- London will have tougher restrictions from Saturday, including a ban on households mixing
- Essex, Elmbridge in Surrey, Barrow-in-Furness, York, North East Derbyshire, Erewash and Chesterfield are to be placed in Tier 2
- Discussions on further curbs in Greater Manchester and Lancashire are ongoing
- The World Health Organization says rise of cases in European countries "raises great concern"
- Officials in the US and Germany say the latest upsurge in infections is due to people not observing basic rules
- France is awaiting details of how officials plan to enforce a new curfew and state of emergency
- Restrictions are tightening across the continent - a partial lockdown has begun in the Netherlands
- China has removed two senior officials in Qingdao - site of the latest outbreak
- There are 38.4 million confirmed Covid-19 cases worldwide, with 1.09 million deaths
Welcome to todays’ coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. We’ll be bringing you the latest from around the world and the UK.
Here are the latest headlines:
- Sernior health officials are warning people to observe basic rules. The German health minister and a top US infectious diseases expert say the current upsurge in infections is due to people flouting advice to wash their hands and keep at a safe distance
- Talks are continuing between the UK government and local leaders over the expansion of the strictest coronavirus restrictions to more parts of England. Currently Liverpool is the only area in the top tier, with pubs and bars not serving meals closed.
- France has announced a night-time curfew in Paris and eight other cities to try and curb the spread of the virus. The measure will come into effect from Saturday and last for at least four weeks
- US President Donald Trump’s teenage son Barron contracted coronavirus but has since tested negative, First Lady Melania Trump revealed . Both the president and the first lady also tested positive for coronavirus – as well as other White House staff – but have since recovered
- Two senior officials have been removed from their roles in the Chinese city of Qingdao after an outbreak of the virus there. The city is currently testing every one of its citizens this week – around five million people have been tested so far
- Leading US virologist Dr Anthony Fauci said the US needs to double its efforts to contain the virus during autumn and winter. He told CBS News that cases are surging in 37 states, a rise affecting three-quarters of the country. He warned the surge could be worse due to cross country travel during Thanksgiving
London will move to 'high alert'London will move to the second tier of coronavirus restrictions - a ban on households mixing indoors - from 00:01 on Saturday, local MPs have been told
Germany and US call on people to stick to health guidelinesGermany has reported its highest number of cases since the pandemic began. More than 6,600 infections were reported on Wednesday.
It comes just hours after German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned restrictions would be tightened in high-risk areas.
Health Minister Jens Spahn said more people needed to stick to the rules to keep infections at a manageable level.
"It's important to understand that we are not powerless against this virus. We can do something, we all can make a difference every day," Mr Spahn told Deutschlandfunk radio on Thursday.
It comes as US virologist Anthony Fauci warned that people are not following basic health guidelines such as avoiding crowds, wearing masks and attempting to do things outdoors.
He warned that cases are rising in 37 states and said that Thanksgiving gatherings may be avoided this year to try and stop the spread.
Millions face new curbs in EnglandLocal leaders in Greater Manchester and Lancashire are due to have talks with ministers this morning as millions more people face being included in the expansion of England’s strictest level of coronavirus measures .
So far, Liverpool is the only area to be placed on the “very high” alert level, where pubs and bars which do not serve meals are closed.
Greater Manchester and Lancashire have been under pressure to enter the top tier of restrictions, with Manchester’s mayor Andy Burnham saying he is due to meet the prime minister’s team later.
Most of England is on medium alert, where indoor and outdoor gatherings are restricted to six people indoors pubs and restaurants must close at 22:00.
North-east England, much of the North West and parts of the Midlands, along with West and South Yorkshire are on high alert, which adds a ban on households mixing indoors.
Areas on very high alert face a ban on different households mixing indoors or outdoors in hospitality venues or private gardens, pubs and bars are closed unless they serve substantial meals and there is guidance against travelling in and out of the area.
London 'to move to high alert', says mayorLondon Mayor Sadiq Khan has warned that the capital is on the brink of moving to "high alert" - England's second highest tier of coronavirus restrictions.
Khan said he expected the decision to be taken "very soon, possibly this week", adding that he would support the change, which would mean a ban on households mixing indoors.
But he has written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying the city needs more financial support for struggling businesses if it is to face further restrictions.
The city recorded 1,722 new confirmed cases yesterday and has an infection rate of more than 730 per 100,000 people - the sixth highest of the England's nine regions.
Cases around the worldCoronavirus is continuing its spread across the world, with more than 38 million confirmed cases in 189 countries and more than one million deaths.
The virus is surging in many regions and some countries that had apparent success in suppressing initial outbreaks are also seeing infections rise again.
A reminder that you can check all the data here .
France awaits further curfew detailsThe government in France has announced a night-time curfew for Paris and its suburbs along with eight other cities.
People in Marseille, Lyon, Lille, Saint-Etienne, Rouen, Toulouse, Grenoble and Montpellier will have to remain at home from 21:00 to 06:00.
The measure will come into effect from Saturday, French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Wednesday.
It will be applied for four weeks to begin with and Mr Macron’s government will seek to extend it to six.
A press conference later on Thursday is set to explain how the measures will be enforced.
Residents will need a valid reason to be outside their homes during the hours of curfew, the president said, adding that he understood that a curfew was a "hard" thing to ask people to do.
Essential trips will be permitted. Anyone found breaking the curfew will be fined €135 (£121).
Record infection numbers as Europe tightens restrictionsFrance is digesting news of 21:00 to 06:00 curfews that start in nine cities on Saturday – and President Emmanuel Macron has called for a “rule of six” social bubble at home as well as in public. Paris region president Valérie Pécresse has urged the capital’s workers to switch to working from home “at least three days a week. That’ll really let us bring down the movement of people and the virus too”.
Tougher anti-Covid measures start in Portugal today after a “state of calamity” was declared. Public gatherings are limited to five people and weddings to 50. A record 2,072 cases was announced on Wednesday.
Czechs shut down schools and bars yesterday but infections are still soaring – with a record 9,544 new infections just declared. PM Andrej Babis says special Covid beds will be set up away from hospitals from this weekend,
Chancellor Angela Merkel appealed last night for young Germans “to do without a few parties now in order to have a good life tomorrow or the day after”. Now we hear of a daily record of 6,638 cases. Restrictions will now come in areas where infection rates hit 35 per 100,000 people, and even tighter rules where the rate hits 50. Latest figures suggest several districts in Berlin are among dozens of areas with very high infection rates.
Italy has also recorded its highest number of infections since the start of the pandemic - 7,332 cases. But testing is at least six times higher than in March. PM Giuseppe Conte has pleaded for a “great sense of responsibility”. “We must respect the more restrictive rules now."
Liverpool facing 'a dire situation' in a weekHospitals in Liverpool have 90% of their intensive care capacity taken up by Covid patients and wards are almost at the level of occupancy at the peak of the epidemic, an expert in outbreak medicine has warned.
Prof Calum Semple from the University of Liverpool told BBC Breakfast that he was predicting "quite a dire situation within a week or so" for the city, because measures taken now will not have any effect for about 10 days.
"We’re not even into winter yet and the system is stressed by so many cases," he said. Many NHS staff are off work due to sickness and burnout and the region also faces pressure on other services such as education, fire services, food and fuel deliveries due to illness.
Prof Semple said that in his view Manchester also qualified for the "very high" alert measures, along with several other regions.
Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson told the BBC that many business owners had been "moved to tears and are telling us they simply can’t cope", with some saying they will never reopen after being forced to close.
In addition to pubs and bars, betting shops, gyms, leisure centres and casinos are also closed in the region.
Mr Anderson said he was told "forget about it" when he asked for extra financial support. "It’s not acceptable," he said.
Will Greater Manchester be next on 'very high' alert?The question took a new sense of urgency after Business Minister Nadhim Zahawi appeared to suggest in an interview this morning that the decision to put Greater Manchester in England's highest tier of coronavirus restrictions had already been taken, before clarifying that the decision would be made with local leaders.
He told Sky News that he hoped the region's MPs would "make time for that meeting so they can hear from the chief medical officer, from the deputy chief medical officer, as to why we’re having to take this action".
Asked to clarify if that meant the decision for Greater Manchester had already been taken, he said: "What I’m saying to you is they need to see the data and of course that decision will be made jointly with local leaders.”
Later, he said that he was "not going to speculate" about whether Greater Manchester and Lancashire would be placed on "very high" alert. "Matt Hancock is going to make a statement to Parliament as to where we are at but you can clearly see the numbers, the virus is rising," he said.
Which areas in England go on 'very high' alert and why?Some areas with very high coronavirus rates are not on very high alert at the moment, while Liverpool is.
In the most recent week,
Manchester had the second highest rates in England, placing it ahead of all but one area (Knowsley) in the Liverpool City Region, but it is only high alert.
Similarly, Newcastle upon Tyne, Nottingham, Leeds and Sheffield currently rank higher in case rates than much of Liverpool, but aren't in the same tier as it.
Asked why earlier this week, the Department of Health said the reasons included:
- Number and increase of coronavirus cases
- The positivity rate (or the percentage of tests that come back positive)
- Pressures on the NHS
- Which age groups are being infected
The six local authorities that make up the Liverpool City Region collectively have very high case rates. Meanwhile, the areas that make up Greater Manchester do rank highly, but just a little below those of the Liverpool City Region. And in recent weeks, this case rate has increased quicker in Liverpool than Manchester.
Read the analysis in full here.
What's happening around the UK?
- Local leaders in Greater Manchester and Lancashire are having talks with ministers over the expansion of England’s strictest coronavirus measures to millions more people . London has also warned it faces elevation to “high alert”, the second tier of restrictions, possibly this week
- Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is expected to brief MSPs on the options after short-term restrictions on the hospitality industry end later this month . Scotland is considering its own multi-tier system of alert levels, similar to the one introduced in England
- People from other parts of the UK with high levels of Covid are to be banned from travelling into Wales from tomorrow. The ban is expected to include all of Northern Ireland, England's tier two and three areas and the central belt of Scotland
- Ministers in Northern Ireland are discussing additional financial support as businesses face four weeks of new restrictions from tomorrow . Pubs, restaurants and cafes will only be allowed to offer takeaway and delivery, hairdressers and beauticians must close and gym classes must stop. Schools are closing from Monday
Hong Kong and Singapore announce travel bubble plansHong Kong and Singapore have announced plans for quarantine-free travel between the two locations.
Under the proposed plans, residents of both cities will be required show they have tested negative for the virus. Its thought passengers will be tested the day before travelling.
Passengers must travel on dedicated flights where no transit passengers will be allowed on board.
A date for the travel bubble’s launch has not yet been announced but Singapore’s Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung said he hoped it would start in “weeks”.
Both locations have recorded low coronavirus transmission rates. But experts in Hong Kong have warned of a possible resurgence of the virus in winter.