People will be banned from socialising outside their own households or support bubble, leisure and entertainment venues will be shut between 10pm and 5am, and there will be table service only in bars and restaurants under the new measures.
The restrictions will be implemented across Northumberland, Newcastle, Sunderland, North and South Tyneside, Gateshead and County Durham from midnight on Thursday after being announced by health secretary Matt Hancock in a statement in the House of Commons.
NHS bosses fear lack of coronavirus tests is driving rise in staff sickness
Sickness levels among NHS staff are rising nationally with senior officials worried the increase is being driven by the shortage in coronavirus testing, a leaked email has revealed.
In recent days doctors and nurses have reported being forced to stay home from work and self-isolate for days because they cannot get a test. In some cases staff have been offered tests hundreds of miles from where they live.
Now an email to NHS bosses has revealed the scale of the impact the lack of tests is having.
Our health correspondent Shaun Lintern has this exclusive report:
Chiara Giordano17 September 2020 14:02
Austria limits indoor gatherings to 10 people
Austria is limiting private indoor gatherings to 10 people in the face of rising coronavirus case numbers.
The announcement from chancellor Sebastian Kurz said on Thursday comes a day after Germany issued a travel warning for Vienna, where most of the country’s cases are concentrated.
“These are restrictions that hurt but they are restrictions that are necessary to hopefully prevent a second lockdown,” Mr Kurz said, adding that as of Monday, restaurants and bars could also only serve seated customers and that the requirement to wear face masks was being extended to more places, including markets.
Chiara Giordano17 September 2020 13:47
More than 100 people told to self-isolate via Protect Scotland app
Nicola Sturgeon has said over 100 people have been told to self-isolate as a result of the Protect Scotland coronavirus contact tracing app.
During First Minister’s Questions in the Scottish Parliament, she said the app had been downloaded by more than a million people.
“In the week since it was launched, more than one million people have downloaded the Protect Scotland app and I want to thank everyone that has done so,” she said.
“One million is already a big enough number for us to know that the app can make a difference. In fact, I can report that more than 100 people have been advised to isolate as a result of using it.
“I would encourage everyone that hasn’t yet done so to download it.
“This is a simple – and it is simple – but it’s also an important way in which we can fight Covid-19.”
Kate Ng17 September 2020 13:28
Covid-19 cases in Bolton ‘rocketing up’
The number of coronavirus cases in Bolton are “rocketing up”, says Chris Green, Tory MP for Bolton West.
He warned that this is having a “devastating impact on people’s physical and mental health”, as well as livelihoods and businesses.
Speaking to the Commons, Mr Green said: “Many people are heading out of the borough to get their beauty treatments, go to the pubs and restaurants.
“At the same time the testing system is failing to deliver so people are increasingly going to accident and emergency in Bolton and Wigan in the hope of getting a Covid test.”
Matt Hancock reiterated that people “should not go to A&E to access a test” and said almost 7,000 tests were added to the area in the last week.
“The situation in Bolton is very difficult, with over 200 cases per 100,000 population, the highest in the country by a long, long way and we’ve got a lot of work to do to get the situation under control in Bolton,” he added.
Kate Ng17 September 2020 13:19
Coronavirus vaccine will only become available when safe, confirms Matt Hancock
The health secretary has confirmed a Covid-19 vaccine will only be put in place “across the board” when it is safe to do so.
Matt Hancock was asked by DUP health spokesperson Jim Shannon to confirm that “no vaccine will be available on the NHS that has not been rigorously and completely tested”.
Mr Hancock responded: “Of course, we will only allow a vaccine to be put in place across the board when it is safe and the Medicines and Healthcare produces Regulatory Agency (MHRA) are one of the most respected and high quality regulators in the entire world.
“It is they who will make the decision on whether it’s safe to license and of course the question of who should be vaccinated and in what order is again a clinical decision on which we’ll take advice from the joint committee on vaccinations and immunisation.”
Kate Ng17 September 2020 12:53
Jacob Rees-Mogg accuses people complaining about unavailable tests of ‘carping’
Jacob Rees-Mogg has said that people facing difficulties in getting coronavirus tests and complaining about chaos in the system are “carping” and should instead “celebrate the phenomenal success of the British nation”.
The Commons leader himself was forced to self-isolate last week while awaiting coronavirus test results for one of his children, but was able to return to Parliament as it returned as negative.
Our Political Editor, Andrew Woodcock, reports:
Kate Ng17 September 2020 12:46
Black Americans more likely to test positive for coronavirus, study finds
A new study examining the racial disparities of the pandemic has suggested Black Americans are twice as likely to test positive for coronavirus than white Americans.
Research carried out by the Epic Health Research Network Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) showed how Hispanic, Black, and Asian patients were more prone to contracting Covid-19 – and more likely to require hospitalisation from it.
The report, published on Wednesday, analysed the health records of 50 million patients from 53 health systems across 21 states, laying bare the racial disparities at play amid the United States’ coronavirus pandemic.
Read more on this from Gino Spocchia below:
Chiara Giordano17 September 2020 12:30
Battle against coronavirus ‘is not over’
Matt Hancock has said the coronavirus pandemic is not over.
He told MPs: “Like many other countries around the world, we’re continuing to see a concerning rise in cases with 3,991 new cases recorded yesterday.
“And this week the number of patients in mechanical ventilator beds has risen above 100 for the first time since July.
“The battle against coronavirus is not over.”
Chiara Giordano17 September 2020 12:22
New coronavirus restrictions announced for northeast England
More than 1.5 million people across the north-east of England have been placed under new coronavirus restrictions after cases across the region rose dramatically there.
Members of different households will be banned from socialising and pubs and restaurants will have to shut by 10pm under the new measures announced on Thursday morning after Covid-19 cases tripled in the region in three weeks.
Chiara Giordano17 September 2020 12:02
WHO warns of ‘very serious’ situation in Europe as cases surge
The number of weekly coronavirus cases in Europe topped 300,000 last week – higher than during the first peak in March – triggering grave warnings from health experts.
Speaking at a press briefing on Thursday, the World Health Organization’s European director Hans Kluge warned that Europe was facing a “very serious” situation and advised against “even a slight reduction in the length of the quarantine”.
Chiara Giordano17 September 2020 11:57