Why ministers reimposed the lockdown in Leicester
It is the question all residents of Leicester have been asking. Why us? Today, Matt Hancock revealed what prompted ministers to shut down the city’s schools, as the lockdown is reimposed there today. The Health Secretary said an “unusually high” incidence of coronavirus in children was revealed when extra testing was carried out to contain a surge. The Government has refused to disclose the full extent of the disease among children, but the news will raise concern over the prospects of opening schools fully in September as pledged. Mr Hancock also said a Leicester travel ban is being considered by the Government. Read on for details.
The reimposed local lockdown throws up a number of questions. What areas are included? What are the rules? How long will it be in place? You can find the answers here along with a map of the affected area. The Mayor of Leicester said in a press conference today he is “very, very concerned” about the economic impact on the city. Our liveblog has the latest. Could there be a local lockdown elsewhere? Read on for details of the 36 cities and counties where Covid cases are rising in England. Readers in the city have shared their views, with one saying: “My first response was why us? But the spike needs containing.”
PM reveals ‘most radical’ planning reforms since WW2
Boris Johnson has pledged to cut red tape to allow Britain to “build better and build greener”, and also to “build faster”. In a long-trailed major speech delivered in Dudley this morning, he announced the “most radical” reforms of the planning system since the end of the Second World War, as he pledged to “build a more beautiful Britain”. It will become easier to get permission to turn commercial buildings into residential homes without requiring planning permission, under plans designed to reboot the economy in the long term. However, he stressed he is “not a communist” and reassured voters his “instincts” were to cut taxes wherever possible. You can watch the speech in full but Leo McKinstry reckons that before the Prime Minister worries about his Roosevelt-style New Deal, he needs to get the basics right.
EU puts 14 countries on ‘safe list’ but excludes the US
The European Union has excluded the United States from its initial “safe list” of countries from which the bloc will allow non-essential travel from tomorrow. The 27-member bloc gave approval today to leisure or business trips from 14 countries beyond its borders. The UK’s long-awaited “air bridge” announcement is expected soon but the EU’s list is likely to create problems for the UK Government. Here is how. Meanwhile, travel agents have stopped selling summer holidays for July and August due to the lack of clarity over the air bridge plans. And while concerns have been raised by some of Scotland’s tourism industry at the suggestion the country could quarantine visitors from England, firms on Scottish islands have started a petition to keep tourists away.
At a glance: Latest coronavirus headlines
- Fatality numbers | Deaths across the UK fall back to normal levels
- Swine flu | Pandemic fears as Chinese scientists discover new disease
- Nightingale hospitals | Sites to be converted to cancer testing centres
- Restaurants reopening | What dining out will be like from July 4
- Good news round-up | Cat in homemade isolation room
Also in the news: Today’s other headlines
Security law | Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing premier Carrie Lam has defended China’s sweeping national security law for the city before the United Nations, urging the international community to “respect our country’s right to safeguard national security.” Ms Lam said the legislation would fill a “gaping hole” and would not undermine its autonomy. Yet EU leaders decried the new law. Read on for more.
- TM Lewin | All shirt-maker’s stores to close with 600 jobs lost
- Colonial rule | King’s remorse for Belgium’s bloody reign in the Congo
- Amber Heard | Actress had affairs, Johnny Depp’s lawyers claim
- Rare birds | Paddle boarders blamed for deaths of precious chicks
- Grisly find | Bear with plastic tub stuck on head rescued – video
Around the world: Caught in the ‘deal of the century’
On a rocky slope next to a roaring motorway, Abu Nader Abu Eid looks as an Israeli bulldozer devours parts of what used to be his family’s apricot farm. Mr Eid’s farm is located next to Gush Etzion, a bloc of settlements which according to recent reports could be one of the first areas annexed by Israel as it begins to implement Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan, which the US President called the “deal of the century”. James Rothwell, writing from the West Bank, reveals Mr Eid is unconvinced.
Wasfi Kani – The arts leader we need right now
Grange Park Opera has trounced its rivals these past months. Louis Wise meets its director Wasfi Kani to find out how she is making the best out of Covid-19 and become the envy of the rest of the classical world.
Comment and analysis
- Ben Habib and Jonathan Saxty | Leicester lockdown self-made blow
- Patrick O’Flynn | Starmer wriggling out of Black Lives Matter support
- Tom Harris | Starmer siding against the tantrumming Left
- Julian Jessop | Beware the hype about PM’s ‘Rooseveltian’ New Deal
- James Titcomb | Why Apple should sell the iPhone without a charger
Editor’s choice: Features and arts
- Steve McCurry on 9/11 | ‘When the second plane hit, I ran down to photograph’
- A tale of two princes | What William and Harry’s vastly different styles say about them
- Forget burnout | Here is why you might have ‘boreout’
Business and money briefing
Latest retail casualties | Furniture retailer Harveys has collapsed into administration as the high street fights to recover from lockdown. The company’s sister business Bensons for Beds also called in administrators but was immediately bought back by its owner through a so-called pre-pack rescue deal where it is shorn of debts. Read on for details.
- Deal collapse | Worst six months for savers since the financial crisis
- Pensions doctor | ‘Have I paid enough in NI to get full state pension?’
- On top of markets | Live stocks and shares updates 24 hours a day
Catching Liverpool | The combination of Frank Lampard, technical and performance advisor Petr Cech, and director Marina Granovskaia looks promising. Read how Chelsea’s joined-up thinking can allow their manager to build his vision and claw back ground against their rivals.
- Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg | Spurs confident of signing Saints midfielder
- Sir Ian McGeechan | All-time rugby dream team, part two – Centres
- F1 2020 | The best looking cars on the grid – ranked
The Hidden Wilds of the Motorway, BBC Four, 9pm | At the heart of this documentary is a deceptively simple idea which sees Helen Macdonald walking around the M25 to show how even the most unprepossessing of places can house natural gems. Read on for more.
And finally… for this evening’s downtime
‘I found out my lover is a scammer’ | It took a call from the American Embassy to convince Mary that the man she believed was in love with her was not hooked on a ventilator in hospital but a criminal who had stolen her £17,000. Mary is one of 1,400 people since March to have fallen victim to a romance scam. Read more.