Coronavirus England: Non-essential shops shut in second lockdown

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Key points in COVID lockdown Mark 2 

  • Restrictions will start at midnight on Thursday morning and last until December 2. 
  • People can only leave their homes for specific reasons, such as to do essential shopping, for outdoor exercise, and for work if they are unable to work from home.
  • Non-essential shops will be told to shut, although supermarkets do not need to close off aisles as has happened in Wales.
  • Restaurants and bars will be told to close unless they can operate a takeaway service. 
  • Leisure centres, gyms, sporting venues, hairdressers and beauty parlours will have to close, although professional sport will continue. 
  • Key businesses that cannot operate remotely – such as construction – should carry on as before with safety precautions.
  • Places of worship can stay open for private prayer. Funerals are limited to close family only.  
  • The furlough scheme will be extended during the period of the lockdown, rather than ending tomorrow as originally planned. 
  • Exercise is permitted with no limits on frequency, but organised sports – including outdoor activities such as golf – will not be permitted. 
  • When the lockdown lapses the Tiers system will be reinstated, leaving questions about what metric will be used to decide whether areas can have restrictions eased. 
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Boris Johnson effectively took the country back to square one tonight as he unveiled a dramatic new national month-long lockdown to avoid a ‘medical and moral disaster’ – ordering the public to stay at home. 

After weeks insisting he is sticking to local restrictions, the PM completed an humiliating U-turn by announcing blanket coronavirus restrictions for England at a prime-time press conference alongside medical and science chiefs Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance. 

Mr Johnson said the draconian measures – which come into force from midnight Thursday morning until December 2 – were the only way to avert bleak Sage predictions of 85,000 deaths this winter, far above the previous ‘reasonable worst case’, and the NHS being swamped before Christmas. He said otherwise doctors would have to choose between saving Covid sufferers and those with other illnesses.

‘No responsible PM can ignore the message of those figures,’ Mr Johnson said. ‘We’ve got to be humble in the face of nature.’

Mr Johnson pointed out that the action was not the same as March as key sectors of the economy are under orders to stay open, but said he was’under no illusions’ about how tough it would be.

He declared that the furlough scheme will be extended for the period, rather than ending tomorrow as originally planned. That could add another £7billion to the Treasury’s spiralling debt mountain. 

Mr Johnson also refused to rule out extending the measures beyond the proposed end date. Asked if the time would be enough, the premier said: ‘I hope so. We have every reason to believe it will be. But we will be driven by the science.’ 

Reviving the government mantra from the height of lockdown, Mr Johnson urged the public: ‘Stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.’  

But he tried to send a slightly more optimistic message, saying he hoped that the severity of the squeeze meant families would have a chance of being together at Christmas. ‘I am confidence we will feel very different and better by the spring,’ he added.

In his latest grim assessment, Sir Patrick suggested the NHS would be overwhelmed by mid-December, even with surge capacity and the postponement of elective procedures. He said there was the ‘potential’ for deaths to be ‘twice as bad or more compared to the first wave’.

Prof Whitty said: ‘The progress is steady and we now have several hospitals with more patients.. than they had at the peak in the spring.’  

The brutal squeeze – billed as ‘Tier Four’ on the government’s sliding scale – will see non-essential shops in England shut, as well as bars and restaurants despite the ‘absolutely devastating’ impact on the already crippled hospitality sector. 

Households will be banned from mixing indoors during the period, and people will be told not to leave home and travel unless for unavoidable reasons, such as work that cannot be performed remotely, or to take exercise. 

However, unlike the March lockdown schools and universities will remain open – despite unions warning they are key to the spread. 

When the rules lapse at the beginning of December the Tiers system will be reapplied, raising questions about what metric will be used to judge whether an area can have restrictions loosened. 

Mr Johnson previously slapped down demands for a ‘circuit-breaker’ – a form of which has already been implemented in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – instead extolling the virtues of his ‘tiered’ system of local measures. 

But he sounded defiant tonight, dismissing the idea his delay had cost lives and saying the policy had been ‘right’ before. ‘It is true the course of the pandemic has changed,’ Mr Johnson said.  

Nicola Sturgeon made clear this afternoon that she does not intend to shift her policy based on the new arrangements for England. She said: ‘We will base decisions on circumstances here – though what happens just across our border is clearly not irrelevant to our considerations.’ 

Another 326 UK fatalities were declared today – nearly double last Saturday’s tally. But infections, which can represent the current situation more accurately, were down five per cent on a week ago at 21,915 in a possible sign that the rise could already be slowing. 

Hawkish Conservative backbenchers are threatening to revolt in Parliament when the measures come to a vote on Wednesday – the first time curbs have come before MPs in advance of being introduced.  

Mr Johnson could face having to rely on Labour MPs to get the measures through the Commons, gifting Sir Keir Starmer a huge political win after he spent the last fornight calling for a ‘circuit breaker’.  

As England braces for a second national lockdown: 

  • The government said a further 326 people have died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19. Some more 21,915 lab-confirmed cases have been recorded; 
  • The National Education Union called for schools and colleges to be shut as part of the lockdown as they play a key role in spreading the virus; 
  • Health Minister Nadine Dorries claimed that the government could only have predicted the need for a second national lockdown with a ‘crystal ball’; 
  • A SAGE scientist warned Covid is ‘running riot’ across all age groups and hospitals are treating four times as many women aged 20-40; 
  • The number of virus patients in hospital has doubled in the past fortnight, with 10,708 patients being treated by the NHS. 
  • The ONS said 50,000 people were becoming infected with coronavirus each day, with a further 274 fatalities reported yesterday; 
  • A poll by anti-lockdown group Recovery found that more than 70 per cent of people were more worried about the effect of lockdown than they were of catching Covid. 

Medical chief Chris Whitty said cases now appeared to be going up across England, apart from possibly in the North East

Medical chief Chris Whitty said cases now appeared to be going up across England, apart from possibly in the North East

After weeks insisting he is sticking to local restrictions, the PM completed an humiliating U-turn by announcing blanket coronavirus restrictions for England at a prime-time press conference alongside medical and science chiefs Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance

There were big queues at supermarkets (Southampton pictured) today despite bad weather as residents in England stocked up in anticipation of the grim lockdown news

There were big queues at supermarkets (Southampton pictured) today despite bad weather as residents in England stocked up in anticipation of the grim lockdown news

Papers drawn up by government advisers and leaked to the BBC show daily death projections from different modellers, compared with the first wave and the government's previous "reasonable worst-case scenario" - marked in black

Papers drawn up by government advisers and leaked to the BBC show daily death projections from different modellers, compared with the first wave and the government’s previous ‘reasonable worst-case scenario’ – marked in black

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimated almost 52,000 people were catching the virus every day and one in every 100 people in the country were infected with Covid-19 a week ago

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimated almost 52,000 people were catching the virus every day and one in every 100 people in the country were infected with Covid-19 a week ago

Separate data from King's College London predicted England has around 32,000 cases per day and claimed infections are rising 'steadily' and 'have not spiralled out of control'

Separate data from King’s College London predicted England has around 32,000 cases per day and claimed infections are rising ‘steadily’ and ‘have not spiralled out of control’

Angry PM says sorry to Tory MPs over leaks 

Boris Johnson has apologised to Conservative MPs and told them that he will launch an inquiry to find the ‘culprit’ who leaked details of the new lockdown before his announcement.

In a message on a WhatsApp group, the PM warned there are ‘no easy short term options’ about taking tougher measures.

‘Folks – so sorry that you’ve had to hear about all this from the newspapers today,’ he said.

‘Let me assure you that the leak was not a no10 briefing and indeed we have launched an inquiry to catch the culprit. I had hoped to make the announcement in parliament on Monday but to avoid any further uncertainty I’ll now do a press conference from Downing Street this evening.

‘My team will make sure you have access to all the data and briefing from scientists you need in the coming days. Please speak to your whip if you have anything to feed in.

‘I assure you we are doing what we believe is best for the country and to ensure that the NHS is not overwhelmed in a way that could cost many thousands of lives.

‘There is a clear way out of this, with better medication and rapid testing – and the genuine prospect of a vaccine. Our country will recover well. But I am afraid there are no easy short term options. Best Boris.’

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At his press conference, Mr Johnson insisted the new national lockdown is not the same as the ‘full scale lockdown’ of the spring.

‘We will get through this but we must act now to contain this autumn’s surge,’ he said.

‘We’re not going back to the full scale lockdown of March and April, the measures I’ve outlined are less restrictive.

‘But I’m afraid from Thursday the basic message is the same: Stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.’

Mr Johnson said overrunning of the NHS would be a ‘medical and moral disaster, beyond the raw loss of life’.

He said: ‘Doctors and nurses would be forced to choose which patients to treat, who would get oxygen and who wouldn’t, who would live and who would die.

‘Doctors and nurses would be forced to choose between saving Covid patients and non-Covid patients.

‘The sheer weight of Covid demand would mean depriving tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, if not millions of non-Covid patients of the care they need.’

He added: ‘The risk is, for the first time in our lives, the NHS will not be there for us.’

In what amounts to a plea for the public and Tory MPs to trust him, Mr Johnson said: ‘We know the cost of these restrictions – the impact on jobs and livelihoods, and people’s mental health. No-one wants to be imposing these measures.’

He thanked people who had been ‘putting up with’ local restrictions.

But he warned: ‘We’ve got to be humble in the face of nature… the virus is spreading even faster than the reasonable worst case scenario of our scientific advisers.

‘Unless we act, we could see deaths in this country running at several thousand a day – a peak of mortality, alas, bigger than the one we saw in April.’

Mr Johnson said that Christmas is likely to be ‘very different’ this year, but there still might be scope for families to spend it together. 

‘Christmas is going to be different this year, perhaps very different. But it’s my sincere hope and belief that by taking tough action now we can allow families across the country to be together,’ he said.

Mr Johnson confirmed that the Westminster government was speaking to the devolved administrations in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland about ‘plans for Christmas and beyond’.

Saying education would be protected this time around, Mr Johnson said: ‘We’re not closing schools, it’s very very important that we’re keeping schools open. 

‘We want to keep going. People of course should work from home, and we want to minimise contact. That’s the way to protect the NHS. I’m not gonna pretend to you that these judgments aren’t incredibly difficult. We have to find the right balance.’ 

Prof Whitty said the number of people in NHS beds in England will exceed the peak of the first wave without further measures.

He said there was an increase in prevalence ‘in virtually every part of the country’, apart from possibly the North East where stricter measures are in place, and cases are not constrained to one age group.

Furlough and mortage holidays extended for second lockdown 

The furlough scheme will be extended for another month during the England-wide lockdown, Boris Johnson said tonight.

The PM revealed that the huge bailout – under which employees can get up to 80 per cent of their normal wages for hours not worked to a maximum of £2,500 a month – will not end tomorrow as was originally planned.

The cost of the move is not clear, but could top £7billion for the month. 

The Treasury said the extension would be more generous than the existing version, which was being tapered off this month so businesses had to foot more of the bill.

Firms will have flexibility to bring furloughed employees back to work on a part-time basis or furlough them full-time, and will only be asked to cover National Insurance and employer pension contributions.

Officials said on average thought would amount to just 5 per cent of total employment costs. 

The Job Support Scheme, which should have started on November 1, is being put on hold. 

The mortgage holiday provision for those affected by the pandemic is also been kept in place.

However, it appears that there is no change to the self-employed grants – which are continuing until April but at a lower level. 

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: ‘I have always said that we will do whatever it takes as the situation evolves. Now, as restrictions get tougher, we are taking steps to provide further financial support to protect jobs and businesses. These changes will provide a vital safety net for people across the UK.’ 

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Discussing NHS bed use in England, he said: ‘Currently only in the North West is this coming close to the peak that we previously had, but it is increasing in every area.

‘And if we do nothing, the inevitable result is these numbers will go up and they will eventually exceed the peak that we saw in the spring of this year.’

Prof Whitty dodged when pressed on whether he thought the government had acted too late. 

‘There is basically no perfect time and there are no good solutions, all the solutions are bad, and what we’re trying to do is have the fewest – the least bad – set of solutions at a time which you actually achieve the kind of the balance that needs to be struck between all these things that ministers have to make decisions on.

‘In terms of festivities, whether it’s Christmas or any other religious tradition, we would have a much better chance of doing it with these measures than we would if these measures were not being taken today.

‘I think let us see how this goes over the next few weeks.’ 

Earlier, Cabinet was presented with evidence from the SPI-M group that the NHS will exceed its normal and surge bed capacity by the first week in December unless action is taken. Ministers were told that would be the case even if elective operations were postponed or cancelled.

Cabinet was also warned that the growth is national, and while the prevalence in parts of the North was highest, the R was above the critical level of one everywhere.

The doubling time in the South East is now quicker than in the North West, and the South West could be in the same position as the North West by November 27. 

Under the new restrictions, people will be told they can only leave home for specific reasons, such as to do essential shopping, for outdoor exercise, and for work if they are unable to work from home. 

But the government is stressing that businesses that cannot operate remotely – such as construction – should continue as before.

International travel is set to be out of bounds if not for work purposes, and travel within the UK will be heavily discouraged. 

Restaurants and bars will only be allowed to operate a takeaway service.

There is expected to be more government support for those businesses affected. 

Mr Johnson – who spoke to Sir Keir and Speaker Lindsay Hoyle today – is set to make a statement to the Commons tomorrow, before the crunch vote on Wednesday. 

The careful choreography of the announcement has been torn up after leaks overnight caused a storm, with Downing Street launching a hunt for the mole amid fresh evidence of Cabinet splits. 

Mr Johnson has been thrashing out the changes in meetings with his core ministers leading the Covid response, Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove, and Health Secretary Matt Hancock. 

But the carefully-laid plans descended into shambles after the shape of the proposals were leaked. 

How do the lockdowns differ across the UK? 

England

From Thursday, pubs, bars, restaurants and non-essential retail will close until December 2 and people will be told to stay at home unless they have a specific reason to leave, but schools, colleges and nurseries will remain open.

People will be allowed outside to exercise and socialise in public spaces outside with their household or one other person, but not indoors or in private gardens, and will be able to travel to work if they cannot work from home.

Wales

The whole of Wales is currently under a 17-day ‘firebreak’ lockdown which started on October 23 and will last until November 9.

People can only leave their homes for limited reasons and must work from home where possible. Leisure, hospitality and tourism businesses are closed, along with community centres, libraries and recycling centres. Places of worship are shut other than for funerals or wedding ceremonies.

Scotland

The majority of Scots will be placed into Level 3 of a new five-tier system from Monday, with the rest of the country in either Levels 1 or 2.

The central belt – including Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stirling and Falkirk – will be joined by Dundee and Ayrshire in Level 3.

Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen, Fife, the Borders, Dumfries and Galloway, Argyll and Bute, Perth and Kinross and Angus will be in Level 2.

Highland, Moray, Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland have been assessed as Level 1.

Levels 1, 2 and 3 are broadly comparable to tier system currently in place in England.

Nicola Sturgeon decided against putting North and South Lanarkshire into Level 4 – equivalent to a full lockdown.

She has told Scots not to travel to England unless it is for ‘essential purposes’.

Northern Ireland

Pubs and restaurants were closed for four weeks starting on October 16 with the exception of takeaways and deliveries. Schools were closed for two weeks.

Retail outlets remain open, along with gyms for individual training.

People have been told they should work from home unless unable to do so, and have been urged not to take unnecessary journeys.

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‘The data is really bad. We’re seeing coronavirus rising all over the country and hospitals are struggling to cope. There has been a shift in our position,’ a government source told The Times.  

Only yesterday Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab insisted the Government’s battle plan of localised lockdowns was the right approach.  

Scottish First Minister Ms Sturgeon said she would ‘carefully consider the impact of today’s announcement in England’ but stressed ‘we will continue to take decisions that reflect circumstances in Scotland’.

‘We expect to have further discussion in the coming days about the scope of additional financial support being made available,’ she said.

‘A crucial point for us is whether support on the scale announced for English businesses is available for Scottish businesses now or if we needed to impose further restrictions later — or if it is only available if Scotland has a full lockdown at the same time as a lockdown in England.’

She added: ‘People across Scotland have faced significant restrictions since late September as we work to stop the increase in Covid cases across the country. Prevalence of the virus is currently lower in Scotland than in other parts of the UK and there are some signs that those earlier restrictions may be starting to slow the rate of increase.’

Professor John Edmunds, who attends Sage, confirmed earlier that the situation in the country is worse than the reasonable worst-case scenario.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today: ‘We’ve been significantly above that reasonable worst-case scenario for some time actually.’

Prof Edmunds said it was ‘possible’ that there would be 85,000 coronavirus deaths this winter – more than there were in the first wave.

‘It is really unthinkable now, unfortunately, that we don’t count our deaths in tens of thousands from this wave.’

But furious debate has been raging within the scientific community over whether the Government should press ahead with plans for a national lockdown. 

Fellow Sage colleague professor Calum Semple said: ‘For the naysayers that don’t believe in a second wave, there is a second wave.

‘And unlike the first wave, where we had a national lockdown which protected huge swathes of society, this outbreak is now running riot across all age groups.’

He also said there were ‘many more cases particularly in younger females between the ages of 20 and 40’. 

Other top scientists poured scepticism on the effectiveness of tougher measures.

Professor Sunetra Gupta from Oxford University said lockdowns do not build up the immunity required to beat back the disease.

Unions demand schools are shut in new lockdown 

Teaching unions are already calling for schools to shut in defiance of Boris Johnson’s insistence on Saturday that they will remain open during a new national lockdown.

The National Education Union’s joint general secretary Kevin Courtney called for schools to be included in new lockdown restrictions and said it would be a ‘mistake’ to allow them to remain open.

As for higher education, Jo Grady, the general secretary of the Universities and College Union (UCU) said it would be ‘incomprehensible’ to allow in-person teaching to continue.

However, Mr Johnson confirmed at Saturday evening’s Downing Street press conference that schools, universities and colleges would remain open as he announced a new nationwide lockdown.

He said the country could not afford to allow the virus to ‘damage our children’s futures even more than it has already.’

However, Anne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner for England, said it is ‘very welcome’ that schools would remain open and added it would have been a ‘disaster’ if they were to close.

Her comments were echoed by the prominent headmistress Katharine Birbalsingh, who said it was ‘wonderful’ that schools will remain open. 

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She said: ‘I don’t believe there’s been an increase in death rates. There have been increases in infection which is very much in line with what you’d expect if lockdown prevented immunity from building up.

She added that the vulnerable should shield while everyone else mixes to build up a level of immunity: ‘Infections are building now, because some areas do not have the immunity we would have expected had we not gone into complete lockdown.’

Professor Sikora, a former WHO cancer programme director, this morning told MailOnline: ‘It makes no sense, the other problem is even if you lower the R number when you come out of it it just bounces back up.’

He added: ‘It’s much more sensible to do a regional approach, just carry on doing what we’re doing. Down in Cornwall there’s no point doing everything.’

Asked who is driving the lockdown in Government, Prof Sikora said: ‘It’s Sage, they’re all a bunch of epidemiologists, they’re not treatment doctors and they forget that the mathematical model just excludes people with other illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and strokes and lockdown results in more problems for them to access care. People are less willing to go to hospital in lockdown.’ 

Ms Sturgeon indicated today that she will not shift policy north of the border immediately based on the PM’s announcement.

She also repeated demands for more money to respond to the crisis. 

Mark Drakeford, First Minister of Wales – where non-essential retail has been ordered to shut as part of a ‘firebreak’ lockdown – said on Twitter his Cabinet would meet tomorrow to ‘discuss any potential border issues for Wales in light of any announcement by No 10’.

He added: ‘Any announcement by @10DowningStreet will relate to England.

‘The Welsh firebreak will end on Monday, November 9.’

Hawkish Tory MPs are signalling they will resist the measures in Parliament. 

Tory MP Sir Desmond Swayne told MailOnline the Commons must sign off on any lockdown. ‘There should absolutely definitely be a vote. I don’t doubt that the government will win it,’ the former minister said.

‘But those of us who want to express our dissent as elected representatives have every right to do so. We are a democracy after all.

‘I don’t doubt it is a difficult decision, but that doesn’t alter it being the wrong decision. The things that it does to our economy our health and everything else is worse than the disease they are combating.’

Heat maps were presented at the press conference showing that the infections were spreading among older age groups

Heat maps were presented at the press conference showing that the infections were spreading among older age groups

Sir Desmond added: ‘The long term average for excess deaths is about normal for the time of year and yet we are being told we need to do all kinds of catastrophic things to prevent the virus from spreading.’

Former minister Bob Syms tweeted: ‘The Govt would be unwise to bypass Parliament and most Tory MPs very uncomfortable with this change of policy I hope chief whip explains to PM the numbers.’ 

Ex-Cabinet minister Sir John Redwood told Today: ‘I’m full of foreboding about it and before we give support for such a measure there needs to be a convincing case about how much good the measures proposed will do to save lives. 

Health minister claims predicting need for lockdown required a ‘crystal ball’

A health minister has claimed government would have needed a ‘crystal ball’ to predict the need for a second national lockdown before now. 

Nadine Dorries – the first MP to test positive for Covid-19 in March – dismissed criticism that the government is acting too late, saying cases among the over-60s were rising faster than expected.

Writing on Twitter, Ms Dorries said: ‘If only we had a crystal ball and could actually see how many over 60s would be infected, the positivity rate, the infection rate and the subsequent lag giving us the 14 day anticipated demand on hospital beds on any particular day, three weeks in advance.’

Labour frontbencher Wes Streeting said: ‘Astonishing to see a Health Minister – yes, a Health Minister – suggesting that only a crystal ball could have seen the need for a second lockdown. It was in the SAGE MINUTES.’

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‘And against that we need an honest explanation of how much more damage it will do to jobs, livelihoods and the economy, because we are impairing people’s ability go to work and earn a living, we are destroying good businesses we are closing down large numbers of cafes restaurants and hospitality businesses and there needs to be balance.’ 

Andrew Bridgen MP told MailOnline: ‘These are huge decisions that the government has to make with enormous economic and political ramifications.’ 

‘The Sage so-called experts won’t be held to account for the correctness of their decisions at the next general elections. We will.’ 

But there was a glimmer of hope for Mr Johnson this afternoon with rebel ringleader Steve Baker urging colleagues to listen ‘extremely carefully’ to what Mr Johnson says.

Speaking outside No 10 after being called in for a briefing, Mr Baker told Sky News: ‘Today what I’ve had is the opportunity to take a team into Downing Street, there were three scientists, myself, a data analyst.

‘We’ve had an amazing opportunity to robustly scrutinise the arguments, the data, the forecasts of where we’re going, and what I would say to people is the Prime Minister has a got very, very difficult choices to make.

‘And I would encourage all members of the public, and all members of Parliament, to listen extremely carefully to what the Prime Minister says today and over the coming days.’

Meanwhile, health minister Nadine Dorries – the first MP to test positive for Covid-19 in March – dismissed criticism that the government is acting too late, saying cases among the over-60s were rising faster than expected.

Writing on Twitter, Ms Dorries said: ‘If only we had a crystal ball and could actually see how many over 60s would be infected, the positivity rate, the infection rate and the subsequent lag giving us the 14 day anticipated demand on hospital beds on any particular day, three weeks in advance.’

Labour MP for Nottingham South Lilian Greenwood was among MPs to criticise Ms Dorries’ comments.

She tweeted: ‘2 weeks ago, Nadine Dorries said the whole of Notts didn’t need to go into Tier 3. Looking at the numbers we’d just presented to us by Public Health England it was plain it would.

‘Didn’t need a crystal ball, just the ability and willingness to look and listen.’

Frontbencher Wes Streeting added: ‘Astonishing to see a Health Minister – yes, a Health Minister – suggesting that only a crystal ball could have seen the need for a second lockdown. It was in the SAGE MINUTES.’

The PM and his advisers presented a bewildering array of charts to back up their claim that tougher action is needed

The PM and his advisers presented a bewildering array of charts to back up their claim that tougher action is needed

Schools are expected to remain open, but a source claimed to The Times that non-essential shops would shut and today, in similar scenes to the first wave in March, people were seen stocking up on toilet roll (Costco, Manchester, pictured)

Schools are expected to remain open, but a source claimed to The Times that non-essential shops would shut and today, in similar scenes to the first wave in March, people were seen stocking up on toilet roll (Costco, Manchester, pictured)

Nicola Sturgeon made clear this afternoon that she does not intend to shift her policy based on the new arrangements for England

Nicola Sturgeon made clear this afternoon that she does not intend to shift her policy based on the new arrangements for England

Percentage change in coronavirus cases across England in the week to October 25: The five local authorities where the infection rate grew the most are: Kingston upon Hull City, 92.81 per cent; Derby, 91.84 per cent; North Somerset, 82.99 per cent; Medway, 77.17 per cent; and Bath and North East Somerset 69.72 per cent

 Percentage change in coronavirus cases across England in the week to October 25: The five local authorities where the infection rate grew the most are: Kingston upon Hull City, 92.81 per cent; Derby, 91.84 per cent; North Somerset, 82.99 per cent; Medway, 77.17 per cent; and Bath and North East Somerset 69.72 per cent

Chief medical officer Chris Whitty in Whitehall today

Tory MP Steve Baker speaks after talks in Downing Street today

Chief medical officer Chris Whitty (left) in Whitehall today as the government prepares to make its announcement. Right, Tory MP Steve Baker speaks after talks in Downing Street

Earlier Jon Dobinson, of Recovery, said: ‘The concept of a four-week lockdown to save Christmas is yet more cruel and inhumane policy which will further fuel the growing mental health crisis – all justified by holding out a false hope.

‘People are dying in their thousands from lockdown and restrictions: it’s time to focus on that.’

Professor Jeremy Farrar, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said of the prospect of a new lockdown: ‘To bring Covid-19 under control, we have to act now. The virus will not wait for us.’

THREE IN FOUR FEAR CURBS MORE THAN VIRUS 

Almost three in four Britons are more worried about the impact of lockdown restrictions than catching the virus, says a poll.

Young people are most concerned about the mental health impact, while a third of pensioners are worried about the suspension of cancer screening.

The results come from a poll by the Recovery group, which is campaigning against excessive Covid restrictions.

Its co-founder, Jon Dobinson, said: ‘This poll shows that more and more people share our concerns about the terrible damage lockdowns, fear and restrictions are doing.’

Pollsters asked 2,000 adults to rank their biggest concerns during the pandemic. Catching Covid was the top worry for 29 per cent, followed by mental health at 23 per cent and the suspension of cancer screening at 21 per cent. Eleven per cent were most concerned by job prospects and 10 per cent by the impact on children.

Mental health was the top concern for 18 to 34-year-olds and Londoners were the most worried about losing their jobs.

 

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The infectious disease expert wrote on Twitter: ‘Nobody ‘wants’ a lockdown, myself very much included. Full & generous support for people & businesses is a crucial part of making it work.

‘But we have quickly breached the reasonable worst-case scenario, we are further ahead in this phase of the epidemic than many have assumed.

‘The best time to act was a month ago but these are very tough decisions which we would all like to avoid. The second-best time is now.’

Professor Gabriel Scally, a Sage member and president of the epidemiology and public health section at the Royal Society of Medicine, said on Twitter: ‘It is possible to be very concerned about the impact of the pandemic on mental health and the treatment of non-Covid conditions, and still believe that stricter measures are the best and most necessary course of action. The more the virus spreads the less capacity the NHS has.

Sage member Professor Christina Pagel, from UCL, added that another national lockdown is ‘inevitable’. The director of clinical operational research told Sky News: ‘Broadly speaking, Covid is spreading, particularly in England and Wales. 

‘I suspect Wales’ cases will come down next week as their firebreak starts to take effect. ‘But basically it’s spreading everywhere and at the moment it’s spreading mainly in Tier 1 areas.’ 

Asked if a second national lockdown is worth damaging the economy and people’s mental health, she said: ‘I think it’s inevitable, and given that it’s inevitable I think the sooner you do it the quicker it’s over and the more lives you save.’ 

There were also reports of more Tory infighting, with claims by older MPs that the lockdown revolt by Conservative MPs in northern ‘Red Wall’ seats was led by ‘selfish young MPs who have nothing to fear personally’ from Covid because of their age.

One Conservative elder statesman said: ‘Many of our MPs who won Red Wall seats last year and are making the most fuss about lockdowns are young and are not at risk personally. 

‘They should think about their constituents in their 60s and over who are at much greater risk.’

The senior Tory, who is over 60, singled out four MPs who have been most outspoken – William Wragg, who represents Hazel Grove, Manchester, aged 32; Jake Berry, Rossendale and Darwen, 41; Chris Green, Bolton West, 47; and Dehenna Davison, Bishop Auckland, 27. 

The move comes after Boris Johnson and his fiancée Carrie Symonds praised NHS medics for saving the Prime Minister's life as he fought coronavirus and for delivering their son

The move comes after Boris Johnson and his fiancée Carrie Symonds praised NHS medics for saving the Prime Minister’s life as he fought coronavirus and for delivering their son

Above are the Covid-19 infection rates in London boroughs for the week ending October 24, according to official data

Above are the Covid-19 infection rates in London boroughs for the week ending October 24, according to official data

Almost 20 NHS trusts in England are already treating more coronavirus patients than at the peak of the first wave, according to official statistics that come amid warnings hospitals across the country could run out of beds before Christmas

Almost 20 NHS trusts in England are already treating more coronavirus patients than at the peak of the first wave, according to official statistics that come amid warnings hospitals across the country could run out of beds before Christmas 

Bars shut, shopping restricted and no indoor sports: What will the new lockdown mean for you

A new national lockdown across England means people must stay at home unless for specific reasons, such as attending school or college, or going to the supermarket.

When do the new rules come into force?

The new national lockdown will run from Thursday November 5 until Wednesday December 2.

The lockdown will then be eased on a regional basis according to the latest coronavirus case data at that time.

Can I leave my home?

Yes but only for specific reasons such as education, work if you cannot work from home and for exercise, which you can take as many times a day as you wish.

People can also leave for recreation with their own household, or on their own with one person from another household (a ‘one plus one’ rule).

Examples of recreation include meeting up with a friend in the park for a walk or to sit on a bench and eat a sandwich. People will not be allowed to meet in homes and gardens, and golf clubs will remain shut.

People can also leave home to shop for food and essentials and to provide care for vulnerable people or as a volunteer.

Attending medical appointments is also allowed or to escape injury or harm (such as for people suffering domestic abuse).

Support bubbles will remain in place and people can still meet up in their bubble.

Children can move between the homes of their parents if their parents are separated.

What will close?

Non-essential shops, leisure and entertainment venues will all be closed.

Click and collect can continue and essential shops such as supermarkets will remain open.

Bars, pubs and restaurants must stay closed except for delivery or take-away services.

Hairdressers and beauty salons will close.

What if I shielded last time?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said people over 60 and those who are clinically vulnerable are being told to be especially careful to follow the rules and minimise their contact with others.

Anyone who was formally notified that they should shield last time and not go out to work will be advised not to go out to work this time.

However, formal shielding as happened during the March and April lockdown – where people were told not to leave home for any reason – will not be brought in.

Should my children go to school or to the childminder? Can they go to a playground?

Yes, schools, colleges and universities will all remain open.

Childminders and nurseries will stay open and childcare bubbles, where for example a grandparent provides childcare while a parent works, will be able to continue.

After-school clubs and sports clubs will be suspended until December 2.

Playgrounds and parks will remain open.

Can I go on holiday?

No, you are advised not to travel unless for essential reasons. People can travel for work.

Those who are already on holiday will be able to return to the UK.

Is there a furlough scheme?

Yes, furlough will be payable at 80 per cent for the duration of the package of tougher national measures.

Can I go to church?

Churches will remain open for private prayer.

Funerals are limited to close family members only. It is currently unclear what the rules are for weddings.

Will Premier League football matches continue?

Yes. Boris Johnson said games would continue despite the restrictions.

What if I live in an area with lower cases?

You must still observe the rules as they apply across England. Professor Chris Whitty said that many of the areas with lower case numbers have the highest rates of increase.

He also warned: ‘Some areas including the South West are likely to get pressure on beds really relatively early because of the way the NHS is constructed in those areas.’

The data ‘forcing Boris into lockdown’: SAGE release papers showing they sounded alarm two weeks ago, UK is headed for ‘worse than worst case scenario’ including 85,000 deaths – and 52,000 are catching virus every day 

The Government's SAGE advisers released papers yesterday evening that showed how they warned ministers two weeks ago that Britain could be headed for a more serious situation than their 'worst case scenario'

The Government’s SAGE advisers released papers yesterday evening that showed how they warned ministers two weeks ago that Britain could be headed for a more serious situation than their ‘worst case scenario’

The revelation that Boris Johnson is plunging Britain into a new national lockdown followed days of briefings and leaks from government advisers – who say coronavirus cases in the UK are accelerating faster than their worst case scenario and the nation could face 1,000 deaths a day within a month.

It culminated with the release last night of papers from a meeting of the Government‘s SAGE committee that showed how they warned ministers two weeks ago that Britain could be headed for a more serious situation than their ‘worst case scenario’.

The document, dated October 14, which was released online, said ‘we are breaching the number of infections and hospital admissions in the Reasonable Worst Case planning scenario’ before adding that the outlook for Covid-19’s future spread was ‘concerning’ if no action was taken.

According to briefings from advisers yesterday, they believe there is still time to save Christmas with a lockdown of at least a month that closes restaurants, pubs and all but essential shops.

The experts believe soaring cases mean the UK could face 1,000 deaths a day within a month and exceed 85,000 coronavirus deaths. Yesterday a further 274 fatalities were reported, compared with 136 a fortnight ago. 

The SAGE papers from two weeks ago warned that modelling suggested that up to 74,000 people a day could be becoming infected in England alone, far beyond the worst case scenario. 

There is a lag of around three weeks between infections and deaths. The scientists told ministers that without further restrictions, the death toll will keep rising exponentially, and hospitals will be overwhelmed. 

Separate Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures released yesterday found daily coronavirus infections in England surged by 50 per cent last week. It estimated almost 52,000 people were catching the virus every day and one in every 100 people in the country were infected with Covid-19 a week ago. 

The weekly update is far lower than another Government-funded study, called REACT-1, which this week claimed there were 96,000 new cases per day by October 25, putting the current outbreak on par with levels seen in the first wave. 

However yesterday, other researchers at King’s College London, predicted England has around 32,000 new symptomatic cases per day and claimed infections are rising ‘steadily’ and ‘have not spiralled out of control’.  

The competing projections have led to confusion over how bad the current rate of coronavirus infections is. Professor Tim Spector, the epidemiologist behind the King’s study, said the spread of Covid-19 currently appears ‘steady’ and may even be slowing in Scotland. The team estimated that Britain’s cases are doubling once a month.

SAGE released a document from October 14 that show the group warned two weeks ago that the virus was spreading faster than their 'worst case scenario' and there were up to 75,000 new infections per day

SAGE released a document from October 14 that show the group warned two weeks ago that the virus was spreading faster than their ‘worst case scenario’ and there were up to 75,000 new infections per day

The worrying figures from SAGE are behind Prime Minister Boris Johnson‘s expected decision to announce a new national lockdown next week after his scientific advisers told him it was the only way to save Christmas..

SAGE – the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, which is made up of senior scientists and disease experts -presented their analysis to the Government on October 14. 

They warned: ‘In England, we are breaching the number of infections and hospital admissions in the Reasonable Worst Case planning scenario that is based on COVID-S’s winter planning strategy. 

‘The number of daily deaths is now in line with the levels in the Reasonable Worst Case and is almost certain to exceed this within the next two weeks.’

They added: ‘There is complete consensus in SPI-M-O that the current outlook for the epidemic’s trajectory is concerning, if there are no widespread decisive interventions or behavioural changes in the near term.’   

SAGE's presentation of the median R rate in the UK, with bars representing different independent estimates

SAGE’s presentation of the median R rate in the UK, with bars representing different independent estimates

SAGE's presentation of the growth rate of Covid-19 in the NHS England regions. The bars represent different independent estimates, the grey shaded areas represent the combined numerical range and the black bars are the combined range rounding to one decimal place

SAGE’s presentation of the growth rate of Covid-19 in the NHS England regions. The bars represent different independent estimates, the grey shaded areas represent the combined numerical range and the black bars are the combined range rounding to one decimal place

SAGE's presentation of the median R rate in different NHS regions of England. The bars represent different independent estimates, the grey shaded areas represent the combined numerical range and the black bars are the combined range rounding to one decimal place

SAGE’s presentation of the median R rate in different NHS regions of England. The bars represent different independent estimates, the grey shaded areas represent the combined numerical range and the black bars are the combined range rounding to one decimal place

SAGE's presentation of the estimates of the median R rate in the four nations of the UK. The bars represent different independent estimates, the grey shaded areas represent the combined numerical range and the black bars are the combined range rounding to one decimal place

SAGE’s presentation of the estimates of the median R rate in the four nations of the UK. The bars represent different independent estimates, the grey shaded areas represent the combined numerical range and the black bars are the combined range rounding to one decimal place

The SAGE scientists did say that if the number of new infections were to fall in the ‘very near future’ then the reasonable worst case scenario may ‘only continue for three to four weeks.’ 

However, they warned that if the ‘R’ rate were to remain above 1 then the epidemic ‘will further diverge from the planning scenario.’ 

The Government-funded REACT study at Imperial College London predicted earlier this week that the R rate across all of England had climbed to 1.6 – the highest since the first lockdown.  It added it could be as high as 2.8 in London. 

When the R rate is above 1, an outbreak can grow exponentially. An R of 1.8 would mean on average every 10 people infected will infect 28 other people. 

SAGE’s latest official R rate estimates did claim the figure had dropped and estimated it stood between 1.1 and 1.3 both nationally and in London. 

Either way, there appears to be consensus that the infection rate remains above 1.  

SAGE had called for the Government to follow the footsteps of Germany and France by retreating back into a full national shutdown ‘for at least a month’ because they said the three-tiered system was failing. 

Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds unite for first joint TV appearance as they praise ‘utterly brilliant’ NHS staff for saving his life and the maternity team that delivered son Wilfred

Boris Johnson and his fiancée Carrie Symonds will praise NHS medics for delivering their son Wilfred and for saving the Prime Minister’s life as he fought coronavirus.

In their first joint television appearance, a recording for the Pride of Britain awards, they will thank frontline workers for their ‘courage and dedication’ during the pandemic in a broadcast on Sunday.

The couple nominated nurses Jenny McGee and Luis Pitarma, two nurses who cared for Mr Johnson at St Thomas’ Hospital in April, and the maternity team who delivered Wilfred later the same month. 

Ms Symonds’ £30,000 emerald engagement ring matches her green dress in the broadcast filmed at Chequers earlier this week. 

Ms Symonds says in the video: ‘You continue to provide care for all of us in the very toughest of times and it’s because of you that not only is Boris still here, but that we are proud parents to our sweet baby boy.

‘As a family we have so much to be thankful to the NHS for and we will never stop being grateful.’

The Prime Minister then adds: ‘Exactly right. So I want to pay thanks to the utterly brilliant team at St Thomas’ Hospital who saved my life.

‘There were many of them, but I want to nominate two nurses in particular, Luis and Jenny.’ 

Mr Johnson was treated in intensive care for Covid-19 in the London hospital, before the couple’s first child together was born at University College Hospital weeks later.

In their first joint television appearance on Sunday, Boris Johnson and his fiancée Carrie Symonds will praise NHS medics for saving the Prime Minister's life as he fought coronavirus and for delivering their son

In their first joint television appearance on Sunday, Boris Johnson and his fiancée Carrie Symonds will praise NHS medics for saving the Prime Minister’s life as he fought coronavirus and for delivering their son

In their first joint television appearance, a recording for the Pride of Britain awards, they will thank frontline workers for their 'courage and dedication' during the pandemic in a broadcast on Sunday

In their first joint television appearance, a recording for the Pride of Britain awards, they will thank frontline workers for their ‘courage and dedication’ during the pandemic in a broadcast on Sunday

Baby Wilfred was born on April 29, less than two weeks after Mr Johnson left hospital

Baby Wilfred was born on April 29, less than two weeks after Mr Johnson left hospital

Timeline: Boris’s battle with coronavirus 

March 26: Boris Johnson announces he has tested positive for coronavirus in a Twitter video and continues working in self-isolation from his Number 11 flat.

April 2: The PM comes out of self isolation

April 3: He urges people to stay at home

April 5: Downing Street says the PM has been taken to St Thomas’ Hospital as a precaution after displaying persistent symptoms.

April 6: Mr Johnson is moved to the hospital’s intensive care unit after his condition worsened, but does not require ventilation. Dominic Raab begins to deputise for the PM.

April 9: He was moved out of intensive care and back on to the normal ward.

April 11: The PM was discharged from hospital. He thanked NHS staff for saving his life in a video recorded from Downing Street before heading to Chequers with his pregnant fiancée Carrie Symonds.

April 26: Mr Johnson arrives back in Number 10 as he prepares to return to work. 

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On March 27, he announced he had tested positive for the virus, but he continues to work from home, chairing cabinet meetings and issuing social media releases.

In a video message on Twitter, he said: ‘I’m working from home and self-isolating and that’s entirely the right thing to do.

‘But, be in no doubt that I can continue thanks to the wizardry of modern technology to communicate with all my top team to lead the national fightback against coronavirus.’

Health Secretary Matt Hancock also announced he had tested positive for Covid-19, while chief medical officer Chris Whitty said he had symptoms of the disease and was self-isolating.

Some questioned why the PM had adopted a business-as-usual approach to governing after putting the rest of the UK on lockdown, with Mr Johnson accused of not following his own advice.

The House of Commons continued to sit, with Cabinet meetings and daily press briefings held in person throughout the first weeks of March. 

Mr Johnson was seen in person on April 2, after stepped outside No.11 Downing Street to clap for carers. 

He told those gathered outside: ‘I am not allowed out really, I am just standing here.’ 

The next day he issued a plea for people to stay at home and save lives, as he was still suffering from a temperature.

He urged people not to break social distancing rules as the weather warmed up, even if they were going ‘a bit stir crazy’. 

On April 4, then-pregnant Carrie Symonds, 32, said she was ‘on the mend’ after suffering coronavirus symptoms herself.

Shortly after the PM’s announcement on March 27, Ms Symonds – who usually lives with him in the No.11 flat – shared a photograph of herself self-isolating in Camberwell, south London, with the couple’s dog Dilyn.

Just days later on April 5 Mr Johnson was admitted to hospital for tests. 

On April 6 Mr Johnson tweeted: ‘Last night, on the advice of my doctor, I went into hospital for some routine tests as I’m still experiencing coronavirus symptoms. I’m in good spirits and keeping in touch with my team, as we work together to fight this virus and keep everyone safe.

‘I’d like to say thank you to all the brilliant NHS staff taking care of me and others in this difficult time. You are the best of Britain.

‘Stay safe everyone, and please remember to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.’

Just hours later, Downing Street said the Prime Minister’s condition had worsened and, on the advice of his medical team, he had been moved to the hospital’s intensive care unit. 

Ms Symonds says in the video: 'You continue to provide care for all of us in the very toughest of times and it's because of you that not only is Boris still here, but that we are proud parents to our sweet baby boy

Ms Symonds says in the video: ‘You continue to provide care for all of us in the very toughest of times and it’s because of you that not only is Boris still here, but that we are proud parents to our sweet baby boy

The Prime Minister then adds: 'Exactly right. So I want to pay thanks to the utterly brilliant team at St Thomas' Hospital who saved my life

The Prime Minister then adds: ‘Exactly right. So I want to pay thanks to the utterly brilliant team at St Thomas’ Hospital who saved my life

'There were many of them, but I want to nominate two nurses in particular, Luis and Jenny,' Mr Johnson said

‘There were many of them, but I want to nominate two nurses in particular, Luis and Jenny,’ Mr Johnson said

On April 7 Downing Street said the PM’s condition remained ‘stable’ and he was in ‘good spirits’ following his first night in intensive care, but he would need to remain there for ‘close monitoring’. 

The next day the Prime Minister was said to be ‘responding to treatment’ after a second night in intensive care.

Downing Street said he remained in a stable condition.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak later told the daily coronavirus press briefing that Mr Johnson was still in intensive care, but had been sitting up in bed and engaging with his clinical team.  

On April 9, the Prime Minister was moved out of intensive care and went into a normal ward.

He was discharged two days later on April 11 and thanked NHS staff for saving his life in a video recorded from Downing Street before heading to Chequers with his then-pregnant fiancée Carrie Symonds.

He returned to Number 10 on April 26 and Ms Symonds gave birth in London on April 30, with the Prime Minister at her side. 

In a heart-warming Instagram post revealing the boy’s name, Ms Symonds revealed that the middle name Nicholas was a tribute to two NHS doctors, Dr Nick Price and Professor Nick Hart, who  ‘saved Boris’ life.’

Dr Nick Price

Professor Nick Hart

In a heart-warming Instagram post revealing the boy’s name, Ms Symonds revealed that the middle name Nicholas was a tribute to two NHS doctors, Dr Nick Price (left) and Professor Nick Hart (right), who ‘saved Boris’ life’

Among the first to send their wellwishes following the announcement were the two medics who said they were ‘honoured and humbled’ to serve as the inspiration for the newborn’s middle name Nicholas.

They said in a statement: ‘Our warm congratulations go to the Prime Minister and Carrie Symonds on the happy arrival of their beautiful son Wilfred.

‘We are honoured and humbled to have been recognised in this way, and we give our thanks to the incredible team of professionals who we work with at Guy’s at St Thomas’ and who ensure every patient receives the best care.

‘We wish the new family every health and happiness.’ 

The first name is a tribute to Mr Johnson’s paternal grandfather, Osman Wilfred Kemal, and Lawrie a reference to Ms Symonds’ grandfather. 

Accompanying the caption was a photograph in which the first-time mother was seen tightly cradling her son, who sported an extraordinary full head of hair not dissimilar to that of his father.

Mr Johnson was treated in intensive care for Covid-19 in the London hospital, before the couple's first child together was born at University College Hospital weeks later

Mr Johnson was treated in intensive care for Covid-19 in the London hospital, before the couple’s first child together was born at University College Hospital weeks later

The 32-year-old fiancee of Mr Johnson, who said ‘my heart is full’ in the caption, also revealed for the first time that Wilfred had been born at the maternity wing of the NHS’s University College Hospital in central London.

The caption read: ‘Introducing Wilfred Lawrie Nicholas born on 29.04.20 at 9am. Wilfred after Boris’ grandfather Lawrie after my grandfather Nicholas after Dr Nick Price and Dr Nick Hart – the two doctors that saved Boris’ life last month.

‘Thank you so, so much to the incredible NHS maternity team at UCLH that looked after us so well. I couldn’t be happier. My heart is full.’ 

It was also revealed that Boris Johnson received a congratulatory phone call from the Duke of Cambridge on Friday afternoon, with a record of their conversation recorded as an official event in the Court Circular. 

Among the first to send their well-wishes following the announcement were Dr Nick Price and Prof Nick Hart, who said they were ‘honoured and humbled’ to serve as the inspiration for the newborn’s middle name Nicholas.

They said in a statement: ‘Our warm congratulations go to the Prime Minister and Carrie Symonds on the happy arrival of their beautiful son Wilfred.

‘We are honoured and humbled to have been recognised in this way, and we give our thanks to the incredible team of professionals who we work with at Guy’s at St Thomas’ and who ensure every patient receives the best care.

‘We wish the new family every health and happiness.’ 

There was also a message of congratulations from the University College Hospital, where Wilfred was born.

UCLH chief executive Professor Marcel Levi said: ‘Congratulations to Carrie Symonds and Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the birth of their son. We wish them every happiness at this special time.

‘I would like to thank the teams who cared for Carrie and her baby. 

‘They are an incredibly skilled, dedicated and compassionate group of professionals who put patients at the heart of everything they do.

‘I am very proud of them and all our staff at UCLH who are working extremely hard in very difficult circumstances at the moment.’ 

Elsewhere in the Sunday broadcast, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will present a special recognition award to NHS staff. 

What’s the infection rate in YOUR town? Interactive module reveals how quickly Covid-19 outbreaks are growing across England as official data shows cases are rising quickest in Hull, Derby and Somerset

By Vanessa Chalmers, Health Reporter for MailOnline

Covid-19 outbreaks are growing fastest in Hull, Derby, and Bath, according to official data that MailOnline has converted into an interactive tool to show how quickly cases are rising in your town. 

Hull and Derby saw their coronavirus epidemics almost double in the seven-day spell ending October 25, with seven-day infection rates jumping to 279 and 329 cases per 100,000 people, respectively. 

Both cities, along with the rest of Staffordshire and Derbyshire, will be moved from Tier One into Tier Two from Saturday to try and stem the rise in infections, it was announced yesterday as England crept another step closer towards a full national lockdown.

But most of the authorities where epidemics have grown the most remain in Tier One, where only the rule of six and 10pm curfew apply. Scientists have argued these rules are not stringent enough to shrink the outbreak, with top Government advisers warning the current growth is ‘very bleak’.  

For example, North Somerset and Bath and North East Somerset, where cases jumped up 83 per cent and 70 per cent in one week, have yet to be hit by any tougher virus-controlling restrictions. It comes despite warnings that the coronavirus crisis is ‘speeding up’ in the south of the country. 

Public Health England’s weekly surveillance report revealed only 20 of all 150 authorities in England saw a drop in infections last week, including Nottingham where cases dropped by 30 per cent. Despite the city’s outbreak shrinking, it will be thrown under the toughest Tier Three restrictions from tomorrow, along with the rest of the county.

And the data offered more proof that the tightest lockdown measures do work, with Liverpool, Knowsley, Sefton and St Helens all seeing their weekly coronavirus infection rates drop. All of the Merseyside area has been under Tier Three lockdown since October 14. 

It suggests the brutal restrictions — which ban people from socialising with anyone outside their own household and mean many pubs, bars, and in some cases gyms, have to close — are beginning to work. However, scientists say the true effect of measure won’t be clear until a few weeks have passed. 

It comes as Boris Johnson is facing renewed pressure from his medical officers to impose a nation-wide shutdown before and after Christmas in a bid to allow families to gather over the holidays. Dominic Raab today hinted No10 could introduce a new Tier Four set of even stricter restrictions and refused to rule out a national lockdown. 

Percentage change in coronavirus cases across England in the week to October 25: The five local authorities where the infection rate grew the most are: Kingston upon Hull City, 92.81 per cent; Derby, 91.84 per cent; North Somerset, 82.99 per cent; Medway, 77.17 per cent; and Bath and North East Somerset 69.72 per cent

 Percentage change in coronavirus cases across England in the week to October 25: The five local authorities where the infection rate grew the most are: Kingston upon Hull City, 92.81 per cent; Derby, 91.84 per cent; North Somerset, 82.99 per cent; Medway, 77.17 per cent; and Bath and North East Somerset 69.72 per cent

Yesterday it was announced another 16 authorities would be dragged into Tier Two from Saturday. A number of them were among the 20 places where outbreaks have significantly worsened, according to Public Health England (PHE) data. 

PHE’s data is based on the number of positive swabs within the week October 19 to 25. The new infections can be divided by the population size for each given area to give a case rate per 100,000 people. This allows for figures between different areas to be compared accurately. 

For example in Kingston upon Hull, 279 new cases were diagnosed per 100,000 people in that seven-day period. The week prior, the figure was 145, showing an increase of 93 per cent.

Similarly Derby city’s infection rate rose by 92 per cent, from 171 to 328 cases per 100,000. It suggests that the outbreak is doubling every seven days in those locations. 

But both areas may have asked for more testing to help them contain the virus, meaning just looking at the growth may not paint the entire picture. Department of Health statistics that breakdown tests processed by local authority only go up until October 21, meaning it is not possible to tell exactly how much swabbing skewed the figures over that fortnight.

Earlier this week, Derby’s director of public health, Dr Robyn Dewis, called for all the city’s 259,000 residents to start adhering to Tier Two restrictions.

The advice came in anticipation of being moved into the higher level, which ministers confirmed last night would be happening. Amber Valley, Bolsover, Derbyshire Dales, Derby City, South Derbyshire, and the whole of High Peak will be moved into Tier Two as of Saturday. 

Dr Dewis told MailOnline: ‘I can never feel pleased to be asking our residents to make restrictions in their daily lives, however I do feel that it is urgent that we take action to reduce the spread of the virus. 

‘We have seen a rapid growth across the city with all wards affected. Importantly we are now seeing a significant increase in the over 60s who are infected.’

Meanwhile, North Somerset (83 per cent increase) and Bath and North East Somerset (70 per cent increase) also saw major growths in their outbreaks. 

But their infection rates of 130.2 and 191 are currently well below the average for the UK (230 per 100,000). This may explain why they remain in the ‘medium’ alert level, Tier One. 

Matt Lenny, director of public health at North Somerset Council said in a statement: ‘Analysis of the latest case data also shows that there’s no clear pattern of infection in local communities. 

‘The case data tells us that the virus is circulating generally in our community and we are no longer seeing greater rates of infection just in younger people.

‘I urge every resident in North Somerset to make the right choices when going about their daily lives.

‘We are at a critical point as cases rise and people mix and spend more time indoors. We should all be acting as if we already have the virus and modifying our behaviours to reduce the spread.’  

While places in Somerset are not considered Covid-19 hotspots in England, they may become so if measures are not adopted sooner, rather than later, to slow the spread of growth. 

WHERE DID THE INFECTION RATE GROW THE MOST? 

Kingston upon Hull, City of 92.81%

Derby 91.84%

North Somerset 82.99%

Medway 77.17%

Bath and North East Somerset 69.72%

South Gloucestershire 62.13%

Herefordshire, County of 58.10%

Derbyshire 57.98%

Stoke-on-Trent 56.79%

Lincolnshire 55.26%

Staffordshire 55.21%

Leicestershire 54.29%

Southampton 54.02%

Brighton and Hove 52.57%

Milton Keynes 50.88%

Swindon 49.99%

East Riding of Yorkshire 49.32%

Dudley 49.07%

West Sussex 46.89%

Leicester 46.57%

 

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WHERE DID THE INFECTION RATE GROW THE LEAST? 

Nottingham -30.00%

Liverpool -20.98%

York -20.25%

Windsor and Maidenhead -20.09%

Knowsley -18.18%

County Durham -15.51%

Sefton -12.54%

Rutland -11.63%

Devon -11.12%

Camden -10.03%

Halton -7.95%

South Tyneside -5.35%

Hackney and City of London -4.60%

Richmond upon Thames -3.96%

St. Helens -3.80%

Hartlepool -3.68%

Slough -3.02%

Sheffield -2.46%

Leeds -1.22%

Newcastle upon Tyne -0.42%

 

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Experts have previously said it’s the speed at which an outbreak is growing — and not its current size — that is the most important factor when considering the severity of the situation in any given area. 

Ministers are understood to analyse a ‘basket’ of indicators to make decisions on Covid-19 restrictions, including the infection rate, hospital admissions and speed of growth. 

South Gloucestershire, in the south west, and Herefordshire in the West Midlands, also saw their outbreaks rapidly grow in the space of one week, by around 60 per cent. However, their infection rates are also lower than the national average and currently stand at 192 and 86, respectively.

The figures indicate the ‘second wave’ is now affecting all corners of England, and not just the north.   

Scientists warned this week infections are ‘speeding up’ in the south.

A worrying Government-funded study by Imperial College London found that the outbreak appears to be growing fastest in London and the South West, where rules are comparatively lax, and slowest in the northern regions with the toughest restrictions. 

They predicted the R rate — the average number of people each carrier infects — is also higher than two in the South East, East and South West, which have mostly escaped any tough local lockdowns.  

But the R rate in the capital is higher than anywhere else in England, at three. For comparison, the experts claimed the national R rate is around 1.6. Cases are doubling every three days compared to every nine days in the rest of England, the study claimed.  

The PHE data shows just 20 out of 149 councils recorded a fall in their Covid-19 infection rates in the week ending October 25. For comparison, 23 saw a dip the week before. 

A  number of large cities saw their infection rates drop in the week to October 25. This includes Nottingham (down 30 per cent), Liverpool (down 21 per cent), Sheffield (down 2.46 per cent) and Leeds (down 1.22 per cent).

But despite this, Nottingham and Leeds will be plunged into Tier Three restrictions this weekend. And there are no clear path for Liverpool and Sheffield to move out of their local ‘lockdowns’.

Liverpool, and the rest of Merseyside including Halton, Knowsley, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral, went straight into Tier Three when the tiered system came into force on October 14. All those places saw infection rates drop in the most recent week, other than Wirral, where cases only rose by 6 per cent. 

A number of places under Tier Two also saw drops in infection rates, including York (20 per cent), South Tyneside (5 per cent) and Newcastle upon Tyne (down a slight 0.42 per cent).

Parts of London — Camden (down 10 per cent), Hackney and City of London (down 4.60 per cent) and Richmond upon Thames (down 3.96 per cent) — also saw improvements in infection rates. These areas have some of the highest infection rates in London, suggesting that residents have acted to control the coronavirus. 

Londoners are currently banned from meeting indoors with anyone they don’t live with. 

However London Mayor Sadiq Khan is piling on pressure on No10 to drag the city into Tier Three, despite infection rates varying across the 32 different boroughs – from 223 positive tests per 100,000 people in Ealing over the most recent week, to 103 per 100,000 in Lewisham.  

Martin McKee, a professor of European public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and member of Independent Sage, said: ‘We unfortunately have allowed the infection to get out of control and as a consequence we are going to need to turn this around, otherwise it will just keep going up, more will get seriously ill and more people will die.

‘The sooner we impose tighter restrictions, the better. I see MPs saying ‘the rates are low in my area so we shouldn’t do anything’. It’s not about if case are low, it’s about if they are increasing rapidly. 

‘We saw very clearly in March that it’s better sooner than later. So we really should be doing this now, we really have no time to lose.’

But Professor McKee stressed that with tighter restrictions, three essential things are needed — a clampdown on indoor social mixing where the virus can spread easily, mental health support, and a working test and trace system. Currently the UK’s NHS Test and Trace is not performing to the ‘world beating’ status that was promised.

Professor McKee added: ‘As long as infections are going up, we have a major problem. Simply because of the nature of exponential growth. It’s a simple nature of mathematics. Even if the infections are going up even slightly, the rate of growth will go upwards faster. 

‘On the other hand, if we can put in really stringent measure to stop people mixing with each other, you can get a large drop in quite a short period of time.

Professor Paul Hunter, an infectious disease expert at the University of East Anglia, said: ‘The Tier One restrictions are clearly not working in terms of suppressing the epidemic. I suspect the government would decide to increase, in most areas of the country, will at least move into Tier Two in the next month. And some of the current Tier Two will move into Tier Three. 

‘The interesting thing is it’s not going up quite as quickly in the northern cities as it was. And in some of those cities, such as Liverpool, it does seem to be declining a bit already.

‘I think it’s a little too early to say whether these Tier Two/Tier Three levels are not working. The bottom line is the higher restrictions may be working but it’s too early to be sure.

‘In the southern small town rural areas, that’s where a lot of the current increases are at the moment. It’s very obvious cases are increasing in the south now. Pretty much everywhere in between is on the up.

‘The issue is what time will they decide that is no longer acceptable or tolerable and then increase restrictions in those areas.’

Simon Clarke, an associate professor in cellular microbiology at University of Reading, said: ‘Are local restriction enough? They should be, but the problem is not so much going from Tier Two to Three, but going from One to Two. We know in certain parts of the country that is not happening quickly enough.

‘My gut feeling is we are heading for tightening restrictions between now and into the new year. I think that it will be something like Tier Three or perhaps tighter. I think we will get a tier 4 added on top. But it’s just a guess.’  

HOW HAVE INFECTION RATES CHANGED IN YOUR AREA? 
Local authority name Sept 21 to 27 Sept 28 to Oct 4 Change Oct 5 to 11 Change Oct 12 to 18 Change Oct 19 to 25 Change
Barking and Dagenham 62 63.41 39.18% 98.17 54.82% 119.3 21.52% 131.51 10.23%
Barnet 43.2 86.39 267.77% 110.64 28.07% 114.68 3.65% 140.7 22.69%
Barnsley 76.56 148.66 336.85% 279.91 88.29% 457.33 63.38% 499.06 9.12%
Bath and North East Somerset 37.25 67.78 367.77% 120.03 77.09% 112.79 -6.03% 191.43 69.72%
Bedford 47.9 74.44 138.90% 81.37 9.31% 87.14 7.09% 88.29 1.32%
Bexley 28.19 56.39 141.40% 66.05 17.13% 82.97 25.62% 113.58 36.89%
Birmingham 147.92 159.31 28.64% 190.92 19.84% 227.36 19.09% 257.75 13.37%
Blackburn with Darwen 182.37 257.86 30.41% 446.24 73.06% 576.5 29.19% 774.24 34.30%
Blackpool 91.79 197.21 169.60% 288.28 46.18% 424.54 47.27% 425.97 0.34%
Bolton 244.13 265 9.80% 335.25 26.51% 442.01 31.84% 546.34 23.60%
Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole 25.55 74.12 252.95% 134.57 81.56% 144.44 7.33% 184.91 28.02%
Bracknell Forest 25.3 40.8 212.40% 53.04 30.00% 81.6 53.85% 84.86 4.00%
Bradford 184.34 293.27 98.37% 335.14 14.28% 395.72 18.08% 481.13 21.58%
Brent 50.64 79.45 181.74% 99.16 24.81% 98.55 -0.62% 113.41 15.08%
Brighton and Hove 21.66 62.22 448.68% 82.51 32.61% 93.51 13.33% 142.67 52.57%
Bristol, City of 28.27 66.47 275.54% 156.46 135.38% 245.37 56.83% 333.64 35.97%
Bromley 27.68 55.67 242.58% 70.11 25.94% 89.97 28.33% 108.93 21.07%
Buckinghamshire 24.82 48.35 182.75% 88.98 84.03% 86.77 -2.48% 104.6 20.55%
Bury 216.24 290.59 52.89% 389.55 34.05% 430.39 10.48% 526.21 22.26%
Calderdale 97.42 173.56 135.27% 242.6 39.78% 311.65 28.46% 410.49 31.72%
Cambridgeshire 18.06 45.29 355.18% 65.34 44.27% 67.48 3.28% 82.17 21.77%
Camden 27.4 55.55 138.11% 111.84 101.33% 121.84 8.94% 109.62 -10.03%
Central Bedfordshire 23.56 37.76 67.67% 51.27 35.78% 61.67 20.28% 71.37 15.73%
Cheshire East 61.17 141.35 287.90% 168.68 19.33% 173.11 2.63% 215.8 24.66%
Cheshire West and Chester 78.12 143.7 220.12% 191.21 33.06% 199.08 4.12% 214.53 7.76%
Cornwall and Isles of Scilly 40.4 26.58 32.17% 32 20.39% 30.78 -3.81% 44.95 46.04%
County Durham 110.55 201.29 209.30% 338.05 67.94% 329.56 -2.51% 278.44 -15.51%
Coventry 74.56 108.2 95.13% 166.34 53.73% 184.11 10.68% 199.99 8.63%
Croydon 32.58 66.46 307.98% 75.25 13.23% 79.39 5.50% 105.76 33.22%
Cumbria 51.2 86.6 252.03% 121.6 40.42% 152.4 25.33% 170.2 11.68%
Darlington 103.93 176.03 358.53% 206.92 17.55% 286.51 38.46% 296.81 3.59%
Derby 43.14 82.78 124.21% 134.08 61.97% 171.39 27.83% 328.8 91.84%
Derbyshire 44.35 93.44 201.23% 144.51 54.66% 186.5 29.06% 294.63 57.98%
Devon 18.82 84.37 957.27% 105.69 25.27% 78.52 -25.71% 69.79 -11.12%
Doncaster 62.84 147.81 177.73% 220.27 49.02% 350.76 59.24% 513.64 46.44%
Dorset 11.36 25.1 352.25% 60.76 142.07% 72.39 19.14% 103.3 42.70%
Dudley 56.28 79.29 90.28% 102.3 29.02% 150.81 47.42% 224.82 49.07%
Ealing 55.29 98.01 248.91% 139.85 42.69% 162.08 15.90% 212.4 31.05%
East Riding of Yorkshire 49.83 109.33 372.06% 133.36 21.98% 172.35 29.24% 257.35 49.32%
East Sussex 14.72 30.51 359.49% 44.86 47.03% 50.43 12.42% 58.32 15.65%
Enfield 42.54 72.8 158.52% 93.77 28.80% 137.21 46.33% 138.41 0.87%
Essex 26.66 48.35 176.92% 69.97 44.72% 90.25 28.98% 99.05 9.75%
Gateshead 162.33 241.02 83.08% 255.38 5.96% 259.34 1.55% 355.84 37.21%
Gloucestershire 19.62 40.5 200.00% 62 53.09% 62.63 1.02% 68.6 9.53%
Greenwich 36.47 50.7 217.27% 75.36 48.64% 85.43 13.36% 92.73 8.55%
Hackney and City of London 55.36 101.77 311.03% 132.37 30.07% 164.35 24.16% 156.79 -4.60%
Halton 265.82 343.1 80.49% 387.91 13.06% 340 -12.35% 312.96 -7.95%
Hammersmith and Fulham 45.91 75.08 238.96% 115.59 53.96% 163.12 41.12% 190.12 16.55%
Hampshire 16.78 35.08 219.20% 55.48 58.15% 68.35 23.20% 94.32 38.00%
Haringey 40.95 89.34 192.73% 116.88 30.83% 126.93 8.60% 142.57 12.32%
Harrow 42.2 95.95 244.28% 116.26 21.17% 127.81 9.93% 133.78 4.67%
Hartlepool 153.74 250.9 213.35% 274.39 9.36% 348.06 26.85% 335.24 -3.68%
Havering 58.18 60.49 80.46% 100.56 66.24% 126.76 26.05% 148.72 17.32%
Herefordshire, County of 12.97 22.3 152.83% 37.86 69.78% 54.46 43.85% 86.1 58.10%
Hertfordshire 30.94 66.83 166.79% 87.35 30.70% 90.79 3.94% 106.68 17.50%
Hillingdon 57.35 75.28 117.95% 102.32 35.92% 135.24 32.17% 160 18.31%
Hounslow 57.82 81.39 166.24% 105.7 29.87% 139.21 31.70% 177.15 27.25%
Isle of Wight 11.29 12.7 259.77% 17.63 38.82% 24.69 40.05% 31.04 25.72%
Islington 42.89 76.3 198.40% 90.32 18.37% 121.25 34.24% 126.62 4.43%
Kensington and Chelsea 24.34 81.34 262.80% 94.15 15.75% 135.14 43.54% 138.99 2.85%
Kent 16.44 34.46 240.51% 50.46 46.43% 54.25 7.51% 75.24 38.69%
Kingston upon Hull, City of 35.41 95.85 555.16% 107.01 11.64% 144.74 35.26% 279.08 92.81%
Kingston upon Thames 33.24 72.11 255.57% 101.97 41.41% 144.78 41.98% 184.22 27.24%
Kirklees 118.92 192.37 106.85% 254.44 32.27% 300.37 18.05% 388.82 29.45%
Knowsley 335.41 602.54 182.30% 700.64 16.28% 663.52 -5.30% 542.88 -18.18%
Lambeth 41.71 77.6 272.00% 92.94 19.77% 122.38 31.68% 137.1 12.03%
Lancashire 160.6 246.02 139.88% 347.6 41.29% 387.44 11.46% 426.22 10.01%
Leeds 170.46 379.13 239.39% 394.63 4.09% 393.5 -0.29% 388.71 -1.22%
Leicester 111.51 140.31 23.94% 184.06 31.18% 222.46 20.86% 326.06 46.57%
Leicestershire 51.12 92.19 124.47% 161.58 75.27% 176.87 9.46% 272.89 54.29%
Lewisham 34 64.09 206.21% 77.16 20.39% 79.13 2.55% 90.57 14.46%
Lincolnshire 27.85 63.19 238.82% 92.61 46.56% 103.65 11.92% 160.93 55.26%
Liverpool 342.94 580.27 186.43% 681.47 17.44% 584.69 -14.20% 462.01 -20.98%
Luton 61.96 72.28 41.28% 89.65 24.03% 141.28 57.59% 150.2 6.31%
Manchester 307.67 558.19 215.22% 474.62 -14.97% 438.99 -7.51% 486.2 10.75%
Medway 17.59 30.87 177.36% 38.77 25.59% 45.59 17.59% 80.77 77.17%
Merton 26.63 47.93 266.72% 77.95 62.63% 95.38 22.36% 134.11 40.61%
Middlesbrough 136.19 259.61 375.30% 280.89 8.20% 351.82 25.25% 353.95 0.61%
Milton Keynes 24.86 45.28 139.20% 65.69 45.08% 63.46 -3.39% 95.75 50.88%
Newcastle upon Tyne 299.19 492.37 204.91% 466.94 -5.16% 313.39 -32.88% 312.07 -0.42%
Newham 66.26 75.04 100.75% 103.36 37.74% 129.41 25.20% 142.16 9.85%
Norfolk 17.3 38.01 228.52% 50.89 33.89% 63.89 25.55% 84.71 32.59%
North East Lincolnshire 35.1 76.46 481.00% 162.32 112.29% 237.52 46.33% 339.68 43.01%
North Lincolnshire 47.59 94.03 224.02% 151.49 61.11% 170.06 12.26% 191.54 12.63%
North Somerset 27.9 39.99 56.33% 54.87 37.21% 71.15 29.67% 130.2 82.99%
North Tyneside 156.32 232.31 137.93% 251.55 8.28% 210.67 -16.25% 279.44 32.64%
North Yorkshire 67.47 113.1 188.82% 134.29 18.74% 141.09 5.06% 164.39 16.51%
Northamptonshire 24.43 60.14 198.02% 96.25 60.04% 107.53 11.72% 127.31 18.39%
Northumberland 171.2 180.19 114.38% 175.54 -2.58% 176.47 0.53% 179.88 1.93%
Nottingham 94.32 609.79 1523.94% 927.91 52.17% 610.69 -34.19% 427.46 -30.00%
Nottinghamshire 49.74 137.04 387.17% 220.47 60.88% 272.27 23.50% 325.03 19.38%
Oldham 193.58 295.64 62.27% 382.52 29.39% 468.56 22.49% 661.72 41.22%
Oxfordshire 25.59 64.48 309.14% 86.31 33.86% 89.35 3.52% 111.9 25.24%
Peterborough 35.1 62.3 223.13% 81.58 30.95% 95.92 17.58% 125.09 30.41%
Plymouth 23.27 37.77 80.03% 68.68 81.84% 103.01 49.99% 141.55 37.41%
Portsmouth 32.11 50.72 194.54% 104.7 106.43% 144.25 37.77% 163.79 13.55%
Reading 29.67 43.89 343.78% 74.79 70.40% 95.81 28.11% 109.41 14.19%
Redbridge 73.06 110.74 78.84% 125.15 13.01% 136.95 9.43% 168.4 22.96%
Redcar and Cleveland 70.73 173.53 395.80% 210.72 21.43% 280.71 33.21% 323 15.07%
Richmond upon Thames 39.39 108.58 593.36% 144.94 33.49% 153.02 5.57% 146.96 -3.96%
Rochdale 202.78 335.41 126.06% 429.83 28.15% 508.97 18.41% 574.16 12.81%
Rotherham 100.98 203.08 228.66% 279.57 37.66% 386.19 38.14% 493.2 27.71%
Rutland 42.58 85.16 580.19% 132.74 55.87% 107.7 -18.86% 95.17 -11.63%
Salford 195.49 317.19 114.36% 390.21 23.02% 495.3 26.93% 588.79 18.88%
Sandwell 113.26 114.78 19.67% 146.45 27.59% 216.17 47.61% 275.23 27.32%
Sefton 226.84 371.19 194.83% 477.19 28.56% 438.48 -8.11% 383.49 -12.54%
Sheffield 121.74 385.74 519.76% 455.16 18.00% 431.05 -5.30% 420.45 -2.46%
Shropshire 42.4 59.11 193.79% 86.34 46.07% 84.48 -2.15% 119.45 41.39%
Slough 82.92 86.93 217.03% 92.28 6.15% 155.14 68.12% 150.46 -3.02%
Solihull 90.12 119.7 61.87% 174.7 45.95% 209.36 19.84% 223.69 6.84%
Somerset 13.87 32.9 362.73% 39.13 18.94% 45.89 17.28% 61.36 33.71%
South Gloucestershire 24.2 58.58 255.25% 88.04 50.29% 118.56 34.67% 192.22 62.13%
South Tyneside 221.89 274.88 37.42% 245.07 -10.84% 235.14 -4.05% 222.55 -5.35%
Southampton 19.01 42.77 199.93% 60.19 40.73% 74.05 23.03% 114.05 54.02%
Southend-on-Sea 31.13 42.59 143.79% 48.05 12.82% 68.81 43.20% 82.46 19.84%
Southwark 47.99 60.53 114.42% 79.35 31.09% 95.66 20.55% 121.69 27.21%
St. Helens 254.17 347.76 167.24% 443.56 27.55% 437.47 -1.37% 420.85 -3.80%
Staffordshire 38.66 82.2 173.82% 121.2 47.45% 169.06 39.49% 262.4 55.21%
Stockport 110.42 227.32 162.62% 297.18 30.73% 299.91 0.92% 396.02 32.05%
Stockton-on-Tees 100.84 233.6 339.02% 342.54 46.64% 357.24 4.29% 447.43 25.25%
Stoke-on-Trent 49.54 60.46 54.99% 118.19 95.48% 192.3 62.70% 301.51 56.79%
Suffolk 8.41 33.49 298.22% 46.37 38.46% 55.03 18.68% 72.63 31.98%
Sunderland 215.7 296.72 108.61% 299.24 0.85% 321.92 7.58% 323.72 0.56%
Surrey 27.08 66.29 350.65% 83.01 25.22% 94.8 14.20% 106.58 12.43%
Sutton 23.75 36.83 162.14% 81.9 122.37% 90.14 10.06% 114.85 27.41%
Swindon 19.35 27.9 181.82% 45.46 62.94% 69.31 52.46% 103.96 49.99%
Tameside 174.4 245.48 74.84% 322.75 31.48% 371.31 15.05% 513.92 38.41%
Telford and Wrekin 43.92 56.16 173.02% 81.73 45.53% 154.01 88.44% 211.28 37.19%
Thurrock 24.09 43.02 226.16% 75.14 74.66% 122.17 62.59% 157.74 29.12%
Torbay 14.68 49.9 466.40% 82.19 64.71% 100.54 22.33% 126.23 25.55%
Tower Hamlets 62.51 85.61 164.80% 97.92 14.38% 133.64 36.48% 148.73 11.29%
Trafford 139.88 279.75 277.28% 336.63 20.33% 327.36 -2.75% 429.74 31.27%
Wakefield 86.13 163.93 243.96% 238.87 45.71% 310.64 30.05% 401.08 29.11%
Walsall 83.37 122.25 81.76% 168.84 38.11% 211.57 25.31% 305.8 44.54%
Waltham Forest 47.3 79.43 147.21% 94.95 19.54% 102.53 7.98% 135.75 32.40%
Wandsworth 37.92 71.89 243.48% 101.31 40.92% 114.35 12.87% 143.78 25.74%
Warrington 197.61 268.55 102.15% 337.6 25.71% 348.55 3.24% 406.64 16.67%
Warwickshire 40.49 70.94 98.05% 101.05 42.44% 126.14 24.83% 166.63 32.10%
West Berkshire 22.72 39.13 181.92% 49.23 25.81% 57.43 16.66% 83.94 46.16%
West Sussex 21.64 33.1 148.69% 43.06 30.09% 50.35 16.93% 73.96 46.89%
Westminster 29.08 71.18 220.63% 88.02 23.66% 108.3 23.04% 135.08 24.73%
Wigan 160.04 274.45 124.39% 407.71 48.56% 460.66 12.99% 655.99 42.40%
Wiltshire 15.2 32.8 221.57% 53.8 64.02% 68 26.39% 84.2 23.82%
Windsor and Maidenhead 31.7 80.57 335.75% 113.59 40.98% 141.33 24.42% 112.93 -20.09%
Wirral 193.82 252.77 61.86% 315.42 24.79% 267.27 -15.27% 282.71 5.78%
Wokingham 28.64 45 327.76% 61.36 36.36% 76.55 24.76% 95.26 24.44%
Wolverhampton 83.16 75.94 21.21% 133.66 76.01% 191 42.90% 246.43 29.02%
Worcestershire 43.47 70.83 232.22% 93.15 31.51% 105.24 12.98% 128.4 22.01%
York 72.64 195.14 341.89% 266.36 36.50% 307.19 15.33% 244.99 -20.25%

Daily Covid-19 cases rose by 50% last week in England and 1 in 100 people were infected a week ago, ONS estimates – but separate study claims outbreak is ‘steady’

By Sam Blanchard, Senior Health Reporter for MailOnline

Daily coronavirus infections in England surged by 50 per cent last week as almost 52,000 people were catching the virus every day, according to the results of a government-run surveillance study. 

Office for National Statistics data warned that one in every 100 people in the country were infected with Covid-19 a week ago, prompting the agency to say that cases are ‘rising steeply’. Estimates published today showed the number of people catching the virus almost doubled in a fortnight, and more than 568,000 people were infected at any one time in the seven-day spell ending October 23.

The report predicted that 51,900 people caught Covid-19 every day in England last week, up from 35,200 per day the week before and 27,900 the week before that.

ONS experts warned ‘the number of infections continues to increase’, and added: ‘There has been growth in all age groups over the past two weeks; older teenagers and young adults continue to have the highest current rates while rates appear to be steeply increasing among secondary school children.’  

Other researchers at King’s College London, however, predicted England has around 32,000 new symptomatic cases per day and claimed infections are rising ‘steadily’ and ‘have not spiralled out of control’. Professor Tim Spector, the epidemiologist behind the King’s study, said the spread of Covid-19 currently appears ‘steady’ and may even be slowing in Scotland. The team estimated that Britain’s cases are doubling once a month.

SAGE updates on the estimated reproductive rate (R) of the coronavirus today showed that the R appears to have dropped across the UK and England since last week, falling from a possible range of 1.2-1.4 to 1.1-1.3. The projected R – which is known to be based on data two to three weeks old – dropped in three regions, stayed stable in three and rose in only one – the Midlands. Despite the glimmer of hope, No10’s advisory panel said it ‘is almost certain that the epidemic continues to grow rapidly across the country’.

The updates come after a shocking mass-testing study published yesterday estimated that 96,000 people were catching the disease every day in England on October 25. Imperial College London academics – whose projection was based on thousands of random test results – warned the R rate could even be as high as three in London.

But this report, which piled even more pressure on Boris Johnson to act to avoid another full-blown crisis, came alongside a conflicting forecast which put the figure at closer to 56,000, sparking confusion about how severe the UK’s second wave really is. Department of Health testing has picked up an average of just 22,125 cases per day for the last week, with 23,065 diagnosed yesterday. 

Looking back on the numbers of people dying can also give an impression of how widely Covid-19 is spreading – Government officials estimate 0.5 per cent of coronavirus patients die, which suggests the average 154 people who died each day in the week up to October 23 was the result of 31,000 new daily infections at the start of the month.

Professor Spector said the King’s College team, working alongside health-tech company ZOE, wanted to ‘reassure’ people that the situation did not seem to be as bad as ‘other surveys’ had suggested.

It comes as SAGE estimates the UK’s reproduction rate – the average number of people Covid-19 patients infect – has dropped for the second week in a row to between 1.1 and 1.3. But this still remains above 1, indicating that the country’s outbreak is still growing.

In other coronavirus news:

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimated almost 52,000 people were catching the virus every day and one in every 100 people in the country were infected with Covid-19 a week ago

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimated almost 52,000 people were catching the virus every day and one in every 100 people in the country were infected with Covid-19 a week ago

Katherine Kent, co-head of analysis for the ONS’s Covid-19 infection survey, said: ‘Following the expansion of ONS infection survey, we are now seeing evidence of increases in Covid-19 infections across the UK.

‘In England, infections have continued to rise steeply, with increases in all regions apart from in the North East, where infections appear to have now levelled off.

‘Wales and Northern Ireland have also all seen increased infections, though it is currently too early to see a certain trend in Scotland, where we have been testing for a shorter period.

‘When looking at infections across different age groups, rates now seem to be steeply increasing among secondary school children whilst older teenagers and young adults continue to have the highest levels of infection.’ 

The ONS report, which is considered the most accurate way of estimating the true size of England’s Covid-19 outbreak, said the North of England remains worst-hit but infections appeared to have ‘levelled off’ in the North East. 

In the North West, the report estimated, one in every 43 people was carrying the virus last week – a positivity rate of 2.3 per cent.

In Yorkshire & Humber this was 1.9 per cent – one in 53 people – and in the North East it was 1.2 per cent – one in every 83.

In the East and West Midlands the positive test rate was one per cent – the same as the England average – while the other regions had rates lower than one, with 0.8 per cent in London and 0.5 in the East, South East and South West.

The report said: ‘Looking at trends over time, there has been growth in positivity in most regions of England over the last two weeks. Rates continue to increase steeply in the North West and Yorkshire and The Humber. 

‘Positivity rates in the North East have levelled off in recent weeks but remain above the England average. Previously, positivity rates in the South West were level, however, the rates appear to be increasing. But as the rates remain low, caution should be taken when interpreting whether rates are increasing in the South West.’

It also pointed out that there remain differences in case rates between age groups, and that young people continue to drive the outbreak, with infections rising ‘steeply’ among teenagers.

The rate of infection appeared to surge from one per cent to 1.5 per cent – equal to a rise from one in 100 people to one in 67 – between October 12 and October 23, which was a bigger rise than in any other age group.  

Numbers of people being diagnosed with the illness have soared since the start of September to a current daily average of 22,125.

But testing only picks up a fraction of the true number of infections because many people don’t get tested, don’t get ill with the virus or get a wrong negative result.

So studies done by scientists and mathematicians are the most accurate pictures of how many people are truly getting infected with coronavirus, whether it makes them ill or not.

The King’s study is based on around one million people with the Covid Symptom Study app reporting whether they feel ill and confirming test results when they have them. 

It estimates there are 43,569 new infections per day in the UK in the community, and 34,628 in England. Two-thirds of infections are estimated to be occurring in the North and the Midlands.

19 NHS trusts are already treating more Covid-19 patients than in April and admissions are rising by a third a week 

Almost 20 NHS trusts in England are already treating more coronavirus patients than at the peak of the first wave, according to official statistics that come amid warnings hospitals across the country could run out of beds before Christmas

MailOnline’s analysis of official NHS figures reveals 19 trusts are treating higher numbers of Covid-19 patients than at the first peak.

Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has three times as many infected patients on its wards now compared to April 12 – England’s busiest day in the pandemic. Just 67 beds were occupied by people with the disease then, compared to 201 on October 27, the most recent snapshot published by the NHS. 

At Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, 196 of its beds were taken up by Covid-19 patients on October 27. It marked a 68 per cent jump compared to levels on April 12, when doctors there were treating 117 infected people.

There are 104 coronavirus sufferers currently being treated in Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in South Yorkshire, according to the most recent snapshot from NHS England. This is compared to 63 six months ago, marking a rise of almost two-thirds. 

East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust currently has 170 people with Covid-19 on its ward compared to 122 in spring, a rise of nearly 40 per cent. A similar story has played out at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, where patient levels have risen from 210 to 289 (38 per cent).

Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has 450 virus patients getting care in its Merseyside hospitals, up more than 30 cent on the 346 patients being treated for the disease on April 12. Warrington and Halton Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has seen the same rate of increase, going from 98 to 128.

Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust, North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust and Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust are seeing more than 20 per cent more patients now than in April.

Meanwhile, in Tier Two lockdown areas there have been similar surges in the number of beds occupied by Covid-19 sufferers. Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, in East Yorkshire, has 54 infected patients, up from 44 six months ago, a rise of 23 per cent. 

University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust has 171 infected people on its wards, up more than a quarter from April 12, when there were 124. 

Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust in the South West has technically seen a surge of 44 per cent, though it has far fewer beds than some of the bigger trusts in major cities. As of yesterday it was treating 33 Covid-19 patients compared to 23 on April 12. 

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The headline estimate is based on the average number of daily infections over the fortnight ending October 25.  

The Government-funded Imperial College London study, REACT-1, yesterday estimated there were 96,000 new infections per day. This study is also based on mass population testing and used 85,000 tests from between October 16 and 25.

Meanwhile a ‘Nowcast’ study by researchers at the University of Cambridge yesterday put the figure at 55,600 per day, based on the numbers of people who are dying of the disease and data showing how much people are travelling and interacting.

Professor Tim Spector, who runs the King’s College project, hinted that the highest estimate from the REACT study was over the top. 

He said today: ‘While cases are still rising across the UK, we want to reassure people that cases have not spiralled out of control, as has been recently reported from other surveys.

‘We are still seeing a steady rise nationally, doubling every four weeks, with the possible exception of Scotland which may be showing signs of a slow down. 

‘With a million people reporting weekly, we have the largest national survey and our estimates are in line with the ONS survey.

‘Data on Covid-19 can be confusing for the public and we can’t rely simply on confirmed cases or daily deaths, without putting them into context. 

‘Hospital admissions are rising as expected, but deaths are still average for the season. As we become citizen scientists it’s important to look at multiple sources to get a broader view.’ 

Looking back on the numbers of people dying of Covid-19, which is what Cambridge’s Nowcast is based on, can give a reliable estimate of infections but there are lags in the data because it usually takes more than two weeks for someone to die after catching Covid-19.

Officials believe that around 0.5 per cent of people who catch coronavirus die with it – one in every 200 people who gets infected. 

Therefore, the average 154 people who died each day in the UK in the week leading up to October 23 – the most recent reliable data – suggest that 31,000 people were getting infected each day two to three weeks earlier.  

This may not, however, take into account differences in the age of people catching the virus. The infection fatality rate is much lower in young people because the disease preys on the elderly. 

Britain’s second wave was triggered by the virus spreading among teenagers and people in their 20s in early September, when universities and schools went back, and those groups are far less likely to die, meaning there may be a higher ratio of infections to deaths and the 31,000-per-day could be an underestimate. 

Data in the Covid Symptom Study estimated that the North West and North East and Yorkshire accounted for half of all of England’s new infections each day, at 8,725 and 8,446 per day, respectively. 

A further 7,404 of the daily infections were springing up in the Midlands, it suggested, followed by 4,977 per day in London. Lowest was the East of England, with 2,278 per day, and the South West with 2,607.

Scotland accounted for 4,674 new cases per day, the study predicted, followed by 3,397 in Wales and 1,230 in Northern Ireland.

SAGE on Friday  estimated Britain’s R rate had fallen for the second week in a row, to between 1.1 and 1.3, in a clear sign the second wave continues to lose steam.

For comparison, the rate was placed between 1.2 and 1.4 in last Friday’s report, and the week before it was between 1.3 and 1.5.

But it still remains above one – meaning the number of infections is still growing in the country. 

The advisory panel predicted growth may be fastest in the South West, alongside the East of England, Midlands and South East, amid mounting evidence that the virus is no longer just causing havoc in the North. They also revealed infections may be spreading the slowest in the North West, where millions are living under the harshest Tier Three restrictions.  

Data from King's College London's Covid Symptom Study app shows that coronavirus cases in the UK have soared to more than 40,000 per day after a lull in the summer but the team behind it maintain that they 'have not spiralled out of control'

Data from King’s College London’s Covid Symptom Study app shows that coronavirus cases in the UK have soared to more than 40,000 per day after a lull in the summer but the team behind it maintain that they ‘have not spiralled out of control’

The North of England and the Midlands remain worst affected by Covid-19, the King's team predicts, with per-person infection rates also high in Scotland, Wales, London and university cities in the South of England including Bristol, Bournemouth, Exeter and Brighton

The North of England and the Midlands remain worst affected by Covid-19, the King’s team predicts, with per-person infection rates also high in Scotland, Wales, London and university cities in the South of England including Bristol, Bournemouth, Exeter and Brighton

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