England announces 12 more coronavirus deaths in hospitals in early count as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all record zero
- Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all recorded no further deaths
- Most deaths in England were recorded in the North West, with seven confirmed
- It comes as the government bars people meeting up in groups of more than six
England has recorded a further 12 deaths from coronavirus in hospitals today in an early count.
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all said they had seen no further deaths from coronavirus since yesterday.
Britain’s death toll will be officially announced by the Department of Health this afternoon and may be different to the preliminary total calculated by adding up deaths reported by each home nation.
New cases will also be reported later today after almost 9,000 were diagnosed across Sunday, Monday and Tuesday – the highest numbers since mid-May.
It comes as the government prepares to tighten lockdown restrictions for the first time since March. From Monday people in England will not be allowed to meet in groups of more than six people.
A 10pm curfew may also be imposed in England should the measures fail to halt the spread of coronavirus, reports suggest.
Boris Johnson told the House of Commons today that the draconian measures are essential to ‘keep our economy going and schools open’.
Wales’s health minister has said local lockdown in the county borough of Caerphilly will not be lifted until October ‘at the very least’.
People will not be allowed to enter or leave the area without a reasonable excuse after the restrictions come into force at 6pm on Tuesday.
Everyone over the age of 11 will be required to wear face coverings in shops – the first time this will be mandatory in Wales. Meetings with other people indoors and extended households will not be allowed, while overnight stays have also been banned.
Lockdown restrictions on household visits across western parts of Scotland have been continued for a further week – as well as being extended to other council areas.
Measures – originally introduced in Glasgow, East Renfrewshire and West Dunbartonshire – now also apply to East Dunbartonshire and Renfrewshire.
The restrictions bar people from visiting separate households in these parts of the country, while also prohibiting them from visiting homes in other local authorities which have not been impacted.
The measures also mean indoor visits to hospitals and care homes will be limited to essential visits only to protect the most vulnerable.
Hospitality venues are being restricted to takeaway-only in Bolton as part of new measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the town, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has told MPs.
Bolton Council said on Saturday it was introducing tougher measures ‘with immediate effect’, with people asked not to mix with other households in any setting, either indoors or outdoors, and to only use public transport for essential purposes.
The council said the new restrictions aim to prevent a local lockdown, after the town’s infection rate increased to 99 cases per 100,000 people per week – the highest in England.
Those aged between 18 and 49 account for more than 90 per cent of the cases, the local authority said.
Parts of Greater Manchester, East Lancashire, Preston, and West Yorkshire
If people live in one of the affected areas they must not host people they do not live with in their home or garden, unless they are in their support bubble.
You also must not meet people you do not live with in their home or garden, whether inside or outside of the affected area, unless they are in your support bubble, according to the Government website.
A support bubble is where a household with one adult joins with another household. Households within a bubble can still visit each other, stay overnight, and visit public places together.
Blackburn, Oldham and Pendle
As with the above, there is a ban on two households mixing indoors or in a garden.
People should not visit friends or family in care homes, other than in exceptional circumstances.
And in specific areas with additional restrictions, people should not socialise with people they do not live with at indoor public venues or outdoor venues such as parks.
People should not have visitors to their homes or socialise with people they do not live with in other indoor public venues such as pubs, restaurants, cafes, shops, places of worship, community centres, leisure and entertainment venues, or visitor attractions.
They also should not visit friends or family in care homes, other than in exceptional circumstances.
There are no local lockdown measures in Northern Ireland so far.
The most deaths were recorded in the North West, at seven, followed by the South East, at three, and London, two.
No further deaths were reported in the East of England, Midlands, North East and Yorkshire, and South West.
The Scottish government announced a further 159 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the country.
The health secretary made clear this morning that the UK is prepared to step up coronavirus restrictions.
‘We need to act now to stop the virus spreading,’ he said. ‘So we are simplifying and strengthening the rules on social contact – making them easier to understand and for the police to enforce.
‘It is absolutely critical that people now abide by these rules and remember the basics – washing your hands, covering your face, keeping space from others, and getting a test if you have symptoms.’
The new England-wide measure were sparked after cases topped 2,000 three days running – taking the UK well above the threshold where it considers placing travel restrictions on other countries.
The health secretary said the ‘rule of six’ law had been introduced to ‘simplify’ coronavirus restrictions.
He added that it was not coming into force until Monday to give everyone time to read it and be prepared.
Those that don’t follow the rule will face fines ranging from £100 to £3,200, although there will be exceptions for events such as weddings, funerals and Christenings.
‘We have got to bring in clear, stricter rules this autumn unfortunately to stop the spread of the virus,’ he said.
‘One of the things we heard back including from the police directly was that we needed a simpler set of rules that are very straightforward, (that) everybody can understand, and we will be publishing those rules very clearly and then enforcing against them.’
The measures will be in place for the ‘forseeable future’, sparking fears they could disrupt Christmas celebrations.
The health secretary sought to dampen these on the Today programme this morning, stating that three months is a ‘long time’ in a pandemic.
‘I very much hope that this stronger rule, together with the local action that we’ve taken in places like Bolton, (can curb the spread of the infection).
‘I really hope that we can turn this around before Christmas.’
He also made it clear that local lockdown measures would be brought in where necessary, to further curb the spread of the disease.
Several local lockdowns have already been put in place to curb the spread.
Bolton became the first place in the UK to see pubs and restaurants forced to return to take-out only yesterday after a surge in cases.
There are also lockdowns in place in Caerphilly, Western Scotland, parts of Greater Manchester and Leicester.
The UK recorded 30 more deaths from coronavirus yesterday, the highest level in six weeks, and an additional 2,420 new cases.
When cases rose to almost 3,000 on Sunday it sparked ‘concern’ among ministers and warnings that the UK could be in for a ‘bumpy ride’ if the rapid increase does not slow down.
But many have reported being unable to get a test despite having symptoms because the system recommends they head to testing centres more than 200 miles away.
Matt Hancock today denied claims the UK’s testing was overwhelmed, and claimed 92 per cent of those requesting a test were receiving it within ten miles of their home.
He said the system had faced a 25 per cent surge of requests from people who do not have symptoms, which are not eligible to get tested.
‘I’ve heard of cases of whole schools being sent for tests,’ he said, and added that people going on holiday had also applied to get tested.
The director of testing, Sarah-Jane Marsh, yesterday apologised to those who were not getting tests and warned they were at a ‘critical pinch-point’.
‘Can I please offer my heartfelt apologies to anyone who cannot get a Covid test at present,’ she wrote.
‘All of our testing sites have capacity, which is why they don’t look overcrowded, it’s our laboratory processing that is the critical pinch-point.
‘We are doing all we can to expand quickly.’
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