Scotland ready to enforce cross-border travel bans
Scotland could implement measures to prevent non-essential travel from coronavirus hotspots, the SNP’s Westminster leader has said.
Ian Blackford told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: “We of course have the opportunity to put in place appropriate public health measures.
“What we can do, if necessary, is say that people should not travel from hotspots, whether they should be from in Scotland or people coming to Scotland from other parts of the United Kingdom.
“But that will be done on an evidence-based approach where we think it’s appropriate to protect the people in all parts of the country from people travelling where it’s not necessary.
“When people have to travel for business, for work, and so on – essential journeys – they will still be allowed, but what we’re talking about is non-essential journeys, where it’s appropriate to do that.”
Northern MPs vent frustration at silence from No10
William Wragg, Conservative MP for Hazel Grove in Greater Manchester, was among those complaining at a lack of communication from the Government despite reports on Wednesday night that Tier 3 restrictions had been signed off for the region.
After Labour’s Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham and Manchester Norton MP Afzal Khan both said they had not been informed of the plans being reported last night, Mr Wragg wrote: “Sadly, I’ve received no email… says it all really.
He then posted earlier this morning: “Email now received. However, it is frustrating to keep learning of these developments from second-hand sources, alongside the speculation and hearsay.”
Hancock expected to announce new measures for northern England at 11.30am today
Health Secretary Matt Hancock will address parliament at 11.30am, in what is expected to be an announcement of tough new measures across swathes of northern England.
Asked by Sky News’s Kay Burley if Manchester and parts of Lancashire will be placed into Tier 3, business minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “I’m not going to speculate.
“Matt Hancock is going to make a statement to parliament as to where we are at but you can clearly see the numbers.”
Minister promises decisions will be made ‘jointly’ after MPs not invited to briefing
Business minister Nadhim Zahawi has apologised to MPs after some claimed they weren’t invited to Government meetings on new restrictions to be held today.
Quizzed on claims by Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham and Lucy Powell, the Labour MP for Manchester Central, that they had found out about the briefing from the media Mr Zahawi told Sky News’s Kay Burley he was sorry.
He said it is a “fast-moving situation” but added: “I hope they can be at the meeting so they can hear directly from the deputy chief medical officer as to why we’re going to have to take this action.
“Decision will be made jointly with the local leaders,” he stressed.
The latest figures for London explain why the city is on the brink of ‘high risk’ rules:
London is today on the brink of tighter Tier 2 Covid-19 restrictions as 11 boroughs saw more than 100 new cases in a week per 100,000 people, according to official figures.
The capital as a whole is also close to breaching this potential trigger point for a new clampdown, having reached 97 cases per 100,000 in the week to October 10.
A swathe of west London, as well as several council areas in East London, have seen the disease rise above this level.
The Mayor of London is calling for greater support for Londoners ahead of ‘likely’ tough new restrictions:
Sadiq Khan has called on the government to issue a support package for London as he suggested the capital could enter the higher Tier 2 coronavirus restrictions this week.
The city’s mayor sought clarity on provisions made for businesses, support for vulnerable Londoners and test and trace efforts in the capital, including for those self-isolating.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, Mr Khan said the rate of infections in London was “fast approaching” 100 cases per 100,000.
This means it is “likely” that the capital would move to the next alert level as early as this week, he added.
Also announced yesterday evening:
Paris and several other major French cities are to be placed under a 9pm curfew after the French government declared a public health state of emergency.
The curfews will take effect from Saturday, and will run daily from 9:00 pm until 6:00 am the following morning, President Emmanuel Macron said in an interview broadcast on national television.
Mr Macron said curfews would be imposed in the greater Paris region, Marseille, Toulouse, Montpellier and five other cities. They will remain in place for four weeks.
In case you missed it, here are some of the biggest stories last night – starting with the latest UK figures:
Nearly 20,000 new coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the UK, while 137 more people have died after contracting the virus.
The Government said that, as of 9am on Wednesday, there had been a further 19,724 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus.
It brings the total number of cases in the UK to 654,644.
The Government also said a further 137 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Wednesday, bringing the UK total to 43,155.
Good morning and welcome to our live coronavirus coverage.
US First Lady’s used vitamins and healthy food to combat Covid
Melania Trump said her symptoms were “minimal” and that she hoped to resume her duties as first lady “as soon as I can.”
“I experienced body aches, a cough and headaches, and felt extremely tired most of the time,” she said.
“I chose to go a more natural route in terms of medicine, opting more for vitamins and healthy food,” Melania Trump said.
NY Governor Cuomo seeks $20k fine over The Chainsmokers gig
The Democrat also threatened to take away state funding from schools in coronavirus hot spots that are ignoring orders to shut their doors, saying their defiance was endangering public health.
The governor’s office said promoter In the Know Experiences violated public health law at the Southampton concert by holding a nonessential gathering and failing to enforce rules requiring people to wear masks if they couldn’t stay 6 feet (2 meters) apart.
Cuomo called the concert, attended by more than 2,150 people “an egregious violation” of the rules. He said he was also temporarily revoking the ability of the Town of Southampton to issue permits for similar events.
The promotion company didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
Trump’s youngest son tests positive
Melania Trump says her 14-year-old son, Barron, has tested positive for coronavirus, but has no symptoms.
The White House initially said he had tested negative, after both of his parents tested positive earlier this month.
The first lady said on Wednesday that subsequent testing showed Barron had also come down with Covid-19.
Police say Welsh travel restrictions ‘unenforceable’
The Police Federation of England and Wales has criticised plans drawn up by the Welsh Government to prevent people travelling into the country from areas with a high prevalence of coronavirus, branding them “unenforceable”.
Mark Bleasdale, the federation’s Welsh lead, said: “On the face of it, this is unenforceable because of the difficulty of identifying where people are coming from and where they are going to.
“There will also be plenty of individuals travelling legitimately from areas which are not high risk, and this will only add to the other difficulties officers face when policing the existing regulations.
“Some areas of Wales are already in lockdown, and many individuals are already unable to travel in and out of counties unless they have good reason. In other locations provisions are more relaxed, so this proposed travel ban adds yet another level of complexity to policing.
“We would ask members of the public to continue to be supportive and realise this is an extremely challenging period for frontline officers.
“Policing in Wales is already overstretched due to the pandemic and because crime rates have returned to pre-Covid-19 levels. However, my colleagues will continue to do their utmost to protect the public in their usual professional manner.”
Manchester Mayor to meet PM over Covid restrictions
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has said he is expecting a meeting with Boris Johnson’s team on Thursday to discuss the latest coronavirus restrictions.
Mr Burnham tweeted: “Just to keep people updated. We’ve just concluded a briefing with the deputy chief medical officer.
“We are expecting a further meeting with the PM’s team in the morning. Until then, I won’t be making any further comment.”
Drakeford denies travel ban targets English
First Minister Mark Drakeford said banning people in areas of the UK with high levels of coronavirus from entering Wales was not an action against people from England.
“I pleaded with the Prime Minister to protect low incidence areas in England by acting in the way that we have and I’m still baffled by his unwillingness to take that simple, common sense course of action,” Mr Drakeford told Radio 4’s PM.
“So this is not at all about trying to create a border. I was very keen indeed to avoid that.
“It is about public health, it is about protecting areas and communities who feel very nervous, very under threat, very anxious that people will come from outside and spread the virus in parts of Wales where we don’t have big hospitals and we don’t have big infrastructures.
“These are rural parts of our country and people are very, very fearful of what might happen to them.”
Nottingham students fined £200
Two students were handed £200 fixed penalty notices and 15 others were given warnings after police were called to a “large” party at university halls of residence in Hampden Street, Nottingham.
Officers said the students who organised the party were fined after officers were alerted at about 1am on Wednesday.
Nottingham city centre Neighbourhood Policing Inspector Paul Gummer said: “I cannot reiterate enough how serious the situation we currently find ourselves in is.
“If we don’t recognise and adhere to the requirements, there will inevitably be consequences that place further restrictions on all our daily lives.”
A Nottingham Trent University spokesperson said: “We are working with police and investigating this as a matter of urgency.
“All of our students have been made aware that they – like everyone – have a crucial role to play in limiting the spread of this virus.”
First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford prepares his own restrictions
Scotland’s hospital admissions double in one week
In Scotland, 527 Covid-19 patients were in hospital as of Tuesday, up from 262 a week earlier, with 35 in ventilation beds, up from 25 a week earlier.
In Wales, 345 Covid-19 patients were in hospital as of Tuesday, up from 261 a week earlier, with 25 in ventilation beds, down from 28 a week earlier.
In Northern Ireland, 150 Covid-19 patients were in hospital as of Monday, up from 129 a week earlier, with 15 in ventilation beds as of Tuesday, up from eight 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.
Liverpool’s ICU beds a 80% capacity
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson tweeted that critical care and ICU units at the city’s hospitals were at 80% capacity and would be full next week.
He added that 8,436 pupils and 527 teachers were self-isolating, with 206 teachers and 265 pupils testing positive for coronavirus in the past 14 days.