Coronavirus UK news – 9 MILLION in London on brink of Tier 3 lockdown as govt warned of SUPERSPREADER Christmas

LONDON is on the brink of a Tier 3 lockdown that could see nine million people slapped with tough new covid restrictions.

The capital could be plunged into Tier 3 within the next two weeks unless spiralling cases somehow reverse and the R-rate falls from the staggering 2.9 it is currently estimated to be.

Sources close to London Mayor Sadiq Khan say they expect the capital to be pushed into Tier 3, closing most bars, gyms, libraries and restaurants, within weeks if not days.

And there are fears the entire country could be placed into Tier 3 by Christmas, with worst hit areas in an even stricter Tier 4 lockdown, as government advisors warned of a 'superspreader' festive period.

Boris Johnson is under pressure to impose a nation-wide full-scale lockdown before Christmas in order to allow families to unite on the day.

The PM has been warned the current Tier 3 'very high risk' restitutions and regional lockdown simply aren't working to bring down infection numbers, hospitalisations and deaths.

Follow our coronavirus blog for the latest news and updates

 

  • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop

    RAAB DOESN’T DENY TIER FOUR

    Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab did not deny that ministers are considering introducing a higher Tier 4 level of coronavirus restrictions.

    Asked about reports, he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: “We're always ready for further measures that we can take. But I think the most important thing about further measures is that we continue on the track we're on of targeting the virus.”

  • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop

    NEW VARIANT OF COVID

    A coronavirus variant that originated in Spanish farm workers has spread rapidly throughout Europe and now accounts for most UK cases, a new study suggests.

    The variant, called 20A.EU1, is known to have spread from farm workers to local populations in Spain in June and July, with people then returning from holiday in Spain most likely playing a key role in spreading the strain across Europe.

    However, experts behind the study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed in a medical journal, said there is currently no evidence that the strain spreads faster than other strains of coronavirus.

    There is also no suggestion that the strain causes more severe disease, or would affect how a vaccine works.

  • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop

    WHAT LOCKDOWN TIER ARE YOU?

  • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop

    RAAB: ‘NATIONAL LOCKDOWN WOULD BE ‘DESPERATELY UNFAIR’

    Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has said the public would find it “desperately unfair” to impose a national lockdown while rates vary across the country.

    He told BBC Breakfast: “I think intuitively as well as scientifically if you look at what we're trying to achieve is to focus on where the virus is the strongest or where the uptick is the greatest.

    “Also I think in areas where the virus is not picking up I think people would feel it was not only counterproductive or ineffective but desperately unfair for measures to be imposed across the board.”

  • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop

    ONE FIFTH OF ENGLAND TO BE UNDER TOUGHEST RESTRICTIONS

    Nearly a fifth of England will soon be under the toughest coronavirus restrictions as the number of patients in hospital continues to rise.

    Nottinghamshire entered Tier 3 on Friday morning, while West Yorkshire will move up to the highest alert level from Monday.

    It will take the total number of people in the highest level of restrictions to just over 11 million – 19.6% of the population.

  • Mark Hodge

    THREAT TO NHS

    Boris Johnson has been warned that England's hospitals will be full by December without more lockdowns, it is reported.

    It comes as new data suggests Britain's surging second wave of coronavirus is already out-pacing Sage experts' “worst case” predictions of 85,000 deaths.

    A source told The Daily Mail ministers were warned “in clear terms” that hospital beds in the country will be full by December 17 if no further action is taken.

    The source said: “They would have no choice but to turn people away, including additional Covid patients, people who have heart attacks, cancer, road accident victims – because there would be no beds to put them in or staff to treat them.

    “There could be a repeat here of the scenes in Lombardy in Italy at the start of the pandemic: the sick put in operating rooms or corridors.

    “Hospital admissions are forecast to go up slowly for the next few weeks but shoot up towards Christmas.

    “People don’t realise that social distancing measures can mean only ten beds in a ward meant to take 20.

    “And there is a finite number of trained ICU [intensive care unit] staff – you cannot do it without special training.”

  • Mark Hodge

    WARNING SIGNS

    New data from NHS England showed the number of hospital beds occupied by Covid patients had more than doubled in two weeks from 4,105 on October 13 to 8,595 on Tuesday.

    The figures, published yesterday, also showed there were 743 coronavirus patients in mechanical ventilation beds in England on Tuesday, up from 560 on the same day the previous week.

    The NHS Test and Trace system recorded its highest-ever weekly number of positive cases, while a study by Imperial College London found almost 100,000 people are catching Covid-19 every day.

    The latest data from the test and trace system shows that a total of 126,065 people tested positive at least once in the week to October 21 – a 23 per cent increase on the previous week and the highest weekly number since the programme began at the end of May.

  • Mark Hodge

    ON THE BRINK

    Home Secretary Priti Patel said the Government would not rule out a new national lockdown to address the soaring infection rate.

    Number 10 said yesterday that a further 280 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 and there had been 23,065 more lab-confirmed cases in the UK.

    As France enters a second lockdown today and Germany imposes a four-week partial lockdown, there is pressure on the UK Government to be “tougher and quicker” in its response.

    Asked about another national shutdown as opposed to the three-tier system, Ms Patel said: “I think at this stage, of course, we can rule nothing out because we are a Government that is focused on making sure that we stop the spread of this virus and also (that) we protect public health.

    “So we have been using, and we are using and we will continue to use, every single means available to us to do exactly that.”

  • Hana Carter

    GPS NOT 'ADEQUATELY RECOGNISED' IN TEST AND TRACE EFFORTS

    General practice and public health teams have been under-utilised in the efforts of the NHS Test and Trace system, according to the chairman of the Royal College of GPs.

    Professor Martin Marshall, who also works as a GP in east London, raised concerns that the possible contributions of general practice and public health teams had not been “adequately recognised”.

    Speaking at a Royal Society of Medicine webinar, he suggested that the programme would be in a “better place” if some of the funding had been used in this area.

    “There is no doubt that the core skill set and the local knowledge and the local connections, the local relationships, are held by public health teams,” he told the virtual event.

    “If they had been given probably a small proportion of the money that has gone into the Test and Trace system, then possibly we would be in a better place now.”

  • Hana Carter

    FAMILY BUSTED FOR 50 GUEST CHRISTENING

    A dad who had 50 guests at a baby's christening party begged cops for “one more hour” has been slapped with a £10,000 fine.

    West Midlands Police broke up the party in Wolverhampton – with guests travelling from as far as London.

    The party on Saturday included hired marquees, DJ decks and live musicians, police said.

    Bodycam footage released by police shows the organiser begging cops: “Oh my god, I spent too much money on this party. Give me one hour.”

    Police then told him the party had to end, and the organiser said: “I know but I don't believe in this virus because it's no harm.”

    When the organiser was told about the £10,000 fine, he replied: “I cannot pay that.”

    Police said it was the first such “super fine” to be handed out in

  • Hana Carter

    PICTURED: REVELLERS IN NOTTINGHAM

  • Hana Carter

    DRINKERS FLOCK TO THE BOOZERS IN NOTTINGHAM

    Nottingham's bars were packed out tonight as stricter coronavirus restrictions are set to come into force tomorrow – including a 9pm booze curfew.

    Revellers were seen queueing in the streets for one final hurrah before Nottingham goes into tougher “Tier 3 plus” coronavirus rules.

    Young people braved the cold October weather to go to bars – which don't serve a “substantial meal” – for the last time for at least four weeks.

    It comes as Nottinghamshire plunges into a “Tier 3 plus” with extra new rules including shutting beauty salons, a 9pm booze curfew and even a ban on shisha.

    The area will face the toughest lockdown in the country with a string of new closures and extra rules for 800,000 people.

  • Hana Carter

    The areas headed for Tier 2

    • West Midlands: Dudley, Staffordshire, Telford and the Wrekin
    • East Midlands: Amber Valley, Bolsover, Derbyshire Dales, Derby City, South Derbyshire, the whole of High Peak; Charnwood
    • East of England: Luton
    • South East: Oxford City

    ESSENTIAL ITEMS ROW

    Christmas wrapping paper has gone on sale at a B&M in Wales, but the toy's section is still blocked off in the latest row over “essential items”.

    Shoppers have been left furious after wrapping paper went on sale at a B&M in North Wales but the children's toy's section is taped off.

    It comes as the latest row over the Welsh government's revised list of “essential” items.

    The list now allows for “stationery and greetings cards” which could arguably include products like wrapping paper.

    Ministers had also eased up on the rules after an almighty spat over supermarkets refusing to sell sanitary pads and baby milk during the "firebreak" lockdown.

    However, other items such as books, clothes and toys were banned as the two week lockdown was introduced in Wales on October 23.

    Shoppers have expressed their fury at the list of “non-essential” items and a man was charged with criminal damage after he was filmed ripping down tape.

    WEST YORKSHIRE TO MOVE TO TIER THREE

    West Yorkshire will be placed under the toughest lockdown restrictions from Monday, after local leaders demanded extra help to tackle the virus.

    The area, including Leeds, Huddersfield, and Bradford, will move into Tier Three – meaning pubs and bars will be closed with a ban on overnight stays outside of the home.

    Changes will come into effect from the beginning of next week, according to Councillor Judith Blake.

    With the new restrictions, pubs and bars must shut unless they can operate as a restaurant serving “substantial” meals.

    Casinos, bookmakers and gyms are also shut under Tier Three.

    West Yorkshire residents are also advised to avoid travelling outside the area, unless for essential journeys, such as work or caring responsibilities.

    NHS figures have shown the Yorkshire and Humber region has the fastest-growing COVID-19 rates in England.

    MERKEL CALLS SECOND COVID

    Angela Merkel has slapped Germany with a second coronavirus lockdown amid a record rise in cases.

    The German leader has announced a month-long circuit breaker in the hope it will “save Christmas” for millions of families. 

    Mrs Merkel signed off on a second covid lockdown for all of November after an emergency meeting with state premiers from across Germany. 

    Germany was widely praised for keeping cases and deaths below those of its neighbours early in the pandemic but, like much of Europe, the country is now in the midst of a second wave.

    It recorded a record 16,774 cases on Thursday, bringing the total to 481,013, while the death toll rose by 89 to 10,272.

    BENIDORM FACES PERMANENT DEVASTATION

    Benidorm is facing permanent devastation as Brits abandon the holiday resort due to the pandemic.

    Spain has declared a state of emergency, which includes a curfew between 11pm and 6am for the entire country excluding the Canary Islands.

    The Independent Association of Benidorm Merchants (AICO) have warned that half of Benidorm's shops are to close, while only a few hotels will remain open.

    According to local media, 200 retailers are closing their doors either permanently or temporarily, due to the drop in tourism.

    AICO president Raul Parra told the Olive Press: “I believe that over the coming months, only 50 per cent of shops will stay afloat.

    “The situation for traders is very bad.”

    PIZZA EXPRESS CUTS 1,300 JOBS

    Pizza Express has said it is cutting around 1,300 jobs across its UK restaurants as the impact of coronavirus continues to hit business.

    The restaurant chain is not closing any more restaurants but instead slimming down its existing team.

    The job losses are on top of the 1,100 that are already at risk after the chain announced in September that it would be closing 73 restaurants.

    Pizza Express said that despite sales improving over the summer, the latest round of Covid restrictions has caused a drop in the number of diners eating out.

    The industry has been hit by a national 10pm curfew for pubs and restaurants and a ban on households mixing indoors in Tiers 2 and 3 coronavirus lockdown areas.

    The job cuts are expected to hit all 370 Pizza Express branches across the UK, through a round of voluntary and compulsory redundancies.

    CYPRUS AND LITHUANIA ADDED TO QUARANTINE LISTS

    Brits travelling to Cyprus and Lithuania will have to self isolate for two weeks as both countries are added to the quarantine list.

    Transport secretary Grant Shapps said: “From 4am Sunday 1st November, if you arrive into the UK from these destinations you will need to self-isolate.” 

    Cyprus’s current rate of new cases per 100,000 residents accumulated over the last seven days is 111.7 – less than half the UK’s own rate of 229.6.

    JOB SUPPORT SCHEME TO BENEFIT HIGH EARNING PART-TIME WORKERS MORE

    The new Job Support Scheme will benefit part-time workers earning high wages more, in comparison to Brits on low incomes.

    The scheme, which replaces furlough from November 1, lets Brits return to work for just 20% of their usual hours and still qualify for help.

    Employees who are brought back part-time will be paid in full for the hours they work.

    They'll also receive 5% of the pay for hours they don't work from their employer (capped at £125 per month) and 61.67% from the government (capped at £1,541.75).

    In comparison, the furlough scheme covered 80% of wages – up to £2,500.

    Brits earning £20,000 a year and returning to work 20% of their usual hours would earn just £1,222 per month before tax on the Job Support Scheme.

    This compares to a higher £1,333 a month while on furlough, financial services firm Quilter has found.

    175 INFECTED WORKERS AT NORFOLK MEAT FACTORY

    An outbreak at a Norfolk meat factory has grown, with 175 workers now struck down by the deadly bug.

    Officials say there's been a “significant outbreak” of Covid at the Cranswick Country Foods site in Watton.

    Dr Louise Smith, the county's director of public health, said that 185 negative tests have also been returned at Cranswick Country Foods in Watton.

    A mobile testing unit is at the site, which makes pork products, and Dr Smith said she anticipates hundreds more test results to be confirmed and validated within 24 hours.

    Most of those who tested positive work in butchery.

    The plant remains open – but George Freeman, MP for Mid Norfolk, has written to Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Environment Secretary George Eustice over the issue.

    Mr Freeman is calling for a “fast decision” on whether doors should shut while workers are falling ill.

    PRESSURE MOUNTS FOR NATIONAL LOCKDOWN

    Pressure to impose a national lockdown in England is mounting as the number of coronavirus cases continues to climb and more than a dozen areas are due to move into a higher level of restrictions.

    The three-tier system is being called into doubt, with the NHS Test and Trace system recording its highest ever weekly number of positive cases and a study by Imperial College London finding that almost 100,000 people are catching Covid-19 every day.

    Experts are suggesting a more national approach is needed to address the soaring infection rate, and Home Secretary Priti Patel said the Government would not rule anything out.

    THOUSANDS COMPLAIN OVER LOCKDOWN RAIL REFUNDS

    Thousands of train passengers complained about ticketing and refunds following the coronavirus outbreak, new figures show.

    Analysis of industry data by the PA news agency shows around 10,000 complaints relating to coronavirus were dealt with between April and June.

    This was when many passengers claimed pay outs for tickets they could no longer use due to lockdown travel restrictions, including annual passes worth thousands of pounds.

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