Good morning. Last night, after the number of new coronavirus cases in the UK came close to 3,000 for the second day in a row, Prof Jonathan Van-Tam, England’s deputy chief medical officer, offered rather a chilling warning. “People have relaxed too much,” he said. “Now is the time for us to re-engage and realise that this is a continuing threat to us.” Describing the increase in case numbers as “big change”, he said;
We’ve been able to relax a bit over the summer, the disease levels have been really quite low in the UK through the summer but these latest figures really show us that much as people might like to say ‘oh well it’s gone away’ – this hasn’t gone away. And if we’re not careful, if we don’t take this incredibly seriously from this point in we’re going to have a bumpy ride over the next few months.
This morning Robert Jenrick, the communities secretary, was doing the broadcast interview round on behalf of the government and he essentially backed Van-Tam’s message. He urged people to take “great care”.
The coronavirus is still with us so we all need to take great care. There is a concerning rise in cases and it reminds us that we have to keep following the guidance.
Although we are encouraged to return to the workplace to support jobs, cafes and so on, we need to do so responsibly … Nobody wants to see a return to full national restrictions of the kind we had earlier this year.
And he said the young, amongst whom new infections are rising most quickly, had a particular responsibility to be careful.
We have to keep hammering the message home. Of course the people in those age categories are unlikely to become extremely unwell as a result of having the virus but they are able to pass it on to others. There’s a responsibility on younger people to not just stay at home, obviously to go out and go to work and to enjoy pubs and restaurants, but do so in accordance with the guidelines.
This will doubtless come up at cabinet this morning, and MPs will be hearing from Matt Hancock, the health secretary later.
Here is the agenda for the day.
9.30am: Boris Johnson chairs cabinet.
9.30am: The ONS releases its weekly death figures for England and Wales.
9.30am: Andrew Lloyd Webber and other leading figures from the arts give evidence to the Commons culture committee about venue reopening.
11am: Matt Hancock, the health secretary, gives evidence to the Commons health committee about social care.
12pm: Downing Street is expected to hold its daily lobby briefing.
12.15pm: Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minster, holds a coronavirus briefing.
12.30pm: Brandon Lewis, the Northern Ireland secretary, answers a Commons urgent question about the Northern Ireland protocol.
Around 1.15pm: Hancock makes a Commons statement about coronavirus.
And, of course, the UK-EU trade talks resume in London.
Politics Live has been doubling up as the UK coronavirus live blog for some time and, given the way the Covid crisis eclipses everything, for the foreseeable future it will still mostly focus on coronavirus. But we will be covering non-Covid political stories too, like Brexit, and where they seem more important and interesting, they will take precedence.
Here is our global coronavirus live blog.
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