1.15pm BST

Khan also accused the government of “incompetence” over Londoners not being able to book coronavirus tests.
The mayor told the PA news agency: “I’m angry at the incompetence of the government that has led to Londoners being refused a test.
“Those that get a test are sent miles and miles away, and those that have done the test aren’t getting their results for days.
“I’m also angry that those who have given their contacts to the authorities, many of them aren’t contacted, aren’t told to self isolate, which could lead to the virus spreading.”

1.11pm BST

There is huge frustration in the Welsh government that people are being directed from far and wide to a testing centre in Rhondda Cynon Taf, where lockdown restrictions are in place.

People have travelled across the Welsh/England border from Somerset, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Somerset to the testing centre at Abercynon.

The Welsh first minister, Mark Drakeford, said the matter was being taken up with the UK government. “It does not make sense,” Drakeford said.

12.57pm BST

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has said the city is “two weeks behind” parts of the UK which have had tighter coronavirus restrictions, PA media reports.

Speaking in central London on Friday, the mayor said he was “really worried” about the rising number of cases in boroughs across the capital.

He said:

What we’ve seen in other parts of the country and in the north-east in particular is an instruction for bars and restaurants to close at 10pm.

The reason for that is to minimise the amount of hours people spend socialising which can increase the risk of the virus spreading.

We’re looking into all possibilities in London and we’re looking to see which policies across the country are successful.

According to the latest evidence I’ve seen we’re about two weeks behind some parts of the country.

That’s why I’m saying to Londoners, please follow the advice.

at 1.13pm BST

12.49pm BST

The Welsh first minister, Mark Drakeford, has strongly criticised Boris Johnson for not discussing the Covid crisis with the leaders of the devolved nations.

Speaking at a press conference in Cardiff, Drakeford said there was a “vacancy at the heart” of the UK.

He said he had had one brief conversation with Johnson since 28 May.

He said:

This is simply unacceptable to anyone who believes that we ought to be facing the coronavirus crisis together.

We need a regular, reliable rhythm of engagement: a reliable meeting even once a week would be a start.

I make this argument not because we should all do the same things, but because being round the same table allows each of us to make the best decisions for the nations we represent.

There is a vacancy at the heart of the United Kingdom, and it needs urgently to be filled, so we can talk to each other, share information, pool ideas and demonstrate a determination that the whole of the country can face these challenges together at this most difficult time.

at 1.03pm BST

12.44pm BST

Nicola Sturgeon asked Boris Johnson to convene a Cobra meeting this weekend

Nicola Sturgeon has said that Scotland is at “a critical point” in terms of rising infections, warning of “hard but necessary” decisions in the days ahead and saying that she has asked Boris Johnson to convene a Cobra meeting this weekend.

She said at her daily briefing:

I want to give the nation advance notice that the coming days are likely to see some hard but necessary decisions.

This weekend is a critical moment for us to take decisions about the additional steps we need to take … I do want to have four-nations discussions around this, I have asked the prime minister to convene a Cobra, we will ideally align as much as possible.

But if there are things that I think based on my data and advice are essential in Scotland, I am not going to hold back. I hope we will have discussions over the weekend and try to come to a shared position on the steps that are necessary.

She underlined that she was not talking about a full lockdown, but about further measures that would avoid such severe restrictions again and would allow Scotland to keep schools open.

at 1.04pm BST

12.40pm BST

The north-east of England is “heading towards a catastrophe” if the issues with the coronavirus testing system are not resolved, a council leader has told the BBC.

Gateshead council’s Martin Gannon said a mobile testing unit provided by a private company is “like a Del Trotter Enterprises van” from the TV show Only Fools and Horses.

He told the public broadcaster:

We have got our hands bound behind our backs and a blindfold on because we cannot get tests. There are really significant problems with the test system.

I visited the mobile test centre. It was like a Del Trotter Enterprises van. The whole system is completely failing.

I’m not having a go at staff or that particular company. Testing needs to be devolved from multiple private sector companies to local public health.

We have got the expertise but we need money and test kits. We’re heading towards a catastrophe until they [government] recognise that.

at 1.05pm BST

12.36pm BST

Wales’s first minister, Mark Drakeford, said the the R number is now likely to be over 1 for the whole of Wales, during an update on the latest coronavirus situation.

After a period of no deaths, Wales reported three deaths from coronavirus yesterday. Drakeford said 41 people are being treated for coronavirus and four are in intensive care.

at 1.06pm BST

12.31pm BST

The number of people reporting that they have gone out to bars, cafes and restaurants has fallen rapidly over the past week, reversing a steady upward trend that began when lockdown was relaxed in July, according to the latest Office for National Statistics coronavirus social impact statistics.

As local lockdowns have started to come into force in more areas, 30% of adults said they went out to socialise in the week 9-13 September, compared with 38% the previous week. Fewer people reported they had met with others in a public or private space, or ventured out to a local beauty spot or beach.

The regular survey – the last before “rule of six” conditions were imposed this week – showed just 13% of adults reported socialising with six or more other people.

Over half said they had socialised with one to five others, while 29% said they had not met anyone outside their household over the past week.

Significant differences in attitudes to test-and-trace rules were revealed in the survey. English pubs and restaurants were less likely than their Scottish and Welsh counterparts to insist customers leave their contact details for test-and-trace purposes when they visited, the survey revealed.

Just over a quarter of English respondents reported they had not been asked for contact details, compared with 23% in Wales and just 12% in Scotland. Scots were the most likely to give their contact details when asked – 87% – compared with 78% in Wales and 66% in England.

There was an increase in numbers reporting they had travelled into work at least once during the week – more than one in 10 workers reported they mixed going into work with working from home.

The number of people reporting that they wear face masks where they are required to, such as in shops and on public transport, remains high at 95%, a level unchanged since July. About 38% of parents reported that all or some of their children had worn a face mask in school.

The ONS surveyed 2,500 adults in Great Britain between 9-13 September.

at 1.08pm BST

12.27pm BST

The health and social care secretary, Matt Hancock, said the new restrictions announced in Lancashire, Merseyside, West Yorkshire, Warrington, Halton and Wolverhampton were necessary to protect lives following the sharp rise in coronavirus cases.

Hancock said:

I know these restrictions will make everyday life harder for many, but I know that residents will work together and respect the rules so we can reduce rates of transmission.

I urge local people to isolate and get a test if you have symptoms, follow the advice of NHS test and trace, and always remember ‘hands, face, space’. By sticking to these steps, we will get through this together.

at 12.30pm BST

12.22pm BST

A national lockdown in England could happen as soon next week, Sky’s political editor, Beth Rigby, reports. The restrictions could force bars to close or run on restricted hours and different households would be asked not to mix.

Beth Rigby

Can’t/won’t rule out 2nd national lockdown but current plan, which cld happen next week, is to have nationwide restrictions – a hybrid if you like btwn full lockdown & current situation – with bars etc closed & all of us being asked to stay home bar ‘essential travel’ to work/sch https://t.co/G6ZAtPZ6Uc

September 18, 2020

at 12.30pm BST

12.16pm BST

Thousands of people across Lancashire, Merseyside and Warrington will be banned from mixing with other families under tougher restrictions announced to control the spread of coronavirus.

The measures, to be introduced from Tuesday, will prohibit residents in 17 council areas from meeting others outside their support bubbles and include a 10pm curfew on nightlife. Blackpool is the only area in the county which will be exempt from the restrictions.

People in affected areas should only use public transport for essential purposes, such as travelling to school or work, and avoid attending amateur or semi-professional sports events as spectators. Residents should also take holidays only with people in their own household or support bubble.

Preston, Pendle and Blackburn with Darwen, which already had restrictions in place, will be included under the stricter measures.

Local politicians and leaders were told of the stricter measures being proposed by the government during a meeting on Thursday.

More than 10 million people across the UK are living under local restrictions, covering parts of Scotland, south Wales, the north-west and north-east of England, Yorkshire and the Midlands.

at 12.31pm BST

12.14pm BST

New restrictions announced in Warrington, Halton, Merseyside and Lancashire

The government has announced new reigional restrictions Warrington, Halton, Merseyside and Lancashire (excluding Blackpool and Greater Manchester).

BBC political reporter Phil McCann has tweeted text that states restrictions will come into force on Tuesday 22 September.

Phil McCann

BREAKING: New restrictions for Warrington, Halton, Merseyside and Lancs. pic.twitter.com/DeEzpxCWsC

September 18, 2020

at 12.32pm BST

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