Coronavirus UK: Boris Johnson announces 'Three Tier' lockdown plan

Boris Johnson tonight warned that the UK cannot ignore the 'flashing warnings' about surging coronavirus cases as he plunged millions of people deeper into lockdown. 

Unveiling his new 'Three Tier' system, the PM declared that Liverpool will be the first area to face the highest restrictions - meaning pubs being shut and households banned from mixing altogether indoors or in gardens. 

However, there was anger as another swathe of the country is being thrown into the Tier Two bracket, with bars allowed to stay open but households barred from mixing indoors. Many of the locations already have similar curbs, but others - such as Manchester and the West Midlands - will see a tightening.

Confusingly some other places will have their rules loosened, as the arrangements are 'streamlined'. 

Insisting he had no choice about acting as the UK racked up another 13,972 Covid cases today - up 11 per cent on last Monday - Mr Johnson said the other options were to 'let the virus rip' or 'shatter' the economy. Liverpool's case rate per 100,000 population has risen by 14.3 per cent over the past week to 609.

At a No10 press conference alongside Chancellor Rishi Sunak and chief medical officer Chris Whitty this evening, Mr Johnson said: 'The figures are flashing at us like dashboard warnings in a passenger jet and we must act now.' 

He added: No one least of all me wants to impose these kinds of restrictions, erosions of our personal liberty, but I'm convinced as I've ever been that the British people have the resolve to beat this virus and that together we will do just that.' 

More than 17million people are covered by the two higher risk tiers in the government's new system, with the rest of England under the Rule of Six and 10pm curfew on bars and restaurants.  

From Wednesday at 5pm, people in Tier Three Liverpool will only be allowed out of the area for essential travel such as for work, education or health, and must return before the end of the day - although the rules will be guidance rather than legally enforced. They cannot mix with other households in gardens, but can in outdoor public spaces subject to the Rule of Six. 

Restaurants will be allowed to open, but only in line with the national curfew, and can serve alcohol as long as someone is having a 'substantial' meal, according to No10. Sources insisted that could not merely be a snak like a packet of crisps.

Where businesses are forced to shut, the Government will pay two thirds of each employee's salary, up to a maximum of £2,100 a month. There is expected to be a £28million package to help parts of the country classed as Tier Three, with Mr Johnson saying the total support on offer would be around £1billion. 

Liverpool is the only area in the top bracket so far, and the city is going further than the basic restrictions by closing leisure centres, gyms, betting shops and casinos. Mr Johnson hinted that other hotspots were resisting, swiping that failing to agree to crackdowns would be 'unforgivable'.

Tier Two includes Greater Manchester, which was saved from the highest curbs after frantic lobbying from mayor Andy Burnham and local MPs, as well as the North East, the West Midlands, Nottingham and Leicester.

London is not expected to be in Tier Two immediately, but spokeswoman for Sadiq Khan warned that could happen 'this week' after a conference call with borough leaders. Londoners should understand that this could change very quickly - potentially even this week.

Some places, such as Oldham and Warrington, will actually see their restrictions loosened, as households cannot currently mix in gardens. No10 has promised that a full breakdown of restrictions across England will be released later. 

As the coronavirus crisis enters a new worrying phase:

The UK has recorded 13,972 new coronavirus cases today, a rise of nearly 11 per cent on last Monday, and another 50 deaths; Nicola Sturgeon said Scotland will produce its own 'tiered' lockdown system after taking part in the Cobra meeting today, but said she wanted the UK nations to be aligned 'as closely as possible';  Professor Van-Tam warned that more deaths and hospitalisations are already 'baked in' due to the way cases have risen as he laid out a grim assessment of the COVID situation, teeing up the PM's announcements later;  The UK is still well below the grim projection of 50,000 cases a day warned of by Sir Patrick Vallance by this stage. However, 12,872 new infections were reported yesterday - up 9 per cent on last Sunday's adjusted total; Researchers found Covid-19 can survive for a month on surfaces including banknotes and phone screens;  Town hall bosses will be given powers to deploy volunteers to knock on doors and ask people to self-isolate; Labour leaders in the North demanded more cash handouts from the government to support lockdown and called the new furlough scheme 'insufficient';  The BCG vaccine was given to 1,000 people in Exeter University trial to test claims that it helps fight Covid by stimulating the immune system.

'The figures are flashing at us like dashboard warnings in a passenger jet and we must act now,' Mr Johnson told a No10 press conference this evening

'The figures are flashing at us like dashboard warnings in a passenger jet and we must act now,' Mr Johnson told a No10 press conference this evening

The government issued a chart breaking down the restrictions into its 'tiers' in a bid to clarify the situation tonight

Boris Johnson (pictured in the Commons today) is facing fury as he finally unveils the government's new 'traffic light' coronavirus lockdown system

Deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam

Boris Johnson (pictured left in the Commons today) is facing fury after he finally unveiled the government's new 'traffic light' coronavirus lockdown system. Deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam (right) highlighted grim figures at a press briefing in No10 this morning

Deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam laid out the government's latest assessment of the COVID situation with charts at a briefing today

Deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam laid out the government's latest assessment of the COVID situation with charts at a briefing today

More than 17million people are covered by the two higher risk tiers in the government's new system, with the rest of England under the Rule of Six and 10pm curfew on bars and restaurants

More than 17million people are covered by the two higher risk tiers in the government's new system, with the rest of England under the Rule of Six and 10pm curfew on bars and restaurants

How England breaks down in new COVID tiers 

TIER THREE - VERY HIGH RISK

Liverpool City Region 

Liverpool, Knowsley, Wirral, St Helens, Sefton, Halton 

TIER TWO - HIGH RISK 

Cheshire 

Cheshire West and Chester, Cheshire East 

Greater Manchester 

Manchester, Bolton, Bury, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Wigan, Salford, Rochdale, Oldham, 

Warrington

Derbyshire 

High Peak - the wards of Tintwistle, Padfield, Dinting, St John's - Old Glossop, Whitfield, Simmondley, Gamesley, Howard Town, Hadfield South, Hadfield North 

Lancashire 

Lancashire, Blackpool, Preston, Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley 

West Yorkshire

Leeds, Bradford, Kirklees, Calderdale, Wakefield South

Yorkshire

Barnsley, Rotherham, Doncaster, Sheffield 

North East 

Newcastle, South Tyneside, North Tyneside, Gateshead, , Durham, Northumberland

Tees Valley 

Middlesborough, Redcar and Cleveland, Stockton-on-Tees, Darlington, Hartlepool 

West Midlands

Birmingham, Sandwell, Solihull, Wolverhampton, Walsall

Leicester

Leicester, Oadby and Wigston 

Nottingham

Nottinghamshire, Nottingham City

TIER ONE - MEDIUM RISK

Rest of England 

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In a statement to the Commons earlier, Mr Johnson told MPs 'deaths are already rising'. 

'The weeks and months ahead will continue to be difficult and will test the mettle of this country,' he said.

But he stressed: 'Retail, schools and universities will remain open.' 

The number of cases has quadrupled in the last three weeks, there are now more people in hospital with Covid than when we went into lockdown on March 23 and deaths are already rising.' 

Mr Johnson said the R value was already being suppressed to 'well below' its natural level by the government's restrictions.

But he said it was necessary to 'go further', without imposing a full lockdown that would 'shatter our lives and our society'. 

'In recent months we have worked with local leaders to counter local spikes with targeted restrictions, but this local approach has inevitably produced different sets of rules in different parts of the country that are now complex to understand and to enforce,' Mr Johnson said.

He added: 'We will now simplify and standardise our local rules, by introducing a three tiered system of local covid alert levels in England set at medium, high and very high.

'The medium alert level will cover most of the country and will consist of the current national measures, this includes the rule of six and the closure of hospitality at 10pm.

'The high alert level reflects the interventions in many local areas at the moment.

'This primarily aims to reduce household to household transmission by preventing all mixing between different households or support bubbles indoors. 

'In these areas the rule of six will continue to apply outdoors where it is harder for the virus to spread in public spaces as well as private gardens.'

He said around £1billion of 'new financial support' will be provided to local authorities in England.

'For very high areas, we will give further financial support for local test and trace and local enforcement – and assistance from the armed forces, not for enforcement but rather to support local services if desired in the local area,' he said.

The Prime Minister said agreement has been reached with leaders in Merseyside, explaining it will be in the 'very high alert' level from Wednesday – with gyms, leisure centres, betting shops, adult gaming centres and casinos also closing.

Mr Johnson said: 'Engagement with other leaders in the North West, the North East and Yorkshire and Humber is continuing.

'I know how difficult this is, they like us, like everyone in this House are grappling with very real dilemmas, but we cannot let the NHS fall over when lives are at stake.'

He told local authorities to 'work with us on these difficult but necessary measures in the areas that are rated very high' in return for more support, adding: 'I believe not to act would be unforgivable so I hope that rapid progress can be made in the coming days.'

Regulations will be laid in the Commons tonight and voted on tomorrow, Mr Johnson added before insisting the measures will be kept under 'constant' review. 

But the premier faced strong Tory resistance to the announcements.  

West Midlands mayor Andy Street said he was 'disappointed' the region had been put into the second tier, claiming that the Government had ignored the views of local leaders.

In the Commons, the Prime Minister was faced with repeated pleas for the 10pm curfew to be reviewed and to trust people to exercise their own common sense rather than place curbs on their freedom.

Mr Street said the stricter measures for Birmingham and the West Midlands was 'not something regional leaders supported, nor what I believed would be happening following extensive conversations over recent days'.

He added: 'The most important change between our current restrictions and the new ones announced today is the ban on households mixing in hospitality venues.

'This is something the latest local epidemiology does not support, and I am disappointed that the Government is pressing ahead with this despite the united view of local leaders.'

In Parliament, Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the influential backbench Tory 1922 Committee, questioned how Mr Johnson would prevent local restrictions becoming a 'permanent state'.

Mr Johnson insisted the measures were kept 'under constant review'.

Tory MP Philip Davies told Mr Johnson to 'put his trust in the British people to act responsibly' instead of 'a constant blizzard of arbitrary rules which will only serve to collapse the economy and destroy businesses and jobs'.

Mr Johnson replied: 'The best decision that individuals can make for themselves, for their families and for communities is to follow the guidance, wash your hands, face, space, protect the NHS and save lives.'

Conservative Mark Pawsey (Rugby) said the 10pm curfew led to many people 'leaving the pub to go to a shop to stock up with booze, often with their friends, to drink at home'.

And former minister Tobias Ellwood called for the curfew to be reviewed 'as urgently as possible'.

Mr Johnson replied: 'Alas, we have to make restrictions in the overall volume of transmission that is taking place in our society. That is an obvious place to make a difference, that is what we're doing.'

Earlier, deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam and NHS medical director Stephen Powis were sent out to 'roll the pitch' by setting out their grim assessment of the situation. 

They told a briefing in Downing Street that the number of patients in hospital was now higher than before the blanket lockdown was imposed in March - and could be above the previous peak within four weeks. Nightingale hospitals in the worst affected areas are being put on high readiness to reopen. 

Professor Van-Tam also delivered a stark message that the surge in cases was a 'nationwide phenomenon' rather than just in the North, and was spreading from younger people to the more vulnerable old generation.

Prof Powis said the hope that the elderly could be isolated from the increase in infections was proving to be 'wishful thinking'. 

Mr Johnson is facing fury as he finally unveils the government's 'traffic light' coronavirus lockdown today - with ministers warning it could last till Christmas.

Mr Johnson held a Cobra emergency meeting this morning to finalise the plan, after a weekend of frantic talks with politicians and scientists. He will facing questions at a No10 press conference tonight.  

 

Pubs threaten to SUE ministers over curbs 

The UK hospitality industry is mounting a legal challenge to the government's lockdown restrictions, aiming to stop its plans to close pubs and other venues to tackle the rise in coronavirus cases.

The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) revealed late on Sunday that the industry has taken legal action to prevent lockdown measures from being imposed.

The judicial review will argue that no evidence supports hospitality venues having contributed to the spread of COVID-19.

'The industry has been left with no other option but to legally challenge the so called 'common sense' approach narrative from government, on the implementation of further restrictions across the North of England,' NTIA CEO Michael Kill said in an email.

'These new measures will have a catastrophic impact on late night businesses, and are exacerbated further by an insufficient financial support package,' the statement read. 

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The PM is defying the wrath of local leaders and Tory MPs to plough ahead with the new system as he desperately struggles to get a grip on surging cases. 

Wrangling over the details - which will be voted on in the Commons tomorrow - went to the wire as politicians tried to squeeze more money out of the government. 

Professor Powis told the No10 briefing this morning: 'It is clear that hospital admissions are rising fastest in those areas of the country where infection rates are highest, particularly the North West.

'In the over-65s - particularly the over-85s - we are seeing steep rises in the numbers of people being admitted to hospital so the claim that the elderly can somehow be fenced off from risk is wishful thinking.' 

Prof Van-Tam used a series of charts to underline his fears about the situation snowballing. 

'It has changed in a matter of just a few days and that is clearly of concern to me,' he said. 'There is the spread from those younger age groups into the 60 plus age group in the North West and the North East, and there are rates of change in the same places but also extending a little further south.' 

The experts revealed that temporary Nightingale hospitals in Manchester, and Harrogate could be brought back into use to help with the spike in Covid-19 cases.

Prof Powis said there would also be increased testing of health staff in hotspot areas.

He said: 'To protect our staff and our patients we will be introducing – with tests provided by the Test and Trace service – regular testing for staff in these high-risk areas, even when they don't have symptoms.

'This will help us keep staff and patients in those hospitals as safe as possible.

'Secondly, we have asked the Nightingale hospitals in Manchester, and Harrogate to prepare for this next phase.

'They are being asked to mobilise over the next few weeks to be ready to accept patients if necessary.'

It will be for local clinicians to decide whether they are used for Covid patients or to provide extra capacity to maintain services for people without coronavirus.

Medics put South on notice for curbs saying COVID surge is NOT limited to the North 

Government advisers today put the South on notice for new lockdown restrictions warning that the problems are not limited to the North. 

Prof Jonathan Van-Tam said the northern surge so far was partly because cases had not fallen as low there during the summer.

He insisted the increase was a 'nationwide phenomenon', saying extra deaths were already 'baked in' due to the lag between infections and people becoming seriously ill.

'Already, with the cases that we know about, we have baked in additional hospital admissions and sadly we also have baked in additional deaths that are now consequent upon infections that have already happened,' he said. 

He said the problem was 'nationwide' and not solely a problem for northern England.

Addressing a slide shown earlier in the briefing about rates increasing in the South of England, he said: 'You have worried me now that I might have presented a bi-polar picture that Covid-19 is a problem in the North and not a problem in the South.

'On the contrary, the epidemic this time has clearly picked up pace in the North of England earlier than it did in the first wave and that almost certainly relates to the fact the disease levels in the North, and certainly in the North West, never dropped as far in the summer as they did in the South.

'But pretty much all areas of the UK are now seeing growths in the infection rate and that extending brown map that I showed you, which is sourced from the Joint Biosecurity Centre, absolutely makes that point.

'This is a nationwide phenomenon now that rates are changing upwards across the UK.'

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Prof Van-Tam warned that extra deaths were already 'baked in' due to the rise in cases and the lag between infections and people becoming seriously ill.

'Already, with the cases that we know about, we have baked in additional hospital admissions and sadly we also have baked in additional deaths that are now consequent upon infections that have already happened,' he said. 

He said the problem was 'nationwide' and not solely a problem for northern England.

Addressing a slide shown during the briefing about rates increasing in the South of England, he said: 'You have worried me now that I might have presented a bi-polar picture that Covid-19 is a problem in the North and not a problem in the South.

'On the contrary, the epidemic this time has clearly picked up pace in the North of England earlier than it did in the first wave and that almost certainly relates to the fact the disease levels in the North, and certainly in the North West, never dropped as far in the summer as they did in the South.

'But pretty much all areas of the UK are now seeing growths in the infection rate and that extending brown map that I showed you, which is sourced from the Joint Biosecurity Centre, absolutely makes that point.

'This is a nationwide phenomenon now that rates are changing upwards across the UK.'

Asked about the transmission of the disease in hospitality settings, the medic said: 'We do know the virus thrives on the thing we like most which is human contact

'We have increasingly strong evidence about shouting and singing as pressure points on the virus in terms of making the expulsion of virus-laden particles go further and the transmission therefore to become more intense.'

Despite the surge coinciding with the return of schools, Prof Van-Tam said they did not appear to be the driver of the increase.

'If you salami slice the infection data very carefully across the school age bands, what you actually see is very low rates of increase in infection up to around the age of 16 and then picking up a bit in the 17-18-year-olds as we drift into that age bracket… of really quite intense transmission,' he said.

'The evidence that there is significant transmission in schools is not really borne out by the increased infection rates and indeed we already know that children are not drivers of infection and spread in the community in the same way we know they are for influenza, for example.'

Despite claims that the Three-Tier system was part of a drive to simplify the rules across England, they are allowed to differ slightly within the Very High Risk band. 

Areas such as Manchester fought desperately to be kept out of the toughest category. 

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham tweeted that he was 'glad the Government has listened' and avoided putting the region under the harshest lockdown measures.

He added: 'But any restrictions will lead to loss of trade for businesses & challenges for councils. The PM must give all areas under restrictions full financial support. Anything less will see them levelled down.'

Oldham West and Royton MP Jim McMahon also hailed the news. 

'Pubs serving food remain open. Oldham will be removed from its enhanced lockdown measures and brought into line with GM *at last*,' he posted.

But Labour frontbench colleague Lisa Nandy complained she had been left out of the Greater Manchester briefing with health Secretary Matt Hancock, even though her constituency is in the area. 'I suspect this is because they don't know where Wigan is,' she sniped. 

There had been speculation that London would immediately enter Tier Two, which would still mean stronger limits on households socialising. However, that is not happening yet, with Mr Khan at odds with some in government who want a borough-by-borough approach rather than London-wide.

The measures will initially be in place for four weeks before a review, but Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden suggested this morning that they are likely to stay in place until Christmas. 

One angry Tory MP for a northern seat told MailOnline: 'I won't be going round his house on December 25.' 

They added: 'It will be very frustrating if pubs get closed with 48 hours' notice. Why not focus on the elderly and vulnerable and save jobs and lives?' 

Another MP for an affected region complained that the government was 'running around like headless chickens'.

For Tier Two, households will not be allowed to mix indoors, similar to restrictions already in place in Middlesbrough and Hartlepool, while Tier One will be similar to the rules currently in place across England. 

In a round of interviews this morning, Mr Dowden said that tough new coronavirus restrictions may be needed until after Christmas.

Mr Dowden told Sky News: 'If those measures are successful we hope to be able to take areas out of those high levels of restrictions.

Doctors 'are better placed' to save lives this time around 

Doctors now in a 'better position' to treat Covid-19 than in March and April, top NHS official says

Britain's doctors are in a 'better position' to treat Covid-19 than they were in March and April, according to one of the NHS' top officials.

Professor Stephen Powis, NHS England's medical director, told the TV briefing at Downing Street that the nation has 'clearly learnt many things from that first wave''.

He said: 'We have learnt better treatments for patients, and dexamethasone… we learnt that that reduces deaths.'

Dexamethasone was added to doctors' arsenal of medications for treating coronavirus in June, after University of Oxford researchers proved it could help critically-ill patients.

The cheap and widely available steroid — thought to cost £5 per patient — saves lives by calming the immune system.

Medical advice says it should be given in 'severe and critical' cases only, as in more mild infections it could make the disease worse by impairing the body's ability to fight it off.

Professor Powis' claims come after separate data today revealed the chances of surviving coronavirus after falling critically ill have increased significantly since the pandemic began.

The proportion of patients dying in hospital intensive care units has fallen from around 30 per cent to below 20 per cent since April.

The fall in the death rate as a proportion of all patients admitted to hospital is even more striking – plummeting from 6 per cent at the peak to around 2 per cent now.

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'The purpose of doing this is to ensure we get the virus under control so by the time that we get through to after Christmas we are in that position where it is under control.

'Indeed I hope it will be sooner than that.'

Mr Dowden denied that the government was 'panicking' about rising cases and imposing knee-jerk curbs.  

'We are certainly not panicking. We are taking reasonable and proportionate measures because we can see the risk coming down the line,' he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

'It is sadly the case that the number of deaths tends to lag the number of infections. If you look at the lead indicators – both the number of infections and now sadly the number of people that are in hospitals with Covid – all of those point to a rapidly rising disease. The path is very clear.'

Mr Dowden said the case for new restrictions on the hospitality sector was supported by the Government's chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance.

'We know there are challenges around hospitality – for example, the obvious point you can't wear a mask when you are sat down and eating, that frequently you are in contact (with people) that you don't normally meet, and we know that the virus thrives on that kind of social interaction.'

Speaking after the Cobra meeting this morning, Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford voiced 'deep disappointment at the inadequate proposals for travel restrictions in high infection areas in England'.

In a statement the Welsh government said they would be met with 'great dismay in many parts of Wales where infection rates are lower'. 

'He also requested greater clarity on the metrics for placing areas into each tier, and agreed with other devolved leaders that the Treasury's proposals for financial support, while welcome, did not go far enough in protecting the lowest paid workers,' a spokesman said. 

Vaughan Gething, Wales' Health Minister, told a press conference: 'Myself and the First Minister are meeting again later today but we're both really disappointed that the Prime Minister is still taking an approach where there is only going to be guidance on whether people should or shouldn't travel out of highly infected areas.

'This isn't just an issue for Wales, it's an issue for the whole UK – lower prevalence areas in England will be equally affected as lower prevalence areas in Wales.

'We do understand that there has already been an importation of coronavirus cases from contact with some of those high prevalence areas in England.'

Mr Gething said the Welsh Government, which has been considering imposing quarantine restrictions on people arriving in Wales from areas of the UK with high levels of coronavirus, would meet later on Monday and 'make choices'.

Ms Sturgeon said she was putting together a Scotland version of the tiers, and would look to align as closely with the rest of the UK as possible.

'At a strategic level, we will be looking to align as closely as possible with the other UK nations – I think it is important and it makes sense to try to do that,' she said.

'Though, I would stress that operational decisions about what tiers may apply in which parts of our nations will be for each of us to take at a devolved level.'

Sturgeon hails 'good' compliance with her 'circuit breaker' lockdown

Nicola Sturgeon insisted that compliance with her 'circuit breaker' lockdown had been 'good' over the weekend.  

Pubs and restaurants in the central belt of Scotland have been ordered to close, while elsewhere alcohol can only be served in outdoor areas.

Speaking at the Scottish Government's daily briefing in Edinburgh, Ms Sturgeon said: 'The early anecdotal evidence that we have from the police would suggest that compliance with the new rules and with rules generally has been good.

'That's encouraging – these new restrictions are really tough for everybody and they are tough for businesses, particularly in the hospitality sector.

'Nobody is unaware of that but they are vital for helping to stem the increase in cases, bring it back under control and of course stem the increase in hospital admissions and illness that we have been seeing.'

With the measures in place for two weeks, Ms Sturgeon said the Scottish Government is looking to ensure the long-term suppression of the virus.

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Ms Sturgeon insisted that compliance with her 'circuit breaker' lockdown had been 'good' over the weekend.  

Pubs and restaurants in the central belt of Scotland have been ordered to close, while elsewhere alcohol can only be served in outdoor areas.

Speaking at the Scottish Government's daily briefing in Edinburgh, Ms Sturgeon said: 'The early anecdotal evidence that we have from the police would suggest that compliance with the new rules and with rules generally has been good.

'That's encouraging – these new restrictions are really tough for everybody and they are tough for businesses, particularly in the hospitality sector.

'Nobody is unaware of that but they are vital for helping to stem the increase in cases, bring it back under control and of course stem the increase in hospital admissions and illness that we have been seeing.'

With the measures in place for two weeks, Ms Sturgeon said the Scottish Government is looking to ensure the long-term suppression of the virus.

The upcoming clampdown is seen as a 'gamble' to avoid having to implement a Scottish-style 'circuit-breaker' national lockdown over the October half-term. 

Dr Margaret Harris, from the World Health Organisation, said the UK was now fourth in the world in terms of its rise in Covid-19 cases.

She told BBC Radio 4's World At One programme: 'You are certainly not on your own.

'We are seeing very, very large outbreaks around the world – only last week India led the number of new cases, 504,000, followed by the US with 327,000 and then Brazil.

'But the United Kingdom is number four and what we are seeing is that, in Europe particularly, in more and more countries we're seeing a bigger change in the number of cases.'

Asked how the UK compared to other European nations, Dr Harris said: 'The UK recorded 110,827 to us last week and France reported 110,065 – you're essentially on parity with France at the moment.

'Russia also recorded a large number, as did Spain but we're seeing upticks in many countries across Europe, particularly as I said in France and Spain but also we've seen changes in and more of the eastern European countries. 

Earlier, Steve Rotheram, mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said discussions on new measures had been going on 'all night'.

Mr Rotheram made clear getting more money was his main aim, and took a thinly-veiled swipe at Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham - usually a close ally - for 'shouting at the wind'. 

'What we are trying to do is to see whether we can get support and the support package for the businesses in our city region that will be affected by the government's decision,' Mr Rotheram said.

On arriving at No10 this morning, Prof Van-Tam produced his pass from what appeared to be an otherwise empty briefcase

On arriving at No10 this morning, Prof Van-Tam produced his pass from what appeared to be an otherwise empty briefcase

Prof Van-Tam warned that more deaths and hospitalisations were already 'baked in' due to the recent rise in cases

Prof Van-Tam warned that more deaths and hospitalisations were already 'baked in' due to the recent rise in cases 

Covid-19 cases less than HALF of Patrick Vallance and Chris Whitty's doomsday prediction of 50,000 by tomorrow 

Britain's coronavirus crisis has fallen far short of the Government's doomsday prediction of 50,000 cases a day by tomorrow, figures show. 

Sir Patrick Vallance and Professor Chris Whitty, the country's chief scientific and medical officers, made the bleak forecast last month as they urged Britons to abide by new lockdown curbs amid rising cases.

Speaking at the Downing Street TV press conference on September 22 — when there were about 4,000 infections each day — they warned that case numbers could continue to double every week.

Sir Patrick said: 'If, and that's quite a big if, but if that continues unabated, and this grows, doubling every seven days, you would end up with something like 50,000 cases in the middle of October per day.'

But the latest figures released yesterday show the true trajectory of the virus has fallen well short of the doomsday scenario, with the Department of Health recording 12,872 positive tests.

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Covid-19 case numbers are always lower on weekends because of a recording lag, which means the real number of infections on Sunday will probably be slightly higher.

But infections should have been above 40,000, according to the Government's depressing estimates last month. And cases will need to rise by 37,128

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