Ministers are considering extra measures to try and halt the spread of Covid-19

Londoners could be told to work from home, the government said as officials met to discuss new restrictions in the capital to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Health secretary Matt Hancock also said he could not rule out a second nationwide lockdown as he warned that the UK was at a ‘tipping point’.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer blamed the near-collapse of the testing system for making tougher restrictions more likely and urged Boris Johnson to take “swift, decisive action”.

It came as the government announced people who refuse to self-isolate will face fines of up to £10,000, while workers on low wages will receive £500 to quarantine at home.

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Better testing needed to keep schools open, says teachers union

Testing for Covid-19 in schools must improve if they are to remain open, the National Education Union (NEU) has said.

The leaders of Britain’s largest education union wrote to Boris Johnson on Sunday urging the government to take emergency measures if schools and colleges are to stay safe.

Dr Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney, wrote: “It is now clear that your government has not managed to ensure that testing is sufficiently available to meet the predictable need when 12 million children and their staff returned to school in England.”

They said that testing problems meant that schools are unable to act quickly to stop the spread of the virus, children are being kept out of school unnecessarily and staff are left waiting at home for a test which may well be negative.

The NEU called for a ‘Plan B’ involving reduced class sizes, Nightingale Schools, delivery of broadband and laptops to children who still do not have them, and “urgent clarity and realism on exams and tests for next year”.

“School leaders, teachers and support staff have supported the wider opening for all pupils and worked hard to make it as safe as possible, but you cannot, and must not, take this support for granted,” the letter adds.

Peter Stubley20 September 2020 16:53

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US carries out one million tests in a day – but it’s still not enough

The United States set a one-day record with over 1 million coronavirus diagnostic tests being performed, but the country needs 6 million to 10 million a day to bring outbreaks under control, according to various experts.

The country performed 1,061,411 tests on Saturday, according to data from The COVID Tracking Project, a volunteer-run effort to track the outbreak.

The record comes after testing has fallen for several weeks.

The United States tested on average 650,000 people a day in the week ended Sept. 13, down from a peak in late July of over 800,000 people a day.

Peter Stubley20 September 2020 16:45

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Breaking: UK records 18 deaths and 3,899 new cases

The government’s Covid dashboard has been updated to show the latest daily figures of 18 deaths and 3,899 new cases.

It comes after 27 deaths and 4,422 cases were reported yesterday.  However weekend figures, which are announced on Sundays and Mondays, often tend to be lower than those for weekdays.

Peter Stubley20 September 2020 16:05

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Lockdown in Myanmar’s largest city

Myanmar announced a stay-at-home order for its biggest city Yangon after reporting a record daily increase in new cases of COVID-19 today.

It comes into effect on Monday and will force all employees to work from home. Schools were already closed under previous lockdown measures. The health ministry has recorded 671 new coronavirus cases across the country in its latest daily figures.

Myanmar has so far reported a total 5,541 COVID-19 cases and 92 deaths. Infections have increased to hundreds of new cases per day over the past weeks after the coronavirus resurfaced in the western state of Rakhine, following weeks without a confirmed domestic case.

Domestic airlines announced that services have been suspended until the end of September.

Peter Stubley20 September 2020 16:04

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‘Stop funding factory farming to cut risk of future pandemics’

Nearly 100 environmentalists, including the prime minister’s father, are calling on banks and the International Monetary Fund to stop investing in factory farming to cut the risk of future pandemics.

Peter Stubley20 September 2020 15:44

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UK government has let us down, says Mayor of London

Sadiq Khan has criticised the government for its ‘hapless’ handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.

He told Labour’s virtual conference: “Unfortunately, and it gives me no pleasure to say this, we’ve all been catastrophically let down by the Government.

“If ministers had risen to this moment, as the British public have, then the loss of many lives and much of the economic hardship could have been avoided.

“These times called for a government that could put ideology, dogma and ego aside, and calmly and competently do whatever it takes to save lives and jobs.

“Unfortunately, we got the exact opposite. Just when we required a steady, capable hand on the tiller, we’ve had a hapless government that keeps on steering us onto the rocks.”

Peter Stubley20 September 2020 15:36

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PM urged to call Cobra meeting involving all regions

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham has called on Boris Johnson to call an urgent Cobra meeting – with a place at the table for all the English regions.

He said more focus on the needs of northern communities and businesses was needed, with large parts of the North of England under local restrictions and a “north-south divide” on access to testing.

He said: “I am today calling on the prime minister to give a place for all of the English regions on a reconvened Cobra, alongside London, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

“The North of England is experiencing the highest number of cases but also the greatest difficulty in accessing tests.

“This north-south testing divide can’t be right and is exactly the kind of issue that a reconvened Cobra needs to resolve. The North needs to be levelled up on testing without delay.”

It comes after he suggested that there was “one rule for London and another for everywhere else.”

Peter Stubley20 September 2020 15:22

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Scotland 245 new cases, Northern Ireland 176

A further 245 positive Covid-19 cases have been recorded in Scotland, after 300 were reported yesterday..

It brings the total number of people who have tested positive for coronavirus to 24,371. There were no new deaths, which means the toll remains at 2,505.

Health secretary Jeane Freeman told BBC Breakfast on Sunday that a Scottish government decision on lockdown would happen “very shortly”.

Meanwhile in Northern Ireland there have been a further 176 new confirmed cases of Covid-19, according to the Department of Health.

It brings the total number of cases in the region to 9,341, including 977 in the last seven days.

Peter Stubley20 September 2020 15:16

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Hospital deaths in England up by 12

A further 12 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospital in England, according to NHS England, bringing the total number of confirmed reported deaths in hospitals to 29,747.

The patients were aged between 62 and 98 and all had known underlying health conditions. They include deaths as far back as 30 April, but most took place on 18 and 19 September.

Three other deaths were reported with no positive Covid-19 test result.

Peter Stubley20 September 2020 15:10

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Trump gives himself ‘D’ grade over coronavirus response

Donald Trump graded his coronavirus pandemic response with a ‘D’  during his latest campaign rally.

The US president, who referred to himself on Saturday as “Donald Prump”, told supporters that the coronavirus “should’ve been stopped in China” as he championed his administration’s handling of the pandemic.

Peter Stubley20 September 2020 14:46

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