Coronavirus LIVE: UK cities could face more local lockdowns as France quarantine rules start tomorrow

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EIGHT towns and cities have been added to the government’s “watchlist” today meaning they could enter into a local lockdown.

In Newark and Sherwood there are 26.3 Covid cases per 100,000 population – compared to 34 cases per 100,000 in Manchester and 56.3 per 100,000 in Leicester.

The latest data from the Department of Health shows a continued rise in cases in Oldham and Pendle while numbers remain high in Blackburn with Darwen.

Holidaymakers returning from France will have to quarantine, the government has announced.

It means 500,000 tourists have until 4am on Saturday to return to the UK to avoid two-week quarantine, the PM said.

France was taken off the “safe” list last night following crunch talks.

Malta and The Netherlands were also added to the list.

Airlines, ferries and the Eurostar have been branded “shameless” for “cashing in on desperate hard-working Brits” by experts as thousands dash back to Britain to beat the deadline.

Meanwhile deaths hit 41,347 after 18 more coronavirus fatalities.

Follow our coronavirus live blog for all the latest news and updates…

CAN I BE FINED FOR NOT WEARING A FACE MASK IN SHOPS AND TAKEAWAYS?

Face masks have been compulsory in shops and takeaways since July.

Anyone who refuses to wear one could see customers forced to fork out over £100 with staff told to report those without one to the police.

Thames Valley and Devon and Cornwall forces have also said officers will only attend such incidents if they turn violent.

Shops are not planning to challenge people going in without them, and will instead use signs and posters to encourage visitors to stay safe.

The rules mean:

BRITS HEADING TO FRANCE FACE 2 WEEK QUARANTINE WHEN THEY ARRIVE AS FRENCH VOW TO FORCE SEL-ISOLATION IN RETALIATION

Thousands of holidaymakers heading to France face a two-week isolation on arrival.

Last night Emmanual Macron plunged thousands of sunseekers into travel chaos by vowing revenge quarantine rules on new arrivals – but no one told the Brits the details.

The move follows yesterday’s announced people arriving in the UK from France after 4am on Saturday will be required to spend 14 days in self-isolation due to rising numbers of coronavirus cases there.

France’s secretary of state for European affairs said the UK decision would lead to “reciprocal measures” across the Channel.

Clement Beaune tweeted: “A British decision which we regret and which will lead to reciprocal measures, all in hoping for a return for normal as soon as possible.”

The French transport minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari also tweeted to say France “regrets the UK decision” and “will apply reciprocal measures”.

He said he wanted to have similar rules in place “to ensure a high level of protection on both sides of the Channel”.

But no information was provided on when it would kick in or how strict it would be.

More on the story here.

UK’S CORONAVIRUS R RATE STABLE – AS EAST ANGLIA CREEPS UP TO 1

The coronavirus R rate remained stable in the UK – with East Anglia creeping up to the crucial one mark.

Areas such as London, the South East and South West have all seen a reduction in the R rate, a sign that the pandemic could be dispersing in those areas.

When the value is below one, it means transmission of the virus is no longer high.

But the reality is the true R rate probably lies somewhere between the upper and lower estimates.

The latest figures published today by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) shows that the rate has stayed the same in many parts of the country.

The rate in the East of England is 0.8-1, up from last week when it had been the only place in the country where the rate fell from 1.

MOSCOW ATTRIBUTES 1,706 DEATHS TO CORONAVIRUS IN JULY

Moscow’s health department said on Friday it had recorded 1,706 deaths related to the novel coronavirus in July, a toll it said helped account for a rise of about 7% in the city’s mortality rate compared to the same month last year.

Moscow, the area worst hit by the pandemic in Russia, said it had recorded 10,773 deaths in July, including 1,706 linked to the coronavirus.

The department identified 742 cases in which the coronavirus had been the main cause of death and said 964 others had died of other causes while testing positive for the virus.

The authorities said last month the deaths of 3,408 people were linked to the coronavirus in June.

With 912,823 cases, Russia has the world’s fourth highest number of infections in the world. The authorities have said that 15,498 people have died from the virus.

FRANCE LIKELY TO IMPOSE RECIPROCAL QUARANTINE ON UK ‘WITHIN DAYS’

France is likely to impose Coronavirus quarantine measures for people arriving from Britain “within days,” a government source in Paris indicated tonight.

It follows the UK insisting that anybody arriving from France from 4am on Saturday will have to spend two weeks self-isolating. 

“Reciprocal arrangements are common in these situations and these are likely within days,” said the French government source.

France is the world’s most popular tourist destination, and the British are one of the biggest visitor groups, meaning the quarantine will have a devastating effect.

Regions such as Brittany, Normandy, the French Riviera and Paris itself are normally packed with Britons in August. 

According to official estimates, some 160,000 Britons are currently trying to leave France before the Saturday deadline, however. 

RISHI SUNAK BEGS BRITS TO EAT OUT & GET BACK TO WORK TO SAVE ECONOMY

The Chancellor is begging Brits to do their bit to help save the economy.

Rishi has told Brits they must return to offices and dine out using the Eat Out to Help Out scheme in order to kick start the economy.

Speaking to the Evening Standard he said: “We all have a vital role to play in our recovery and making sure our economy bounces back as quickly as possible.

“Together we can come out of this crisis thriving and stronger than ever before.”

The Chancellor also praised Londoners for the current low coronavirus rate in the capital.

However, he added, we can now start to move forward and drive London’s “powerhouse economy forward”.

More on the story here.

ARGENTINA STICKS WITH COVID-19 LOCKDOWN FOCUSED IN AND AROUND BUENOS AIRES

Argentina extended until Aug. 30 restrictions taken against the coronavirus, President Alberto Fernandez said on Friday, affirming that the country’s lockdown would continue in its current form in an around capital city Buenos Aires.

The measures, which are more relaxed in less densely populated areas, had been scheduled to expire on Sunday.

“The only medicine we have found so far is to limit the movement of people and the face-to-face meeting of people as much as possible,” Fernandez said.

“The plan worked and it is working, but the risk always exists.”

Argentina has had 276,072 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 5,428 of which have been fatal.

The country’s lockdown began on March 20.

Argentina and Mexico will produce the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for most of Latin America. Its rollout is expected in the first quarter, Fernandez said.

POSITIVE CORONAVIRUS TESTS AT TWO-MONTH HIGH AFTER SANDWICH FACTORY OUTBREAK

Positive coronavirus tests in the UK have hit a two-month high, following an outbreak at a sandwich factory in Northampton.

The daily number published on Friday for positive tests – 1,441 lab-confirmed cases – is the highest since June 14.

Figures show 104 new cases in Northampton were recorded on Monday and another 104 the following day, pushing the town to the top of the list of highest weekly rates in England.

Northampton’s rate shot up to 115.8 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days to August 11 – from 34.7 in the previous seven days to August 4.

On Thursday Northamptonshire County Council said 292 people had tested positive for Covid-19 after an outbreak at Greencore sandwich factory.

Parts of the north of England which have been under local lockdowns for a fortnight have been told they are facing a third week of restrictions.

Households in areas of the North West, West Yorkshire, East Lancashire and Leicester cannot mix indoors, unless they are in a support bubble, and limits remain on numbers meeting outside.

LOCAL COVID-19 MEASURES COULD ‘CAUSE DIVISION AND ECONOMIC DECLINE’

Local measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 could cause divisions across the country and lead to fear and anger among communities, according to scientific advisers.

Restrictions at a local level have the potential to undermine the “we are all in this together” spirit of the national lockdown, according to a paper considered by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) in July.

Behavioural scientists warn that this could lead to feelings of “isolation, fear, anger, stigmatisation and shame” for those in the affected area.

It may also cause a negative long-term economic impact on towns and cities, as places identified as a coronavirus “hotspot” could be avoided over fears of the virus.

Published by the Government on Friday, the document comes as it was announced that large swathes of northern England and Leicester are to remain under tighter coronavirus measures.

The paper by the Independent Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviours (SPI-B) – which provides behavioural science advice to Sage – advises against using the term “local lockdown”, as it implies punishment of that area.

CANADA SAYS NEW WAVES OF VIRUS COULD SWAMP HEALTHCARE SYSTEM, SEND DEATH TOLL SOARING

Canada is planning for a “reasonable worst case scenario” in which new waves of the coronavirus would intermittently swamp the public health system and send the death toll soaring, officials said on Friday.

Under the scenario, there would be a large peak later this year followed by a number of smaller peaks and valleys stretching to January 2022.

Each peak would exceed the health system’s capacity.

The system has so far managed to deal with the outbreak but evidence shows that if it does suffer breakdowns, “the mortality goes up really really high”, chief public health officer Theresa Tam told a briefing.

Tam declined to say what the chances were of the worst case scenario occurring.

Several of Canada’s 10 provinces have reported higher numbers of COVID-19 infections as the economy restarts and restrictions on social gathering are relaxed.

GERMANY DECLARES MOST OF SPAIN AS VIRUS RISK REGION

Germany declared nearly all of Spain, including the tourist island of Mallorca, a coronavirus risk region following a spike in cases there.

The move deals a blow to hopes for a swift revival of mass tourism after months of lockdown all but wiped out this year’s high season in Europe.

The Bild daily had reported earlier that Mallorca had been added to the list of high-risk regions published by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Germany’s public health agency.

The latest version of the RKI’s list on its website said the whole of mainland Spain and the Balearic islands were risk regions.

Designations as risk regions are typically followed by the German Foreign Ministry warning against tourist travel to those areas and mean people returning from there could face a coronavirus test or two weeks’ compulsory quarantine.

The German government considers regions within the European Union high-risk once the number of new coronavirus infections exceeds 50 cases per 100,000 people over the course of seven days.

FRANCE REPORTS YET ANOTHER NEW POST-LOCKDOWN PEAK IN DAILY COVID-19 CASES

The French health ministry reported 2,846 new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours on Friday, setting a new post-lockdown daily high for the third day in a row and taking the country’s cumulative total of cases to 212,211.

The seven-day moving average of new infections, which averages out weekly data reporting irregularities, increased to 2,041, doubling over the last two weeks, and going beyond the 2,000 threshold for the first time since April 20.

EIGHT TOWNS AND CITIES ON BRINK OF LOCAL VIRUS LOCKDOWNS AS NEWARK AND SHERWOOD ADDED TO WATCHLIST

These are the eight towns and cities facing local lockdowns like Manchester and Leicester.

Newark and Sherwood in Notts was added to the government’s ‘watchlist’ today, meaning residents could soon be restricted from seeing their families indoors.

In Newark and Sherwood there are 26.3 Covid cases per 100,000 population – compared to 34 cases per 100,000 in Manchester and 56.3 per 100,000 in Leicester.

The latest data from the Department of Health shows a continued rise in cases in Oldham and Pendle while numbers remain high in Blackburn with Darwen.

A total of 89.7 cases per 100,000 population have been confirmed in Pendle to date, with 82.3 per 100,000 in Oldham and 82.3 per 100,000 in Blackburn with Darven.

They are among 20 towns and cities in Greater Manchester, Lancashire, West Yorkshire and Leicestershire on the government’s Covid hotlist – and where indoor gatherings are banned between different households.

It is likely, that the rise in cases in these areas are partly due to an increase in testing.

More on the story here.

SPREAD OF CORONAVIRUS IN SCHOOLS IS ‘LOW’, HEALTH BOSSES SAY

Transmission of coronavirus in schools appears to be “low”, England’s health bosses have found.

The findings are a massive boost for the government’s mission to get all pupils back to class in September.

The Public Health England report trawled through studies of outbreaks of the bug in classrooms across Europe.

It punctured a massive hole in the myth that kids could be super spreaders of the killer bug.

It found: “Overall evidence consistently suggests that transmission of Covid-19 within school settings may be low, however this is based on a small number of studies and the evidence is considered to be weak.”

RULE-BREAKING LANDLORDS FACE CRACKDOWN OVER CUSTOMER DATA FAILINGS, SAY POLICE

Rule-breaking pub landlords are facing a police crackdown for failing to properly record customers’ details as concerns grow about a rising Covid infection rate in Birmingham.

The latest data showed the second city had a rate of 23.6 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days to August 10 with the trend increasing, according to the NHS Digital progression dashboard.

A climbing rate has caused “concern” among health chiefs, placing Birmingham behind only Sandwell, which to date has been the worst-hit local authority area in the West Midlands.

But during a video-call with journalists on Friday, health bosses said the trend in Sandwell has been decreasing while Birmingham’s is rising.

The focus is now on getting that increase under control, particularly as “thousands of students” will be returning to universities next month, city council leader Ian Ward said.

Clive Wright, a West Midlands regional convenor for the Department of Health and Social Care, said Birmingham’s infection rate rise “right across the city” was down to multiple factors.

He said: “It looks as though it’s a combination of people socialising and not maintaining social distancing and perhaps hospitality settings or other gatherings of people and this may be the underlying problem.”

IRELAND – OUTBREAK IN MUSHROOM FACTORY

A mushroom plant in Co Tipperary, Ireland has suspended operations after a number of workers tested positive for Covid-19.

In a statement, Walsh’s Mushrooms said: “Operations are being suspended after a member of staff was diagnosed with Covid-19 while in self-isolation. Subsequent testing of close contacts has resulted in further positive cases.

“As a business we have stringent measures in place to control Covid-19 since March and we have had no incidence of Covid-19 up to this point.

“We are working with the HSE and all relevant authorities assisting in contact tracing and testing of all staff. We will use the opportunity to deep clean the plant during the temporary closure. Essential maintenance will continue at the facility.

“The safety, well-being and protection of our employees, their families and the local community is our number one priority.”

BRITAIN LINES UP MORE POTENTIAL COVID-19 VACCINE SUPPLIES WITH J&J, NOVAVAX DEALS

The UK will buy potential COVID-19 vaccines from U.S. drugmakers Johnson & Johnson and Novavax Inc, the companies said on Friday, boosting the number of deals it has with drugmakers as the global vaccine race rages on.

Britain and the United States are in the lead with six vaccine deals with drugmakers each, as companies and governments worldwide work overtime to find a vaccine against the pandemic disease.

The latest agreements bring Britain’s total number of doses secured to 340 million, with options for millions more, for a population of 66 million.

Britain said both vaccines could be available by the middle of next year for priority groups, such as such as frontline health and social care workers, ethnic minorities, adults with serious diseases, and the elderly.

The deals cover a wide range of vaccine types currently in development for COVID-19, as Britain seeks to hedge its bets should one or more of the technologies prove ineffective.

GOVERNMENT CONFIRMS 1,441 CASES IN 24-HOUR PERIOD

The Government said in the 24-hour period up to 9am on Friday, there had been a further 1,441 lab-confirmed cases.

Overall, a total of 316,367 cases have been confirmed.

The daily figure for positive tests is the highest since June 14.

The Government also said 41,358 people have died in the UK within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19, as of Friday.

This up by 11 from the day before.

Separate figures published by the UK’s statistics agencies show there have been 56,800 deaths registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.

SCOTLAND – NEW POSITIVE CORONAVIRUS CASE IN CLUSTER LINKED TO ORKNEY FISHING VESSEL

A new positive coronavirus case has been confirmed in the cluster linked to an Orkney fishing vessel, taking the total to six.

The incident management team met on Friday afternoon to discuss progress with contact tracing taking place across NHS Highland, NHS Grampian and NHS Orkney.

It comes after NHS Orkney chief executive Michael Dickson said on Thursday a number of people had developed symptoms and then travelled to their homes across Orkney and to mainland Scotland.

He said at the time that the cluster involves a minimum of nine people.

Louise Wilson, NHS Orkney director of public health, said: “We ask the Orkney community to continue following the physical distancing guidelines.

“Anyone who develops symptoms should self-isolate and contact NHS Orkney for a test.

“This is no time to be complacent but we can prevent the risk of the virus spreading further if we all follow the FACTS guidance.”

EU STRIKES COVID-19 VACCINE DEAL

The European Union (EU) has struck a deal to buy at least 300million doses of AstraZeneca’s potential coronavirus vaccine.

The European Commission said the deal included an option to purchase 100m additional doses from the drugmaker provided its vaccine proves to be safe and effective. 

The exact terms of the deal have not been revealed.

AstraZeneca said in a statement: “This new agreement will give all EU member states the option to access the vaccine in an equitable manner at no profit during the pandemic”. 

NEARLY HALF OF SCOTS WANT ENGLISH TOURISTS BANNED UNLESS THEY QUARANTINE

Nearly half of Scots think English tourists should not be allowed to cross the border unless they go into quarantine due to coronavirus, according to a YouGov poll.

The survey found 47 per cent of people in Scotland wanted visitors from England only to be allowed to enter the country if they undergo a period of self-isolation.

More than half (54 per cent) of SNP voters surveyed said they did not want English tourists to be able cross the border freely, compared to 37 per cent of Scottish Labour voters, and 19 per cent of those who voted for the Conservatives at the 2019 election.

DAILY CORONAVIRUS CASES HIGHEST SINCE JUNE

The Government said in the 24-hour period up to 9am on Friday, there had been a further 1,441 lab-confirmed cases.

Overall, a total of 316,367 cases have been confirmed.

The daily figure for positive tests is the highest since June 14.

The Government also said 41,358 people have died in the UK within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19, as of Friday.

This up by 11 from the day before.

Separate figures published by the UK’s statistics agencies show there have been 56,800 deaths registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.

Read more here.

COVID-19 CASES RISE IN HALIFAX DESPITE NW LOCKDOWN

Coronavirus infections have seen a rise in Halifax in Yorkshire – with some areas now reportedly recording higher rates of infection than hard-hit Leicester.

It comes despite lockdown restrictions being reimposed in the town and across the North West of England in a bid to curb the spread of the bug.

Yorkshire’s Public Director of Health, Debs Harkins, claims that certain areas of the borough of Calderdale now have a higher case rate than parts of Leicester, which became the first region in England to be placed under a local lockdown following a spike in infections.

Government data shows that the area of Pellon West & Highroad Well recorded 26 cases between August 3 and 9, with Pellon East seeing 30 new cases.

In the same period in hard-hit Blackburn With Darwen, the areas with the highest number of cases were Lammack & Revidge and Audley with 17 new infections.

Read more here.

UK’S CORONAVIRUS TRANSMISSION RATES ‘MAY BE INCREASING’

The growth rate of coronavirus transmission, which reflects how quickly the number of infections is changing day by day, has changed slightly across the UK since last week, with early indications the value may be increasing.

Figures published on Friday by the Government Office for Science and the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) has shown the growth rate to be between minus 4% to minus 1, a slight change from between minus 5% to zero last week.

Meanwhile, the reproduction number, referred to as R, for the UK as a whole remains unchanged at between 0.8 to 1.

The R number represents the number of people each Covid-19 positive person goes on to infect.

In England, the R is between 0.8 and 1, but Sage has indicated it is not confident that R is currently below one in the region.

Regional R values also appear to be close to 1.

The estimates for R and growth rate are provided by the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (SPI-M), a subgroup of Sage.

It said: “We are starting to see early indications that these values may be increasing.

“This is not yet reflected in these estimates because the data used to calculate R and growth rate reflect the situation from a few weeks ago.”

GERMANY TO DECLARE MOST OF SPAIN A ‘CORONAVIRUS RISK REGION’

Germany is poised to declare most of Spain a “coronavirus risk region,” following a spike in cases.

The move deals a blow to hopes for a swift revival of mass tourism after months of lockdown to stop the spread of the virus all but wiped out this year’s high season for tourism in Europe.

Daily Bild had reported earlier that Mallorca had been added to the list of high-risk regions published by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Germany’s public health agency.

The sources told Reuters that all of Spain except for the Canary Islands would be included on RKI’s next list of risk regions.

Designations as risk regions are typically followed by the German Foreign Ministry warning against touristic travel to those areas and mean people returning from there face a coronavirus test or two weeks’ compulsory quarantine.

The Balearic islands, off Spain’s northwestern coast, include holiday destinations like Ibiza, among the most popular destinations for north European sunseekers.

The German government considers regions within the European Union high-risk once the number of new coronavirus infections exceeds 50 cases per 100,000 people over the course of seven days.

Infections in Spain have spiked in recent days following the end of Spain’s tough lockdown seven weeks ago.

Friday’s almost 3,000 new cases, little changed from Thursday but about double the average in the first 12 days of August, brought the cumulative total to 342,813 – the highest number in Western Europe.

But the Balearic Islands have some of the lowest daily infections among the Spanish regions. After peaking at around 80 cases in July, they have come down to 9 as reported by the health ministry on Friday.

Spanish authorities earlier on Friday ordered the closure of nightclubs, banned drinking in outdoor public areas and all but outlawed smoking to try to stem the virus resurgence.

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