The PM told the Sunday Telegraph that a second nationwide lockdown would be akin to a “nuclear deterrent” and added that he doesn’t think the UK “will be in that position again”.
Mr Johnson announced a new range of coronavirus rules on Friday, including giving local authorities “lightning” powers to shut down their areas if there is another spike.
It comes as the World Health Organisation reported the largest single-day global increase in coronavirus cases since the start of the outbreak, with nearly 260,000 in 24 hours. The worldwide death toll also rose by more than 7,300 – the biggest spike since May 10.
‘No sense’ to story that Russia tried to steal British coronavirus research, says Russian ambassador
Russia’s ambassador to the UK has rejected claims that hackers working for his country’s intelligence agencies tried to steal details of research into coronavirus vaccines.
Andrei Kelin said there was “no sense” in the allegations made by Britain, the United States and Canada.
The three Western allies claimed on Thursday that a group of hackers, known as Cozy Bear – with links to Russian intelligence, had targeted research bodies around the world – including in the UK. Cozy Bear has also been accused of trying to interfere in the US presidential elections in 2016.
Mr Kelin told the BBC’s Andrew Marr: “I don’t believe in this story at all, there is no sense in it.”
He added “I learned about their (the hackers) existence from British media. In this world, to attribute any kind of computer hackers to any country, it is impossible.”
This week’s allegations came as UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said “Russian actors” had tried to interfere in last year’s general election by “amplifying” stolen government papers online.
Global deaths linked to coronavirus reach grim milestone
Global deaths from Covid-19 have surpassed 600,000 as virus infections increased by a record number for a single day, according to the World Health Organisation.
The United States tops the list of fatalities with 140,119 deaths according to data from Johns Hopkins University, followed by 78,772 in Brazil and 45,358 in the United Kingdom and 38,888 in Mexico.
It comes as the number of confirmed infections worldwide has passed 14.2 million, of which 3.7 million are in the United States.
There are over 2,000,000 in Brazil and more than a million in India, while experts believe the true numbers around the world are higher because of testing shortages and data collection issues in some nations.
Boris Johnson hopes to avoid second national lockdown
The Prime Minister has said he wants to avoid a second nationwide lockdown for coronavirus, as the UK had from March this year.
In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph, he said it was like a “nuclear deterrent” but that he did not think the country would need one again.
Mr Johnson added that it had become easier to manage the virus locally because experts understand the disease better now.
It comes after the Prime Minister gave local authorities “lightning” powers to put local lockdowns in place this week, amid a raft of other coronavirus rules.
But chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said earlier in the week that challenges with managing the virus will be harder in winter “and of course there is a risk that this could also need national measures as well”.
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Boris Johnson has played down the prospect of a second national coronavirus lockdown.
The Prime Minister insisted that he did not want to use such an extreme measure any more than Britain’s Trident nuclear deterrent.
He added that the authorities were getting better at identifying and isolating local outbreaks, although it was important that the power to order national action was held in reserve.
The Duke of Cambridge has said that Brits will “never have a better chance” to “crack” the problem of homelessness given the opportunity provided by Covid-19.
Speaking during a visit to a drop-in day centre for Peterborough’s homeless community, Prince William called on society to be a “bit brave and a bit bold” and seize the opportunity to rehouse people permanently.
Boris Johnson has played down the prospect of a second national coronavirus lockdown, saying he did not want to use it any more than Britain’s Trident nuclear deterrent.
In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, the Prime Minister said the authorities were getting much better at identifying local outbreaks, although it was important that the ability to order national action was held in reserve.
“I can’t abandon that tool any more than I would abandon a nuclear deterrent. But it is like a nuclear deterrent, I certainly don’t want to use it. And nor do I think we will be in that position again,” he said.
“It’s not just that we’re getting much better at spotting the disease and isolating it locally, but we understand far more which groups it affects, how it works, how it’s transmitted, so the possibility of different types of segmentation, of enhanced shielding for particular groups, is now there.”
Figures released by the Scottish Government show there were 21 confirmed results over a 24-hour period as of 2pm on Saturday.
Scotland has recorded its highest daily positive coronavirus tests for almost a month.
Figures released by the Scottish Government show there were 21 confirmed results over a 24-hour period as of 2pm on Saturday. It is the highest number since June 21, when there were 26 positive test results.
More than 140 offenders were housed in hotels after they were released from prison during coronavirus lockdown.
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The Government offers refund reassurance to travellers:
Travellers who accept refund credit notes for cancelled package holidays will get their money back if their trip is cancelled or the travel firm later collapses, the Government has announced.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said the Department for Transport had provided “much-needed clarity” by confirming that such cases will be covered by the Atol scheme.
Glennis Wade has been making face coverings for 999 call handlers while shielding at home:
A London Ambulance Service 999 call handler threw his nan a surprise visit on her 80th birthday after five months torn apart during lockdown.
Mike Edwards, from West Norwood, has been taking emergency calls across the capital during the pandemic and was unable to visit Glennis Wade, who was shielding at her Reading home.
Two further coronavirus-linked deaths have been reported in Ireland, taking the total number of fatalities since the outbreak began to 1,753.
The National Public Health Emergency Team has also reported 21 new confirmed cases of the virus in Ireland.
The total number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 now stands at 25,750.
British beaches packed out as Boris Johnson hopes for return to normality
Brits have packed onto beaches as soaring temperatures offer a renewed glimpse of summer following lockdown.
Sunseekers, buoyed by their new freedoms, flocked to seafront cafes and bars on Saturday and soaked up the sun. The mercury hit 25C in London this afternoon – on a par with Mexico City’s peak today. Seaside resorts were braced for swelling visitor numbers this weekend as many schools broke up for the summer holidays.
EU leaders have been hunting for compromises as a summit aimed at reaching a new deal on a coronavirus recovery fund entered its second day.
The 27 leaders spent a full day and night on Friday discussing an unprecedented €1.85 trillion (£1.68 trillion) EU budget and coronavirus recovery package. But tensions began running high over how the huge sums should be spent and what strings should be attached.
13 more virus deaths in England’s hospitals
A further 13 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospital in England, bringing the total number of confirmed deaths in hospitals to 29,173, NHS England said on Saturday.
The patients were aged between 49 and 96 years old and all had known underlying conditions.
The Department for Health and Social Care said on Friday it was “pausing” publication of daily death figures for the whole of the UK after Health Secretary Matt Hancock ordered a review into claims by researchers that there were “statistical flaws” in the way they are calculated.
Prisoners were put in hotels during lockdown to prevent homelessness
More than 140 prisoners were housed in hotels and bed and breakfasts after they were released from prison during lockdown.
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said the move was “a last resort” to prevent offenders from becoming homeless and to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus.
Of the 304 offenders who were due for release and provided with accommodation, 136 were housed in hotels or B&Bs after all other options were exhausted, the MoJ said.
Additionally, of the 172 offenders released under the End of Custody Temporary Release scheme – in which prisoners who are within two months of their release date are temporarily released from custody – six were housed in hotels.
An MoJ spokesman said: “All offenders due for release are thoroughly risk-assessed and hotels have only been used as a last resort to reduce any potential spread of coronavirus.
“These temporary measures are part of the unprecedented response to the pandemic which has helped protect the NHS and save lives.”
‘One size fits all’ lockdown not as effective for BAME communities, scientists say
Lockdown measures imposed in late March to slow down the spread of coronavirus may not have been as effective in black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities because of the “one-size-fits-all approach”, scientists have said.
Academics at the University of Leicester found that Covid-19 cases continued to rise in BAME groups in certain parts of Leicester in the three weeks after the announcement was made, while rates in white groups “dropped off very sharply”.
They said the findings, published recently in the journal EClinicalMedicine by The Lancet, raise “serious questions” on whether lockdown on its own is effective for a diverse population.
Dr Manish Pareek, an associate clinical professor in infectious diseases at the University of Leicester, told the PA news agency: “Obviously, lockdown has had a huge impact in reducing infection rates but the question is, is it enough for certain parts of the country?
“Lockdown as a whole is quite a blunt tool… perhaps what we should be thinking about is a more nuanced approach which allows people to work with local solutions.”
Dr Pareek and his team studied patients admitted to the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.
They found the proportion of people from BAME groups who tested positive for coronavirus continued to rise for three weeks from March 23, peaking at 50.9%, but the figure for people from white backgrounds remained between 24% and 26%.
UN chief slams ‘Russian spies attempting to UK steal vaccine research’
The head of the United Nations has condemned alleged attempts by spies to steal details of coronavirus vaccine research from their rivals.
Secretary-general Antonio Guterres said it was “very important” that the intellectual property rights of scientists seeking to develop a vaccine were protected.
His warning came after Britain, the United States and Canada accused hackers linked to Russian intelligence of targeting vaccine researchers – including those in the UK – in an attempt to steal details of their work. Moscow has strongly denied the allegations.
Mr Guterres told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme:
Any espionage in relation to vaccines is to be condemned as we must condemn any policies that divide the world instead of conceiving the vaccine as a global public good, conceiving the vaccine as a people’s vaccine, that must be accessible to everybody, everywhere.
Just to develop a vaccine for each country’s population and forget about the others is also something that is unacceptable.
It is very important the intellectual property is protected, that nobody spies on anybody, but it is also important that a vaccine must be available to everybody, everywhere and affordable by everybody, everywhere.
Riot police descended on north London to shut down an illegal rave on Friday night as Scotland Yard vowed to “robustly and swiftly” deal with disorder in the capital.
One video from the scene in Finsbury Park, posted on social media, shows a line of officers in riot gear walk down a street to disperse crowds – despite the continued ban on mass gatherings.
Shapps calls on employers to prepare for office return
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said employers need to make sure workplaces are Covid-safe for employees to return to work.
“We absolutely expect and ask employers and employees to work sensibly together, there’s full employee protection in place,” he told BBC Breakfast.
“The Heath and Safety Executive would certainly have something to say if they are not using all of the guidelines.
“How do we get people to feel comfortable? And of course, the ultimate answer to that is to continue fighting this virus, and make sure that the reproduction rate continues to stay low and continues to decline so the issue is effectively resolved through fighting the virus.”