Coronavirus UK news – Covid second wave is 'inevitable' warns Boris Johnson amid fears of 'extended' national lockdown

BORIS JOHNSON today warned a second wave of coronavirus in the UK is 'inevitable' – and urged Brits to stick to the 'rule of six' to avoid a second national lockdown.

During a visit to Oxfordshire on Friday, the PM said: "Obviously, we’re looking very carefully at the spread of the pandemic as it evolves over the last few days and there’s no question, as I’ve said for several weeks now, that we could expect (and) are now seeing a second wave coming in."

“We are seeing it in France, in Spain, across Europe – it has been absolutely, I’m afraid, inevitable we were going to see it in this country.”

It comes after Number 10 warned an 'extended' national lockdown could be enforced if the coronavirus surge isn't stopped in its tracks.

The idea that No10 want to avoid an "extended" lockdown suggests the cabinet may be willing to bring in a temporary measure of days or weeks to try and put the brakes on instead.

Follow our coronavirus blog for the latest news and updates…

  • FRENCH FINANCE MINISTER TESTS POSITIVE FOR CORONAVIRUS

    French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Friday he had tested positive for coronavirus, but had no symptoms and would continue to carry out his duties while quarantined at home.

    “I tested positive for COVID-19 this evening,” Le Maire said in a statement on Twitter, adding that he would remain at home for seven days”I immediately followed the health measures brought in by the government by self-isolating at home.”

    He gave no further details.

    French Prime Minister Jean Castex last week tested negative for Covid-19, after he came into contact with someone who tested positive at the Tour de France cycle race.

    France has been grappling with a surge in new confirmed coronavirus cases, and earlier on Friday reported a record number of 13,215 for any 24 hour period since the start of the pandemic. The daily death toll jumped to a four-month high.

  • SADIQ KHAN SAYS IT'S 'INCREASINGLY LIKELY' LONDON WILL FACE SECOND LOCKDOWN

    London Mayor Sadiq Khan has warned that it is “increasingly likely” that the capital will see a Covid lockdown.

    In a statement released today, the London mayor said he held an emergency meeting with Public Health England, London council leaders and the government about London's rising numbers.

    Read more here.

  • MADRID AUTHORITIES ORDER NEW LOCKDOWN IN REGION'S POOREST AREAS

    The regional government of the Spanish capital Madrid ordered a lockdown from Monday in some of the poorer areas of the city and its outskirts that are home to about 850,000 people, after a surge in coronavirus infections in the region.

    Regional leader Isabel Diaz Ayuso said on Friday movement between and within areas in six districts would be restricted, but people would be able to go to work in Spain's hardest-hit region.

    Residents in Madrid's poorer districts had said earlier they felt abandoned, stigmatised and feared new restrictions would deprive them of income.

    After the announcement, a few hundred protesters gathered in front of the offices of Madrid's regional government to demand Ayuso quit.

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  • BORIS JOHNSON ADMITS SECOND WAVE IS COMING– BUT NATIONWIDE LOCKDOWN 'IS THE LAST THING' HE WANTS

    Mr Johnson said a second lockdown was the “last thing anybody wants” but said the current measures would need to be kept “under review”.

    Speaking in Oxfordshire, the Prime Minister said: “On Monday we brought in the measures that we did, the 'rule of six', to really try and restrict what people are doing and to bring in a new buffer – and to make it absolutely clear, the 'rule of six': indoors six maximum, six outdoors maximum.

    “But the crucial thing is at the same time to observe the basic rules on social distancing – hands, face, space – that is what everybody has got to do if we want to continue to beat this thing.

    “But as we look at this particular curve and what is happening now, clearly we are going to keep everything under review. I don't want to get into a second national lockdown at all, it is the last thing anybody wants.

    “I don't want to go into bigger lockdown measures at all, we want to keep schools open and it is fantastic the schools have gone back in the way they have. We want to keep the economy open as far as we possibly can, we want to keep businesses going. The only way we can do that is obviously if people follow the guidance.”

  • FRANCE: CORONAVIRUS CASES REACH NEW DAILY RECORD WITH MORE THAN 13,000 INFECTIONS IN LAST 24 HOURS

    France reported on Friday that it had registered 13,215 new confirmed coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, a new record, after the number of cases on Thursday exceeded 10,000 for the second time in a week.

    The health ministry also said that the total number of deaths from Covid-19 increased to 31,249 from 31,095 on Thursday, an increase of 154.

  • MAPPED: HOW MANY BRITS ARE CURRENTLY IN LOCKDOWN AND WHAT AREAS ARE AFFECTED?

  • ST ANDREWS UNI ASKS STUDENTS TO OBSERVE 'VOLUNTARY LOCKDOWN' AS COVID RATES RISE

    The University of St Andrews in Scotland has asked students to observe a voluntary lockdown over the weekend as Covid infections surge across the UK.

    In a message to students, principal Sally Mapstone says “it is very likely that we are very close to a form of further national lockdown” and adds that the Scottish first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, “has today spoken of the urgent need to interrupt the chain of transmission of the virus”.

    “In these circumstances, I am writing to all of our students to ask you to please observe a voluntary lockdown this weekend, effective from 7pm this evening,”

  • STOP WHINGEING ABOUT NOT MEETING GRANNY AT CHRISTMAS, SAYS TORY PEER

    People should stop “whingeing about not meeting granny at Christmas” as much could change in the coming weeks, according to a Tory former minister.

    Lord Blencathra took aim at the media before also praising “oriental tourists” in London for wearing masks over the years, and advising others to follow their lead when in public places.

    He added it serves people right if they catch Covid-19 after cramming themselves into a “ghastly Ryanair flight” or pack into pubs, but expressed his deep concern that they will infect other “innocent” people.

    Lord Blencathra was speaking in a debate on face covering regulations in England, in which he supported the measures in place and pressed the Government to simplify the rules on wearing face masks.

    Separate Government rules which limit social gatherings to six people have caused concern for people about the impact it will have on their Christmas celebrations.

  • COURT CASE BACKLOG 'CORROSIVE' AS VICTIMS WAIT FOR JUSTICE, SAYS TOP PROSECUTOR

    Delays in cases coming to court are “corrosive” as they force victims to wait for justice, the director of public prosecutions (DPP) has warned.

    Max Hill said more remote hearings should take place to tackle the growing backlog of criminal cases but added that this was only “part of the answer” to the problem.

    Courts in England and Wales are grappling with a waiting list of around half a million cases.

    Delays were exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic when courts were forced to shut during lockdown.

    Speaking to an online audience on Friday, Mr Hill said: “We've got to get over the backlog as quickly as we can.”

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  • COVID-19: UK SEES 'WIDESPREAD GROWTH' IN CASES

    There is “widespread growth” of the Covid-19 epidemic across the UK, Government scientists have warned, as ministers announced tough restrictions affecting around 13.5 million people.

    The UK R number – which represents the number of people an infected person will pass the virus to – has risen to between 1.1 and 1.4, meaning cases can rise very quickly, according to Sage.

    Public Health England (PHE) warned that data published on Friday could be a sign of “far worse things to come”, as the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said cases are thought to have almost doubled in a week to 6,000-a-day in England, its worst prediction since mid-May.

    Kevin McConway, emeritus professor of applied statistics at the Open University, described the latest R figure as “undoubtedly concerning”.

    He said: “Even at growth rates within the estimated range, the number of new cases could grow to high levels quickly if the interventions are not sufficiently effective.”

  • IRELAND TO TIGHTEN COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS AMID SURGE IN CASES

    DUBLIN, Sept 18 (Reuters) – The Irish government on Friday signed off on stricter new COVID-19 restrictions for the capital Dublin, including the closing of indoor restaurant dining, after a surge in cases in recent days, state broadcaster RTE reported.

    A government spokeswoman declined to comment ahead of an official announcement of new measures due later on Friday.

  • US AND CANADA EXTEND BORDER RESTRICTIONS UNTIL OCTOBER

    The US and Canada have extended existing border restrictions until Oct. 21 as authorities continue their efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic, both nations said on Friday.

    The month-long extension, which does not cover trade or travel by air, follows restrictions first imposed in March and rolled over several times. They were due to expire on Sept. 21.

    The United States has similar restrictions on the border with Mexico and these will also now be in effect until Oct. 21, said Chad Wolf, acting secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

    “We continue to work with our Canadian and Mexican partners to slow the spread of COVID-19,” he said in a tweet.

    Canadian officials confirmed the extension.

    Sources in Washington and Ottawa this week said the measures on the joint border would most likely have to be rolled over until at least the end of November due to COVID-19.

  • FURTHER 4,322 LAB CONFIRMED CASES

    The Government said that as of 9am on Friday, there had been a further 4,322 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK.

    Overall, 385,936 cases have been confirmed.

    It also said a further 27 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Friday. This brings the UK total to 41,732.

    Separate figures published by the UK's statistics agencies show there have now been 57,500 deaths registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.

  • NEARLY ONE MILLION PART-TIME WORKERS RETURNED TO WORK IN JULY

    Almost a million workers went back to work part-time in July as the Government's flexible furlough scheme kicked in.

    One in five of all furloughed workers took advantage, which saw the Government paying 80 per cent of their wages for the hours not worked.

    Firms were allowed to bring their staff back part-time from July for however many days a week they needed.

    The scheme will run until the end of October, but firms must now pay a contribution towards the cost of covering furloughed workers’ wages.

    Treasury figures also revealed that the number of workers who were furloughed in retail has halved – from 1.85 million at the start of the pandemic to 789,000.

    Rishi Sunak said the figures laid bare the success of the furlough scheme.

    He said: “That so many businesses have been able to get back to trading, and bring their staff back to the workplace is a testament to the impact the scheme has had.”

  • OVER A DOZEN DIE IN HOSPITAL AFTER TESTING POSITIVE

    A further 14 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospital in England, bringing the total number of confirmed reported deaths in hospitals to 29,719, NHS England said on Friday.

    Patients were aged between 41 and 93 and all had known underlying health conditions.

    The dates of the deaths were between September 9 and September 17, with the majority on or after September 15.

    Three other deaths were reported with no positive Covid-19 test result.

  • £95 MILLION GOVERNMENT SCHEME TO HELP THE HIGH STREET

    High streets across England are set to benefit from a £95 million government-funded scheme to help them recover from declining footfall and the impact of Covid-19.

    The high streets heritage action zone (HSHAZ) programme, delivered by Historic England, will see disused and dilapidated buildings restored into new homes, shops, workplaces and community spaces in 68 high streets

    across the country.

    Historic England said up to 48% of the nation's retail stock was built before 1919 and the loss of business occupiers is placing these buildings at risk while “undermining the character, local identity and viability of the high street”.

    Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “High streets sit at the heart of our communities and every part of the country deserves to have one they can be proud of.

    “This fund will help breathe new life into high streets in towns and cities across the country – restoring them to their full glory so that they are beautiful places for people to shop, work and enjoy.”

  • 'EXTENDED LOCKDOWN'

    Any 'extended' nationwide lockdown would likely include bans on socialising with other households, and telling people not to use public transport unless it was essential.

    And it may include a curfew on pubs and restaurants too, forcing them to shut at 10pm – like is the case in other parts of the country under local lockdown at the moment.

    It's unlikely schools and workplaces would close at this point.

    However, the Government has not ruled out a drastic shutdown of the economy like what took place back in March.

  • OBESITY TO BLAME FOR HIGH DEATH RATES

    Britain's high Covid-19 death rate is not the Government's fault but partly because the “majority of people are obese”, according to a Conservative peer.

    Lord McColl of Dulwich told peers it is “despicable” to blame those in power in Westminster.

    He claimed the reason for the mortality rate was because of obesity levels, population density and the country's status as a travel hub.

    Lord McColl also urged Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer to join Boris Johnson's drive to reduce obesity in order to “reduce the mortality in future pandemics”.

  • ISLE OF WIGHT COUNCIL CALLS FOR A STOP ON 'TEST TOURISTS'

    The leader of Isle of Wight Council has called on the Government to stop sending people to be Covid-19 tested on the island.

    Dave Stewart, a Conservative councillor, has warned the continued arrival of people creates “unnecessary risks” for the island's residents.

    He explained the use of ferries to cross the Solent goes against Government guidance to avoid public transport when travelling for a testing appointment.

    Mr Stewart also criticised the booking system, which has sent islanders 75 miles away to the mainland for tests.

    He said: “The island has not been immune from the national challenges with the Test and Trace programme and we have seen reductions in the number of appointments available at our testing facility, with people being offered alternative slots at venues many miles away.

    “We are also seeing some people on the mainland being directed to the Isle of Wight for tests.

    “This is not good as it means people are being expected to travel on ferries, in contravention of clear government guidance about using public transport while seeking a Covid-19 test, thereby putting themselves and others at unnecessary risk. This is unacceptable.”

  • LONDON MAYOR BRANDS GOVERNMENT “INCOMPETENT”

    Sadiq Khan accused the Government of “incompetence” over Londoners not being able to book coronavirus tests.

    Speaking in central London on Friday, the Mayor of London told the PA news agency: “I'm angry at the incompetence of the Government that has led to Londoners being refused a test.

    “Those that get a test are sent miles and miles away, and those that have done the test aren't getting their results for days.

    “I'm also angry that those who have given their contacts to the authorities, many of them aren't contacted, aren't told to self isolate, which could lead to the virus spreading.”

  • BEANS MEANZ BARGAINZ

    Sainsbury's has started selling bumper sized 2.5 kg cans of beans for just 63p to clear the stock it bought during the early panic buying days of the pandemic.

    The Brakes Beans were originally on sale for £2.10 a can when the supermarket, like rivals, began to bulk buy essentials when they were besieged by shoppers clearing the shelves in March.

    With their own brand manufacturing plants facing a shutdown due to the virus, the chains bought catering sized versions of everyday products from companies who usually supply hotels, restaurants and other foodservice firms.

  • VAN MORRISON FACES BACKLASH OVER LOCKDOWN LYRICS

    A Belfast councillor has said the local authority should revoke Sir Van Morrison's freedom of the city over his coronavirus intervention.

    The musician was given the honour in 2013 in recognition of his storied career.

    He has called for an end to measures which “enslave” people in a new song calling for pandemic restrictions to be lifted.

    City councillor Emmet McDonough-Brown said: “Van Morrison was given the freedom of Belfast – the highest honour the city can bestow.

    “His most recent lyrics undermine the guidance in place to protect lives and are ignorant of established science as we grapple with Covid-19.

    “So I've asked Belfast City Council to consider revoking it.”

    He added: “I think we should withdraw the endorsement. He remains free to say whatever he wants.”

  • TOTAL NUMBER OF PEOPLE IN UK FULL LOCKDOWN OVER 10 MILLION

    Over 10 million Brits are currently in lockdown in the north-east of England.

    The new restrictions cover Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Gateshead, Sunderland and County Durham and began at midnight.

    Residents are banned from socialising in homes or gardens with people outside their own households or support bubble, food and drink venues are restricted to table service only and leisure and entertainment venues must close at 10pm.

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