Coronavirus map LIVE: Emergency meeting to decide on lockdowns for two towns TODAY

Coronavirus map LIVE: Emergency meeting to decide on lockdowns for two towns TODAY

Areas under consideration include Blackburn and Darwen along with Pendle and Oldham, following a spike in new coronavirus infections. Data released by Public Health England reveals there was more than 300 new cases in these northern towns in seven days.

In Oldham, officials recorded 200 new cases with a further 114 people testing positive in the Blackburn area.

The seven-day rolling data measured the number of new cases per 100,000 people between August 9-16.

In Oldham the rate stood at 84.3 with Blackburn and Darwen at 76.2 – a rise from 74.2.

Meanwhile the highest rate was recorded in Northampton with 262 new cases in the same period following an outbreak at a sandwich factory.

coronavirus news

Two more UK towns could be placed on a local lockdown (Image: GETTY)

Matt Hancock

Health Secretary Matt Hancock could approve more restrictions due to a spike (Image: GETTY)

The prospect of another lockdown in the north of England has divided the scientific community.

Oxford University Professor Carl Heneghan has urged the Government to resist and back its track and trace system.

He told BBC Newsnight: “The government has got this wrong by focusing on the number of cases.

coronavirus news

Coronavirus cases around the UK (Image: EXPRESS)

“If I look at the number of people in hospital right now, there are about 1,250 people across the Pennine trust; only nine of them have COVID-19 in a bed today.

“The virus at the moment is circulating at a low level. Oldham should be allowed to let their test and trace system function and get to work.”

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11.38pm update: Morocco at risk of second lockdown amid rise in infections

Moroccan King Mohammed VI said on Thursday the country could enter lockdown again despite its severe economic impact.

New infections in Morocco have risen to more than 1,000 a day since Morocco eased a draconian three-month long lockdown in late June.

The country hit a record high of 1,766 on 15 August.

10pm update: Sir Keir Starmer’s response to COVID-19 is “exactly-right” 

Sir Keir Starmer’s response to coronavirus has been “exactly right”, according to John McDonnell.

The former shadow chancellor praised the Labour leader for approaching the Government in a “constructive way” during the COVID-19 pandemic.

And he said that the Government had adopted policies put forward by Labour in order to tackle the crisis.

Speaking to John Pienaar on Times Radio, Mr McDonnell said: “Keir’s got this exactly right.

“He’s approached the Government in a constructive way – and we’ve got to get through this crisis together – but he can’t help but point out failure after failure. And people are getting pretty angry.

“He’s taking this Government on. What’s interesting is the Government itself has had to adopt many of the policies – not just the ones we advocated for in the last general election, the investment etcetera – but also the policies that we put to them in March to cope with this Covid crisis.

“The furlough scheme was our proposal, the support for small businesses, the self-employed – our proposals. I think he’s gaining the benefit of that.

“Of course with a new leader, the media will give you a much wider leeway to a large extent and of course he’s exploiting that, good for him.”

Students receive GCSEs

Students receive GCSEs based on teacher’s predictions (Image: Getty)

8:30pm update: Jet2 resumes flights to Portugal after country is left off quarantine list and Jet2holidays said it will resume its flights and holidays programme to Faro, in Portugal’s Algarve, from Monday, with multiple weekly flights departing from all nine of its UK bases – Belfast International, Birmingham, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds Bradford, London Stansted, Manchester and Newcastle.

The company is already operating to Madeira (Funchal) from Birmingham, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Leeds Bradford, Manchester and London Stansted.

Chief executive Steve Heapy said: “We welcome this change in Government advice which means that customers can once again look forward to enjoying their well-deserved holidays in the stunning Algarve region. With flights and holidays operating to Faro, in addition to Madeira, we are thrilled to be offering customers two fantastic options in Portugal when they’re looking to book their well-deserved holiday away from the gloom.”

7.10pm update: New countries removed from safe list

Croatia, Austria and Trinidad and Tobago have been removed from the list of safe countries people can travel to without going into quarantine.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced the change on Thursday evening, meaning people travelling from these countries will have to isolate for two weeks if they return to the UK after 4am on Saturday.

Scotland has also removed Switzerland from the safe travel list meaning anybody returning will also have to isolate for two weeks.

6.20pm update: New pandemic restrictions in Northern Ireland

Less people are allowed to meet outdoors in Northern Ireland as part of new measures.

The country has one of the highest rates of spread in the UK and the most recent reproductive estimate for coronavirus is 1.3.

The number of people socialising indoors at households will be reduced to six from no more than two households. 

The limit on those attending outdoor gatherings will fall from 30 to 15.

5.35pm update: Rumours of Greece quarantine rules affect family holidays

Jess, from Milton Keynes, rescheduled a £6,500 family holiday for an extra cost of £1,000, PA reports.

The holiday, for her and her husband’s 40th birthdays, had already been rescheduled from the start of the school Summer holidays to the end, but it has now been pushed back to next year.

Jess made the latest change after seeing a spike in Covid cases in Greece and reading four articles on the rumoured quarantine changes.

“If the government could stop the fake news published (about rule changes) that scares readers it would help,” she said.

“Frustratingly we booked this holiday as a special treat as (me and my husband) are both 40 this year.

“Too late for us we are off camping to Cornwall.”

4.50pm update: Daily COVID-19 death figures

41,403 people had died in the UK within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19, the Goverment has said.

Separate figures published by the UK’s statistics agencies show there have now been 57,000 deaths registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.

The Government also said that as of 9am on Thursday, there had been a further 1,182 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus. Overall, 322,280 cases have been confirmed.

4.15pm update: Large number of tests not back in 24 hours, research shows

Figures show less than two-thirds (60.5 percent) of people who were tested for Covid-19 in the week ending August 12 received their result in 24 hours.

This includes a regional site or mobile testing unit – a so-called “in-person” test.

This is down from 70.3 percent in the previous week and the 92.7 percent in the week to July 1.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that, by the end of June, the results of all in-person tests would be back within 24 hours.

3.30pm update: Top academic warns of second coronavirus wave

Professor Sir John Bell, regius professor of medicine at the University of Oxford, is anticipating a “really bumpy” winter, with the additional risk of seasonal flu.

Speaking on a Royal Society of Medicine webinar, Prof Bell said: “My bet is that we will get a second wave, and the vaccines won’t get here in time to stop the second wave.”

2.05pm update: Track and trace identifies more than 16,000 contacts

The NHS coronavirus track and trace system in England has identified 16,997 new contacts in the week to August 12.

Data shows the COVID-19 system reached 71.3 percent of contacts who were asked to self-isolate.

1.15pm update: Live events to return in Scotland

Sport stadiums, live music venues and theatres can reopen in Scotland from September 14, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The First Minister gave the results of a three-week review of lockdown restrictions to MSPs in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday.

She said Scotland cannot move to the last stage of its four-step plan to ease out of lockdown as the virus is still a significant threat.


Scotland has recorded a huge rise in coronavirus cases (Image: GETTY)

12.30pm update: Scotland records highest daily cases for almost three months

Scotland has recorded the highest number of daily coronavirus cases in almost three months.

Speaking during the Scottish Government’s daily briefing, the First Minister said 19,534 people have tested positive for the virus in Scotland, up by 77 from 19,457 the day before.

No new coronavirus deaths have been reported in the last 24 hours, she said.

A total of 2,492 patients have died in Scotland after testing positive for Covid-19.

12.00pm update: 11 percent of businesses in danger of collapse – bleak ONS warning

More than one in 10 businesses in the UK fear they are at risk of collapsing amid the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, official statistics suggest.

Damning figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed 10 percent of businesses say their risk of insolvency was “moderate”.

A further one percent said the likelihood of going bankrupt was a “severe risk”.

11.10am update: China to launch coronavirus vaccine within MONTHS but Britons set to miss out

China is pressing ahead with plans to launch a coronavirus vaccine as early as December following successful trials – but Britons will miss out due to limited availability.

China National Pharmaceutical Group Corporation has confirmed a coronavirus vaccine is currently undergoing its third and final trial ahead of a planned launch is less than four months.

The state-owned firm is aiming to produce around 220 million doses per year.

This would only be enough to immunise less than 20 percent of the 1.4 billion population in China.

10.15am update: India records new daily high of 69,672 coronavirus cases

India has reported a record daily jump of 69,672 new coronavirus infections, taking the total number of cases to 2.84 million.

The federal health ministry also reported 997 new deaths, taking the total to 53,886.

9.40am update: Students receiving top grades in GCSE soars to a record high

The number of students in England awarded top grades in their GCSE results has surged to a record high, after pass marks were based on teacher assessments following the cancelation of exams due to the coronavirus pandemic.

More than one in four (25.9 percent) of GCSE entries in England scored one of the three top grades this year, up from just over a fifth (20.7 percent) last summer, figures from exams regulator Ofqual show.

The proportion receiving the top grades – at least a 7 or an A grade – was a record high after the Government made a U-turn on using a controversial algorithm.

More than 76 percent of entries were awarded at least a 4 or a C grade in England this summer.

The figure is higher than last year when just 67.1 percent of students achieved a C or above.

9.20am update: Health chiefs refuses to rule of face coverings in workplaces and schools

Face coverings in workplaces should not be ruled out in Scotland and could be considered in secondary schools to help keep them open, a public health expert has said.

Professor Linda Bauld said the measures could be considered in other settings if levels of coronavirus rise.

Asked in an interview on BBC Radio Scotland whether introducing face coverings in workplaces should be considered north of the border to allow more people to get back to work, she said: “We’re not at that point yet.

“I don’t think we should rule it out. I think if cases go up and we need particular settings to reopen that can’t, for whatever reason, face coverings indoors absolutely, but at the moment those sectors that can work from home – that’s the message that I agree with – should continue to do that.”


Germany has recorded a huge increase in coronavirus cases (Image: GETTY)

8.50am update: Germany records biggest coronavirus spike in more than three months

Germany has recorded its highest number of coronavirus cases in more than three months sparking fears of a second wave across Europe.

Figures published by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) found a further 1,707 people tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday.

The health body also confirmed a further 10 people had died after testing positive for the virus.

Since the start of the pandemic the total number of cases in Germany now stands at 228,621 with 9,253 deaths.

8.35am update: Three-quarters of patients hospitalised with COVID still experiencing symptoms – study finds

Almost three-quarter of patients hospitalised with coronavirus have suffered ongoing symptoms three months later, a new study suggests.

Research found 81 out of 110 patients discharged from Southmead Hospital in Bristol were still suffering from the virus.

Persistent symptoms included breathlessness fatigue and muscle aches.

The study was conducted as part of North Bristol NHS Trust’s Discover project.

Dr Rebecca Smith, from North Bristol NHS Trust, said: “There’s still so much we don’t know about the long-term effects of coronavirus, but this study has given us vital new insight into what challenges patients may face in their recovery and will help us prepare for those needs.”

Published at Thu, 20 Aug 2020 23:07:00 +0000