Prime Minister Boris Johnson has told a press conference that Britons "don't want to throw in the sponge" in the ongoing fight against coronavirus.
"I know some people think we should give up and let the virus take its course despite the huge loss of life that may entail," he said in the televised briefing.
"I profoundly disagree. I don't think the British people want to throw in the sponge, they want to fight and defeat this virus."
He said that "we will not hesitate" to introduce further measures, but stressed the Government is hopeful that these will not be needed.
Professor Chris Whitty warned that there was a significant and general increase in Covid-19 cases across the UK, while Sir Patrick Vallance admitted that things were heading "in the wrong direction" nationally.
A further 7,108 cases of coronavirus were confirmed by the Department for Health yesterday, down fractionally from yesterday's record of 7,143, while 71 virus deaths were confirmed.
Sir Patrick said in the press conference that "the number of cases that we're seeing now are picked up because there's much more testing", and that in March and April, "we were seeing 100,000 cases a day at certain times."
Follow the latest updates below.
Turkey coronavirus cases '20 times higher than official figures'
Turkey is suspected of suppressing the true scale of its coronavirus outbreak, after an opposition MP produced documents that suggested the number of infections was twenty times higher than official figures, reports our Middle East correspondent James Rothwell.
Murat Emir, a member of the Republican People’s Party, said he had obtained a Turkish health ministry document which stated there were more than 29,000 positive coronavirus tests on September 10, while the public figure was only 1,512.
“If this document is true, it is time to explain the truth to our people,” Mr Ermir told Fox Turkey.
It came as the mayors of Turkey’s two largest cities expressed similar concerns about the government’s official coronavirus figures, which they said did not tally with their local estimates.
Ekrem Imamoglu, the mayor of Istanbul, and Mansur Yavas, the mayor of Ankara, said the death rates in their cities were on a similar scale to the number of deaths nationwide.
Students in lockdown to miss out on a month of home-cooked meals this year
Students subject to campus quarantine restrictions could miss out on more than a month of home-cooked food during the pandemic, new research has found.
Students from Manchester to Glasgow have been urged to stay on campus - despite the Prime Minister's clarification today that they can come home for Christmas.
This means that they will miss out on travelling home for cooked meals for around 20 per cent of the academic year, according to a new report from VoucherCodes.co.uk.
It is estimated that this saves students an average of £203 on cooking for themselves, with almost one in five heading home as often as once a fortnight.
South Africa travel: UK tourists to be banned when borders reopen
Tourists from the UK and the US are among those who will not be allowed in to South Africa when it re-opens its borders tomorrow, writes Helen Nianias.
However, businesspeople and researchers from the UK will be allowed in if they have tested negative for Cpvid-19 within the last 72 hours. This test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and should be signed.
All other travellers coming into South Africa would have to provide proof of accommodation address for quarantine purposes should they test positive for Covid-19.
When travellers arrive at the port of entry, they will be screened for any Covid-19 symptoms or for contact with people who have been infected with the virus. These conditions will be reviewed in three weeks.
Efforts to tackle sexual abuse by UN peacekeepers have had 'little impact', watchdog finds
The UK government is a leader in tackling the “culture of impunity” that has allowed international peacekeepers to escape punishment for sexual abuse but there is little evidence its work has had any impact, the UK’s aid watchdog has found.
A report by the Independent Commission for Aid Impact examined the work of the UK government in tackling sexual abuse and exploitation by peacekeepers, soldiers, police and civilian personnel - of which there have been numerous allegations over the years. Only last year troops stationed in Haiti were said to have fathered hundreds of children.
The UN has launched a number of initiatives to stop the abuse and hold perpetrators to account but have had limited success.
Peacekeepers are immune from prosecution by the country where they are stationed. And the UN can choose to waive this immunity for civilian staff if it feels a fair trial is possible - rarely the case in conflict zones.
The UK government has been a leader in corralling the rest of the world to tackle the problem, the report found, raising awareness internationally of accepted standards of behaviour and funding small-scale aid projects to reform the UN.
Anne Gulland has more here.
Care homes: Government will be taken to court over crisis
The Government is to be taken to court over the crisis in British care homes, as campaigners launch a judicial review set for next month.
John's Campaign, which advocates extended visiting rights for family carers of patients with dementia, had written to the Health Secretary with their concerns.
However the Government replied today declining to change the rules, according to ITV News, after initially having said that it was too busy.
Campaigners want the guidelines to be made more flexible and take into account residents' circumstances, as thousands have not seen their family since March.
Quarantine fines: More than 650 households escape penalties
Over 650 households quarantined after returning to the UK escaped fines because no one answered the door to police officers or the returning holidaymaker gave a "wrong" address, reports our home affairs editor Charles Hymas.
The 680 households represented nearly one in six – 15 per cent – of the 4,114 homes checked by police since quarantine was introduced in June, according to figures from the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) on Wednesday.
The NPCC said 440 cases had resulted in no answer at all when officers arrived at the address. Under quarantine protocol, they returned for a second time but then took no further enforcement action and passed the information back to public health and border force officials.
At a further 240 addresses visited by police, nobody with the name on the contact form that travellers have to fill in on arrival in the UK was living there. This meant no further enforcement action could be taken, the NPCC said.
As a result, only 38 fines of £1,000 for breaches of the 14-day quarantine have been issued by 14 forces since June.
Millions of schoolchildren return to classrooms in Pakistan after six months of lockdown
Millions of Pakistani primary schoolchildren are returning to classrooms after six months of lockdown closures, as the country continues to report low case numbers, reports Ben Farmer from Islamabad.
This week's opening of junior schools completes a phased return of face-to-face education and means almost all the country's lockdown restrictions have been eased.
Pakistan's low recorded case load and death toll continue to defy earlier predictions and stands in contrast to neighbouring India which is quickly becoming the global epicentre of the disease.
After the country appeared on the verge of a runaway outbreak in mid-June, recorded cases, as well as deaths and the numbers needing hospital treatment have all fallen. The number of tests coming back positive has also dropped and remained low.
A young population, where some only four per cent are over 65, compared to 23 per cent in Italy may have helped explain how the country fared better than Europe and America.
Matt cartoon: His latest for tomorrow's Telegraph
'None of us will be safe until everyone is safe'
Let us make no mistake: our fight against coronavirus is far from over, Ursula von der Leyen and Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus write for The Telegraph:
Worldwide, trends are worrying. Close to a million lives have been directly lost to the disease and essential health services are disrupted for millions. With jobs at risk, governments have pumped more than $10 trillion into economies to safeguard livelihoods. And people around the world have made personal sacrifices to their daily lives for the greater good.
A global pandemic requires no less than a world effort to end it. None of us will be safe until everyone is safe. Global access to coronavirus vaccines, tests and treatments for everyone who needs them, anywhere, is the only way out.
This is a historical stress test for global cooperation. But we are ready to meet this challenge. This is why we have launched the Access to Covid-19 Tools (ACT)-Accelerator.
This global collaborative framework brings together governments, scientists, businesses, philanthropists and global health organisations such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, CEPI, FIND, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, The Global Fund, Unitaid, Wellcome, WHO and the World Bank.
UK coronavirus cases will be at around 11,000 new cases a day by mid-October, analysis finds
Telegraph analysis has found that if current rates of confirmed Covid-19 infections continue, the UK is on course for around 11,000 new cases a day by mid-October.
This is just a fraction of a projection made by the Government's chief scientists, which they doubled down on during this afternoon's press conference.
Last week at Downing Street chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance presented a scenario in which the number of new confirmed cases could reach close to 50,000 a day across the UK by October 13 if it began doubling every seven days.
However, new infections are doubling in the UK at a slower rate than the grim projection.
Dominic Gilbert and Alex Clark have all the details.
Boris Johnson: New Covid rules require 'common sense'
On the new coronavirus rules introduced in the last week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that people will pick up on "complexities that have arisen" as a result of the local approach that the Government has taken to lockdown.
The best thing I can tell you is that everybody in the North East or elsewhere, in Merseyside, the Midlands, everywhere there are local restrictions, get on the websites, look at precisely what you're supposed to do.
So much of this is about common sense and about following the basics of the guidance and just restricting the possibility of transmission from yourself to somebody else, or from somebody else to you.
He says that the UK will "fight back" against Covid-19 and that "we have done it before, in March and April".
Test and trace needs to be fixed urgently, says Labour
Responding to the Downing Street press conference, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said:
I think the increase in the number of cases is very concerning.
I think everybody can see that and we've all got a duty to follow the Government rules, and that's very clear that we stick to that.
There's got to be - if you like - a national effort to prevent a second lockdown.
But the Government's side of the bargain here is to have a very clear strategy for keeping that infection rate down and we don't see that strategy. Very clear communications, and the byword for this week has been, yet again, confusion.
And test, trace and isolate needs to be fixed urgently.
Boris Johnson news conference: The distribution of people testing positive for Covid-19
UK news today: Headlines this evening after Boris Johnson speech
Boris Johnson called for "collective forbearance, common sense and willingness to make sacrifices" in the battle against coronavirus, warning that tougher measures could be introduced if the evidence showed they were needed.
The Prime Minister told the British people "we have to stick to it together" as he said he "profoundly disagrees" with those who think coronavirus should be just allowed to "take its course".
Airport testing at London Heathrow could be in place within two weeks, the Government has suggested, with flights to New York "up and running" by the end of November.
And up to 200 students at Coventry University have been filmed at a rave, ignoring social distancing guidelines. The gathering shows students crammed into a common room.
Chris Price has your Wednesday evening news briefing.
Coronavirus Act 2020: Renewal sails through House of Commons
The Coronavirus Act renewal has sailed through the House of Commons on a margin of 330 to 24 after the Government struck a last minute deal with Tory rebels.
MPs will have a vote on any second national lockdown, Downing Street conceded.
It was the price for allowing it to retain powers under the Coronavirus Act, which had to be renewed today in Parliament.
Boris Johnson: 'We're trying to fight this locally'
Boris Johnson says that "we're trying to fight this locally" and notes the restrictions on households mixing in the North-East.
Mr Johnson says people "will of course pick up on discrepancies" but "so much of this is about common sense and restricting the possibility of transmission".
"The more we do that, the better the chance we all have of getting this virus down," he says, before bringing the press conference to a close.
Patrick Vallance: 'Take precautions across the country'
"It would be wrong to take from this that this is only a problem in certain areas. It is worse in certain areas but there is evidence of spread everywhere," says Sir Patrick Vallance.
It's important to isolate and if we don't isolate we will end up with more people circulating... Well you don't want anyone circulating ideally, but you will end up with more people circulating and giving the virus to others.
The study that came out a few weeks ago suggested low levels of intent to self-isolate. But it's for all of us to do. It's something you literally can't enforce on people.
It's something we need to do and take accountability for and it will spread among the age groups and cause the problems we describe.
Professor Chris Whitty insists "the support for this is strong" and "this is the way we can protect our neighbours, our families and our NHS".
He praises "the remarkable altruism of the British people".
Boris Johnson: Coronavirus fines 'very considerable will be imposed'
Boris Johnson urges people to follow the most up-to-date guidance:
You're doing it not just to protect your neighbour but someone you transmit the disease to could end up transmitting the disease to someone you love.
Bear in mind that the fines are now very considerable and they will be imposed.
Sir Patrick Vallance admits "we don't have this under control at the moment" and said that it is "incredibly important" people adhere to the principles of trying to reduce contact.
"Science can provide advice on the decision, ministers need to make decisions on when and how to act," says Sir Patrick.
Boris Johnson speech: All options kept 'under constant review'
"We keep all of this under constant review," says Boris Johnson, insisting that officials are meeting "round the clock, watching what's going on".
"We will keep all measures under review. We really don't want to go into the stay-at-home national lockdown that we saw in March. That's not what we want to do. We think that we can beat it by other means, but we've got to watch what's happening and we will."
Professor Chris Whitty says:
In different countries we're broadly using the same groups of things that we're doing".There are inevitably variations and a lot of them are to do with the local traditions and how people socialise in different spaces. And then some of it will be to do with what seems to work.Do I follow the guidance and the rules? I try absolutely to follow whatever the local guidance is and I have changed my behaviour as I suspect everyone watching this has changed their behaviour since the epidemic began.That is what we should all be doing as that is the only way we can keep on top of this.
Boris Johnson speech: 'Long winter ahead', warns Chris Whitty
"We are seeing some very clear local peaks, just as there were local peaks in Italy and other countries," says Boris Johnson in reply to a query from Robert Peston.
"It may be that this is a more localised phenomenon, in which case all the more reason for us to concentrate on these local solutions as well as the national solutions."
Professor Chris Whitty says that the UK was an "outlier" in March in that it was "uniform across the country", citing concentrated epidemics in Italy and Spain.
"It is possible that in this next stage of the epidemic here we will have a pattern more like that, which is more highly concentrated in certain areas than in others.
"We've got a long winter ahead of us and a lot could happen in that time. So to predict forward from here would be a big mistake. But if everyone follows the guidance we could contain it where it is at the moment."
Prof Whitty adds that the UK had initially underestimated how quickly the doubling had occurred in the UK's first wave of coronavirus.
UK coronavirus cases 'heading in the wrong direction', says Sir Patrick Vallance
Sir Patrick Vallance defends the data that he presented with Professor Chris Whitty last Monday.
"The illustration was to point out that epidemics either double or halve, they're either growing or shrinking," he says. "And doubling means things go very big very quickly. And when things double you see that exponential growth and there's clearly fast growth in some areas.
"And unfortunately as we've seen not only cases going up, but we're already seeing an increase in deaths. So things are heading in the wrong direction.
"The number of cases that we're seeing now are picked up because there's much more testing. The number of cases reported in March were almost an underestimate of the total. So it's much more likely in March and April we were seeing 100,000 cases a day at certain times."
Boris Johnson: 'Still too early to tell' how effective rule of six is
"We know we can drive down the virus because we did it before," Boris Johnson tells the BBC's Laura Kuenssberg. "We greatly reduced the number of deaths and massively reduced transmission.
"What we have now is a package of measures which we brought forward last week. And it's a combination of national measures - the restriction on hours of hospitality, the tougher enforcement of the rule of six - and then local lockdown measures as well.
The Prime Minister says it is "still too early to tell" how successful the measures introduced last week have been so far.
Boris Johnson speech: 'I don't want to go back to a national lockdown'
Fielding questions from members of the public, Boris Johnson repeats his thanks to students for "the responsible way they are behaving".
In terms of employment, he refers to the Government's £2 billion 'Kickstart' programme aimed at supporting young people into work, in addition to the Lifetime Skills Guarantee which will allow people in their twenties to retrain for free.
"Clearly there are local areas that are under particular restrictions and what you should do is look at the website and see what restrictions you need to obey," he adds.
"But what we're not doing at the moment is going back to the situation we were in back in March. I don't want to go back to a national lockdown where the guidance is 'stay at home'. But the only way we can do that is to depress the virus and keep things moving as much as we possibly can."
Professor Chris Whitty: Infections increasing at 'steady and rapid' pace
Prof Whitty sets out the following chart breaking down how among school-age children, "rates are not changing very much".
However among those aged 17 to 21, and other young adults, "the rates are going up quite rapidly".
"The rates among school age children are not going up," Prof Whitty says.
"Older people are getting this and then having to go into hospital and transferring some of them, sadly, into intensive care," says Prof Whitty.
"And hospitalisations follow very much the pattern you would expect from the rates of infection. The NHS data show that the rates of hospitalisation are now climbing steadily.
"They're at a much lower level than at the beginning of April - I want to stress that quickly - but they are heading upward at a steady and rapid pace."
Chris Whitty: 'Significant rise' in Covid cases in parts of UK
"In most regions you are seeing a flat but gradually rising picture," Prof Whitty says.
"But you can see a significant rise now in the North-East, West Yorkshire and parts of the West Midlands."
He says that Covid-19 can have a negative long-term impact even on those who are infected at a young age and do not require intensive care.
Chris Whitty warns of 'general increase' right across the UK
"The pattern we are seeing in the current upswing is at this point in time rather different," says Professor Chris Whitty.
"What you can also see is the increase in Covid activity in the last seven days."
Prof Whitty talks of a "very general increase" throughout the UK.
Boris Johnson: 'We will get through this'
"We will get through this, so let's follow the rules, wash our hands, cover our faces, observe social distancing, download the app and together we will fight back against this virus, protect our NHS and save many more lives," the Prime Minister says.
He reveals the NHS Test and Trace app has been downloaded 14 million times.
Boris Johnson warns against impact of NHS being overwhelmed
"I know some people think we should give up and let the virus take its course despite the huge loss of life that may entail," Mr Johnson says. "I profoundly disagree. I don't think the British people want to throw in the sponge, they want to fight and defeat this virus.
"Even as we fight Covid it's vital people get the treatment they need for other conditions. But if the NHS were to be overwhelmed by Covid then no-one could get any such care.
"And that's why we must bear down on this virus now so that we never reach that point."
Boris Johnson 'will not hesitate' to introduce further measures
"The best way to keep our children in school and economy moving are to follow the rules wherever we live," the Prime Minister says.
"No matter how impatient we may be, no matter how fed up we may become, there is only one way of doing this. And that is showing a collective forbearance and willingness to make sacrifice."
He says regular updates will be provided through press conferences.
"If the evidence requires it, we will not hesitate to take further measures that I'm afraid would be more costly than the ones we've put in place now."
Boris Johnson: UK Covid deaths show why our plan is so essential
Yesterday we saw the biggest rise in daily cases since the pandemic began and today a further 7,108. We've also had a tragic increase in the number of daily deaths with 71 yesterday and again today.
These figures show why our plan is so essential. We have to stick to it together and we should stick to it with confidence. There's many ways we are far better
We are on track to hit our target of being able to conduct 500,000 tests a day by October. We are already exceeding the number of tests per capita in France, Germany and Spain and have 2,000 beds across seven Nightingale hospitals.
And we have a four month stockpile of masks, visors, gowns and other equipment.
Boris Johnson speech begins with tribute to students
"When I spoke to you all last week, I explained that the number of Covid patients going into hospitals had doubled in a fortnight and I explained that the rate of infections was climbing steeply," Boris Johnson says.
"At the same time we've been intensifying the local lockdowns in the areas where the disease has been flaring up. I know how tough it is and has been for these communities and I want to pay a particular tribute to the students facing a first term back at university unlike anything else."
He says plans are being put in place to allow students home safely for Christmas.
Burnley Covid cases currently highest in England
The weekly rate of new Covid-19 cases in Burnley has risen further above 300 per 100,000 people.
A total of 291 new cases were recorded in Burnley in the seven days to September 27 - the equivalent of 327.3 cases per 100,000.
It continues to have the highest weekly rate in England.
Seven areas of England have weekly rates that are currently between 200 and 300 cases per 100,000 people, including Liverpool (258.4), Newcastle upon Tyne (255.6) and Manchester (236.0).
Coronavirus Act: Sir Bernard Jenkin says 'lessons should be learned'
Sir Bernard Jenkin, the chair of Parliament's most powerful select committee, said he had written to the Prime Minister "to focus the scrutiny of the various select committees" on the coronavirus measures, The Telegraph's lobby team reports.
In a dig at Boris Johnson's advisors, Sir Bernard said there were "people around the Prime Minister who do not value what Parliament has to offer".
"I don't believe that this a Cromwellian Government that wants to abolish Parliament, at all, but I think there should be some lessons learned from this, that there is a fundamental principle in our politics that the Government cannot govern without the consent of the House of Commons," he says.
He adds that Mr Johnson also needs the consent of Tory MPs, and calls on him to learn lessons from rebellions on the Internal Market Bill and the Coronavirus Act.
Boris Johnson announcement expected at 5pm
Boris Johnson will address the UK at 5pm today in the 100th televised coronavirus briefing since the pandemic first came to the country's shores.
He will be joined by Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer, and Sir Patrick Vallance, the chief scientific adviser.
The result on a House of Commons vote on the renewal of the Coronavirus Act is expected shortly before the Prime Minister speaks.
Coventry University party condemned by Matt Hancock
Matt Hancock has condemned the actions of those who broke lockdown rules at Coventry University by attending a large party.
Responding to a question from Marco Longhi, the Conservative MP for Dudley North, Mr Hancock said he was "absolutely right" to describe the event as "shameful".
"The need for all of us, all of us, to exercise responsibility in a world where a virus can pass asymptomatically without anybody knowing that they have it is sadly a feature of life during this pandemic that I hope will be over sooner rather than later," he said.
UK coronavirus deaths today up by 71
A further 71 Covid-19 deaths have been recorded among those who tested positive within the last 28 days.
The figure is the same as yesterday's death toll, and brings the UK's overall death toll to 42,143.
The number of patients with Covid-19 on ventilators has reached 312.
UK coronavirus cases today rise by 7,108
7,108 people have tested positive for coronavirus as of 9am today, the Department for Health has confirmed.
That is down fractionally from yesterday's record of 7,143. It takes the UK's caseload to 453,264.
North Korea news: 'Faults' discovered in state's Covid plan
North Korea has discovered unspecified "faults" in its anti-epidemic measures, state media said today, amid controversy over the death of a South Korean man.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un convened a meeting of the ruling Worker's Party's powerful politburo on Tuesday to review its anti-Covid-19 measures and discuss ways to improve them, the official KCNA news agency said.
The gathering came after a South Korean fisheries official was shot dead by North Korean soldiers at sea last week, a major incident that shocked many South Koreans.
Seoul has accused the soldiers of setting the man's body on fire after killing him, while Pyongyang said they only burned a flotation device he was using, in order to stave off any risk of coronavirus infections.
At the politburo meeting, participants said "some faults" have been found during the implementation of virus prevention measures, KCNA said, without elaborating.
Coronavirus Act extension: Hancock concedes votes on 'significant national measures' to MPs
Covid testing issues leading to loss of control, says Labour
"Losing control of testing means losing control of the virus, and it's that loss of control which makes further restrictions necessary," says Jonathan Ashworth, the Shadow Health Secretary.
He speaks of the "devastating impact" that local lockdowns are having, and accuses the Government of incompetence in its handling of the pandemic.
"The Prime Minister always promises a better tomorrow, but he never delivers today," says Mr Ashworth, who encourages all MPs to download the NHS Test and Trace app.
Coronavirus Act 2020: Covid rules 'just as fundamental' as six months ago, says Matt Hancock
"This Coronavirus Act remains just as fundamental as it was when introduced six months ago," concludes Matt Hancock. "I urge the house to approve this motion so we can keep responding with speed and with strength.
"We are always looking to listen, to learn, to improve the response as much as possible.
"But without this Act our response would be very significantly harmed. This nation is being tested like never before in peacetime."
Covid wedding rules: Hancock says update based on 'public health evidence'
"We're always willing to improve the way that the rules operate in a way that is safe," Matt Hancock says in a response to a question about wedding numbers being restricted to 15.
"It's a time of celebration and love and we make restrictions with huge regrets, but we always keep an open mind as to the public health evidence."
Mr Hancock says he will ask Alok Sharma, the Business Secretary, to "make sure that the business rules are right".
Graham Brady thanks Matt Hancock for 'constructive' conversations
Sir Graham Brady intervenes to thank Matt Hancock for "constructive conversations" over the last couple of weeks, and for listening to the concerns of more than 50 Tory backbenchers.
"We are grateful that he and other members of the Government have understood the importance of proper scrutiny in this place," he says.
Steve Baker adds that he is "extremely grateful" for the Health Secretary's confirmation that national measures will be subject to a vote.
Matt Hancock says MPs voting 'where possible' will become 'new convention'
Sir Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat leader, asks if Matt Hancock has seen the evidence that disabled people have not received the care they need during the pandemic.
Mr Hancock insists that the Government will renew the section because it is "very important in... overall [improving] access to care" in hospital and social care settings.
Mr Hancock adds "of course there's a judgement to be made" around the process that the Government follows, and that the commitment for votes "whenever possible" will "essentially become a new convention".
Matt Hancock proposes change to bringing in urgent measures
Matt Hancock proposes that the approach to bringing in urgent measures is charged.
He confirms that Parliament will be consulted "wherever possible" and votes will be held before measures come into force, but insists that "we cannot hold up urgent regulations that are needed to control the virus and save lives".
"I am sure that no member of this House would want to limit the Government's ability to take urgent action in the national interest as we did in March," he says.
"Where we don't need the measures we will set them aside."
Coronavirus Act still needed, Matt Hancock tells MPs
"While we've made huge strides in expanding testing and progress towards a vaccine, with this virus still at large the Coronavirus Act and the measures within it remain just as important," Matt Hancock tells the House of Commons,
Mr Hancock says that measures will be needed "until the vaccine keeps us safe".
"They remain temporary, time limited and proportionate ," he says. "To stand down this Act now would leave Britain exposed at a time when we need to be at our strongest. This virus moves quickly and we need to have the powers at our disposal to respond quickly.
"It is deeply important to me that we strike the right balance between acting at pace and proper scrutiny."
Retirement plans in peril as Covid hits finances of older workers
The pandemic is wrecking millions of older workers' retirement dreams as crashing stock markets and a wage slump make it impossible for them to give up work, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has warned.
Huge numbers of pensioners could find themselves significantly worse off than planned in retirement, the IFS said, following a plunge in share prices which has wiped 22 per cent off the FTSE 100 since the start of the year.
A third of older people say they are worse off as a result - while 8 per cent have said they will be forced to push their retirement date back.
There were 10.7m over-50s in work before the pandemic struck, according to the Office for National Statistics, suggesting as many as 850,000 could delay retirement if the survey reflects this age group.
Tim Wallace and Tom Rees have the story.
Coventry University party: University condemns 'rule of six' breach
Coventry University has hit out after up to 200 of its students were filmed at a rave, in contravention of the 'rule of six' and social distancing guidelines.
The university said that it had introduced a code of conduct for students and "shared this widely with them" ahead of the weekend.
"If any of those involved in the video are found to be students of Coventry University and in breach of the code of conduct, we will take appropriate action," it said.
It comes as 14 of 24 of the UK's leading Russell Group universities confirmed that they reserve the right to expel students who repeatedly break their Covid-19 rules.
Airport testing to be launched within weeks, Heathrow signals
Airport testing at London Heathrow could be in place within two weeks, the Government has suggested, with flights to New York “up and running” by the end of November, reports Annabel Fenwick Elliott.
John Holland-Kaye, CEO of Heathrow, told Travel Weekly: “We’ve heard from the Prime Minister that he hopes to go to a trial in the second half of October. It would take a couple of weeks to put into practice.”
The test would cost £150, to be taken upon departure with another to follow five or seven days later; effectively halving the current 14-day quarantine requirement.
Holland-Kaye also said testing on routes between London and New York by November 26 “seems entirely feasible”, adding the demand would be “enormous”.
“If we get good results, there is no reason we shouldn’t be able to extend it,” he told the publication. “It’s possible that in the first or second quarter of next year, we see ‘rapid point of care’ tests become more normal.”
UK coronavirus deaths today: 43 hospital deaths confirmed in England
A further 43 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in England's hospitals, NHS England has confirmed.
This brings the total number of confirmed deaths recorded in hospitals to 30,005.
Patients were aged between 43 and 98 years old, and all but one patient - who was 72 - had underlying health conditions.
The deaths took place between August 22 and September 29. The UK-wide death toll across all settings, plus its latest caseload, will be confirmed at around 4pm.
10pm curfew criticised by Andy Burnham
Speaking at a joint press conference with his Liverpool counterpart Steve Rotheram, Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham has called for a "clear exit route" out of the new restrictions affecting swathes of the north of England.
He said that the lack of a map out of restrictions has presented massive problems for local authorities and businesses, while warning that 10pm curfews risk driving people into home gatherings - where evidence suggests that Covid-19 transmission is higher.
Steve Rotheram added that a two-week 'circuit breaker' local lockdown was not one of the options put to him during a meeting with chief medical officer Chris Whitty on Monday.
10pm curfew must be reviewed every few weeks, hospitality industry demands
A letter to Boris Johnson, signed by 100 businesses including JD Wetherspoon and Burger King, has demanded that the 10pm curfew on pubs, bars and restaurants be reviewed every three weeks, reports Danielle Sheridan.
Three trade bodies said the latest restrictions had "made this fight to survive even harder" and that the 10pm cut-off had "removed key trading hours for all of us, vital to our survival, removing whole shifts from food-led businesses".
The letter, signed by the British Beer and Pub Association, UK Hospitality, and the British Institute of Innkeeping, warned that the new rules also created "pinch points" for public transport, leading to "large groups congregating elsewhere in a manner likely to increase Covid-related health risks".
The signatories added that they are "not against" ways to tackle the spread of the virus, but called for a "pragmatic and flexible approach" to be adopted by central and local government.
"A commitment must be made to review the appropriateness of all these measures at least every three weeks," they said. "The 10pm curfew should be removed if demonstrably not working as intended."
Liverpool lockdown: Officials 'closely monitoring' situation in Merseyside
Downing Street has said officials are "closely monitoring" Merseyside amid reports that a 'circuit breaker' two-week lockdown could be imposed locally.
The Prime Minister's official spokesman said:
Public Health England, the Joint Biosecurity Centre and NHS Test and Trace are constantly monitoring the levels of infections and other data on the prevalence of the virus across the country.
They have been closely monitoring the prevalence of the virus in Liverpool and Merseyside.
The measures that we have in place are kept under constant review and if changes are required to protect local people and protect the NHS these will be set out by the Department of Health and Social Care.
The region has been escalated to "gold command" within the Covid-19 response structure, which involves Downing Street and ministers, it is understood.
Coronavirus vaccine news: Tedros urges countries to join COVAX scheme
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the chief of the World Health Organisation, has urged more countries to join the body's COVAX global vaccines facility at a hgih-level United Nations event today.
Tedros revealed that 167 countries, one of which is the United Kingdom, have now joined the programme, accounting for 70 per cent of the world's population.
COVAX aims to deliver at least 2 billion doses of approved vaccines by the end of 2021 and to ensure “equitable access” amid WHO concerns about so-called “vaccine nationalism”.
Tedros also said that while one million people have now been confirmed as having died with Covid-19, “the real number is certainly higher” than this.
Vallance and Whitty projection branded 'implausible' by scientists and economists
It was a graph clearly designed to shock laissez-faire Britons into a mass show of contrition and prepare the public for the new restrictions that were subsequently imposed in the following days, writes Sarah Knapton.
At a press conference from Downing Street last week, Sir Patrick Vallance warned that coronavirus cases could reach 50,000 a day by mid-October if the numbers double every seven days, with deaths growing past 200 a day.
"It is not a prediction," the Government's chief scientific adviser insisted twice. Instead, he said, it was an illustration that "simply showed you how quickly this can move".
But within hours, the graph had been described as "implausible" and "irresponsible" by scientists and economists, who pointed out that it would put Britain far above Israel, which is seeing 51 cases per 100,000 population per day.
Rapid Covid testing in Italy will extend from airports to schools
Italy plans to extend the use of rapid coronavirus tests from airports to schools, which will avoid the need for entire classes and their teachers to be placed in quarantine if just one or two pupils tests positive for Covid-19, Nick Squires reports from Rome.
Instead, children would be swabbed and the results would be known within around 30 minutes. Since schools reopened earlier this month, 17 schools have been closed down because of outbreaks, and a further 740 classes placed in two-week quarantine.
The authorities concede that the rapid antigen tests are less reliable than standard swabs but argue that the margin of doubt is justified in order to keep children in school.
The plans were announced by Roberto Speranza, the health minister, and approved by the government’s scientific committee. The rapid tests are already being used in Italian airports and ferry terminals, with thousands of passengers screened for Covid-19.
Italy is recording on average around 1,500 new cases each day. On Tuesday, the figure was 1,648, with 24 fatalities. Up to 90,000 tests are being conducted daily.
As the spectre of a second wave looms, several regions have in recent days ordered people to wear masks outdoors, including Sicily, Campania and Calabria.
Coronavirus news from around the world: Lunchtime round-up
Travel jobs: 46 million roles threatened by Covid, says aviation group
The impact of the coronavirus on travel may cost as many as 46 million jobs globally, according to the Airport Transport Action Group (ATAG).
The group has forecast that the effects of coronavirus, lockdown and travel bans will threaten 4.8 million aviation workers and more than half of the 87.7 million total jobs in related supply chains and linked industries.
"We know that a lot of jobs in air transport and the wider economy relying on aviation are at risk," said Michael Gill, who heads the group.
The warning came amid airlines cutting their 2020 traffic forecast following renewed outbreaks of coronavirus, and a multitude of new travel restrictions which have hampered recovery efforts.
Scotland coronavirus deaths at highest level since mid-June
The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed a further seven deaths with Covid-19 in Scotland, which is the highest daily total since the middle of June.
There has also been a 60 per cent increase in week-on-week hospital admissions in Scotland, according to new figures from public health authorities.
"It should remind us of how wrong it is to assume that, because the recent rise in cases has been driven by the younger population, it is nothing to worry about," Ms Sturgeon said.
"That is in my view dangerous complacency that we simply cannot afford right now."
Whitty and Vallance projection of 50,000 cases a day by mid-October unlikely
Coronavirus infections in the UK are not increasing fast enough to match the worst-case scenario that was laid out by Government scientists, latest figures suggest.
Professor Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer, and Sir Patrick Vallance, the chief scientific adviser, last week set out a projection that said new cases could reach 50,000 per day by October.
If the projection were to come true the UK would now be seeing around 12,000 new infections a day, but the latest tally of daily lab-confirmed cases stands at 7,143.
If the country was on course to reach 50,000 cases per day by mid-October, the daily total would be likely to hit 25,000 in a week's time, around October 6 or 7.
Coronavirus legislation care changes must be repealed, urges EHRC
"The Coronavirus Act has downgraded the level of care to which an individual is entitled," the Equality and Human Rights Commission has said.
It has called on the Care Act easements in current legislation to be "urgently repealed" by MPs this afternoon.
The duty of local authorities to assess care and support needs under the Care Act has been temporarily suspended by Schedule 12 of the Coronavirus Act, although it is still expected that an assessment of needs - albeit a less detailed one - should be carried out.
Wales local lockdown discrepancies highlighted by Plaid Cymru
Liz Saville Roberts, the Plaid Cymru Westmister leader, highlights that people in Wales under local lockdown cannot travel for leisure, but those in the UK can travel to Wales.
"Yes there will be some differences, yes there will be some seeming illogicality, but that is part of responding to a pandemic," says the Prime Minister.
Labour Party 'sniping from the sidelines', claims Boris Johnson
"We are taking the tough decisions that will take this country forward, not just the lifetime skills guarantee, but also the huge investments in the NHS, in our police, in affordable housing," Mr Johnson says.
He accuses the Labour Party of "sniping from the sidelines".
Boris Johnson: 'This Government is able to supply support needed'
Sir Keir Starmer reiterates his support for the restrictions, but demands economic support for those who could lose their jobs by Christmas.
"The Chancellor [has] made a political choice to reduce economic support just when the new health restrictions are coming in," he says.
The Speaker intervenes to say that "it is Prime Minister's Questions, not Opposition Questions".
Boris Johnson notes that £190 billion has been invested in support for workers, once again saying the Government is "putting its arms around the people of this country".
"The best way forward is if we all pull together now, get the virus down, keep the economy going, and in the meantime yes of course, this Government is able to supply the support that is needed.
"Which is only possible because we had a prudent, sensible, one nation Conservative Party in government. The Labour Party would have bankrupted the country."
PMQs: Boris Johnson urges public to 'comply with the measures'
"The idea that anyone who asks the Prime Minister a question at Prime Minister's Questions is wearing a bit thin," Sir Keir Starmer responds, and adds that it is "perfectly reasonable to ask why it is not working".
Newcastle Council has indicated 10,000 hospitality jobs will be lost due to local lockdowns, he says. He asks why the Government "has decided these jobs aren't worth saving".
Mr Johnson repeats his line about "putting his arms around every worker in the country".
He says that the best way to protect jobs and the economy is to "comply with the measures, drive down the virus, to keep our children in education and keep the economy moving."
Sir Keir Starmer criticises 'widespread confusion' over local lockdown rules
Sir Keir says that widespread confusion about the local restrictions is prevalent, and it "didn't come as a surprise" that "the Prime Minister didn't know his own rules" yesterday.
He quotes the Conservative council leader of Bolton, who complained about mixed messaging.
Boris Johnson responds:
People do understand and people do follow the rules, in spite of the efforts of the Leader of the Opposition continually to try and snipe from the sidelines, to undermine everything we do.
It's very clear that you shouldn't mix indoors either at home or in a hospitality setting, and you should avoid socialising outdoors. We need to apply that in the North-East because that is where it is spiking.
I think people do understand why we are doing that, they want to see us defeat this virus and they want to see us do it together.
Mr Johnson asks for Sir Keir to "show some support".
Boris Johnson: 'You have to take strong local action'
Sir Keir highlights that despite local lockdown restrictions being in place, sometimes for months, infection rates are still climbing. He asks what the Prime Minister's exit strategy is.
"Nobody wants to impose restrictions of this kind, whether in Bradford or anywhere else in the country," says Boris Johnson.
"But frankly when you have the virus going up in the way that it is, you have to take strong local action. It does appear at the moment that the illness is more localised."
Local lockdowns: Johnson says 'serious and growing problem' with Covid resurgence
Leader of the Opposition Sir Keir Starmer says more than 16 million people are now living under local lockdown restrictions, "but only one has ever come and stayed out", which is Luton. He asks Boris Johnson why this is.
Mr Johnson says that Sir Keir is "right to draw attention to the importance of local lockdown measures", and that "there is now a serious and growing problem with the resurgence of the virus".
He says that Luton's lockdown can be attributed to "local people pulling together to depress the virus, and that is the way forward for the entire country".
Brady Amendment will not be selected
Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle has said that he will not select Graham Brady's rebel amendment, which would have been backed by 52 Conservative MPs, as it is "out of scope".
He adds that the debate is only 90 minutes long, and so there will not be enough time to debate it.
Speaker Lindsay Hoyle hits out at Government's 'contempt' for House of Commons
Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle says the way the Government has dealt with Covid-19 regulations and laws has been "totally unsatisfactory" and shows "total disregard" for the House of Commons.
He says the way that regulations are passed before MPs have chance to scrutinise them is concerning.
He says that the Government "should not treat [the House] with the contempt it has shown".
In pictures: Pantomime protest at Parliament Square
Oh no it hasn't been the best year for anyone involved in the creative industries, not least those reliant on the Christmas pantomime season - which risks being killed off by Covid.
Pantomime dames and other theatrical types have made their way to Parliament Square this morning to highlight the impact of continued lockdown measures on theatre, and in the hope that support from Government isn't behind them.
Italy coronavirus travel rules could be tightened
Italy is at risk of being added to the UK’s quarantine list as infection rates rise, writes Emma Featherstone.
However in this case Sicily could be granted a regional travel corridor - allowing restriction-free trips to the Italian island to continue.
Cases have risen to a seven-day rate of 19.6 per 100,000 people across Italy, but in Sicily that figure is 16. Some parts of the country are as high as 40, and a rate of 20 or more per 100,000 leads the Government to consider adding a country or region to its 'red list'.
The UK's islands policy was introduced on September 7 when quarantine was imposed for arrivals to England and Northern Island from seven Greek islands with higher infection rates, but other islands and mainland Greece were spared.
Slovakia coronavirus state of emergency declared
The Slovak government has approved calling a state of emergency in order to fight the spread of Covid-19, its online newspaper Denník N has reported.
It comes days after Slovakia was removed from the UK's travel safe list amid a sharp rise in its caseload.
The proposed restrictions mean that sporting and cultural events and religious services are set to be prohibited from tomorrow onward.
Weddings and funerals will be dependent on each participant having tested negative for Covid-19, while masks will be mandated outdoors where people are closer than two metres together and a 10pm curfew will be introduced for hospitality settings.
Local lockdown rules to affect almost one-third of Britons from tomorrow
A third of the UK population will be affected by some form of restriction when new rules come into force from tomorrow night.
Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire, and Wrexham will all see further restrictions from 6pm on Thursday to try to curb the spread of coronavirus, the Welsh Government has confirmed.
This follows restrictions in the Vale of Glamorgan, Neath Port Talbot and Torfaen which came into force yesterday.
This means people cannot leave their areas without a 'reasonable excuse', such as travel for work or education, and there will be a ban on households mixing indoors.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that the tougher measures in north-east England - which also ban households from mixing - came at the request of local councils.
Wedding venue closed down after manager hit with £10,000 fine
A wedding venue has been ordered to close and the manager slapped with a £10,000 fine after being found to have breached Covid-19 guidance around nuptials.
Police raided Grand Park Hall, Luton on September 23, following reports that more than 100 guests were gathered there.
Weddings were allowed just 30 guests at the time, a number that has since been cut to 15, and so a dispersal order was issued by police.
Bedfordshire Police yesterday issued a £10,000 fixed penalty notice to the manager who was on duty at the time.
The venue has now been ordered to close indefinitely by Luton Council, and will only be able to reopen on the proviso that it is Covid-secure.
Councillor Jacqui Burnett, portfolio holder in charge of enforcement in Luton, described it as a "shocking and dangerous breach" of public health restrictions.
Temporary restrictions to services at Welsh hospital battling outbreak
Temporary restrictions to services are to be put in place at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital in Llantrisant after 82 cases of coronavirus were identified there.
The restrictions, which come into force at 2pm on Wednesday, include suspending planned surgery with the exception of a small number of urgent cancer cases that have been clinically prioritised.
There are currently 82 case of coronavirus identified at the hospital, which is in Rhondda Cynon Taf - one of the areas of Wales subjected to local lockdown restrictions.
Last week, Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board said 34 cases of Covid-19 had been recorded across two wards at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital, linked mainly to transmission within the site.
In a statement on Wednesday, the health board said that despite teams working to manage the outbreak, "additional cases linked to transmission within the hospital" had been confirmed in recent days.
Paul Mears, chief executive of the health board, said: "We recognise the concern that these temporary changes will cause and would like to assure our patients and communities that managing this outbreak is our key priority."
Quarantined Czechs can vote in drive-in stations
Czechs are casting ballot from their cars for the first time, a measure forced by the coronavirus pandemic.
A total of 156 drive-in temporary ballot stations have been established by the armed forces across the country for those quarantined due to coronavirus infections.
Those who cannot use a car can ask for a visit of a special electoral committee with a ballot box in their homes.
Previously, those quarantined were not allowed to vote because of health concerns. But as their numbers rose, new legislation was passed to make sure their voting rights were respected.
The Czechs are voting in regional elections and the first round of elections for one third of the upper house of Parliament, the Senate, on Friday and Saturday. The second round of the Senate elections is scheduled for Oct 9-10.
The Czech Republic has had 67,843 confirmed cases with 636 deaths.
Police told they can use the coronavirus contact tracing app on their personal smartphones
Police officers have been told they can use the coronavirus contact tracing app on their personal smartphones while working if they wish to, amid confusion about guidelines.
The National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) had initially asked officers to hold off downloading the app on both personal and work devices pending a technical assessment.
A spokesman denied any suggestion of "security issues" or a policy reversal, saying such checks are standard procedure for any new software used on work-issued smartphones.
Guidance distributed to chiefs on Tuesday still recommends that officers do not install the app on work handsets.
Most police devices do not have Bluetooth enabled, which the app relies on to function.
Covert personnel or those in sensitive roles have been asked to consider not downloading it at all for the time being until more detailed guidance is given in the coming days, the NPCC spokesman added.
The Police Federation said it approached the NPCC on behalf of members following confusion over guidelines from police chiefs.
"The welfare of our members is absolutely paramount, and we view this app as a key part of the public campaign to contain the virus alongside personal protective equipment (PPE), distancing and hand hygiene," said John Apter, national chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales.
"For our colleagues and their families to be as safe as they can be, all these elements need to be used together.
"It is of course a personal decision if officers now want to download the app.
"However, we would encourage and urge our 120,000 members to do so for their own safety."
People drank more alcohol but smoked less during lockdown, according to new research
The study, led by the University of Glasgow's Institute of Health and Wellbeing, found the proportion of people drinking four or more times per week increased, as did binge-drinking.
But current cigarette smoking decreased during lockdown, most apparently in the younger age groups and among men.
Researchers found that binge drinking increased from 10.8 per cent in 2017-19 to 16.2 per cent in April 2020, while the proportion of people who reported drinking four or more times a week rose from 13.7 per cent to 22 per cent.
Binge-drinking remained stable in the youngest age group, but increased in those aged 25 and over and rose more among women, white ethnic groups and those with degree-level education.
The research, based on data from more than 27,000 people, also found that the number of people feeling psychological distress increased to almost a third during the first month of lockdown, with women and younger people particularly affected.
Dr Claire Niedzwiedz, from the university's Institute of Health and Wellbeing, said: "The increases in psychological distress and alcohol use in the UK highlight the need to consider how the potential health harms associated with lockdown measures can be mitigated, especially for those who are most at risk."
Alok Sharma deflects Boris Johnson's coronavirus rules confusion as 'gotcha' questioning
Labour shadow health minister Alex Norris criticised Business Secretary Alok Sharma's deflection of Boris Johnson's coronavirus rules confusion as "gotcha" questioning.
Mr Norris said: "The Prime Minister should understand the rules he is asking huge numbers of people to follow. That's not a gotcha, that's just basic Government competence."
It comes after Boris Johnson and a junior minister could not properly explain what the latest restrictions are for the north east of England.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Sharma said: "There is an element of slightly 'gotcha' about this in terms of this line of questioning. You are a flagship programme when it comes to serious news and it is not a quiz show."
Asked whether he thought that calling on ministers to explain what their coronavirus regulations were was as "trivial as a quiz question", he said: "No, absolutely not. But what I'm saying to you is that what is important is if people want to understand the precise restrictions that they have in areas which are more restricted, then they should go on to the (local authority) websites.
"I've set out clearly to you, I hope, what the overall message is - which is this rule of six indoors and outdoors, wash your hands, cover your face, make sure you maintain social distancing - and I think people understand that.
"The issue always comes with what happens in my local area and the best way you can find that out is go on to those websites and find out."
Belgium death toll passes 10,000
Belgium, one of the European countries hardest hit by the coronavirus, on Wednesday reported its death toll from the pandemic had surpassed 10,000.
The country, which has a population of 11.5 million, recorded 10,001 deaths by Wednesday, 14 more than in the previous 24 hours.
Reported infections rose to 117,115 from 115,353, the Sciensano research institute said.
Since the start of the pandemic seven months ago, Belgian authorities have included as wide a number of cases as possible in the toll, adding fatalities in hospitals and care homes, and those people whose deaths may have been caused by the virus but were not tested.
During the peak of the pandemic in April, Belgium recorded more than 250 deaths daily over about 10 days, according to Sciensano.
Since the summer, testing capacity has been stepped up, leading to a sharp rise in the number of positive cases recorded, particularly in September when people returned to work and school after the summer holidays.
The daily number of deaths has increased since the start of this month, going from three to an average of 7-8 in recent days, with the elderly and those in poor health increasingly among those infected.
Business Secretary Alok Sharma hints that concessions could be on their way
Business Secretary Alok Sharma hinted that concessions could be on their way as the Government looks to quell a Commons rebellion over coronavirus laws.
More than 50 Tory MPs have backed an amendment calling for a debate and vote on any future curbs on people's freedoms.
Mr Sharma told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "The reason we are sometimes having to bring these in pretty quickly is to actually keep people safe - and I know all parliamentarians, Steve (Baker) and others totally get that - and the issue is the scrutiny.
"It is the case that when we've introduced restrictions, we have to make sure there is a vote within 28 days or they lapse.
"But what colleagues are asking for is if there is some way, prior to decisions being made, whether they can be involved and I know that is something that we are looking at in Government and we will come forward with some suggestions."
Pressed on whether there were concessions coming, the minister said: "We are having a look, as I said - I don't want to pre-empt anything that comes out."
Confusion a problem when obeying Covid-19 rules, says Professor Lucy Yardley
Professor Lucy Yardley, a health psychologist and member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said confusion had become a problem when it came to obeying Covid-19 rules.
The Bristol University academic's response came when asked about the Prime Minister having to apologise for not knowing what the regulations were for the North East of England.
She told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I think it is a real problem that people are trying to follow top-down rules that are changing all the time and are different in different places and in different organisations.
"I think we need less rule following and more working together to work out, in your individual situation, what is the best way to minimise the risk to the people around you."
Prof Yardley said people were starting to make personal adaptions to how far they followed the latest coronavirus laws and guidance, adding: "If you ask people are they following the guidance, on the whole they tend to say yes.
"What they mean is, they're following it as far as they think is sensible and practical for them and as far as they think is necessary in order to prevent the spread of infection - and sometimes I think they are probably getting it right."
'The challenge goes on', says outgoing director of testing on the NHS Test and Trace scheme
A day after it was reported she would be replaced by former Sainsbury's boss Mike Coupe, Sarah-Jane Marsh, the outgoing director of testing on the NHS Test and Trace scheme, tweeted: "Thank you for all of the kind words re my decision to leave Test and Trace at the end of October.
"Testing has come so far and by then we will have the capacity to test 500,000 people a day but the challenge goes on and it will be a privilege to pass leadership of it over to Mike."
Ms Marsh, is returning to her post as chief executive of Birmingham Women's and Children's NHS Foundation Trust.
Earlier this month, Ms Marsh issued an apology to the thousands of people unable to get a test for Covid-19.
Baroness Dido Harding, who runs NHS Test and Trace (watch her taking questions from MPs in the video below) said in an email to staff that Mr Coupe "will bring a wealth of experience in large scale supply chains, logistics and digital transformation". It is understood he will be in the role until Christmas.
Thank you for all of the kind words re my decision to leave Test and Trace at the end of October. Testing has come so far and by then we will have the capacity to Test 500,000 people a day but the challenge goes on and it will be a privilege to pass leadership of it over to Mike.
— Sarah-Jane Marsh 🌈 (@BWCHBoss) September 30, 2020
Hospitalisations are “nothing like the situation that was in March”, says Sir David Spiegelhalter
Sir David Spiegelhalter, professor of understanding of risk at the University of Cambridge, said that we were seeing an increase in hospitalisations but “nothing like the situation that was in March”.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme he said: “It was really frightening, they were doubling every three four days in March, now they're doubling every two or three weeks.
“Treatments are much improved, we might expect up to half the mortality rate that we saw earlier on.
“So, there is some increase in mortality coming through and registrations are up 40 per cent up to around 20 a day in England and Wales, but it's still a very different picture from what we saw back at the start.”
The statistician added that since the start of the crisis there have been 25,000 more non Covid deaths at home, which is roughly 40 per cent extra and that this “hasn’t changed” despite more normal deaths rates returning.
“Presumably, this is a mix of well supported deaths by GPS and so on but some may be dying alone, and some could have survived longer had they gone to hospital. I hate to say this as a statistician but I just don't know.
“But this is not something that has gone away, it's continuing and we don't know whether it's going to be a permanent situation. And again, most people would prefer to die at home, so if these are well supported deaths, this could be a positive move,” he said.
Boris Johnson to update the nation alongside his key experts
Boris Johnson will be joined today at a Downing Street press conference by the Chief Medical Officer for England, Prof Chris Whitty, and the Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, in what will be the 100th coronavirus briefing since the pandemic hit the UK.
The last time the three men appeared together at the podiums was September 9, when the Prime Minister outlined the "rule of six" and urged people to limit their social contact "as much as possible".
But three weeks on, the number of cases has risen. Confirming the press conference on Tuesday, the Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "The purpose of that is to provide an update on the latest statistics. It is not because there is some specific set of new announcements to make."
Breast cancer missed for thousands of women because of Covid-related screening delays
Up to 9,000 cases of breast cancer may have been missed because of the suspension of screening services during the coronavirus pandemic, a charity has warned.
Services were halted in a bid to reduce the risk of coronavirus spreading and free up medics to focus on caring for people with the virus.
It came as leaked data, seen by Health Service Journal, revealed that more than 6,000 patients referred to cancer services have been left waiting more than three months to be seen.
The NHS is battling a backlog of cases that were not seen during lockdown, with more than 10,000 people enduring such waits the month before, the data shows.
Read our full report here.
Coventry University slams student rave
Up to 200 students at Coventry University have been filmed at a rave, ignoring social distancing guidelines.
The gathering shows students crammed into a common room at Arundel House, close to Coventry University's main campus.
The students can be seen dancing and singing whilst clambering on top of ping pong tables at the accommodation block on Tuesday night.
Coventry University slammed the incident in a statement on Wednesday morning and said they “strongly condemn the blatant breaches of the rule of six and other guidelines as they risk the health of our students, colleagues and the communities in which we are located”.
The University said they had introduced a code of conduct for students and “shared this widely with them” ahead of the weekend.
“This code of conduct makes it clear that a failure to follow university and Government health, safety and wellbeing requirements will constitute a breach of the university’s disciplinary regulations and may be dealt with as a matter of misconduct.
“If any of those involved in the video are found to be students of Coventry University and in breach of the code of conduct, we will take appropriate action,” it said.
The University, which has five campuses, said it had put safety measures in place and had student ambassadors in key places on campus to remind students to wear face coverings and socially distance.
India sees a decline in cases
India recorded 80,472 new confirmed coronaviruses cases in the past 24 hours, showing a decline from a record high two weeks ago.
The Health Ministry raised India's confirmed total to more than 6.2 million on Wednesday with 2.5 million in September alone. It also reported 1,179 fatalities in the last 24 hours, raising the death toll to 97,497.
India's Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu tested positive on Tuesday and was advised home quarantine. His office said in a tweet that Naidu, 71, is asymptomatic and in good health. Home Minister Amit Shah had tested positive last month and recovered in a hospital.
India's recovery rate crossed 83 per cent on Tuesday and the number of cases under treatment were less than 1 million. The daily testing covered more than 1 million people, the ministry said.
'Maternity units must not be stripped of staff if second wave hits'
Maternity units must not be stripped of staff in the event of a second wave of Covid-19, medical experts have said.
The Royal College of Midwives and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists suggested too many risks were taken in the first wave, and should not be repeated.
Their survey found that more than half of obstetricians polled said that doctors had been redeployed outside of maternity services, fuelling staff shortages.
And 86 per cent of maternity units reported a reduction in pregnant women seeking help for emergencies during the pandemic.
Downward trend continues in Australia's hot spot
Australia's coronavirus hot spot of Victoria state maintained its steady downward trend in new infections on Wednesday as states began easing internal border closures, fuelling optimism about a return to normal.
Victoria's quick containment of a second wave of the outbreak prompted Western Australia state to relax its travel restrictions, allowing travelers from the southeastern state to quarantine at home rather than in a hotel from Monday.
Authorities have promised to ease more curbs in Melbourne from Oct. 19, as long as average cases fall below five a day, although Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews has said the state will be flexible on the target.
Victoria on Wednesday reported 13 new cases, sharply down from a peak of more than 700 cases logged in early August.
Restrictions curbs Nepal's festivals, devotees fear gods' anger
The revered living goddess is not leaving her temple this year.
The old palace courtyard packed with hundreds of thousands of people each year during the Indrajatra festival is deserted, the temples are locked and all public celebrations are banned by the government to curb the coronavirus.
Many in this Himalayan nation believe they would anger the gods by shunning the rituals - which would cause catastrophe. Even violent clashes broke out between police and devotees defying government orders during a separate chariot festival south of Kathmandu.
A lockdown was ordered around the eight days when the cancelled Indrajatra festival would have been held, and instead, a small ceremony to seek forgiveness from Indra, the Hindu god of rain, was held under government security.
South Korea's cases increase as holiday break begins
South Korea has reported 113 new cases, its first daily increase over 100 in five days, as the country entered a holiday break that officials fear would possibly worsen transmissions.
The numbers released by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency on Wednesday brought the caseload to 23,812, including 413 deaths.
Eighty-one of the new cases came from the Seoul metropolitan area, where health workers have struggled to stem transmissions. The newest cluster of infections is a mental hospital in northern Seoul where at least 30 have been infected.
Twenty of the new cases were tied to international arrivals.
Officials have called for citizen vigilance ahead of the Chuseok harvest festival that began Wednesday and continues through the weekend.
Biden says Trump has no plan to tackle virus
President Donald Trump and Joe Biden sparred over Mr Trump's handling of the coronavirus crisis, with Mr Biden saying "a lot more people are going to die" unless Mr Trump gets "smarter a lot faster."
Mr Biden charged during Tuesday night's debate that Mr Trump "has no plan" to deal with the virus and noted that the president praised Chinese President Xi Jinping's initial actions in dealing with the outbreak. Mr Biden told Mr Trump to "get out of your bunker and get out of the sand trap on your golf course" and bring Democrats and Republicans into the Oval Office to cut a deal on a coronavirus aid package.
Mr Trump, in response, is offering a number of erroneous claims, charging falsely that Mr Biden opposed shutting down travel to China and claiming that the US is "weeks away" from producing a vaccine.
He also said that Mr Biden's handling of the H1N1 outbreak during the Obama administration was a "disaster," though the number of H1N1deaths in the US was less than 1 per cent of the deaths from the coronavirus.
Mr Biden also noted that Mr Trump misled the public on the severity of the virus and said that rather than owning up to the American people, the president "panicked or just looked at the stock market".
World Bank seeking approval for vaccine financing plan
World Bank President David Malpass said on Tuesday he is seeking board approval for a $12 billion (£9.3 billion) coronavirus vaccine financing plan to help poor and developing countries secure a sufficient share of vaccine doses when they become available in the coming months.
Mr Malpass told Reuters in an exclusive interview that the initiative, part of $160 billion in coronavirus aid financing pledged by the multilateral lender, is aimed at helping countries procure and distribute vaccines early to healthcare and other essential workers and expand global production. He said the board was expected to consider the plan in early October.
Global competition for early coronavirus vaccine doses is already fierce, months ahead of any approvals, as wealthy countries move to secure supplies.
The US government has pledged over $3 billion to secure hundreds of millions of doses of vaccines under development by Britain's AstraZeneca Plc and by U.S. drug giant Pfizer Inc and Germany's BioNTech SE.
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Conservative rebels were on the brink of winning their fight for votes on Covid restrictions on Tuesday night after Boris Johnson was forced to apologise for not knowing the rules himself.
A letter to Boris Johnson, signed by 100 businesses including JD Wetherspoon and Burger King, has demanded that the 10pm curfew on pubs, bars and restaurants be reviewed every three weeks.
Care homes are having to wait up to three weeks for coronavirus test results, putting staff and elderly residents at "serious risk", an investigation by The Telegraph has found.
Watchdogs have relaxed their rules on flu jabs so vaccines can be sent to areas suffering the worst shortages, amid warnings that some pharmacies have exhausted their supply for the winter.
A two-week "circuit-breaker" lockdown could be imposed locally for the first time as the Government prepares for new restrictions in areas with some of the worst coronavirus rates.
Brussels has banned prostitution in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus in the Belgian capital.
Germany has ordered new restrictions to contain a second wave of the coronavirus, but stopped far short of the sort of measures seen in the UK.