Friday morning news briefing: More people to be forced to isolate

Danny Boyle
·6 min read
Boris Johnson, facing calls for a national lockdown, uses the NHS Covid-19 app - PA
Boris Johnson, facing calls for a national lockdown, uses the NHS Covid-19 app - PA

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App changes could force more people to self-isolate

More people are to be forced into Covid self-isolation. The NHS contact tracing app's algorithm has been tweaked - lowering the "risk threshold" that determines if a user is to be alerted. The Government said the decision was necessary to tackle rising coronavirus infection rates by breaking the chains of transmission. But the changes to the app - so far downloaded by 19 million people, or about 40 per cent of those with eligible phones - could send many more into de facto lockdown with no ministerial announcement. Read how the technology actually works - and what the "possible exposure" message means.

It comes amid growing speculation of a new national lockdown. Senior figures have told Prime Minister Boris Johnson it is becoming clear that even Tier 3 restrictions do not go far enough and warned that, at current infection rates, most of the country would be under maximum measures within weeks (this is what that means for your daily life). Science Editor Sarah Knapton says Downing Street is considering a Christmas window where families will be able to meet, with lockdowns either side of the festive period. The PM has so far refused to impose any new nationwide restriction, despite lockdowns in France, Italy and Germany where infection rates are lower. These charts show how our numbers compare to the worst hit European nations. Matt is away, but Davey has today's political cartoon - imagining Mr Johnson's Christmas preparations.

Shaming of Jeremy Corbyn sparks Labour civil war

Jeremy Corbyn's allies have accused Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer of "inciting war" by suspending him. The former party leader mobilised supporters against his successor as MPs, unions and members loyal to him demanded his reinstatement and reopened the party's anti-Semitism row. The Equality and Human Rights Commission found failures to tackle discrimination under Mr Corbyn's leadership. Some union figures are discussing the possibility of forming a breakaway party. In our sketchMadeline Grant says the fact that Corbyn ultimately doomed himself is a matter of irony so delicious that only the most expansionary ultra-Zionist could fail to notice it. Read the report's key findings.

Tracey Emin: 'I have the cancer that killed my mother'

She has never cared for privacy; "oversharing" is the point of her art. There is an irony, then, to what happened to Tracey Emin just as the Covid crisis approached. Alone, at home, she was facing death. The diagnosis was squamous-cell bladder cancer. You may not have heard of it, but Emin had. "My mother died of the same cancer," she says. "Four years ago today." Read her exclusive interview with Jessamy Calkin in which she contemplates death, regrets and her next chapter. Columnist Claire Cohen says Emin paints a picture of female pain like no other.

At a glance: More coronavirus headlines

Also in the news: Today's other headlines

Nice attack | Turkey's president is accused of fanning the flames of Islamist violence against France, which mourned its second beheading in two weeks in an attack on a church in Nice that left three dead. A 21-year-old assailant of Tunisian origin attacked a churchgoer at Notre Dame Basilica, decapitating her before slitting the throat of a warden and stabbing a second woman to death. Read analysis by Middle East Correspondent Campbell MacDiarmid. And Paris Correspondent Henry Samuel rounds up a "nightmare day" for France.  

Around the world: Trump triumphant over recovery

Donald Trump hailed the "biggest and best" economic recovery in the history of the United States as he sought to convince voters his policy of reopening the country had been vindicated. Nick Allen reports on the latest from the campaign trail in Tampa, Florida - a key state on a voter knife edge. This is how Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden compare in the polls. I also recommend signing up for our US 2020 newsletter.

Donald Trump kisses his wife Melania on stage in Tampa last night. CREDIT:  - BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI /AFP/GETTY  
Donald Trump kisses his wife Melania on stage in Tampa last night. CREDIT: - BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI /AFP/GETTY

Comment and analysis

Editor's choice: Features and arts

  1. Rick Astley interview | 'Being an Eighties pop star was like being a travelling salesman'

  2. Double life 'The man I loved and lived with for five years was an undercover police officer'

  3. The Big Stella X Smart Works fashion sale The feel-good shopping event of the season

Business and money briefing

March of the tech titans | Amazon revealed a 200pc leap in profits last night as a string of Silicon Valley titans emerged as pandemic winners. The firm was the biggest success story on a night of bumper earnings - with Facebook, Apple, Twitter and Google's parent company Alphabet all posting higher sales as demand for personal electronics rose.  

Sport briefing

Rugby | Eddie Jones, the England head coach, admits rugby's reputation has been reduced to a "laughing stock" after the Rugby Football Union last night launched disciplinary charges against 13 Barbarians players. Meanwhile, Austin Healey has this analysis of Jones' choices.  

Tonight's dinner  

Bloody Mary tomatoes with chorizo, feta and onion pickle | Eleanor Steafel says this is a comforting, simple supper - perfect with thick toast rubbed with garlic. Read the recipe.

And finally... for this morning's downtime

Historic maps | Nearly 450 years after the Spanish Armada, a new war is raging over treasured documents to stop them leaving the country. Joe Shute asks: Can they be saved for the nation?