Shadow education secretary Kate Green has urged Downing Street to resume talks with Greater Manchester’s leaders today to end a “very grave” situation.
The Labour MP for Stretford and Urmston told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme said: “I’m really, really alarmed, I do think that every day we’re delaying taking action is a day wasted but we have to have the financial support, the package of measures, to enable people to close their businesses, to isolate at home if necessary if additional restrictions are to work.
Her call comes as more than half of England is now living with heightened coronavirus restrictions after the severest measures came into force in Lancashire and Londoners were banned from meeting indoors.
Greater Manchester continues to resist the highest controls as the region’s political leaders fight to secure more financial support for workers and businesses.
Pubs in Lancashire that cannot function as restaurants were closed on Saturday, as it joined the Liverpool region in having Tier 3 restrictions.
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People in London, Essex, York, Elmbridge, Barrow-in-Furness, North East Derbyshire, Erewash and Chesterfield can no longer mix inside with those from other households, including in pubs and restaurants.
The new measures placed more than 28 million people in England into the top two tiers of restrictions.
Boris Johnson warned Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham on Friday he would impose Tier 3 measures if they could not reach an agreement as he warned of a “grave” situation.
“I cannot stress enough: time is of the essence. Each day that passes before action is taken means more people will go to hospital, more people will end up in intensive care and tragically more people will die,” the Prime Minister told Downing Street press conference.
We’ll have live updates throughout the day…
Hospital admissions up across England
Separate figures show there were 4,814 Covid-19 patients in hospital in England on Saturday, up from 3,225 a week ago, while 494 were in ventilation beds, up from 396 a week ago.
A total of 792 patients with confirmed Covid-19 were admitted to hospitals in England on Thursday, compared with 513 a week earlier.
UK coronavirus deaths rise by 150 with over 16,000 new cases in the last 24 hours
The Government said that, as of 9am on Saturday, there had been a further 16,171 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK. It brings the total number of cases in the UK to 705,428.
The Government also said a further 150 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19, as of Saturday. This brings the UK total to 43,579.
Separate figures published by the UK’s statistics agencies show there have now been 58,500 deaths registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.
Over 1,000 new coronavirus cases reported in Northern Ireland
There have been 1,031 new Covid-19 cases in Northern Ireland in the last 24-hour reporting period, the Department of Health has announced, bringing the total to 26,208.
This includes 6,891 new positive cases notified in the last seven days.
There are 231 patients with Covid-19 being treated in hospital, with 27 in intensive care.
There were two deaths reported on Saturday, taking the toll recorded by the department to 610.
Another 86 people have died with Covid in hospital in England
A further 86 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospital in England, bringing the total number of confirmed deaths reported in hospitals to 30,910, NHS England said on Saturday.
Patients were aged between 44 and 99. All but two patients, aged 62 and 79, had known underlying health conditions.
The deaths were between September 16 and October 16.
Latest figures for Scotland and Wales – 15 more deaths in Scotland, five in Wales
There have been a further 674 cases of Covid-19 diagnosed in Wales, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 34,679.
Public Health Wales said five further deaths had been reported, with the total number of deaths since the beginning of the pandemic rising to 1,708.
Scotland has recorded 15 deaths of coronavirus patients in the past 24 hours, the latest Scottish Government figures show.
This takes the death toll under this measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – to 2,609.
A total of 1,167 people have tested positive for the virus in the past 24 hours, bringing the total since the start of the pandemic to 46,399.
This is 17.6% of newly-tested individuals, up from 16.9% on Friday.
There are 675 people in hospital confirmed to have the virus as of yesterday, up by 46 in 24 hours.
Of these patients, 62 were in intensive care, up by four.
‘Nothing has yet been arranged’
A spokesman for Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham says ‘nothing has yet been arranged’ about talks with Downing Street.
It comes as the government said it had ‘reached out’ to Mr Burnham on Saturday morning, and wanted to arrange talks for Sunday morning.
Downing Street ‘will talk to Andy Burnham about Tier 3 plans tomorrow morning’
Downing Street is reported to be planning to speak to Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham about Tier 3 lockdown plans on Sunday morning.
A spokesperson for No 10 has told the BBC that they ‘reached out’ to Mr Burnham on Saturday morning.
They say call between the mayor and a ‘representative of No 10’ will now take place tomorrow.
B&B owners in Blackpool facing a ‘bleak’ future as guests cancel bookings
B&B owners in Blackpool have said they face a “bleak” future, as guests cancel bookings following the introduction of Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions for Lancashire.
October is traditionally one of the busiest periods for the seaside town as crowds flock to see the Blackpool Illuminations during the school half-term holidays, local business owners said.
But they fear the new Covid-19 measures, which came into force on Saturday, will drive tourists away, despite some attractions remaining open.
Adam Mayes, who runs the 10-bedroom Phoenix Guest House on Cocker Street, said the restrictions were a “kick in the teeth” for B&B owners.
He told the PA news agency: “Since Tier 3 was announced, we have already lost £500-worth of bookings for the next two weeks.
“Half-term for us is usually our busiest week of the whole year, and now we are down to just six bookings.
“So now we are considering closing for the remainder of the year because it does not feel worthwhile to remain open. It’s a bit bleak.”
Mr Mayes said many prospective guests were under the impression that Blackpool was now “closed” due to the new restrictions.
But he claimed that some pubs will be serving sit-down meals, meaning they can remain open, while the illuminations will stay switched on until January 3.
GMP chief responds to claims Tier 3 hasn’t come in because ‘police would not enforce it’
The Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police has issued an open letter over claims he will not enforce a Tier 3 lockdown without the support of the Mayor.
Ian Hopkins responded to a story on the front page of today’s Daily Telegraph which suggests the government has not forced the tougher restrictions on Greater Manchester in part because of fears around police enforcement.
In his letter, Mr Hopkins says that although he is accountable to Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, GMP officers ‘carry out operational policing without fear or favour’.
You can read our full report here..
Here’s the video the mayor of Liverpool has urged people to watch, following the death of his brother
Liverpool mayor reveals his brother has died from Covid-19 and urges people to watch video of hospital’s intensive care ward
Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson has announced his eldest brother has died from Covid-19.
Mayor Anderson revealed his sibling had passed away in the intensive care unit at the Royal Liverpool Hospital last night after falling ill with the virus.
In a tweet, he announced the news, thanking hospital staff for their efforts and hard work. He wrote: “Despite the efforts of all the staff @LivHospitals ICU my brother sadly died at 10.45 last night
“We want to thank the dedicated staff risking their lives for us.
“Thank you all for your messages of love and support.
“Let’s stick together and support each other and win this battle.”
It comes just a day after he revealed his brother was in a serious condition being treated in intensive care with the virus.
In a statement on Friday night, he said his brother was in the ICU at the Royal Liverpool Hospital after contracting the virus.
He also urged people to watch a video taken from inside the hospital’s intensive care unit and to follow the coronavirus rules and ease the pressure on the NHS.
It shows inside a ‘red area’ where nurses must wear hazmat suits and Covid-19 patients are attached to ventilators.
Mr Anderson wrote: “Please watch the video, follow the rules & understand why we all need to fight the enemy #Covid.”
It comes just five weeks after Mayor Anderson tragically lost his other brother Henry, to cancer.Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson has announced his eldest brother has died from Covid-19.
‘Imagine the uproar if they were in our position’
Andy Burnham reacting to calls for more support for business as London goes into ‘Tier 2’. Everybody feels for struggling businesses, obviously, but it’s always worth reminding people that Greater Manchester has been under local lockdown rules – in some ways MORE strict than Tier 2 – for almost three months now.
‘It’s the government delaying an agreement’ says Oldham MP
Greater Manchester MPs continue to respond to Boris Johnson this morning. Here’s Oldham MP Jim McMahon, saying ‘it’s the government delaying an agreement’.
Lancashire Tory MP says government needs to show restrictions are working
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, the MP for Rossendale and Darwen, 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.”
Jeremy Hunt calls for end to public war of words – and suggests ‘sympathy’ for national circuit breaker
Conservative former health secretary Jeremy Hunt indicated support for a national circuit-breaker lockdown and called for an end to the public war of words over local restrictions.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme:
“I’ve always thought that it’s better to do things quickly and decisively than to wait until the virus has grown so I have a lot of sympathy with that.
“But I think more important right now is we stop this public war of words between local leaders and national leaders because in a pandemic the most important thing is a consistent message because you really have to have compliance with the very, very important public health messages about social distancing.
“And if local leaders and national leaders are saying different things, it’s incredibly damaging.
“I really do urge Andy Burnham and other local leaders to have these arguments, and I’m sure they’re very fierce arguments and I’m sure there’s some justification for some of their concerns, but have those arguments in private not in public because that’s so damaging to the national fight against the virus.”
More restrictions with no extra cash would cause ‘irreparable damage’ to Greater Manchester’s economy
Further coronavirus restrictions would cause “irreparable damage” to Greater Manchester’s economy without financial support from Westminster, the leader of Oldham Council has said.
Sean Fielding told the BBC:
“We’re quite clear in Greater Manchester that our evidence doesn’t show that the closure of hospitality venues would bring down the infection rate and so that’s a sticking point for us.
“But of course if the Government is insistent on imposing closures of businesses then we need money to mitigate the impact of that.
“This would lead to job losses, it would lead to business failures and it would lead to irreparable damage to the economy.
“We already have quite a fragile economy in Greater Manchester, and if the Government isn’t willing to put up the money to do that, to support those economies and to support those businesses then it’s very difficult to agree to businesses’ closures.”
It is ‘possible’ to get one million tests a day by Christmas
Sir John Bell said it is “possible” to get to one million coronavirus tests a day by Christmas, but said there would be significant logistical challenges.
The government scientific adviser said:
“Setting these targets is sometimes not that helpful but I do think that it‘s possible with the technology that’s coming online.
“The problem is, how do you get the swabs out of people’s mouths to the centres, the big labs, how do you get them out of the packaging, how do you get them into the workflow and how do you capture the data at the end?
“As always, it’s not the bit in the middle, it’s the front end and the backend that’s really the limiting factor and people are working on – the logistics.”
Government adviser says national ‘circuit break’ lockdown may be needed
Government adviser Sir John Bell has said a short national circuit-breaker may be necessary as he described other measures as “biting around the edges”.
The regius professor of medicine at the University of Oxford told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme:
“I can see very little way of getting on top of this without some kind of a circuit-breaker because the numbers are actually pretty eye-watering in some bits of the country and I think it’s going to be very hard to get on top of this just biting around the edges.
“I think there will be every effort to keep schools open.
“If in the end we have to take kids out for two weeks, calm it all down, and then start ideally embedded in a much more rigorous testing regime then that’s maybe what we may have to do.”
Greater Manchester MP calls for talks to resume today
Shadow education secretary Kate Green has urged Downing Street to resume talks with Greater Manchester’s leaders today to end a “very grave” situation.
The Labour MP for Stretford and Urmston told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme:
“I’m really, really alarmed, I do think that every day we’re delaying taking action is a day wasted but we have to have the financial support, the package of measures, to enable people to close their businesses, to isolate at home if necessary if additional restrictions are to work.
“That has not been offered by the Government. There hasn’t even been discussions over the past 24 hours between the Government and Greater Manchester’s leaders.
“What we need to get everybody around the table really as a matter of desperate urgency now. The situation here is very, very grave.
“Our infection rate is rising very sharply and our hospitals could be overwhelmed very quickly if action isn’t taken.
“So I’m absolutely with the Prime Minister in saying we have to have an urgent resolution to this, we’re putting lives at risk, but it has to be done by stopping the blame game and getting everyone around the table.
“We have to have our local leaders around the table with the Prime Minister or with his representatives to thrash out a deal today.
“There were no talks at all yesterday, No 10 did not pick up the phone to local leaders.”
‘A million coronavirus tests a day by Christmas’
In other developments:
– The Welsh Government were to meet to discuss a circuit-breaker lockdown and will announce any decisions on Monday.
– Mr Johnson said the UK is developing the capacity to manufacture millions of fast turnaround tests for coronavirus which could deliver results in just 15 minutes.
– Some 15,650 lab-confirmed coronavirus cases were recorded in the UK on Friday, alongside 136 deaths.
– The Times quoted an unnamed senior scientist, who predicted Britain could be carrying out a million coronavirus tests a day by Christmas.
Boris Johnson resisting national ‘circuit breaker’ calls
Boris Johnson was resisting calls to impose a short national lockdown known as a “circuit-breaker” but said he “can’t rule anything out” as he continued to pursue local measures.
Earlier, the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), which advises the Government, said the reproduction number, or R value, of coronavirus transmission for the whole of the UK had nudged up to between 1.3 and 1.5.
Sage said there had been no change to the course of the pandemic in the last month, suggesting no effect from measures such as the rule of six.
However, at the Downing Street press conference, England’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said the R was not growing as fast as it would be without the measures people were following.
Nevertheless, he said he agreed with England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty that the “baseline” Tier 3 measures on their own would not be enough to get the number of infections down.
Lancashire ‘was forced into Tier 3’ say Labour council leaders
In Lancashire, a further 1.5 million people entered Tier 3 as the Government said the move was necessary to stem the “unrelenting rise” in Covid-19 cases in the North West county.
Pubs and bars across Lancashire will close unless they serve food and alcohol as part of a sit-down meal, while stricter restrictions on socialising will also come into force.
People will not be able to mix with others in any indoor setting or private garden, as well as in most outdoor hospitality venues.
Casinos, bingo halls, bookmakers, betting shops, soft play areas and adult gaming centres will be forced to shut, while car boot sales will also be banned.
But gyms will remain open despite them being closed in the Liverpool City Region – the only other area under Tier 3 restrictions.
Labour’s council leaders in Lancashire said they had been forced to accept the measures, with South Ribble’s Paul Foster saying they were “blackmailed” and Blackpool’s Lynn Williams adding they had “no option” to agree, as they secured an extra £30 million of funding.
Greater Manchester leaders: ‘We are ready to meet at any time to agree a way forward’
So, here’s the latest position from Andy Burnham and Greater Manchester..
Mr Burnham and council leaders across Greater Manchester have responded to Boris Johnson’s suggestion that he would impose Tier 3 on the region by insisting they have done “everything within our power to protect the health of our residents”, and said people and firms need greater financial support before accepting the lockdown.
They also suggested in a joint statement that Downing Street had delayed discussions, adding: “We can assure the Prime Minister that we are ready to meet at any time to try to agree a way forward.”
The row continued as people in Tier 2 or 3 areas in England, as well as the central belt of Scotland and the whole of Northern Ireland, were banned from entering Wales from 6pm on Friday.
And pubs, restaurants and cafes across Northern Ireland had to close their doors to sit-in customers.