boli Bolingoli travelled to Spain last week on an unsanctioned trip in clear breach of Covid-19 quarantine rules.

The Belgian defender took his place on the bench at Rugby Park on Sunday after failing to tell Celtic officials he had recently been to a high-risk country.

Unaware of the player’s movements, Celtic boss Neil Lennon put the defender on as a late substitute in the 1-1 draw when he should have been self-isolating at home – putting every player and match official at risk. Anyone arriving back in UK nations from Spain since July 26 has been required to self-isolate for 14 days.

The Scottish football season could be halted after Boli Bolingoli (left) travelled to Spain

And on Monday night a Scottish Government spokesman said that after this latest breach it may be time to halt to the season – just two games into the new campaign.

‘The Scottish Government is aware of reports of a Celtic FC player having broken quarantine rules last week,’ the spokesman said. ‘We are currently in discussion with the club and football governing bodies to establish the facts.

‘If confirmed as another serious incident within Scottish football, where protocols have been breached at the risk of wider public health, then the Scottish Government will have little choice but to consider whether a pause is now needed in the resumption of the game in Scotland.’

After belatedly learning of the trip, furious Celtic bosses hauled Bolingoli in for a heated meeting at Parkhead on Monday.

The Belgian defender travelled to Spain last week in breach of coronavirus quarantine rules

The Belgian defender travelled to Spain last week in breach of coronavirus quarantine rules

On Monday night the defender – who has since tested negative for the virus – said: ‘I have made a huge mistake. I want to apologise to my manager, my team-mates, the supporters, everyone at Celtic and so many others for letting them down so badly.

‘I am guilty of a major error of judgement. I know what I did was wrong and I know that I must now deal with the consequences.’

The club has now launched an internal probe.

A spokesman said: ‘Celtic Football Club has taken its response to Covid-19 extremely seriously and we are pleased that, to date, we have recorded no positive tests.

‘Our staff have given so much in this area, working tirelessly to ensure that all players and other club personnel are safe, fully aware of their own responsibilities and familiar with all guidance and protocols.

‘Safety must always be our priority.

‘Clearly, a full investigation will now take place and the club will take all appropriate action.

‘Subsequent to the player’s return he has recorded two negative tests in the past week.’

Celtic boss Neil Lennon - who was unaware of the trip - played Bolingoli as a sub on Sunday

Celtic boss Neil Lennon – who was unaware of the trip – played Bolingoli as a sub on Sunday

Bolingoli joined the Hoops from Rapid Vienna for £3million in July 2019 and made 28 appearances for the club last season.

His extraordinary behaviour comes after two Aberdeen players became infected with Covid-19 after eight of them visited a city restaurant after the opening day defeat by Rangers.

The players are all now self-isolating and will miss Wednesday’s game with Hamilton – should it get the go-ahead.

Last week, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: ‘They blatantly broke the rules that had been agreed between the SFA, the SPFL, and the Scottish Government, which, to put it mildly, is completely unacceptable.

‘Football has been given the go-ahead on the strict condition that clubs and players abide by the guidance that has been agreed.

‘They put at risk the return of the professional game. To say this incident is deeply regrettable is an understatement.

‘I’m pretty furious about this situation, because it shouldn’t have happened. If that guidance is not going to be adhered to then all bets are off.’

Aberdeen’s match with St Johnstone on Saturday was postponed.

Lockdown measures have already been reintroduced in Aberdeen as the number of cases in the area grew.

Bolingoli’s gaffe comes after Celtic warned Leigh Griffiths about his conduct after pictures of a party at the striker’s house appeared to show more than the eight people who are currently permitted to attend under social distancing guidelines.

Lennon later said of the Griffiths incident: ‘I’m not convinced it’s a big issue.’

Two bereaved mothers share a shattering warning after an acne drug

Until about 8.30pm on the evening of Wednesday, May 1, last year, Annabel Wright appeared to be a typical teenage girl, popular at school, revising in her room for a Spanish exam and chatting excitedly with a friend who had just confirmed she would be joining Annabel and her family on holiday to Spain that summer.

But then, to the shock and horror of her family, the 15-year-old killed herself in her bedroom in the family home near Ripon, North Yorkshire.

Annabel had no history of depression and her death came entirely out of the blue to those closest to her. Now her parents are convinced that their daughter was suddenly overwhelmed by suicidal feelings brought on by Roaccutane, an acne drug she had been taking for six months.

‘I know Annabel didn’t want to leave us,’ her mother, Helen Wright, 49, told Good Health. ‘Whatever hit her, hit her like a tidal wave.’

In the terrible months that followed, Helen and husband Simon, 55, discovered that many other young people here and in the U.S. had taken their own lives after being prescribed the same drug.

Annabel Wright, 15, had not history of depression when she killed herself in her bedroom in the family home near Ripon, North Yorkshire

Now her parents are convinced that Annabel (pictured with her mother Helen) was suddenly overwhelmed by suicidal feelings brought on by Roaccutane

Now her parents are convinced that Annabel (pictured with her mother Helen) was suddenly overwhelmed by suicidal feelings brought on by Roaccutane

The active ingredient of Roaccutane (or Accutane, the brand name in the U.S.) is isotretinoin, a substance related to vitamin A and developed in the 1980s by Swiss company Roche. 

Initially a treatment for skin cancer, it also proved to be highly effective in treating acne, reducing the amount of sebum, an oily substance produced by the skin.

The drug has helped thousands of acne sufferers in the UK since it became available in 1983. 

On its website, the British Association of Dermatologists says that after a course of treatment, lasting between 16 and 24 weeks, nine out of ten patients ‘see a significant improvement in their acne’.

But isotretinoin has been linked to a range of serious side-effects, including birth defects in pregnant women and, as Good Health has reported, sexual dysfunction and suicides in young men.

Statistics show that young men, in particular, are at risk of taking their own lives while on, or after taking, the drug. Most of the 71 suicides reported in the UK (up until the end of July) since 1983 were in young men aged mainly between 19 and 29.

But the death of Annabel Wright and a near mirror-image suicide of another girl her age in the U.S. two months ago serve as a stark warning that girls and young women are also vulnerable to this dreadful side-effect of isotretinoin.

This comes as use of the drug has soared, while the number of suicides linked to it has been considerably under-reported, as a Good Health analysis reveals.

Almost 15 months after her daughter’s death, Helen has bravely decided to talk about what happened in the hope of protecting other families.

On the day she died, ‘we’d had dinner together with Annabel’s grandmother Maxine, who was staying with us that week’, she told Good Health.

‘After dinner Annabel cuddled our dog, Monty, which that morning had jumped on her bed and woken her up by licking her face. She got hold of him and said, ‘Are you going to wake me up like that every morning?’. She didn’t know she wasn’t going to wake up again.’

After dinner, her mother and grandmother drove Annabel’s 12-year-old brother William to a Young Farmers’ club, and went for a walk. With homework to do, Annabel chose to stay at home.

At about 8.15pm Annabel’s father Simon, a self-employed businessman, returned from work and went upstairs to have a chat with her.

‘He had a perfectly normal conversation with her,’ says Helen. ‘He asked how her day had been and about her exams [practice exams ahead of mocks in December] and she was absolutely fine about them.’

Courtney Morris, 15, took her own life on May 11 this year, just four weeks after being prescribed 40mg of Accutane, twice daily

Courtney Morris, 15, took her own life on May 11 this year, just four weeks after being prescribed 40mg of Accutane, twice daily

The teenager, who had never suffered from depression, had struggled with acne for a couple of years

The teenager, who had never suffered from depression, had struggled with acne for a couple of years

That afternoon, Annabel had also been chatting with the friend who was going to go on holiday with them. ‘Her mum had just paid her air fare and the girls were so excited because it was definitely going ahead,’ Helen says. And then the unthinkable happened.

A quarter of an hour after she’d had the chat with her father, Annabel went downstairs to the kitchen and then went back to her bedroom. Her grandmother, who popped up for a chat after returning with the others, found Annabel.

‘The ambulance and the police came quickly and the paramedics tried for a long time to resuscitate her, but it was too late.’ William, a week away from his 13th birthday, ‘saw everything’ after Annabel had been discovered, says Helen. ‘He’ll never get over it and nor will we.’

At the time, she says, ‘we had no idea what had happened. All I knew was that she didn’t want to leave us, because why would she have been making plans, revising for an exam that she was never going to sit or asking the dog if he was going to wake her up again in the morning?’

It later emerged that, an hour after chatting excitedly with her friends, Annabel had suddenly sent them a three-word text out of the blue: ‘I feel down.’

Looking back, Helen bitterly regrets being persuaded to put Annabel on Roaccutane. She had been on the antibiotic lymecycline for about a year, and her acne had improved considerably.

But at a routine appointment in September 2018, ‘we saw a different GP who obviously had concerns about Annabel developing resistance to antibiotics’, says Helen. ‘She just said, ‘Your skin’s not perfect, I think we could do better. I’ll refer you to a dermatologist.’ ‘

The dermatologist said immediately she wanted to put Annabel on Roaccutane, suggesting she might be at risk of scarring.

‘She frightened Annabel into taking it,’ says Helen. ‘I’d read that the drug was causing children in the U.S. to take their own lives, but when I raised this with the dermatologist her exact words were, ‘It could be argued that those children took their lives because they were depressed about their skin.’

Annabel began taking 20mg of Roaccutane a day, the most common dosage, on November 14, 2018

Annabel began taking 20mg of Roaccutane a day, the most common dosage, on November 14, 2018

‘And I believed her. But what I know now is that for most kids this drug works and improves their acne, so they’re not attempting suicide when their skin is bad — like Annabel, they are doing it when their skin is already better.’

Annabel began taking 20mg of Roaccutane a day, the most common dosage, on November 14, 2018. At her next appointment, a month later, the dose was increased to 30mg. 

The appointment notes show that her skin was very much improved — having been grade five on the Leeds Acne Grading Scale, which rates the severity of the condition from zero (no acne) to ten, she was now grade one.

However, at Annabel’s appointment on March 7, 2019, the first she had gone to on her own, a different dermatologist did not ask her to remove her make-up — as her mother had done previously.

In his patient letter, he later wrote that ‘unfortunately Annabel was wearing a full face of make-up today and it was more difficult to review. However, there were no new obvious large, inflammatory lesions.’ Yet he increased Annabel’s dose to 40mg. In her mother’s view, there was no need to do so.

In 2014, the UK medicines watchdog the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) issued a drug safety update, reminding doctors of concerns about the ‘possible risk of psychiatric disorders’ associated with isotretinoin. 

And they should ‘monitor all patients for signs of depression and refer for appropriate treatment if necessary’.

Annabel was given no warnings about the possibility of psychiatric side-effects while on isotretinoin, says her mother — while the monitoring on what would prove to be her daughter’s last appointment, on May 1, 2019, amounted to a single question: ‘How’s your mood?’

‘And of course,’ says Helen, who attended the appointment with her daughter, ‘Annabel just said, ‘Fine.’ ‘ This time Annabel’s dose was reduced to 30mg, as she was nearing the end of her course of treatment — but five hours later, she was dead.

While it is not fully understood why the drug might impact mood in this way, a review of studies published in the journal Annals of General Psychiatry in 2009 suggested it might act on various chemical messengers in the brain.What concerns bereaved parents is that more children are being exposed to potential risks.

Analysis of prescription data by Good Health reveals that since the MHRA safety update, the number of prescriptions for isotretinoin in the UK has risen dramatically, from 45,585 in 2015 to 75,470 in 2019 — an increase of 65 per cent. 

Roaccutane, also known as Isotretinoin capsules, are given to patients with severe acne

Roaccutane, also known as Isotretinoin capsules, are given to patients with severe acne

And while data from the MHRA’s drug side-effects reporting scheme shows that only eight of the 71 patients whose suicides have been linked to the drug in the UK were girls or young women, in the U.S. the proportion of female deaths is higher — almost 20 per cent of the 428 recorded suicides linked to the drug.

One of those girls was Courtney Morris, the 15-year-old daughter of Sisalene, a medical assistant. Courtney took her own life on May 11 this year, just four weeks after being prescribed 40mg of Accutane, twice daily.

‘I am still in shock that this happened to my daughter,’ said Sisalene, who lives with husband Tony and their elder daughter, McKenzie, in Weippe, Idaho.

‘I believe with my whole heart that this drug took my daughter’s life,’ she told Good Health. ‘This medication should not continue to be prescribed.’

Courtney had struggled with acne for a couple of years. ‘We had tried several antibiotics and medicated face creams before I would even consider isotretinoin,’ says Sisalene.

When her dermatologist said she would like to put her on the drug, Sisalene told her that she had concerns about its links to depression but these were brushed aside.

‘She told me that when this medication first came out, a young man committed suicide while taking it and the family blamed the drug, so now — to make sure the pharmaceutical companies don’t get sued — they have to list it as a side-effect, just like most medications.’

On the day Courtney took her own life, her mother and McKenzie set off on a hike without her. She wanted to stay home to do some school work.

‘When I left at about 11.30am I told her I loved her and would see her in a little bit,’ Sisalene says.

Courtney did not respond to two text messages her mother sent during the day. ‘I got home around 4.30pm and found my baby had committed suicide,’ she says. Like Annabel, Courtney had never suffered from depression.

‘She had a loving family, good friends, did well in school, played sports, had had no past trauma or mental issues,’ says her mother. The night before she took her own life, Courtney was making plans with a friend to go kayaking and had arranged to babysit for another family that week.

Two days earlier, Courtney had told her mother how excited she was to be starting driving lessons and to get the braces off her teeth. In short, says her mother, ‘There were no signs. She was making plans for her future.’

Sisalene searched her daughter’s phone for clues and talked to her friends, and ‘the only thing that makes any sense is that this medication caused a suicidal impulse’, she says.

‘I feel guilty that I allowed her to take it. I should have done more research, asked more questions, but I was being told it was unlikely depression would occur. Now I have to go on living without my child. I know I cannot ever get my daughter back. But I hope I can warn others of the possible side-effects.’

Roche has continued to deny the drug is responsible for causing depression and suicide.

A spokesperson told Good Health: ‘Millions of patients worldwide have taken Roaccutane but, like most medications, it can have side-effects. That is why we recommend it is prescribed very carefully, with particular consideration regarding any previous history of depression.’

The firm points to three reviews of published research carried out between 2012 and 2019, which have either ‘not shown any significant association between depression and isotretinoin’ or ‘conversely . . . suggest there may be an association between isotretinoin and depressive illness’.

The spokesperson added: ‘Given the conflicting evidence available, all users should be aware of the potential mental health risks associated with isotretinoin use. This is why we include information regarding this in the patient information leaflet.’

Roche stopped selling Accutane in the U.S. in 2009, indicating it had taken the decision partly because its market share had declined dramatically since its patent on isotretinoin had expired in 2002. But the company was also facing ‘high costs from personal-injury lawsuits’ alleging that Accutane had caused ‘certain serious conditions, including . . . inflammatory bowel disease, birth defects and psychiatric disorders’.

Roche told Good Health that it had stopped selling Roaccutane in a number of other countries, including Germany, France and Spain, ‘for business reasons’. Although it continues to sell Roaccutane in the UK, the market for isotretinoin here is dominated by a handful of generic manufacturers.

Six years ago the MHRA appointed an independent scientific advisory group to carry out a review of the evidence, ‘in the light of accumulating concerns regarding psychiatric adverse reactions, particularly depression and suicidal behaviours suspected to be associated with isotretinoin’.

This concluded that while there was insufficient evidence to establish a causal association between isotretinoin and psychiatric disorders, ‘an association could also not be ruled out’.

Last December, due to ‘ongoing concerns about . . . safety’, the MHRA began work on another review of the drug, although this has now been delayed by the

Covid-19 pandemic. But there are concerns that the review won’t reflect the real toll of young lives lost to this drug.

In 2019, the MHRA reduced the number of suicides attributed to isotretinoin via its online Yellow Card reporting system (this is where patients, medical professionals and drug companies can report drug side-effects). It told Good Health that a number of recorded reports of suicide had been identified as duplicates — 39 cases were found to refer to only 13 individual patients.

Yet even the reduced number of 71 suicides recorded by the MHRA is likely to be a gross underestimate. In May last year, the organisation itself estimated that, across all drugs, ‘only 10 per cent of serious reactions . . . are reported’. (The U.S. Food And Drug Administration also believes its reporting system is notified of only 10 per cent serious adverse reactions to drugs.)

In the UK, since the beginning of 2019, rather than the official ten suicides, there could have been at least 100 — and more than 700 rather than 71 since the drug was introduced. In the U.S. the true figure for suicides related to the drug since it was approved could be more than 4,200 rather than the official 428.

A spokesperson for the British Association of Dermatologists said ‘dermatologists are aware of the issues around mood, suicide and isotretinoin’ and that the organisation provided guidance and patient information materials ‘to support best practice around the prescription of isotretinoin’. 

‘However, the evidence around this is inconclusive and we need to follow the advice of regulatory bodies whose role it is to make these assessments.’

Helen Wright says: ‘I understand that for a lot of people it’s been a great drug that has helped them clear up their acne, but we feel very strongly it shouldn’t be given to children. Teenagers have lots of hormonal mood changes and it is difficult for them, and for those around them, to recognise when their mood is not normal.’

A spokesperson for Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust said: ‘We wish to offer our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Annabel Wright.

‘Following her tragic death, the trust commenced an investigation. The coroner is due to hold an inquest into Annabel’s death and we will carefully consider the evidence from the inquest and complete our investigation.’

‘We can’t bring Annabel back,’ Helen says. ‘All we can do is work to make other people aware of the true dangers of this drug.’

For confidential support, phone the Samaritans free on 116 123 or email [email protected]

France ‘is just days from being added to Britain’s quarantine list’ after surge in coronavirus cases

Fears are growing today that France will be added to the UK’s quarantined travel list within days, leaving thousands of Brits facing weeks in isolation upon their return.

Ministers are believed to be planning new measures for a swathe of countries that also includes Switzerland, Poland and the Netherlands amid a surge in European coronavirus cases.

They could join Spain and its islands on the list of countries where returnees will face 14 days of self-isolation, possibly putting their jobs at risk. 

It came as Boris Johnson warned that  ministers will ‘not hesitate’ to impose a quarantine system for travellers from other countries to the UK if needed.

Speaking on a visit to a school in Upminster, Essex, he said: ‘I don’t want to advise people about their individual holidays, individual decisions, they should look at the travel advice from the Foreign Office clearly.

‘But what I will say, and I hope people would expect us to do this, in the context of a global pandemic, we’ve got to keep looking at the data in all the countries to which British people want to travel.

‘Where it is necessary to impose restrictions or to impose a quarantine system, we will not hesitate to do so.

France has piled up 10,002 new cases in the last week, the highest number since April and a sharp increase from 7,391 the week before

Boris Johnson warned that ministers will 'not hesitate' to impose a quarantine system for travellers from other countries to the UK if needed

Boris Johnson warned that ministers will ‘not hesitate’ to impose a quarantine system for travellers from other countries to the UK if needed

People wear protective face masks in front of the Eiffel Tower, as part of measures to contain the spread of coronavirus in France

People wear protective face masks in front of the Eiffel Tower, as part of measures to contain the spread of coronavirus in France

Boris Johnson takes aim at unions amid bid to ‘sabotage’ reopening schools next month 

Boris Johnson told teachers today they have a ‘moral duty’ to help schools reopen next month as he faced a standoff with unions.

The PM warned it is ‘not right’ that pupils should spend more time out of the classroom, reiterating his determination for a full return when term begins.

While he was careful to praise the work done by teachers and unions to make schools ‘safe’ in time for the move, he added: ‘It is our moral duty as a country to make sure that happens.’

The intervention – as he tried his hand at archery on a visit to a school in Upminster – came as unions were accused of a bid to sabotage the government’s plans with a 200-item list of safety demands.

The National Education Union has provided its half a million members with a ‘checklist’ of Covid-secure measures, saying they should ‘escalate’ complaints if they are not being followed. There have also been calls for pupils to be taught on a week on, week off rota.

But Professor Russell Viner, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and a member of Sage, said studies had suggested children were ‘very minor players in the transmission overall’ of the virus.

And he insisted teachers were not at significantly higher risk than any other workers.

Ministers have also played down calls for teachers and pupils to be routinely tested whether or not they have symptoms.

‘It’s been a huge effort for the entire population of this country to get the disease down to the levels that we are currently seeing, but we do not want reinfection and that’s why we’ve got to keep a very, very close eye on the data in destinations around the world.’

Spain has already been hit with new travel restrictions in a blow to its tourism-reliant economy, while there are fears that France, Germany or Holland could be put back on the UK’s quarantine list after spikes in cases there.    

Summer holidays have been blamed for rising cases in Germany and Italy, while France has tightened its face mask rules in tourist hotspots such as Paris and the Mediterranean resort of Saint Tropez. 

However, Europe has yet to see a major spike in deaths or hospital cases, amid signs that many of those testing positive are young and less vulnerable to the disease.  

France has piled up 10,002 new cases in the last week, the highest number since April and a sharp increase from 7,391 the week before. 

The government’s Covid-19 scientific council warned last week that France could ‘at any moment’ lose control over the spread of the disease. 

Some French towns are now requiring face masks outdoors, including the Mediterranean resort of Saint-Tropez and other tourist areas. 

Paris and Marseille, the two largest cities in France, have both ordered mask-wearing in crowded outdoor areas such as open-air markets and the banks of the Seine. 

Asked if France could be added to the quarantine list, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: ‘We keep the data for all countries and territories under constant review.

‘Any decisions to update the exemptions list will be informed by the latest health data and we can and will act rapidly. We have been updating the exemptions list on a weekly basis in order to make sure that it reflects the changes in the international health picture.’

He added: ‘If there is a need to act very rapidly in order to protect public health, then we wouldn’t hesitate to do so.’

He went on: ‘Unfortunately, during this pandemic there isn’t a risk-free way of travelling overseas. The population’s made a huge effort to get the disease down to the levels that we’re seeing in the UK and if we feel that we need to act in relation to the travel exemptions list then we’ll do so.’

He continued: ‘While we can amend the list at any time and we can remove countries from the exempt list, if there’s a sustained improvement in the health situation in a particular country we can reinstate exemptions or add some new ones.’

Thousands of Britons visit popular resorts such as Biarritz (pictured) every year

Thousands of Britons visit popular resorts such as Biarritz (pictured) every year

‘Bonfire of jobs’ with a THIRD of firms planning lay offs this autumn as figures are set to show the economy has formally gone into recession

Fears are mounting of a ‘bonfire of jobs’ amid warnings a third of firms are planning to lay off staff this autumn.

Shock research found huge numbers of companies expect to axe roles in the third quarter of the year as coronavirus hammers the economy. 

Many of the cuts are set to come from hospitality businesses such as hotels, restaurants and cafes, as well as shops that were already on the brink before the pandemic.

The hit emerged in a survey carried out by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) with recruiter the Adecco Group. 

Labour demanded the government ditches plans to scrap the furlough scheme entirely from October, forcing employers to take on the full costs of staff wages again. 

Meanwhile, figures released this week are due to confirm that the UK has formally entered recession – with a second quarter of GDP contracting. And official jobs data are scheduled for tomorrow. 

The number of firms that cut 20 or more roles during June was up fivefold compared to last year, rising to 1,778. Pictured: Stock photo of an upset businessman

The number of firms that cut 20 or more roles during June was up fivefold compared to last year, rising to 1,778. Pictured: Stock photo of an upset businessman

GDP figures due to be released this week are set to show that the UK has entered a technical recession - with two consecutive quarters of contraction. The Bank of England predicts that the downturn will be the worst in a hundred years (chart pictured)

GDP figures due to be released this week are set to show that the UK has entered a technical recession – with two consecutive quarters of contraction. The Bank of England predicts that the downturn will be the worst in a hundred years (chart pictured)

Figures on Wednesday are widely expected to show the economy contracted massively during the second quarter following the imposition of the virus lockdown.

That comes after output declined in the first three months of the year. Two successive quarters of contraction officially marks a recession, which would be the first since the financial crisis hit. 

Separate figures from the Insolvency Service have indicated that more than 139,000 jobs were lost in June.

The number of firms that cut 20 or more roles during June was up fivefold compared to last year, rising to 1,778.

And economic figures due this week are due to underline the scale of the problems, with jobs figures and the latest GDP estimate coming within days. 

There are fears that huge numbers of people working from home is causing damage as businesses that rely on busy offices – from sandwich shops and pubs to dry cleaners and hairdressers – are deprived of custom.

Sandwich shop chains Pret a Manger and Upper Crust have already axed thousands of jobs between them, with Pret yesterday asking staff to accept reduced hours.

The Bank of England said last week that the UK economy is likely to shrink by nearly a tenth over this year

The Bank of England said last week that the UK economy is likely to shrink by nearly a tenth over this year

The Bank predicted that GDP will have been down by more than a fifth in the second quarter

The Bank predicted that GDP will have been down by more than a fifth in the second quarter

200,000 people forced to retire early 

 Nearly 200,000 people over 50 have dropped out of the workforce and become economically inactive since the outbreak, a study suggests.

Inactivity levels have increased more in recent months among over-50s than any other age group, said jobs and community site Rest Less. 

A separate study from the Centre for Ageing Better and the Learning and Work Institute also found roughly 2.5million over-50s had been furloughed and 377,000 of those face the prospect of losing their job entirely.

Stuart Lewis, of Rest Less, said: ‘In the wake of the toughest job market in decades, there has been a significant rise in the number of workers over 50 who have lost hope in finding a job and feel forced into an early retirement that many simply cannot afford.’

Gerwyn Davies, of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), said businesses were now facing the prospect of rising costs as the Government winds down its jobs furlough scheme. 

He added: ‘For many firms, the problem is that revenues are simply not coming in. There is undoubtedly going to be a lot of job losses.’

Firms that revealed plans to lay off staff in June included Royal Mail, Jet2, HSBC, Jaguar Land Rover, Centrica and the Restaurant Group, owner of Frankie and Benny’s. 

Similar announcements followed from other big names in July, such as Marks & Spencer, Boots and John Lewis.

High Street businesses have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic, with lockdown measures dramatically reducing visitor numbers and forcing ‘non-essential’ shops to close for months.

But the jobs bloodbath is expected to intensify when the Government’s furlough scheme winds down in October.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has been urged to extend the scheme for specific sectors that have been worst hit but has so far resisted pressure to do so.

Shadow business minister Lucy Powell called for the Government to ‘urgently rethink their rigid approach’, which will see the furlough scheme end entirely in October. 

‘The unpredictable nature of this virus means that public health measures must be flexible and responsive, but it surely follows that economic measures must be the same,’ the Labour MP said. 

‘It’s clearly illogical and unfair to prevent businesses from opening their doors, cutting them off from any income, and to cut their furlough lifeline at the same time. 

‘They’ve said they can’t save every job, but we’re seeing a jobs bonfire. They need to target their support at the hardest-hit sectors or be responsible for another wave of mass redundancies.’ 

As part of plans to set an example and get the country moving again, the Government has told civil servants – four fifths of whom are still working remotely -to get back to work in central London or risk losing their prestigious Westminster offices.

Treasury officials are said to be considering mass sell-off of the Government’s buildings in the capital before this autumn’s spending review.

France ‘is just days from being added to Britain’s quarantine list’ after surge in coronavirus cases

France ‘is just days from being added to Britain’s quarantine list’ as Boris Johnson warns he ‘will not hesitate’ to impose coronavirus restrictions on travellers from more countries

  • Countries like Switzerland, Poland and the Netherlands may also be affected
  • PM warned ministers will ‘not hesitate’ to expand the quarantine system 
  • France has experienced a surge in cases in August 

Fears are growing today that France will be added to the UK’s quarantined travel list within days, leaving thousands of Brits facing weeks in isolation upon their return.

Ministers are believed to be planning new measures for a swathe of countries that also includes Switzerland, Poland and the Netherlands amid a surge in European coronavirus cases.

They could join Spain and its islands on the list of countries where returnees will face 14 days of self-isolation, possibly putting their jobs at risk. 

It came as Boris Johnson warned that  ministers will ‘not hesitate’ to impose a quarantine system for travellers from other countries to the UK if needed.

Speaking on a visit to a school in Upminster, Essex, he said: ‘I don’t want to advise people about their individual holidays, individual decisions, they should look at the travel advice from the Foreign Office clearly.

‘But what I will say, and I hope people would expect us to do this, in the context of a global pandemic, we’ve got to keep looking at the data in all the countries to which British people want to travel.

‘Where it is necessary to impose restrictions or to impose a quarantine system, we will not hesitate to do so.

France has piled up 10,002 new cases in the last week, the highest number since April and a sharp increase from 7,391 the week before

Boris Johnson warned that ministers will 'not hesitate' to impose a quarantine system for travellers from other countries to the UK if needed

Boris Johnson warned that ministers will ‘not hesitate’ to impose a quarantine system for travellers from other countries to the UK if needed

‘It’s been a huge effort for the entire population of this country to get the disease down to the levels that we are currently seeing, but we do not want reinfection and that’s why we’ve got to keep a very, very close eye on the data in destinations around the world.’

Spain has already been hit with new travel restrictions in a blow to its tourism-reliant economy, while there are fears that France, Germany or Holland could be put back on the UK’s quarantine list after spikes in cases there.    

Summer holidays have been blamed for rising cases in Germany and Italy, while France has tightened its face mask rules in tourist hotspots such as Paris and the Mediterranean resort of Saint Tropez. 

However, Europe has yet to see a major spike in deaths or hospital cases, amid signs that many of those testing positive are young and less vulnerable to the disease.  

France has piled up 10,002 new cases in the last week, the highest number since April and a sharp increase from 7,391 the week before. 

The government’s Covid-19 scientific council warned last week that France could ‘at any moment’ lose control over the spread of the disease. 

Some French towns are now requiring face masks outdoors, including the Mediterranean resort of Saint-Tropez and other tourist areas. 

Paris and Marseille, the two largest cities in France, have both ordered mask-wearing in crowded outdoor areas such as open-air markets and the banks of the Seine. 

Spanish police break up coronavirus infection party

Spanish police have broken up a ‘coronavirus party’ where guests were allegedly trying to spread the disease on purpose – as the country suffers a sharp rebound in cases with infections rising across Europe. 

More than 60 people were found camping on an out-of-bounds Tenerife beach in what police called a ‘get-together on the beach to spread Covid-19’, apparently in the hope of developing immunity. 

Civil Guard officers swooped to shut down the gathering with youngsters forced to dismantle their tents, but officials say the party was a ‘very serious threat’ after Spain suffered more than 25,000 new cases in the last week. 

Spain has already been hit with new travel restrictions in a blow to its tourism-reliant economy, while there are fears that France, Germany or Holland could be put back on the UK’s quarantine list after spikes in cases there.    

Summer holidays have been blamed for rising cases in Germany and Italy, while France has tightened its face mask rules in tourist hotspots such as Paris and the Mediterranean resort of Saint Tropez. 

However, Europe has yet to see a major spike in deaths or hospital cases, amid signs that many of those testing positive are young and less vulnerable to the disease.  

Rising cases: Spain has suffered a severe spike in coronavirus cases in recent weeks, as this graph shows, while France, Germany and Italy have also seen upticks in new infections 

A Spanish Civil Guard officer watches on as youngsters dismantle their tents on a closed Tenerife beach where guests are alleged to have attended a 'get-together to spread Covid-19

A Spanish Civil Guard officer watches on as youngsters dismantle their tents on a closed Tenerife beach where guests are alleged to have attended a ‘get-together to spread Covid-19 

Spain has suffered the worst spike of recent weeks, prompting several countries including Britain and Germany to impose new travel restrictions. 

The Mediterranean country announced nearly 26,000 new infections in the last seven days, up from 16,000 the week before and fewer than 2,000 in late June. 

Catalonia alone saw more than 5,000 cases in the space of a week, while the nearby region of Aragon had the country’s highest infection rate per 100,000 people. 

Los Patos beach on Tenerife, where the alleged ‘coronavirus party’ took place, is traditionally a well-known nudist beach on the Canary Islands which have been lobbying for an exemption from Britain’s quarantine rules.    

La Orotava Town Hall’s security department said in a statement: ‘Civil Guard and local police have cleared Los Patos beach where 62 people were camping.

‘The Civil Guard has intercepted a get-together on the beach to spread Covid-19 in an area where access is currently prohibited.’

La Orotava’s Security Councillor Narciso Perez said the police operation came after investigators discovered the planned beach party on social media.

He told local press: ‘Over the past few days, Civil Guard officers have discovered a kind of get-together which was being planned on social media to carry out a mass camping trip to Los Patos beach designed to help the spread of Covid-19.

‘This is a threat which has been taken very seriously. The Civil Guard has carried out a thorough investigation to identify those people who organised this and they have been questioned.’ 

Despite Spain’s increase in cases, only 46 virus patients were admitted to intensive care in the week up to last Friday, compared to more than 20,000 people who tested positive for the virus. 

The death toll has generally remained in single figures despite the recent increase, with only 16 fatalities in the week to Thursday. The total is 28,503. 

Spanish authorities on the Tenerife beach where dozens of people were found camping in an alleged 'coronavirus party'

Spanish authorities on the Tenerife beach where dozens of people were found camping in an alleged ‘coronavirus party’ 

The Tenerife beach (pictured) on the Canary Islands, which has been lobbying for an exemption from Britain's quarantine rule

The Tenerife beach (pictured) on the Canary Islands, which has been lobbying for an exemption from Britain’s quarantine rule

Neighbouring France has piled up 10,002 new cases in the last week, the highest number since April and a sharp increase from 7,391 the week before. 

The government’s Covid-19 scientific council warned last week that France could ‘at any moment’ lose control over the spread of the disease. 

Some French towns are now requiring face masks outdoors, including the Mediterranean resort of Saint-Tropez and other tourist areas. 

Paris and Marseille, the two largest cities in France, have both ordered mask-wearing in crowded outdoor areas such as open-air markets and the banks of the Seine. 

‘All the indicators show that since mid-July the virus is again circulating more actively in the region,’ the Paris police said, adding that the 20-30 age group was particularly affected by the latest spike in cases. 

There are also fears that France could be next to be removed from the UK’s ‘travel corridor’ list after quarantine rules were re-imposed for Spain and Belgium. 

UK chancellor Rishi Sunak said on Friday that Britain would ‘not hesitate’ to toughen its quarantine rules amid rising infection rates across the continent. Portugal currently remains off-limits.  

Norway has already ordered arrivals from France to quarantine for 10 days, saying that the epidemic is ‘moving in the wrong direction’.  

However, the number of severe cases has not risen in France, with around 5,000 people currently in hospital compared to more than 30,000 in April.  

Deaths have also been stagnant, with 68 coronavirus deaths in hospital last week compared to 74 the week before.   

People wear face masks in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, where coverings have become compulsory in some crowded outdoor areas amid surging infections in France

People wear face masks in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, where coverings have become compulsory in some crowded outdoor areas amid surging infections in France 

Pupils sit in a classroom in Berlin, as some German schools start to return despite a worrying rise in cases around the country

Pupils sit in a classroom in Berlin, as some German schools start to return despite a worrying rise in cases around the country

Germany meanwhile suffered nearly 6,000 new infections from Monday to Sunday, marking the fourth consecutive week-on-week increase. 

The closely-watched R rate has been above the critical 1.0 threshold for most of the last month, meaning the epidemic is on the rise.  

German officials are worried because cases are spreading across the country, unlike previous spikes linked to particular factories or apartment blocks. Only 55 districts have seen no new cases in the last seven days, down from 117 a month ago.  

Tourists returning from abroad have partly been blamed for the increase, along with ‘larger family events’ and leisure activities since the lockdown was eased.

Some pupils are already back at school, but two schools in the east of the country were forced to close on Friday after new cases were detected.  

While the daily death toll remains low, the 49 new fatalities in the last seven days are an increase on 37 the week before.  

The UK yesterday announced more than 1,000 new cases in a day for the first time since June 26, prompting fears of the rebound in infections spreading to Britain. 

Boris Johnson’s government has been pushing businesses to return to work, despite the number of virus cases showing signs of increasing. 

Young people sunbathe at the Marineterrein on a sunny day in Amsterdam last Friday, after the Dutch government announced that virus cases had doubled in the space of a week

Young people sunbathe at the Marineterrein on a sunny day in Amsterdam last Friday, after the Dutch government announced that virus cases had doubled in the space of a week 

Italy too has seen a rise in cases, although the figures are currently lower than in Britain, Germany, France or Spain.  

The last seven days saw 2,497 new cases in Italy, up from 1,970 the week before, and Friday’s figure of 552 new cases was the highest since May 28. 

The regional governor of Veneto, which includes Venice, said new cases were being driven by tourists returning home from Spain, Malta, Peru, Croatia and Greece.  

‘Everyone must decide where they want to go on vacation, but it’s also true, that by us, for a couple of weeks now, we’re seeing a concentration of patients who were infected on vacation,’ governor Luca Zaia said. 

The Italian Health Ministry says the average age of infected persons in recent weeks has dropped to 40, compared to about 61 during the height of the crisis.      

Only 45 people are currently in intensive care, compared to several thousand in April, while the majority of the 13,000 ‘active’ patients are isolating at home. 

Italy’s death toll rose by 51 in the last week, taking the total to 35,205, compared to an increase of 48 the week before.  

Elsewhere, the Dutch government said on Tuesday that cases had doubled in a week, with a particular spike in the province of South Holland. 

The positive tests included more than 200 people who had recently returned from abroad, including from Spain, France, Belgium and Germany. 

A quarter of the new patients are aged between 20 and 29, according to official figures, while the country’s R rate was estimated at 1.2.