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Boris Johnson ‘will ignore rebellion and order Manchester into Tier Three TODAY’

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boris johnson will ignore rebellion and order manchester into tier three today
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Boris Johnson is set to force Greater Manchester into a Tier 3 lockdown today, despite a rebellion from Northern Tory MPs who are demanding the Prime Minister ‘looks after’ key ‘Red Wall’ constituents.  

Several Conservative MPs last night sided with Manchester mayor Andy Burnham who said the Government was making Manchester a ‘sacrificial lamb’ by slapping on the toughest lockdown measures – so far only imposed on Liverpool. 

He said the North was being treated like a ‘canary in the coalmine’ with experimental restrictions, claiming that if London was in the same position there would be a nationwide clampdown. 

But the PM is set to put Greater Manchester on the Government’s Tier 3 list with or without Mr Burnham’s go-ahead – even though the mayor threatened legal action if it was imposed, The Daily Telegraph reports.

And Lancashire – the other area that the Joint Biosecurity Centre’s ‘Gold Command’ agreed should be upgraded – is understood to be close to siding with the PM and saying yes to the harshest lockdown on the list.

Tier 3 lockdown would see all bars and pubs who do not serve meals shut – as well as a ban on indoor mixing.

In a further blow to the PM’s plan, the Government’s scientific advisers think Mr Johnson’s regional three-tier lockdown system is doomed to fail.

They think a more-expansive lockdown – which could be enforced on every school holiday – would be necessary.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer is understood  to have backed the circuit-breaker plan – telling leaders in the North that a country-wide lockdown is the only strategy that will see success. 

It comes after Mr Hancock blasted Mr Burnham’s interventions, urging local leaders to ‘set aside this party politics’ and work with the Government to ‘put in place the measures that are needed in Greater Manchester, (and) across the North West’. 

Now, in a sign that his own party is seeing a dramatic North-South split, local Tory MPs have also rejected calls for the region to be placed into Tier 3.  

Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee of backbench Tory MPs, said: ‘The case has not been made for Greater Manchester to move into a Tier Three lockdown.’

Sir Graham, MP for Altrincham and Sale West in Greater Manchester, added: ‘There is widespread concern amongst MPs, council leaders and the Mayor of Greater Manchester, all resisting the suggestion that Tier Three should be introduced.’

Fellow Tory William Wragg, MP for Hazel Grove in Manchester, said health ministers had ‘achieved the impossible’ by uniting local politicians of all parties against the government’s plans.

Jake Berry, former minister for the Northern Powerhouse, and MP for Rossendale and Darwen, said many people in the region already ‘don’t know or understand what the rules are’ because they are on the ‘twentieth set of rules’.

Mr Berry pointed out that following last year’s election triumph, the Tories now have 80 Northern MPs, adding: ‘They are the Prime Minister’s majority and, bluntly, he needs to look after us.’

Further adding to the backlash was new ‘Red Wall’ Tory MPs – who played a key role in securing the election for Mr Johnson last year – had a ‘sh**show’ conference call with health minister Helen Whately.

MP for Leigh James Grundy took a hard line with the minister, while Bury North MP James Daly ‘had a strong go’ at her, a source told The Times

Meanwhile, chief strategic adviser to the Prime Minister Sir Edward Lister held a different call with Greater Manchester’s local leaders which was understood to be equally unproductive.

Ms Whately and Sir Edward couldn’t answer how furloughed staff in the hospitality sector – those worst-hit by Tier 3 – could access their benefits.

They were also unable to show MPs and leaders scientific evidence about Covid-19’s transmission. 

Labour’s shadow foreign secretary and Wigan MP Lisa Nandy said: ‘Despite repeated attempts to claim we’re divided there was total unity from Conservative and Labour Greater Manchester MPs on the call with the minister this morning.

‘We will support evidence based interventions with adequate financial support. We will not support this chaos.’

Placing large chunks of the North into Tier Three is central to the Prime Minister’s plan to avoid a national circuit-breaker lockdown by targeting action at the areas with the highest infection rates.

Downing Street said the PM wanted to move forward with ‘as much consensus as possible’ but confirmed ministers do have the powers to force whole regions into the top tier.

However, ministers fear that if Labour sides with Tory rebels, the Government could be defeated in a confirmatory vote on the regulations, which would be needed next month to keep them in force.

There are also fears that the row could undermine public confidence in the measures even if they are imposed.

In other key developments today: 

  • The Queen sought to send a reassuring message to the country as she got back to business without a mask, carrying out her first public engagement outside of a royal residence since before the coronavirus pandemic;
  • Covidiot MP Margaret Ferrier will face no police action despite travelling 800 miles across Britain while ill with coronavirus, Scotland Yard said; 
  • Former government advisor Louise Casey has warned that locked down workers could be forced to ‘prostitute’ themselves because government support is inadequate; 
  • As many as 13 London boroughs have breached the infection threshold of 100 cases per 100,000 people; 
  • Police chiefs have warned Mark Drakeford’s plan to impose a travel ban on English visitors to Wales from coronavirus hotspots is ‘unenforceable’.
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Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee of backbench Tory MPs, said: ‘The case has not been made for Greater Manchester to move into a Tier Three lockdown'

Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee of backbench Tory MPs, said: ‘The case has not been made for Greater Manchester to move into a Tier Three lockdown'

Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee of backbench Tory MPs, said: ‘The case has not been made for Greater Manchester to move into a Tier Three lockdown’

Prime Minister Boris Johnson (pictured) is set to put Greater Manchester on the Government's Tier 3 list with or without Andy Burnham's go-ahead - even though the mayor threatened legal action if it was imposed

Prime Minister Boris Johnson (pictured) is set to put Greater Manchester on the Government's Tier 3 list with or without Andy Burnham's go-ahead - even though the mayor threatened legal action if it was imposed

Mr Burnham said the Government was making Manchester a 'sacrificial lamb' by slapping on the toughest lockdown measures - so far only imposed on Liverpool

Mr Burnham said the Government was making Manchester a 'sacrificial lamb' by slapping on the toughest lockdown measures - so far only imposed on Liverpool

Prime Minister Boris Johnson (left) is set to put Greater Manchester on the Government’s Tier 3 list with or without Andy Burnham’s go-ahead – even though the mayor threatened legal action if it was imposed

Professor Clifford Stott, a scientific adviser to the government, warned that the stance adopted by Mr Burnham and others could sow confusion about the value of the restrictions.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘Where you have got local leaders disputing the legitimacy of government measures it is creating the conditions where people are less likely to adhere.’

However, Professor Stott backed calls from Mr Burnham and others to put in more financial support, warning that some people would otherwise be unable to stick to the rules.

Mr Burnham said the ‘very least’ he would accept was a full reinstatement of the furlough scheme paying 80 per cent of the wages of people unable to work because of the lockdown.

No 10 said talks with local leaders would continue today. So far only Liverpool City Region has agreed to go into Tier Three. 

There had been widespread briefings overnight that the area would be shifted into the harshest Tier Three category along with Lancashire. 

However, the mood shifted abruptly after health minister Ms Whately held what was branded a ‘sh**show’ conference call with local MPs.

Both Downing Street and the Treasury said there would be no advance on the new Job Support Scheme, which pays only two-thirds of wages.

Police say Wales’s ban on English visitors from COVID hotspots is ‘UNENFORCEABLE’

Police chiefs have warned Mark Drakeford’s plan to impose a travel ban on English visitors to Wales from coronavirus hotspots is ‘unenforceable’. 

The Welsh First Minister this week announced that he intends to prohibit entry to people from areas with high levels of Covid-19 if Boris Johnson fails to impose UK-wide travel restrictions. 

But the Police Federation of England and Wales said ‘policing in Wales is already over-stretched due to the pandemic’ and the new measures would add ‘yet another level of complexity to policing’. 

The proposals have sparked a furious political backlash with Tory MPs labelling the move ‘heavy handed and stupid’ as they also accused Mr Drakeford of being ‘guilty of small man syndrome’. 

Meanwhile, Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg said ‘putting a border between England and Wales is unconstitutional’ and warned it would put the police in an ‘invidious position’.

Mr Drakeford defended his proposals this morning as he said police could use automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology to catch visitors from banned areas of the UK. 

He also said holiday providers in Wales should not accept bookings from people in hotspot areas of the UK as he warned existing getaway plans ‘will no longer be able to be honoured’.   

It came as Nicola Sturgeon backed Mr Drakeford’s call for nationwide travel restrictions on high incidence areas as she said she would not rule out imposing a Wales-style ban on visitors. 

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No 10 said the lowest paid would receive almost 90 per cent of their normal income because they would be eligible for top ups from Universal Credit.

But Mr Burnham said he was ready to take legal action against ministers if they tried to impose the rules. 

The Tory MPs’ revolt came as Britain yesterday recorded 18,980 more coronavirus cases and 138 deaths. 

Department of Health figures show daily infections have risen just eight per cent in a week from 17,540 last Thursday. Just 77 fatalities were declared last Thursday.

Although rising, the numbers are still a far cry from the darkest days of the first wave in the spring, when more than 100,000 Britons were catching the virus every day and at least 1,000 infected patients died daily.  

At a press call in Manchester today, Mr Burnham said: ‘Greater Manchester, the Liverpool City region and Lancashire are being set up as the canaries in the coalmine for an experimental regional lockdown strategy as an attempt to prevent the expense of what is truly needed.

‘The very least they should be offering the people of Greater Manchester who will be affected by these closures is a full and fair 80 per cent furlough for all affected workers, 80 per cent income support for people who are self-employed, and a proper compensation scheme for businesses. So far, they have not been prepared to offer that.’

Mr Burnham’s retort led ministers to humiliatingly back off of plans to force a Manchester and Lancashire lockdown. 

Health Secretary Matt Hancock had been expected to announce the Tier Three news in a Commons statement. Instead he merely told the House that ‘discussions are ongoing’.

Speaking to reporters last night, Mr Hancock said: ‘The situation in the North West is severe, the number of cases is rising exponentially, the number of people in hospital with covid has doubled in just the last 12 days.

‘So I call upon local leaders to set aside this party politics and to work with us to put in place the measures that are needed in Greater Manchester, (and) across the North West, so we can deal with this virus and support people through it.’

He said now is ‘a time for people to come together so that we can control this virus’ and ‘we must act’.

Mr Burnham said chief medical officer Chris Whitty had told him that a national lockdown was the only thing ‘certain’ to reduce coronavirus cases. 

‘But the Government told us this morning it is unwilling to do that because of the damage it will do to the national economy,’ he said.

‘And yet that is what they want to impose on the North West.

‘So that was our conclusion from the Number 10 meeting this morning: they are willing to try and sacrifice jobs and businesses here to try and save them elsewhere.’

Earlier, Labour’s Lucy Powell, who represents Manchester Central, said there was ‘unanimous fury’ among the politicians on the call with Ms Whately.

‘We want action but it has to be the right action, because we’ve lived in Tier Two for nearly three months and it’s not worked,’ she said.

Wigan’s Labour frontbencher Lisa Nandy said: ‘Despite repeated attempts to claim we’re divided there was total unity from Conservative and Labour Greater Manchester MPs on the call with the Minister this morning.

‘We will support evidence based interventions with adequate financial support. We will not support this chaos.’

Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the powerful Tory backbench 1922 Committee and MP for Altrincham and Sale West, said the ‘case has not been made’ for a tougher lockdown.

‘There is widespread concern amongst Members of Parliament, council leaders and the Mayor of Greater Manchester, all resisting the suggestion that Tier Three should be introduced.’

However, significant movement has come in shifting areas from Tier One to Tier Two on the government’s lockdown scale.

Half of England will be under heightened lockdown from the weekend after nine million Londoners were told they face tougher curbs to tackle a coronavirus surge. 

Tory MP Graham Brady

Tory MP Graham Brady

Health minister Helen Whately

Health minister Helen Whately

Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the powerful Tory backbench 1922 Committee and MP for Altrincham and Sale West, said the ‘case has not been made’ for a tougher lockdown after a call with Helen Whately (right) today

Labour's Lucy Powell, who represents Manchester Central, said there was 'unanimous fury' among the region's politicians about the idea of a Tier Three lockdown

Labour's Lucy Powell, who represents Manchester Central, said there was 'unanimous fury' among the region's politicians about the idea of a Tier Three lockdown

Labour’s Lucy Powell, who represents Manchester Central, said there was ‘unanimous fury’ among the region’s politicians about the idea of a Tier Three lockdown

Health Secretary Matt Hancock had been expected to announce the Tier Three news in a Commons statement. Instead he merely told the House that 'discussions are ongoing'

Health Secretary Matt Hancock had been expected to announce the Tier Three news in a Commons statement. Instead he merely told the House that 'discussions are ongoing'

Health Secretary Matt Hancock had been expected to announce the Tier Three news in a Commons statement. Instead he merely told the House that ‘discussions are ongoing’

Coronavirus shame MP Margaret Ferrier ESCAPES police action over 800-mile cross-Britain journey while ill because she took a test BEFORE new laws that could have seen her fined £4,000 came into effect

Covidiot MP Margaret Ferrier will face no police action despite travelling 800 miles across Britain while ill with coronavirus, Scotland Yard said today.

Detectives investigating the former SNP politician, 60, said that despite potentially infecting people on journeys between her Scottish constituency and London – where she spoke in Parliament – she broke no rules in England.

Ms Ferrier travelled by train while awaiting the results of a Covid test at the end of last month. She spoke in the Commons that night and then travelled back to Scotland the following day after being told the test was positive. 

The Metropolitan Police this afternoon said that because Ms Ferrier took a coronavirus test on September 26 – and travelled to London two days later – she could not face action under the Health Protection Regulations 2020, because they only came into effect on September 29.

The new law introduced a £4,000 fine for people who ‘recklessly’ breach lockdown. 

The Rutherglen and Hamilton West MP was stripped of the nationalist party’s whip and faces mounting calls to resign her £80,000-per-year job.

But she remains defiant and refuses to back down, blaming ‘muddled rules’ for her actions. 

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Mr Johnson reviewed the proposals this morning after they were signed off by the ‘gold command’ group including chief medical officer Chris Whitty. 

Along with London, Essex, Elmbridge, Barrow in Furness, York, North East Derbyshire, Chesterfield and Erewash will also be placed into the same category.

It means as of Saturday residents will be banned from mixing with other households indoors, including in bars and other venues. Socialising outdoors – including in pub and private gardens – will still be allowed within the Rule of Six.

Offices and public transport can remain open, although the government’s general advice to work from home where possible stands. 

Overall, nearly 30million people – around half the population of England – will be in a raised state of lockdown.  

Mr Khan has been demanding more support for the capital’s hospitality businesses that could be crippled by the shift. He warned this morning that Londoners face a ‘difficult winter ahead’, and also repeated his call for new national ‘circuit breaker’ measures alongside the curbs. 

The Health Secretary told the Commons he ‘hated’ bringing in new measures, but it was the ‘only way’ to save lives. He said cases were ‘on a steep upward path’ in London.

‘Unless we suppress the virus we cannot return to the economy we had,’ he added. 

In a grim message he warned: ‘Things will get worse before they get better.’ 

But there was no move on Greater Manchester or Lancashire after the revolt. 

Hazel Grove’s William Wragg yesterday said: ‘All of the Members of Parliament, the leaders of the councils and indeed the mayor, surprisingly, are in agreement with one another, the meeting we had earlier today was entirely pointless.

‘I may as well have talked to a wall, quite frankly.’

Meanwhile, a separate meeting with local authority leaders also seems to have been shambolic.

Oldham’s Labour council leader Sean Fielding said: ‘I am far from a seasoned negotiator but the GM (Greater Manchester) meeting just now was a masterclass in how not to do it.

‘Opening line from Govt: ”We either do Tier Three with you or impose it”. And then absolutely nothing is offered to bring us on side because ”there is no money”.’  

The Queen sought to send a reassuring message to the country as she got back to business without a mask today, carrying out her first public engagement outside of a royal residence since before the coronavirus pandemic gripped the nation

The Queen sought to send a reassuring message to the country as she got back to business without a mask today, carrying out her first public engagement outside of a royal residence since before the coronavirus pandemic gripped the nation

The Queen sought to send a reassuring message to the country as she got back to business without a mask today, carrying out her first public engagement outside of a royal residence since before the coronavirus pandemic gripped the nation

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Mr Khan has been pushing for the capital to be moved up from Tier One – which just means normal social distancing rules, the Rule of Six and a 10pm curfew on pubs – to Tier Two.

However, he has been angling for more funding to go alongside the curbs, and there was resistance within government, local councils and Tory MPs to treating London as a whole, with infection rates varying widely in different boroughs.

40% OF CASES IN TEENS AND 20s, PHE SAYS

Almost half of coronavirus infections are still happening in people in their teens and 20s, according to Public Health England.

Those in their late teens and early 20s appear to have fuelled the second wave if the epidemic.  

Thousands of cases are being diagnosed in university students, who returned to their studies in September and notoriously live in cramped halls of residence and large households.

Working people in their 20s may also be large drivers of infection because of their active social lives. 

Among 10 to 19-year-olds in England, PHE said, there are 245 cases of Covid-19 for every 100,000 people. And there are 253 cases per 100,000 in people aged 20 to 29.

Although young people are not at much risk of dying if they catch Covid-19, they can accelerate community outbreaks that spread to older people, and they may also suffer the lasting effects of ‘long Covid’. 

Dr Yvonne Doyle, PHE’s medical director, said today: ‘We’re now seeing about 40 per cent of positive cases among young adults in their late teens and early twenties, which is causing the disease to spread rapidly throughout the community and older people. 

‘And while there are fewer cases among older people, they are far more likely to get seriously ill. 

‘That means we are also seeing a worrying increase in people aged over 75 being admitted to hospital. We must be prepared for the number of deaths to rise rapidly as a result.

‘This picture is particularly acute in the North of England, with the North West the region worst affected.

‘I cannot stress enough how vital it is that everyone follows the guidelines as they are there to help protect you and your loved ones. Wash your hands regularly, use a face covering and keep your distance.’ 

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Mr Khan said: ‘Nobody wants to see more restrictions – but this is deemed to be necessary in order to protect Londoners lives by myself, London Council Leaders and by ministers.

‘As part of our discussions, I’ve also made clear to the Government that we need more financial support for London’s businesses, workers and public services as we face more restrictions – and we will continue to make this case.’  

Ealing has become London’s new Covid-19 hotspot, figures revealed today.

Government data shows the West London borough diagnosed 144.5 cases for every 100,000 residents in the week ending October 9, topping Richmond upon Thames (137.9). 

Ealing’s seven-day rolling average number of weekly Covid-19 cases has jumped up to 144.5 per 100,000 people in the week ending October 9, from 132.5 on Wednesday.

Some parts of the borough are significantly harder hit than others, according to the government’s dashboard.

For example, South Ealing’s infection rate currently stands at 293.6, Southall North’s is 274.3 and Elthorne Park’s is 295.3. 

The Government coronavirus dashboard reveals the borough has moved up from the third spot to the top in one day, overtaking Richmond-upon-Thames and Hackney and City of London.

Thirteen boroughs now have infection rates over 100 per 100,000 people, the equivalent of one person in every 1,000 catching the coronavirus every week. 

None of the 32 boroughs had tipped the threshold before this week, according to separate Public Health England data. 

The dramatic step was criticised by some London Tories.

London Mayoral Candidate Shaun Bailey said: ‘Sadiq Khan’s constant calls for more restrictions and more lockdowns are incredibly irresponsible. It’s almost like he wants people to pay attention to anything other than his terrible record as Mayor.

‘I fully support the government’s decision to put London into Tier Two. It’s a sensible move that may help us avoid another lockdown while keeping Londoners safe.

‘To be absolutely clear, London’s economy would be hit hard by a second lockdown. So even though it’s right to keep all options on the table, we should do everything we can to avoid a second lockdown.’

Bromley and Chislehurst MP Sir Bob Neill said the ‘one-size-fits-all approach’ for the capital was a mistake.

The senior Conservative told Sky News: ‘I think it’s a mistake. I think it’s disproportionate for the whole of London.

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The government's data for London show that case rates have risen - although the lack of testing at the previous peak of the outbreak in March and April means the figures are not comparable. Deaths and hospitalisations have also seen an increase over recent weeks

The government's data for London show that case rates have risen - although the lack of testing at the previous peak of the outbreak in March and April means the figures are not comparable. Deaths and hospitalisations have also seen an increase over recent weeks

The government’s data for London show that case rates have risen – although the lack of testing at the previous peak of the outbreak in March and April means the figures are not comparable. Deaths and hospitalisations have also seen an increase over recent weeks

SADIQ KHANAGE: PUBS, RESTAURANTS AND HOTELS BLAST LONDON MAYOR FOR TIER TWO RESTRICTIONS

Furious hospitality chiefs today blasted Sadiq Khan for ‘cursing’ London as they warned that plunging the UK capital into Tier Two lockdown will cause ‘catastrophic business closures and widespread job losses’.

London is braced for tighter controls from midnight tomorrow after a deal was done with Mr Khan, who is demanding yet more money from the Government and calling for a national ‘circuit breaker’.

Residents will be banned from mixing with other households indoors, including in bars and other venues, while socialising outdoors — including pub and private gardens — will still be allowed under the Rule of Six.

Offices and public transport can remain open, although the Government’s general advice to work from home where possible remains in place.

Today angry hospitality bosses, including restaurateurs, hoteliers and Britain’s biggest pub trade association, all lined up to warn City Hall that further coronavirus restrictions would lead to economic devastation.

It has now emerged that UKHospitality boss Kate Nicholls warned the London Mayor that more draconian action would lead to ‘mass job losses’, as much as 250,000 in the capital alone, on Wednesday — a full day before London was moved into Tier Two.

Her letter to Mr Khan added that ‘we have moved into a new phase of financial peril for our businesses, their employees, the capital’s tourism offer, and the social and cultural prospects for Londoners’.

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‘I can see some parts of London the test is met, but… there is a cluster of south-east and southern London boroughs where the rates are very much lower.

‘And although they are increasing I think to move this way for the whole of London, this one-size-fits-all approach, is a mistake because of the very real harm it will do to businesses.’

In the Commons, Mr Hancock stressed his distaste for the infringement of civil liberties. But he cemented his reputation as the leading ‘dove’ in Cabinet by insisting action had to be taken before cases rise further. 

‘The central change is that people cannot now meet other households socially indoors. This applies in any setting at home, or in a restaurant or in any other venue. The rule of six still applies in any outdoor setting and although you may continue to travel to open venues, you should reduce the number of journeys where possible,’ he said.

‘Now, I know that these measures are not easy but I also know that they are vital.

‘Responding to this unprecedented pandemic requires difficult choices, some of the most difficult choices any Government has to make in peacetime.

‘We make these decisions with a heavy heart with the sole aim to steering our nation through troubled waters.’

He said: ‘Working with local leaders in Essex and Elmbridge, we’re also moving them into local alert level high and I want to pay tribute to the leadership of Essex County Council and in Elmbridge where they have been working so hard to suppress the virus.’

Mr Hancock added: ‘Infection rates are also rising sharply in Barrow-in-Furness, in York, in North East Derbyshire, in Erewash and Chesterfield.

‘In all of these places, cases are doubling in less than a fortnight.

‘For all of the areas entering the high alert level, the change will come into effect one minute past midnight on Saturday morning and this includes Barrow-in-Furness, York, North East Derbyshire, Erewash and Chesterfield too.’

But Mr Hancock did not have any substantive news on shifts to Tier Three, merely saying that engagement was continuing. 

Mr Burnham and Greater Manchester council leaders have threatened legal action if they are put into the ‘fundamentally flawed’ highest level of local restrictions without more financial help.

The Mayor said he would ‘not cave into the pressure’ by agreeing to a local lockdown and said the extreme restrictions would be ‘by imposition, not consent’. But the government has made clear that while it wants to work with local authorities, it will act without their cooperation if necessary.   

By contrast Lancashire’s county council leader Geoff Driver has said it is ‘inevitable’ his area will enter Tier Three. It reported a further 835 cases on Wednesday, some 87 of them in the seaside resort of Blackpool where medics said they fear having to relive the April peak ‘all over again for an indefinite period of time’ as intensive care wards fill up. 

Mr Burnham and other Manchester leaders have backed Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer’s calls for a nationwide ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown. 

They ‘fear a winter where large parts of the North are trapped in tier three’ without financial support for firms or for those unable to work. 

EALING is now London’s Covid-19 hotspot 

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Ealing has become London’s new Covid-19 hotspot, figures revealed today as it was confirmed that the capital is being thrust into a Tier Two lockdown from tomorrow night.

Government data shows the West London borough diagnosed 144.5 cases for every 100,000 residents in the week ending October 9, topping Richmond upon Thames (137.9). 

Ealing’s seven-day rolling average number of weekly Covid-19 cases has jumped up to 144.5 per 100,000 people in the week ending October 9, from 132.5 just on Wednesday.

Some parts of the borough are significantly harder hit than others, according to the government’s dashboard.

For example, South Ealing’s infection rate currently stands at 293.6, Southall North’s is 274.3 and Elthorne Park’s is 295.3. 

The Government coronavirus dashboard reveals the borough has moved up from the third spot to the top in one day, overtaking Richmond-upon-Thames and Hackney and City of London.

Thirteen boroughs now have infection rates over 100 per 100,000 people, the equivalent of one person in every 1,000 catching the coronavirus every week. 

None of the 32 boroughs had tipped the threshold before this week, according to separate Public Health England data. 

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The measures come in spite of Manchester’s Covid-19 infection rate appearing to slow. This week saw 448 cases per 100,000 – compared to 582 per 100,000 the week prior. 

After learning the Joint Biosecurity Centre’s ‘Gold Command’ had recommended an upgrade, Mr Burnham tweeted: ‘Said I wasn’t going to comment but now feel compelled to do so on the back of this Government briefing. 

‘At no point during tonight’s briefing was this news communicated to us. Media told first once again. Our position has not changed.’

As well as hospitality closures, Tier Three restrictions include a ban on socialising with other households indoors and in gardens. 

Speaking at City Hall, Mr Khan stepped up the pressure on Mr Johnson to go for a two-week national ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown over school half-term this month – something the premier has so far said he will not do.   

‘Given how far the virus has already been allowed to spread – and given the government’s complete failure to get a working test, trace and isolate system in place – I believe we also need action on a national scale – just as the government’s own scientific advisers have recommended,’ Mr Khan said.

‘That’s why I’ll continue to call for a short national circuit-breaker.

‘This could save thousands of lives, drive the virus down to manageable levels, and give the government more time to finally get a grip on its failing test and trace system.’ 

Eddie Curzon, the Confederation of British Industry’s London director, said: ‘Businesses are fully aware that public health must come first and have been doing everything they can to keep staff and customers safe, whether in pubs, shops, or offices…

‘But this news will come as a severe setback to businesses across London – particularly in the hospitality, leisure and tourism sectors.

‘While the Chancellor has taken bold and decisive action to support jobs and companies’ cashflow, London businesses still remain under extreme pressure.

‘It’s vital that the Government, the Mayor’s Office and London’s councils continue to work effectively together and use whatever tools they have at their disposal to protect jobs and livelihoods.’ 

David Finch, leader of Essex County Council, welcomed the announcement on moving to Tier Two, saying it was ‘recognition of the severity of the situation we find ourselves in as a county’.

In a statement, he added: ‘We think the government has decided correctly, guided by the science and the fact is that the number of cases in Essex is rising exponentially.

‘We understand that the move to the High local covid alert level may affect people’s lives and businesses and understand the very strong feelings about this. However, we have a duty of care to the people of Essex, and we firmly believe that this is the best route to minimise disruptions, to save lives – not just for those with the virus, but for other patients as well – and to protect businesses.

Ex-homelessness tsar claims people in Liverpool will have to ‘PROSTITUTE themselves to put food on the table’ 

Dame Louise Casey has claimed the offer of two-thirds pay for workers whose firms shut could see people ‘prostitute themselves so they could put food on the table’. 

In a blistering attack, the Government’s former homelessness adviser warned new measures from Ministers to support employees not at work would not ‘cut it’.

Under the furlough scheme, taxpayers funded 80 per cent of workers’ wages until August, with the scheme winding down until it is closed at the end of the month.

A separate Job Support Scheme, which launches on November 1 and lasts for six months, will involve the Government paying two thirds of each employee’s salary.

But this will only be up to a maximum of £2,100 a month and only if their employer is legally required to close their premises because of restrictions. 

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‘These are difficult times for individuals, businesses and communities, but I know that as a county we will come together to support and protect one another – as we have done previously – and that acting sooner rather than later to curb the spread of Covid is the right thing to do.’

In a round of interviews earlier, business minister Nadhim Zahawi suggested the decision had already been taken on subjecting Greater Manchester and Lancashire to the most severe measures as he was asked about the meeting later between the region’s MPs and health ministers.

He told Sky News: ‘I hope that they can be at the meeting and make time for that meeting so they can hear from the chief medical officer, from the deputy chief medical officer, as to why we’re having to take this action.’

Meanwhile, another furious row is ongoing between Mr Johnson and UK nations, after Wales announced a block on people travelling from coronavirus hotspots in England.

Critics have dismissed the step by First Minister Mark Drakeford as unenforceable and an attempt to ‘ban the English’.

The SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford confirmed this morning that Scotland could follow Wales in preventing non-essential travel from coronavirus restrictions.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘We of course have the opportunity to put in place appropriate public health measures. What we can do, if necessary, is say that people should not travel from hotspots, whether they should be from in Scotland or people coming to Scotland from other parts of the United Kingdom.

‘But that will be done on an evidence-based approach where we think it’s appropriate to protect the people in all parts of the country from people travelling where it’s not necessary. When people have to travel for business, for work, and so on – essential journeys – they will still be allowed, but what we’re talking about is non-essential journeys, where it’s appropriate to do that.’  

Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street in Westminster for Prime Minister's Questions

Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street in Westminster for Prime Minister's Questions

Sadiq Khan warned this morning that Londoners face a 'difficult winter ahead'

Sadiq Khan warned this morning that Londoners face a 'difficult winter ahead'

Boris Johnson (left) leaves 10 Downing Street in Westminster for Prime Minister’s Questions. Sadiq Khan (right) warned this morning that Londoners face a ‘difficult winter ahead’ as the capital moves to Tier Two restrictions

Liverpool City Region is still the only part of the country in the toughest Tier Three restrictions, after cases surged

Liverpool City Region is still the only part of the country in the toughest Tier Three restrictions, after cases surged

Liverpool City Region is still the only part of the country in the toughest Tier Three restrictions, after cases surged 

What is the difference between Tier One and Tier Two? 

TIER ONE 

Normal social distancing should be followed. Face masks on public transport and in shops etc.

Rule of Six on gatherings indoors and outdoors, and 10pm curfew on pubs. 

 TIER TWO

The Tier One rules still apply. 

In addition, households are banned from mixing in any indoor setting.

That means that socialising inside homes and bars is off limits.

However, in pub gardens, private gardens and other outdoor spaces it is still permitted as long as the Rule of Six is obeyed. 

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In a press conference with mayor of the Liverpool City region Steve Rotheram on Wednesday, Mr Burnham said: ‘My great fear is we’re going to see a position where areas, one by one, are going to have pressure piled upon them to go into tier three, because that’s an easier option for the government.

‘It’s cheaper, it puts all the pressure on local leaders without the support. I think a winter where most of the north is trapped in tier three is going to be very serious.’

He said the option backed by Sir Keir – which would involve a country-wide lockdown for between two and three weeks – ‘would be a better and a fairer way of keeping the country together, not accentuating regional divide’.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the Government will pay two thirds of the salaries of people who can’t keep working under tier three lockdown – such as bar staff.  

But Mr Burnham said the measures aren’t enough and threatened going down ‘legal routes’.

He told the conference: ‘We won’t accept people having their jobs taken off them, their businesses taken off them without proper compensation and what I mean by that is 80 per cent furlough across the board.

‘We would consider other routes – legal routes – where we could protect our many thousands of residents who are going to be left in severe hardship in the run up to Christmas.

‘We would not just leave them in the lurch, we would try and support them and that would include any legal action we could take on their behalf.

‘We might even consider some joint action in that space because we won’t let people just be sent to the wall.’ 

The political grappling comes as the UK’s daily Covid-19 cases jumped 40 per cent in a week.  On Wednesday, health officials announced 19,724 more infections and 137 new deaths.  

PM could impose ‘urban circuit breaker’ at school half-term

Boris Johnson is looking at placing millions of people in urban areas into a total ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown at half term.

Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove and the PM’s assistant Dominic Cummings are said to be pushing for a two-week closure from October 26 – but limit it to the worst-affected parts of England.

This would allow him to appear to be taking decisive action in the face of wide-support for the measure but avoid handing a political victory to Labour leader Keir Starmer, who demanded a nationwide lockdown this week.

It would cover all areas in the top Tier Three Very High category but could also include some areas currently at Tier 2 High.

It came as it was announced London will go into Tier 2 lockdown from midnight on Friday night, with ministers expected to announce Greater Manchester would be put into the highest Tier Three later today.

Mr Johnson has not ruled out a circuit-breaker, but in a combative performance at Prime Minister’s Questions, he said it would mean misery for millions.

He rounded on Sir Keir Starmer over his call for the UK to be plunged back into a national lockdown for a temporary period.

The PM is also likely to have stiff opposition from the Chancellor. Responding to Keir Starmer’s call for a full circuit breaker, Rishi Sunak last night said Britain was already facing an ‘economic emergency’ – and said Labour ‘do not seem to care about the long-term stability of the public finances’.

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Last Wednesday, 14,162 cases and 70 deaths were recorded, as well as 17,234 cases and a four-month high of 143 fatalities on Tuesday. 

For comparison, more than 100,000 Britons were getting infected and at least 1,000 were dying every day during the darkest period of the first wave in March and April. 

Mr Johnson sounded defiant on his local tiers lockdown plan on Wednesday, despite warnings from scientists that it is the ‘worst of all worlds’. 

In brutal clashes at Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Johnson dismissed calls from Sir Keir Starmer and his own SAGE experts for a ‘miserable’ national ‘circuit breaker’. 

He insisted that his job was to balance the economic and wider interests of the country with the science. 

But there are claims Mr Johnson is looking at placing millions of people in urban areas into a total ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown at half term.

Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove and the PM’s assistant Dominic Cummings are said to be pushing for a two-week closure from October 26 – but limit it to the worst-affected parts of England.

This would allow him to appear to be taking decisive action in the face of wide-support for the measure but avoid handing a political victory to Labour leader Keir Starmer, who demanded a nationwide lockdown this week.

It would cover all areas in the top Tier Three Very High category but could also include some areas currently at Tier 2 High.  

The UK’s rolling seven-day average of daily infections — considered a more accurate measure because it takes into account day-to-day fluctuations — is 15,767, having soared from 3,000 this time last month. 

And data shows the average number of daily deaths is 91, having steadily increased following a record-low of seven in mid-August.

Only the US, Brazil, India and Mexico, all countries with substantially larger populations, have suffered more fatalities than the UK’s tally of 43,155. 

But experts consider this to be an underestimate because it only takes into account patients who have died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19.

Can I still meet friends in a pub garden? Should I cancel half-term trip to Cornwall? Your questions answered as Londoners are plunged into Tier 2 lockdown with parts of Essex, Surrey, Yorkshire, Cumbria and Derbyshire

By Mark Duell for MailOnline

Nine million people in London are set to face tougher coronavirus restrictions banning households mixing indoors – including in pubs – from 0.01am on Saturday.

And London is not the only area which will be hit with the Government’s second-harshest lockdown level at midnight tomorrow. 

Residents in Essex, Elmbridge, Barrow-in-Furness, York, North East Derbyshire, Chesterfield and Erewash will also have the new restrictions imposed on them. 

Tier 2 rules includes a ban on meeting socially with friends and family indoors and weddings will be limited to 15 and funerals to 30. 

Gyms, shops, schools, universities and churches will stay open.

You can find out the current alert level in your area with the Government’s postcode checker by clicking here, but note it may change this weekend.

Here, MailOnline looks at what it will mean for all regions under Tier 2 lockdown from Saturday:

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Can I still go to my friends’ house on Thursday or Friday night?

Yes. Friday will be the last day when you can visit a friend’s house for now, but you must ensure no more than six people gather – and you leave before midnight.

Can I have my friends over from Saturday?

No. People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place.

Can I see my friends inside a pub or a restaurant?

No. You must not meet socially with friends and family indoors in any setting unless you live with them or have formed a support bubble with them. 

This includes private homes, and any other indoor venues such as pubs and restaurants. 

Can I meet my friends in a pub garden?

Yes. You can gather in groups of six outside at venues which are following Covid-secure guidance, including pubs, restaurants, shops, leisure and entertainment venues and places of worship.

At least one person in the group should give their contact details to the venue or check in using the official NHS Covid-19 app so NHS Test and Trace can contact you if needed.

Drinkers outside a pub in Westminster last month. You will only be allowed to have a drink with friends from a different household at the pub outdoors from Saturday - and not indoors

Drinkers outside a pub in Westminster last month. You will only be allowed to have a drink with friends from a different household at the pub outdoors from Saturday - and not indoors

Drinkers outside a pub in Westminster last month. You will only be allowed to have a drink with friends from a different household at the pub outdoors from Saturday – and not indoors

Can I see friends outside?

Yes. You may continue to see friends and family you do not live with (or have not formed a support bubble with) outside, including in a garden or other outdoor space. 

When you do so, you must not meet in a group of more than six. 

Do children count in the ‘rule of six’ outdoors?

Yes. This limit of six for meeting people outdoors includes children of any age.

Can I still meet inside with people from my support bubble?

Yes. You will still count as one household who can meet together indoors or outdoors.

A support bubble is where a household with one adult joins with another household. 

Households in that support bubble can still visit each other, stay overnight, and visit public places together. 

Informal childcare can also be provided via childcare bubbles (see below).

Is the support bubble affected by London changing tier?

No. Your support bubble is still valid despite London going into a higher tier, so you can continue to function as one household. 

Can my friends visit if they are from outside London?

No. If you live in a ‘tier two’ area you also cannot meet indoors with people from outside of the area, unless exceptions apply (see final question below). 

Can I go to stay at a hotel or Airbnb home within London? 

Yes. You can still travel within high alert level areas to hotels and other guest accommodation, but you should only do this with people in your household or support bubble.

You can only stay in a private home – which includes self-catered accommodation such as holiday cottages, apartments or boats – with members of your own household or support bubble.

You can stay in a hotel or similar accommodation (for example, a hostel or bed and breakfast) with another household.

However you should avoid sharing rooms with people you do not live with or otherwise socialising indoors, for example in each other’s rooms, in reception areas, or in restaurants and bars.

Can I still go on holiday outside London?

Yes, with exceptions. You can still go on holiday outside of high alert level areas, but you must only do this with people in your household or support bubble.

Can I still go on holiday to Wales? 

Probably not. Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford is proposing a travel ban on visits to Wales by people living in areas of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland with high levels of Covid-19 from Friday. 

He said police in Wales could use number plate technology to catch people from UK coronavirus hotspots who illegally enter the country. 

Can I still go on holiday to a tier three area like Liverpool?

No. You should avoid travelling to any part of the country subject to very high local Covid alert levels.

Can I still move home or look at a house in London?

Yes. You can still move home. Estate and letting agents and removals firms can also continue to work and people looking to move home can continue to undertake viewings. 

Do I have to end my current holiday outside London if it’s with another household?

No. At the time that the new local restrictions are brought in, if you are currently on holiday with another household outside London, but are from London, and are staying in a private home and it is not reasonable for you to curtail your stay, you should finish your holiday as planned. 

The Government advises that until the end of this holiday you should ‘make every effort to reduce socialising indoors outside of your household and follow local regulations and guidance’.

Can I still use public transport?

Yes, but with restrictions. The Government says you may continue to travel to venues or amenities which are open, for work, voluntary, charitable or youth services, or to access education, but you should ‘aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible’. 

If you need to travel, the Government encourages people to walk or cycle where possible, or to plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport. This will allow you to practise social distancing while you travel. 

People wearing face masks pass by market stalls at Covent Garden in Central London today

People wearing face masks pass by market stalls at Covent Garden in Central London today

People wearing face masks pass by market stalls at Covent Garden in Central London today

Do the tier two rules follow me if I travel outside my area? 

Yes. The rules are based on the highest tier level out of a) where you live and b) where you are visiting. 

Therefore, if you live in London, you must abide by London’s rules wherever you go.

But if you are from a tier one area and are visiting London, you must abide by the rules for London.

Can I visit my parents in an area outside of London?

Yes. However you must follow the rules applying to where you live, so you would have to meet them outside and ensure there is not a group of more than six people.

Can I still commute into London if I live in a tier one region outside the capital? 

Yes. The Government says people can continue to travel into a high alert area for work, but should ‘aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible’.

Are the exceptions to the rule of six for children? 

Yes. There are exceptions from legal gatherings limits for registered childcare, education or training, and supervised activities provided for children, including wraparound care, youth groups and activities, and children’s playgroups. 

This means you can continue to use early years and childcare settings, including childminders, after-school clubs and nannies. 

Who can provide childcare support in private homes and gardens?

Registered childcare providers including nannies, people in your support bubble or people in your childcare bubble.

What is the definition of a childcare bubble? 

A childcare bubble is where someone in one household provides informal (unpaid and unregistered) childcare to a child aged 13 or under in another household. 

For any given childcare bubble, this must always be between the same two households.

Friends or family who do not live with you and are not part of a support or childcare bubble must not visit your home to help with childcare. 

Childcare bubbles are to be used to provide childcare only, and not for the purposes of different households mixing where they are otherwise not allowed to do so. 

Can I meet with a household from another flat inside the property where I live? 

No. The Government’s definition of a household is one person living alone, or a group of people (not necessarily related) living at the same address who share cooking facilities and share a living room, sitting room or dining area. 

A household can consist of a single family, more than one family or no families in the case of a group of unrelated people. 

Therefore people who live in different self-contained flats cannot meet with each other.

Can I visit my grandparent in a care home?

No, with exceptions. You should not visit a care home except in exceptional circumstances, for example to visit an individual who is at the end of their life. 

Will shops still be open?

Yes. Non-essential retail as well as essential stores will remain open for customers.

Will I be fined if I am caught having a meeting in a group that is illegal? 

Yes. Meeting in larger groups is against the law, although there are certain exceptions (see final question). 

The police can take action against you if you meet in larger groups, which includes breaking up illegal gatherings and issuing fixed penalty notice fines.

You can be fined £200 for the first offence, doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400. 

If you hold, or are involved in holding, an illegal gathering of over 30 people, the police can issue fines of £10,000.

The newly married Lucy and James Bone after their wedding at St Michael and all Angels Church in Ingram, Northumberland, on July 4 - the that weddings were once again permitted

The newly married Lucy and James Bone after their wedding at St Michael and all Angels Church in Ingram, Northumberland, on July 4 - the that weddings were once again permitted

The newly married Lucy and James Bone after their wedding at St Michael and all Angels Church in Ingram, Northumberland, on July 4 – the that weddings were once again permitted

Can I attend a wedding? 

Yes, with restrictions. Up to a maximum of 15 people can attend weddings or equivalent ceremonies and receptions where the organiser has carried out a risk assessment and ‘taken all reasonable measures to limit the risk of transmission of the virus’. 

But receptions should be sit down meals to ensure people can keep their distance from each other, and must not take place in private homes. 

Can I attend a funeral? 

Yes, with restrictions. Up to a maximum of 30 people can attend a funeral. Wakes and other commemorative events are permitted with up to 15 people present, but these cannot take place in private dwellings. 

Where food or drink is consumed, this should be in the form of a sit down meal. 

Anyone working at a wedding, civil partnership ceremony, reception, wake or funeral is not generally counted as part of the limit. 

People living outside of London in a tier one area can travel to the capital to attend an event, but they must not meet with another household indoors. 

Can I still go to church?

Yes. You can still attend places of worship for a service in London. However, you must not mingle with anyone outside of your household or support bubble.   

Can I attend an indoor exercise class? 

Yes, with restrictions. Indoor exercise classes and other activity groups can only continue provided that households or support bubbles do not mix. Where it is likely that groups will mix, these activities must not go ahead. 

There are exceptions to enable disability and youth sport and physical activity indoors, in any number.

Can I still take place in sports activities outdoors?

Yes. In line with guidelines from national sporting bodies, you can take part in sport and physical activity outdoors.

Can I still have a street party?

Yes, but as long as it is outside and no more six people gather, following Covid restrictions. 

Can a tradesperson come into my house? 

Yes. A tradesperson can go into a household without breaching the rules if they are there for work.  

What if I am clinically vulnerable?

The Government advises that those aged 70 or over, pregnant women or those with an underlying health condition can go outside as much as they like but ‘should still try to keep your overall social interactions low’.

Should I share a car with someone from outside my household?

No, in most cases. The Government says it is difficult to socially distance during car journeys and transmission of coronavirus can occur in this context. 

So you should avoid travelling with someone from outside your household or your support bubble unless you can practise social distancing. 

Does the 10pm curfew still apply to pubs and restaurants?

Yes. Certain businesses selling food or drink on their premises are still required to close between 10pm and 5am. 

Businesses and venues selling food for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-through. Orders must be made via phone, online or by post. 

A group of women carry their drinks in London's Soho after the 10pm curfew began last month

A group of women carry their drinks in London's Soho after the 10pm curfew began last month

A group of women carry their drinks in London’s Soho after the 10pm curfew began last month

Are hospitality venues at motorway services still exempt from the curfew? 

Yes. Hospitality venues in ports, on transport services and in motorway service areas do not need to close at 10pm, but must not serve alcohol after that time.  

Can I still go to work in the office?

Yes, with exceptions. The Government advises that ‘office workers who can work effectively from home should do so over the winter’. 

It adds: ‘Where an employer, in consultation with their employee, judges an employee can carry out their normal duties from home they should do so.’

Public sector employees working in essential services, including education settings, should continue to go into work where necessary.

The Government also says that ‘anyone else who cannot work from home should go to their place of work’. 

Those classed as clinically extremely vulnerable can go to work as long as the workplace is Covid-secure, but should still work from home wherever possible.

Can I still go to school or college?

Yes. The Government says it has ‘prioritised ensuring all children can attend school safely, to support their wellbeing and education and help working parents and guardians’.

Can I still go to university? 

Yes. Universities have welcomed students back and students are allowed to move home and travel to go there.

However those in tier two areas must not move backward and forward between their permanent home and term time address during term time – subject to limited exemptions.

Students living at their university term time address in a high alert level area should follow the same guidance on meeting other people and travel as others in that area. 

Pupils wear protective face masks on the first day back to school at Outwood Academy Adwick in Doncaster on September 2 as schools in England reopened to pupils following the lockdown

Pupils wear protective face masks on the first day back to school at Outwood Academy Adwick in Doncaster on September 2 as schools in England reopened to pupils following the lockdown

Pupils wear protective face masks on the first day back to school at Outwood Academy Adwick in Doncaster on September 2 as schools in England reopened to pupils following the lockdown

Can I commute into London or another high alert level area to go to university?

Yes. Commuter students – defined as those who live at a family home and travel to/from university each day – should be able to continue to travel to/from their university as required, for education purposes.

However, you must not meet people you do not live with in their home inside the area, unless they’re in your household, childcare or support bubble

You can also not host people you do not live with in your home, if they live in the affected area, unless they’re in your childcare or support bubble

You must also not meet people you do not live with in their student halls, whether inside or outside of the area, unless they’re in your childcare or support bubble.

If you move out of, or currently live outside of, an affected area you should not host people you do not live with in your home or student halls if they live in a high alert level area, unless they’re in your household, support bubble or childcare bubble.

Will Remembrance Sunday at the Cenotaph go ahead?

Yes, with restrictions. Remembrance Sunday at the Cenotaph on November 8 will take place but will be closed to the public.

Crowds will not be allowed to go to the service and will be asked to mark the day at home. The usual Royal British Legion march past has also been cancelled.

It is expected that members of the Royal Family and dignitaries will still attend to lay wreaths to remember the fallen. 

What are the exceptions on people from different households gathering?  

  • in a legally permitted support bubble or childcare bubble
  • for work, volunteering to provide voluntary or charitable services
  • for registered childcare, education or training
  • for arrangements where children do not live in the same household as both their parents or guardians
  • for prospective adopting parents to meet a child or children who may be placed with them
  • for supervised activities provided for children, including wraparound care (before and after school childcare), youth groups and activities, and children’s playgroups
  • for birth partners
  • to see someone who is dying
  • to provide emergency assistance, and to avoid injury or illness, or to escape a risk of harm
  • to fulfil a legal obligation, such as attending court or jury service
  • to provide care or assistance to someone vulnerable
  • to facilitate a house move
  • for elite sportspeople and their coaches if necessary for competition and training, as well as parents or guardians if they are a child
  • for outdoor exercise and dance classes, organised outdoor sport, and licensed outdoor physical activity
  • indoor organised team sports for disabled people, and youth sport
  • support groups of up to 15 participants – formally organised groups to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support (not to take place in private dwellings)
  • protests – if organised in compliance with Covid-secure guidance

How long will the rules be in place?

The Government must review which areas are subjected to the rules at least once every 14 days, with the first due to be carried out by October 28.

The restrictions themselves must be reviewed every 28 days, with the first due to be carried out by November 11. The rules themselves expire in six months.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Coronavirus UK: SAGE calls for national lockdown to ‘save’ Christmas

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coronavirus uk sage calls for national lockdown to save christmas

Britain’s second coronavirus crisis is on track to kill more than 85,000 people this winter if the country doesn’t lock down immediately, SAGE warned today as 274 more Covid-19 victims and 24,405 cases were announced.

The Government’s scientific advisers have called for the UK to follow in the footsteps of Germany and France and retreat back into a full national shutdown ‘for at least a month’ because they say the current three-tiered lockdown system is failing. But top experts say interventions take at least three weeks to take effect. The tiered system only came into force on October 14, little over two weeks ago.

SAGE sent a stark warning to Boris Johnson today that deaths were on already on track to exceed the 85,000 they projected in their ‘worst case scenario’ modelling over summer – which estimated there would be 100 Covid-19 fatalities a day by the end of October. Britain is already recording three times that amount. 

SAGE also released a document from October 14 that show the group warned two weeks ago that the virus was spreading faster than their ‘worst case scenario’ and there were up to 75,000 new infections per day.  

The group, which has been banging the drum about a harsh two-week lockdown for months, said the Prime Minister had missed the boat for a ‘circuit breaker’ and that a longer, more severe, intervention was needed to bring down cases and give hospitals some breathing room. Currently, the NHS is filling up fast with infected patients, spiking by about a third in the most recent week, and SAGE says hospitals could be overwhelmed by mid-December.

But senior SAGE sources said it was still ‘not too late to save Christmas’ if a month-long lockdown was introduced immediately. They are calling for the closure of all pubs and restaurants and other venues where households mix indoors, in a move that could bring the crippled economy to its knees. SAGE is said to be in favour of a similar lockdown to the one imposed today in France, where residents can only leave home for one hour a day to exercise and all non-essential businesses must shut for a month – but schools can stay open. 

Today’s 274 deaths are up almost a quarter on last Friday’s 224. There were 24,405 new infections today, which is nearly a fifth more than a week ago when there were 20,530. 

Despite SAGE’s doomsday projections, conflicting data has made it difficult to put a finger on exactly how dire the coronavirus situation in the UK currently is. A report from the Office for National Statistics – a Government-run agency – today found daily coronavirus infections in England surged by 50 per cent last week. It estimated almost 52,000 people were catching the virus every day and one in every 100 people in the country were infected with Covid-19 a week ago. 

The weekly update is far lower than another shocking Government-funded study, called REACT-1, which this week claimed there were 96,000 new cases per day by October 25, putting the current outbreak on par with levels seen in the first wave. Other researchers at King’s College London, however, predicted England has around 32,000 cases per day and claimed infections are rising ‘steadily’ and ‘have not spiralled out of control’. 

Meanwhile, Cumbria County Council said Carlisle and surrounding areas – including communities such as Longtown and Brampton – will move into Tier 2 of coronavirus restrictions from tomorrow.

A spokesman for the authority said tonight: ‘The announcement follows rising cases in Carlisle and this week’s public health update which showed Carlisle overtaking Barrow borough in having the greatest number of new cases in the county. Barrow and Carlisle’s rates are currently higher than the national average.’ 

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SAGE released a document from October 14 that show the group warned two weeks ago that the virus was spreading faster than their 'worst case scenario' and there were up to 75,000 new infections per day

SAGE released a document from October 14 that show the group warned two weeks ago that the virus was spreading faster than their 'worst case scenario' and there were up to 75,000 new infections per day

SAGE released a document from October 14 that show the group warned two weeks ago that the virus was spreading faster than their ‘worst case scenario’ and there were up to 75,000 new infections per day

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35041514 8896423 image a 11 1604066923973

SAGE is said to be calling for a lockdown akin to the one imposed in France today

SAGE is said to be calling for a lockdown akin to the one imposed in France today

SAGE is said to be calling for a lockdown akin to the one imposed in France today

REACT-1 predicted earlier in the week the reproduction ‘R’ rate across all of England had climbed to 1.6 – the highest since the first national lockdown – and possibly as high as 2.8 in London. When the R is above 1, an outbreak can grow exponentially. An R of 1.8 would mean on average every 10 people infected will infect 28 other people. Yet SAGE’s latest official R rate estimates – also published today – claimed the figure had dropped and estimated it stood between 1.1 and 1.3 both nationally and in London.

Amid confusion about the true scale of the country’s infection rates, one thing is clear – hospitals are filling up with infected patients, spiking by about a third in the most recent week. MailOnline analysis shows 19 NHS trusts are already treating more virus patients now than they were during the darkest days of the pandemic in spring.

Trusts in Tier Three lockdown areas such as Nottingham, Liverpool and Doncaster are seeing up to three times the number of Covid-19 patients compared to mid-April, with five brutal months of winter still to go.  The fact several trusts have surpassed spring levels already will be a cause for concern so early into winter. As the country moves deeper into the colder months, people tend to get sicker from a slew of other illnesses and need care, which heaps even more pressure on hospitals. 

But there is some reason to be optimistic, given that, overall, total beds occupied by Covid-19 sufferers across the country are still only half of what they were during the darkest days of the crisis in spring. Even in April, hospitals were not overwhelmed. And, although hospitals are filling up fast, they are mainly in hotspot areas and some experts believe it has been a direct result of a mid-September surge in infections, meaning admissions could soon tail off. 

Reacting to SAGE’s warnings tonight, Jonathan Ashworth MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, said: ‘We are in deeply serious situation with Coronavirus spreading with ferocity. Boris Johnson should have used the school half term for a time limited circuit break to push infections down, fix Test & Trace and save lives. It’s urgent Boris Johnson outlines the action he will now take to bring the virus under control and deliver on his promise to get R below 1 quickly.’

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Above are the Covid-19 infection rates in London boroughs for the week ending October 24, according to official data

Above are the Covid-19 infection rates in London boroughs for the week ending October 24, according to official data

Above are the Covid-19 infection rates in London boroughs for the week ending October 24, according to official data

Almost 20 NHS trusts in England are already treating more coronavirus patients than at the peak of the first wave, according to official statistics that come amid warnings hospitals across the country could run out of beds before Christmas

Almost 20 NHS trusts in England are already treating more coronavirus patients than at the peak of the first wave, according to official statistics that come amid warnings hospitals across the country could run out of beds before Christmas

Almost 20 NHS trusts in England are already treating more coronavirus patients than at the peak of the first wave, according to official statistics that come amid warnings hospitals across the country could run out of beds before Christmas 

SAGE's presentation of the estimates of the median R rate in the four nations of the UK. The bars represent different independent estimates, the grey shaded areas represent the combined numerical range and the black bars are the combined range rounding to one decimal place

SAGE's presentation of the estimates of the median R rate in the four nations of the UK. The bars represent different independent estimates, the grey shaded areas represent the combined numerical range and the black bars are the combined range rounding to one decimal place

SAGE’s presentation of the estimates of the median R rate in the four nations of the UK. The bars represent different independent estimates, the grey shaded areas represent the combined numerical range and the black bars are the combined range rounding to one decimal place

SAGE's presentation of the median R rate in different NHS regions of England. The bars represent different independent estimates, the grey shaded areas represent the combined numerical range and the black bars are the combined range rounding to one decimal place

SAGE's presentation of the median R rate in different NHS regions of England. The bars represent different independent estimates, the grey shaded areas represent the combined numerical range and the black bars are the combined range rounding to one decimal place

SAGE’s presentation of the median R rate in different NHS regions of England. The bars represent different independent estimates, the grey shaded areas represent the combined numerical range and the black bars are the combined range rounding to one decimal place

SAGE's presentation of the growth rate of Covid-19 in the NHS England regions. The bars represent different independent estimates, the grey shaded areas represent the combined numerical range and the black bars are the combined range rounding to one decimal place

SAGE's presentation of the growth rate of Covid-19 in the NHS England regions. The bars represent different independent estimates, the grey shaded areas represent the combined numerical range and the black bars are the combined range rounding to one decimal place

SAGE’s presentation of the growth rate of Covid-19 in the NHS England regions. The bars represent different independent estimates, the grey shaded areas represent the combined numerical range and the black bars are the combined range rounding to one decimal place

SAGE's presentation of the median R rate in the UK, with bars representing different independent estimates

SAGE's presentation of the median R rate in the UK, with bars representing different independent estimates

SAGE’s presentation of the median R rate in the UK, with bars representing different independent estimates

So what’s the TRUTH about Britain’s second wave? R rate drops again and symptom-tracking app says outbreak is ‘stable’ – but Imperial warns of 96,000 cases a day and even ONS claims infections are ‘rising steeply’ 

There is no doubt that coronavirus infections are still surging in the UK but mathematicians and scientists don’t agree on how bad the second wave really is. 

A raft of statistics have been published in the past 48 hours with conflicting estimates of the number of people getting infected with the virus ranging from 35,000 to 96,000 per day, and some casting doubt over doom-laden warnings of a repeat of March’s catastrophe.

Statistics published this week have produced a wide range of possible daily infections in England, from as few as 34,000, according to an estimate by King's College London to as many as 96,000, according to the Government-run REACT study

Statistics published this week have produced a wide range of possible daily infections in England, from as few as 34,000, according to an estimate by King's College London to as many as 96,000, according to the Government-run REACT study

Statistics published this week have produced a wide range of possible daily infections in England, from as few as 34,000, according to an estimate by King’s College London to as many as 96,000, according to the Government-run REACT study

One of the Office for National Statistics’ top Covid-19 analysts today said cases in England are ‘rising steeply’, while an epidemiologist behind another project said people could be ‘reassured’ that the virus isn’t out of control. 

Of studies estimating the numbers of new infections each day in England, the ONS put the figure at 51,900; King’s College’s Covid Symptom Study said 34,628; a Cambridge University ‘Nowcast’ said 55,600; and the Government-funded REACT study by Imperial College London put it at 96,000. The Department of Health’s official testing programme is picking up 22,125 infections each day, but is known to miss large numbers without symptoms.

All the calculations have increased since their previous estimates and are in agreement that the outbreak is getting worse, but the speed at which this is happening is unclear. 

Meanwhile, SAGE today published its weekly estimate of the R rate and said the speed of spread has dropped. The Government’s scientific advisers put the ranges for the UK and England at 1.1 to 1.3, down from 1.2 to 1.4 last week. They said, however: ‘SAGE is almost certain that the epidemic continues to grow rapidly across the country.’

Numbers of people being admitted to hospital and dying of coronavirus continue to rise rapidly, with an average of 230 deaths per day now being announced and 10,308 people in hospital with Covid-19, increasing by more than 1,000 per day. 

These will keep increasing for the coming weeks and months even if cases start to slow down or even fall, officials say, because hospitalisations and deaths are ‘baked in’ by infections that happen two to three weeks earlier.

One statistician not involved with any of the predictions – Professor James Naismith, from the University of Oxford – said there were ‘uncertainties’ in all of them, meaning no one number was correct. He added: ‘We can be almost certain that we will see an increase in the number of deaths per day from Covid-19 over the next few weeks.’

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It comes as local leaders warned it is ‘inevitable’ that Birmingham will soon be moved into Tier Three as ministers warned the nation is heading for a national lockdown ‘by proxy’ while streets were largely empty in London amid fears the capital will be plunged into the top tier within the next two weeks.

Some 21 million people across England will soon be living in areas subject to Tier Two restrictions while 11 million will be in Tier Three, which means some 32 million – almost 60 per cent of the population – will be in the higher tiers.  

West Yorkshire will be placed into Tier Three from midnight on Sunday, as 2.3 million people across Leeds, Bradford and Wakefield will join the eight million in Liverpool, Greater Manchester and Nottibghamshire already under the strictest curbs.

Ministers were said to have been shown ‘very, very bleak’ data this week which experts believe could result in the whole country being in Tier Three by Christmas. 

The latest coronavirus developments came as: 

  • Dominic Raab said the public would find it ‘desperately unfair’ to impose a national lockdown while rates of infection vary across the country. 
  • Nottinghamshire Police said 40 young people are facing fines after a party was broken up at a student hall of residence. 
  • It emerged that Britain’s biggest lenders charged the Government more than £65 million in interest in just three months to provide loans to British businesses during the pandemic. 
  • British Airways’ parent company IAG swung to a pre-tax loss of 6.2 billion euros (£5.6 billion) for the nine months to the end of September, compared with a 2.3 billion euros (£2.1 billion) pre-tax profit during the same period a year ago.
  • Official statistics suggested nearly one in every 13 UK workers was still on furlough in mid-October as the scheme ends this weekend.
  • Official statistics showed there has now been more than 62,000 deaths in the UK involving Covid-19.
  • Mark Drakeford revealed Wales will not return to a ‘network of local restrictions’ after its ‘firebreak’ national lockdown ends and will instead roll out a ‘simple set of national rules that are easier for everyone to understand’. 

Tier Three restrictions mean pubs and bars have to close unless they are serving substantial meals while the mixing of households indoors or outdoors, including in gardens, is also banned.   

But some experts are sceptical that the top tier is enough to get the spread of coronavirus back under control amid growing calls for tougher action. 

The Government is reportedly considering introducing a new Tier Four of restrictions which would approach the measures imposed during the national lockdown. 

The Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab this morning did not deny that is the case as he told the BBC’s Radio 4 Today programme: ‘We are always ready for further measures that we can take but I think the most important thing about further measures is we continue on the track that we are on of targeting the virus.

‘The difference between now and the first lockdown is we are in a much better place to really focus on where the virus is the greatest and I think that is right, not only in scientific and virus management terms, I think in terms of the way people feel about tackling the virus it is fair, it fits the natural justice that we are focusing on the areas where the uptick is the greatest and we are not taking a one-size-fits-all approach or a blanket approach or a blunt approach.’

Mr Raab said the Government wanted to avoid the ‘arbitrariness of a blanket approach’ as he claimed the public favour targeted restrictions. 

However, he did not rule out eventually having to impose a national lockdown after France and Germany made the move earlier this week. 

He said: ‘You mention France. France of course tried a localised approach and then fell back on the national approach.

‘What I think that shows you, Germany is the same, is how important it is that we all rally together at local level through to national level, communities, local leaders, national leaders, and really lean in to the localised focused approach.

‘That is the most effective way to tackle the virus and avoid the blanket approach which I don’t think would be in the best interests of this country and which we are striving to avoid.’ 

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Scientists have warned the second wave of coronavirus could result in 85,000 deaths, almost double the number of victims from the first epidemic

Percentage change in coronavirus cases across England in the week to October 25: The five local authorities where the infection rate grew the most are: Kingston upon Hull City, 92.81 per cent; Derby, 91.84 per cent; North Somerset, 82.99 per cent; Medway, 77.17 per cent; and Bath and North East Somerset 69.72 per cent

Percentage change in coronavirus cases across England in the week to October 25: The five local authorities where the infection rate grew the most are: Kingston upon Hull City, 92.81 per cent; Derby, 91.84 per cent; North Somerset, 82.99 per cent; Medway, 77.17 per cent; and Bath and North East Somerset 69.72 per cent

 Percentage change in coronavirus cases across England in the week to October 25: The five local authorities where the infection rate grew the most are: Kingston upon Hull City, 92.81 per cent; Derby, 91.84 per cent; North Somerset, 82.99 per cent; Medway, 77.17 per cent; and Bath and North East Somerset 69.72 per cent

Data for the week between October 12 and October 15 suggests the rate of infection has increased significantly in some parts of the country

Data for the week between October 12 and October 15 suggests the rate of infection has increased significantly in some parts of the country

Data for the week between October 12 and October 15 suggests the rate of infection has increased significantly in some parts of the country

Birmingham City Council leader urges Boris Johnson to ‘immediately’ impose national ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown

Boris Johnson is facing a lockdown rebellion in Birmingham as the city council’s leader claimed the Government’s tiered system ‘just isn’t working’ and urged the Prime Minister to ‘immediately’ impose a national ‘circuit breaker’ shutdown. 

Birmingham is widely expected to be dragged into Tier Three restrictions within days because of rising infection rates. 

But Councillor Ian Ward said areas already in Tier Three ‘are still seeing rising cases’ as he warned ministers not to ‘repeat the mistake of last March in not moving soon enough’. 

Mr Ward, who runs England’s biggest council with a population of 1.1 million, said: ‘The problem is the tier system just isn’t working. Areas in Tier Three are still seeing rising cases.’

He added: ‘I am of the opinion England needs to follow France, Germany and Wales with a national circuit-breaker as quickly as possible.

‘We must not repeat the mistake of last March in not moving soon enough.’

The Labour council chief said a ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown would ‘buy us valuable time’.

‘Delaying this decision will mean more avoidable deaths and only prolong the economic damage because the current system just doesn’t work,’ he said. 

Andy Street, the Conservative West Midlands mayor, said he was ‘not proposing’ a national lockdown but added it was clear more action was needed ‘to turn the tide’.

He claimed that blanket England-wide measures had the ‘greater economic and social impacts’ but he said the differences between the best and worst infection case rate areas in the country were ‘equalising’.

He added: ‘There is evidence delay in the best areas is actually counter-productive.

‘So, whether it be a national four-week lockdown, I do not know, but what I do know is that the message is very clear: we have to take further action to turn this tide, and sooner rather than later.’ 

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Covid-19 outbreaks are growing quickest in Hull, Derby and Somerset, official data reveals

Covid-19 outbreaks are growing the fastest in Hull, Derby, and Bath, according to official data that has revealed only 20 of all 150 authorities in England saw a drop in infections last week. 

Hull and Derby saw their coronavirus epidemics almost double in the seven-day spell ending October 25, with seven-day infection rates jumping to 279 and 329 cases per 100,000 people, respectively. 

Both cities, along with the rest of Staffordshire and Derbyshire, will be moved from Tier One into Tier Two from Saturday to try and stem the rise in infections, it was announced yesterday as England crept another step closer towards a full national lockdown.

But most of the authorities where epidemics have grown the most remain in Tier One, where only the rule of six and 10pm curfew apply. Scientists have argued these rules are not stringent enough to shrink the outbreak, with top Government advisers warning the current growth is ‘very bleak’.  

For example, North Somerset and Bath and North East Somerset, where cases jumped up 83 per cent and 70 per cent in one week, have yet to be hit by any tougher virus-controlling restrictions. It comes despite warnings that the coronavirus crisis is ‘speeding up’ in the south of the country. 

Meanwhile, figures from Public Health England’s weekly surveillance report show the infection rate has fallen in Nottingham by 30 per cent. Despite the city’s outbreak shrinking, it will be thrown under the toughest Tier Three restrictions from tomorrow, along with the rest of the county.

And the data offered more proof that the tightest lockdown measures do work, with Liverpool, Knowsley, Sefton and St Helens all seeing their weekly coronavirus infection rates drop. All of the Merseyside area has been under Tier Three lockdown since October 14. 

It suggests the brutal restrictions — which ban people from socialising with anyone outside their own household and mean many pubs, bars, and in some cases gyms, have to close — are beginning to work. However, scientists say the true effect of measure won’t be clear until a few weeks have passed.  

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Mr Raab said it is ‘crucially important’ to ‘carry the public with us’ and that he believed the Government’s tiered approach is the best way to do that. 

‘Carrying the public with us is crucially important and the longer this pandemic goes on, every country is experiencing the same thing, the more challenging it is,’ he said. 

‘But the best means of carrying the public with us is that they understand intuitively, even if it feels difficult in their area or whether it is on the business side or the domestic side, that they know we are targeting the virus where it is the greatest threat.’

Mr Raab’s comments came as local leaders said it is ‘inevitable’ that Tier Three restrictions will soon be imposed on Birmingham. 

Many areas in the East and West Midlands are currently in Tier Two but Councillor Ian Ward, the leader of Birmingham City Council, said yesterday a move to Tier Three is on the cards even if it is not ‘imminent’. 

He said: ‘Given the rising case rate and other factors, a move to Tier Three would seem to be inevitable at some stage and I’m talking to the other met (council) leaders, MPs and public health officials on a daily basis as we put our asks together for moving into Tier Three.

‘That’s because we want the Government to work with us to protect lives, jobs and the economy.

‘We don’t want imposition without negotiation. But I have certainly not said that we are going into Tier Three imminently. That’s not currently the case.’  

Health experts are warning that the UK’s three tier system is not enough to ‘get on top of the numbers’, with deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam reportedly beginning to change his mind over whether regional lockdowns will suppress the virus. 

He backed the move at a Number 10 press conference last week.

Presenting what one source called ‘very, very bleak’ data to a meeting of Covid-O, the Cabinet subcommittee on coronavirus, Mr Van Tam said that daily hospital admissions had now reached the highest level since April at 1,404.  

There are fears that the whole country will be at Tier Three by Christmas, scuppering family get togethers, unless urgent action is taken now. 

Experts believe that allowing people to visit family at Christmas will be a ‘spreading event’ that could cause a spike in infections many times worse than that caused by the return of university students to campuses earlier this year.

But some believe that introducing national restrictions before and after Christmas, while lifting them for the big day, could help minimise the impact. 

One senior health official told the Telegraph that anti-Covid measures were most likely to be successful if they were taken on a national basis rather than toughening up the rules for Tier Three or introducing a Tier Four. 

They added that a post-Christmas ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown could also help reverse numbers and curb rising numbers of hospitalisations as fears spread that Britain’s ICUs could be overrun.

‘Releasing measures for two days is unlikely to cause a big upswing,’ a source said.

‘But it won’t do nothing. Christmas brings people from all over the country to sit inside together, so its quite likely to be a spreading event.

‘But people want to see their loved ones and they want to make physical contact, and we have to recognise that.’ 

Almost 60 per cent of the population – around 32.6 million – will be under stricter rules by Monday, and it is thought London could be moved into the top tier in two weeks unless infection rates drop significantly.

However, analysis by MailOnline suggests that only one London borough currently has a coronavirus infection rate above the England average amid fears the capital’s R-rate could be as high as three. 

The borough of Ealing had a weekly infection rate of 228.5 cases per 100,000 people in the week ending October 24, just slightly above the national average of 225.9. 

But for the other 31 boroughs, their rates were below the national benchmark.

And when the city’s Covid-19 outbreak is broken down to smaller districts within the boroughs, only six areas had infection rates at 400 per 100,000 – which is the level across much more badly affected Tier Three Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield.

Nonetheless, no boroughs in the capital have an infection rate below 100 per 100,000, way above the level of 20 per 100,000 at which the Government considers curbs on travel to foreign countries. 

Sixteen more areas will move into the ‘high risk’ Tier Two at midnight including Oxford, Luton, East Riding of Yorkshire, Kingston Upon Hull, Derbyshire Dales, Derby and Staffordshire

That means that more than 21.6 million face the restrictions that include a ban on socialising indoors with anyone from another household, whether at home or in bars, restaurants and cafes.

It comes after SAGE piled fresh pressure on the Prime Minister to impose tougher restrictions as it warned up to 85,000 people could die in a second wave of infections. 

A ‘reasonable worst case scenario’ put forward by SAGE suggested daily deaths could remain above 500 for three months or more until March next year.

Escape from Paris: City is gridlocked as tens of thousands flee, stations are packed, violent protests break out and shelves are stripped ahead of month-long lockdown that BANS travel 

By Jack Wright for MailOnline  

Tens of thousands of Parisians last night caused massive traffic jams in a desperate attempt to flee the French capital ahead of the start of Emmanuel Macron’s new national shutdown. 

Video posted to Twitter shows huge numbers of Parisians attempting a mass exodus out of the city in a bid to avoid the 9pm curfew and the start of the second lockdown from midnight.

The night air was filled with the sound of blaring car horns while social media users estimated that Parisians had created ‘hundreds of miles’ of gridlock to escape to their second homes in the country. 

Revellers also seized the opportunity to spend one last night with friends and family last night before bars and restaurants are closed as the French government plunges the country back into lockdown.

Meanwhile French people emptied supermarkets in a repeat of the panic-buying that swept Europe in March as Parisians and other city dwellers prepared for a month in confinement. 

Shoppers stocked up on pasta and toilet roll while people queued outside hairdressers for a final trim. Office workers in the capital’s business district hauled their equipment to cars and trains in preparation for WFH.  

Emmanuel Macron’s draconian measures are due to be enforced until at least December 1, with people required to carry documents justifying their reason for leaving home that will be subject to police checks.

Tens of thousands of Parisians last night caused massive traffic jams in a desperate attempt to flee the French capital ahead of the start of Emmanuel Macron's new national shutdown

Tens of thousands of Parisians last night caused massive traffic jams in a desperate attempt to flee the French capital ahead of the start of Emmanuel Macron's new national shutdown

Tens of thousands of Parisians last night caused massive traffic jams in a desperate attempt to flee the French capital ahead of the start of Emmanuel Macron's new national shutdown

Tens of thousands of Parisians last night caused massive traffic jams in a desperate attempt to flee the French capital ahead of the start of Emmanuel Macron's new national shutdown

Tens of thousands of Parisians last night caused massive traffic jams in a desperate attempt to flee the French capital ahead of the start of Emmanuel Macron’s new national shutdown 

View of traffic jams in Paris as traffic records have been broken in Paris ahead of the new shutdown coming into force

View of traffic jams in Paris as traffic records have been broken in Paris ahead of the new shutdown coming into force

View of traffic jams in Paris as traffic records have been broken in Paris ahead of the new shutdown coming into force

Parisians flocked to the Gare de Lyon to avoid confining themselves to the French capital during the shutdown

Parisians flocked to the Gare de Lyon to avoid confining themselves to the French capital during the shutdown

Parisians flocked to the Gare de Lyon to avoid confining themselves to the French capital during the shutdown

France’s health minister yesterday warned that up to a million people may be infected with the disease, while Prime Minister Jean Castex extended mask requirements to schoolchildren as young as six. 

French schools will stay open but the stay-at-home measures for adults are as strict as in the spring, with written paperwork needed to go outside for shopping, medical care or one hour a day of exercise.     

President Macron said a curfew in Paris and other major cities had failed to stem the tide of infections, claiming that 400,000 people would die of Covid-19 if drastic action were not taken. 

In a televised announcement, he said: ‘Our target is simple: sharply reducing infections from 40,000 a day to 5,000 and slowing the pace of admissions to hospital and intensive care.’ 

Hospitals are already scrambling for intensive care beds and ‘no matter what we do, nearly 9,000 people will be in intensive care by mid-November,’ he said. The French leader called the new restrictions ‘heartbreaking’ but said he ‘could never stand by and see hundreds of thousands of our citizens die’.   

Bars, shops and restaurants are closing entirely again while France’s government is urging businesses to have employees work from home ‘five days a week’. 

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This map shows the 14-day Covid-19 infection rate in Europe. Most of France is in the highest category of 240 or more cases per 100,000 people, along with most of Spain, all of the Czech Republic, the North of England and many other regions around the continent. French leader Emmanuel Macron this week announced a new nationwide lockdown, claiming that 400,000 people will die of coronavirus if the country does nothing to control a second wave that will be 'more deadly' than the first

This map shows the 14-day Covid-19 infection rate in Europe. Most of France is in the highest category of 240 or more cases per 100,000 people, along with most of Spain, all of the Czech Republic, the North of England and many other regions around the continent. French leader Emmanuel Macron this week announced a new nationwide lockdown, claiming that 400,000 people will die of coronavirus if the country does nothing to control a second wave that will be 'more deadly' than the first

This map shows the 14-day Covid-19 infection rate in Europe. Most of France is in the highest category of 240 or more cases per 100,000 people, along with most of Spain, all of the Czech Republic, the North of England and many other regions around the continent. French leader Emmanuel Macron this week announced a new nationwide lockdown, claiming that 400,000 people will die of coronavirus if the country does nothing to control a second wave that will be ‘more deadly’ than the first

Mr Macron said some shops could be allowed to open in mid-November if the situation improves – but his scientific adviser’s warning raises the prospect of lockdown measures continuing up to Christmas.    

State-approved reasons for leaving households include buying essential goods, seeking medical attention or taking a daily one-hour allocation of exercise, the French government announced. Though bars and restaurants will close again, all public services, schools and essential workplaces will stay open.   

Stores and businesses across France were also filled by people racing to get supplies on Thursday – and maybe a last-minute haircut – ahead of the new lockdown. 

Yesterday the French government recorded 47,637 new confirmed coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, compared to 36,437 on Wednesday and a record high of 52,010 on SundayThe total number of infections rose to over 1.28 million while the death tally went up by 235 to 36,020. The number of people going into hospital with Covid-19 fell to 976, after three days of about 1,200 hospitalisations per day. 

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Coronavirus Paris: Police check shoppers obeying lockdown laws

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Police in Paris have begun carrying out checks on shoppers to ensure they are not flouting France‘s new national lockdown laws which came into effect at midnight.

Pictures from the French capital showed officers patrolling the mostly empty streets around some of Paris’ most recognisable attractions and checking on the few people who had chosen to venture outside.

The pictures from today offered a stark contrast to just a week ago when people could still freely move around the city during the day while bars and restaurants serving food remained open before the 9pm curfew. 

All of France’s 67 million people have been ordered to stay at home at all times with no visitors, or risk steep fines or prosecution, with a few exemptions. 

People are only allowed to leave home if they are armed with a self-signed certificate stating their urgent business – food shopping, taking the kids to school, going to work if this cannot be done from home, going to the hospital or a pharmacy. 

Citizens are also allowed out for one hour of exercise a day within a half-mile of home. Restaurants and cafes are shuttered, apart from those that offer takeout. Those found breaking the rules risk a fine of 135 euros. 

On Thursday night, tens of thousands of Parisians caused massive traffic jams in a desperate attempt to flee the French capital ahead of the start of Emmanuel Macron’s new shutdown that will last until at least December 1.

A police officer confronts a woman carrying her shopping in the streets of Paris on the first day of the country's new national lockdown. All of France's 67 million people have been ordered to stay at home at all times with no visitors, or risk steep fines or prosecution, as coronavirus cases in the country continue to rise

A police officer confronts a woman carrying her shopping in the streets of Paris on the first day of the country's new national lockdown. All of France's 67 million people have been ordered to stay at home at all times with no visitors, or risk steep fines or prosecution, as coronavirus cases in the country continue to rise

A police officer confronts a woman carrying her shopping in the streets of Paris on the first day of the country’s new national lockdown. All of France’s 67 million people have been ordered to stay at home at all times with no visitors, or risk steep fines or prosecution, as coronavirus cases in the country continue to rise

People are only allowed to leave home if they are armed with a self-signed certificate stating their urgent business - food shopping, taking the kids to school, going to work if this cannot be done from home, going to the hospital or a pharmacy. Pictured: A street cleaner walks in front of the Eiffel Tower and the Trocadero esplanade which is completely empty on the first day of the new lockdown

People are only allowed to leave home if they are armed with a self-signed certificate stating their urgent business - food shopping, taking the kids to school, going to work if this cannot be done from home, going to the hospital or a pharmacy. Pictured: A street cleaner walks in front of the Eiffel Tower and the Trocadero esplanade which is completely empty on the first day of the new lockdown

People are only allowed to leave home if they are armed with a self-signed certificate stating their urgent business – food shopping, taking the kids to school, going to work if this cannot be done from home, going to the hospital or a pharmacy. Pictured: A street cleaner walks in front of the Eiffel Tower and the Trocadero esplanade which is completely empty on the first day of the new lockdown

French police officers patrol in front of the Notre-Dame-de-Paris Cathedral in Paris, on October 30, the day the new lockdown rules come into power across the country in a bit to stem the spread of the coronavirus

French police officers patrol in front of the Notre-Dame-de-Paris Cathedral in Paris, on October 30, the day the new lockdown rules come into power across the country in a bit to stem the spread of the coronavirus

French police officers patrol in front of the Notre-Dame-de-Paris Cathedral in Paris, on October 30, the day the new lockdown rules come into power across the country in a bit to stem the spread of the coronavirus 

Concerns were growing that rising infections would swamp the country’s health system, so authorities ordered another four-week lockdown beginning Friday. 

Many areas of the French capital resembled a regular lazy weekend morning – on what would normally have been a bustling weekday. Those who were out frequently clutched permission forms proving they had an exemption that allowed them to to be on streets.

The only places that were busy were grocery stores and markets as people stockpiled food and other necessities.

‘Going to friends’ houses, having friends over and moving around for anything other than the reasons set out’ will be impossible, Prime Minister Jean Castex explained firmly on Thursday.

That will hit hard for many.

People out in the streets of Paris on Friday were seen frequently clutching permission forms proving they had an exemption that allowed them to to be on streets

People out in the streets of Paris on Friday were seen frequently clutching permission forms proving they had an exemption that allowed them to to be on streets

People out in the streets of Paris on Friday were seen frequently clutching permission forms proving they had an exemption that allowed them to to be on streets

Police officers check a couple's phones and ID cards near the Sacre-Coeur Basilica, atop the Montmartre hill in Paris on Friday after all of France's 67 million people were ordered to stay at home

Police officers check a couple's phones and ID cards near the Sacre-Coeur Basilica, atop the Montmartre hill in Paris on Friday after all of France's 67 million people were ordered to stay at home

Police officers check a couple’s phones and ID cards near the Sacre-Coeur Basilica, atop the Montmartre hill in Paris on Friday after all of France’s 67 million people were ordered to stay at home

Officers stop a number of people on the street - carrying shopping - of France's first day of its new national lockdown. People are allowed out of their hopes for a handful of exemptions, including shopping

Officers stop a number of people on the street - carrying shopping - of France's first day of its new national lockdown. People are allowed out of their hopes for a handful of exemptions, including shopping

Officers stop a number of people on the street – carrying shopping – of France’s first day of its new national lockdown. People are allowed out of their hopes for a handful of exemptions, including shopping

‘It’s not nice because I left my country to enjoy the experience of living in another country,’ said Laura Beimberg, 28, an intern at cosmetics giant L’Oreal who is from Mexico. ‘And this experience of being between four walls, far away from family and friends is so hard.’

French President Emmanuel Macron implemented the lockdown as a last resort to curb the steep spike in infections across the country, where new daily cases are currently averaging around 50,000. That means that, on a per capita basis, France is seeing about two and a half times the number of new cases each day that the United States is.

But France is not alone. Many of its European neighbours are experiencing rising infections, some even beyond what they saw in the spring. In Belgium, the average number of daily cases is around 150 per 100,000 people, compared to France’s approximately 62.

October 30: The pictures from today offered a stark contrast to just a week ago when people could still freely move around the city during the day and bars and restaurants serving food remained open before the 10pm curfew. Today, a woman was seen pushing a pram across a deserted deserted Trocadero square near the Eiffel Tower on the first morning of the lockdown

October 30: The pictures from today offered a stark contrast to just a week ago when people could still freely move around the city during the day and bars and restaurants serving food remained open before the 10pm curfew. Today, a woman was seen pushing a pram across a deserted deserted Trocadero square near the Eiffel Tower on the first morning of the lockdown

October 30: The pictures from today offered a stark contrast to just a week ago when people could still freely move around the city during the day and bars and restaurants serving food remained open before the 10pm curfew. Today, a woman was seen pushing a pram across a deserted deserted Trocadero square near the Eiffel Tower on the first morning of the lockdown

October 26: As recently as Monday, people were seen walking across Paris' Trocadero square near the Eiffel Tower while wearing face masks, an example of how quickly Paris has emptied

October 26: As recently as Monday, people were seen walking across Paris' Trocadero square near the Eiffel Tower while wearing face masks, an example of how quickly Paris has emptied

October 26: As recently as Monday, people were seen walking across Paris’ Trocadero square near the Eiffel Tower while wearing face masks, an example of how quickly Paris has emptied

The government in Belgium is meeting Friday to consider even tougher restrictions on movement that would amount to a quasi-lockdown. Germany, which is also seeing an increase in cases though on a much less dramatic scale, agreed this week to a month-long shutdown of restaurants, bars, theatres and other leisure facilities, dubbed ‘lockdown light.’

Such measures have taken a brutal toll on economies around Europe, and French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire gave grim predictions during an interview on France-Inter, raising his estimate for the depth of the recession. He forecasted an 11% fall in GDP this year.

French residents could perhaps be forgiven for thinking it was groundhog day, just a few months after they emerged from one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe.

Some were accepting of the reality.

October 30: Two police officers confront a woman in the Paris subway on the first day of the new coronavirus lockdown in the city. Those found breaking the rules risk a fine of 135 euros

October 30: Two police officers confront a woman in the Paris subway on the first day of the new coronavirus lockdown in the city. Those found breaking the rules risk a fine of 135 euros

October 30: Two police officers confront a woman in the Paris subway on the first day of the new coronavirus lockdown in the city. Those found breaking the rules risk a fine of 135 euros

October 21: This is what Paris' Gare du Nord railway station looked like as recently as October 21. Rush-hour morning commuters wearing masks fill much of the station on their way to work. France has now asked people to work from home 'five days a week' under the new lockdown implemented from Friday

October 21: This is what Paris' Gare du Nord railway station looked like as recently as October 21. Rush-hour morning commuters wearing masks fill much of the station on their way to work. France has now asked people to work from home 'five days a week' under the new lockdown implemented from Friday

October 21: This is what Paris’ Gare du Nord railway station looked like as recently as October 21. Rush-hour morning commuters wearing masks fill much of the station on their way to work. France has now asked people to work from home ‘five days a week’ under the new lockdown implemented from Friday

‘We just have to live with it. You have resign yourself to it,’ said Yoann Boulle, 28, a sanguine evening manager at a Parisian brasserie.

But many Parisians, who had had enough last time around, didn’t wait to be confined to their typically cramped apartments for four weeks.

Carlo Ponti, a 54-year-old interior decorator, was among those who fled Paris, but he did it by train. He called the departure of the Parisians a ‘historic exodus.’

October 30: Chairs are seen stacked through the window of a closed cafe on the Champs-Elysees, on the first morning of the second national lockdown, dubbed reconfinement , in Paris

October 30: Chairs are seen stacked through the window of a closed cafe on the Champs-Elysees, on the first morning of the second national lockdown, dubbed reconfinement , in Paris

October 30: Chairs are seen stacked through the window of a closed cafe on the Champs-Elysees, on the first morning of the second national lockdown, dubbed reconfinement , in Paris

October 21: While by no means full, people could still be seen enjoying a coffee on a restaurant terrace on avenue des Champs-Elysee last week

October 21: While by no means full, people could still be seen enjoying a coffee on a restaurant terrace on avenue des Champs-Elysee last week

October 21: While by no means full, people could still be seen enjoying a coffee on a restaurant terrace on avenue des Champs-Elysee last week

He left Friday morning with his husband after finding all trains were booked Thursday night.

‘The minute the French president gave his speech (announcing a lockdown), the entire national train website went down, was overloaded. Everyone wanted to book to get away,’ Ponti said.

He plans to stay in his second home in the French region of Burgundy until over Christmas.

October 30: Citizens are allowed out for one hour of exercise a day within a half-mile of home. Restaurants and cafes are shuttered, apart from those that offer takeout. Pictured: A man goes jogging at Tuileries garden as parks remain open during the lockdown, but few other people can be seen in the park

October 30: Citizens are allowed out for one hour of exercise a day within a half-mile of home. Restaurants and cafes are shuttered, apart from those that offer takeout. Pictured: A man goes jogging at Tuileries garden as parks remain open during the lockdown, but few other people can be seen in the park

October 30: Citizens are allowed out for one hour of exercise a day within a half-mile of home. Restaurants and cafes are shuttered, apart from those that offer takeout. Pictured: A man goes jogging at Tuileries garden as parks remain open during the lockdown, but few other people can be seen in the park

October 23: A group of friends socialise in Luxembourg park in Paris last week. Now, people can only leave their homes for essential errands or face being fined 135 euros, meaning many will not be able to see friends and family they do not live with

October 23: A group of friends socialise in Luxembourg park in Paris last week. Now, people can only leave their homes for essential errands or face being fined 135 euros, meaning many will not be able to see friends and family they do not live with

October 23: A group of friends socialise in Luxembourg park in Paris last week. Now, people can only leave their homes for essential errands or face being fined 135 euros, meaning many will not be able to see friends and family they do not live with

‘During lockdown, the quality of life in the capital is terrible and so everyone who can do, tries to get away,’ he said.

Highways around the capital descended into scenes of traffic chaos during the night as residents fled the capital. French media reported that the logjams were more than double the usual in the region around Paris, reaching near record levels as many headed for country or family homes with more space.

The traffic was worsened by the fact that many were also leaving for the Nov. 1 All Saints’ Day holiday.

October 30: An elderly couple walks past a closed bookstore in Paris on Friday after the new lockdown rules closed a number of shops and businesses

October 30: An elderly couple walks past a closed bookstore in Paris on Friday after the new lockdown rules closed a number of shops and businesses

October 30: An elderly couple walks past a closed bookstore in Paris on Friday after the new lockdown rules closed a number of shops and businesses

October 22: A store remains open - with social distancing a mask rules in effect - last week before the new nationwide lockdown came into force on Friday, closing unessential shops and businesses

October 22: A store remains open - with social distancing a mask rules in effect - last week before the new nationwide lockdown came into force on Friday, closing unessential shops and businesses

October 22: A store remains open – with social distancing a mask rules in effect – last week before the new nationwide lockdown came into force on Friday, closing unessential shops and businesses 

Macron said that authorities would be ‘tolerant’ about families returning from the holiday on Monday, but otherwise interregional travel is strictly prohibited.

Yesterday the French government recorded 47,637 new confirmed coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, compared to 36,437 on Wednesday and a record high of 52,010 on Sunday.

The total number of infections rose to over 1.28 million while the death tally went up by 235 to 36,020. The number of people going into hospital with Covid-19 fell to 976, after three days of about 1,200 hospitalisations per day.  

Yesterday the French government recorded 47,637 new confirmed coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, compared to 36,437 on Wednesday and a record high of 52,010 on Sunday. Thursday also saw 235 coronavirus related deaths after seeing a recent high of 523 on Wednesday - the highest number since the first wave in the Spring

Yesterday the French government recorded 47,637 new confirmed coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, compared to 36,437 on Wednesday and a record high of 52,010 on Sunday. Thursday also saw 235 coronavirus related deaths after seeing a recent high of 523 on Wednesday - the highest number since the first wave in the Spring

 Yesterday the French government recorded 47,637 new confirmed coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, compared to 36,437 on Wednesday and a record high of 52,010 on Sunday. Thursday also saw 235 coronavirus related deaths after seeing a recent high of 523 on Wednesday – the highest number since the first wave in the Spring

Video posted to Twitter showed huge numbers of Parisians attempting a mass exodus out of the city in a bid to avoid the 9pm curfew and the start of the second lockdown from midnight.

The night air was filled with the sound of blaring car horns while social media users estimated that Parisians had created ‘hundreds of miles’ of gridlock to escape to their second homes in the country. 

Revellers also seized the opportunity to spend one last night with friends and family last night before bars and restaurants are closed as the French government plunges the country back into lockdown.

Meanwhile French people emptied supermarkets in a repeat of the panic-buying that swept Europe in March as Parisians and other city dwellers prepared for a month in confinement. 

Shoppers stocked up on pasta and toilet roll while people queued outside hairdressers for a final trim. Office workers in the capital’s business district hauled their equipment to cars and trains in preparation for WFH.  

Emmanuel Macron’s draconian measures are due to be enforced until at least December 1, with people required to carry documents justifying their reason for leaving home that will be subject to police checks.

Tens of thousands of Parisians last night caused massive traffic jams in a desperate attempt to flee the French capital ahead of the start of Emmanuel Macron's new national shutdown

Tens of thousands of Parisians last night caused massive traffic jams in a desperate attempt to flee the French capital ahead of the start of Emmanuel Macron's new national shutdown

Tens of thousands of Parisians last night caused massive traffic jams in a desperate attempt to flee the French capital ahead of the start of Emmanuel Macron's new national shutdown

Tens of thousands of Parisians last night caused massive traffic jams in a desperate attempt to flee the French capital ahead of the start of Emmanuel Macron's new national shutdown

Tens of thousands of Parisians last night caused massive traffic jams in a desperate attempt to flee the French capital ahead of the start of Emmanuel Macron’s new national shutdown 

View of traffic jams in Paris as traffic records have been broken in Paris ahead of the new shutdown coming into force

View of traffic jams in Paris as traffic records have been broken in Paris ahead of the new shutdown coming into force

View of traffic jams in Paris as traffic records have been broken in Paris ahead of the new shutdown coming into force

Parisians flocked to the Gare de Lyon to avoid confining themselves to the French capital during the shutdown

Parisians flocked to the Gare de Lyon to avoid confining themselves to the French capital during the shutdown

Parisians flocked to the Gare de Lyon to avoid confining themselves to the French capital during the shutdown

The exodus from Paris came amid anti-lockdown protests which saw a chair thrown in the window of a closed outdoor cafe

The exodus from Paris came amid anti-lockdown protests which saw a chair thrown in the window of a closed outdoor cafe

The exodus from Paris came amid anti-lockdown protests which saw a chair thrown in the window of a closed outdoor cafe

Hundreds of anti-lockdown protesters gathered in Paris on the eve of the new restrictions, with some letting off flares

Hundreds of anti-lockdown protesters gathered in Paris on the eve of the new restrictions, with some letting off flares

Hundreds of anti-lockdown protesters gathered in Paris on the eve of the new restrictions, with some letting off flares 

Protesters are cheered by a woman in a cafe as they voice their anger at the French government's new lockdown restrictions

Protesters are cheered by a woman in a cafe as they voice their anger at the French government's new lockdown restrictions

Protesters are cheered by a woman in a cafe as they voice their anger at the French government’s new lockdown restrictions 

French security forces wearing riot gear try to keep order during a march against Emmanuel Macron's new lockdown

French security forces wearing riot gear try to keep order during a march against Emmanuel Macron's new lockdown

French security forces wearing riot gear try to keep order during a march against Emmanuel Macron’s new lockdown  

Huge queues were seen outside the Gare de Lyon just hours before France's second national shutdown begins

Huge queues were seen outside the Gare de Lyon just hours before France's second national shutdown begins

Huge queues were seen outside the Gare de Lyon just hours before France’s second national shutdown begins

Parisians flocked to the Gare de Lyon to avoid confining themselves to the French capital during the shutdown

Parisians flocked to the Gare de Lyon to avoid confining themselves to the French capital during the shutdown

Parisians flocked to the Gare de Lyon to avoid confining themselves to the French capital during the shutdown

Empty shelves of toilet paper are seen in a supermarket in Paris as thousands of city dwellers stock up for the new shutdown

Empty shelves of toilet paper are seen in a supermarket in Paris as thousands of city dwellers stock up for the new shutdown

Empty shelves of toilet paper are seen in a supermarket in Paris as thousands of city dwellers stock up for the new shutdown

Parisians made the most of their final night of freedom as they packed the bars ahead of new lockdown restrictions

Parisians made the most of their final night of freedom as they packed the bars ahead of new lockdown restrictions

Parisians made the most of their final night of freedom as they packed the bars ahead of new lockdown restrictions

Parisians flocked to the Gare de Lyon to avoid confining themselves to the French capital during the shutdown

Parisians flocked to the Gare de Lyon to avoid confining themselves to the French capital during the shutdown

Parisians flocked to the Gare de Lyon to avoid confining themselves to the French capital during the shutdown

After the start of the lockdown hundreds of anti-lockdown protesters gathered on the streets of Paris

After the start of the lockdown hundreds of anti-lockdown protesters gathered on the streets of Paris

After the start of the lockdown hundreds of anti-lockdown protesters gathered on the streets of Paris 

A short while later, Paris was completely deserted, with the Eiffel Tower pictured standing alone as the shutdown starts

A short while later, Paris was completely deserted, with the Eiffel Tower pictured standing alone as the shutdown starts

A short while later, Paris was completely deserted, with the Eiffel Tower pictured standing alone as the shutdown starts

This map shows the 14-day Covid-19 infection rate in Europe. Most of France is in the highest category of 240 or more cases per 100,000 people, along with most of Spain, all of the Czech Republic, the North of England and many other regions around the continent. French leader Emmanuel Macron this week announced a new nationwide lockdown, claiming that 400,000 people will die of coronavirus if the country does nothing to control a second wave that will be 'more deadly' than the first

This map shows the 14-day Covid-19 infection rate in Europe. Most of France is in the highest category of 240 or more cases per 100,000 people, along with most of Spain, all of the Czech Republic, the North of England and many other regions around the continent. French leader Emmanuel Macron this week announced a new nationwide lockdown, claiming that 400,000 people will die of coronavirus if the country does nothing to control a second wave that will be 'more deadly' than the first

This map shows the 14-day Covid-19 infection rate in Europe. Most of France is in the highest category of 240 or more cases per 100,000 people, along with most of Spain, all of the Czech Republic, the North of England and many other regions around the continent. French leader Emmanuel Macron this week announced a new nationwide lockdown, claiming that 400,000 people will die of coronavirus if the country does nothing to control a second wave that will be ‘more deadly’ than the first

France’s health minister yesterday warned that up to a million people may be infected with the disease, while Prime Minister Jean Castex extended mask requirements to schoolchildren as young as six. 

French schools will stay open but the stay-at-home measures for adults are as strict as in the spring, with written paperwork needed to go outside for shopping, medical care or one hour a day of exercise.     

President Macron said a curfew in Paris and other major cities had failed to stem the tide of infections, claiming that 400,000 people would die of Covid-19 if drastic action were not taken. 

In a televised announcement, he said: ‘Our target is simple: sharply reducing infections from 40,000 a day to 5,000 and slowing the pace of admissions to hospital and intensive care.’ 

Hospitals are already scrambling for intensive care beds and ‘no matter what we do, nearly 9,000 people will be in intensive care by mid-November,’ he said. The French leader called the new restrictions ‘heartbreaking’ but said he ‘could never stand by and see hundreds of thousands of our citizens die’.   

Bars, shops and restaurants are closing entirely again while France’s government is urging businesses to have employees work from home ‘five days a week’. 

Mr Macron said some shops could be allowed to open in mid-November if the situation improves – but his scientific adviser’s warning raises the prospect of lockdown measures continuing up to Christmas.    

State-approved reasons for leaving households include buying essential goods, seeking medical attention or taking a daily one-hour allocation of exercise, the French government announced. Though bars and restaurants will close again, all public services, schools and essential workplaces will stay open.   

Stores and businesses across France were also filled by people racing to get supplies on Thursday – and maybe a last-minute haircut – ahead of the new lockdown.  

Revellers seized the opportunity to spend one final evening with friends and family on Thursday before bars and restaurants are closed

Revellers seized the opportunity to spend one final evening with friends and family on Thursday before bars and restaurants are closed

Revellers seized the opportunity to spend one final evening with friends and family on Thursday before bars and restaurants are closed

On Thursday, the French public health agency announced 47,637 new infections in 24 hours and 235 deaths, pushing the overall tally beyond 36,000

On Thursday, the French public health agency announced 47,637 new infections in 24 hours and 235 deaths, pushing the overall tally beyond 36,000

On Thursday, the French public health agency announced 47,637 new infections in 24 hours and 235 deaths, pushing the overall tally beyond 36,000

Emmanuel Macron announced new measures on Wednesday in an effort to curb the rising Covid infections across the country

Emmanuel Macron announced new measures on Wednesday in an effort to curb the rising Covid infections across the country

Emmanuel Macron announced new measures on Wednesday in an effort to curb the rising Covid infections across the country

The national measures will take effect from Friday morning until December 1 and are considered to be 'more flexible' than the country's first lockdown

The national measures will take effect from Friday morning until December 1 and are considered to be 'more flexible' than the country's first lockdown

The national measures will take effect from Friday morning until December 1 and are considered to be ‘more flexible’ than the country’s first lockdown

Stores and businesses across France were also filled by people racing to get supplies on Thursday - and maybe a last-minute haircut - ahead of the new lockdown

Stores and businesses across France were also filled by people racing to get supplies on Thursday - and maybe a last-minute haircut - ahead of the new lockdown

Stores and businesses across France were also filled by people racing to get supplies on Thursday – and maybe a last-minute haircut – ahead of the new lockdown

Hundreds of anti-lockdown protesters gather in Paris to protest the measures adopted by the French government

Hundreds of anti-lockdown protesters gather in Paris to protest the measures adopted by the French government

Hundreds of anti-lockdown protesters gather in Paris to protest the measures adopted by the French government

Hundreds of anti-lockdown protesters gather in Paris to protest the measures adopted by the French government

Hundreds of anti-lockdown protesters gather in Paris to protest the measures adopted by the French government

Hundreds of anti-lockdown protesters gather in Paris to protest the measures adopted by the French government

Is Spanish strain of Covid-19 behind Europe’s second wave? Scientists blame strain that was ‘spread across continent by summer holidaymakers’ 

A mutated strain of coronavirus that originated in Spain may be the culprit behind Europe’s catastrophic second wave, a study has claimed.

An international team of scientists tracking the virus as it spreads and evolves, said the variant, called 20A.EU1, is behind 90 per cent of cases in the UK since summer. 

Every virus mutation has its own genetic signature, which means they can be traced back to the place they originated. 

The experts tracked 20A.EU1 back to a farm in northern Spain in June and believe it raced through the continent as holidaymakers returned over summer, when there was a lull in transmission and lockdowns were eased.

It raises questions about whether the spiralling second wave – which is forcing European nations to retreat back into national shutdowns – could have been averted by improved screening at airports and borders.

The scientists believe the strain is also behind 80 per cent of infections in Spain, 60 per cent in Ireland and up to 40 per cent in Switzerland and France.

All viruses naturally mutate as they spread through populations. There are hundreds of different variants of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, circulating around Europe. 

However, only very few of these variants have spread as successfully and become as prevalent as the newly-identified strain. 

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There are now 21,183 people in hospital with Covid-19, compared to a high of more than 32,000 mid April. The number of people in intensive care went up by 111 to 3,156. 

Essentials like pasta and toilet paper were in high demand, as were printer ink and electronics for working from home, while yoga mats were not to be found at many sporting goods stores.

‘I’m stocking up, since we don’t know when this will end,’ said Catherine Debeaupuis, shopping at an electronics retailer in central Paris.

Just under 33 million people watched President Macron announce the grim news in a prime-time address on Wednesday – a mere five days after having said: ‘it’s still too early’ to consider new lockdowns.

The president said hospitals would soon be overwhelmed by a virus that is spreading ‘at a speed that even the most pessimistic did not predict.’  

People are now only allowed to leave home only if armed with a self-signed certificate stating their urgent business – food shopping, taking the kids to school, going to work if this cannot be done from home, going to the hospital or a pharmacy.  

A certificate is be needed by people wishing to go for a jog or walk their dog, within a limit of one hour and no further than one kilometre (0.6 miles) from home.

Funeral attendance is now limited to 30 and six for weddings. Those found breaking the rules, which will be policed, risk a fine of 135 euros.  

Europe’s infection rate has already overtaken America’s for the first time since March, although cases are rising again in the US just days from the presidential election. 

Germany also took action as Angela Merkel announced a so-called ‘lockdown light’, shutting bars and restaurants to fend off a ‘national health emergency’ while saying that schools and shops could stay open.  

The return of lockdown measures across Europe has led to protests breaking out in Spain and Italy where crowds have let off fireworks and looted luxury stores to voice their rage at the tightening controls on public life.  

Spain’s parliament voted to extend the country’s state of emergency. 

During a meeting with European health ministers, WHO’s European regional director Dr Hans Kluge said ‘hospitalizations have risen to levels unseen since the spring’ and deaths have sharply risen by more than 30 per cent. 

He noted that Europe has now reported more than 10 million coronavirus cases and ‘is at the epicenter of this pandemic once again.’ 

Coroanvirus cases are rising rapidly in most major European countries, prompting leaders to consider more lockdown measures. Curfews are now in place in Spain, Italy, and UK, with France and Germany announcing circuit breaker shutdowns

Coroanvirus cases are rising rapidly in most major European countries, prompting leaders to consider more lockdown measures. Curfews are now in place in Spain, Italy, and UK, with France and Germany announcing circuit breaker shutdowns

Coroanvirus cases are rising rapidly in most major European countries, prompting leaders to consider more lockdown measures. Curfews are now in place in Spain, Italy, and UK, with France and Germany announcing circuit breaker shutdowns 

Cyprus and Lithuania are put on UK quarantine list with Britons facing dash back home to beat 4am deadline on Sunday to avoid 14-day isolation 

Cyprus and Lithuania have been removed from the Government’s list of travel corridors, meaning travellers arriving in the UK from those places after 4am on Sunday must self-isolate for 14 days, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said on Thursday. 

Shapps added in a post on Twitter that the Government would not be adding any countries to the UK’s list of travel corridors where Britons can travel without having to self-isolate this week. 

Cyprus recorded just 91 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday while Lithuania had 413. Both totals are considerably lower than the UK figures, which showed 22,885 new cases on Tuesday.

While some Brits expressed confusion, tweeting from Cyprus that they felt perfectly safe there, others were enraged by the announcement and questioned the logic of closing the travel corridor on the last day of the English half-term holiday, likely forcing many families to keep their kids at home for two weeks. 

One Twitter user described taking Cyprus off the list as ‘madness’, sharing a photo taken on Wednesday night of a quiet-looking coastal view. 

‘It felt safe, organised and everyone was following the rules,’ he said. 

Another said there was ‘no risk’ in Cyprus, adding that people were tested on arrival as well as having to receive a negative test result before boarding a plane to leave.

‘Mask wearing in hotels is compulsory and even outside,’ he said. 

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‘At the risk of sounding alarmist, I must express our very real concern,’ Kluge said.

Speaking to Germany’s parliament ahead of a virtual summit of EU leaders on Thursday evening aimed at better coordinating Europe’s response to the disease, Merkel said her country faces ‘a dramatic situation at the beginning of the cold season.’

Germany’s disease control agency said local authorities reported 16,774 new positive tests for COVID-19 in the past day, pushing the country’s total close to the half million-mark. The death toll stood at 10,272. 

‘The winter will be difficult, four long, difficult months. But it will end,’ Merkel told lawmakers.

Under new restrictions going into effect Monday, German restaurants, bars, sports and cultural venues will be shut for four weeks. Gatherings are limited to 10 people from a maximum of two households and all non-essential journeys will be discouraged. Schools, kindergartens, stores and places of worship will remain open – albeit with safety precautions.

Merkel said authorities had no choice but to drastically reduce social contacts as three-quarters of infections in Germany now are no longer traceable. 

‘If we wait until the ICUs are full, then it will be too late,’ she said.

Opposition leader Alexander Gauland of the far-Right Alternative for Germany party accused Merkel’s government of ‘wartime propaganda’ and likened the pandemic to traffic, arguing that society accepts a certain number of car deaths each year but doesn’t ban driving.

Berlin announced a new 10 billion-euro (£9billion) fund for businesses affected by the additional measures.  

In Spain, authorities have been imposing incremental restrictions on free movement, nightlife and social gatherings, but they have refrained from a strict stay-at-home order like the one that curbed the first wave of infections but scarred the economy. 

But with officials predicting that current levels of infection will produce a serious shortage of intensive care beds in November, some experts are already calling for a full lockdown.

Spanish regions like Catalonia and La Rioja have already closed bars and restaurants, while most of the rest have imposed curfews limiting nightlife. But extra subsidies have not accompanied the restrictions, prompting loud protests in Barcelona this week by business owners who banged pots, waved cocktail shakers and chanted ‘We want to work!’

Spain’s parliament, meanwhile, voted by a majority to keep the country’s newly declared state of emergency in place until May to try to rein in the resurging pandemic, despite objections by some opposition parties. A vote to lift the measure could be held in March should things improve.

Spain has officially recorded more than 1.1 million COVID-19 cases, although authorities say the true figure could be at least three times higher. Its virus death toll is at least 35,000. 

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35017230 8895437 image a 68 1604071177143

Spain and Italy have both seen deaths increase in recent weeks, although they are lower than during the first wave – unlike in the Czech Republic and other countries in Eastern Europe where deaths have risen to record levels  

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35017160 8895437 image a 69 1604071177145

 

Germany also took action as Angela Merkel announced a so-called 'lockdown light', shutting bars and restaurants to fend off a 'national health emergency' while saying that schools and shops could stay open

Germany also took action as Angela Merkel announced a so-called 'lockdown light', shutting bars and restaurants to fend off a 'national health emergency' while saying that schools and shops could stay open

Germany also took action as Angela Merkel announced a so-called ‘lockdown light’, shutting bars and restaurants to fend off a ‘national health emergency’ while saying that schools and shops could stay open 

As EU leaders met, officials in Brussels urged them to approve rapid virus tests, which are less reliable than standard kits but far quicker to provide results, and to prepare the vast amounts of cold storage that will be needed to keep large stocks of any virus vaccine once it becomes available.

With Belgium, France and Spain warning that their intensive care units could be overwhelmed within two weeks, the officials say it’s vital that EU countries agree to share information about ICU capacity so patients can be treated across borders if necessary.

Russia, meanwhile, said that it has no plans to impose a nationwide lockdown.

‘Despite a difficult epidemiological situation, right now we’re much better prepared for working during an epidemic,’ Russian President Vladimir Putin said. Russia has recorded more than 1.5 million confirmed coronavirus cases, the highest number in Europe and the fourth largest tally worldwide.

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35017258 8895437 image a 5 1604029863905

As EU leaders met, officials in Brussels urged them to approve rapid virus tests as Covid-19 cases increase

As EU leaders met, officials in Brussels urged them to approve rapid virus tests as Covid-19 cases increase

As EU leaders met, officials in Brussels urged them to approve rapid virus tests as Covid-19 cases increase

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Dramatic video shows police breaking into shisha lounge with more than 150 people inside

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dramatic video shows police breaking into shisha lounge with more than 150 people inside

Police have closed down a shisha cafe after storming inside to find around 150 people crammed together just days after the venue was hit with a £10,000 fine for Covid breaches.

Kasablanca in Birmingham was filled with patrons at around 1am on Saturday despite being hit with the hefty penalty for breaking restrictions earlier this month, said West Midlands Police.  

A dramatic video shows the moment police had to break open the venue’s doors with tools after being refused entry.

Screaming and shouting can be heard as the police enter the venue.

A dramatic video shows the moment police had to break open the doors of a Birmingham shisha lounge after being refused entry

A dramatic video shows the moment police had to break open the doors of a Birmingham shisha lounge after being refused entry

A dramatic video shows the moment police had to break open the doors of a Birmingham shisha lounge after being refused entry

Once inside, police said they found crowds inside with no social distancing measures in place.    

Footage shows patrons milling past officers on their way out of the shisha lounge. 

Some can be heard giggling and telling police ‘We are social distancing’ despite apparent evidence to the contrary. 

Earlier this month, the shisha lounge was fined when officers gained entry despite staff pulling down the shutters on police.

Police said the venue had been issued with a closure order and will have to prove it is adhering to the law before it can reopen. 

Birmingham and the wider West Midlands combined authority area has been widely mooted for a move to Tier 3 ‘very high alert’ measures as soon as the end of next week, as infection rates continue to rise. 

Once inside the venue, police said they found crowds inside with no social distancing measures in place

Once inside the venue, police said they found crowds inside with no social distancing measures in place

Once inside the venue, police said they found crowds inside with no social distancing measures in place

Earlier this month, the same shisha lounge was fined when officers gained entry despite staff pulling down the shutters on police

Earlier this month, the same shisha lounge was fined when officers gained entry despite staff pulling down the shutters on police

Earlier this month, the same shisha lounge was fined when officers gained entry despite staff pulling down the shutters on police

In a separate incident, the owner of a venue in Smethwick, West Midlands, has been fined £10,000 after hosting a wedding celebration for more than 70 people. 

Viollet Salon received the fine on Thursday over an October 10 incident in which a large wedding of some 70 was taking place despite coronavirus restrictions.    

Chief Superintendent Andy Beard criticised businesses for ‘flouting the law, putting lives at risk and increasing the risk of infections as this deadly virus continues to spread.’

‘This is a difficult time for everyone, but we won’t be able to control this pandemic and return to a sense of normality if this continues to happen,’ Beard said in a press release.

‘We all need to help stop the spread of coronavirus, and no one is above the law when it comes to that.

‘The vast majority are following the guidelines and we want to say thank you to those people making those personal sacrifices.

‘We’re continuing to work with local authorities across the region to tackle this virus and help to protect those who live work and visit the West Midlands in the coming weeks and months.’

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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