The UK was hit with nearly 2,000 new cases on Friday, which was the highest number of cases recorded over a 24-hour period since late May. The areas causing the most concern included Leeds, South Tyneside, Corby, Middlesbrough and Kettering. South Tyneside saw 1,081 cases at a rate of 717 per 100,000, while Middlesborough recorded 1,137 cases at a rate of 806 and Kettering had 702 cases at a rate of 689.
At least 4,703 people in Leeds tested positive for coronavirus, which was a rate of 593 people per 100,000 population.
These areas are at risk of having stricter measures put in place to tackle the spike in cases.
Leeds City Council said in a statement: “The latest seven-day infection figures show Leeds as having a rate of 32.4 cases per 100,000 people and a positivity rate on testing of 3.5 percent.
“The latest data suggests that a lot of the cases are in different areas of the city, meaning they may be linked to social interaction and leisure activities.
“The spread is broad and changeable across wards and cases have also been increasingly detected in younger people aged 18-34, with some concern over activities like house parties and gatherings.”
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Coronavirus latest: Five areas in the UK have seen a spike in cases
1.29pm update: Portugal’s holiday quarantine rule comes into force for parts of UK
Holidaymakers have been left confused over the new quarentine rules, which came in from 4am this morning for people arriving in Scotland.
This was 24 hours after Wales introduced the same quarantine period for people arriving from the country.
Portugal had only been removed from the UK quarantine list two weeks ago.
But now cases have soared above 20 cases per 100,000 people, which is the threshold used for past travel decisions.
Coronavirus latest: The UK recorded nearly 2,000 cases on Friday
1pm update: Strike action on the cards as unions oppose civil servants returning to the office
A public sector union said it would be willing to consider strike action after confirming it opposed Cabinet-driven plans for the vast majority of civil servants to return to the office by the end of the month.
Outgoing Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill, in a letter seen by the PA news agency, has written to the permanent secretaries of Government departments calling on them to bring as much as 80% of public sector staff back into the workplace.
Sir Mark, in the note dated September 3, said the Prime Minister had asked to be personally involved in the back-to-work drive and wanted to see departmental figures on a “weekly basis” following Cabinet agreement that increasing office numbers would be “hugely beneficial for our workforce”.
But the instructions have faced backlash from unions representing the Civil Service, with the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union confirming it would, as a “last resort”, consult members about possible industrial action.
In a statement, the union said: “Our members have kept the country running during the pandemic while working from home, and we believe it is not safe to return to workplaces while Covid-19 infection rates remain high and given the likelihood of a second wave in the coming weeks.”
12.08pm update: Iran schools re-open despite concerns over spread of virus
Schools in Iran re-opened to 15 million students on Saturday after a seven-month closure despite concerns over increased spread of the novel coronavirus in the country.
“This year, we shoulder a heavier burden of responsibility toward our students,” said President Hassan Rouhani, who oversaw the opening of schools in a video conference broadcast live on state television.
Education and health are equally important to society, he said, but added that parents would not be forced to send their children back to school.
Iranian media said that seminaries also reopened on Saturday to about 50,000 students.
Several medical professionals have voiced concerns over the reopening of schools and universities in Iran, one of the countries worst-hit by the coronavirus pandemic in the Middle East.
Coronavirus cases have spiked once again in the UK
11.40am update: Pope to travel outside Rome for first time since coronavirus pandemic
Pope Francis will next month visit the Italian town of Assisi, his first trip out of Rome since the coronavirus pandemic hit the country in February, and will sign a new encyclical, a spokesman for the Assisi Basilica said on Saturday.
The encyclical, which is the highest form of papal writing, is expected to focus on what Francis believes the post-pandemic world should look like, and will be called “Brothers All…”.
Father Enzo Fortunato said in a statement that the pope would travel to Assisi on Oct. 3, the day before the Feast of St. Francis, who was born in the small Umbrian hill town in the centre of Italy.
“The visit will take place in private, without the participation of the faithful,” Fortunato said.
Pope Francis this week held his weekly general audience in public for the first time in six months as the Vatican slowly looks to return to normal following the prolonged coronavirus lockdown.
10.18am update: Civil servants warned they ‘must get back to offices quickly’
Whitehall bosses have reportedly told employers to “move quickly” to get more staff back into the office, according to the BBC.
They say it is “strongly encouraging” attendance through rota systems in order to make going back to work “hugely beneficial”.
It come after concerns were raised that too few civil servants were still working from home, despite lockdown being eased.
9.41am update: Coronavirus tests ‘could be picking up dead virus’
Scientist have warned the main test that is being used to diagnose coronavirus could be picking up parts of dead virus from old infections as it is so sensitive.
The BBC has reported that this may be leading to an “over-estimate of the current scale of the pandemic”.
Professor Carl Heneghan, one of the study’s authors, said tests should have a cut-off point so that very small amounts of virus do not result in a positive result.
8.51am update: Seven £10,000 fines issued to organisers of illegal raves in Leeds amid COVID-19 cases spike
The city’s council leader Judith Blake told BBC Breakfast this morning that the council “fully expected” Leeds to be put on the Government’s Covid-19 watchlist as an “area of concern” due to an increase in cases.
She said: “We have been monitoring our number every single day and we recognise that the numbers have been creeping up, so we fully expected to be on the list to become an area of concern.
“We feel there is a bit of a complacency coming in. What we are seeing is the numbers are changing, and actually more young people are testing positive and they are spread around the city.”
She added: “Unfortunately, we have seen a rise in house parties, but we are working with police.
“Last weekend we issued, with the police, seven of the £10,000 fines for organisers of illegal raves.”
8.37am update: Professor gives update on university students’ risk of developing virus
Dr Mike Tildesley, associate professor of infection modelling at the University of Warwick, said the vast majority of students had a very low risk of developing severe symptoms of Covid-19.
He told the BBC: “What we’re more worried about really is universities acting as amplifiers, so potentially lots of students mixing together that can cause lots of infection that could spill over into the community.
“But also there’s a concern at the end of term when students start to travel home to their families, potentially interacting with more elderly relatives, more vulnerable people with underlying health conditions, that’s where the real concern is.”
He added: “What we don’t want is because of this large mixing in universities, it could cause a knock-on effect and as we approach Christmas, that could cause a significant wave of infection in cities across the UK as students move home.”
7.48am update: Russian scientists claim vaccine shows signs of immune response in patients
Russian scientists have claimed in the first report on their coronavirus vaccine that the latest tests show signs of an immune response.
The report, which was published by medical journal The Lancet, added every person who took part in the testing developed antibodies to fight the virus and had no serious side effects.
It comes after Russia licensed the vaccine for local use in August.
But experts say the trials were too small to prove effectiveness and safety, the BBC has reported.
Source:Daily Express :: UK Feed