UK coronavirus live: PM says Greater Manchester situation is ‘grave’ and he will intervene if necessary | Politics
In an interview with Sky News Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the Commons Speaker and MP for Chorley in Lancashire, has said he is not happy about the compensation available to people who cannot work because their business has to shut because of the restrictions. He said their furlough payments should be worth 80% of wages, not the 67% currently on offer.
It is unusual for the Commons Speaker to speak out publicly on a matter of party political controversy. Hoyle was a Labour MP before becoming Speaker and his call for furlough payments to be more generous echoes Labour’s position.
Weekly UK Covid death toll up by more than 80% to 750, latest figures show
The UK government has updated its coronavirus dashboard. Here are the key figures.
- The UK has recorded 15,650 new cases. That is more than 3,000 below yesterday’s total (18,980) and the lowest daily figure since Monday.
- The UK has recorded 136 more deaths. That is two lower than yesterday, and the lowest daily figure since Monday (50). But for the last four days the figures have been broadly similar, ranging between 136 and 143. This time last week the figure was 87. These figures cover people who died within 28 days of testing positive.
- The weekly death total has risen by more than 80%. There have been 750 deaths over the last week, the dashboard says. That marks an 82.5% increase on the total for the previous week (339).
- There are 4,647 coronavirus patients in hospital in England, compared to 4,379 yesterday. But the number of patients on mechanical ventilation remains the same as yesterday, at 482.
During the press conference Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, retweeted this from the broadcaster Andrea Catherwood.
Q: You say that you are prepared to take the UK out of the EU without a trade deal. How do you explain that to people in the car industry, who will face tariffs of 10%, or people in the lamb industry, who might face tariffs of 40% or more?
Johnson says he wants a Canada-style deal. But he says he is confident the UK can prosper.
And that’s it. The press conference is over.
Q: How long will the tier 3 restrictions in Lancashire last? And how long can people put up with them?
Johnson says he wants to say thank you to people for putting up with these.
We can do it, he says.
The quantum by which we have to reduce the R number is not as big as it was at the start of this, he says. He says he would like to see Lancashire coming out of tier 3 as quickly as possible.
Q: Would a circuit breaker still work?
Vallance says it would work any time. A circuit breaker is one way to do it. But there are others, he says.
On Brexit, Johnson says the EU don’t seem to want to progress a free trade deal.
Unless that changes, the UK will come out on Australian terms.
Q: What extra measures might help out?
Vallance says they have all been laid out.
He may be referring to this document.
Dr Susan Hopkins from Public Health England is speaking now.
She says the new testing programme is looking at how it can pick up asymptomatic cases.
Q: Aren’t much stronger measures needed? Almost 50,000 people a day are getting infected. (See 4.20pm.)
Johnson says it is right that “urgent action” is needed in areas where the virus is most prevalent.
But the R number is not rising in the way it was a month ago, he says, or at the start of the pandemic.
He says there is “more than a chance” that they can get R down. If it can be reduced by 30%, it will go below 1, he says.
He says areas across the country will have to do more.
It is better to try the local route, he says, rather than go back to the “bad old days”, closing schools and forcing people to stay at home. That would cause long-term damage, he says.
Q: Politicians are squabbling. Are they costing lives?
Vallance says it is important to go quite hard and quite fast. The more you do that, the more effective it is, he says.
Vallance says Sage recommended a circuit break in September.
It is crucial to get R below one. There are a number of ways in which that cannot be done.
He says, as Prof Chris Whitty said on Monday, the tier 3 baseline measures on their own would not get R below 1. But with other measures added, they could get R below 1, he says.
He says Sage also stressed that there are other factors that need to be taken into account by politicians, like the social impact of lockdown measures.
Johnson says a national lockdown does not make sense. He does not see how locking down in Cornwall, where cases are low, would help the situation in the north-west.
He says he hopes Andy Burnham will “come with us”. Support is available, he says.
He says it would be better to act together, because he wants “the maximum local buy-in” and maximum local leadership.
He says countries around the world have been trying local approaches.
He says he reserves the right to step in.
Johnson is now taking questions.
The first comes from a member of the public who wants to know, as someone living in Kent, if the rules allow him to visit his son in Essex, where tighter rules apply.
Johnson says that, alas, restrictions apply – but he urges the caller to check a local website for details of the rules.
Vallance shows a chart for hospital admissions by age.
And here are figures for ICU units.
The next chart shows where the virus is growing.
The figure on the left shows the prevalence of Covid, and the one on the right shows the rate at which it is growing.
And here are the equivalent figures for over-60s.