The measures come into force at 6pm on Thursday and will be reviewed every two weeks. Rhondda Cynon Taf, which has a population of nearly a quarter-of-a-million, has seen a rolling seven-day case rate of 82.1 per 100,000 people. The new restrictions mean people must not enter or leave the Rhondda Cynon Taf council area without good reason.
People will also only be able to meet outdoors and will not be able to meet members of their extended household indoors.
All licensed premises will now have to close at 11pm.
The Government has warned if cases don’t fall, it will work with Rhondda Cynon Taf Council and Public Health Wales consider to consider imposing further measures.
The strict news rules come after a “rapid increase” in the number of coronavirus cases.
Coronavirus map LIVE: Rhondda Cynon Taf in south Wales is being forced into lockdown
These have been linked to people meeting indoors, not following social distancing guidelines and returning from holidays abroad
Health minister Vaughan Gething said: “We have seen a rapid rise in cases in Rhondda Cynon Taf in a very short space of time, linked to people socialising indoors and not following social distancing guidelines.
“We now have evidence of wider community transmission in the borough, which means we need to take urgent action to control and, ultimately, reduce the spread of the virus and protect people’s health.”
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Coronavirus map LIVE: Boris Johnson will face questions from senior MPs in the House of Commons
1.30pm update: Local lockdown in Rhondda Cynon Taf ‘disappointing but not a surprise’
Leanne Wood, Plaid Cymru member of the Senedd for the Rhondda, said: “This was something we feared would happen due to the increase in transmission rates.
“I urge everyone to follow the guidance on social distancing, washing hands and only meeting other households outdoors.
“Wearing face masks inside shops is also essential. I also urge everyone who is contacted by Track and Trace to co-operate fully so we can shut this virus down.
“The sooner we get this under control, the sooner we can ease restrictions and the safer our loved ones will be.”
1pm update: Welsh region back in lockdown after surge in COVID cases
The huge area of Rhondda Cynon Taf in south Wales is being forced into lockdown following a surge in coronavirus cases.
The measures come into force at 6pm on Thursday and will be reviewed every two weeks.
Rhondda Cynon Taf, which has a population of nearly 240,000, has seen a rolling seven-day case rate of 82.1 per 100,000 people.
The new restrictions mean people must not enter or leave the Rhondda Cynon Taf council area without good reason.
People will also only be able to meet outdoors and will not be able to meet members of their extended household indoors.
All licensed premises will now have to close at 11pm.
The Welsh Government has warned if cases don’t fall, it will work with Rhondda Cynon Taf Council and Public Health Wales consider to consider imposing further measures.
12.40pm update: Downing Street tight-lipped over curfews to slow spread of coronavirus
When asked about reports a urfew could be introduced in London, a Number 10 spokesman said: “We will continue to keep the transmission rate under review.
“We’ve introduced the rule of six to try and bear down on the transmission rate given that it has risen recently.
“But as I say we will keep that data and the scientific evidence under review.”
12.30pm update: Scotland confirms one more death from coronavirus
Another person has died from coronavirus in Scotland, the country’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said. This brings the death toll from COVID-19 to 2,501.
These figures are lower than weekly statistics from the National Records of Scotland – which record people who have died with confirmed or suspected coronavirus.
Ms Sturgeon said 3,283 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Scotland, up by 267 from 22,749 the day before.
Scotland’s First Minister said: “While the number of deaths is much, much lower thankfully than was the case in the spring and early summer this year, nevertheless the need for me to report deaths is a more regular feature of these briefings now than it has been for quite some time.
“Unless we act to stem community transmission now it is highly likely that cases of serious illness and deaths will rise in the weeks to come.
“If community transmission continues to rise as night follows day we will see more cases of people in hospital and unfortunately more cases of people dying.”
Coronavirus map LIVE: Nicola Sturgeon issued a new warning over the crisis
12.20pm update: Rayner immediately attacks Johnson over coronavirus crisis in PMQs
Angela Rayner, deputising for Sir Keir Starmer, told the Commons: “Keir wasn’t able to go to work today and his children couldn’t go to school because his family had to wait for their coronavirus test results despite the Prime Minister’s promise of results within 24 hours.
“Keir was able to do the right thing and self-isolate and work from home, but other people aren’t in this position – many of them are the very people getting us through this crisis.”
She said Mr Johnson once earned £2,300 an hour, and asked: “So can the Prime Minister tell us what is the average hourly rate for a care worker in this country?”
The Prime Minister defended the speed of testing but did not offer an answer on the average hourly rate.
Ms Rayner replied: “The whole country would have seen that the Prime Minister doesn’t know how much a care worker earns because that was my question – the shameful fact is the average wage in social care is barely more than £8 an hour.”
12.10pm update: Scotland has registered 4,236 deaths from confirmed or suspected COVID-19
The National Records of Scotland (NRS) has said 4,236 people have died in the country with confirmed or suspected coronavirus.
Five deaths relating to Covid-19 were registered between September 7 and 13, two in a care home and three in a hospital.
This data is published weekly and account for all deaths registered in Scotland where coronavirus was mentioned on the death certificate.
These differ from the lab-confirmed coronavirus deaths announced daily by the Scottish Government because they include suspected or probable cases of COVID-19.
Coronavirus map LIVE: Angela Rayner clashed with Boris Johnson during PMQs
11.40am update: Starmer exits self-isolation after negative COVID test result for one of his children
Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer tweeted: “I’m very pleased and relieved that the test result for one of my children came back negative this morning.
“Thank you to the NHS hospital where my wife works for ensuring that their staff and family members have quick access to a test.
“However, I know the situation is desperate at the moment for thousands of families across the country who are struggling to get a test.
“They deserve answers and for this problem to be fixed.”
11.10am update: School bosses warn Boris to ‘take charge’ over testing crisis
Boris Johnson has been warned he must “take charge” of the delays in obtaining coronavirus tests to ensure schools remain open.
The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), school leaders’ union NAHT and the National Governance Association have written to the Prime Minister to express concern about a number of issues with the current testing system.
ASCL said it has received 264 emails on the test and trace system from schools and colleges which said they had symptomatic staff and/or pupils who were struggling to access tests.
The letter warns of a “deep sense of foreboding about the potential for the system to become ever-more riddled with delays as more cases emerge”, and says: “This would be increasingly disruptive to children’s education and make staffing unsustainable.
“Schools are left in a position of either leaving close contacts of the infected person in school while they wait for guidance, or making a public health call themselves and deciding on who to send home.
“Our purpose in writing is to implore you to personally take charge of this situation in the interests of keeping our schools and colleges open, and protecting pupils and staff.”
Coronavirus map LIVE: Keir Starmer revealed one of his children had tested negative for COVID-19
10.30am update: BA boss warns MPs people ‘still afraid of travelling’
The airline’s chief executive Alex Cruz told the Commons’ Transport Select Committee: “People are still afraid of travelling.
“Of course, we are having weekly changes, as you know, to the quarantine list. We don’t have a testing solution yet. And still our customers are paying APD (air passenger duty) even just to fly on domestic regional flights.
“So the overall situation is quite challenging, and this is why we are taking every measure possible to make sure that we can actually make it through this winter.”
10.20am update: Dublin could move to level three coronavirus risk level in coming days – minister
There is a “strong possibility” severe restrictions could be enforced in the Irish capital by the end of the week, a Government minister has warned.
Paschal Donohoe warned Dublin could move to level three of the Government’s new blueprint plan to deal with Covid-19.
He said experts are meeting on Thursday to discuss the situation in the city and provide advice to the Government.
When asked if Dublin could move to level three in the coming days, Mr Donohoe told RTE Morning Ireland: “There’s a strong possibility that could happen.
“Our medical and public health experts will supply guidance to Government on this issue, that would then be considered by the Government, it will be consistent with the framework that we published and then we’ll make a recommendation and a decision on this to the people of Dublin.
“I think it is fair to say it is a very real possibility that guidance could change further for Dublin but the reason why we have issued this additional guidance for Dublin, on top of the level two guidance, is to see what can be done to continue to keep those who live and those who work in Dublin as safe as possible.”
Coronavirus map LIVE: Dublin could move to level three coronavirus risk level
9.50am update: Germany to declare Vienna coronavirus risk area
Germany is preparing to declare the Austrian capital of Vienna as a coronavirus risk area because of the high number of infections there, Austrian newspaper Der Standard reported, citing German Government sources.
German news outlet Focus Online also reported on the new classification, citing Austrian media.
9.30am update: ‘We are not going to cancel Christmas’ – Cabinet Minister plays down ‘rule of six’ impact
Justice Secretary Robert Buckland has denied the “rule of six” would effectively cancel Christmas.
This came after criticisms from a source close to the Archbishop of Canterbury about the social restrictions imposed this week to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Mr Buckland told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Archbishop Justin Welby makes an important contribution to this debate and he is right to point to the huge spiritual and social significance of Christmas.
“I don’t think any of us in Government want to be Oliver Cromwell-esque about this – we want to see families celebrate Christmas in a safe and happy way and we want to see our churches and indeed our other places of worship joining in that celebration.”
He added: “We are not going to cancel Christmas but the ‘rule of six’ is something that is clear and important and I do think we’ve committed to that and we need to stick to it.”
8.50am update: Keeping schools open ‘unsustainable’ if testing capacity issues not solved
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said headteachers were being forced to decide that the “bubble has to stay at home” if a pupil or teacher in a year group had shown coronavirus symptoms and could not get a test to prove they were negative.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “This will feel I think like lockdown by default – it will be more frustrating for parents because you can’t predict whether it is going to happen.
“And similarly from the headteacher’s point of view, if my Year 4 teacher today shows symptoms, will he or she be in school tomorrow, will they be here for the next 14 days?
“As soon as you start to get that with six, seven, eight teachers, it becomes unsustainable to be able to run things.”
Coronavirus map LIVE: Nearly 42,000 people have died from COVID-19 throughout the UK
8.47am update: Government needs to ‘dramatically’ increase testing to half a million people per day
Professor Andrew Hayward, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) and also director of University College London’s Institute of Epidemiology & Health, said Matt Hancock’s analysis it could take weeks to sort the current delays was “concerning”.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The background to this of course is that we would expect the demand and the capacity to need to rise quite rapidly over the autumn and winter as the number of people who develop symptoms that could be Covid increase.
“Some of our research has shown that at least in the winter, you would expect about half a million people a day to develop symptoms that are typical of Covid – and that would be in a winter when there was no Covid – so you can see that the capacity requirements will have to increase dramatically if we are going to keep up.”
8.43am update: Government facing ‘real challenges’ on coronavirus testing
Justice Secretary Robert Buckland has admitted the Government is facing “real challenges” on coronavirus testing and suggested school children and their parents would be the next priority after NHS and social care workers.
He told Sky News: “I think laboratory capacity has been an issue, we’re working our way through that, we’re increasing the number of test centres – we’ve got 400 test centres, getting it up to 500 – but clearly there are still real challenges.
“I think the announcement by (Health Secretary) Matt Hancock yesterday to create a prioritisation system is the right thing to do.
“He is going to develop that very quickly over the next few days, to explain to us what that looks like but I think it has to be the NHS first and then social care.
“And then I think what we need to do is have a cascading system where we know where our priority should be and for me priority should be for children in school and their parents in order to ensure their lives are safe and also importantly they are not disrupted in the way we are seeing.”
8.31am update: India’s coronavirus cases surge past five million
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in India has surged past five million following a hige single-day jump of 90,123 infections in the last 24 hours.
It is the second country in the world so far to have cross the grim milestone of five million cumulative cases, after the US.
The data from India’s federal health ministry showed a further 1,290 deaths from COVID-19 have been recorded in the last 24 hours, with the overall total increasing to 82,066.
8.25am update: Japan commits £128m to WHO’s coronavirus vaccine programme
Japan has committed £128million ($ 165million) for its participation in the coronavirus vaccine programme being run by the World Health Organisation.
The programme, named COVAX, is aimed at helping buy and fairly distribute vaccination shots against COVID-19 around the world.
Japan has also pursued independent arrangements with global pharmaceutical companies to secure vaccines.
The country’s Government has pledged to have enough supply for the whole population by the first half of 2021.
8.17am update: Trump says vaccine could be just weeks away
Donald Trump has claimed a vaccine to figh coronavirus could be just three or four weeks away.
The US President once again defended his handling of the crisis, and predicted a vaccine could be ready for distribution soon.
He said: “We’re very close to having a vaccine.
“If you want to know the truth, the previous administration would have taken perhaps years to have a vaccine because of the FDA and all the approvals.
“And we’re within weeks of getting it you know could be three weeks, four weeks.”
Coronavirus map LIVE: Donald Trump claimed a vaccine could be ready in a few weeks
8.06am update: Boris to face MPs on testing ‘failure’ putting ‘huge pressure’ on NHS
Boris Johnson will clash with senior ministers during Prime Minister’s Questions amid a warning that the failure” of the test and trace system is placing “huge pressure” on the NHS.
Bolton NHS Foundation Trust has said a “high volume” of patients have been arriving to A&E requesting tests.
Trust chair Professor Donna Hall said people in the Greater Manchester town have been trying to get tests via their GPs and the hospital when they could not get them online or at mobile testing units.
She told BBC Radio Four’s The World Tonight: “We had 100 people in our accident and emergency unit today, five ambulances queuing outside.
“This failure of the test and trace system is placing huge pressure on the NHS and social care.”
The latest criticism comes ahead of Mr Johnson’s appearance during PMQs in the House of Commons, where he will face senior MPs who are likely to question him on the Government’s handling of the corornaviurs crisis.
7.45am update: Scottish Government facing new calls over coronavirus testing at airports
Labour is demanding ministers introduce a “robust” system, with passengers tested on arrival into the country, with more checks carried out later.
The party’s transport spokesman Colin Smy5th said this type of scheme is needed after the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown caused job losses across the aviation sector
He insisted the current quarantine system, which requires those arriving in Scotland from countries deemed COVID-19 hotspots to self-isolate for 14 days – is “not fit for purpose”.
“Scotland’s aviation sector is among the industries hit the hardest by Covid-19, with many jobs already lost – and up to around 5,000 now at risk.
“This will have a knock-on effect on our tourism sector in the short and long terms, and we simply can’t afford to stand by.
“That is why Scottish Labour is calling the Scottish Government to work with the aviation sector and the relevant trade unions in Scotland to agree on a specific package of support for the industry.
“We are also calling for an urgent review of the existing quarantine system, which is clearly not fit for purpose.
“It’s time for the Scottish Government to introduce a robust regime of airport testing on arrival – with follow-up testing at home.”
Source:Daily Express :: UK Feed