Meanwhile the coronavirus pandemic is spiralling out of control in Belgium, the country’s health minister Frank Vandenbroucke has warned, while Wales has announced a two-week “circuit-breaker” lockdown. Speaking today, Boris Johnson’s spokesman issued the sobering prediction today that COVID-19 patients would take up the entire current ICU capacity by November 8, as well as all surge ICU capacity by November 12. Mr Johnson is ready to offer Manchester £100million in extra funding to accept Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions amid reports suggesting the region was running out of beds to treat people with COVID-19.
New restrictions come into effect in Belgium today, including the closure of all bars and restaurants, and a midnight curfew.
Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke told national broadcaster RTL: “We are really very close to a tsunami. We no longer control what is happening.”
Mr Johnson is at loggerheads with Andy Burnham, the Labour Mayor of Greater Manchester, with the latter describing talks with Number 10 as “constructive”, fuelling speculation about an impending deal, the Telegraph reported. Mr Burnham yesterday accused the Government of “exaggerating” the health emergency – but cabinet minister Michael Gove hit back, telling Sky’s Sophy Ridge Mr Burnham should stop “posturing”.
Senior Conservatives, including the influential chairman of the 1922 committee, Sir Graham Brady, are thought to have backed the Greater Manchester mayor in resisting Tier 3 for the region.
Mr Brady, the MP for Altrincham and Sale West in Greater Manchester, told BBC Radio 4 the region’s Labour and Tory MPs were “pretty united” in opposing Tier 3.
A leaked Greater Manchester Critical Care Network document has indicated two hospitals, the Stepping Hill Hospital and the Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, are at full capacity.
Additionally, the Royal Bolton Hospital has 94 of its beds allocated.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham
In a letter to party leaders, Mr Burhnam said “clear national entitlements” similar to during the first lockdown were vital to creating the “sense of fairness” to ensure compliance with new restrictions.
“Most places” will end up in Tier 3 at some point before a vaccine is rolled out, he said.
He added: “We recognise the uncertainty that this is causing and write to ask for your help in breaking the impasse and finding a fair resolution.
“We recognise the uncertainty that this is causing and write to ask for your help in breaking the impasse and finding a fair resolution,” Mr Burnham said.
“This could be done by Parliament calling an urgent debate and vote this week to establish a cross-party consensus on what constitutes a fair financial framework for people in areas under Tier 3 restrictions.”
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3.37pm update: Mayor of Liverpool City region asks for proof over transmission of the virus in gyms
Steve Rotheram confirmed today that he has asked the Government to provide evidence over the transmission of the virus in gyms.
He said: “Give us proof that gyms in our region are more dangerous than anywhere else.
“Give us proof that gyms are significantly contributing to the spread of Covid in the region.
“If there is no proof, amend the legislation so that gyms can open as soon as possible.”
3.02pm update: England reports 76 deaths from coronavirus
A further 76 new deaths have been reported in hospitals across England today, taking the total to 31,047.
The patients were aged between 47 and 99 and occurred between October 9 and 18.
Bill McLoughlin takes over from Ciaran McGrath.
2.58pm update: Wales records 626 new cases
There have been a further 626 cases of Covid-19 diagnosed in Wales, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 36,253.
Public Health Wales said one further death had been reported, with the total number of deaths since the beginning of the pandemic rising to 1,712.
2.39pm update: France records 30,000 new cases
The number of positive coronavirus cases in France totalled almost 30,000 on Sunday.
The proportion of positive tests in relation to the tests carried out stands at at 13.2 percent, compared with just nine percent 11 days ago and about 4.5 percent at the beginning of September.
The number of deaths attributable to the disease stood at 85 on Sunday, bringing the total death toll since the start of the epidemic to 33,477.
2.37pm update: COVID cases on the rise in Italy
Covid-19 cases in Italy are still on the rise with 11,705 new infections in the last 24 hours according to the bulletin of the Ministry of Health.
The figure is 780 more than to Saturday, when it stood at 10,925.
There were 69 deaths, up from 47 on Saturday.
1.23pm update: Hospitality workers protest against Tier 2 restrictions
Hospitality workers including high-profile chef Yotam Ottolenghi have staged a noisy demonstration in central London against “devastating” Tier 2 coronavirus restrictions.
Around 200 workers, from farmers to chefs and events organisers, filled Parliament Square with a metallic uproar by banging metal cooking utensils on Monday morning.
Mr Ottolenghi, 51, a chef and food writer who specialises in Middle Eastern cuisine, told the PA news agency that new Tier 2 restrictions in the capital will “kill viable businesses”.
“It’s really hard, we’ve got a great industry with lots of heart, and nobody works in the hospitality industry to get rich, we do it because we love what we’re doing – and there’s so many people who depend on it,” he said.
Mr Ottolenghi, who has been writing recipe books while being unable to cook as usual during lockdown, said: “We really really need proper Government support for our staff if we’re going to carry on, because otherwise we just won’t be able to.”
Chef Yotam Ottolenghi
1.12pm update: Poland may see 20,000 new cases a day within a week, warns health minister
Poland may see up to 20,000 new coronavirus cases a day at the start of next week if the pandemic continues spreading at its current pace, Health Minister Adam Niedzielski said on Monday.
He added that the government wanted private hospitals to treat COVID-19 patients.
Poland has recorded multiple new records in daily cases and deaths in recent weeks, with doctors reporting shortages of personnel, hospital beds and equipment. The government plans to launch a temporary hospital at a Warsaw stadium and also in other regions of the country.
1.06pm update: Firebreaker to last until November 9
First Minister Mark Drakeford said the “firebreaker” would end on November 9 but warned the benefits of it would not be seen within the lockdown period.
He added: “The benefit will be seen in the weeks that follow.”
Under the lockdown, people must stay at home except for limited purposes such as for exercise and must work from home wherever possible.
They are not allowed to visit other households or meet people they do not live with, with no gathering allowed outdoors including Halloween or fireworks and Bonfire Night events.
All non-food retail and hospitality businesses, including cafes, restaurants and pubs – unless they provide take-away or delivery services – must close.
Close contact services such as hairdressers and beauticians, and events and tourism businesses such as hotels, must also shut.
Local parks, playgrounds and outdoor gyms will remain open.
12.30pm update: Wales announces two-week circuit breaker lockdown
Wales is to impose a two-week sharp “firebreak” lockdown from Friday in which everybody apart from essential workers would have to stay at home.
Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford told reporters: “It will have to be sharp and deep in order to have the impact we need.
“Everyone in Wales will be required to stay at home.”
All non-essential businesses will have to close.
Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford
Angela Merkel is facing rebellion over her tough restrictions to fight the coronavirus crisis as cases continue to soar in Germany.
The German Chancellor has been accused of an “act of desperation” after she used a video call to Germans to stay at home – rather than impose a nationwide lockdown.
While a Berlin court on Friday suspended a curfew on bars and restaurants enforced by Mrs Merkel and state premiers to contain the further spread of COVID-19.
Berlin’s local government had a week ago imposed a night-time curfew from 11pm to 6am to tackle surging numbers of new infections after an agreement between German Chancellor and German states.
But the court overturned this as it considered it “disproportionate” to fight the virus.
11.58am update: Slovenia declares 30-day state of emergency
Slovenia’s government has declared a 30-day state of emergency after COVID-19 cases more than doubled in the past week compared with the previous one.
The government banned the movement between regions that have been most affected by the pandemic and introduced a curfew from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m starting Monday, Interior Minister Ales Hojs told a news conference.
Hojs said that all public and religious events would be banned and the number of people allowed to gather reduced to six from 10.
Slovenia, which has not been gravely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic so far, reported 4,845 coronavirus cases in the past week, a spike from 2,255 cases reported in the week before.
Three-tier lockdown mapped
11.20am update: Labour MP hospitalised with COVID-19
Labour’s MP for Bolton South East Yasmin Qureshi has been admitted to the Royal Bolton Hospital with pneumonia.
The Shadow International Development Minister, 57, praised “amazing” hospital staff who she said were working in “such difficult circumstances”.
The news comes as Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burham battles efforts to force the region into Tier 3 lockdown measures.
10.41am update: Most excess deaths in private care homes NOT connected with COVID-19, says ONS
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has confirmed that excess deaths in private homes – the number of deaths above the average for the corresponding period in the previous five years – have mostly been deaths not involving COVID-19.
Of the 25,472 excess deaths in private homes in England that were registered up to September 11, 2,358 (9 percent) were deaths involving Covid-19 while 23,114 (91 percent) were non-Covid excess deaths.
In Wales, of the 1,624 excess deaths in private homes over the same period, 134 (8 percent) were deaths involving Covid-19 while 1,490 (92 percent) were non-Covid excess deaths.
Conservative MPs have clashed online as the row over plans for tightened coronavirus restrictions for Manchester threatens to boil over.
Some reports have suggested the situation has got so bad, Tory MPs in the North West are even looking to Labour’s Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, rather than Boris Johnson, for leadership.
The Government is thought to be ready to offer Greater Manchester up to £100million in extra funding to accept the strictest Tier 3 restrictions, with Mr Burnham having written to party leaders urging a Commons vote to break the “impasse”.
Meanwhile, backbenchers were yesterday involved in extraordinary exchanges online after 20 Tories in areas where infections remain low wrote to Mr Burnham urging him to accept Tier-3 status.
They were subsequently the targets of fiery abuse on a WhatsApp group by their own party colleagues, who accused them of “shafting” Tory MPs in the region to curry favour with Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
9.50am update: “It’s not about the size of the cheque,” insists Burnham
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said whether a deal could be reached was “not about the size of the cheque”.
He told Sky News: “It’s about protecting low-paid workers, people who are self-employed, supporting businesses and preventing them from collapsing. That’s what this is about.
“We’ve always said we would put people’s health first, and we will do that. But health is about more than controlling the virus – people’s mental health, I think, is now pretty low given that we’ve been under restrictions here for three months already.”
Setting out his call for Westminster to act, Mr Burnham said tier three measures should come with a “fair financial framework” endorsed by Parliament rather than “side deals with local areas”.
Mr Burnham said he was “willing to talk” and wanted to resolve the situation.
9.30am update: “We’re close to a tsunami,” warns Belgian minister
The coronavirus pandemic is spiralling out of control in Belgium, the country’s health minister Frank Vandenbroucke has warned – suggesting: “We are a close to a tsunami”.
Mr Vandenbroucke told national broadcaster RTL: “We are really very close to a tsunami. We no longer control what is happening.”
Nevertheless, the Belgian minister defended the Government’s decision to impose softer restrictions than in neighbouring France, led by Emmanuel Macron, where people must be home by 9pm in many cases, saying: “We did not want to make life impossible.”
France is reeling from statistics yesterday which showed 30,000 new coronavirus cases and 2,000 people in intensive care units.
9.26am update: Finnish PM tests negative
The Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin has tested negative for coronavirus, her office said on Monday, after she had left the European Union summit prematurely on Friday due to coming near people who later tested positive.
Her spokesman said: “The prime minister will continue her self-isolation and she will be tested again on Monday.”
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen abruptly left the two-day summit less than an hour after it started on Thursday, followed by Marin on Friday.
Marin’s voluntary quarantine will end if the second test result proves negative, her office added.
Finnish PM Sanna Marin has tested negative
8.24am update: “People want a co-ordinated message,” says Jenrick
Housing Minister Mr Jenrick also told BBC Breakfast: “People in Greater Manchester want a single, co-ordinated, public health message.
“That is what the Prime Minister is keen to do. That is why we have gone to so much trouble to try to reach an agreement with local leaders.
“I hope that they will, today, come forward, support us and that we can reach that sort of agreement.
“If not, then we will have to consider other options.
“Because, obviously, the Government has over-arching responsibility to protect people in all parts of the country, including in Greater Manchester, but … doing so by imposition has never been our desired approach.”
Frontline health staff could get a coronavirus vaccine by the end of the year before it is rolled out across the UK in early 2021. Britain has a tough few months ahead but there is “light at the end of the tunnel”. Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, England’s deputy chief medical officer, also revealed in private that the NHS is preparing to launch a vaccine shortly after Christmas.
He told MPs: “We aren’t light years away from it. It isn’t a totally unrealistic suggestion that we could deploy a vaccine soon after Christmas. That would have a significant impact on hospital admissions and deaths.”
It is believed healthcare frontline workers would be the first to receive the vaccine as it becomes available, followed by vulnerable people.
Government adviser Jonathan Van Tam
8.12am update: Pelosi “optimistic” abou propects of coronavirus relief package
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Sunday that differences remained with President Donald Trump’s administration on a wide-ranging coronavirus relief package but that she was optimistic legislation could be pushed through before Election Day.
Pelosi, the top elected U.S. Democrat, said she wanted a bill passed before the November 3 presidential election between Republican Trump and Democrat Joe Biden, but acknowledged an agreement would have to come within 48 hours for that to happen.
“I’m optimistic because, again, we’ve been back and forth on all of this,” Pelosi said in an interview with ABC’s “This Week.”
But with her negotiating partner, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, in the Middle East until Tuesday, a deal appears to be a long shot.
MrTrump told reporters in Nevada: “I think Nancy Pelosi maybe is coming along. We’ll find out.”
8.04am update: Ireland poised to tighten restrictions
New travel restrictions could see people in Ireland banned from travelling more than 5km or 10k from their home.
Bars, restaurants, gyms, swimming pools and most shops may be asked to close.
Household visits will be banned although people will be allowed to expand their household bubble to include close family members, isolated people and those in need of care.
Schools and creches will remain open.
Gordon Brown has urged the Government to be more alert about the extent of the economic fallout caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The former Labour Prime Minister has demanded that the Government should create 1.5 million jobs for Britons amid the pandemic. He warned as many as one million young people could become unemployed within weeks.
Mr Brown’s Alliance For Full Employment (AFFE), which aims to help end the recession, has indicated that 1.5 million young people will need help over the coming year.
A report published by the AFFE said the Government’s Kickstart scheme which aims to create 150,000 jobs is not enough.
The group are urging ministers to draw out a plan with the devolved governments and England’s city region mayors.
Mr Brown said: “Today we are dealing with a far bigger challenge than in the 1980s and it needs a UK-wide jobs summit bringing together the regions and nations with the Prime Minister.
7.57am update: Poland plans field hospital at national stadium as cases soar
Poland plans to launch a field hospital at the national stadium in Warsaw, as it faces a spike in new coronavirus cases and a health system overload, a government spokesman Piotr Muller told public television on Monday.
Muller added that the stadium’s conference rooms will be transformed into the hospital with around 500 beds for COVID-19 patients.
7.55am update: Jenrick ducks question over Manchester financial settlement
Askedby BBC Breakfast if he had offered Manchester a bigger financial settlement, Mr Jenrick said: “I have offered, in discussions that we have had, a range of different things that local leaders would like.
“Whether that’s greater control over local tracing, whether it is use of the armed forces, whether it is more resources for local councils.
“We want to put together a package of measures that will actually work.
“I do think it is very clear that having now discussed this for well over a week this does now need to be brought to a conclusion.
“I think everybody in Greater Manchester would agree with that.
“So, I am hopeful that either today, or tomorrow, we will reach a conclusion, one way or the other.”
7.52am update: Close pubs at 6pm, says scientist
Pubs need to close at 6pm as part of tightened COVID-19 restrictions, a Government scientist has said.
Professor Jonathan Van-Tam reportedly believes there is little to support suggestions the current 10pm closure time is effective.
The Government’s deputy chief medical officer is thought to have made his observation during a private briefing on Greater Manchester’s current lockdown situation during which ministers tried to persuade Mayor Andy Burnham to accept tier 3 restrictions.
Asked whether 10pm curfews made a difference to transmission rates, Professor Van-Tam is believd to have said: “Not really. I’d prefer 6pm, or even earlier.”