More than 3,000 new cases of coronavirus have been recorded in the UK in the last 24 hours, as the death toll rose by 27.
It comes after the ONS confirmed more than 57,500 coronavirus-related deaths have been recorded in the UK. Its latest figures, published this morning, show that 52,420 deaths involving Covid-19 had occurred in England and Wales up to September 4, and had been registered by September 12.
Meanwhile, concerns over testing shortages have been raised in some of the country’s virus hotspots, with people complaining of being unable to get swabs and others forced to travel hundreds of miles from their homes to visit drive-through facilities.
Oxford University professor Sir John Bell, who has been advising the Government, said a “second wave” in Britain’s outbreak had led to a surge in demand, putting the system “behind the curve”.
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Keir Starmer to miss PMQs while ‘still awaiting’ family member’s coronavirus test result
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer will not take part in Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday as he is “still awaiting” a coronavirus test result for a member of his family, a spokesman said.
‘Certified young person’ Paul Rudd would like you to wear a mask
184 local authorities record increase in weekly infection rate
In total, 184 of the 315 local authority areas in England recorded an increase in the weekly rate of new Covid-19 cases in the seven days to September 12.
The rate fell in 123 areas and was unchanged in eight areas.
New cases were recorded in all but one of the 315 local authority areas, the exception being Babergh.
Just over 500 new cases recorded in Bradford in seven days
Latest Public Health England data shows that just over 500 new cases of Covid-19 were recorded in Bradford in the seven days to September 12.
A total of 510 new cases were recorded – the equivalent of 94.5 cases per 100,000 people, up from 77.6 in the previous week.
Other cities recording sharp increases in their weekly rate include Liverpool (up from 51.2 to 91.4, with 455 new cases); Leicester (up from 56.7 to 86.4, with 306 new cases); and Sunderland (up from 61.9 to 82.5, with 229 new cases).
Bolton continues to record highest seven-day infection rate in England
More than 500 new cases of Covid-19 were recorded in Bolton in the seven days to September 12, according to new data from Public Health England.
A total of 564 cases were recorded – the equivalent of 196.1 cases per 100,000 people, up from 139.5 per 100,000 in the previous week (the seven days to September 5).
Eight other areas of England also have rates that are currently higher than 100 cases per 100,000 people: Oadby & Wigston (133.3), Preston (120.9) Oldham (118.1), Blackburn with Darwen (116.2), Burnley (113.6), Hyndburn (112.3), Tameside (107.7) and Warrington (105.2).
Rishi Sunak hails furlough scheme a success, but it won’t be extended
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has hailed the furlough scheme a success and said millions of jobs could have been lost during the coronavirus pandemic without it. It comes after latest figures showed more than half of the workers on the furlough scheme had returned to full time work. The data revealed that the number of people furloughed fell by half by mid-August – and will likely have fallen further since.
Another 3,105 coronavirus cases confirmed as UK death toll rises by 27
The Government said that as of 9am on Tuesday, there had been a further 3,105 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK. Overall, 374,228 cases have been confirmed.
The Government also said a further 27 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Tuesday. This brings the UK total to 41,664.
Separate figures published by the UK’s statistics agencies show there have now been 57,500 deaths registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.
‘We are hamstrung by serious issues with the national booking system’ – Andy Burnham
Commenting on concerns about the availability of coronavirus tests, a spokesman for Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: “At a time when Greater Manchester is being hit harder by Covid than any other part of the country, it is not acceptable that people here cannot access a test locally.
“Our local authorities are doing all they can to increase capacity in places like Bolton but we are hamstrung by serious issues with the national booking system and nationally run sites.
“The Government must act immediately to get this sorted and work with us to establish a better long-term solution to this problem.
“We would ask people to try booking an appointment only if you have coronavirus symptoms or you have been asked to get tested.”
Farmers should be paid to improve access to the countryside after the coronavirus crisis, according to peers.
Countryside walks can help improve the health and wellbeing of people, the Lords has been told.
Liberal Democrat Lord Greaves said the Government should consider funding access improvements to help keep footpaths open and maintained.
His call, which was backed by several other peers, came during report stage of the Agriculture Bill.
Here’s something you don’t see every day…
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has called for the “fire-and-rehire tactics” deployed by some companies during the coronavirus pandemic to be outlawed.
In his speech to the Trade Union Congress (TUC) conference, Sir Keir said the treatment of staff at companies such as British Airways and British Gas was “wrong”.
Making his contribution from home due to being in coronavirus self-isolation, he said firing and rehiring – when people are given notice of redundancy and then hired back on worse pay and conditions – was “against British values”.
He said: “They should also be illegal. These tactics punish good employers, hit working people hard and harm our economy.
“So, I’m calling on the Government to act now – introduce legislation to end fire and rehire.”
Making his first TUC conference speech as Labour leader, Sir Keir also set-out Labour’s vision for extending the furlough scheme, which is due to be wound up next month.
The former director of public prosecutions said the party accepted the furlough scheme could not continue indefinitely but argued that with “a bit of imagination” the Government could continue to help those most at risk of losing their jobs.
Speaking from his attic, he called for a “new, targeted support that can replace the Job Retention Scheme”.
“The truth is this, the virus is still with us – infections are rising, lockdowns are increasing,” Sir Keir told the online audience.
“And for some sectors of our economy – retail, aviation, hospitality – for millions of workers and for towns and cities under restrictions, it just isn’t possible to get back to work or reopen businesses.
“That isn’t a choice: it’s the cold reality of this crisis. So, it makes no sense at all for the Government to pull support away now.”
Sir Keir called for an expansion of part-time working – rewarding employers who give people hours rather than cut jobs – and the provision of training and support for those unable to return to work full-time in a bid to “prevent mass unemployment”.
Hospital deaths up by 14 in England
A further 14 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospital in England, bringing the total number of confirmed deaths in hospitals to 29,676, NHS England has said.
Patients were aged between 62 and 94 and all had known underlying health conditions.
The dates of the deaths were between April 17 and September 13, with the majority over the weekend.
And for Northern Ireland:
There has been one further death from Covid-19 reported in Northern Ireland, the Department of Health has said.
The death toll recorded by the department now stands at 571.
There have also been a further 79 new confirmed cases of the virus in the last 24-hour reporting period, bringing the total in the region to 8,502, including 563 in the last seven days.
The latest figures for Wales are in:
There have been a further 110 cases of Covid-19 in Wales, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 19,681.
Public Health Wales said no further deaths had been reported, with the total number of deaths since the beginning of the pandemic remaining at 1,597.
Hancock ‘optimistic’ about GP testing
Matt Hancock said that he is “optimistic” about the development of technology which would allow testing to be made available at pharmacies and GP surgeries.
Conservative former minister Steve Brine said: “I wonder whether with the operational challenges (Mr Hancock) has talked about, whether GP surgeries, even our wonderful community pharmacies could be part of the solution in the front-door testing?”
Mr Hancock responded: “Whilst the current technology works best in labs and you have to send the swab off to the lab and get the result back and there’s a huge amount of logistics around that, getting to the technologies that can be there in a pharmacy, in a GP service, and you can get the test result back straight away.
“That technology when it comes on stream, and I’m optimistic about it, I am optimistic about a lot of things, I don’t think I could do this job at the moment without being, that will give us a chance to really get the testing right out into the community at every level.”
Hancock: I recognise testing is posing challenges
Labour’s Steve McCabe (Birmingham, Selly Oak) asked: “Why doesn’t he try to understand what it’s like to be a parent in special measures Birmingham who is directed to Oldham for a test when there’s a walk-in centre two miles down the road virtually empty. Will he just recognise that there is a problem and will he tell us what he’s going to try and do to put it right?”
Mr Hancock replied: “Yes, I absolutely recognise that there are challenges here.”
Labour’s John Spellar (Warley) asked about risk, stating: “They also need a plan as to how we are going to contain the virus without paralysing society and the economy as we may have to coexist for years with the virus as countless societies and countries have had to live with many awful diseases over millennia and even now today.
“So when are we going to transit from reactive risk avoidance to prudent risk management?”
Mr Hancock replied: “We absolutely need to control this virus, I very much hope that we will have very significant progress through treatments and vaccines within the sorts of times I set out before, definitely not a millennium, I think we will make significant progress in the coming months.”
Don’t go for unverified ‘private’ tests, Hancock warns
Matt Hancock said that he does not recommend that people get private tests for Covid-19 which are not signed off and are not verified.
Labour MP James Murray (Ealing North) said: “My constituent, Rachel, has an 11-year-old daughter who came down with Covid symptoms on Sunday. Her family have spent days all self-isolating, desperately trying to book a test and they were at one point directed to Wales which is a six-hour round trip.
“At the same time, Rachel has seen private tests for at least £140 and often much more that seem to be easily available. Does (Mr Hancock) think this disparity is acceptable?”
Mr Hancock responded: “We don’t recommend any private tests that are not signed off and verified and therefore we’re providing tests, as many tests as we possibly can with a growing capacity.”
A group of doctors affected by prolonged symptoms of Covid-19 are calling for an action plan in tackling the long-term health effects of the virus.
A letter signed by 39 doctors said there was an “emerging picture” that long-term symptoms of the virus were having a substantial impact on a significant minority of people.
Those suffering with so-called long Covid have reported breathlessness, chronic fatigue and brain fog – months after initially falling ill.
In the letter to the BMJ medical journal, published today, the group of doctors said they aimed to share their insights of having confirmed or suspected coronavirus, as well as their perspective as physicians.
They said research and surveillance is required to “capture the full spectrum of disease”, including those who are not admitted to hospital and not tested for the virus.
Further research into chronic Covid-19 symptoms is needed, according to the letter’s signatories, who claimed failure to do so risks missing opportunities to identify risk factors and treatments for those affected.
This requires collaboration between politicians, healthcare services, public health professionals, scientists and society, the doctors said.
Their action plan also called for one-stop clinics for those experiencing long-term symptoms of Covid-19, while clinical services should not “unfairly discriminate” against those with negative tests.
“Widespread testing was not available in the early days of the pandemic,” the letter said, adding that the test has been associated with “a considerable risk of false negatives”.
“We welcome increasing awareness of the problem of persisting symptoms of Covid-19,” the letter concluded.
“As politicians, scientists, and doctors attempt to tackle this issue, these principles can act as a guide enabling the experiences of those with the condition to inform the efforts of experts and lead to improved research and clinical care, benefiting those affected and society as a whole.”
It comes after a study found that tens of thousands of people have had symptoms of illness for more than three months, with some sufferers having difficulty climbing the stairs or going shopping.