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Only get tested if you show symptoms – PM

Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged only those who need a test to get one.

Responding to Labour’s Angela Rayner he said: “The British people, quite understandably, are responding to that system, with a huge, huge surge in demand.

“And so it’s very important that everybody follows the guidance about when they should be getting a test.”


PM makes promises… then breaks them – Rayner

Angela Rayner replied: “I heard what the Prime Minister had to say, but I have to say to him yesterday (Tuesday) the chief executive of Care England said ‘we were promised weekly testing for staff, that has not been delivered’.

“Time and time again he makes promises then breaks those promises. In June he told this House ‘I can undertake now to get all tests turned in 24 hours by the end of June’.

“They’ve had six months to get this right and yet the Prime Minister still can’t deliver on his promises.

“The Health Secretary said yesterday it would take weeks to sort this situation out.

“We don’t have weeks.”

More from the deputy Labour leader here:

Evening StandardLabour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner opened PMQs by asking Boris Johnson a question “from a man called Keir” as she quizzed him over coronavirus testing. Ms Rayner deputised for Sir Keir Starmer in the Commons after the Labour leader had to self-isolate while his child was waiting for the results of a Covid-19 test. 


Meanwhile in Scotland, the latest figures are in:

One more confirmed coronavirus patient has died in Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

It brings the total number of Covid-19 fatalities to 2,501.

The figures are lower than weekly statistics from the National Records of Scotland – which record people who have died with confirmed or suspected coronavirus – and show the death total stands at 4,236.

Speaking at the Scottish Government’s daily briefing, the First Minister said 23,283 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Scotland, up by 267 from 22,749 the day before.

This is 3.6% of newly-tested individuals.

Of the new cases, 105 are in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, 40 in Lanarkshire and 45 in Lothian.

There are 51 people in hospital confirmed to have the virus, up by three in 24 hours.

Of these patients, six were in intensive care, down one.


Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner called on the Prime Minister to “get some skates on” in delivering testing and PPE to care homes ahead of winter.

She said: “I must say to the Prime Minister get some skates on it. Those care workers are still not getting the PPE they need, they’re still not getting the testing they need.

“So I urge the Prime Minister to get on top of this problem now before the winter crisis hits.

“The Prime Minister has put his faith in Operation Moonshot, but meanwhile on planet Earth there are no NHS tests available for several high-infection areas.”

She asked: “Can the Prime Minister confirm yes or no, do all care homes in this country have weekly tests?”

Boris Johnson replied: “Yes, to the best of my knowledge care homes in this country… should get weekly tests for all staff members and tests every 28 days for those who are in the care homes, the residents in the care homes.”


Government to launch care home ‘action plan’ for winter

Boris Johnson has expressed concerns about Covid-19 infection rates in care homes, as he prepared to announce a “toughening up” of rules governing care home worker movement.

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner challenged the Prime Minister to give the social care sector the funding it needs to “get through this looming winter crisis”.

Mr Johnson replied: “We are concerned about the rates of infection in care homes, clearly they’ve come down massively since we instituted the £600 million care home action plan.

“Tomorrow we will be announcing a further winter care home action plan and it won’t surprise her to know that we want to see a toughening up of the rules governing the movement of workers from one care home to another, we want to make sure we protect care homes from further infections.”


Angela Rayner kicks things off with testing

Angela Rayner opened PMQs by reading a message from “a man called Keir” – as she deputised for Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.

Ms Rayner told the Commons: “Keir wasn’t able to go to work today and his children couldn’t go to school because his family had to wait for their coronavirus test results despite the Prime Minister’s promise of results within 24 hours.

“Keir was able to do the right thing and self-isolate and work from home, but other people aren’t in this position – many of them are the very people getting us through this crisis.”

Ms Rayner said Boris Johnson once earned £2,300 an hour, asking: “So can the Prime Minister tell us what is the average hourly rate for a care worker in this country?”

The Prime Minister said he understood a negative test had been returned for Sir Keir’s child, adding: “I don’t know why he is not here.”

Mr Johnson defended the speed of testing but did not offer an answer on the average hourly rate, to which Ms Rayner said: “The whole country would have seen that the Prime Minister doesn’t know how much a care worker earns because that was my question – the shameful fact is the average wage in social care is barely more than £8 an hour.”


Scotland’s ‘true’ death toll rises to 4,236

A total of 4,236 people have died in Scotland with confirmed or suspected coronavirus, according to the National Records of Scotland (NRS).

A total of five deaths relating to Covid-19 were registered between September 7 and 13, two in a care home and three in a hospital.

The statistics are published weekly and account for all deaths registered in Scotland where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.

They differ from the lab-confirmed coronavirus deaths announced daily by the Scottish Government because they include suspected or probable cases of Covid-19.


Tory MP James Daly began today’s questioning….

Conservative MP James Daly asked the PM if he will thank teachers for their efforts to get children back to school in a Covid-secure environment.

He also requested an update from the national tutoring programme – a scheme to help children catch up.

The PM replied that he would like to thank teachers for their efforts, and “believes passionately” in the tutoring scheme.

He said the first tutors will start work in November, with provision “ramped up” during the autumn and spring terms.


He is facing Angela Rayner, standing in for Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer who has been self-isolating at home:


And so it begins…

Boris Johnson addresses the Commons for today’s PMQs


One-size-fits-all approach to jobs is failing – minister

Shadow Welsh Secretary Nia Griffith called on ministers to accept that a “one-size-fits-all” approach to the jobs crisis is “simply not working”.

She told Welsh Secretary Simon Hart: “There is now barely a month to go before his Government’s job protection schemes end, leaving thousands of self-employed people and others at risk of unemployment. And it’s not just Labour saying that – businesses, trade unions and the Treasury Select Committee have all sounded the alarm.

“So will the Government accept that a one-size-fits-all approach to this jobs crisis is simply not working? Will he now come forward with some concrete proposals and a real plan to safeguard jobs for people right across Wales?”

Mr Hart responded: “A third of the workforce of Wales has been supported by the UK Government during the pandemic. It’s gone further and deeper than any other government pretty well in the world.

“VAT deferrals, mortgage holidays, rental support, increases to Universal Credit, the relaxation of minimum income, VAT reduction. This is not a one-size-fits-all arrangement, this is a whole package of measures which are designed to help as many people as possible stay in work and get back to work just as soon as it’s safe to do so.”


Spotted: The PM heads to today’s session in the Commons


This will come as a major blow to the capital’s hospitality sector…

With the epidemic expected to hit the city with far greater force in coming weeks, Professor Kevin Fenton, London director of Public Health England, made clear that more restrictions may be imposed, including some possibly across the capital, to avoid a more stringent lockdown.

In an exclusive interview with the Evening Standard, he also issued an urgent appeal to Londoners, hailing them for their “phenomenal” efforts in crushing the first wave and urging them to “do it again” now.

Read more…


More from BA’s chief executive:

On the issue of coronavirus testing at airports as a way of reducing quarantine requirements, Alex Cruz said: “It is incredibly important that we reach a testing regime of some sort as quickly as possible, so that we can reduce that quarantine time to the minimum possible.

“We are making a suggestion that we actually run a test between London and New York, so we can give authorities on both sides of the Atlantic an opportunity to test different ways in which a particular testing regime would actually work.

“This is imperative, so that we can drive the confidence of travellers so we can get business going again.”

He went on: “We’re sitting here, we’re ready to go.

“We need some testing regime that will minimise the quarantine process so again we can get people travelling.

“With the current quarantine process of two weeks, unfortunately we are not having sufficient travellers wanting to do either business or wanting to go on holiday.”


The airline is suffering the ‘worst crisis’ in its history:


Spotted: Health Secretary Matt Hancock outside Number 10 ahead of today’s session in the Commons


Russia to sell coronavirus vaccine to India

Russia is to supply India with 100 million doses of its Sputnik-V vaccine against Covid-19 once it receives regulatory approval in the country.

The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) said it had agreed to cooperate on clinical trials and the distribution of the vaccine with the India’s Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories.