A member of staff collects a completed test kit from a visitor at a Covid-19 testing centre in Southwark, south London.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps has announced new quarantine rules for travellers returning from Turkey, Poland and three Caribbean islands following increases in the rate of Covid-19 cases in those countries.
Travellers arriving in the UK from those countries after 4am on Saturday will need to self-isolate for 14 days.
It came as new restrictions on households mixing were announced for Liverpool city region, Warrington, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough in a bid to curb rising coronavirus infections.
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Pensioner fined over going for pint during isolation thought it was ok because he was drinking alone
A 79-year-old man has been given a £5,000 fine after going to the pub when he was supposed to be in self-isolation.
When police found Henry McCarthy and told him he should be at home isolating, the pensioner said he was technically isolating because he was alone at the pub.
Our reporter, Sam Hancock, has the full story below:
Conrad Duncan1 October 2020 18:28
Awkwardly, it turns out Margaret Ferrier called for Dominic Cummings to resign in May – a few months before she broke coronavirus rules herself…
Conrad Duncan1 October 2020 18:19
SNP MP apologises for breaking coronavirus restrictions
An SNP MP has apologised for breaking coronavirus restrictions by travelling to parliament with Covid-19 symptoms before receiving a positive test.
“I apologise unreservedly for breaching Covid-19 restrictions by travelling this week when I shouldn’t have. There is no excuse for my actions,” Margaret Ferrier said in a statement.
“On Saturday afternoon, after experiencing mild symptoms, I requested a Covid-19 test which I took that day. Feeling much better, I then travelled to London by train on Monday to attend Parliament as planned. This was wrong, and I am very sorry for my mistake.”
She added: “On Monday evening I received a positive test result for Covid-19. I travelled home by train on Tuesday morning without seeking advice.
“This was also wrong and I am sorry. I have been self-isolating at home ever since.”
You can find her full statement below:
Conrad Duncan1 October 2020 18:10
Our travel correspondent, Simon Calder, has more details below on the new travel rules for Turkey and Poland:
Conrad Duncan1 October 2020 17:57
Vaccination of UK population could take more than a year, experts warn
The vaccination of the UK population against coronavirus could take more than a year due to a series of “bottlenecks” which might slow the project, experts have warned.
Professor Nilay Shah, head of chemical engineering at Imperial College London, said life would not immediately return to normal if a vaccine becomes available by the end of 2020 or early next year.
Our reporter, Samuel Lovett, has the full story below:
Conrad Duncan1 October 2020 17:54
University campus becomes first in UK to offer end-to-end coronavirus testing
A university campus has become the first in the UK to offer on-site end-to-end coronavirus testing after opening a new lab.
The University of Birmingham said its facility would boost capacity for the NHS Test and Trace system and would be able to process up to 3,500 tests a day over the coming months.
The lab’s work will also complement the recently launched on-site Southgate walk-in testing site, which is open to residents, students and staff with symptoms.
It means the university can now offer both swab tests and the lab capacity to process those tests in the same place.
The lab, based at the university’s medical school, will house a team of 40 and be overseen by infectious diseases expert Professor Alan McNally.
“What has been achieved in establishing this lab in such a short space of time is testament to the dedication of the team at the university who have worked tirelessly to ensure we are in a position to begin processing samples as soon as next week,” Prof McNally said.
Conrad Duncan1 October 2020 17:40
Turkey, Poland and Caribbean islands removed from quarantine-exemption list
Transport secretary Grant Shapps has announced that Turkey and Poland have been removed from the government’s list of countries exempt from travel quarantine measures.
The Caribbean islands of Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba have also been removed from the list.
The decision means travellers arriving in the UK from those places after 4am on Saturday will need to self-isolate for 14 days.
Conrad Duncan1 October 2020 17:20
Middlesbrough mayor vows his town will ‘defy’ local lockdown order
The mayor of Middlesbrough has vowed to “defy” the government over a local lockdown order, arguing that the ban on households mixing indoors is “based on ignorance”.
Andy Preston said he did not accept the new measures, which will come into force at midnight on Friday, and claimed the government’s strategy was based on “factual inaccuracies and a monstrous and frightening lack of communication”.
Our deputy political editor, Rob Merrick, has the full story below:
Conrad Duncan1 October 2020 17:11
Nearly 7,000 new coronavirus cases reported in UK
A further 6,914 confirmed cases of coronavirus have been reported in the UK, bringing the country’s total to 460,178, according to government figures.
Official figures also showed a further 59 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19, as of Thursday – bringing the UK’s death toll to 42,202.
However, separate figures published by the UK’s statistics agencies show there have now been nearly 57,900 deaths registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.
Although the daily confirmed cases remain much higher than during the first wave of the pandemic in March, experts have warned that it is unclear how many people were infected during the height of the first wave due to a lack of community testing at the time.
“The number of cases that were reported in March were almost certainly a very big underestimate of the total,” Sir Patrick Vallance, the UK’s chief scientific adviser, said on Wednesday.
“It’s much more likely that back in March and April at the peak of this we were seeing over 100,000 cases a day at certain times.”
Conrad Duncan1 October 2020 16:51
New areas added to official coronavirus watchlist
A number of areas in the North West and other regions have been added to the government’s official coronavirus watchlist following spikes in cases.
Areas of concern are the focus of targeted actions – such as additional testing in care homes and increased community engagement with high-risk groups – to reduce the prevalence of Covid-19.
Areas for enhanced support are those at a medium-high risk of intervention where there is a more detailed plan, agreed with the national authorities.
Today’s changes to the official watchlist are below:
North West: Barrow-in-Furness, Cheshire West and Chester and Cheshire East have been added as areas of concern.
West Yorkshire: Wakefield has become an area of concern.
South Yorkshire: Sheffield has been escalated to an area of enhanced support, while Rotherham is now an area of concern.
East England: Luton has become an area of concern, while Hertsmere has been removed from the list.
East Midlands: Blaby has moved down a level to become an area of concern.
South East: Spelthorne has been removed from the watchlist.
Conrad Duncan1 October 2020 16:37