2.16pm BST

Northern Ireland announces a record rise in cases

Northern Ireland has also announced a record rise in daily cases. The department of health said 319 people had tested positive in the last 24 hours. The previous record daily tally was 273, announced on Friday.

Department of Health

The Department of Health #COVID19 dashboard has been updated with latest case data.

319 individuals have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 24 hours. https://t.co/YN16dmGzhv pic.twitter.com/A1E0QJi2DR

September 26, 2020

2.11pm BST

Scotland announces record rise in new cases

Scotland has announced 714 new cases the biggest single day’s number since mass testing began.

Scottish Government

756,750 people in Scotland have been tested for #coronavirus.

The total confirmed as positive has risen by 714 to 27,232

The number of deaths of patients who tested positive remains at 2,511

Latest update ➡️https://t.co/bZPbrCoQux
Health advice ➡️ https://t.co/l7rqArB6Qu pic.twitter.com/P8RbHOtUQm

September 26, 2020

It represents a sharp increase in new cases since yesterday’s total of 558 – the previous daily record in Scotland.

at 2.12pm BST

2.01pm BST

NHS England has announced the death of a further 20 people in English hospitals.

The patients were aged between 43 and 96 years old. All had known underlying health conditions. The date of death ranges from 3 April to 25 September 2020, with the majority on or after 23 September.

1.40pm BST

NHS app fails to accepts a third of test results

England’s troubled and much-delayed NHS Covid app does not accept test results processed in the country’s government-run laboratories, hospitals or as part of an official survey, officials have admitted.

The app’s official account said on Twitter it could not link to test results taken in Public Health England (PHE) laboratories, at the National Health Service (NHS) or as part of a survey run by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

NHS COVID-19 app

Hi Damian,

If your test took place in a Public Health England lab or NHS hospital, or as part of national surveillance testing conducted by the Office for National Statistics, test results cannot currently be linked with the app whether they’re positive or negative.


September 25, 2020

On Friday, 210,375 tests were taken, with 61,481 handled by PHE and the NHS, or 29%. That does not include tests taken as part of the ONS surveys because they are counted on a UK basis.

The NHS Covid-19 app was launched this week, four months later than expected. It uses Bluetooth signals to log when a user is in close contact with another user, generally meaning within 2 metres for 15 minutes or more.

The Department for Health did not give an immediate response but its website said it was working to rectify this issue as soon as possible.

Sunder Katwala

Many people are finding it counterintuitive and confusing that the ‘NHS Covid app’ can not record tests done in NHS hospitals pic.twitter.com/tXcrMwY3Hu

September 26, 2020

Prof Harry Rutter, a member of the environmental working group which advises Sage, was among those highlighting the problem.

Harry Rutter

‘NHS Test and Trace’ [sic] https://t.co/TTssaxta1Q

September 26, 2020

at 1.57pm BST

1.29pm BST

Thousands gather for anti-lockdown rally

People take part in a ‘We Do Not Consent’ rally at Trafalgar Square in London, organised by Stop New Normal, to protest against coronavirus restrictions Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA

Thousands of protesters have gathered for an anti-lockdown demonstration in central London.

Crowds massed in Trafalgar Square on Saturday carrying a variety of signs, flags and placards to take part in a “We Do Not Consent” rally, with no one appearing to wear face coverings or to social distance. Some held banners associated with the QAnon conspiracy theories.

The demonstrators, who are protesting against government lockdown measures, cheered and clapped, shouting: “We will win”.

Earlier, police searched a man and confiscated a makeshift riot shield that he was carrying. The protest comes a week after a separate event which saw more than a dozen officers injured when a “small minority” targeted police and more than 32 arrests were made.

The Metropolitan police said it had been engaging with organisers throughout the week to remind them of their legal obligations and explaining the events could be in breach of coronavirus regulations.

While protests are exempt from the rule of six which is in force in England, organisers must submit a risk assessment and comply with social distancing.

at 1.57pm BST

1.20pm BST

Tory backbenchers in the UK will continue to push the government to give MPs a chance to debate and vote on coronavirus measures before they come into force despite Downing Street’s attempt to head off a rebellion.

Conservative Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 Committee, has tabled an amendment to the Coronavirus Act trying to force greater parliamentary scrutiny of the regulations.

He has won the backing of at least 40 of his Tory colleagues, and with Labour likely to support the measure, Boris Johnson could be defeated in the Commons in the six-month review of the powers, which is scheduled for Wednesday.

The FT says as many as 60 Tory could rebel.

Sebastian Payne

NEW: Labour, SNP, Lib Dems, Plaid and DUP are lining up to support @SirGrahamBrady’s amendment to give parliament more say on coronavirus.

Number of Conservative rebels is up to 60, meaning it should pass on Wednesday.

Saturday analysis with @PickardJE https://t.co/oAAHyb1oEM

September 26, 2020

In a bid to appease backbenchers, Downing Street has offered MPs a chance to debate and vote on the rule of six next month.

However, Sir Graham said the government’s olive branch was “not relevant” to his bid for further scrutiny. Speaking to PA he said:

There would always have been a retrospective opportunity for a vote on the rule of six.

What I am pressing for is debates and votes before measures come into force.

The rule of six vote is scheduled for 6 October.

Sir Graham’s amendment would need to be selected by Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle on Wednesday to stand a chance of being successful.

Conservative former party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith, Damian Green, who was effectively deputy PM under Theresa May, liaison committee chairman Sir Bernard Jenkin, Sir Bob Neill and former Brexit secretary David Davis are among those to back the bid.

DUP MPs and the chairman of the Labour parliamentary party John Cryer are also supporting the move. A Labour source said the party was “sympathetic” to the amendment.

A senior government source said: “The government is doing everything it reasonably can to engage parliament in the Covid process, whilst also ensuring it has the ability to react swiftly in order to suppress the virus.”

at 1.28pm BST

12.48pm BST

The organisers of two wedding parties have been fined for breaching the rules on the number of people allowed to gather.

West Mercia police fined the owners of a venue in Telford £10,000 after 120 people attended a wedding party in Stafford Park.

Ch Supt Paul Moxley said: “It is unacceptable that a minority of people are continuing to disregard the rules and as a consequence a £10,000 fine was given to the organisation hosting the wedding party in Telford today.

“It is believed that around 120 people were attending the event in Stafford Park, all of whom left the venue when we attended and spoke to them. Therefore no fixed penalty notices were given to the guests.”

Another £10,000 fine was handed out by Greater Manchester police to the organiser of a wedding party at a licensed premises in Longsight, Manchester, on Thursday night.

On arrival, police found about 70 people present who initially refused to leave the unnamed premises which have been closed by the authorities for at least seven days subject to review.

at 1.27pm BST

12.32pm BST

Iran has announced 3,204 new cases and 172 more deaths from coronavirus. It marks the sixth consecutive day that Iran has recorded more than 3,000 cases.

Earlier the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, authorised the country’s provinces to impose lockdowns wherever necessary.


#Iran’s Health Ministry Spokesperson, Lari announced on Saturday:

🔹Total number of #COVID19 patients recovered: 372,051
🔹Total number of infected cases: 443,086
🔹Total number of death toll: 25,394

In the past 24 hours:
🔹New cases tested positive: 3,204
🔹New death toll:172 pic.twitter.com/O8tT3mzEWB

September 26, 2020

at 12.38pm BST

12.26pm BST

The United Arab Emirates has announced 1,078 new cases, its second highest daily rise after a record of 1,083 announced on Wednesday.

It also also announced that two more people have died because of the virus, taking the country’s death toll to 411.


Also, @mohapuae announced the death of two people who tested positive for COVID-19, due to complications. This brings the total death toll to 411 .

September 26, 2020

at 12.27pm BST

12.09pm BST

Spain’s health minister has urged authorities in Madrid to tighten Covid restrictions, warning that the capital’s residents and surrounding regions were at “serious risk” without tougher curbs, Reuters reports.

Madrid extended a partial lockdown on Friday in several dozen districts with high infection rates, rejecting national government recommendations for a city-wide lockdown as cases continue to surge in the capital.

Speaking at a news conference, the health minister, Salvador Illa said:

Madrid is in a situation of serious risk and it’s time to act with determination. There is a serious risk for inhabitants, for the neighbouring regions.

Spain’s tally of confirmed coronavirus cases rose by 12,272 on Friday from the previous day to 716,481, the highest number in Western Europe. More than 31,000 people have died from Covid-19.

Spaniards endured one of Europe’s strictest lockdowns from March until May, when they were not allowed to leave their homes. But after restrictions were totally lifted on 21 June, the pandemic has surged again.

Most of the 45 Madrid districts covered by the new restrictions are high-density, low-income areas, triggering complaints about “class confinement”, including during a protest outside the city assembly late on Friday.


🔴 #EnDirecto | Salvador Illa: “Nos preocupa mucho la situación de la CAM. Madrid está en una posición de serio riesgo sanitario”https://t.co/4v2W4mWP0R pic.twitter.com/ipJq6Id07q

September 26, 2020

at 12.17pm BST

11.56am BST

Hassan Rouhani

Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, has authorised the country’s provinces to impose lockdowns wherever necessary to stem a rapid rise in coronavirus cases.

“We are forced to intensify regulations and supervisions,” starting in the capital, Tehran, Rouhani said in televised remarks, Reuters reports.

He said government-run coronavirus task-force offices around the country would make recommendations on restrictions and whether to impose one-week lockdowns.

Iran’s death toll from the coronavirus has surpassed 25,000 and identified cases on Friday totalled 439,882, according to the health ministry.

Iran’s health officials have expressed alarm over a surge in infections, urging the country to respect health protocols to control the spread of the disease.

at 12.04pm BST

11.29am BST

Massachusetts’ top law enforcement official has brought criminal charges against former leaders of a nursing home for military veterans, for allegedly making a fatal decision that led to the deaths of many dozens of elderly residents and staff.

Former superintendent Bennett Walsh, 50, and Dr David Clinton, 71, were indicted last week on 10 criminal neglect charges each, according to state attorney general Maura Healey. The two have not been taken into custody and will be arraigned at a later date.

Healey said:

We began this investigation on behalf of the families who lost loved ones under tragic circumstances and to honor these men who bravely served our country.

We allege that the actions of these defendants during the Covid-19 outbreak at the facility put veterans at higher risk of infection and death and warrant criminal charges.

11.26am BST

The coronavirus pandemic has left easyJet “hanging by a thread” and at risk of going under without a summer resurgence of passenger numbers, a union official told pilots during talks over potential redundancies.

In a conference call with staff, a recording of which was passed to the Guardian, pilots’ union official Martin Entwistle said: “If easyJet don’t have a good summer and make money next summer I suspect none of us will have a job this time next year.”

He said he was speaking following a briefing with the company’s chief financial officer, Andrew Findlay, union officials and other members of the management team.

11.05am BST

Merseyside police have fined the organisers of an unlicensed music event £10,000 after 250 people gathered last night at a conservatory in a park in Liverpool.

Footage of the event showed crowds gathering at Isla Gladstone conservatory in Stanley Park, Anfield.

Merseyside police said officers closed the event before issuing a £10,000 fine to the event organisers.

Supt Chris Gibson said:

The vast majority of people who live and work in Merseyside will absolutely despair that such an event could be contemplated in our current circumstances. The footage shows hundreds of people in close proximity, and lays bare the organisers’ blatant disregard for the serious health implications that this may now have for the most vulnerable people in our communities.

We will continue to take swift and positive action this weekend and beyond, should any other similar events be reported to us.

People gather for a rave in Stanley Park, Merseyside

Update: PA Media said the event was planned orchestral performance of songs by US rapper and hip hop producer Dr Dre.

It was billed as “a combination of a traditional orchestra merging with a modern live hip-hop music event” in which 2001, the second album of Dr Dre, who found fame with controversial rap group N.W.A, would be performed.

Organisers No Strings Attached said the ticketed event would be operating under “strict Covid government guidelines” but Merseyside Police stepped in to close it down after receiving a report of concern at about 8.40pm.

at 12.13pm BST

10.51am BST

The first minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, has said he wants more regular and reliable contact with Boris Johnson.

Speaking on LBC, he said that other than conversations in the last week the last time he spoke to the prime minister was in May.

When asked why there had only been “sporadic” contact, Drakeford said:

Well, taking a generous view, the prime minister is incredibly busy, he has a big range of responsibilities and we are all reacting to very quickly changing circumstances.

I think there’s another explanation, which is that there are some voices in the Conservative government who have found out that devolution exists after 20 years, found they don’t much like it, think it will be much better if we returned 20 years and all the decisions were made in Whitehall, and would rather not be spending their time talking to us very much.

Drakeford also urged people in Cardiff – the first capital city in Great Britain to be placed under a local lockdown – to behave as if the new restrictions are in place until they come into effect on Sunday evening.

He said that police enforcement was a last resort and added:

If there are people who clearly deliberately flout the law you have to enforce.

Yes, with fines if necessary. But for us that’s the last resort, not the first resort. In Caerphilly [the first area in Wales to face local lockdown] we have had very, very good levels of co-operation.

My experience is people are wanting to do the right thing.

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