More than half of England – 28 million people – has been placed under heightened coronavirus restrictions.

It comes as Sir John Bell, a member of the UK’s vaccine taskforce, called for a circuit breaker and said the situation in the country was “pretty grave”.

Pubs in Lancashire that are not restaurants were closed on Saturday, as it joined the Liverpool region in the tier 3 restrictions.

Meanwhile, people in London, Essex, Elmbridge, Barrow-in-Furness, North East Derbyshire, Erewash and Chesterfield are no longer allowed to mix inside with those from other households, including in pubs and restaurants.

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Slovakia records second-highest daily coronavirus cases

Slovakia registered its second-highest daily toll of new Covid-19 cases on Friday, the Health Ministry said.

Eleven people also died from the disease on Friday, the highest number of fatalities reported in a 24-hour period, the ministry said on Saturday. Six more deaths took place on Saturday, bringing the country’s death toll to 88.

The country of 5.5 million people came through the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic with one of Europe’s lowest infection rates, but the number of cases has jumped this month.

Samuel Osborne17 October 2020 12:55


Liverpool mayor’s brother dies of Covid

The mayor of Liverpool’s brother has died with coronavirus, a day after being admitted into intensive care.  

Joe Anderson said on Friday that his brother was in a “very serious condition” and urged the city’s residents to follow current guidelines.  

Liverpool, which has one of the highest infection rates in the country, is under “very high” tier 3 restrictions.  

Samuel Osborne17 October 2020 12:30


Malaysia reports highest number of daily cases

Malaysia has reported 869 new coronavirus cases, its highest daily count so far, health authorities said.

The southeast Asian country, which has imposed targeted lockdowns this month as infections surged, has had a total of 19,627 infections.

Malaysia also recorded four new deaths, bringing the total number of fatalities to 180.

Samuel Osborne17 October 2020 12:12


Iran death toll passes 30,000

Iran’s new coronavirus death toll has risen by 253 to 30,123, the health ministry said on Saturday, as the number of confirmed cases spiked to 526,490 in the hardest-hit Middle Eastern country.

Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari told state TV that 4,103 new cases had been identified in the past 24 hours.

Samuel Osborne17 October 2020 11:56


‘Circuit breaker’ lockdown needed to combat ‘eye-watering’ levels of infection, says leading immunologist

One of the world’s top immunologists has suggested a national circuit-breaker may be necessary in England, as he said some parts of the country are facing “eye-watering” levels of infection.

Political correspondent Ashley Cowburn has the full story: 

Samuel Osborne17 October 2020 11:40


Poland reports record number of new cases

Poland has reported a record 9,622 new coronavirus infections, according to health ministry data published on Twitter.

Earlier this week the government urged citizens to stay at home and ordered gyms and pools to close, restaurants to limit opening hours and a shift to remote teaching in universities and secondary schools.

It is also considering building new hospitals and giving doctors incentives to treat Covid-19 patients.

Samuel Osborne17 October 2020 11:15


Thailand records first two locally transmitted cases in more than a month

Thailand has recorded its first two locally transmitted cases of the coronavirus in more than one month, the Covid-19 administration centre has said.

It said in its daily report that the cases were among two Myanmar nationals living near the border with Myanmar, where infections have been surging recently.

The two were tested on 13 October. They showed no symptoms but results were positive, the center said in the statement.

The last known local case was in early September.

Samuel Osborne17 October 2020 11:00


Austrian foreign minister tests positive for Covid-19 after EU meeting

Austria’s foreign minister, Alexander Schallenberg, has tested positive for the coronavirus and might have caught it at a meeting with his European Union counterparts on Monday, a spokesperson for his ministry has said.

“As a precautionary measure all members of the government will be tested on Saturday. It is suspected that Schallenberg might have been infected at the Foreign Affairs Council in Luxembourg on Monday,” the spokesperson said, adding that Mr Schallenberg was symptom-free and had a routine test.

Samuel Osborne17 October 2020 10:43


Czech Republic reports record number of infections

The Czech Republic has reported 11,105 Covid-19 cases on Friday, a record number of infections so far during the pandemic, according to Health Ministry data.

The total number of cases the country has detected since March has risen to 160,112, double the number seen on 2 October and more than six times the amount overall before September.

In the two weeks to Friday, the Czech Republic recorded more than 74,000 cases, 10,000 more than Italy which has almost six times the population, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

Czech hospitals are racing to free up capacity with patient numbers tripling this month to 3,120, more than seven times the peak seen in the first wave of the disease.

Samuel Osborne17 October 2020 10:24


Government needs to demonstrate how restrictions are working to win over ‘spoonful of scepticism’, Tory MP says

The government needs to demonstrate how coronavirus restrictions are working to win over the “spoonful of scepticism”, a Tory Lancashire MP has said

Jake Berry told the BBC: “I do think the British public would react extremely well to having the data shared with them in a simple and meaningful way.

“My preference would be through the NHS Test and Trace app to try and bring the people with us.

“Because I think the point that’s made by Greater Manchester is that people are very sceptical about whether this new tiering system will work.

“I think that spoonful of scepticism is because we’ve been in very similar measures since August and no one has really demonstrated to us the way out or how these measures are working.”

Samuel Osborne17 October 2020 10:08

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