UK coronavirus LIVE: Fears UK losing control of Covid-19 as Gove insists rule of six won't be changed

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  • September 12, 2020
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The UK is “on the edge of losing control” of Covid-19, the former chief scientific adviser and member of Sage Sir Mark Walport has warned.

It comes amid tough new lockdown restrictions for parts of the UK as coronavirus cases continue to rise and the R number climbs above one.

New measures banning people from mixing in homes and gardens will be imposed in Birmingham, Solihull and Sandwell from Tuesday in response to a rocketing infection rate in the area.

Regions with high levels of coronavirus cases including Redbridge, in east London, have also been told to act now to prevent a local lockdown.

It comes as Michael Gove has said the Government is not considering backing down over the “rule of six”, despite calls from Tory MPs to exempt children.

Live Updates


Government will not exempt children from ‘rule of six’, says Michael Gove

The Government is not considering backing down over the “rule of six” despite calls from Tory MPs to exempt children from the new restrictions, Michael Gove has confirmed.


Some Conservative backbenchers are pressuring for England to follow Scotland and Wales in exempting under-12s from the six-person limit from the measures to slow the spread of coronavirus.

The Cabinet Office Minister defended the restriction, to be introduced on Monday, and went further in signalling support for a proposal of fining people who refuse to self-isolate.

Read the full story here


Newcastle official said he trusts residents not to go out on a last-minute binge before ‘rule of six’ applies

Newcastle upon Tyne’s director of public health said he did not think large numbers of people would go out for a big binge ahead of the tighter controls coming in on Monday.

Speaking to Tyne Tees TV News Eugene Milne said:

“At the opening of lockdown there was a real fear that that might happen in the city, and that didn’t happen so I think we can trust people.

“The idea of the rule of six is to make it easier for people to know how to stick with the guidance and I think one of the big problems has been the guidance has progressively got so complicated, so specific to particular areas, that it becomes very confusing for everybody.”


Coronavirus infections are reportedly surging in the over-fifties age group

Covid-19 cases are rising among the over 50s with a 92 per cent increase in the last week it has been reported. 

According to the Telegraph, Public Health England data showed there was also a 72 per cent rise in cases for people aged in their 60 and a 44 per cent increase in the over 80 age group 

Government officials said the increase amongst higher risk groups is “worrying”.


Yorkshire pub owner ‘receives death threat’ after banning under-25s amid Covid-19 spike

The owner of a Yorkshire pub has said she is receiving “horrendous” abuse after she decided to ban all customers under the age of 25 from entering the premises.

The Oddfellows Arms in Sherburn, near York, announced in a Facebook post on Thursday that it would refuse to serve the age group after Boris Johnson announced tighter restrictions on social gatherings.

Read the full story here


Covid inspiring London families to buy or build separate annexes for adult children and granny flats

The humble granny flat is enjoying a “colossal” pandemic-inspired boom

Hamptons have listed a £1.75 million six-bedroom semi-detached house for sale with two-bedroom granny flat in SW16

Read the full story here


UK on the edge of losing control of coronavirus, says top scientist

The UK is “on the edge of losing control” of coronavirus, according to a former government adviser.

Former chief scientific adviser and member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) Sir Mark Walport said the only way to stop the virus spreading is to reduce the number of people we all come into contact with, adding that there is an “extremely strong argument” that home working should continue.

Read the full story here


England Rugby players accept wage cut due to coronavirus

England’s players have accepted a 25 per cent wage reduction for the 2020/21 season, the Rugby Football Union has announced.

The one-year arrangement with England’s men follows talks between the RFU and the Rugby Players’ Association as a result of the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney said:

“I would like to thank the players and the RPA for their strong co-operation and collaboration which has enabled us to reach this new agreement.

“This is a special squad of players and their appreciation and understanding of the difficulties being faced across the English game has led to this outcome.”


Toots And The Maytals frontman Frederick Hibbert dies after being treated for suspected coronavirus 

Jamaican reggae singer Frederick “Toots” Hibbert has died at the age of 77.

The frontman of Toots And The Maytals, was being treated for suspected coronavirus at the University Hospital of the West Indies in the Caribbean island’s capital, Kingston.


A statement from his representative said: “It is with the heaviest of hearts to announce that Frederick Nathaniel ‘Toots’ Hibbert passed away peacefully tonight, surrounded by his family at the University Hospital of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica.

Read the full story here


Prince William thanks football clubs and fans for support during pandemic

The Duke of Cambridge has thanked football clubs and fans for supporting their communities during the coronavirus pandemic.

Aston Villa supporter William said the support offered in recent months “is a true testament to the spirit of football in this country”.

He delivered his message in a video on Twitter which featured a montage of footage and images including one of Manchester United star Marcus Rashford who was successful in campaigning for free school meal vouchers to be provided to pupils over the summer period.

In the video, William said: “As our national game, football is a source of togetherness and community spirit for millions.


US college students ‘throw party after positive coronavirus test’

Police caught students who had tested positive for coronavirus at an overcrowded house party in America.

Officers in Oxford, Ohio, said six men who attended a get together near Miami University last Saturday violated the state’s mass gathering and quarantine ordinance.

Bodycam footage shows police arriving at a home near the campus and finding men without masks on the porch.

One of the partygoers said that 20 people have gathered at the house – twice the amount of people allowed to congregate in the state.

An officer asks the group to disperse while he checks the ID of one of the residents.

“I’ve never seen this before,” the officer is heard saying to the student after running his ID. “There’s an input on the computer that you tested positive for Covid?”

“Yes,” the student answers.


New look for New York fashion week due to Covid measures

New York Fashion Week will look a little different this season, with the typical seven-day parade of events stripped down to five days because of Covid-19 restrictions.

As part of the measures there will be online runway shows, and smaller, socially distanced audiences on site. 

Host IMG said it had worked closely with the governor’s office to understand the protocols needed in order to have the shows running from September 13 to 17.

Highlights this season include Jason Wu, Rebecca Minkoff and Christian Siriano, who will show from his Connecticut home. 


Protesters defined coronavirus lockdown for a second week

Protesters in Melbourne defied a coronavirus lockdown for the second straight weekend on Saturday, prompting 14 arrests and 51 infringement notices for breaching public health orders.

Around 100 people protested in various locations in Melbourne, Victoria Police said, after about 200 people gathered the weekend before.

“Despite all the warnings, it was disappointing to see individuals turn out to protest in the city today, putting the lives of Victorians at risk,” the police said in an e-mailed statement.


New coronavirus infections cases in Victoria, the country’s second-most populous state, continued to fall from a peak of more than 700 in a single day in early August. It reported 37 new cases on Saturday, its lowest since late June.

It also reported six new deaths related to the coronavirus over the past 24 hours, bringing its total to 716, or more than 90 per cent of the 803 deaths in Australia.


Don’t have a ‘party weekend’ before ‘rule of six’ comes into force, police chief warns

The national chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, urged people to avoid a “party weekend” before the “rule of six” restrictions comes into force.

John Apter said: “There is a real risk some members of the public will take advantage of the current situation and treat this weekend as a party weekend ahead of the tighter restrictions being introduced on Monday.

“Alcohol and warm weather are not a good combination at the best of times. Using the current situation as an opportunity and excuse to party would be incredibly irresponsible and put pressure not only on policing, but potentially on the ambulance service and NHS.

“We are in the grip of a deadly pandemic and we have seen cases increasing over recent weeks. Policing is under pressure like never before, but my colleagues will give enforcement notices if they feel it’s appropriate, and we make no apology for doing so.”


Sage member said strong argument to continue working from home

Sir Mark Walport said he was “definitely” still working from home.

He told BBC’s Today programme: “Where people can work from home there’s an extremely strong argument that they should do so.”


UK ‘on the edge of losing control’ of virus

Former chief scientific adviser and member of Sage Sir Mark Walport said the UK is ‘on the edge of losing control’ of coronavirus.

Speaking to the  BBC’s Today programme he said: “You’ve only got to look across the Channel to see what’s happening in France, what’s happening in Spain.

“The French on Thursday had 9,800 new infections and one can see their hospital admissions and indeed their intensive care admissions are going up.”

He added: “The short answer is the only way to stop the spread of this infection is to reduce the number of people we all come into contact with, that lowers the risk.

“It’s a very very fine balancing act, it’s very important to get youngsters back to school, people to university but it means we’re going to have to hold back our contacts in other areas.”


Fines ‘could be necessary’ if people breach self-isolation rules

Mr Gove said fines could be necessary in order to enforce self-isolation rules.

Asked whether the Government should consider a carrot and stick approach with better financial support for those self-isolating as well as fines for breaches, he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think it is a very fair point.”

He also launched a defence of measures amid disquiet among Conservative backbenches.

“I don’t want to see fines being levied but even more I do not want to see people behaving in a way that puts the most vulnerable at risk,” Mr Gove said.

“Sometimes there’s an argument that’s depicted as though this is pernicious of the liberty of freedom-loving people, well there are restrictions, and I love freedom, but the one thing I think is even more important is that you exercise freedom with responsibility.”


Rule of six could give national a chance at a ‘proper Christmas’

Michael Gove said the rule of six will not only protect older people but give the nation a better chance of having a proper Christmas celebration with friends and family. 

The Cabinet Office Minister said it will not be altered to exempt children in England amid pressure on the Tory backbenches.

He told BBC Breakfast: “No. I entirely understand, family life is so important but the rule is there, the rule is clear and it commands public confidence.”

Mr Gove also said: “The key thing is if we maintain these rules, if we maintain a degree of restraint and self-discipline and co-operation, then we can keep the reinfection rate down, we can protect our grandparents which is the single most important thing.

“And then we can ensure in due course that these restrictions can be relaxed and my hope like so many is that we can have a proper Christmas.”


Michael Gove said country not heading towards a national lockdown

When asked if the UK was heading towards a second national lockdown, Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove said: “No”.

He told Times Radio: “The reason why we’re taking the steps we announced this week and come into force on Monday is precisely to seek to avoid that situation.

“The R rate has increased, the number of people who have been infected sadly has increased.”

The senior minister said that the new measures such as “targeted local lockdowns” and “new regulations governing social contact” were to ensure that children can still go to school, adults can still go to work and the “life of the nation can continue”.