Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged Britons to follow the new coronavirus restrictions to “get through this winter together” in a speech to the nation tonight.
Mr Johnson today confirmed a package of draconian new measures - including 10pm hospitality curfews and a return to working from home where possible - which he said could last as long as six months.
He called on the country to follow social distancing and hygiene measures to avoid another national lockdown.
Mr Johson said another full lockdown would “threaten not just jobs and livelihoods but the loving human contact on which we all depend”, but insisted the Government “reserves the right to go further” and implement this.
“This way we can keep people in work, we can keep our shops and our schools open, and we can keep our country moving forward while we work together to suppress the virus,” he said of the new measures.
Insisting that there are “great days ahead”, the Prime Minister said the UK is better prepared to deal with the second wave of coronavirus, and called on Britons to “summon the discipline, and the resolve, and the spirit of togetherness that will carry us through.”
Follow the latest updates below.
Matt Hancock: Following the rules is a route back to normal life
Matt Hancock has urged Britons to work together to see off the coronavirus at a "crucial moment for our country".
Writing in The Telegraph, the Health Secretary says that the UK is at a "tipping point" and that only by following the rules can we get back to normal life.
"Nobody wants to impinge on people's precious liberties – who they can see, where they can go and how they can spend their free time. But it is imperative that we act now. I say this with freedom at the front of my mind because the quicker we can get this virus under control, the quicker we can restore the freedoms we all enjoy."
Army could be called in to help police
Boris Johnson has said the Army could be drafted in to take over some police duties, freeing up officers to patrol the streets and enforce coronavirus restrictions, Gordon Rayner reports.
His words were was seen as a signal to police forces that they are not doing a good enough job of enforcing lockdown rules, and led to a row with senior officers who said they did not need help.
Fines for failing to wear face coverings in places where they are mandatory will be doubled to £200 from tomorrow and businesses that fail to adhere to Covid-secure rules will be fined up to £10,000.
'More straw men in PM's speech than a Worzel Gummidge fan convention'
The Prime Minister delivered his lines with gusto, Patrick O'Flynn writes, but "there were more straw men wandering round his speech than you’d expect to see at a Worzel Gummidge fan convention":
"As has been the problem from the start, Boris Johnson does not have a certain exit strategy from the resort to lockdowns or near-lockdowns to 'suppress the virus'. Instead he asked us to trust that things would be 'far better by the Spring', referencing the 'hope' of a vaccine and the 'dream' of daily mass testing that will take minutes and will allow normal life to resume. But if the hopes and dreams for Spring 2021 that the PM spoke of are not fulfilled then you can be sure that one party leader in particular – Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer – will have the scent of Johnsonian blood firmly in his nostrils."
Supermarkets in Wales can't sell alcohol after curfew
Pubs, cafes, restaurants and casinos in Wales must operate as table service only and close from 10pm, Wales's First Minister Mark Drakeford has announced.
Off-licences including supermarkets will also be stopped from selling alcohol as part of the measures, which come into force at 6pm on Thursday.
Mr Drakeford confirmed the measures as part of a televised address on Tuesday evening, following a similar announcement by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
"2020 has been an incredibly difficult year," Mr Drakeford said. "We have all sacrificed so much.
"Families have lost loved ones. People have lost jobs and livelihoods. This is a highly infectious virus. We cannot let it take a hold of our lives again. We have come too far to let that happen."
Sturgeon says Scotland at 'tipping point'
Nicola Sturgeon has also made a televised speech tonight, as she announced new, stricter coronavirus restrictions as cases increase in Scotland.
In a televised address that immediately followed Boris Johnson's to the UK, the First Minister said " we are all struggling with this – and believe me, we are all struggling" but it was necessary to ask the country to make further sacrifices.
She said: "I am sorry to be asking for more. But a belief I hold on to – and one I am asking you to keep faith with in those moments when it all feels too hard – is this.
"If we stick with it – and, above all, if we stick together – we will get through it."
Read more: Sturgeon bans indoor visits in Scotland
Boris Johnson speech today: Read his address in full
Return to lockdown: Johnson faces questions from Tory MPs
Conservative MPs from across the country have lined up to express concerns about the return to the lockdown to Boris Johnson in the House of Commons, reports our chief political correspondent Christopher Hope.
Mel Stride, MP for Central Devon, and chairman of the Treasury select committee, said "lockdowns destroy jobs and also personal wellbeing", which could have serious consequences in the years to come.
While Stephen Crabb, MP for Preseli Pembrokeshire, and a former cabinet minister, said: "While working from home has been great for many, for senior managers living in larger properties with nice gardens, that has not been the experience for a great many others living in cramped overcrowded accommodation."
Boris Johnson speech clouded by caveats despite call to arms
Boris Johnson tried to inject some of his trademark optimism into his address to the nation, with an insistence that there are "great days ahead".
However it was clouded by caveats, an admission that a second wave of Covid-19 is here, and an insistence there have been "too many breaches" of existing regulations.
He said that measures as draconian as those introduced in March would “threaten not just jobs and livelihoods but the loving human contact on which we all depend”.
However, the Prime Minister insisted that the Government “reserves the right to go further” and implement another total shutdown.
The Prime Minister said the UK is better prepared to deal with the second wave of coronavirus, but still called on Britons to “summon the discipline, and the resolve, and the spirit of togetherness that will carry us through” this second spike.
While it may have concluded on a call to arms, Johnson's speech acknowledged that there are difficult times ahead, and the new restrictions could be far from short-term.
Boris Johnson speech concludes with call for 'discipline, resolve and spirit of togetherness'
"We must rely on our willingness to look out for each other, to protect each other. Never in our history has our collective destiny and our collective health depended so completely on our individual behaviour," Boris Johnson says.
"If we follow these simple rules together, we will get through this winter together. There are unquestionably difficult months to come.
"And the fight against Covid is by no means over. I have no doubt, however, that there are great days ahead.
"But now is the time for us all to summon the discipline, and the resolve, and the spirit of togetherness that will carry us through."
Second wave finds UK 'better prepared'
Mr Johnson says that Britain is better prepared for the winter than it was for the first wave.
Though our doctors and our medical advisers are rightly worried about the data now, and the risks over winter, they are unanimous that things will be far better by the spring, when we have not only the hope of a vaccine.
But one day soon – and I must stress that we are not there yet - of mass testing so efficient that people will be able to be tested in minutes so they can do more of the things they love.
That’s the hope; that’s the dream. It’s hard, but it’s attainable, and we are working as hard as we can to get there.
Second lockdown 'would threaten jobs, livelihoods and contacts'
If we were forced into a new national lockdown, that would threaten not just jobs and livelihoods but the loving human contact on which we all depend.
It would mean renewed loneliness and confinement for the elderly and vulnerable, and ultimately it would threaten once again the education of our children.
We must do all we can to avoid going down that road again.But if people don’t follow the rules we have set out, then we must reserve the right to go further.
We must take action now because a stitch in time saves nine; and this way we can keep people in work, we can keep our shops and our schools open, and we can keep our country moving forward while we work together to suppress the virus.
Boris Johnson warns NHS could be overwhelmed
Boris Johnson says that he is "deeply spiritually reluctant" to introduce any of these curbs on civil liberties.
"But unless we take action the risk is that we will have to go for tougher measures later, when the deaths have already mounted and we have a huge caseload of infection such as we had in the spring," he insists.
He warns that letting the virus getting out of control could overwhelm the NHS.
Army will be used if necessary, says PM
The Prime Minister continues:
And as for the suggestion that we should simply lock up the elderly and the vulnerable – with all the suffering that would entail – I must tell you that this is just not realistic, because if you let the virus rip through the rest of the population it would inevitably find its way through to the elderly as well, and in much greater numbers.
That’s why we need to suppress the virus now, and as for that minority who may continue to flout the rules, we will enforce those rules with tougher penalties and fines of up to £10,000.
We will put more police out on the streets and use the army to backfill if necessary.
New lockdown rules 'robust but proportionate', says Boris Johnson
Mr Johnson says that this afternoon he set out "a tougher package of national measures" including rule of six enforcement, tougher local action,
I know that this approach – robust but proportionate – already carries the support of all the main parties in parliament.
After discussion with colleagues in the Devolved Administrations, I believe this broad approach is shared across the whole UK.
And to those who say we don’t need this stuff, and we should leave people to take their own risks, I say these risks are not our own.
The tragic reality of having Covid is that your mild cough can be someone else’s death knell.
Boris Johnson: 'Joint resolve' of British people 'our greatest weapon'
Boris Johnson describes the UK as a "freedom-loving country".
But, he adds, "while the vast majority have complied with the rules there have been too many breaches – too many opportunities for our invisible enemy to slip through undetected."
"The virus has started to spread again in an exponential way. Infections are up, hospital admissions are climbing."
He notes what is happening in France and Spain, and says that "the virus is no less fatal than it was in the spring, and the vast majority of our people are no less susceptible".
"And I know that faced with that risk the British people will want their government to continue to fight to protect them, you, and that is what we are doing, night and day.
"And yet the single greatest weapon we bring to this fight is the common sense of the people themselves – the joint resolve of this country to work together to suppress Covid now."
Boris Johnson speech: Covid 'single biggest crisis in my lifetime', says PM
The Prime Minister begins his speech by saying: "The struggle against Covid is the single biggest crisis the world has faced in my lifetime.
"In less than a year this disease has killed almost a million people, and caused havoc to economies everywhere.
"Here in the UK we mourn every person we have lost, and we grieve with their families."
However he adds that he is "more certain than ever that this is a struggle humanity will win, and we in this country will win".
Saying that he wants to talk to the nation tonight "about the choices that we face", he claims that the UK has "succeeded before" in its response to the first coronavirus wave.
"When the sickness took hold in this country in March, we pulled together in a spirit of national sacrifice and community," he says.
"We followed the guidance to the letter. We stayed at home, protected the NHS, and saved thousands of lives."
Second lockdown path sees UK businesses 'facing point of no return'
Apologies for starting with a cliche, but what a complete and utter shambles, writes Jeremy Warner.
I was standing on the top of Bowfell in Cumbria - with its magnificent views down to Morecambe Bay to the South and the neighbouring peaks of Scafell and Scafell Pike to the North - when speculation first started to circulate about a second lockdown.
Mercifully out of reach of a mobile phone signal, and therefore blissfully unaware of this dispiriting reversal in strategy, a cooling breeze was blowing across the sun-drenched summit as if deliberately summoned to refresh after the exertions of the climb.
All was right with the world, and for a moment it was possible to believe the pandemic largely over. Regrettably not.
Listening to the radio on the long drive back to London delivered the requisite reality check. The Government, I fear, only has itself to blame for the mess the nation is now in. From the start, its messaging and instruction has been confused, half-hearted and often contradictory.
Now employees are again told to work from home, all prior instruction, only so recently issued, forgotten. Much of the rest of the Government’s package of curbs is pure window dressing.
For many struggling eateries and pubs the 10 o'clock curfew will be the final straw while doing little if anything to stem the rise in infections, which experts have warned could hit 50,000 per day in October without fresh measures.
Six month lockdown? Listen to our latest coronavirus podcast
As case numbers rise, restrictions rise too.
In the wake of England’s new lockdown measures, The Telegraph’s Associate Editor, Camilla Tominey tells Theodora Louloudis whether this is just the beginning, why Boris Johnson’s own experience of the virus is colouring his response - and why she still views the PM as a libertarian leader.
Work from home return for 'hundreds' of Barclays staff
Barclays will tell "hundreds" of UK staff who had gone back to the office to return to working from home.
The bank has made the decision in light of updated Government guidance on office workers continuing to work at their homes if they can, the BBC has reported.
About 1,000 Barclays employees worldwide returned to the office over the summer, and it is not currently known how many will stay in offices.
The bank had previously said that it would carry out a "gradual" return to the office from October onward.
Boris Johnson warned he must strike balance between public health and human rights
The Equality and Human Rights commission has warned Boris Johnson that he must strike a balance between public health and human rights freedoms, writes Danielle Sheridan.
The warning comes as the Prime Minister announced new restrictions to curb the spread of coronavirus.
The EHRC has called on ministers to ensure new coronavirus restrictions are subject to review and are open to challenge to protect human rights.
Rebecca Hilsenrath, Chief Executive of EHRC, warned that the UK was “walking a tightrope”.
“We need to find the balance between saving lives from coronavirus, and allowing people the hard won freedoms that are the framework for those lives - such as a right to a private and family life, to freedom of assembly, and to an education,” she said.
“This must go hand in hand with an economic recovery that provides everyone with an adequate standard of living.”
Boris Johnson speech today: 8pm address coming up
The Prime Minister is to address the nation at 8pm following his confirmation today of stringent new Covid-19 regulations which he suggested could be in place for six months.
The new measures include the Government reneging on its 'back to work' push and instead asking people to work from home if they can, while the phased return of sport spectators has been delayed and pubs, bars and restaurants face a 10pm curfew.
The Prime Minister will address the nation at 8.00pm. pic.twitter.com/TwFYX9sUwP
— UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) September 22, 2020
Millions of animals from emerging disease hotspots are imported into UK, study finds
Millions of wild animals are being legally imported into the UK from emerging disease hotspots, it has emerged, prompting a leading animal welfare charity to warn that the practice is risking another public health crisis.
Animals including African pygmy hedgehogs, snakes, lizards and tortoises are transported to the UK to be sold as exotic pets from Africa, Latin America and Asia in their hundreds of thousands, according to a new study from World Animal Protection.
While legal, the practice is condemned by campaigners as cruel, and the charity has warned that it presents a significant public health risk as 70 per cent of all zoonotic emerging infections are thought to originate from wild animals, while over 35 infectious diseases have emerged in humans since 1980 – including Covid-19 and Ebola.
The study, which used data obtained from a freedom of information request to the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), found that from 2014 to 2018, 2,492,156 amphibians, 578,772 reptiles, 150,638 mammals, and 99,111 birds were imported into the UK for commercial purposes, including the exotic pet trade.
Georgina Hayes has the story.
New lockdown rules: Anger as Johnson leaves firms high and dry
Furious business chiefs stepped up calls for far-reaching taxpayer support on Tuesday after Boris Johnson imposed six months of new restrictions but left companies out on a limb, writes our economics editor Russell Lynch.
The demands came as Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey also called for a “rethink” of the furlough scheme protecting more than 3m jobs but due to end on October 31.
Mr Johnson said the Government would be “throwing its arms” around businesses and households while Chancellor Rishi Sunak would be “applying his imagination and creativity” to help the worst-hit sectors.
Industry sources said options under consideration include further VAT and business rates deferrals, as well as a much more restricted furlough including higher barriers to entry and possible clawback of funds, although no decisions have been made.
However, the PM’s 10pm curfews on pubs and restaurants - tougher than in Germany and France - and tighter limits on gatherings to fight the virus without further details on support were greeted with shock.
Panic in the shops of London...
So here we go again: as a second wave of coronavirus sweeps towards us, we find ourselves reliving some of the harrowing drama we witnessed in March, writes Rosa Silverman.
Though no national lockdown has (yet) been announced, we are braced. And while we face the next phase of the pandemic armed with a little more knowledge than last time, some of our reactions haven’t changed.
Remember when shoppers rushed out to panic-buy loo roll in early spring, clearing the supermarket shelves in near-apocalyptic scenes? That was just silly, wasn’t it? Except, fast forward to now, and history threatens to repeat itself.
Have we learnt any lessons from last time? Well, some of us have. Some of us scoffed at the stockpilers last time around; then we arrived at the shops to find them stripped bare of essentials. The joke, it seemed, was on us.
Much like a run on a bank, it becomes a vicious cycle, of course – a collapse in consumer confidence in supply chains precipitates more of us to hurry to join the queue. Panic breeds panic, and so on.
New lockdown rules: Is my staycation illegal?
Restrictions are tightening once again in the UK. Across England and Scotland, social gatherings of more than six people are now illegal both indoors and outdoors.
While in Wales and Northern Ireland, the law applies to indoor occasions only. Hefty fines have also been announced for those ignoring orders to self-isolate.
But what does that mean for your staycation? And who exactly will police your holiday, if it is now illegal?
Hazel Plush has all the answers.
Coronavirus laws in the UK will receive more scrutiny
Boris Johnson has pledged more scrutiny in a bid to ease concerns among his own backbenchers about ministers seizing sweeping powers to tackle the pandemic.
Mr Johnson said this afternoon that MPs would will be able to question the Government's scientific advisers "more regularly" and get greater access to data on their constituencies.
The Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty and the Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance did not take questions from the press or public after their virus debrief yesterday morning.
Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the influential 1922 Committee, has said that ministers have "got into the habit of ruling by decree".
Mr Brady said that in spite of Johnson's pledge he will continue with his plan to table an amendment which would require the Government to put any new restrictions to a vote of MPs, which comes ahead of a renewal of the Coronavirus Act.
'Is Boris Johnson trying to blame the British public for the Government’s failings?'
When the public inquiry finally begins, who will the Government attempt to blame? asks Michael Deacon.
Its scientific advisers, perhaps? Civil servants? Care home bosses? Sheer bad luck?
This far out, it’s hard to say. But, if Boris Johnson’s performance in the Commons today (Tuesday) is anything to go by, it appears that the Government may be lining up one other candidate for blame.
Not all of us, obviously. Not you, or me. Other people. A selfish, reckless minority who are ruining things for everyone. It’s all their fault that the virus has come roaring back, and that Christmas is probably cancelled, and that the rest of us are being forced to obey all these rotten new rules.
That, at least, is what the Prime Minister seemed to be telling MPs.
“The problem we have in the spread of this virus,” said Mr Johnson grimly, “is that, alas, a minority of people have not been following the guidance in the way that they might have.” He added that nothing was “more frustrating for the law-abiding majority than the sight of a few brazenly defying the rules”.
At one point, he even claimed that it was jolly tough to get the public to “obey the guidelines in the way that is necessary”, because British people were so “freedom-loving”.
10pm pub curfew: 'We've been thrown under the bus'
After Boris Johnson announced stricter Covid-19 restrictions, including the closing of pubs and bars by 10pm, reaction from the already hard hit pub and hospitality industries has been largely critical.
Pub boss Jonathan Neame described it as 'a real body blow' in his scathing reaction:
Premier League and EFL will not be included in Government sport bailout
The government does not intend to include the Premier League and English Football League in a bailout fund for sport and instead expects the richest football league in the world to help the rest of English football’s professional pyramid, Jeremy Wilson can disclose.
Leaders from across more than 100 British sports and governing bodies, including the Premier League, warned prime minister Boris Johnson on Monday that sport was facing a potential “lost generation” without an emergency recovery fund.
The letter was signed by the league’s chief executive Richard Masters but, with his clubs currently likely to surpass last year’s summer transfer window spending and the vast majority of their £9.2 billion three-year broadcast deal still intact, the government’s focus is not elite professional football.
It still stands by the expectation that the Premier League should share the benefits of Project Restart with the rest of the football pyramid and the EFL wants £200 million from the Premier League to cover the ongoing lack of crowds.
Sweden coronavirus cases increase could lead to new restrictions
Sweden's public health agency is discussing imposing new coronavirus restrictions on Stockholm after the city's health chief warned of "worrying signs of increasing infection", writes Richard Orange.
"Right now we are in discussions on whether we need to bring in additional restrictions to reduce the spread of infection in Stockholm," state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell said at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon.
The plans for new restrictions came shortly after Stockholm health chief Björn Eriksson warned that the long decline in cases in the city had ended.
"The downwards trend is broken," he said at a press conference. "We can only hope that this is a blip, that the spread starts decreasing again."
According to the Public Health Agency of Sweden, Dr Tegnell's agency, around 1,200 new cases and five deaths have been reported since Friday, a sharp increase on the average of around 200 cases per day seen in recent weeks.
Furlough scheme UK: Bank of England's Bailey backs 'rethink' on end of scheme
The job furlough scheme needs a "rethink" as ministers prepare to curb the spread of Covid-19 with new restrictions, Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey said on Tuesday.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak faces a difficult decision over the future of the furlough scheme, which Mr Bailey called “extremely successful” but is due to finish at the end of October.
An estimated 3m workers are still on furlough but the Governor said that higher use of the scheme in sectors such as hospitality, retail and culture most affected by social distancing meant it was sensible to “stop and rethink”.
He told a British Chambers of Commerce webinar: “We are living in a fast-evolving world, certainly this week, so it would be completely inappropriate for me to tie the Chancellor’s hands. It is a very difficult situation we are in at the moment.
“What I would just reiterate is … the reason I said I think it was sensible not to continue the current scheme was precisely the point that we’ve moved from a world of generalised employment protection to rather more specifically focused areas.
“I think it is therefore sensible to stop and rethink the approach going forward, without any commitment to what that might be.”
Covid tests: NHS to provide 100,000 in-house tests a day to combat staff shortages
The NHS is ramping up its in-house testing to 100,000 a day amid fears over staff absence due to the ailing Test and Trace system, Henry Bodkin can reveal.
Hospitals have been given until the end of October to roughly double their capacity from current numbers.
While acute patients will remain at the front of the queue for in-hospital "Pillar One" tests, The Telegraph understands that NHS bosses are keen to increase the number of doctors and nurses offered quick turnaround tests using hospital labs.
This is to take them out of the chaotic "Pillar Two" community testing system, where a shortage of tests and long delays for results risk forcing clinical staff to isolate for days while awaiting the all-clear.
At the height of the coronavirus pandemic, 25 per cent of doctors were off work because they were either sick or in isolation, according to the Royal College of Physicians, although NHS England said overall staff absence rates never exceeded five per cent.
Plastic face shield ineffective at containing Covid, finds Japanese supercomputer
The world’s fastest supercomputer has found that plastic face shields are almost completely ineffective at trapping breath aerosols, raising questions over their ability to stem the transmission of coronaviruy.
Modelling from Japanese supercomputer Fugaku showed that visors failed to prevent almost 100 per cent of airborne droplets of less than 5 micrometres in size from escaping.
Even larger droplets, measuring 50 micrometres, found their way around the shields and into the air. Only 50 per cent of these were blocked by the plastic, according to the research seen by the Guardian.
Fugaku’s simulation combined air flow with the reproduction of thousands of tiny water droplets, each of different sizes, to forecast how they would interact with the visors. Supercomputers like Fugaku are used by experts to predict likely scenarios.
The tiny water droplets released when people breathe or speak can contain thousands of viral particles, each of which has the potential to infect others who are nearby.
Because the shields sit away from the face and have gaps at the bottom and sides, these droplets are allowed to escape.
Verity Bowman has more here.
Unexplained excess deaths at home almost nine times higher than those from Covid
Unexplained deaths in private homes are nearly nine times higher than those from Covid-19 amid fears that many people are still not accessing lifesaving medical treatment.
The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that there were 830 excess deaths at home in the week ending September 4 compared to the five-year average. In contrast, just 99 people died with coronavirus mentioned on the death certificate in the same period. Only seven of those died at home.
The figures also show that there were 371 fewer deaths in hospitals, suggesting hundreds of people who would normally have been taken in for treatment had died at home instead.
Even accounting for that number, it still means there are around 450 excess deaths a week at home, from unknown causes, of people who may not ordinarily have died.
Our science editor Sarah Knapton has more on Britain's concerning excess deaths.
China-US tensions spill out on the world stage
Tensions between China and the US spilled out on the world stage on Tuesday as Donald Trump told the UN General Assembly that Beijing must be held accountable for its actions over the Covid-19 pandemic, reports our US correspondent Josie Ensor.
The US president accused China of allowing the coronavirus to "leave China and infect the world" and urged the international community to take action, in a recorded message played to the annual meeting of the UN.
"The United Nations must hold China accountable for their actions," Mr Trump said, referring to Covid-19 as the “China virus”.
He accused China of not sharing timely information with the world on the new disease and criticised its decision not to stop international flights.
Read more from Josie here, and watch the video of President Trump's comments below:
10pm curfew will not apply to cinemas or theatres, confirms Oliver Dowden
Oliver Dowden, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture Media and Sport, has confirmed that plans for pilots with 1,000 fans and the wider October 1 opening of sports stadiums to fans will not be going ahead.
Mr Dowden also confirmed that "business events are not permitted to open in a Covid-secure way with social distancing from October 1 as was our ambition".
However he did offer a glimmer of hope to cinemas and theatres, where performances will be allowed to run past the new 10pm deadline.
The curfew will still apply to hospitality and leisure settings including casinos.
The Music Venue Trust has sought urgent clarity on whether it also applies to concert halls and grassroots music venues, and said it has been advised that the former will be exempt.
Scotland coronavirus lockdown measures: Sturgeon goes further than Johnson
Nicola Sturgeon has banned Scots from indoor visits to other homes for up to six months as she imposed harsher lockdown restrictions than Boris Johnson in England to tackle the second wave of coronavirus.
The SNP leader copied the Prime Minister's decision south of the Border to impose a 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants from Friday in an attempt to "align as far as possible with the rest of the UK."
But she said her medical advisers had told her this was not "on a significant scale enough" to stop the surge in cases in recent weeks and tough measures were needed to cut household transmission.
The First Minister said a ban on indoor visits to other households that already applied to 1.75 million people in the west of Scotland will be rolled out nationally from Friday.
However, she asked Scots to voluntarily adhere to the ban from Wednesday and warned that further local and national restrictions may be required in the coming weeks.
Our Scottish political editor Simon Johnson has the story.
Coronavirus news from around the world
With the focus very much on the new measures being introduced by Boris Johnson's Government today, here are some of the latest Covid-19 developments from around the world:
The Czech Republic is to limit the number of spectators at sporting events from Thursday, with restaurants closing their doors at 8pm, after it recorded 1,476 new cases yesterday. Prime Minister Andrej Babis, the country's premier and a billionaire populist, has said "I got carried away" lifting restrictions.
In the United States another case of coronavirus reinfection following recovery has been reported, this time in a young military healthcare provider at a US defence hospital in Virginia. The reinfection made the man sicker, it has been reported, which is thought to be because it was a more potent infection.
Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro has accused the media of "politicising" the pandemic and causing panic among Brazilians, insisting that his government took emergency economic measures to avoid a wider social crisis. More than 137,200 Covid-19 deaths have now been recorded in Brazil.
Bosnian player Damir Dzumhur has launched a legal claim against French Open organisers after he was barred from entering the qualification because his coach tested positive for Covid-19, which he has insisted was a "false positive" result.
Mexico will this week sign up to the World Health Organisation's global COVAX plan, which aims to deliver at least two billion equitably distributed doses of coronavirus vaccine by the end of 2021. The UK confirmed its membership of the scheme last week.
Police chiefs 'don't anticipate' any Army involvement in enforcing lockdown
This afternoon, Boris Johnson told MPs: "We will provide the police and local authorities with the extra funding they need, a greater police presence on our streets.
"And the option to draw on military support where required to free up the police."
This led The Sun's Harry Cole to claim "fifteen hundred soldiers" were on standby for this.
But the National Police Chiefs' Council have said that such a scenario is very unlikely:
Policing is a unique role and any military support must be assessed very carefully. At the moment, no military involvement is necessary, nor do we anticipate this will be needed.
North of England local restrictions 'nonsensical and deeply unfair'
Today my native county of Lancashire returns to semi-lockdown, writes our content editor Lucy Aspden.
My summer romance with the new normal is consciously uncoupling – goodbye summer and goodbye freedom, it was nice while it lasted.
At the height of the pandemic fear mongering ruled the waves. Now it’s bewilderment, which unfortunately is only leading to dwindling trust in the rules. This will inevitably be followed by flouting, whether intentional or not, and then nobody is a winner.
You just have to look at images from Blackpool at the weekend to gauge the lack of understanding or respect people have for the new measures. As the sun shone on the Lancashire coast the promenade was full to bursting. Nobody would have guessed there was a pandemic resurgence.
Anyway, Blackpool is ‘safe’ – or so the new measures, or lack of them being introduced in the seaside town (despite its county border being within Lancashire), would suggest.
However, the scientific reality is much different. Blackpool’s case rate is over a third more than that in South Ribble (900 per 100,000) – but families there can still pop round to each other's houses for a brew and a biscuit.
Scotland lockdown update: Households mixing to be banned in Scotland from Friday
Children under the age of six will still be exempt from Scotland's rule of six, although Scots will not be able to meet in other people's homes from Wednesday, Nicola Sturgeon has said.
Those living alone will be able to for extended households, couples not living together, those who need childcare and tradespeople will be exempt from the measures, the First Minister said.
Children under 12 will be exempt from the limit of six people from two households when meeting outside and those between 12 and 18 will be able to meet a limit of six others from six households outdoors.
Boris Johnson's latest coronavirus restrictions speech in full
Boris Johnson has announced a range of new measures to combat the rapid rise in coronavirus cases in the UK.
While it seems that the UK may not return to a full lockdown just yet, Mr Johnson set forward a raft of new restrictions.
These include a curfew for hospitality venues and pubs, which will come into force in England in the next week - and by the Prime Minister's own admission may last for more than six months.
UK coronavirus cases today near 5,000 as 37 deaths confirmed
4,926 people have tested positive as of 9am today, the Department for Health has confirmed.
This number is the highest recorded during the country's second spike in infections, and it brings the UK's overall case tally to 403,551.
A further 37 deaths have been recorded across all settings among those who tested positive for coronavirus in the previous 28 days.
This takes the Government's death toll to 41,788.
UK Covid spike sees Government support plummet - but public blamed for second wave
As new national measures to combat the rise in Covid-19 in the UK are unveiled, Britons are increasingly fearful of catching the virus and critical of the Government response, polling reveals.
And as a second wave of infections looms, almost half the public blame each other for the rising cases, driven by older generations.
Younger people are more likely to blame the Government, but groups over the age of 25 are likely to hold the public most responsible.
Meanwhile, far from being 'world-beating', the UK is among the worst in the world in terms of how its public thinks the Government is handling the coronavirus crisis.
Dominic Gilbert and Alex Clark have the full data dispatch.
New lockdown rules: 'Johnson must "go German" to avert double-dip recession'
Germany has kept Covid-19 infections down to near one thousand a day, notes our columnist and international business editor Ambrose Evans-Pritchard.
Germany has achieved its remarkable stability without resorting to sledgehammer policies or imposing blanket quarantine restrictions on whole countries. Germans have been able to travel to Spain’s Canary Islands, or to lower-risk regions of France. It does not have a six-man rule. The curbs have been calibrated.
German officials say their success stems from good protection of care homes, and above all from an efficient testing and surveillance regime, backed by tracking teams.
The UK is now testing more people per capita than Germany and insists that its test and track system is working better than critics suggest. Ergo, the UK should also have slowed viral transmission to manageable levels.
Yet this country is confronted by the horror chart of chief medical officer Chris Whitty showing a near exponential rise to 50,000 cases a day by mid-October, should the epidemic continue to double (a stretch) every seven days.
So one has to ask: is this a shock tactic to induce careful behaviour, in which case we are being taken for fools: or is the British government still incapable of testing and tracing competently?
UK tourism: 50 per cent of companies 'not confident' of short-term survival
Today, as Britain braces for a heightened shutdown that will take hold over the next few months, travel and hospitality companies across the country have warned of the turmoil that such a move could impose, writes our senior content editor Hazel Plush.
Even in regions where staycations are booming, the outlook is dire: almost half of tourism-related businesses across the Lake District, for example, say they are not confident of survival over the next six months.
Responding to a survey by Cumbria Tourism, two thirds of businesses also warn of potential longer-term closures, while 23 per cent say they will be forced to make redundancies after the current furlough scheme ends.
By adhering to Covid-safe protocols, many tourism-related companies have been unable to open in a ‘viable’ way – and now, with yet tighter restrictions looming, the future looks more uncertain than ever.
Speaking exclusively to The Telegraph, hoteliers, attraction owners and travel professionals all over Britain have explained what a second lockdown could mean for them.
And though their locations, specialisms and business sizes vary, their message is clear: it would be devastating. How many more knocks can this ailing industry withstand?
US coronavirus news: Death toll to pass 200,000 as cases rise again
The death toll from the novel coronavirus in the USA is expected to cross 200,000 today, as experts warn the US could face a 'twindemic' of a third wave of coronavirus and the seasonal flu as we enter the autumn, writes Marcus Parekh.
The US is currently experiencing another rise in infections following its second peak in the summer, with cases increasing quickly in Texas and Wisconsin. America has the highest number of recorded cases, with 6.86 million.
The US has suffered more than 20 per cent of all cases and deaths worldwide from Covid-19, despite having only four per cent of the world’s population, according to data from John Hopkins University.
Only one other nation, Brazil, has a death toll in excess of 100,000, while no other nation has suffered more than 6 million cases.
However, the US death rate from Covid-19 is only ninth highest in the world, at 597.1 per one million population. Peru has suffered the highest number of deaths as 966.8 per one million people.
'Boris Johnson speech showed little regard for science or democracy'
The most striking features of Boris Johnson’s address to the Commons were the things he didn’t say, writes Janet Daley.
There was no strategic explanation for his decisions and no evidence for why the measures he was (reluctantly, he said) introducing would be more effective than any others.
Nor did he make any attempt to deal with the critique that is now widely available in the public discourse of his government’s approach to this crisis.
Perhaps the prime minister really believes that the accusations of irresponsible hyperbole and unjustified assumptions which the presentation by Patrick Vallance and Chris Whitty has attracted from some very reputable sources, were beneath contempt.
Or maybe he just chose to ignore them because the recollection was too painful. At any event, it seemed peculiarly tone deaf – as if he had become utterly out of touch with the heated debate in which the country was now engaged.
A line has been crossed here which British constitutional traditions should regard as sacred – only to be transgressed with the fullest possible debate and the most unimpeachable evidence.
Great British Bake Off 2020 start bumped back by Boris Johnson
The new series of The Great British Bake Off will start 15 minutes later than scheduled as a consequence of Boris Johnson's 8pm address to the nation, Channel 4 has confirmed.
While many will understand the broadcaster putting curfews before currants, it will no doubt inconvenience those eagerly waiting for their annual fix of sunshine and Leith.
Second lockdown to embracing life: How countries have reacted to 'second waves'
Despite 10,000 new cases a day, the French are embracing life – not imposing new rules, writes our digital travel editor Oliver Smith.
That’s the verdict of Anthony Peregrine, our expat expert, who says that the French government is aware that a second full lockdown would "slam the door and chuck away the key", with France instead uniting behind a non-hysterical approach.
In Spain, meanwhile, local authorities have ordered a partial lockdown of some poorer areas of Madrid, prompting protests over the weekend.
Access to parks and public spaces, from today, is restricted, gatherings are limited to six people and commercial establishments have to close by 10pm.
Belgium have local lockdowns and face masks rather than nationwide measures - while Israel has foisted on its people a second full nationwide lockdown.
It went into effect last week on the eve of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, and was met with dismay.
Circuit breaker lockdown 'actively under review', says Sturgeon
Nicola Sturgeon is "actively keeping the idea of a circuit break under review", she has told the Scottish Parliament.
The First Minister said people should think of the October half-term - during which a prospective mini-lockdown could take place - as an chance to reduce social interaction, especially indoors.
She also urged people not to book overseas travel during that time, and said that people who were shielding should follow the guidance for the rest of the population "with great care". They do not, however, need to return to following shielding procedures.
"All of us acting together is a better way to keep you safe," she says.
New pub and restaurant rules 'devastating' for struggling hospitality sector
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced stricter coronavirus restrictions on Tuesday afternoon, including pubs, bars and restaurants closing at 10pm.
Kate Nicholls, the CEO of UK Hospitality, has reacted to the new rules by saying that they will be "devastating" for an already struggling hospitality industry.
Care home visits in Scotland must be considered, urges Ruth Davidson
Ruth Davidson, the Scottish Conservative Party leader in the Scottish Parliament, says that there is a "palpable sense of dread" surrounding the months ahead, but welcomes the exemptions made by the First Minister for children.
"While restrictions on care home visiting have eased a little in recent months, the reality is there are some family members who have not been able or allowed to visit their loved ones for a full six months," she says.
She points out that, while the safety of residents and staff comes first, "we also need to recognise that personal relationships have a part to play in helping people through", and calls for further exemptions and mitigation on the part of the Scottish Government.
Households mixing to be banned in Scotland from Friday
"After careful consideration, we have decided that from tomorrow, to be reviewed after three weeks, and with exceptions that I will come on to, visiting other households will not be permitted," says Nicola Sturgeon.
She says that these restrictions, which she asks Scots to comply with from tomorrow, already proving effective in localised lockdowns in Scotland.
Exceptions for those living with alone extended households, couples in non-cohabiting relationships, the provision of informal childcare, and tradespeople.
"But for everyone else visiting each other's households will not be permitted," she says.
"Rules for meeting other people in public indoor spaces that are subject to strict guidance remain the same."
Children under 12 will be exempted from the rule of six, and children under 18 will be exempt from the two-household limit outdoors, Ms Sturgeon confirms.
Scotland lockdown rules take in household gatherings, curfews and working from home
Nicola Sturgeon announces the following measures for Scotland:
Visiting other households will not be permitted from Friday onward, although the First Minister asks people "to comply from tomorrow".
Everyone who can work from home is advised to, which Ms Sturgeon says "has been the Scottish Government's advice throughout". She says that, if needed, a legal duty will be put on businesses to allow home working where possible.
A support package for those asked to self-isolate in Scotland will include help with food deliveries and £500 for those on low incomes.
In a "spirit of solidarity", encouragement to self-isolate will be stepped up, rather than harsh punishments for breaches of the isolation rules.
A strict nationwide curfew for bars, pubs and restaurants from Friday from 10pm, which Ms Sturgeon says is "the best balance we can strike".
Authorities will "significantly" step up compliance checks in hospitality settings.
Nicola Sturgeon: 'Not possible to do everything normally'
"Faced with a global pandemic it is not possible to do everything and it is not possible unfortunately to live our lives completely normally," says Ms Sturgeon, adding that the most important priorities are people's lives and health.
She insists that education settings must remain open in Scotland, and previously paused NHS services must restart.
"Today's measures are an attempt to avoid the need for another lockdown," she says, and says she hopes that the measures will be in place for less than six months.
Scotland lockdown rules being announced by Nicola Sturgeon
Nicola Sturgeon confirms that measures will be introduced for the hospitality sector in Scotland similar to those outlined by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and "aligned as far as possible with the rest of the UK".
However Ms Sturgeon says "this on its own will not be enough".
She says that household interaction is a key driver of transmission, and confirms that she wishes to introduce additional restrictions on household interactions.
10pm curfew: Restaurants to offer early bird menus and all-day dining
Restaurants are to offer early bird menus and all-day dining in a bid to stay afloat as the 10pm curfew comes in, reports Helena Horton.
Struggling businesses, which have already had to adapt to new rules and reduce tables, accused the government of "punishing restaurants" as they warned that jobs will have to be cut.
Diners will likely be given incentives to eat at 5pm, with restaurateurs planning on giving a free welcome drink to those who plan on 'eating early to help out' and considering special discount menus.
Emma Underwood, the General Manager at Darby's in South London, said it is likely her team will face lower wages as a result of the new measures.
James Robson, co-founder of London restaurant Fallow said they will be opening at 11am for the first time and are trying to "incentivise people to come out still" - but voiced his frustration at the Government "punishing" the industry with the new measures.
'Work from home if you can' to have wellbeing exemptions
Boris Johnson has said people should continue going in to work if it is important for their job, mental health or wellbeing.
Conservative MP Stephen Crabb asked if the Prime Minister could "recognise that there will be dismay today" among people who feel work is important to their wellbeing.
"Where people must go into work for their job, for their mental health, wellbeing or whatever it happens to be, then of course they should do so," Mr Johnson responded.
"What we're saying is you should work from home if you can."
Pub curfew: 'Some of your favourite locals will close for good'
The pub industry can count itself lucky that new restrictions unveiled by the government are not more severe, writes Jon Yeomans.
The industry shouldn’t be surprised to find itself in the crossfire once more. But neither should it be hung out to dry after a muted reopening in July.
Clearly many pubs cannot survive this off-on economy. Like constantly flicking a light switch, the end result is that the light bulb will pop; so it is with pubs.
Those premises that spent a good deal of time and money trying to become Covid-secure will feel rightly aggrieved that they have been landed in the drink. The wisdom of the Chancellor’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme is now looking shaky.
Firstly there’s the mixed message it sends: “Go out! Eat! But now we’re closing the pubs early because you ate out and helped out!”
More importantly, might the £522m that the Treasury flung at the scheme have been better spent on a functioning test and trace system, to ensure that hospitality businesses like pubs were not exposed to the danger of a stop-start autumn?
Or that, if they were, closures could at least be managed on a much more localised level? There’s only so many times a landlord will pour away his locally sourced ales because of a lockdown before he throws his hands up in despair and decides this business is not for him.
Sport and Covid: Johnson challenged over 'perilous' situation
Boris Johnson has been challenged in the House of Commons by former sports minister Tracey Crouch over the "perilous situation" facing the sports sector.
The MP for Chatham and Ayleford said: "Sport and all it directly and indirectly involves cannot continue to face these kind of losses.
"So given today's announcement which pauses the return of spectators, will the PM elaborate on his comments regarding a financial support package to ensure that it isn't left decimated after the pandemic."
Mr Johnson said: "(She) is absolutely right to draw attention to the huge importance of sport to our national economy and to our well being and that's why [Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden] is now working flat out with the Premier League and others to identify ways in which we can keep these clubs going, we can support sport at all levels throughout the pandemic and one of the things that we're not doing, as she will appreciate today, is we're not stopping outdoor physical exercise, we're not stopping team sports outside.
"We want that to continue, but that's why it's vital that we enforce the package of measures that we have outlined today."
New rules for pubs and restaurants to take effect, confirms Prime Minister
Two months after pubs and restaurants were allowed to reopen their doors, albeit with considerable restrictions, the coronavirus rules have tightened once more following a surge in Covid-19 cases, writes Tomé Morrissy-Swan.
Following the Government's recent 'rule of six' announcement, where most social gatherings of more than six people are banned in England, Boris Johnson has announced a new 10pm curfew for pubs on Tuesday.
Police have the power to enforce the new rules, which also include limiting hospitality settings to table service, and businesses will be expected to as well.
Individuals who fail to comply can be handed a £200 fine, doubling with each offence, to a maximum of £3,200.
Boris Johnson says restrictions harder to enforce in 'freedom-loving' UK
Asked by Ben Bradshaw, the Labour MP for Exeter, about why the UK cannot copy the German contact tracing model, the Prime Minister replies:
There is a difference between our country and others. Ours is a freedom-loving country.It's very difficult to ask the British population uniformly to obey guidelines in the way that is necessary.
Pubs closing at 10 'will put thousands more jobs at risk'
From Thursday 24 September, all hospitality venues will be forced to close at 10pm in an effort to curb a second wave of coronavirus infections in England, writes Morgan Lawrence.
The hospitality sector has been restricted to table service only, outlawing buying and collecting drinks at the bar, while the recent 'rule of six' measures, in which pubs and restaurants will only be able to take bookings of up to six people, will remain in place.
More than 175 publicans and bar owners have joined in unison to protest the curfew. In an open letter to the Prime Minister, the sector predicts that such strict measures will be disastrous for an industry “already on its knees.”
Damien Devine of the Old Red Lion in Angel, London, is devastated by the news. “It’s a punch in the stomach from a business perspective", he says.
"Midweeks are dead so the curfew won't affect us Monday to Thursday, but I dread to think about weekends. Last weekend, for example, I did 40 per cent of my daily take between 10pm and 1am on Saturday night. Where does that leave me now?"
10pm curfew rules defended by PM as 'one way of driving down' R rate
On the new 10pm hospitality curfew which will affect bars, restaurants, pubs and takeaways, Mr Johnson says:
Nobody wants to be curtailing the right of restaurants and other businesses to go about their lawful business.
What we've seen from the evidence is that alas the spread of the disease does tend to happen later at night after more alcohol has been consumed.
This is one way we see of driving down the R without doing excessive economic damage. And that's a balance we have to strike.
Public Health England coronavirus axe 'absolutely essential', says PM
Mr Johnson says that the Government it is "vital to suppress the R and stop a boom in Covid cases" to prevent other NHS services being affected.
Challenged on abolishing Public Health England during the crisis - a story first broken by The Telegraph's own Christopher Hope - Mr Johnson says that it is "absolutely essential" to have "the most powerful possible" public health organisation in the UK.
He highlighted that the Public Health England change doesn't take effect until next year, and defends the capabilities of the new Joint Biosecurity Centre which will be more central in future public health policymaking.
Furlough scheme end: Johnson says Govt will 'put our arms around the workers'
Pressed again on the furlough scheme, Mr Johnson insists that it was more generous than the vast majority of equivalent plans in other European countries.
He once again says that the Government will "put our arms around the workers of this country", but gives no details as to how this will be done.
"We will do everything we can to keep our economy moving and keep businesses going wherever we can," he tells MPs.
Boris Johnson: 'Your harmless cough can be someone else's death knell'
"Your harmless cough can be someone else's death knell," Mr Johnson says, as he defends the new measures that the Government has introduced - which could last as long as six month.
He sounds a more optimistic note when discussing his hopes that people will be able to more easily find out how infectious they are in the near future.
Rehman Chishi, who last week resigned as special envoy over the Internal Market Bill, thanks Boris Johnson for "all his hard work in keeping us all safe" - but points to "real concerns" about a reduction in mental health services.
Mr Johnson says that the Government has already allocated extra funding to mental health issues, but will look more closely at mental health provisions.
Britain back on the move - but not for work so much as play
This graphic, from The Telegraph's data specialists, shows that visits to pubs, restaurants and shops have approached normal levels.
This has likely been buoyed by the loosened restrictions since July, in addition to initiatives such as the 'eat out to help out' scheme.
However return to workplaces has been more stagnant, and could decline from its current level following the new Government directive to work from home where possible.
New lockdown rules as Johnson calls on public to 'do what they did before'
Boris Johnson says that the Government will review the new changes "if the British public can do what they did before" in complying with the new regulations.
The new rules in full confirmed by the Prime Minister are as follows:
Office workers who can work from home should do so.
Pubs, bars and restaurants in England will be ordered to close by 10pm each night, with the hospitality sector restricted solely to table service.
Face coverings must be worn in taxis and private hire vehicles, and by retail staff while at work. Customers in indoor hospitality will also have to wear face coverings, except while they are seated at a table to eat or drink.
The exemptions to the rule of six will be reduced, banning indoor team sport - such as indoor five-a-side football matches.
The planned return of spectators to sports venues will now not go ahead from October 1.
Wedding ceremonies and receptions will be capped at 15 people from Monday, although no changes will be made to rules around funerals.
Covid tests in schools call made by Jeremy Hunt
Jeremy Hunt, the former Health Secretary, says that "we are not there yet" with testing, relaying the story of a school in his constituency that only has access to 10 tests a week.
"He raises a very important point about school pupils," Mr Johnson says. "The rates of infection and transmission among school pupils are much lower than in the rest of the population.
"But I'm not going to hide it from him that the future I see for our country is massively to expand testing - and not just for teachers, and not just in schools."
He adds that he is "proud" of the NHS Test and Trace scheme.
Liberal Democrat leader calls for the Government to apologise for what he says is "great incompetence", demanding support for the millions "on the brink of losing their jobs".
Mr Johnson hits back that the Government's policy is to drive down the virus.
Furlough scheme should be extended, says Blackford
Ian Blackford says that the furlough scheme should be extended until next year to avoid workers being "thrown on the scrapheap".
The Prime Minister insists the Government's new work from home advice, which follows a U-turn, is "very, very clear", and that it will "continue to support people who face challenges because of coronavirus".
Mr Johnson points to at least £5 billion worth of support that has been given to Scotland, and that he will "protect jobs and livelihoods" while "jobs are being created".
SNP's Ian Blackford warns of a 'critical moment' for the UK
The Scottish National Party's Ian Blackford says that the virus "remains as deadly as ever" at a "critical moment" for the UK.
"We have all witnessed the worrying rise in virus cases and we all know the projections and consequences society will face if it continues to grow at the same rate," he says.
Mr Blackford insists there is "nothing inevitable" about the exponential spread of Covid-19, and says that if "the right tough decisions" are taken now, the virus can be kept under control.
Boris Johnson defends Government support for businesses
Boris Johnson says that Sir Keir Starmer should "pay tribute" to those involved in the contact tracing scheme.
He highlights that "local people pulling together to drive the virus down", as in Leicester, will be pivotal to the next phase of the UK's response to the virus.
Mr Johnson says that the Government has already spent £160 billion to support jobs and businesses, and that they will "continue to put our arms around the people of this country".
"In putting forward the message of support, I hope he will also say to everybody in his constituency and elsewhere that this is a balanced and a proportionate response to the crisis that we face," he says.
"We are driving the virus down - that is our objective. But we are also keeping the vast majority of the UK economy going.
"That is our programme, that is what we intend to do, this is a package to drive down the R but also allow education and jobs and growth to continue."
Keir Starmer calls on Government to avoid end of furlough 'disaster'
"People will be worried that the Government doesn't have a clear strategy," says Sir Keir Starmer.
Sir Keir points to the Government's U-turn on office working, and calls for "clear leadership". He asks Boris Johnson when he envisages further measures might be necessary if the new restrictions do not work.
He also calls on the Prime Minister for "emergency financial support for those who need it", and says that withdrawing the furlough scheme amid new restrictions "would be a complete disaster" in light of the prospect of six months of more stringent curbs.
"These restrictions were necessary, but they were not inevitable," he says. "Now the testing system isn't working just when we need it.
"We should also recognise that a second national lockdown is not inevitable - that would be a huge failure of Government, not an act of God. There is still time to prevent it."
Keir Starmer confirms that Labour will support new lockdown measures
Leader of the Opposition Sir Keir Starmer says that Labour supports the new measures announced by the Government.
"Although we've fierce criticism of the way this Government are handling the pandemic, the national interest lies in clear communications and cross-party support," Sir Keir says.
"Families across the country will be anxious today. Many are already living under local lockdowns, many more fear that soon they will. They're worried about their jobs, their loved ones and whether they will be able to spend Christmas with their families."
Hands, face, space: Boris Johnson calls on Britons to 'remember the basics'
Mr Johnson adds that "the vast majority" of the UK economy can continue moving forwards, and says the Government is better prepared for a second wave.
"It now falls to each of us - and every one of us - to remember the basics. Wash our hands, cover our faces, observe social distancing and follow the rules.
"Then we can fight back against this virus, shelter our economy from even greater damage, protect the most vulnerable in care homes, safeguard our NHS and save many more lives."
Boris Johnson: Complacency could be our undoing
Mr Johnson confirms that MPs will be able to gain access to data about their constituencies and question medical advisers more often.
"After six months of restrictions it would be tempting to seek comfort in the hope that the virus has faded," he says. "It is that kind of complacency that could be our undoing.
"If we fail to act together now, we will not only place others at risk, but jeopardise our own futures with the more drastic action that we will inevitably be forced to take.
"No British Government would wish to stifle our freedoms in the ways that we have found necessary this year. Yet even now we can draw some comfort from the fact that schools, universities and places of worship are staying open."
New coronavirus rules likely to continue for six months, admits Boris Johnson
"These measures will only work if people comply and there is nothing more frustrating for the law-abiding majority than the sight of a few brazenly defying the rules," says Mr Johnson. "So these rules will be enforced by tighter penalties."
"I want to speak to those who were shielding earlier in the pandemic and may be anxious.
"Our guidance continues to be that you do not need to shield except in local lockdown areas and we will keep this under constant review."
Mr Johnson says that the Government reserves the right to deploy "greater firepower, with significantly greater restrictions", but insists he "fervently" wants to avoid this step.
"We will only be able to avoid it if our new measures work, and our behaviour changes.
"We will spare no effort in developing vaccines, treatments, new forms of mass testings. But unless we palpably make progress, we should assume that the restrictions I have announced will stay in place for six months.
"This virus is a fact of our lives and I must tell this House and the country that our fight against it will continue."
Work from home guidance returns as 10pm curfew also announced
"First, we are once again asking office workers to work from home where they can do so," says Mr Johnson.
"Second, from Thursday, all pubs, bars and restaurants must operate at table service only except for takeaways.
"Together with all hospitality venues they must close from 10pm. That means alas closing and not just calling for last orders, because simplicity is paramount.
"I'm sorry this will affect many businesses just getting back on their feet but we must act.
"Third, we will extend the requirement to wear face coverings to include staff in retail, customers in taxis, and customers in indoor hospitality settings, except when seated at tables.
"Fourth, in retail, leisure and tourism and other sectors our Covid-secure guidelines will become legal obligations."
Wedding numbers will be cut to 15, the Prime Minister confirms.
The rule of six is also to be extended to all adult team sports, while the spread of the virus means that the planned reopening conferences and exhibition events will be delayed.
This is not a second full lockdown, says Johnson
"Yesterday the UK's covid alert level was raised from three to four, meaning that transmission is high or rising exponentially," Mr Johnson says. "So this is the moment when we must act.
"If we can curb the number of daily infections and reduce the reproduction rate to one we can save lives, protect the NHS and the most vulnerable and shelter the economy from the far sterner measures that would inevitably come.
"We're acting on the principle that a stitch in time saves nine.
"I want to stress this is by no means a return to the full lockdown of March. We will ensure that schools, colleges and universities stay open because nothing is more important than the health and wellbeing of our young people. However we must take action to suppress the disease."
Boris Johnson begins statement on response to rising coronavirus cases
"We must act now to avoid still graver consequences later on," Mr Johnson begins.
He says that the Government has struck a "delicate balance" throughout the pandemic so far, and the "common sense and fortitude" of the British people helped to avoid "an even worse catastrophe".
"But we always knew that while we had driven the virus into retreat we always knew the prospect of a second wave was real," he says, adding that the UK has reached a "perilous tipping point".
"Yesterday the Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Adviser warned that the doubling rate could be between seven and 20 days, with the possibility of tens of thousand of infections per day," he says.
Mr Johnson says that the rising number of infections is not simply due to more testing, and adds that fewer than eight per cent of Britons have developed antibodies.
"The evidence shows that the virus is spreading to other, more vulnerable age groups as we have seen in France and Spain where this has led to increased hospital admissions and sadly more deaths," he says.
Boris Johnson announcement today: Watch live
In a few moments Boris Johnson will appear before MPs in the House of Commons, where he will unveil a wave of new coronavirus restrictions.
He will also address the nation in a live TV broadcast at 8pm.
The Telegraph will be bringing you all the updates from both of these appearances.
Watch the Prime Minister live at the top of this live blog.
Second lockdown in UK can be avoided if middle way is found, says WHO expert
The UK must not be held prisoner by the coronavirus but nor can it let it run wild through the population, a World Health Organization expert has said.
As prime minister Boris Johnson is poised to impose new restrictions to stop Covid-19 spiralling out of control, Dr David Nabarro, the WHO’s special envoy on the disease, said the government had to steer a middle course.
Some experts argue that the virus should be left to run through populations in a bid to build up herd immunity.
However, countries such as Germany and South Korea have managed to control numbers by imposing some restrictions but also setting up effective test and trace systems and jumping on outbreaks when they occur.
This is an approach the UK must follow, said Dr Nabarro, an international health expert who was the government’s nominee for the leadership of the WHO in 2017.
“This is a dangerous, nasty, cunning and deceptive virus. We just don’t know enough about it to say this is mild,” he said. “We cannot just let it do its mischief but humanity cannot be held prisoner by it.”
Anne Gulland has the full story.
France Covid second wave leaves hospitals at 'tipping point'
The head of France's biggest A&E union has warned that its hospitals have reached a “tipping point” in the fight against Covid-19 and the second wave “is here”, Henry Samuel reports.
The comments from François Braun, president of France’s Samu-Urgences union mirror those of UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who on Sunday warned that Britain faced national lockdown unless people respected distancing rules.
The Gallic alarm call came after France registered 13,500 new daily infections on Saturday - a record since lockdown. The proportion of people testing positive rose slightly to 5.6 per cent. Last week also saw a rise in hospital deaths week on week for the first time since the end of confinement in May.
The national health body, Santé France, said there had been a “rise in all indicators” linked to the virus and a “probable underestimation” of the number of new cases due to test centres reaching saturation levels.
London lockdown measures under consideration by Sadiq Khan
The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan is reportedly seeking a number of local lockdown restrictions which could apply to the capital city "as soon as possible".
Mr Khan is considering restrictions on business opening hours, mask wearing among all hospitality staff, more widespread use of face coverings - including in outdoor settings - and new restrictions on numbers at weddings and funerals, reports the Financial Times.
Mr Khan said last night that a "new London plan" would come into place which will include "some new restrictions" after a meeting with London council leaders .
"Taking firm action now to prevent a deeper and longer lockdown in the future is without a doubt the best thing to both save lives, and protect jobs and our economic recovery," the Mayor said in a statement.
He added that the plan was scheduled be discussed with Prime Minister Boris Johnson this morning,
Spain coronavirus cases continue to rise as army deployed in Madrid
Spanish troops will deploy to Madrid to enforce a strict new lockdown following thousands of residents taking to the streets in protest, reports James Badcock.
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez agreed to send in the army after a meeting on Monday with the regional governor, Isabel Diaz Ayuso.
Thousands of soldiers helped battle the outbreak during Spain's first wave and they will return to the job as case number rises over 10,000 per day.
“We need help from the army for disinfection ... and to strengthen local police and law enforcement,” Isabel Diaz Ayuso told a news briefing.
Madrid currently accounts for a third of new cases in Spain and it has registered 144 of 432 Covid-19 deaths in the past week, with some intensive care wards overwhelmed.
Keir Starmer speech sees Labour leader take aim at coronavirus response
Keir Starmer has taken aim at Boris Johnson’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, accusing the Government of “incompetence” which he argued was “holding Britain back”, writes Harry Yorke.
Branding the spread of the virus through care homes as a “national scandal”, he criticised the failure to establish a “serviceable” testing system and insisted that there was “nothing inevitable about a second lockdown.”
Sir Keir added that the coronavirus had exposed the “perilous state” of social care in the UK, which he described as a “disgrace to a rich nation.”
He went on to say that a second national coronavirus lockdown would be a “Government failure, not an act of God”, warning that it could take an “immense toll on people's physical and mental health and on the economy”.
Rugby union news: Bath - Gloucester fixture to go ahead as planned today
Bath have confirmed that their test pilot event on Tuesday with 1,000 spectators in attendance is still set to go ahead as planned ahead of the government's latest briefing on Covid-19, writes Ben Coles.
Bath face Gloucester at The Recreation Ground at 17:30 BST and will welcome fans back into the ground for the first time since March, with the club unaffected by Boris Johnson's statement in the Commons, a club spokesperson informed Telegraph Sport.
Harlequins and Gloucester have previously hosted Gallagher Premiership matches with spectators, with crowds of 3,500 and 1,000 respectively attending those fixtures.
Tarquin McDonald, Bath's chief executive, informed Telegraph Sport this week that while welcoming 1,000 supporters back into The Rec was a welcome boost for the club, in the long run admitting more fans into the grounds will be essential.
Fans in stadiums on hold until further notice amid new measures
The Government has confirmed the return of crowds at sport has been "paused" indefinitely as part of new measures to combat a second wave of Covid-19.
The Premier League, Rugby Football Union and ECB were among more than 100 national and grassroots bodies to sign a letter pleading for more support ahead of restrictions to be announced by Boris Johnson later.
However Michael Gove said the planned return of crowds on October 1 was now impossible as a result of the risk of "mingling" between spectators.
He also noted that the Government had faced criticism previously for allowing Champions League matches and the Cheltenham Festival to have crowds in the first fortnight of March, when the virus first spread out of control.
Mr Gove hinted that the Prime Minister could be willing to listen to bailout calls, and said "we're looking at everything that we can do" to support athletes and clubs.
Tom Morgan has the story.
'Work from home if you can' could lead to 60-hour working week, predicts expert
The Government's renewed push for employees to work from home if they can could be characterised by a culture of overworking, an expert has predicted.
Michael Gove this morning confirmed that the Government will encourage staff to work from their homes "if it is possible" for them to do so.
Mr Gove told Sky that the latest changes are "reluctant steps but they are absolutely necessary".
However Dr Christine Grant, the deputy head of the school of psychological, social and behavioural science at Coventry University, warned that this messaging could have unintended and damaging consequences.
"In some occupations we do over-work anyway, whether you're in the office or otherwise", said Dr Grant.
"I do think home working at 37.5 hours a week is quite unlikely. Lots of people I have surveyed go up to 60 hours easily, working 12-hour days - it's almost the norm.
"Some people love it (home working) and have found this brilliant, others not so and want it all to end."
Nicola Sturgeon to announce new restrictions in Scotland
Nicola Sturgeon is expected to announce new measures at Holyrood to tackle the spread of coronavirus across Scotland.
The Scottish First Minister has said she will decide on further restrictions with her ministers following a Cobra meeting this morning.
It comes after four chief medical officers across the UK nations decided that the Covid-19 alert level should be raised to four.
For info: there will be no @scotgov briefing at 12.15pm today. Instead I will make a statement to @ScotParl at 2.20pm. And I will make a TV address - setting out the current position in Scotland - at 8.05pm on BBC.
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) September 22, 2020
The First Minister previously said coronavirus is spreading again in Scotland and "further and urgent action" is needed to stop the increase, warning if left unchecked it will lead to more cases, people in hospital and deaths.
She said the Scottish Government is prepared to introduce "a package of additional measures" but will aim to avoid a full-scale lockdown such as the one imposed in March.
Ms Sturgeon will set out the measures to MSPs in Parliament from 2.20pm on Tuesday and will make a televised statement at 8.05pm on the BBC after remarks from Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Bank of England pledges to support business
Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey said the rise in Covid-19 cases "reinforces the downside risks" to the economy, but stressed policymakers would do everything in their powers to support the country.
Speaking on a British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) webinar, Mr Bailey said: "The latest news, that we are seeing a very unfortunate, faster return of Covid-19 is extremely difficult news for all of us and the whole country.
"That does reinforce the downside risks we have in our forecasts.
"The Bank of England will do everything we can do within our remit and powers to support the businesses and people of this country and we will do that."
Northern Ireland could return to full lockdown
Stormont's leaders have raised the prospect of Northern Ireland having to re-enter a period of full coronavirus lockdown.
As the region prepared for the introduction of fresh restrictions on domestic gatherings at 6pm on Tuesday, First Minister Arlene Foster said a two-week period of lockdown to try to halt the spread of the virus - a so-called circuit breaker - could not be ruled out.
"I haven't ruled it out, I don't rule it out at all," she said.
Mrs Foster urged the public to work together so such a move could be avoided.
Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill said a two-week lockdown is something the devolved executive would have to consider.
"I think the notion of a potential circuit breaker has to be something that we absolutely have in the mix," she said.
"We have always said we will step forward and step back according to the virus spread, so initiatives such as that is certainly something that we would have to consider."
Ms O'Neill said ministers would also be considering whether to introduce early closing time for pubs.
She said replicating the 10pm curfew being introduced in England would be "fair enough" to consider.
New ONS data in this morning
Seven in 10 deaths of working-age adults involving coronavirus between March 9 and June 30 were likely to be the result of an infection acquired before lockdown, new figures show.
There were 5,330 deaths involving Covid-19 of 20-64-year-olds in England and Wales during this period, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.
Of these, 72%, or 3,839 deaths, occurred on or before April 25 and are considered likely to be as a result of an infection acquired before lockdown.
The ONS assumption is based on evidence that the maximum time from infection to symptom onset is 14 days, and there are around 20 days on average from symptom onset to death.
According to the Department of Health and Social Care, the number of confirmed UK cases has passed 398,625, while the total number of deaths is 41,788.
A recap of this morning's political developments
Boris Johnson has been forced to abandon his drive to get Britons back to the workplace as he prepares to announce new restrictions to curb the spread of coronavirus.
Pubs, bars and restaurants in England will be ordered to close by 10pm each night from Thursday, a move which has angered a hospitality industry already battered by the pandemic.
The Prime Minister will face MPs, including Tories, who are uneasy about the way the Government has imposed restrictions, before an address to the nation on Tuesday evening.
He will outline other measures to stop the spread of Covid-19, which will also restrict the hospitality sector to table service only.
Plans for a partial return of sports fans to stadiums from October 1 have been "paused".
Mr Johnson will emphasise the need for people to follow social-distancing guidance, wear face coverings and wash their hands regularly.
Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove accepted that the Government's call for people to return to the workplace, a measure seen as critical for the survival of cafes and other businesses which rely on commuters and office workers, had been dropped.
He said there was a "shift in emphasis", telling Sky News: "If it is possible for people to work from home then we would encourage them to do so."
Theatre forgotten by the Government, says Andrew Lloyd Webber
Commercial theatre will not survive unless the Government "steps up to the plate," Andrew Lloyd Webber has said.
He told Good Morning Britain: "I really don't think commercial theatre can survive unless the Government does now step up to the plate and give it a little bit of help.
"I have noticed over the years, in this country, commercial theatre has been way down the food chain as far as governments have been concerned.
"They're always going on about the film industry....they support television...Does theatre get a look in it? No."
You can continue to drink with friends at home
Michael Gove said: "The 10pm closing time is not the only measure the Prime Minister will be announcing later.
"It's part of a package of measures.
"But, the evidence is that social mixing can encourage the spread of the virus."
Asked if a group of six people could leave a pub at 10pm and carry on drinking at a house, Mr Gove said: "It is the case that with the 'Rule Of Six' you can have six people in a social gathering, yes, but the steps that we are taking here reflect some of the evidence that has been gathered from those parts of the country where these restrictions have already been put in place in order to ensure that we restrict social mixing."
Mr Gove said the 'Rule Of Six' would stay in place.
Bad news for sports fans
Plans for a partial return of sports fans to stadiums from October 1 have been "paused", according to Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove.
"It is the case that we've been piloting some open air venues, and we do want to be able in due course to allow people to return to watch football and other sporting events," he told BBC Breakfast.
"But it is the case that we just need to be cautious at the moment and I think a mass reopening at this stage wouldn't be appropriate."
He added: "It was the case that we were looking at a staged programme of more people returning - it wasn't going to be the case that we were going to have stadiums thronged with fans.
"We're looking at how we can, for the moment, pause that programme. But what we do want to do is to make sure that as and when circumstances allow, (we) get more people back."
No time span for new restrictions
Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove was unable to say how long the new coronavirus measures are expected to last.
"What we hope is we can take appropriate steps now, which mean that if we succeed in beating back the virus, then we will in the future be able to progressively relax them," he told BBC Breakfast.
"But what I can't do is predict with absolute certainty."
Pressed on whether it would be months or weeks, Mr Gove said: "It is the case, as Professor Vallance and Chris Whitty pointed out yesterday, that we're going to have a challenging next six months."
"If people can work from home, they should," he added.
"But I stress that it's very important that those people whose jobs require them to be in a specific workplace do so."
He added that it was not a case of "revisiting the days at the beginning of our response to this virus" as "workplaces are safer", adding: "But one of the risks that we have to face is that social mixing overall contributes to the spread of the virus.
"So as much as we can restrain that as possible at this stage, the better for all of us and for public health."
Sport, education and hospitality all in danger
Professor Semple was asked if he government just announces a 10pm curfew and nothing more, will it be enough?
"No, it’s not going to be," he said.
"There are several sectors of society which will need to increase their restrictions, unfortunately. But it is necessary now because we are starting to see a rise in cases.
"We are going to have to see reductions at sporting events, and that’s going to hit many of us hard because we enjoy the football, boxing and other activities, particularly in the North West of England.
"We are likely to see an increase in restrictions on the hospitality sector that go beyond the 10pm curfew and table service. I think that is very likely.
"The provision of higher and further education is likely to move to a more online service, many of which have done so."
Rule of six 'does not go far enough'
Professor Calum Semple, from the University of Liverpool is a SAGE advisor.
He has given a grim outlook on BBC Radio 4.
"Is the rule of six enough to stick with for the time being?" he was asked.
"I don’t really think so," Prof Semple replied.
"And I’m sorry to say it’s going to hurt people the most. I think we will go to a stage where we are restricting people to not mixing between households.
"I think that the rule of six has been tried and has not had time to kick in yet, but based on the numbers I’m seeing, it isn’t going far enough."
Prof Semple was asked if other scientists thought the same.
"The epidemiologists and scientists that I work with think the time to act is now," Prof Semple said.
"We are in a serious situation and the numbers are rising and tracking the current worst case scenario, so there is significant anxiety amongst the scientific community."
Hospitality sector on 'life support'
Andy Wood, chief executive Adnams brewery has been on Radio 4 and warned that that the early closing of pubs may not actually help the situation.
"I think we're into marginal gains here with table service and a 10pm curfew. There is a real threat here that people will move on to house parties and cause this spike to continue.
"The sector had done a great job in July and August and we didn't see a spike by and large. The industry has been heavily compliant with what Government says.
"Of course we recognise that the public health message has to come first."
I think it seems incongruous that we have to impact one part of the economy to open up other bits of economic activity.
"At Adnams and other companies in the sector we must remember that businesses are still on life support. We've had the furlough scheme, business rate relief, bounceback loans, VAT cuts, the Chancellors 'Eat Out To Help Out' - which seemed to be very successful. All these measures are trying to keep the industry on life support.
'We need to act' says Gove
Michael Gove says the Government is taking "reluctant steps" with the new coronavirus measures, but added that they are "absolutely necessary".
"There will be more details that the Prime Minister will spell out, and again, one of the points that he'll make is that no one wants to do these things, no one wants to take these steps," he told Sky News.
"Because as we were reminded yesterday, and as you've been reporting, the rate of infection is increasing, the number of people going to hospital is increasing, and therefore we need to act."
Michael Gove pushing 'work from home' message
The Cabinet Office minister says there will be a "shift in emphasis" on working from home in the new coronavirus restrictions.
Mr Gove says: “If is is possible to work from home we would encourage them to do so.”
When asked if it is still the plan to have 80 per cent of staff back in Whitehall, Mr Gove says: “No”
This was trailed last night, and is being pushed this morning.
Mr Gove tells Sky's Kay Burley that the announcements today are “reluctant steps but they are absolutely necessary.”
Should we begin to work from home again?
"If it is possible for people to work from home, then we'd encourage them to do so," says Cabinet Office Minister @michaelgove.
But Mr Gove adds that those who cannot do so should still go to "COVID-secure" workplaces. DC#KayBurley pic.twitter.com/ql0UuWPPZo
— Kay Burley (@KayBurley) September 22, 2020
Money needed for sport to stave off a 'lost generation of activity'
The leaders of more than 100 sports bodies have reportedly written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson requesting emergency funds to stave off a "lost generation of activity".
According to a letter reportedly seen by BBC Sport, the group warns the future of the sector is "perilous" and urges the Government to provide a "sports recovery fund" in order to help the industry endure the prolonged effects of the pandemic.
The letter, written by organisations including the Football Association, Premier League, Rugby Football Union and England and Wales Cricket Board, reportedly states: "We require a comprehensive support package for the sport and physical sector to aid its recovery.
"This package must combine investment, tax incentives, and regulatory reform.
"Covid-19 has undermined our commercial revenue streams with both stadiums and leisure facilities closed or greatly reduced in capacity. The impact of this will potentially lead to a lost generation of sport and activity."
Catching flu and Covid-19 at same time almost doubles risk of death
Catching flu at the same time as Covid-19 nearly doubles the risk of death from the virus, Public Health England (PHE) has said.
A new study of hospital patients who contracted both diseases from January to April this year found a 43 per cent mortality rate compared to 23 per in people who caught coronavirus alone.
Although the high death tolls for both cohorts reflects the vulnerable status of those patients, officials are warning that anyone who gets both flu and coronavirus at once could be in "serious trouble".
PHE also highlighted the risk of being hospitalised by influenza and then catching Covid-19 from other patients or staff.
South Korea suspends free flue shot programme
South Korea suspended free flu shots on Tuesday after reports of problems in storing the vaccinations during transportation, disrupting plans to pre-emptively ease the burden on a healthcare system already strained by coronavirus outbreaks.
The country, which has seen a spike in Covid-19 cases since August, planned to procure 20 per cent more flu vaccines for the winter than the previous year to jab 30 million people. It had planned to start free inoculation on Tuesday for some 19 million eligible people.
The head of South Korea's disease prevention agency said on Tuesday that some doses of the vaccine, which need to be refrigerated, had been exposed to room temperature while being transported to a medical facility.
It was not immediately known how many doses were affected, and authorities are looking into the entire batch of five million doses that were scheduled for distribution on Tuesday.
Cases in Australia's hotspot double, elsewhere restrictions to be eased
Australia's virus hotspot of Victoria on Tuesday reported a more than doubling in new infections likely as a result of increased testing, while states elsewhere in the country said border restrictions would be relaxed as case numbers dwindled.
Officials said the northeastern state of Queensland would open its borders to parts of neighbouring New South Wales amid growing confidence that Australia's second wave of infections has been contained.
NSW has maintained new daily infections in the single-digits since Sept. 11, reporting only two cases in the past 24 hours, both of which were overseas travellers already in quarantine.
Queensland had no new cases and South Australia has not reported a new case in close to two weeks.
Mexico's confirmed cases nears 700,000
Mexico closed in on a total of 700,000 confirmed cases on Monday, though authorities acknowledge the true number of infections in the country ranked No. 6 in Covid-19 cases globally is higher.
Mexico has the fourth highest number of deaths attributed to the pandemic.
On Sunday, the health ministry reported 3,542 new confirmed cases, bringing the total to 697,663 as well as a cumulative death toll of 73,493.
Pub curfew scheme 'from random policy generator'
The Prime Minister is this evening set to tell the British people that there will be a 10pm curfew in pubs from Thursday evening.
Boris Johnson is announcing new measures because the UK's coronavirus cases are surging.
But the Institute of Economic Affairs think tank said the plans would be "devastating to the hospitality sector". Christopher Snowdon, the IEA's head of lifestyle economics, said: "A 10pm closing time for all pubs, bars and other hospitality seems to have emerged from a random policy generator.
"While mandatory table service has been part of the successful Swedish approach and may have merit, the new closing time will be devastating to a hospitality sector that was already suffering after the first lockdown.
"The Government should publish the evidence upon which this decision was based."
Daily tests 'may not be available on the NHS'
Daily tests for Covid-19 which would allow people to get their lives back to normal would not be available on the NHS, the Government's head of testing has said.
Dido Harding, who runs the NHS's much-criticised test and trace system, suggested in comments reported by the i newspaper that companies and individuals could be forced to pay for rapid turnaround coronavirus tests as the "cost of doing business" when they become available.
Baroness Harding said those without symptoms might choose to foot the bill for self-administered tests to act as a kind of Covid-19 passport to allow them to take part in non-socially distanced activities
Earlier this month, it emerged the Government is considering shelling out as much as £100 billion on a programme dubbed "Operation Moonshot" to deliver up to 10 million tests every day.
'Johnson must show he has a plan'
Boris Johnson is expected to announce a plan today to get Britain's surging coronavirus infections under control. But Julia Hartley-Brewer says No 10's messages have been confusing and alarming:
It's easy to criticise the Government's chaotic communications but hiring the best PR agency in the business could not solve this problem. That's because the real crisis is not in the presentation of their strategy, it's the total absence of any strategy at all.
The Government's plan to tackle coronavirus appears to be little more than "we must be seen to do something". Even if that "something" is not merely useless but is even worse than doing nothing.
Today's top stories
Boris Johnson will today announce national Covid-19 restrictions including early pub closing and a return to working from home as he starts to reverse the freedoms of recent months
Scientists have described as "implausible" stark projections by Sir Patrick Vallance which suggested that coronavirus cases could reach 50,000 a day by mid-October
Germany’s most celebrated virologist has told countries to ignore "alarmism" and insisted it is possible to stop the spread of coronavirus without lockdowns
Spanish troops will deploy to Madrid to help enforce a strict new lockdown after thousands of residents took to the streets in protest
Retailers have played down fears of a return to panic buying as images of shelves stripped of toilet roll and flour began to circulate on social media
British sport was on the brink of financial implosion on Monday night after government forecasts of a devastating Covid-19 second wave raised fears that competitions and clubs would be folding within weeks
Panicked traders wiped more than £50bn off Britain's blue chip companies on Monday as pub and restaurant chiefs begged for more support ahead of a fresh Covid crackdown