UK coronavirus LIVE: London's weekly Covid cases pass 10,000 as Wales confirms 'firebreak' lockdown

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  • October 19, 2020
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The number of Londoners who tested positive for Covid in the past week has risen past 10,000 , but the number being admitted to hospital or dying is barely a fraction of the first wave.

Figures published on the Government’s daily dashboard for the past seven days show that a total of 10,013 people in the capital had been diagnosed with coronavirus. There were 29 deaths declared over the same period — almost 50 times lower than the 1,450 seen in London in the worst week in April.

It comes amid reports that Prime Minister Boris Johnson may give Manchester millions of pounds as he attempts to stave off a revolt over the region’s Tier 3 lockdown after Labour Mayor Andy Burnham called for a Commons vote on the matter to break the “impasse”.

Meanwhile, Welsh leaders have confirmed a two-week “firebreak” lockdown , due to begin on Friday, with everyone in Wales asked to stay at home and non-essential shops to close.

Follow our live updates below…

Live Updates


Matt Hancock brings his statement to a close by speaking of ‘decisive moment’ in the UK

The Health Secretary said: “We’re once again at a decisive moment”.

He added: “We all must play our part and come together and work together to keep people safe and suppress the virus.”


Matt Hancock says there is “growing evidence of the debilitating consequences of long Covid” and warned of increasing rates of the virus among older people in the UK

The Health Secretary told the Commons: “Cases continue to rise among the over-60s, who are the most likely to end up in hospital or worse.

“I’m very worried that the cases per 100,000 among the over-60s is 401 in the Liverpool City Region, 241 in Lancashire and in Greater Manchester has risen over the past week from 171 to 283.”

Mr Hancock said the Government is “working hard” to secure a Tier 3 deal with Greater Manchester.


Mr Hancock provides an update on testing

He told ministers that the Government is up to 300,000 tests a day, up from 200,000 tests a day in February.

“These tests have shown real promise,” said the Health Secretary.


Government had to take ‘rapid action’ to suppress virus in Lancashire, says Health Secretary

Mr Hancock told the Commons that Lancashire has now moved into the very high level alert of tier 3 restrictions.

“Infection rates are continuing to rise rapidly, particularly in the over 60s,” he said.

Mr Hancock added that further discussions are planned for South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and North East.


Mr Hancock says Government is taking a much of a localised approach as possible

“I know that this is difficult, and that this is relentless but we must have resolve… never stop striving to support science that will one day make us safe,” he said.


‘Virus is now on the offensive’, says Matt Hancock

The Health Secretary began his statement in the Commons by warning that the situation “remains perilous”.


Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price says Wales’s “firebreak” lockdown should be used to build a “resilient” test and trace system

Mr Price said: “A firebreak is a last resort and should only be used in an emergency. We are now in an emergency. The time the firebreak buys us must be used to build up a resilient test, trace and isolate system in Wales, which means we can prevent being in the position we’re currently in where the case numbers have risen to the point where they can overwhelm an already exhausted NHS.

“We also need to ensure the safeguarding of workplaces, and that sufficient financial support is available for businesses and their employees who will be directly impacted by this firebreak.

“It’s time for us as a nation to come together once again – as communities, as Government and as opposition – working together to protect our NHS and save lives.”


“Firebreaker” lockdown in Wales essential to protect NHS, medics say

First Minister Mark Drakeford, announcing the lockdown, said there was a “very real risk” that the NHS would be overwhelmed if such measures were not taken to slow the spread of Covid-19 in Wales.

David Bailey, council chair of British Medical Association Cymru Wales, said: “Bringing in stronger restrictions in Wales at this point is essential – the surge in cases alongside the pressure that the winter season will inevitably bring and the huge backlog of patients already in the system is quite frankly an overwhelming prospect.

“Our members are deeply concerned about the ability of the service to cope. We hope the firebreak will stop the exponential rise and keep cases at a level where the NHS can cope, whilst also providing a small amount of relief to the staff who are fighting this virus on the frontline.”

Helen Whyley, director of the Royal College of Nursing in Wales, said members were “exhausted, stressed and anxious” about caring for a large increase of patients as case levels rise.

“I was pleased to hear the First Minister of Wales acknowledging the importance and the dedication of nurses in the NHS and social care, but to support them, following the restrictions is not enough,” she said.

“Testing for health and social care staff has to be accessible and results need to be immediate to ensure nursing staff are able to help and care for the people of Wales.”


Coronavirus death toll in the UK rises by 80

The Government said that, as of 9am on Monday, there had been a further 18,804 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK. It brings the total number of cases in the UK to 741,212.

The Government also said a further 80 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19, as of Monday. This brings the UK total to 43,726.

Separate figures published by the UK’s statistics agencies show there have now been 58,500 deaths registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.


The number of people receiving the Pandemic Unemployment Payment in Northern Ireland has increased by more than 15,000 in the last week

There are now 244,153 people receiving the PUP payment, an increase of 15,295 week-on-week.

The figures have increased following last week’s decision to move the border counties of Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan to level four of the Government’s pandemic roadmap.

On Monday, the Department of Social Protection issued payments valued at 65.5 million euro, up from 61.4 million euro last week.

Social Protection Minister Heather Humphreys said: “Today’s figures demonstrate the unprecedented challenging times the country is facing as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. A major factor in managing the behaviour of the virus is being able to reduce the number of people we meet.

“I know how difficult it is for people who are being asked to work from home where possible and to refrain from making household visits.”


What are the latest coronavirus restrictions in Wales?

More than three million people in Wales will be required to stay at home for two weeks as the country enters into a “firebreak” lockdown.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said the move needed to be “short and sharp” to curb the rising rates of coronavirus and prevent the NHS from becoming overwhelmed.

Read more here…


Mayor of Liverpool City Region Steve Rotheram says he has written to the Government to ask for proof that gyms “significantly” contribute to the spread of coronavirus

He tweeted: “Give us proof that gyms in our region are more dangerous than anywhere else. Give us proof that gyms are significantly contributing to the spread of Covid in the region.”


Portugal faces lockdown fatigue

Portugal’s coronavirus cases passed 100,000 on Monday, with nearly 2,000 new infections in the past 24 hours, days after tough new measures to contain the disease came into force.

“Everyone’s tiredness is legitimate but it cannot legitimise failure,” the secretary of state for health, Antonio Sales, told a news conference. “We continue to depend on each other – and our success is the success of Portugal.”

The nation of just over 10 million people initially won praise for its quick response to the pandemic.

It has recorded a comparatively low 101,860 confirmed coronavirus cases and 2,198 deaths.

But, like in most European countries, infections have risen again. On Friday, Portugal hit 2,608 cases, the highest single-day figure since the pandemic started, although testing has also increased.

Gatherings are now limited to five people, weddings can be attended by a maximum of 50, university parties are banned and there are heavier penalties for rule-breaking establishments.

Authorities have repeatedly said it would be unbearable for country’s economy to shut down again, as happened during a six-week lockdown in March.

“We are at all costs trying not to implement confinement,” Sales said.


DUP MLA slams new restrictions in Ulster

A DUP Assembly member has branded some of the new coronavirus restrictions introduced by the Stormont executive a “shame and disgrace”.

Paul Frew asked who was going to “protect the people” from the decisions being made by an administration his party jointly leads.

The North Antrim member’s comments come in the wake of DUP minister Edwin Poots’ criticism of the current four-week Covid-19 circuit-break, a series of measures all the five executive parties, including the DUP, agreed to last week.

Mr Poots has also faced calls to apologise after claiming that Covid-19 infection rates were higher in nationalist areas than unionist areas.

There were a further six Covid-19 linked deaths and 820 new cases of the virus reported by the Department of Health on Monday.

The four-week period of intensified restrictions has forced the closure of hospitality businesses, with the exception of takeaways and deliveries.


76 more deaths in England’s hospitals

A further 76 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospital in England, bringing the total number of confirmed deaths reported in hospitals to 31,047, NHS England said on Monday.

Patients were aged between 47 and 99. All but one patient, aged 85, had known underlying health conditions.

The deaths were between October 9 and 18.

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


No clarity on who will be entitled to new scaled down furlough in Wales


The latest on cases in Wales

There have been a further 626 cases of Covid-19 diagnosed in Wales, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 36,253.

Public Health Wales said one further death had been reported, with the total number of deaths since the beginning of the pandemic rising to 1,712.


More military personnel could be deployed to fight Covid-19 in hotspots around the country, a Cabinet minister signalled today.

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick offered additional help from the armed forces to civic leaders in Manchester.

Ministers are seeking their agreement for the area going into stringent Tier 3 restrictions and offering a multi-million-pound package of support for local councils and businesses.

Read more HERE


Trials of new tests taking place across England

Trials of new tests are taking place across England, including in coronavirus hotspots.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “There are pilots taking place in the worst-affected regions, so that includes the North West, the North East and Yorkshire.

“Hospitals in Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Leeds, Newcastle, Basingstoke and Southampton will be able to test asymptomatic NHS staff.”

Three of them – Southampton, Manchester and Basingstoke – are already able to start testing staff while the other four will be able to shortly.

The Lamp (loop-mediated isothermal amplification) tests give a result in 60-90 minutes.

The spokesman added: “We will also be sending the lateral flow tests – the swab tests that don’t require a lab for processing – to care homes, schools and universities in the areas which have been hardest hit.”

Those tests can give a result in  “potentially significantly less than an hour” and have been compared to home pregnancy tests because of their ease of use.


Manchester’s entire ICU surge capacity risks being overwhelmed by November 12, Government says

Projections produced by the Government suggested Manchester’s hospitals risked being overwhelmed.

“Cases in Greater Manchester continue to rise,” the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said.

“In the over-60 age group cases have tripled in the most recent 15 days of full data – there were 89 cases per 100,000 on September 27 compared to 282 per 100,000 on October 12.

“Hospital admissions in Greater Manchester are doubling every nine days.”

Currently the number of Covid-19 patients in intensive care is around 40% of that seen at the peak of the first wave.

But, assuming a 14-day doubling time – the “best case” according to the SPI-M modelling group – all free intensive care capacity would be used by October 28 and would pass the peak of the first wave by November 2.

The projections suggest Covid patients would take up the entire current intensive care capacity by November 8 and the entire surge capacity by November 12.

Asked if that meant hospitals being overwhelmed, the spokesman said: “Yes, that’s the entire surge ICU capacity.”