Today's top stories
The devastating cost of efforts to "protect the NHS" in the pandemic has been exposed by a new analysis of 200 health conditions that reveals hospital admissions plummeted by up to 90 per cent
Prime Minister Boris Johnson will attempt to call the bluff of Manchester’s leaders on Monday by offering them up to £100 million to accept Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions or risk having them imposed against their will
Tony Blair asked Matt Hancock for guidance on Covid-19 restrictions before seemingly ignoring quarantine rules by failing to self-isolate after a trip to the US, The Telegraph can disclose
Forty million coronavirus vaccines could be heading to the UK in the next two-and-a-half months, it has emerged, after US multinational pharmaceutical corporation Pfizer revealed it had started the manufacturing process
Black Friday will be stretched out over the whole of November as retailers try to avoid shops becoming too crowded by bargain hunters
Some of Scotland’s most prestigious universities did not reduce capacity in student halls to allow for social distancing despite the “clear” risk of coronavirus outbreaks, it has emerged
Homeowners are getting ready for a winter lockdown, sending sales of patio heaters and pizza ovens through the roof
Mayor hits back at letter
Andy Burnham has hit back at a "group of southern" Tory MPs who called for the Greater Manchester Mayor to "engage" with lockdown measures to prevent further restrictions in their constituencies.
He said the "we're alright Jack" letter from 20 Conservatives whose areas are currently under the lowest form of coronavirus restriction would not "cut much ice here".
Mr Burnham told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show: "I would say to them some of them represent constituencies whose cases were higher than ours when we went into national lockdown."
Led by Jerome Mayhew, the MP for Broadland in Norfolk, the letter highlighted the "disparity" between some of their areas having coronavirus rates currently far lower than Manchester's.
Tory MPs, including some in Greater Manchester, criticised the letter as "unhelpful". William Wragg, whose Hazel Grove constituency is in Greater Manchester, recommended his colleagues "concern themselves with their own constituencies".
The latest figures showed there were 4,974 Covid-19 patients in hospital in England on Sunday, up from 3,451 a week ago - an increase of 44 per cent.
Ex-fighter pilots to fly drones carrying Covid-19 tests and samples
Former military fighter pilots have been recruited to fly drones carrying Covid-19 samples, test kits and personal protective equipment between hospitals in the UK.
Apian, which was founded by NHS staff as part of the NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme, aims to establish a network of secure air corridors for electric drones to navigate via satellite-enabled GPS.
It is hoped that the drone delivery service will avoid courier call-out waiting times, free up NHS staff, reduce unnecessary physical contact and minimise the risk of secondary transmission of the virus.
The medical drones are being piloted by former RAF and Royal Navy fighter pilots from the York-based unmanned aircraft training company Flyby Technology.
The project will be based at Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford, part of Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, and will be supported by the local Anglia Ruskin University as the academic partner.
More than 250,000 coronavirus deaths in Europe
More than 250,000 have died from the new coronavirus across Europe according to an AFP tally today based on official sources.
A total of 250,030 deaths have now been recorded out of 7,366,028 registered cases.
The UK has 43,646 for 722,409 infections.
After Britain, the worst-hit European countries are Italy, with 36,543 deaths; Spain with 33,775; France with 33,392, and Russia with 24,187.
Coronavirus patients on in hospital up by over 40 per cent in a week
Separate figures show there were 4,974 Covid-19 patients in hospital in England on Sunday, up from 3,451 a week ago - an increase of 44 per cent.
Meanwhile 503 were in ventilation beds, up from 401 a week ago - an increase of 25 per cent.
A total of 632 patients with confirmed Covid-19 were admitted to hospitals in England on Friday, compared with 544 a week earlier.
British Airways to 'cut flights from Gatwick' in Covid recovery plan
The airline is said to be preparing a major recovery plan after having taken a hit from the pandemic. Hannah Boland has more:
British Airways is planning to shrink its presence at London Gatwick Airport as part of a "bounce-back" effort in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
BA, which warned it could abandon Britain's second biggest airport in April, is already operating most of its short-haul flights from Heathrow and has said it will be doing so until next March.
However, the airline is understood to have now started readying for the Gatwick operations to be a smaller part of the business when it emerges from the crisis.
The Mail on Sunday said a major recovery plan was being devised by new BA chief executive Sean Doyle, who replaced Alex Cruz earlier this month.
Under the plans, geared to help steer British Airways out of the crisis, the newspaper said Mr Doyle was planning to shift flights to the larger Heathrow Airport and to boost long-haul leisure flights to premium destinations such as Barbados and Barbuda to cope with dwindling demand for business travel.
You can read the full story here.
UK cases rise to 722,409
The Government said that, as of 9am on Sunday, there had been a further 16,982 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK. It brings the total number of cases in the UK to 722,409.
The Government also said a further 67 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19, as of Sunday. This brings the UK total to 43,646.
Separate figures published by the UK's statistics agencies show there have now been 58,500 deaths registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.
Italy daily coronavirus cases hit new record high
Italy registered 11,705 new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, the health ministry said, up from the previous record of 10,925 posted on Saturday.
There were also 69 Covid-related deaths, up from 47 the day before, the ministry said - far fewer than at the height of the pandemic in Italy in March and April, when daily fatalities peaked at more than 900.
Italy was the first country in Europe to be hit hard by Covid-19 and has the second-highest death toll in the region after Britain, with 36,543 fatalities since the outbreak flared in February, according to official figures.
UK shop closures at record high 2020
A record number of shops closed during the first half of 2020 due to the coronavirus lockdown, new figures show.
A total of 11,000 chain operator outlets shut between January and August this year, according to research from the Local Data Company and accountancy firm PwC.
Around 5,000 shops opened, leaving a net decline of 6,001 stores, almost double the drop during the same period last year.
Lisa Hooker, consumer markets leader at PwC, said: "We know that the pandemic will continue to impact the way we work, rest and play; however, in terms of how we shop, this isn't new.
"What we have seen is an acceleration of existing changes in shopping behaviours alongside forced experimentation from Covid-19 restrictions.
"We all knew that consumers were shifting to shopping online or changing their priorities in terms of the things they buy, but what Covid-19 has done is create a step-change in these underlying trends to where they have now become the new normal."
Manchester and London have constructive talks
Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham has welcomed a "constructive" conversation with Prime Minister Boris Johnson's chief strategic adviser, Sir Edward Lister.
A spokesman for the Labour mayor said: "The mayor has had a constructive call with Sir Edward Lister."
Public urged to mark Remembrance Sunday from home this year
Veterans minister Johnny Mercer has said Remembrance Sunday will be "a little bit different" this year, as members of the public are urged to mark the event from home due to the coronavirus crisis.
Former Army officer Mr Mercer said everything would be done to commemorate the fallen in the "correct way", but added that the pandemic was a "really good opportunity" for people to remember in their own home.
The public have been asked to stay away from this year's National Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph, which typically sees thousands of people line the streets through Whitehall to pay their respects, due to Covid-19 restrictions.
"What we're trying to do is deal with this pandemic at the moment and deal with it in the most sensible way," Mr Mercer told Times Radio.
"Now you saw how we celebrated VE Day and VJ Day and things like that this year, using social distancing and adjusting to the pandemic and actually, it's a really good opportunity for people to remember in their own homes and take a bit of time just to do things a little bit differently.
"We are going to do everything we can to remember Remembrance Sunday in the correct way.
"This nation seems to always get it right in this regard and this year, it's just going to be a little bit different. I think people understand that and cope with it."
Welsh minister calls for more support ahead of lockdown
The Welsh Government is demanding more support from Westminster to protect jobs and businesses ahead of a possible two-week circuit-break lockdown, the country's health minister has said.
Vaughan Gething said the furlough scheme ends on October 31 and will be replaced by the UK Government with a "less generous" Job Support Scheme.
He told the BBC's Politics Wales show the Welsh Government is "arguing" with ministers in London that a "more certain and more generous package" is needed.
Wales cases rise by 950
There have been a further 950 cases of Covid-19 diagnosed in Wales, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 35,628.
Public Health Wales said three further deaths had been reported, with the total number of deaths since the beginning of the pandemic rising to 1,711.
61 more die of coronavirus
A further 61 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospital in England, bringing the total number of confirmed deaths reported in hospitals to 30,971, NHS England said.
Patients were aged between 54 and 96. All but four patients, aged 56 to 92, had known underlying health conditions.
The deaths were between October 4 and 17.
Four other deaths were reported with no positive Covid-19 test result.
Northern MPs react to letter from Southern Tories
A deeply disappointing letter. Unnecessary and Ill-advised as to the continuing efforts of all politicians, cross party, in GM to represent the best interests of our residents during this challenging period and beyond. https://t.co/atXMHGC8ce
— James Daly MP (@JamesDalyMP) October 18, 2020
I have never thought that the affairs of Norfolk should be determined by what may be of benefit to parts of Lancashire, Cheshire and Yorkshire. Science matters but this No.10 approved communication does not. https://t.co/o5LuJIFa7b
— Chris Green (@CGreenUK) October 17, 2020
Since Thursday we’ve been united in opposing tier 3 in its current form and delivering the best solution for all residents, families and businesses across GM.
Interventions from fellow members who don’t understand the situation are neither wanted nor helpful https://t.co/jZ2A672857
— Christian Wakeford MP (@Christian4BuryS) October 17, 2020
May I politely ask that colleagues concern themselves with their own constituencies. I would not wish tighter restrictions on their constituents. We’re willing to work constructively to improve the situation in Greater Manchester & would ask for the short time and space to do so. https://t.co/DsArWD95Kd
— William Wragg MP (@William_Wragg) October 17, 2020
Tory grandees demand Covid exit strategy from Boris Johnson
Senior Conservatives have expressed anger at the Government's handling of the pandemic, as swathes of the country face further restrictions. Edward Malnick, our Sunday Political Editor has more:
Tory grandees are demanding that Boris Johnson urgently sets out an exit strategy from "a constant cycle of lockdowns", as an influential expert on public opinion warned the Prime Minister risked appearing "blasé" about the lives of ordinary people.
Senior Conservatives expressed growing anger at the Government's handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, amid mounting concern that swathes of the country are heading for further restrictions this week.
On Saturday, Julian Jessop, an independent economist, said that another lockdown could result in a fresh hit to GDP of at least 5 per cent.
Lord Lamont, the former Chancellor, warned that repeatedly imposing draconian restrictions and then lifting them is "deeply damaging to business and is not really a strategy".
Sir Graham Brady, Chairman of the 1922 committee of Tory backbenchers, whose Altrincham and Sale West constituency in Manchester faces being placed in the highest tier of restrictions, said constant lockdowns or "circuit breakers" to suppress the virus would be "pointless".
You can read the full story here.
Labour mayors call for a 'fair financial' deal for lockdown
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has written to political leaders in Westminster urging them to help secure a "fair financial framework" for local lockdowns.
Mr Burnham told Boris Johnson, Sir Keir Starmer and other party leaders that "this is not just a Greater Manchester issue" as he called for a consistent new package for Tier 3 restrictions.
Backed by Liverpool Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram, he called for a "full and fair furlough scheme" covering 80% of wages or at least the national minimum wage, support for the self-employed and improved compensation for businesses.
"With the challenging winter that lies ahead of the country, it is likely that most places will find themselves in Tier 3 at some point before a vaccine is found," Mr Burnham wrote.
"That is why we believe it is right for Parliament to debate and agree what is a fair level of support for people and businesses in those areas.
"At present, local areas are agreeing individual deals with the Government. It is by no means clear that these will be sufficient to cope with the pressures they will face. Also, the lack of transparency about this process and the risks of differential treatment is potentially divisive.
"Establishing clear national entitlements of the kind we had during the first lockdown will create a sense of fairness which in turn would help build public support for, and compliance with, any new restrictions."
Swiss impose mask order for indoor public spaces
The Swiss government said it is making the wearing of masks in indoor public spaces compulsory under new measures introduced after a "worrying" rise in coronavirus infections.
It said gatherings of more than 15 people in public would also be banned under the rules to take effect on Monday, while service in restaurants and bars would be restricted to seated customers only.
"The sharp increase in the number of contaminations in recent days is worrying. Indeed, it concerns all age groups and all cantons," the government said in a statement.
Senior PLO official Erekat taken by Israeli ambulance for Covid treatment, reports say
Reuters are reporting that Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat was taken by an Israeli ambulance from his home in the occupied West Bank for treatment of his coronavirus condition, witnesses said.
Ireland to impose nationwide Covid-19 curbs on Monday, says minister
Ireland will bring in "decisive" nationwide Covid-19 restrictions on Monday but will stop short of reintroducing the kind of lockdown imposed earlier this year, Higher Education Minister Simon Harris has said.
"The government will act tomorrow, the action will be decisive and it will be nationwide action," Harris told national broadcaster RTE.
"Tomorrow we will have to bring in more restrictions. Level 3 has not worked in terms of getting the virus to where it needs to get to ... I don't want to be pedantic about the phrase lockdown but I don't think that's exactly where we're going but there will certainly be more restrictions," he said.
Michael Gove tells Andy Burnham to 'show leadership' and agree to tier three restrictions for Manchester
It comes as the Greater Manchester mayor prepares to hold crunch talks with Boris Johnson's chief strategic adviser Sir Eddie Lister. Harry Yorke, our Political Correspondent, has more:
Michael Gove has called on Sir Keir Starmer to “pick up the phone” and tell local Labour leaders in Manchester to “show leadership” by agreeing to place the region under tier three restrictions.
In the latest war of words between ministers and Andy Burnham, Mr Gove accused the mayor of Greater Manchester of “posturing” and urged him to accept the additional measures to “save people’s lives.”
With neither side willing to budge after a week of fierce political wrangling, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster added that Manchester’s leadership were making a “mistake” by delaying and signalled that the changes could still be imposed without their consent.
Speaking shortly afterwards, Mr Burnham returned fire by accusing the Prime Minister of exaggerating the severity of the crisis in Manchester.
Ahead of a crunch meeting with Downing Street on Saturday afternoon, he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: "It's a serious situation but I don't think it was the situation that was described by the Prime Minister on Friday evening. I think it was an exaggeration of the position that we're in.
You can read the full story here.
Shutters go down in the City of Lights
Shortly before the clock struck 9 pm on Saturday, restaurant shutters in Paris came down and people dashed home to beat a strict new curfew to battle the coronavirus outbreak.
Police patrolled streets which would ordinarily be bustling with party-goers to enforce the new anti-mingling measure as the country notched up a record of more than 32,000 positive Covid-19 tests in 24 hours, with 1,868 people in intensive care.
The government to announced a 9 pm to 6 am curfew for Paris and a dozen other French cities - some 20 million inhabitants in all - and impose a limit of six on home gatherings blamed for a large proportion of new infections.
The curfew will remain in place for at least four weeks.
At 10 pm on Saturday, the streets were eerily empty apart from a few stragglers risking a 135-euro fine unless they can provide a certificate to show they have good reason to be out and about.
All the costs, few of the benefits: Why Britain’s response is faltering as the second wave rolls in
England itself - home to roughly 85 per cent of the UK’s population of 66 million - appears to be fracturing in the face of a second wave.
Paul Nuki and Sarah Newey from our Global Health Security team look at how the UK is struggling to combat the coronavirus second wave:
The dispute marks a week in which any sense of “one nation” cooperation in the battle against Covid-19 was stamped out - possibly for good.
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have all gone their own ways, each announcing their own versions of “circuit breakers” this week.
Now England itself - home to roughly 85 per cent of the UK’s 66 million strong population - appeared to be fracturing in the face of a second viral wave.
And a fearsome wave it is. Sir Patrick Vallance, the Chief Scientific Adviser, set his expression firmly to smirkless as he ran through data that showed his Covid “non-prediction” from almost four weeks ago had come to pass.
Yet scientists, too, are split - if not on numbers - then on strategy.
You can read the full analysis here.
Israel to require 14-day isolation for travelers from United Kingdom
Israel will require incoming travellers from the United Kingdom to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival under new coronavirus guidelines, information on an Israeli government website showed.
The infection rate in the UK has risen sharply in recent weeks, prompting British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to introduce tighter restrictions and local lockdowns.
The UK had been one of 31 "green" countries from which travellers who meet a series of special requirements could enter Israel without a mandatory quarantine period.
The UK's status will change to "red" on Oct. 23, Israeli health ministry information showed.
Malaysia reports record number of cases
Malaysian health authorities reported 871 new coronavirus cases, a record daily count, raising the country's total infections to 20,498.
The Southeast Asian country, which imposed targeted lockdowns this month as infections surged, also recorded seven new deaths, bringing the total number of fatalities to 187.
A tough Christmas for one and all
Christmas will be "tough" this year and not the "usual celebration" it traditionally is, Professor Jeremy Farrar has said.
He told Sky News' Sophy Ridge On Sunday that he did not believe a coronavirus vaccine would be ready for the festive period.
Prof Farrar said: "Christmas will be tough this year. I don't think it's going to be the usual celebration it is and all families coming together, I'm afraid.
"I think we have to be honest and realistic and say that we are in for three to six months of a very difficult period.
"The temperatures drop, we are all indoors more often, we have the other infections that come this time of year. It's much better for us to be upfront and honest now."
This comes after shoppers were urged last month to buy Christmas gifts early so they don't miss out.
"We think the volumes are going to be really very excessive this year," said Andy Mulcahy from IMRG, the industry body for online retailers.
Burnham to resume talks with No 10
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has continued to clash with the Government over lockdown restrictions for the region, as talks between him and Downing Street are set to resume.
The Labour mayor accused Boris Johnson of having exaggerated the severity of the situation in the region and called for Parliament to intervene to give Tier 3 areas sufficient financial support.
But, despite the continued war of words, a call was scheduled for Sunday between Mr Burnham and the Prime Minister's chief strategic adviser Sir Edward Lister after confusion over whether talks would continue this weekend.
Mr Burnham and Conservative politicians in Greater Manchester oppose Tier 3 measures being imposed, with the mayor calling for greater financial support for workers and businesses.
Gove defends Test and Trace data being shared with the police
Michael Gove defended police being given data from NHS Test and Trace, saying that officers are operating in a "very proportionate way".
He said: "I think that actually the behavioural effects show that the majority of people, the overwhelming majority of people, want to be part of a national effort to fight the virus.
"And of course there will be some, a very, very small minority, who will be, you know, heedless of the consequences of their actions.
"But the other thing is, the police to be fair to them, are operating things so far as I can see, in a very proportionate way.
"They engage and they explain well before they enforce. We all know that people make innocent errors and an appropriate word can mean that that innocent error can be corrected by any of us.
"But where you do get persistent, flagrant and deliberate breaching of the rules, then it is appropriate for action to be taken."
Leaked letter shows Wales could be in lockdown by October 23
Transport providers in Wales have been told that the Welsh Government will introduce a lockdown form next week.
John Pocket, director of the Confederation of Passenger Transport in Wales, sent members a letter saying Wales could go into a "circuit break" lockdown from 6pm on Friday, October 23 until Sunday November 8.
The letter, published by Bubble Wales, suggests that the lockdown which will be similar to the one put in place in March.
Ministers in the Welsh Government have said they haven't made a decision on whether to go ahead with it yet.
It comes after Mark Drakeford, the Welsh First Minister, told the Government that he would introduce a travel ban on people coming to Wales from other areas of the UK with high areas of coronavirus.
Virus isn't getting less dangerous, says top medic
There is no evidence to suggest that Covid-19 has become less dangerous despite falling death rates from the virus, a senior medic has said.
Dr Alison Pittard, dean of the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine in London, said that although treatment is improving, social distancing is also having an impact on transmission and viral load.
She told Sky News: "It is still a very deadly virus, although the majority of people who still become infected will have a very, very minor illness or may not even know that they are ill at all. For those people that require hospital admission, for those that come to intensive care it's still a very severe disease."
She added: "If you end up in critical care with Covid pneumonia you are almost twice as likely to die than somebody who's admitted with a pneumonia not due to Covid - so it is still something to be worried about."
Dr Pittard said the focus of the next wave of the pandemic "isn't going to be on Covid patients getting access to healthcare, it is going to be for those patients that don't have Covid".
She added: "If we can keep community transmission down it means we can treat everybody who needs healthcare and that is the great desire for everyone working in the NHS at the moment."
Ventilators may have contributed to a higher death rate, top medic claims
Doctors' haste to mechanically ventilate Covid-19 patients at the start of the pandemic might have contributed to the higher rate of death in spring compared to now, a senior medic has said.
Dr Alison Pittard, dean of the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine in London, said doctors' evolving understanding of the virus had dramatically upped the survival rate.
At the start of the pandemic, just 66% of people in hospital with coronavirus survived, compared to 84% in August.
Dr Pittard told Sky News: "Initially we used to put patients straight onto mechanical ventilation - so we would bring them to intensive care, sedate them and put them on ventilators.
"But we have slowly started to realise that perhaps we could manage some patients without doing that."
She said intensive care teams now use a variety of interventions to help patients breathe, and full mechanical ventilation is a last resort.
We are almost at the worst case scenario, claims Sage member
The "worst-case scenario" of 50,000 cases of coronavirus per day across the UK is "almost exactly where we are at", Sage member Professor Jeremy Farrar has claimed.
He told Sky News' Sophy Ridge On Sunday: "The ONS survey, which is the best data in the country at the moment, shows that 27,000 people are getting this infection every day. But that was until the 10th of October.
"Today it will be over 50,000, just as the CMO (chief medical officer) Chris Whitty and (the Government's chief scientific adviser) Sir Patrick Vallance suggested some three weeks ago.
"It would be at 50,000 new cases across the country every single day, and that's almost exactly where we are."
Prof Farrar added: "The reasonable worst-case scenario that Sage articulated has now been broached, it is worse than the situation Sage advised on three or four weeks ago. So that's the scenario we are in today."
Government has missed best time for circuit breaker by almost a month, claims Sage member
The "second best time" for a national circuit-breaker lockdown is now, according to Sage member Professor Jeremy Farrar.
He told Sky News' Sophy Ridge On Sunday that it was "never too late" for national restrictions, adding: "It's better to do it now, than in a month's time."
He said: "In my view the best time to do this would have been around 20th September as Sage advised, that wasn't decided upon then.
"The second best time to do this is now and the worst time to do this is at the end of November when things would have really got considerably worse.
"So it's never too late, it's better to do it now than in a month's time."
Pictures: Leeds night out
Despite a 10pm curfew, some of Leeds' residents kept going after hours in the city centre.
Vaccines and treatments for coronavirus will be available by early next year, says Sage member
Professor Jeremy Farrar, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) said he believed coronavirus vaccines will be available in the first quarter of next year.
Prof Farrar told Sky News' Sophy Ridge On Sunday that it was important for the country to now try and reduce transmission to the levels seen back at the start of September.
The Wellcome Trust director said: "I do believe the vaccines will be available in the first quarter of next year, I do believe that monoclonal antibodies to treat patients and save lives will be available in the coming months.
"It's with that context that I think we need to reduce transmission now and we need to get ourselves back to the beginning of September as a country, not in piecemeal, not in fragments across the country, but as a whole country."
Government says no to circuit breaker
Michael Gove has ruled out a national "circuit-breaker" lockdown to control the coronavirus resurgence "at the moment".
Asked if the Government would take the measure on Sky's Sophy Ridge On Sunday, he flatly replied: "No.
"It would seem an error to try to impose on every part of the country the same level of restriction when we know that the disease is spreading more intensively and quicker in some parts of the country."
Pressed on whether the measure could be taken in the future, he said: "We always look at how the disease spreads and we will take whatever steps are necessary to maintain public health.
"But Kate [Green, shadow education secretary] and the Labour Party are arguing the blanket restrictions across the country at the moment and the spread and nature of the disease does not merit that at the moment."
Circuit-breaker will reset UK, says Labour
Kate Green, the shadow education secretary said that a circuit-break lockdown would give the UK a chance to "reset" before coronavirus spirals out of control.
She told Sky News' Sophy Ridge: "What we're saying is that a circuit-breaker for two to three weeks would mean that we would be able to halt and reverse the spread of the infection right across the country.
"We could use that time to boost our lab capacity, to put proper local tracing processes in place and then we would have that breathing space which would buy us time really and stop the real danger that our NHS faces, that our hospitals are going to be filling up far too quickly over the next few weeks.
"And so it would really give us the chance to reset and take a step back before this virus really spirals right out of control."
China passes biosecurity law to prevent infectious diseases
China's top legislative body passed a new biosecurity law aimed at preventing and managing infectious diseases, state news agency Xinhua reported.
The National People's Congress Standing Committee voted to adopt the law on Saturday, according to Xinhua, and it would come into effect on April 15, 2021.
The law would establish systems for biosecurity risk prevention and control, including risk monitoring and early warning, risk investigation and assessment, and information sharing.
It would also have provisions to prevent and respond to specific biosecurity risks, including major emerging infectious diseases, epidemic and sudden outbreaks, and biotechnology research, development and application, reported Xinhua.
China had announced in May that it aimed to fast-track the passing of the biosecurity law by year-end, following the global coronavirus outbreak which was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
New infections detected last week in the eastern coastal city of Qingdao ended China's run of about two months without reporting a local case.
Russia reports 15,099 new coronavirus cases
Russia has recorded 15,099 new coronavirus cases, pushing the national tally to 1,399,334, officials said.
They also said 185 people had died in the previous 24 hours, taking the official death toll to 24,187, and that 1,070,576 people had recovered from the virus.
Heston implements circuit breaker
Heston Blumenthal's world famous Fat Duck restaurant will close for two weeks after multiple team members tested positive for coronavirus.
The eaterie, in the village of Bray in Berkshire, is understood to be the first three Michelin-starred restaurant in the country to be affected.
It comes just a few months after it reopened following the lockdown and is currently celebrating its 25th anniversary.
I was serving some of Heston's most memorable concoctions over the past two and a half decades, including snail porridge and crab ice cream.
Contacting people who were due to dine this week, the restaurant's reservations team said: "As we all know only too well, coronavirus pandemic is extremely difficult to control and stop spreading.
"Unfortunately, we have now been affected, in the past few days, a number of employees have returned positive tests, which has resulted in them self-isolating at home.
"Therefore, we have decided to close the restaurant as of October 14 for the self-isolation period.
"We have made this proactive decision which we hope will act as a circuit-breaker and ensure Covid-19 doesn't spread to our other staff and future guests."
Is it possible to design a Covid-proof house?
As the rain sets in while swathes of the country endure a second lockdown, our attention will inevitably turn again to upgrading our homes – our sanctuaries – in coming months.
In London’s super-prime property echelons, Covid-busting design is now at the forefront of wealthy home-owners’ minds, including virus-quashing “antechambers” the moment we enter our homes, and self-sanitising wardrobes that minimise the threat of viruses, says Charu Gandhi, head of Elicyon design studio.
The gatekeeping, however, starts at the front door. A new AI thermal body temperature and facial recognition entry system from OKTO Technologies works on a ‘red for stop, green for go’ basis, allowing only healthy, virus-free visitors to enter the building.
Private GPs use sensors to monitor Covid-19 in patients remotely
A Harley Street private GP clinic has partnered with a British technology start-up on a new service which monitors the symptoms of patients who have coronavirus.
London General Practice has provided its 50,000 customers with an app built by Careology, which has repurposed its service that is normally used to track cancer sufferers.
Customers of the private GP clinic are given access to the Careology Connect app if they show coronavirus symptoms. The app pairs with an oxygen saturation meter and a blood pressure cuff to monitor their vital signs and relay them to doctors.
Patients can log their coronavirus symptoms through the app, which sends details
NHS trusts explore using hotels to house non-Covid patients
NHS Trusts are exploring the possibility of using hotels to house patients following surgery to reduce their chances of catching coronavirus from wards, The Telegraph understands.
At the height of the first wave, Best Western Great Britain, Hilton, Holiday Inn, Travelodge and Whitbread’s Premier Inn hotel chains were all involved in discussions with Government about using their premises as emergency bed space, or to house staff.
In Reading, some patients were discharged to the Holiday Inn on Basingstoke Road following surgery or illness in an effort to keep beds free for Covid-19 patients.
Now, as infections are once again on the rise across the country, it is understood hospitals in London are once again investigating using hotels to discharge patients.
New research finds virus remains active on skin for 9 hours
The coronavirus remains active on human skin for nine hours, Japanese researchers have found, in a discovery they said showed the need for frequent hand washing to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.
The pathogen that causes the flu survives on human skin for about 1.8 hours by comparison, said the study published this month in the Clinical Infectious Diseases journal.
"The nine-hour survival of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus strain that causes Covid-19) on human skin may increase the risk of contact transmission in comparison with IAV (influenza A virus), thus accelerating the pandemic," it said.
The research team tested skin collected from autopsy specimens, about one day after death.
Both the coronavirus and the flu virus are inactivated within 15 seconds by applying ethanol, which is used in hand sanitisers.
Trump blasts Michigan Governor's Covid strategies
President Donald Trump, who played down the coronavirus pandemic from its onset, criticised Michigan's Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Saturday for her policies to curb the outbreak, drawing shouts of "lock her up" from a rally crowd.
Mr Trump made the remarks during the first stop of a three-day trip through critical swing states, some of which he won in 2016 but that polls show are supporting Democratic rival Joe Biden this year.
The president held large rallies in Wisconsin and Michigan despite rising coronavirus cases in both states. Supporters who attended the rallies did not maintain social distancing. Some wore masks, some did not.
Australia's hotspot easing restrictions
Australia's state of Victoria, the epicentre of the country's coronavirus outbreak, will see some of its months-long restrictions eased as of Monday but retailers and restaurants must wait longer, the state's premier said on Sunday.
After more than 100 days in a strict lockdown, the five million people living in Melbourne, Victoria's capital, will be able to spend as much time outdoors as they wish, but must stay within a 25-kilometre (15-mile) radius from their homes, Premier Daniel Andrews said.
Public gatherings will remain tightly limited, and retailers and restaurants must operate only on take-away or delivery orders, with the state government eyeing their reopening by Nov. 1, Mr Andrews said.
China reports steady infection rate
China reported 13 new coronavirus cases in the mainland for Oct. 17, the same as a day earlier, the health commission said on Sunday.
All of the new infections were imported, according to a statement by the National Health Commission.
China reported 34 new asymptomatic patients, compared with 11 a day earlier.
As of Saturday, mainland China had 85,672 confirmed cases, the health authority said, and the death toll stands at 4,634.
NZ reports new case in the community
New Zealand confirmed a new community case of Covid-19 on Sunday, two weeks after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern declared that the South Pacific nation had "beat the virus again".
Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said the latest case involved a port-side worker who returned a positive test on Saturday afternoon.
"Because the person was tested on the day he was developing symptoms, the Ministry of Health was able to self-isolate close contacts," Dr Bloomfield said.
He was potentially infectious as early as October 14.
Today's top stories
Tony Blair was on Saturday night accused of a “flagrant” breach of Covid-19 restrictions, after failing to self-isolate for a fortnight after a two-day trip to the US on a private jet.
Tory grandees are demanding that Boris Johnson urgently sets out an exit strategy from "a constant cycle of lockdowns", as an influential expert on public opinion warned the PM risked appearing "blasé" about the lives of ordinary people.
The director of a “secretive” government body guiding local lockdowns without publishing its reasoning is at the centre of a hypocrisy row after telling MPs that “transparency is so important”.
Food wholesalers have warned the Chancellor that their supply chain to hospitals, care homes, schools and prisons is on the brink of collapse due to restrictions on pubs and restaurants.
Sweden's public health agency will this week start working with regions battling the worst coronavirus outbreaks to bring in local restrictions, as the country toughens its approach to ward off a resurgence in infections.
Royal Mail is targeting a contract worth almost £800m to spearhead mass home testing for up to two and a half years under Boris Johnson’s “Operation Moonshot”.