Anti-vax lies are ‘utterly deplorable’ – Raab
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has said any attempt to spread lies about coronavirus and a vaccine is “utterly deplorable”.
The Times reported that a Russian disinformation campaign has been set up in order to spread fear about the Oxford University coronavirus vaccine, with pictures, memes and video clips depicting the British-made inoculation as dangerous.
Mr Raab told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It’s a shabby piece of disinformation but it is very serious because it is an attempt to disrupt the attempts to find a safe vaccine.
“We know that Russia has a track record of using disinformation as a foreign policy tool … but actually any attempt to spread lies about Covid-19, and the vaccine in particular, when we’re trying to come together as an international community to resolve a global pandemic is utterly deplorable.”
The rule of six has been broken in dazzling fashion here:
A venue owner is facing a £10,000 Covid-19 fine after allowing a wedding reception with more than 100 guests to go ahead in west London.
Police were called to Tudor Rose, Southall on Thursday, just after 6.30pm after receiving a report about a mass gathering.
Scotland Yard said officers saw “a high number of people” packed into the venue with no evidence of social distancing in place.
This graphic tracks the rise in infections across the UK since May:
Talks to continue with local leaders over Tier 3 move
The Government will “keep talking” with local leaders over further coronavirus restrictions, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has said.
He told Sky News: “We will keep talking and we’ll keep working. Obviously in the last resort the Government has the powers to proceed in any event, but we would much rather work with the local leaders if at all possible.”
Mr Raab said talks were continuing with Lancashire leaders and that the Government wanted to “get those arrangements put in place”.
He added: “I think the right thing both on public health grounds but also supporting the economy, supporting jobs, livelihoods, supporting our society and the most vulnerable in it is to avoid a second national lockdown.
“The way to do it is with a tiered approach that we’ve advocated. That will only work, the scientists tell us, if everyone really leans in and implements it to the maximum.”
Wondering how authorities are going to manage new Tier 2 restrictions?
Police will increase patrols around pubs and bars in London this weekend to make sure Covid-19 rules are not being broken as the capital enters Tier 2 lockdown.
Metropolitan Police said they will crack down on “the most deliberate, harmful and flagrant” breaches after the city enters stricter regulations.
From Midnight on Friday, London will be moved into the Tier 2 Covid-alert category which means the region is deemed to be at a high risk from the virus.
Manchester Mayor is trying to hold ministers ‘over a barrel’ – Raab
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has accused Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham of trying to “hold the Government over a barrel” by resisting tougher coronavirus restrictions.
Mr Raab told BBC Breakfast: “Ultimately we need to take action – we can’t have a situation as we have seen in Manchester where Andy Burnham is effectively trying to hold the Government over a barrel over money and politics when actually we need to take action.
“The cases there are 470 per 100,000 so it is very serious, and we must take action in the interest of the people of Manchester and the wider area, and if we take those targeted actions in those areas most affected… we get through this and we avoid the national level lockdown.”
He urged Mr Burnham to “do the right thing by the people of Manchester”.
One week isn’t enough for ‘circuit-breaker’ – expert
On the idea of a “circuit-breaker”, Professor Graham Medley said: “A week isn’t long enough.”
He told the Today programme: “Somebody who’s infected the day before you go into that break would still be infectious when you came out.
“You need at least one generation of infection, so people who were infected before, to stop being infected by the end, so it would need to be at least two weeks.”
Will we need to go back to spring-style lockdown?
Professor Graham Medley believes people need to “break the networks that we have between households” such as “schools and work and leisure activities”.
He said: “Whether we need to go all the way back to March I think is a good question – I certainly think the concept of bubbles, of households being able to join together is potentially a very good one and mitigates a lot of the damage.”
He added: “The idea is now out there that we could do it for a short period and know when we’re going to do it and that would potentially mitigate the damage as well.”
Healthcare could return to spring crisis – disease expert
Professor Graham Medley, an expert in infectious disease modelling at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and member of Sage, believes that in terms of healthcare “some areas are going to be back to the same kind of position they were at the end of March”.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We are struggling at the moment to understand how we’re balancing that imperative of having to prevent healthcare being completely overwhelmed and yet how to mitigate against the damage caused by the intervention which of course is huge.”
Here’s a reminder of yesterday’s figures in case you missed them:
The UK has recorded nearly 19,000 new Covid-19 cases and 138 deaths from the virus.
According to the Department of Health, there were a further 18,980 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK on Thursday, a slight dip on the previous day.
It brings the total number of cases in the UK to 673,622.
The PM is braced for tough talks with local leaders today amid what’s being branded a ‘northern revolt’:
Boris Johnson is locked in a stand-off with Manchester’s mayor, who has refused to accept stricter Covid-19 restrictions.
Andy Burnham said the north of England was being treated “as the canaries in the coal mine” for an experimental regional lockdown strategy.
He said the Government’s own top scientific advisors have told him such a strategy has no guarantee of success, and will result in job losses and hardship.
Hello and welcome to our live coronavirus coverage.
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Another 713 dead in Brazil
Brazil has registered 713 additional coronavirus deaths over the last 24 hours and 28,523 new cases, the nation’s Health Ministry said on Thursday evening.
The South American country has now registered 152,460 total coronavirus deaths and 5,169,386 total confirmed cases.
Coronavirus trajectory ‘rapidly deteriorating’, warns chief medical officer
Ireland’s chief medical officer has warned of a “rapidly deteriorating trajectory nationally” of coronavirus.
Dr Tony Holohan expressed “extreme concern” at the increased spread of the virus over the last week in particular.
He said the number of positive cases over the past week has increased by 82 per cent compared with the previous seven days, from 3,514 to 6,382.
Sick doctor’s family could be forced to leave UK while he is on ventilator
Friends of a “loved and respected” hospital consultant who is paralysed on a ventilator after contracting coronavirus say they are worried his family will be forced leave the UK while he remains in intensive care.
A fundraising campaign has begun to help get legal assistance for 44-year-old consultant cardiologist Dr Basem Enany, who is in intensive care at Leeds General Infirmary after developing a rare complication of Covid-19.
Dr Enany’s wife and four daughters have been unable to visit him in hospital due to the virus and now face the prospect of having to leave the UK when the Egyptian locum’s contract expires at the end of November.
But, on Thursday evening, the Home Office said Dr Enany is not under threat of enforcement action and said it would be contacting the family and hospital to help.
His colleague Dr Sanjay Gupta said Dr Enany was working as a locum at York Hospital before he became ill, but his contract is due to finish at the end of November.
He said his friend’s work visa will not be renewed and, therefore, his wife and four daughters, the youngest of whom is four, will be asked to leave the UK.
Epidemiologist calls for all-island approach in Ireland
A leading epidemiologist has called for an all-island approach to the pandemic, saying “you could bet your life” one would be used if the disease affected animals.
Calls for a singular approach in how the governments in Belfast and Dublin respond to the crisis are growing after both jurisdictions saw record numbers of cases this week.
The Republic of Ireland saw 1,205 new cases – its highest daily increase – on Thursday, while Northern Ireland counted 763 new cases.
NI saw its highest number of daily cases yet on Wednesday (1,217).
Seven further deaths were also recorded across the island on Thursday, with three in the Republic and four in Northern Ireland.
Irish chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan described an 82% increase in cases in a week, from 3,514 to 6,382 cases.
Tuesday’s hospital admissions
The number of Covid-19 patients admitted to hospital on Tuesday – the most recent daily figures available – and the total number of patients in hospital and those on ventilators in each region of England, as of Thursday, are as follows (previous week’s figure in brackets):
East of England – 32 admitted (11), 209 in hospital (115), 18 on ventilators (12)
London – 73 (43), 404 (323), 78 (51)
Midlands – 161 (78), 758 (489), 91 (78)
North East & Yorkshire – 183 (161), 1,114 (813), 118 (92)
North West – 244 (185), 1,542 (1,098), 149 (117)
South East – 48 (25), 228 (140), 12 (12)
South West – 23 (21), 124 (66), 16 (6)
Hancock calls on northern leaders to come together
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has appealed to local government leaders in the North West to “set aside party politics” and back the Government’s proposals for increased coronavirus controls in the region.
“The situation in the North West of England is severe. The number of cases is rising exponentially, the number of people in hospital has doubled in just 12 days,” he told broadcasters.
“So I call upon local leaders to set aside this party politics and to work with us to put in place the measures that are needed in Greater Manchester, across the North West, so that we can deal with this virus and support people through it.
“This is a time for people to come together so that we can control this virus.”
570 patients in hospital in Scotland
In Scotland, 570 Covid-19 patients were in hospital as of Wednesday, up from 319 a week earlier, with 49 in ventilation beds, up from 28 a week earlier.
In Wales, 384 Covid-19 patients were in hospital as of Wednesday, up from 277 a week earlier, with 29 in ventilation beds, up from 27 a week earlier.
In Northern Ireland, 164 Covid-19 patients were in hospital as of Tuesday, up from 147 a week earlier, with 17 in ventilation beds as of Wednesday, up from 11 a week earlier.
Data on patients with Covid-19 is not comparable across the UK due to differences in the way the figures are reported.
4,739 people in hospital in England
Separate figures show there were 4,379 Covid-19 patients in hospital in England on Thursday, up from 3,044 a week ago, while 482 were in ventilation beds, up from 368 a week ago.
A total of 764 patients with confirmed Covid-19 were admitted to hospitals in England on Tuesday, compared with 524 a week earlier.