Christopher Hammond, director of the Sukhothai Thai restaurant in Leeds, uses the Venue Check-in feature of the new NHS Covid-19 mobile phone app.

London was added to the official “watch list” after a surge in cases while Leeds residents were told they faced a local lockdown – including a ban on households mixing – from midnight.

It came as the NHS Test and Trace app revealed that not one single local area in England can currently be considered “low risk” for coronavirus infection. The two biggest cities in Wales, Cardiff and Swansea, will be placed under restrictions from 6pm on Sunday.

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Coronavirus death toll could hit 2 million before vaccine available, WHO warns

The death toll from the coronavirus could double to 2 million before a successful vaccine is widely used and could be even higher without concerted action to curb the pandemic, an official at the World Health Organisation has said.

“Unless we do it, all the number you speak about [2 million deaths] is not only imaginable, but sadly very likely,” Mike Ryan, head of the WHO emergencies programme, said in a briefing on Friday.

His assessment came as the total number of deaths nine months since the virus was discovered in China neared the grim milestone of 1 million.

Samuel Osborne25 September 2020 17:51


EasyJet announces ‘no compulsory job cuts’ after 1,500 flight crew go part-time

After warning that more than 700 pilots could lose their jobs, easyJet has struck a deal with their union that appears to involves no compulsory job redundancies, travel correspondent Simon Calder reports.

Britain’s biggest budget airline has seen bookings collapse as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent imposition of travel restrictions.

In May easyJet warned that thousands of staff faced redundancy, with 727 pilots at risk of losing their jobs.

Much of the fleet is grounded and the carrier is cancelling hundreds of flights each day.

The easyJet bases at Southend, Stansted, and Newcastle have been closed.

Samuel Osborne25 September 2020 17:28


Spanish government recommends partial lockdown on Madrid

The Spanish government has recommended reimposing a partial lockdown on all of Madrid city to curb the spread of coronavirus after local authorities imposed restrictions on just some areas of the wider region, the health minister has said.

“These are the minimum measures we have to take to control the spread of the virus in the city,” Salvador Illa told reporters.

Spain, one of the countries in Europe worst-affected by the pandemic, was under a draconian lockdown from March until May in which people could not leave their homes.

But after restrictions were totally lifted on 21 June, the pandemic has surged again.

Samuel Osborne25 September 2020 17:04


Moyes returns second positive test

David Moyes will not take charge of West Ham United’s Premier League game against Woverhampton Wanderers and the League Cup fourth-round tie against Everton after returning a second positive COVID-19 test, the Times reported.

Moyes, as well as players Issa Diop and Josh Cullen, had returned positive tests on Tuesday ahead of West Ham’s League Cup third-round match against Hull City at London Stadium.

Chiara Giordano25 September 2020 16:04


Millions of poorest families to lose £20 a week

Six million of the UK’s poorest households could suffer a £20-a-week hit to their income as a result of yesterday’s winter economy plan by chancellor Rishi Sunak, political editor Andrew Woodcock reports.

As he set out plans for an estimated £5 billion support for jobs and businesses, Mr Sunak made clear that he was not extending a temporary boost to Universal Credit payments introduced for the Covid crisis and due to end in March.

As a result, families dependent on benefits – and those who lose their jobs in an expected wave of redundancies as the chancellor’s furlough scheme ends in November – could face a loss of income of around £1,000 a year.

More details on this below:

Chiara Giordano25 September 2020 15:49


10,000 volunteers invited to join new stage of vaccine trial

Ten thousand volunteers will be invited to take part in a new stage of a Covid-19 vaccine trial.  

A new phase three trial for a vaccine created by US biotech company Novavax was started on Thursday, marking the second phase three trial to take place in the UK.  

As part of the research, 10,000 people will be invited on Friday to take part in the new phase.  

Phase three trials require a large number of people to test the safety and effectiveness of the potential vaccine across a community.  

They will be held across the country including in Greater Manchester, London, Glasgow and Belfast.  

Sixty million doses of the vaccine have been secured by the Government, to be manufactured in Stockton-on-Tees, Co Durham, if it is successful.  

The volunteers had previously signed up to the NHS Covid-19 vaccine research registry, created in July to allow people to express their interest in taking part in a clinical trial and to be contacted by researchers. More than 250,000 people have since signed up.  

Researchers and the government are calling for more people to volunteer for the studies, particularly people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds, those with underlying health conditions and people over 65. 

Chiara Giordano25 September 2020 15:30


Politician caught kissing woman’s breast during virtual meeting

A politician in Argentina has been suspended after he was spotted kissing a woman’s breast during a virtual session of congress.

Juan Emilio Ameri, who represents the northern province of Salta, was seen by both colleagues and members of the public committing the lewd act as the chamber of deputies held a special meeting broadcast on Zoom.

Footage of the incident quickly went viral on social media, sparking outrage and quickly leading to a vote in which the 47-year-old was suspended pending an investigation.

Chiara Giordano25 September 2020 15:18


Effectiveness of restrictions is diminishing, says mayor

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham has said fixing the NHS test and trace system is the answer to beating coronavirus – not tougher social distancing restrictions alone.

He told a weekly press conference: “There are doubts here about the extent to which the restrictions have been effective.

“At best I think we can say they have have probably stopped the growth in cases we might otherwise have seen, but the patchwork nature of these restrictions, the confusion there is among the public, I think is diminishing any remaining effectiveness that they have.

“It can’t be the case that it’s restrictions alone that are being used to try and control the virus, because if we try that then I’m afraid we will be overtaken by this.

“Fixing Test and Trace is the answer, not loading more and more restrictions on local authorities.

“With the numbers we have at the moment, it is difficult to argue against measures that will try to seek to bring those numbers under control, and I think it’s difficult to argue against a consistent approach across Greater Manchester given the position we are now in, but there is a limit to what any restrictions like this can achieve.”

Chiara Giordano25 September 2020 14:55


Covid app hit by major issues

The NHS Covid-19 app has been hit by major problems on its first day.

Users complained they were unable to download the app, or that it did not work properly once they did.

Many of the issues were fixed over the first day of its rollout, on 24 September. But others – such as technical limitations that mean older phones are unable to use the app – cannot be solved.

More from Andrew Griffin here:

Chiara Giordano25 September 2020 14:38


UK cases update: Scotland cases set new record

A total of 558 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Scotland in the past 24 hours – a new daily record.

Of the new cases, 255 are in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, 61 in Lanarkshire and 119 in Lothian. No deaths of confirmed Covid-19 patients have been recorded in the past 24 hours and the number of fatalities remains at 2,510.

Northern Ireland has reported 273 new cases of Covid-19 in the latest daily update from the Department of Health, bringing the total number of infections to 10,223, including 1,236 in the last seven days. There have been no further deaths recorded by the department, with the toll in the region remaining at 577.

In Wales there have been a further 320 confirmed cases, bringing the total in the country to 22,215. Public Health Wales said three further deaths had been reported, with the total since the beginning of the pandemic increasing to 1,609.

A further 33 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospital in England, bringing the total number of confirmed deaths reported in hospitals to 29,871, NHS England said on Friday.

The patients were aged between 56 and 93 and all except two, aged 84 and 88, had known underlying health conditions. The deaths were between April 21 and September 24.

Peter Stubley25 September 2020 14:26

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