Wednesday morning news briefing: Coronavirus mass testing

·4 min read
A tourist wearing a face mask at the Trevi Fountain in Rome - Alessia Pierdomenico /BLOOMBERG  
A tourist wearing a face mask at the Trevi Fountain in Rome - Alessia Pierdomenico /BLOOMBERG

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Coronavirus: School closures and travel controls plan

Britain is stepping up its coronavirus action plan. Thousands of Britons will be tested by GPs, amid fears that the explosion of cases in Europe means there could already be far more cases in this country than have been identified. Health Editor Laura Donnelly explains how mass surveillance will be introduced, with health planners considering school closures and transport restrictions if the danger spreads. British families remain trapped in a locked-down Tenerife hotel, with concerns that dozens of potential carriers may have already returned to the UK.​ Follow latest updates in our liveblog. And these are the symptoms to look for.

Coronavirus has now killed more than 2,600 people and infected almost 80,000 in more than 30 countries, including 11 in Europe. The UK government last night changed its advice for people travelling to Italy, cautioning against all but essential travel to 11 towns in lockdown. Is this the end of air kissing? Head of Fashion Lisa Armstrong explains what happened when coronavirus brought a crisis to the catwalks of Milan.

Defence spending in line to rise for 21st century battles

Boris Johnson has signalled the first major increase in defence spending for five years, unveiling the biggest reassessment of Britain's place in the world since the end of the Cold War. The Prime Minister will today announce an integrated review of funding for the Ministry of Defence, Foreign Office and Department for International Development. He said the UK had to develop new technologies to deal with emerging threats in the 21st century, such as cyber attacks. Meanwhile, Mr Johnson has told the EU to show Britain "respect" after accusing Brussels of offering the UK a more "onerous" trade deal than it has other countries. Political Editor Gordon Rayner explains what Downing Street said was off-limits in the trade negotiations, which will begin next week.

Military Wives wage all-out assault on the tear ducts

When it comes to tugging at our heartstrings, director Peter Cattaneo has form. The Full Monty was one of the biggest British films of the Nineties - and now he is back in reassuringly feelgood territory. Military Wives is based on the true story of an ensemble of servicemen's spouses who formed a choir and later enlisted the help of TV choirmaster Gareth Malone. Ed Power reviews the film starring Kristin Scott Thomas. And sign up for our free Film newsletter for exclusive commentary.

News digest

Gallery: The big picture

A little night music | The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended a performance of the musical Dear Evan Hansen in London last night in aid of the Royal Foundation. View more of the day's best images.

The Duchess outside the Noel Coward Theatre in the West End - Simon Dawson/REUTERS
The Duchess outside the Noel Coward Theatre in the West End - Simon Dawson/REUTERS


Editor's choice

  1. Prison preppers | The crack team readying Weinstein for life behind bars

  2. Dog house Should you really let your pet sleep in your bed?

  3. The Windsors, review | Rude, crude return for brattish cousin to The Crown

Business and money briefing

Data released | Leading Brexiteer Arron Banks is among hundreds of people whose private records were wrongly published by the City watchdog in a data breach. Mr Banks was one of 1,600 members of the public whose details were mistakenly released on the website of the Financial Conduct Authority after they complained to the regulator.  

Sport briefing

Chelsea 0 Bayern 3 | Frank Lampard has challenged Chelsea's players to restore some European pride after a brutal lesson from Bayern Munich pushed them to the brink of Champions League elimination. Read Sam Wallace's match report from Stamford Bridge.  

And finally...

Botched operation | Two Harley Street doctors have been suspended after mistakenly removing the vagina of a transgender patient without consent. In what is believed to be the first case of its kind in Britain, the man - who was transitioning from a woman - was left "distraught" after the irreversible reassignment procedure.

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