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Coronavirus - 20th October

Kitkat
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Post by Kitkat on Tue Oct 20 2020, 09:22

Summary for Tuesday, 20th October

  • Greater Manchester to move to tier 3 - very high- alert level from 00:01 on Friday
  • Measures imposed by government after collapse of talks to agree deal with local leaders
  • Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham calls move "brutal" and asks Parliament to intervene
  • Region to get £22m for testing and tracing but no funding agreed for business support
  • But Health Secretary Matt Hancock says an offer of £60m is "still on the table"
  • Number of UK deaths with Covid on the certificate up 38% in a week, ONS figures show
  • Republic of Ireland moving to a new, very high, level of coronavirus restrictions
  • France has reported more than 2,000 people in intensive care - the first time since May


The clock is ticking for Greater Manchester...

There are less than four hours to go until the noon deadline that Greater Manchester leaders have been given to reach a deal with the government over moving the region into tier three coronavirus restrictions.
Talks are ongoing this Tuesday morning. The local leaders want more financial support before agreeing to the move.
But it's thought Prime Minister Boris Johnson could step in to impose the top tier rules if no agreement is reached. We'll bring you the latest on what is decided.

How did Greater Manchester get to this point?


  • There have been 10 days of talks so far between the government and local leaders, including mayors and MPs
  • They have so far resisted the area's 2.8m population moving to the "very high" alert level of tier three, which would mean additional restrictions on households mixing, and the closure of pubs and bars that do not serve meals
  • The local leaders want more financial support before agreeing to the move, with Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham saying the governments needs to better protect low-paid people
  • Last Friday, the prime minister warned he "may need to intervene" if an agreement was not reached
  • And Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has since said he would be advising the PM if there is no deal, and that he would decide on the next steps
  • There is a noon deadline to get to any such agreement, which would include what funding and support was available for people in the region


Ultimatum is a 'provocative' tactic, says Burnham

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Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has been talking this morning about the upcoming deadline.
He said a "late-night ultimatum" of the noon deadline was "slightly provocative" - but that he was "not going to rise to that".
Mr Burnham told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "It is fair to recognise if you put a place under restrictions for as long as we've been under restrictions, it grinds people down, it pushes businesses closer to the brink.
"I've noticed in recent days how London is calling out for support being in tier two - I support people in that call - but I hope people will support us, recognising the position we are in."
It is about "standing up for people and businesses that otherwise are going to be seriously harmed by a lockdown that at this point in time is not fully funded", he said.
"This is about people who work in pubs, who work in bookies, people who drive taxis - generally the people who Westminster politicians ignore," he added.

What are the latest UK figures?

Here are the latest figures, as of Monday afternoon. We'll have another update on the number of UK cases later today.
Coronavirus - 20th October Af308010

Burnham: 'Public support' to fight Covid could be lost

When he was speaking on BBC Breakfast a little earlier, Andy Burnham said he was seeking a resolution with the government - and was not posturing.
The Greater Manchester mayor saidt: "I'm coming along today to say I still want to work to try and get a resolution, but I just hope your viewers will understand that this is not about politics.
"I have the support of Conservative MPs here for what I am saying - it is not posturing."
He confiirmed that - if tougher local restrictions are imposed - he would tell people to follow the law.
But he said: "I do worry that if the government is going to go down this route of imposing these punishing lockdowns on local areas, I think it will lose the public support that it will need to try and help us all as a country rise to the fight against this pandemic this winter."

What else is happening in the UK today?

Hopefully that brings you up to speed with the latest situation in Greater Manchester (and Whitehall). But there is also plenty of other coronavirus news in other parts of the UK.
So what are those other headlines?


Analysis: Friends and enemies in the North

Laura Kuenssberg - Political editor
On Monday evening, the two sides couldn't even agree on what they actually discussed earlier.
Believe the local leaders, and on Monday morning there seemed to be hope in the air. Officials from central government had mooted the possibility of a hardship fund to help support low-paid workers who stand to lose out if businesses close their doors under tighter restrictions.
The message local leaders took from their meeting was that, while the Treasury is adamant they are not going to extend their national furlough scheme - nor increase the level of cash available from its replacement, the Job Support Scheme - Westminster might sign off extra money that could be spent that way, if local politicians saw fit.
There was no concrete agreement on the numbers, but sources in Greater Manchester suggest the cost of supporting those who need the extra help comes in at around £15m a month.
After that call, the consensus among North West leaders was moving in the direction of signing on the dotted line, with another call planned with Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick for the afternoon.
But rather than ushering in a new spirit of co-operation, that meeting went south.
Read more here .

New restrictions planned around Europe

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Bavaria has imposed strict measures in several areas to contain the virus

So how does the UK compare with anti-coronavirus measures being ramped up in other European countries. Here's a round-up of the latest developments in six of our continental neighbours.
A district in Bavaria will go under lockdown from 14:00 (12:00 GMT) this afternoon, the first area of Germany to do so since the spring. You can only leave home in Berchtesgadener Land for shopping, work or other valid reasons. The local infection rate over the past week has hit 272.8 per 100,000.
Compare that rate with Spain’s Navarre region, where infections have hit 945 cases in 100,000 residents. From Thursday, movement in and out of the area will be barred for two weeks and bars and restaurants will close, but takeaways will still be allowed.
Ireland’s strict level 5 measures come into force from midnight tomorrow and the cabinet meets today to consider what extra measures need to be taken. People across the country are being asked to stay at home - you can read more here .
Belgium has had its first night of curfew, allowing only essential movement from midnight to 5am. Another 269 Belgians have been admitted to hospital with Covid-19 in the past 24 hours.
The Italian region of Lombardy has asked the national government to impose a regional curfew from Thursday, amid predictions of a steep rise in use of intensive care beds.
France has reported more than 2,000 people in intensive care for the first time since May. More than half the intensive care beds in the Paris region are in use.
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Post by Kitkat on Tue Oct 20 2020, 09:28

Concern over 'funding gap' in Wales

A gap between the start of Wales' two-week lockdown and the UK government's new Job Support Scheme is a "significant barrier" for firms trying to survive, a business group has warned.
The scheme to cover 67% of workers' wages is not due to start until 1 November - but the "firebreak" in Wales starts on Friday.
The Federation of Small Businesses urged the UK and Welsh governments to work together.
The Treasury said employers could use furlough until the end of October and that there was "no gap in funding".
But CBI Wales director Ian Price warned some people may fall between the cracks of furlough and the Job Support Scheme.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has declined to bring the scheme forward, but the Welsh government said it had offered to pay the difference in the cost of wage support of bringing the JSS forward a week.
Mr Sunak said employees who have been furloughed for at least three weeks in the past can be refurloughed until 31 October.
However, people who have never been furloughed will not be covered.
The firebreak will see pubs, restaurants, cafes and non-essential shops shut for just over two weeks.
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Post by Kitkat on Tue Oct 20 2020, 11:06

The Irish Outlook today :shamrock:

from The Irish Post

The number of coronavirus cases in Ireland has surpassed 50,000 for the first time.
The worrying milestone came as a further 1,031 cases were announced yesterday evening, 19 October, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in Ireland to 50,993 since the pandemic began.
There were no deaths reported however, and the country's death toll remains at 1,852.
Of the newly confirmed cases, 70% are under the age of 45; the cases are spread across the nation, with 235 in Dublin, 232 in Cork, 60 in Galway, 47 in Limerick, 47 in Kerry, and the remaining 410 cases are spread across 21 counties.
Hospitalisations continue to rise, with 298 currently in hospital and 34 in Intensive Care Units. 20 more people were hospitalised in a 24-hour period.
Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan urged citizens to follow public health advice, pleading:
"f you have symptoms of COVID-19, if you are waiting for a test result or if you are a confirmed case, you must self-isolate for 10 days from when you first develop symptoms. Self-isolation means staying in your room, away from other members of your household.
"If you live in a house with a confirmed case do not go to work or school. You must stay at home and restrict your movements for 14 days."
The 14-day incidence rate has risen to 261.7 per 100,000 people, with the highest incidence rate in County Cavan: 824.4 per 100,000.
The confirmation that Ireland has confirmed over 50,000 cases comes as an Taoiseach Micheál Martin announced the entire nation would move to Level 5 restrictions for a period of six weeks from midnight tomorrow.

Enlarge this image Click to see fullsize
Coronavirus - 20th October Mic10
Micheál Martin addressed the nation last night with the confirmation we are moving to Level 5

The new measures sees a return to the lockdown seen in March and April of this year, with some changes, including schools remaining open and a "support bubble" option for single households.
Speaking at a live televised address yesterday, the Taoiseach said schools will remain open as "we cannot and will not allow our children and young people's futures to be another victim of this disease. They need their education."
The new restrictions are expected to last until 1 December, at which point it is hoped the country will move to Level 3, allowing some semi-normality for Christmas.




:shamrock: A Garda investigation has been launched after an officer attended an event while awaiting a coronavirus test result.
The unnamed senior officer had undergone a test for Covid-19 but did not self-isolate; instead he attended a media briefing with multiple journalists.
Shortly after, the officer received a positive result for the virus, potentially infecting those present at the event.
In a statement seen by RTÉ News, An Garda Síochána confirmed an internal inquiry has been launched and the force is in contact with all members of the media who attended the event in order to advise them on the relevant public health advice.
All members of An Garda Síochána have been made aware of public health advice and are aware they must self-isolate when awaiting a test result, a spokesperon said, adding that HSE guidelines had been circulated to all officers on multiple occasions.
Public health measures were in place at the media briefing, including the wearing of face masks and implementation of social distancing rules.
An Garda Síochána said it would "not be providing commentary on the individual status of any members of the force of individual garda stations", however anyone who may be affected by the press briefing would be contacted.
Inquiries continue.



:shamrock: Anyone found breaching the new 5km travel limit could face being handed a hefty fine for their trouble.
The Government is currently discussing the possibility of a penalty system to help enforce Level Five restrictions, and is expected to approve one for travel limit breaches and for anyone caught not wearing a face mask in specific settings.
The legislation will reportedly be given priority status and could come before the Dáil as early as this week.
Level Five restrictions are to be implemented nationwide from midnight on Wednesday, following last night's announcement.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin confirmed that Ireland would remain at Level Five for six weeks, though there would be a review of the situation after four weeks.
He stressed that if people "pulled together over the next six weeks we will have the opportunity to celebrate Christmas in a meaningful way".
Under Level Five, mixing of households and social gatherings are banned, and people must only travel to and from their home for absolutely essential reasons such as food shopping, providing necessary care for others or travelling to work if you cannot work from home.
Only essential retail outlets will remain open during Level Five, while pubs and restaurants will operate on a takeaway basis only.
Schools will remain open under the new rules, despite the Government's Level Five plan initially stating that they would be closed.
Speaking about keeping schools open, Mr Martin said: "This is necessary because we cannot and will not allow our children and young people's futures to be another victim of this disease. They need their education.
"The fact that we have been able to open our schools and keep them open is because of the extraordinary efforts of our administrators, principals, teachers, Special Needs Assistants, parents, childcare providers, cleaners, caretakers, and entire school communities. They too are on the frontline in this crisis and they deserve the gratitude of the entire nation."
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Post by Kitkat on Tue Oct 20 2020, 11:11

Family 'receives more than 60 test and trace calls'

A family says they received more than 60 calls from NHS Test and Trace.
Martin Usborne says a close family contact initially tested positive, followed by his wife Ann and their one-year-old daughter. And then the phone calls started.
Over the course of 10 days, Ann had 30 separate calls from NHS Test and Trace that she picked up - and another 27 calls that she missed. Martin himself received six calls.
"This really was not the easiest situation to deal with, particularly while looking after our two small children," Mr Usborne, from east London, told the BBC.
Some calls were made because Ann had been in close enough contact with a family acquaintance, who works in her home, while others were to tell her that her young girls (one and three years old) had been near the same person.
Read more here.

Sweden seeks new restrictions

Maddy Savage - BBC News, Stockholm
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Yes... we know they have spelt metre in the American English style on this Stockholm sign

Sweden never had a lockdown, but eight months into the pandemic the government has said it’s hoping to introduce a new temporary law which would limit the number of passengers on public transport and in shops.
Retailers could also see their opening and closing times regulated. Minister for Social Affairs Lena Hallengren told Swedish public broadcaster SVT on Monday that there was a need for “more precise tools” to limit activities that can play a role in the spread of Covid-19. She said that the government is aiming to have the new legislation in place by next summer.
The timescale says a lot about both Swedish decision-making and how long rule-makers here think the pandemic is set to last: “It is about restricting people's freedom of movement and freedom of trade, so it must be done very carefully,” said Hallengren.
The announcement comes amid growing media and public debates about rising passenger numbers on buses and trains, despite ongoing recommendations from Sweden’s Public Health Agency for people to work from home if possible.
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Post by Kitkat on Tue Oct 20 2020, 11:15

Manchester MP calls offer 'an insult'

Manchester MP Lucy Powell says the government's response to Greater Manchester this morning was an "insult".
She tweeted: "Where to start with government response to GM this am:"- Not good faith discussion but only 2 ministerial meets."- Been in Tier 2 since July when our rates lower than lowest regions today."- Rates are falling in Mcr and stabilising across region."- £7.85/person offer is insult."

Covid deaths up 38% in a week, death certificates show

Robert Cuffe - BBC head of statistics
There were a total of 11,359 deaths registered in the UK in the week of 9 October, according to the latest figures reported by the Office for National Statistics.
Remember this is the weekly update of all deaths, not just those directly attributed to coronavirus. It is studied by ministers and their scientific advisers just to understand how much of an effect the disease is having on society.
And although we know the deaths of people with coronavirus has been climbing recently, that figure for overall deaths is slightly down on the previous week (by 85) and within the normal range of the last five years.
A total of 474 of these deaths were registered on the death certificates as having involved coronavirus, up by 131 (or 38%) on the previous week’s figures. This figure has roughly doubled over the course of the last two weeks (from 234) and quadrupled over the course of a month (it was 110 four weeks ago).
That figure of 474 is 5% of the peak of 9,495 deaths in a week reached on 17 April. It would take between four and five more doublings to reach that peak.

Drakeford: Wales went for 'shortest possible' firebreak

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Speaking on BBC Breakfast a little earlier, First Minister Mark Drakeford said the Welsh government decided to go for the "shortest possible" lockdown-tightening measures - in part, to reduce the impact on people's mental health.
He said: "It is a very difficult time indeed and it's why, in the end, we decided to go for the shortest possible period of a firebreak - a two-week period.
"But if you're doing it short, you've got to do it deep. There's a trade-off there.
"We could have gone for a longer period with slightly fewer restrictions but, in the end, the advice to us - partly because of the impact on people's mental health - was that if you could keep this period of time as short as you could, that would help to mitigate that impact."
The firebreak - as Welsh politicians have consistently called it - is from 23 October to 9 November.
Drakeford has warned the impact will not be felt until after it is over.
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Post by Kitkat on Tue Oct 20 2020, 11:24

UK airport coronavirus 'rapid testing' begins

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Passengers flying from London's Heathrow Airport to Hong Kong and Italy on Tuesday will be the first to have the option of paying for a rapid Covid test at the airport before checking in for their outward flight.
The test will cost £80 and the result is guaranteed within an hour.
The aim is to help people travelling to destinations where proof of a negative result is required on arrival.
A growing number of countries have classified the UK as being "at risk", meaning travellers from the UK face more restrictions.
The rapid saliva swab, which is now available at Heathrow Terminals 2 and 5, is known as a Lamp (Loop-mediated Isothermal Amplification) test.
British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Cathay Pacific will offer it to customers.

Fears over self-employed workers on Welsh border

Self-employed workers in rural areas of England near the Wales border could be badly affected by Wales' "firebreak" measures - but miss out on Welsh government lockdown support measures, it is feared.
Heather Kidd, a Liberal Democrat who represents Chirbury and Worthen on Shropshire Council, told BBC Radio Shropshire the nearest towns for most people in her patch are in Powys. Some workers get most of their income in and around Welshpool and Newtown, she added.
She said she was particularly concerned about self-employed workers lsuch as hairdressers and cleaners "who work either side of the border and some of them solely in Wales".
She added: "There is financial provision put in place for quite a lot of those in Wales, but that's not true for our side of the border."

What's happening elsewhere in the world?

As restrictions tighten in the UK and Europe, here's a look at how the battle with coronavirus is faring in other parts of the world.

  • Argentina is now the fifth country in the world to record more than a million confirmed cases of Covid-19, with nearly 13,000 infections in 24 hours
  • New infections are increasing rapidly in the US , with cases trending upwards in 48 out of 50 states. Friday saw nearly 70,000 new cases, the highest number in a single day since July
  • India has recorded its lowest single-day rise in the number of confirmed cases in nearly three months. Health ministry data show the figure fell below 50,000 for the first time since July.
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Post by Kitkat on Tue Oct 20 2020, 11:46

:shamrock:
The news that Ireland is facing up to six weeks of another full lockdown hasn't exactly sat well with everyone.
Harry Brent - Irish Post

Last night, Taoiseach Micheál Martin announced that the country was to crank up its Covid-19 restrictions - with the majority of Ireland leapfrogging Level Four altogether and skipping straight to Level Five, without passing Go.

Social media users were quick voice their displeasure, and while some saw the (tragically) funny side, most people were ... understandably, a little bit miffed by the news.

The announcement was met with the concern for the economy, for people's jobs, for Christmas and for the inevitable return of Zoom quizzes.

One Twitter user sarcastically waved goodbye to not only the economy, but also his mental state, ahead of over a month of full lockdown - which didn't exactly sort everything out back in the Spring, he claims.
Tweet  Nathan Heaney:
:Left Quotes:  Good bye economy  good bye stable mental health good bye stable ireland hello level 5 which didn’t even work the last time #IrelandLockdown #level5

Another user was similarly pessimistic about the news: "6 weeks and then we have Christmas to go absolutely wild to save everybody's mental state/soul… Lockdown in January to recover in time for St. Patrick's Day. THAT IS THE ROADMAP."
Tweet  MARK D WAN:
6 weeks and then we have Christmas to go absolutely wild to save everybody's mental state/soul... Lock down in January to recover in time for St. Patrick's Day.

THAT IS THE ROADMAP.

One user questioned the Government's decision to keep airports and schools open, letting the virus "spread unchecked through the community", while allowing more people to lose their jobs as the economy slams shut once again.
Tweet  Michael Perdue:
:Left Quotes: Ireland goes to Level 5..basically putting more SBO on the scrapheap and more people out of work even though they are not the problem - the real prob is keeping airports and schools open to let the virus spread unchecked through the community
baffling #IrelandLockdown

Others, however, tried their very best to see the funny side.
Tweet  Nial Finegan:
As #Ireland heads into 6 weeks of Level 5 #lockdown
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Post by Kitkat on Tue Oct 20 2020, 11:49

'Light at the end of tunnel' for vaccine

A professor has said there is "light at the end of the tunnel" for hopes of the UK getting a vaccine for Covid-19.
Peter Openshaw, professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme earlier "I'm really quite optimistic.
"I think there is light at the end of the tunnel, in that there are so many trials of vaccines going on under very, very well-controlled conditions.
"I would be surprised if some of those vaccine studies don't report this side of Christmas."
Some of those vaccines have already been purchased and batched up ready for distribution if they are found to be effective in phase three of trials, he added.
"So I think that that will be limited stocks of vaccine which are going to be available for the most high-risk people in the early part of next year," he said.
"But of course there won't be sufficient vaccine to roll out a full vaccination programme; we need to take it stepwise and be cautious."

Polish healthcare 'stretched to limit'

Adam Easton - Warsaw Correspondent
Poland, meawhile, has seen daily case numbers double in the space of a week - with 9,291 new Covid-19 infections reported in the most recent 24-hour period.
That is 16 times more than the highest reported in spring’s first wave and means the outbreak is stretching the country’s public health care system to the limit, officials admit.
Nearly 9,000 hospital beds are now in use by Covid-19 patients, so the health ministry is raising the number of beds available to around 15,000 - some individual hospitals are already reporting shortages.
On Saturday, work began on the country’s first temporary hospital - 500 beds are being installed in the conference rooms of the country’s biggest arena, Warsaw’s National Stadium.
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has ordered preparations be made to create temporary hospitals in all 16 of Poland’s regions. Private clinics are to make beds available for Covid patients and soldiers are to staff drive-through testing points.
There were 107 virus-related deaths in the same 24-hour period. Poland has reported 192,539 cases and 3,721 deaths overall.
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Post by Kitkat on Tue Oct 20 2020, 11:53

New figures show more than 59,000 virus deaths registered in UK

More now from that weekly drop of figures from the Office for National Statistics in England and Wales and their counterparts in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Tuesday's are always the day we get the latest update for death registrations that mention coronavirus as a possible cause of death, which is one of the three measures the government is using to monitor the effect of the pandemic.
We now know that figure is creeping towards 60,000, at least based on these figures which always lag a few days behind and are only updated once a week.
Firstly in England and Wales there have been 53,863 deaths up to 9 October where Covid-19 was cited among the causes.
Figures published last week by the National Records for Scotland showed that 4,301 deaths involving Covid-19 had been registered in Scotland up to October 11, while 915 deaths had occurred in Northern Ireland up to October 9 according to the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency.
Together, these figures mean that so far 59,079 such deaths have been registered in the UK.
There are two other ways of counting the death toll from coronavirus. The government, via the NHS, separately counts people who tested positive for the virus and died within 28 days. That figure is updated daily and is currently standing at 43,726.
The third way looks at all UK deaths over and above the number usually expected for the time of year - known as excess deaths.

Social media influencer who denied Covid dies of it

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A Ukrainian fitness influencer who denied the existence of Covid-19 has died of the disease, leaving behind his bereaved ex-wife – who is also a social media celebrity in their country - and their three young children.
Dmitriy Stuzhuk, 33, died of heart failure at the weekend and was kept in a sealed coffin – contrary to Ukrainian tradition – with numbers of mourners restricted to avoid infection.
In his final Instagram post he told his 1.1m followers he wanted to “firmly warn everyone: I too thought that there was no Covid, that it was all relative – until I got sick”. Then he wrote “COVID-19 IS NOT A PASSING SICKNESS! It’s serious”.
On the second day of a trip to Turkey, he wrote, he woke up with a swollen neck and difficulty breathing.
On returning to Ukraine, he tested positive for the virus, but decided to stay at home with an oxygen supply rather than go into hospital, as he feared poor-quality treatment in the struggling health service.
His ex-wife Sofia Stuzhuk, a fashion guru with 5.2m Instagram followers, paid him warm tribute. She wrote: “We went through so much together – you were by my side through sadness and joy, you taught me so much."
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Post by Kitkat on Tue Oct 20 2020, 11:57

German Alpine paradise locks down

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Parts of Germany have been introducing stricter measures in recent weeks

A district in the German state of Bavaria famous for its stunning Alpine scenery is going under lockdown, the first in the country to do so since the spring.
As of 14:00 local time this afternoon, residents of Berchtesgadener Land will only be able to leave home for shopping, work or other valid reasons.
Schools, restaurants, bars, theatres, gyms, cinemas and hotels will be closed, but church services will be allowed.
The local infection rate over the past week has hit 272.8 per 100,000.
Bavarian Agriculture Minister Michaela Kaniber said the measures would last two weeks.

Starmer calls on MPs to back free school meal plea

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has urged Tory MPs to back Marcus Rashford's call to extend free school meals over the holidays.
He said on Twitter: "Over a million children could go hungry over half-term and Christmas holidays if free school meals aren't extended.
"Conservative MPs must listen to campaigners, including Marcus Rashford and vote with Labour tomorrow to extend free schools meals."
It comes after a government minister claimed parents would prefer to pay a "modest amount" for children's food at a holiday club, rather than have the label of a free school meal.
Business Minister Nadhim Zahawi also said Universal Credit is available to support hard-pressed families.
Footballer Rashford successfully campaigned to have meals provided to schoolchildren in need during summer holidays. He now wants this to be extended.
Labour is forcing a Commons vote on the extension of free school meals to eligible children after the government refused to prolong the scheme through the October half-term break.


The clock ticks down to 12 for Manchester

Ok, with midday approaching, we'll turn our focus back to the stand-off between the Westminster government and local political leaders in Greater Manchester...
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Post by Kitkat on Tue Oct 20 2020, 12:00

11:55

The deadline is imminent, the language is strong


Chris Mason - Political Correspondent
With just minutes to go until the government's deadline for Greater Manchester to reach an agreement with ministers, Chancellor Rishi Sunak is facing questions in the Commons.
And it's a fiery one: Andrew Gwynne, the Labour MP for Denton and Reddish, has just thundered into his laptop: "Why does this government hate Greater Manchester?"
Appearing remotely, he was clearly furious at the ongoing impasse.
Mr Sunak insisted the government didn't [hate anyone] and wanted to discuss things constructively.

Everywhere being treated the same, says Sunak

In his response to Andrew Gwynne, Rishi Sunak:says: "Greater Manchester is being treated exactly the same as every part of our United Kingdom."
He adds that it is disappointing to hear Gwynne's tone.
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Post by Kitkat on Tue Oct 20 2020, 13:29

12:05

We're waiting for news on Manchester... but is the government?

It's now a few minutes past midday, which means the deadline has passed for Greater Manchester leaders to reach an agreement with the government.
The two sides have been in talks over whether Manchester will move to tier three Covid restrictions - the highest level. Local leaders want better financial support from the government.
We're yet to hear whether any deal has been reached. Our man in the Commons, Iain Watson, says that he has not heard anything yet - but it "could be that they are still talking".
Earlier, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said the PM would decide on the next steps if the two sides cannot agree.

Lots of questions from people in Manchester

It's fair to say that, amid the row between Manchester's local leaders and the government over whether the city will move to the top tier of lockdown rules, people are feeling uncertain.
The BBC is receiving lots of questions about the differences between the tiers and what you can and can’t do.
Some of them are coming in from people in Manchester.
"I’m due to go on holiday to Cornwall on Friday. Should I pack my suitcase or shouldn’t I?" asks Lynsey.
"Living in Manchester, when will the tier three restrictions come into force? If they are from midnight on Friday and I’ve already arrived at my holiday destination at the point am I OK to stay on holiday?"
Meanwhile, Barry Fitzgerald asks: "I live in Scotland, and I'm getting married there on Saturday. Can my son attend from Greater Manchester if they go into tier three?"
We've got answers to thoee and other questions here. One of them addresses whether, if you live in tier two or three where household mixing is banned, you can meet someone who lives in tier one in a restaurant in their neighbourhood.
Spoiler alert: the answer is no.

First Minister gives update on Scotland figures

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is giving her daily update on coronavirus.
A further 1,456 people have tested positive for Covid-19, but this number of tests includes some test results delayed over the past few days, a backlog which will also affect tomorrow's numbers and make them seem higher than would be expected.
It takes the total number of positive cases in Scotland to 49,164, she says.
There are currently 824 people in hospital, up 70 from the previous day, including 69 in intensive care. That's eight more than yesterday.
There have been another 15 deaths of people who'd tested positive within 28 days previously, bringing the total number of deaths to 2,625.
Ms Sturgeon says this figures remind us of the "devastating impact this virus is continuing to have" on families across Scotland.
She also says she will always highlight any delays or backlogs in reporting the test numbers, saying that is why she has been "talking at length" about it.

12:37

No news on agreement, as people gather in Manchester

Dan Johnson - BBC News correspondent in Manchester
We're not hearing anything here.
No sign that there's been a deal and the word from Robert Jenrick, the communities secretary, last night was that if there wasn't an agreement with local leaders by midday then he would put the issue back to the prime minister.
It would then be the prime minister's decision whether to actually impose local restrictions without an agreement across Greater Manchester.
So we presume that is the conversation that is now taking place but no result has filtered through to people here.
Just outside Manchester's central library, there are actually people standing here gathering, perhaps waiting to see whether if any of the local politicians are going to make an appearance and perhaps address them.
We know that Andy Burnham, the mayor of the city regions, has been meeting with other local council leaders from the boroughs across Greater Manchester this morning.
They were discussing what sort of financial package they thought would be acceptable to accompany these measures.
Now we don't know if they were able to agree a figure that they could then put to the government and say 'if you can come up the money, we will agree to the restrictions'.
We've not had any word yet on whether they reached that sort of agreement, whether that's even been put to the government
The lack of any sort announcement or clear way forward, having passed that midday deadline, would suggest there has been no sort of agreement made just yet.

12:51

Prime Minister speaks to the Mayor... and will speak to nation

Chris Mason - Political Correspondent
Us political reporters have just had our daily briefing with the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman.
We learned that - within the last half-hour - the Prime Minister has spoken to the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham.
We were also told that Boris Johnson will hold a news conference at 5pm today, with Stephen Powis, the national medical director for NHS England and Prof Jonathan Van-Tam, one of England's deputy chief medical officers. Expect to see that on BBC One.

Important to book a test as soon as possible - Sturgeon

Back at Nicola Sturgeon's daily Scottish briefing, she took time to stress how important it is for people to book tests as soon as they develop Covid symptoms - rather than waiting to see if they persist, as people might do with other illnesses.
She called for people to "err on the side of caution" if they have any symptoms and book a test immediately. That is to allow Test and Protect to begin the process of tracing as soon as possible.
The first minister said any delay in going for a test makes it harder for Test and Protect to ask people to self-isolate before they potentially spread the virus to other people.
She also ran through other ways people must play their part - including wearing masks, and not visiting others' homes other than in very specific circumstances.
She said: "That's a tough restriction, possibly the toughest of all, but it's a really important way we can stop the virus jumping from one household to another."

Single new Covid-19 case identified in Guernsey

BBC Radio Guernsey
Public health officials are tracing the origins of a new case of Covid-19 identified in Guernsey.
They said it was not immediately clear where the case had come from but it was the only known active case on the island at present.
The employer of the person had chosen to close their premises temporarily, in line with their own policies as a precaution, they added.
Director of Guernsey Public Health Dr Nicola Brink said while it was unusual to not have an immediately obvious source, health bosses had a robust track and trace team so they hoped to have a clearer answer soon.
Tweet  States of Guernsey:
We now have 1 (known) active case of COVID-19 in the Bailiwick. Please go to http://covid19.gov.gg/test-results for updates on the latest COVID-19 testing results.
Coronavirus - 20th October Ekw9d010
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Post by Kitkat on Tue Oct 20 2020, 18:34

Who is Andy Burnham?

Coronavirus - 20th October 1f66a810
While other ex-Labour ministers can be found on the backbenches or the set of Strictly, Andy Burnham has found a new political power base

He's been dubbed "the King of the North" by one of Manchester's bars, but who is Greater Manchester's mayor Andy Burnham?
Well, we've got a potted history of Mr Burnham - who was once a rising star in New Labour and twice a defeated contestant for the party's leadership.
He joined the Labour Party aged 15, having partly been politicised by the miners' strikes of the 80s as well as the TV series Boys from the Blackstuff - a drama about unemployed men in Liverpool.
He served in Jeremy Corbyn's shadow cabinet, but stepped down to run for the mayoralty of Greater Manchester - a position he won in 2017 with 63% of the vote.
Read more about the mayor here.

London mayor calls for 10pm pub closing time to be axed

Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, has called for the 22:00 early closing time for pubs and restaurants in the capital to be scrapped.
He says now the city is under tier two coronavirus rules - high alert - those businesses should be supported by being allowed to stay open later.
"I have said for a while that the current curfew rule needs to be rapidly reviewed," he said in a statement.
"We saw the worrying consequences of increased social mixing on the streets and on public transport in the capital around 10pm immediately after its introduction.
"Now London and other parts of the country have moved into Tier 2 and higher restrictions, which prohibit household mixing, the current 10pm curfew policy makes even less sense and should be scrapped.
"Immediately scrapping the 10pm curfew would allow more sittings of single households in restaurants throughout the evening, helping with cashflow at a time when venues need all the support they can get."

Thousands of residents demand being taken out of Liverpool tier three

We've heard a lot from Manchester today - but there's also some resistance to the restrictions that have been introduced in the Liverpool City Region.
Thousands of people in Halton have asked for their area to be removed from tier three - the highest level.
The petition - backed by 3,400 - argues Halton and the wider Runcorn area should be governed by Cheshire's rules.
It asks the government to "take us out of the Liverpool City Region and put us in medium lockdown where we belong".
There's more on this story here.
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Post by Kitkat on Tue Oct 20 2020, 18:38

13:52

PM and Burnham 'back in talks'

It seems there is some movement on the impasse between Greater Manchester and Westminster.
BBC Newsnight's policy editor Lewis Goodall tweeted in the past half hour that he understands a second phone call between Boris Johnson and Andy Burnham was arranged and it has indeed been taking place.
He explains: "It seems an offer was made to Greater Manchester in the first call which Burnham has discussed with GM leaders and is now giving PM their view about it."
Our correspondent has since followed that up with further news that Burnham has since spoken again to Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick.

Breaking News 

No agreement with Greater Manchester, but Tier 3 will be imposed

Chris Mason - Political Correspondent
The Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick says:
“I’m disappointed that despite recognising the gravity of the situation, the mayor has been unwilling to take the action that is required to get the spread of the virus under control in Greater Manchester and reach an agreement with the government. I have therefore advised the prime minister that these discussions have concluded without an agreement."
We understand Tier 3 restrictions - the highest level - will now be imposed. All pubs and bars, unless they are serving substantial meals, as well as betting shops, casinos, bingo halls, adult gaming centres, and soft play areas will be closed for a month.
We don't yet know when this period will begin.

'Greater Manchester wanted £5m more'

BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg says she is hearing the government was willing to offer Greater Manchester £60m to support business under tier three measures - but Greater Manchester leaders wanted to push for £65m.
Now limits are being imposed and the region will get less than £60m - although it is not yet clear what the amount on offer will actually be, she adds.
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Post by Kitkat on Tue Oct 20 2020, 18:42

Why the government 'wouldn't budge'

Iain Watson - Political correspondent
Greater Manchester will be the first area in England to have restrictions imposed, says BBC political correspondent Iain Watson.
He says he does not believe they will be imposed "imminently" - with the area being given time to adjust.
He says the government initially offered £55m in business support to help those on lower incomes laid off work. They then accepted that wasn't "entirely proportionate" with the population so increased it to £60m, which was rejected by Greater Manchester leaders.
Then, says our correspondent, in the phone call between Andy Burnham and Boris Johnson, the figure of £65m was put forward by the local leaders - who had initially argued £75m was needed.
But, it seems, the government "wouldn't budge" and there was a £5m gap, leading to a breakdown in the talks.
The reason the government has been sensitive about giving more money is that they are in talks with other regions about restrictions - if it looked like Greater Manchester was being made a "special case", others could ask for more money, or might see the package already offered as unfair.

Scotland expected to get tiered system of rules from 2 November

You must be familiar with the arguments over the tiered coronavirus restrictions in England by now - and now Scotland is set to adopt a similar plan.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said she expects to be able to announce her plans for a tiered system on Thursday or Friday.
At her daily briefing earlier, she said if the plan was approved by the Scottish Parliament, the new system would come into effect on Monday 2 November.
She said some areas may face stricter measures than those currently in force in the central belt of the country - which covers Edinburgh and Glasgow - where licensed hospitality venues have been temporarily closed.
"It's important we get it as right as possible," she said. "It's equally important, given what we're dealing with, that we don't become an absolute prisoner of any framework because we need to retain a degree of flexibility."
Read more from Ms Sturgeon's briefing here.

New trauma support service for NHS critical care staff

Rachel Schraer - BBC Health Reporter
NHS England says it plans to set up a new national support service for critical care staff who are "most vulnerable to severe trauma".
It has pledged £15m in total to get health workers access to faster mental health assessment and treatment.
Most of that will come from within existing local mental health services – the aim is to better connect NHS staff with those services and perhaps fast-track them through the system.
NHS England's mental health director Claire Murdoch said she had asked mental health trusts back in April to look at the psychological needs of other NHS staff in their area.
Most now had a system in place to rapidly assess staff, she said, with the new funding helping to "shore this up and build on it".
But the new critical care support service could mean staff are identified even if they don’t refer themselves, and could be offered specialist trauma treatment if they are experiencing more extreme mental health effects.
It’s been flagged before that NHS staff might need care for years after the trauma of the pandemic – and the health service is having to manage those needs at a time when the trauma is very much still ongoing.
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Post by Kitkat on Tue Oct 20 2020, 18:46

Greater Manchester source: 'We costed what people needed'

Laura Kuenssberg - Political editor
A Greater Manchester source said: "We had costed what people needed. Rather than give us what people needed, they were only willing to give us what they would offer."
But government sources have suggested that Andy Burnham was intransigent. One source said: "Other local leaders in Greater Manchester were more reasonable and constructive but Burnham was too proud to make a deal."
In response, a Greater Manchester source said there had been "unanimity", adding: "They were trying to grind us into submission."
Greater Manchester leaders originally submitted a request for £90m which had been costed by a former Treasury official.
They then discussed £75m with government officials this morning, which would have covered the period until the end of the financial year,,before shifting to a request of £65m.

Manchester Police are on the thin blue line

Potential tough weeks ahead for frontline officers
Dominic Casciani - Home Affairs Correspondent
Tier three restrictions for Greater Manchester won't just effect the people and the businesses - the police may also find themselves between a rock and a hard place.
They must enforce the lockdown - and the national policing strategy since March has been to "encourage" people to comply, rather than dish out fines all day long.
That fits with the principle of policing by consent - but this situation is unprecedented. Greater Manchester Police will have to enforce a form of lockdown that is opposed by its locally-elected leaders, including the Mayor Andy Burnham, because of what they believe is inadequate support for the region's workers and economy.
Mr Burnham has responsibility for the local police force itself - and a lot of people support his position. The law is clear - if a region is placed inside tier three, the rules must be followed. Ministers have also just given GMP £1,733,541 to cover the costs of visible patrols to ensure members of the public are complying with restrictions.
The question is whether GMP will find people flatly refusing to comply because they've taken their lead so far from the mayor, rather than a prime minister whom they regard as remote from the reality of their lives.

'Tier 3 will decimate businesses', says Greater Manchester MP

Andrew Gwynne, MP for Denton and Reddish in Greater Manchester, told the BBC News Channel: "It would have been nice to have reached a conclusion that both met the public health challenge facing Greater Manchester but also the very severe economic challenge that is facing Greater Manchester.
"Because, let's not forget, this isn't a new imposition of lockdown measures on Greater Manchester. We've had them in place since 29 July when the government put us into local lockdown measures.
"It has been a long and hard summer for many businesses and without the additional support, tier three is going to decimate many of those businesses that have just about clung on for the last 12 weeks. And with it, people will be losing their jobs [ahead of] a very uncertain dark and long winter."
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Post by Kitkat on Tue Oct 20 2020, 18:50

Swedish university city faces tougher measures

Maddy Savage - BBC News, Stockholm
People living in the Swedish university city of Uppsala and the surrounding area have been advised against any physical contact with those they don’t live with, organising or attending private parties and taking public transport for the next two weeks.
Shops and sports venues have also been asked to take steps to avoid overcrowding.
Uppsala, where there has been an uptick in Covid-19 cases in recent weeks, is the first part of the country to introduce stricter local coronavirus recommendations.
Sweden has largely relied on voluntary measures to slow the spread of the virus, alongside a ban on public gatherings of more than 50 people, table service at bars and restaurants and, until the start of this month, a ban on visits to elderly care homes.
The move in Uppsala comes after Sweden's regional health authorities were given increased powers on Monday to ask the Swedish Public Health Agency for stricter regional guidelines.
Sweden’s Minister for Health and Social Affairs Lena Hallengren also announced on Monday that the government is hoping to pass a new temporary national law which would formally limit the number of people on transport and in shops.
But she suggested this would not be in place until the summer.

Call for investigation into Cummings council tax decision

The leader of Durham Council has called for an investigation into the decision not to charge the prime minister’s adviser Dominic Cummings and his family backdated council tax.
A home was built without planning permission on Mr Cumming’s father’s farm on the outskirts of Durham. The Valuation Office Agency also waived a council tax bill on a second converted property on the same site.
Councillor Simon Henig says the agency’s decision to not claim unpaid council tax dating back to 2002 must be investigated.
Mr Cummings travelled from London to Durham in March after his wife became ill with suspected coronavirus. He stayed in a property in the grounds of his father’s house, North Lodge.
Durham Council says it’s started collecting three sets of council tax in respect of North Lodge from the start of this month.

Tier 3 move 'catastrophic' for Blackpool, says businesses

Usually, three million visitors head to Blackpool's Golden Mile seafront in the last two weeks of October for it's illuminations.
It's usually the seaside towns' "busiest" fortnight, locals say.
But this year, tourism bosses at Blackpool Council say the restrictions - with the area now in the highest tier - have been "catastrophic" and visitor numbers have plummeted.
Colin Sinderson operates Blackpool Cinderella Carriages along the promenade.
"It's dead," he said. "We're down 90% on our takings. Nobody's here."
Read more here.
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Post by Kitkat on Tue Oct 20 2020, 18:56

Collapse of talks is 'government failure' - Starmer

Coronavirus - 20th October 146bee10

Labour leader Keir Starmer says the collapse of talks between Greater Manchester leaders and the government is "a government failure".
He says: "The Conservatives have been treating local communities, particularly in the Midlands, North West and North East, and their leaders with contempt.
"Labour recognise the need for stricter public health restrictions. However, that must be accompanied by extra financial support.
"Labour will continue to support Andy Burnham in the fight for people's jobs, lives and livelihoods."
A reminder that we are expecting to hear from Starmer's Labour colleague Burnham in his role as Greater Manchester mayor in a few minutes.

Burnham: Restrictions affect those 'too often forgotten'

Greater Manchester's mayor Andy Burnham is giving a press conference outside Bridgewater Hall in Manchester.
Talks collapsed earlier between him and the government over whether the region will enter tier three - the highest level of coronavirus lockdown restrictions.
It's now expected that Greater Manchester will move up to tier three - the first region to have restrictions imposed on it, rather than agreeing.
Mr Burnham is joined by leaders of some of Manchester's councils and says it "reflects the unity" in Manchester
People here have been living under restrictions for three months, he says - and it's taken "a heavy toll"
"To accept any further restrictions would be certain to increase levels of poverty, homelessness and hardship," he says.
People "too often forgotten by those in power" are most affected, he says.

Government walked away from our £65m request

Mr Burnham says "it cannot be right to close people's place of work" without giving them proper support so they can look after themselves.
"We could only accept further restrictions with further financial support," he says.
He says he and other local leaders in Manchester put forward a costed and detailed package of measures "to support people on the lowest incomes" and asked for £50m a month.
Mr Burnham says the money would top up people's salaries to 80%.
"This would cost £90m to the end of the financial year," he says.
He says they were prepared to reduce it to £70m and then to £65m.
"Not what we wanted, what we needed," he adds.
"But the government refused to accept this. At 2 o'clock today they walked away from negotiations," he says.

'It's not just about Greater Manchester', says Burnham

Burnham says he does not believe we can proceed by "grinding communities down".
"We are asking a lot of the public at this difficult time and we need to carry them with us, not crush their spirit.
"We need national unity and that is why I now look to Parliament to intervene and make a judgement on a fair financial framework for tier-three lockdowns.
"Because make no mistake, this was not just about Greater Manchester. All parts of the country may find themselves in a tier-three lockdown at some point this winter."

'Obey the law and follow health advice,' urges Burnham

Burnham ends with a message addressed directly to the people of Greater Manchester, as he acknowledges the uncertainty felt over the last week, saying: "I know this is going to be a difficult time for you."
He says: "We took this stand for you. We will carry on fighting for you. We will carry on putting your health first. But health is more than the virus. We will support people's health in the broadest possible sense.
"So tough days lay ahead. Please, everybody, observe the law at all times and follow the public health advice. Above all else, please look out for each other, as I know you will."

Both sides accuse the other of not budging

Kevin Fitzpatrick - BBC North West political editor
A rollercoaster week of talks came to a juddering halt over £5m.
After tense meetings, a midday deadline and a threat to impose tier three anyway, all signs pointed to a deal when Greater Manchester’s leaders were offered £60m to help businesses forced to close.
It’s similar, proportionate to population, to what Lancashire and Liverpool City Region had received.
But when the leaders went back for £5m more, ministers said no and the talks quickly broke up.
Both sides accuse the other of refusing to budge as a public battle to pin blame gets under way.
And all the while 2.8 million residents of Greater Manchester anxiously await their fate under tougher restrictions.
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Post by Kitkat on Tue Oct 20 2020, 19:01

Further 241 deaths announced in the UK

A further 21,331 coronavirus cases in the UK have been announced by the government, taking the UK's total to 762,542.
The official figures also announce a further 241 deaths.
These include 213 in England, 15 in Scotland, 10 in Wales and three in Northern Ireland.

Where can you go on holiday without quarantining?

BBC Explainers
In early summer, travellers from the UK could visit popular holiday destinations such as Spain, Italy and France without having to quarantine.
But rising coronavirus rates mean there are now only a handful of places travellers from England can visit without facing quarantine or other restrictions - either when they arrive at their destination, or return.
These destinations include Greece (apart from Mykonos), Gibraltar and Sweden.
Testing passengers for coronavirus could be one way to make travel to more destinations possible, by providing proof of a negative result.
Heathrow, for example, has started offering an £80 coronavirus test for travellers to Hong Kong, which requires a recent negative test for entry from the UK.
Read more about where you can visit without quarantining.


Problem area now extends from coast to coast - Van-Tam

England's deputy chief medical officer, Jonathan Van-Tam, says the shading on these maps shows the dark purple "problem area" has "extended from coast to coast now".
But he says "the rate of change is more variable".Coronavirus - 20th October 3125f610

Over-60s worry us most - Van-Tam

Talking about the spread of the virus among the over-60s, Prof Van-Tam says the purple areas have increased.
"I really want to emphasise that it is the over-60s that really worries us most," he says.
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Post by Kitkat on Tue Oct 20 2020, 19:08

Infections increasing among older age groups - Van-Tam

Prof Van-Tam says the rate of new cases is "a contrasting game of two halves".
While the weekly case rate among younger age groups has declined, he says there is "continuing increase" among older age groups.
"This really shows us now that the infections which have ceded in the younger age groups are now penetrating those older age groups as we go forwards in time," he says.

Greater Manchester to enter tier 3 from early hours of Friday - PM

Boris Johnson now takes over.
He says Greater Manchester will move to the very high alert level -tier three.
He says this mean pubs and bars will close unless they are serving substantial meals and he strongly advises people against travel into and out of the area.
These new measures will come into force on Friday just after midnight, he says

'A rolling pitch for the PM on Manchester'

Jessica Parker - BBC political correspondent
We’ve heard the case made for further restrictions in Greater Manchester before and we’ve heard it again today.
Jonathan Van-Tam was asked to present a specific "heat map" for the area.
It’s part of a rolling the pitch for the prime minister as Boris Johnson confirms that Greater Manchester will go into Tier 3 on Friday at midnight.

We're trying to avoid national lockdown but don't rule anything out - PM

Coronavirus - 20th October 57c94f10

Mr Johnson is asked by a member of the public how many regions will be put under tier three until the government announces a national lockdown.
"What we're trying to avoid is a national lockdown at all," Mr Johnson says.
"We don't rule anything out," he says - but the prevalence of the virus is "very uneven" across the UK.
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Post by Kitkat on Tue Oct 20 2020, 19:11

PM: Greater Manchester to receive £22m of support

Boris Johnson says the government is offering a "comprehensive package of support".
He says the Job Support Scheme means those affected by business closure will still be paid.
With Universal Credit they will receive 80% of their full income, he says.
And he says that Greater Manchester will receive £22m "on top of the £1bn we're providing in funding for local authorities across the whole country he says.

Burnham calls PM's offer 'brutal'

Boris Johnson has just confirmed what was suggested in Andy Burnham's news conference earlier - that tier-three measures will come into place in Greater Manchester on Friday just after midnight, and that the region will get £22m in extra financial support.
Mr Burnham described the offer as "brutal".
"This is no way to run the country in a national crisis," he added.

Van-Tam hoping 'breakthrough' in rapid tests can open up care homes

The next question to the PM from a member of the public is on care homes - is there an opportunity for the restrictions on care homes to be reviewed? She says she has only visited her relative in a care home once since March.
Mr Johnson says "everybody sympathises deeply with you and your family" - and the situation is "tragically being replicated" across the country.
He says the government is "certainly looking at what we can do to review the circumstances that might allow people to visit elderly relatives in extreme circumstances".
He says he can see how "absolutely wretched it is".
England's deputy chief medical officer, Jonathan Van-Tam, says "it's really extremely distressing" for relatives and residents.
"The unfortunate and horrible truth about this virus is that when it gets into care homes it can inflict really massive mortality very quickly."
He says there is a "constant tension" between wanting to see relatives and not wanting to cause "catastrophic mortality" in homes.
Prof Van-Tam says he is hoping that there might be a "breakthrough" in rapid testing so that relatives can visit care home residents in a safer way.
Current guidance says in tier one (medium) Covid risk areas there should be individualised assessments of the safety of visits to care homes. But in tiers two and three, where the risk is high or very high, “visiting should be limited to exceptional circumstances only such as end of life.”
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Post by Kitkat on Tue Oct 20 2020, 19:16

National 'firebreak' would not be right - Van-Tam

Prof Van-Tam says he does not think a national "firebreak" would be right.
"It is clear that in the areas where it is out of control... hard measures are needed," he says.
But, in some parts of the country, levels of the disease are "very, very much lower" than they are in the north of England.
"I don't think [a firebreak] is consistent with the epidemiological picture we're seeing, or indeed consistent with the pressures that are being seen in different parts of the health service across the country," he says.

Is Manchester being made an example of?

Carl Dinnen of ITV asks if Manchester is being made an example of.
Boris Johnson says he wanted a deal but had to take action because of the urgency of the situation.
He adds that he is grateful to Manchester leaders for "getting behind the measures in place".
Carl Dinnen also asks if tier-three measures are enough to make a difference and whether the 10-day negotiation will be damaging.
Prof Jonathan Van-Tam says tier-three measures are "the minimum national standard for hard measures" and adds there are other things local authorities can do.
"What is really important is compliance," he adds.
Prof Stephen Powis says it will be up to two weeks before the new measures have an effect.

Talks 'will continue' on Manchester support

Jessica Parker - BBC political correspondent
I'm hearing from Downing Street sources that "conversations will continue" about support for businesses in Greater Manchester.
It would be politically very risky for the government to offer up nothing - given the row that there’s been and having given extra cash to other tier-three areas.
Ministers just clearly can’t, or won’t, give a figure right now.
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Post by Kitkat on Tue Oct 20 2020, 19:24

Rate of Covid-19 infections across Greater Manchester

According to the latest government figures , the rates of Covid-19 infection per 100,000 people in each Greater Manchester area on 17 October were as follows:

  • Rochdale 480.2
  • Salford 452
  • Wigan 451.2
  • Oldham 439
  • Bolton 429.8
  • Manchester 420.4
  • Bury 409.4
  • Tameside 363.8
  • Trafford 318.5
  • Stockport 293.8

Those rates mostly reflected a rise in the rate compared to the figures from seven days before - although Manchester and Trafford have all seen a drop in the rate in the last week.
The average rate for England on the same day was 168.8.

PM does not rule out tougher rules for tier three

The PM is asked by Times Radio why he has decided to take a different course to Wales and Northern Ireland - which both have lower infection rates than England but stricter rules.
"In the areas which are experiencing a particular surge of the virus that are now in tier three or going into tier three, we rule nothing out," he replies.
"If we have to take tougher measures then of course we will."
He adds: "We think that the local regional approach is right. The way to make this work with tier three is for everybody to comply."
Prof Jonathan Van-Tam defends the restrictions.
"We just can't afford just to let our elderly die," he says. "And we can't afford to allow our NHS to be completely consumed by looking after Covid so it can't do its other business-as-usual work.
"So we'll have to take as tough measures as necessary to stop that."
He says the typical "lag time" between doing something and beginning to see a discernible effect is two to three weeks.
"We can't take the brake off on this and we may have to push on the pedal a little harder to get it back under control."

Reality Check
How serious is the situation in Greater Manchester?
Cases across Greater Manchester have been increasing since early September.
For the week ending 1 September, there were around 44 cases per 100,000 people across the 10 local authorities that make up the city-region.
Jump forward to the week ending 16 October, and this case rate had increased to around 384 cases per 100,000.
The national average in England is around 96 cases per 100,000.
However, in the past 10 days the case rate appears to have stabilised somewhat. To what extent this is influenced by the amount of testing is unclear.
The pressure these increases are having on hospitals is often mentioned but the data available to the public is patchy.
We do know that coronavirus admissions and diagnoses in major Greater Manchester hospitals are increasing – in the week ending 11 October (the latest week we have data for), an average of 60 people were being admitted. This is about double the previous week’s average.
Localised data on whether hospitals or intensive care beds are reaching capacity is not publicly available. However, slides used in today’s press conference do show that occupancy is still increasing in Greater Manchester.
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Post by Kitkat on Tue Oct 20 2020, 19:29

Government trying to do two things at once

Faisal Islam - BBC Economics Editor
The PM’s confirmation that the Greater Manchester area is to go into a tier-three shutdown of much of the hospitality sector at the end of Thursday will be damaging to the local economy but the virus is still spreading rapidly.
The surprising thing here was that £60m of support to businesses placed on the table in negotiations with Manchester at midday appears to have been completely withdrawn.
The region was trying to establish how much would be needed to fund support for businesses affected.
At the press conference, just £22m was mentioned, which works out at £7.85 per Greater Manchester citizen - about half what Liverpool received. Local MPs and politicians said Manchester was being “punished”.
The problem for the government here is that it is trying to do two things at once. It is trying to accommodate the fact that some jobs are gone forever and those people, it believes, should get new ones.
That was the rationale behind closing the furlough scheme. But since then the health crisis has returned with a vengeance, and businesses are being obliged to be shut, as more were in March.
Mr Burnham says when London was driving national infection levels high, the whole nation was shut down, and a £5bn a month furlough scheme was launched. Now the north is leading infections, only its city regions are being compulsorily shut, and the jobs support is significantly less generous.

'Waging war' - Manchester MPs react

Greater Manchester MPs have been reacting to the latest developments.
Wigan MP and shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy said: "In 10 years in Parliament I've never seen anything like this. We were told £22m is for test and trace, not a single extra penny promised to help businesses and minimum-wage workers. The government appears to be waging war on the people of Greater Manchester. I grew up under Thatcher but I've honestly never seen anything like this."
Hazel Grove's Conservative MP William Wragg said: "The sense of failure is overwhelming. I shall avoid political comment until I have heard Matt Hancock's statement in the House of Commons this evening. Leadership is required from everybody. Trust is placed in us all and that is the privilege of public office."
Another Conservative, Chris Green, who represents Bolton West, wrote on Facebook: "The government believes that three weeks of closing pubs and soft-play centres will make a dramatic difference. It hasn't and it won't. I think the health and economic impact will be damaging to our community but we have to do all we can to respect these rules since they have been imposed."
During the negotiations, it is said that Greater Manchester was told there was no longer the money. The government is trying to balance lives, livelihoods and the limits of public spending on a regional basis for economic reasons. But it is far from certain that a national lockdown will be avoided.
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Post by Kitkat on Tue Oct 20 2020, 19:34

Fauci uses Godfather quote as he shrugs off Trump jibe

Coronavirus - 20th October 798be510
Anthony Fauci is part of the White House coronavirus taskforce

Strained relations between President Trump and the White House's coronavirus adviser Anthony Fauci show no signs of easing. The two have been at loggerheads over the administration's handling of the pandemic.
On Sunday, Fauci said it was no surprise Trump had caught coronavirus, and he has complained about being misquoted in election campaign material.
Monday saw Trump hit back in a call with campaign staff, labelling Fauci a "disaster".
Now Fauci has referenced Mafia hit The Godfather to play down the row.
Interviewed by a California radio station, he said: "That other stuff, it's like in 'The Godfather': Nothing personal, strictly business. As far as I'm concerned, I just want to do my job and take care of the people of this country."
There are more than 8.2 million confirmed cases in the US, and more than 220,000 people have died with coronavirus.

Doncaster Mayor 'fighting off' town going in to tier 3

Coronavirus - 20th October 1ab24010

The Mayor of Doncaster says she has been fighting against tier three coronavirus restrictions being imposed on the town, but they could still be on the horizon.
Doncaster is currently subject to tier two restrictions in line with the rest of South Yorkshire, but the infection rate in the town in the week ending 16 October was the lowest of the area's four metropolitan boroughs, at 277 cases per 100,000 people.
The highest is in Sheffield, where latest figures show an infection rate of 377.7 cases per 100,000 people.
Responding to a question on Twitter about what action she was taking to stop Doncaster being moved up a tier, Mayor Ros Jones said: "I've been fighting off Doncaster going into tier three, but it may only be a matter of time.
"If we go to tier three then our residents and businesses will need urgent support. I will continue to push for Doncaster to be treated separately from other areas."
And in a video posted on YouTube on Monday , the director of public health for Sheffield, Greg Fell, said it was likely South Yorkshire would face more restrictions.
"It's difficult to call when that might be. We're currently in the high risk category, we may move to the very high-risk category," Mr Fell said.
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Post by Kitkat on Tue Oct 20 2020, 19:38

Middlesbrough mayor's 'bad data' fear

Andy Preston, independent mayor of Middlesbrough, speaking on BBC Radio 4 earlier today said that the city risked being put into tier three on the basis of flawed data.
He said: “They don’t have the local knowledge that we have so I’m terrified to know that conversations are going [on] in No 10 about putting Middlesbrough into tier three with bad data and based inferences and still no conversations, so I’m wholly dispirited.”
He added: “We need a lot of money. We are facing monstrous problems here and the government seems oblivious," he said. "I need to be talking to ministers and explaining the number of free school meals kids here is ballooning and the job losses are just starting.
"We’re hitting a catastrophe of poverty and deprivation and we need serious money and serious commitment from the government to deal with it.”

What's the latest from elsewhere?

Coronavirus - 20th October 16e51a10
Melania Trump will not be joining the president at a campaign rally later today "out of an abundance of caution"

As a bitter row erupts in England over strict restrictions being imposed in Manchester, here is a round-up of some of the other key headlines from around the world:

  • An Alpine area of southern Germany has gone into a new lockdown, the first part of the country to do so since the initial Covid peak earlier this year . The 105,000 people of Berchtesgadener Land, bordering Austria, will only be allowed to leave home for essential reasons for the next two weeks
  • But the situation in Germany remains less severe than in other major Western European countries. In Spain, the government is considering imposing a night-time curfew in hard-hit regions like Madrid, as has been implemented in neighbouring France
  • Italy's southern Campania region also plans to introduce a night-time curfew from the weekend. Other parts of the country are drawing up their own restrictions
  • At the national level, the Czech Republic continues to have the highest infection rate in Europe, but Belgium is not far behind
  • Russia has reported a record high in new daily cases, including 4,999 in the capital, Moscow
  • In the US, President Donald Trump's wife Melania has cancelled a rare joint appearance with him at a campaign rally due to a "lingering cough" following her recent Covid infection
  • Singapore plans to roll out rapid Covid-19 tests for events such as weddings, as it looks to further reopen its economy
  • In India, authorities recorded the lowest daily rise in cases in nearly three months. The country's top scientists believe the pandemic has already peaked there
  • The top story out of Africa is from Nigeria, where the country's Covid-19 task force has warned there could be a huge spike in cases due to the ongoing anti-police brutality protests there
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Post by Kitkat on Tue Oct 20 2020, 20:11

What's happening in Greater Manchester?

Here's a reminder of the main developments surrounding Greater Manchester's Covid-19 restrictions:

  • From Friday morning, Greater Manchester will move to England's highest tier - tier three - of coronavirus restrictions
  • This means pubs and bars not serving substantial meals have to close, household mixing is banned both indoors and outdoors, and there is guidance against travelling in or out of the area
  • Boris Johnson said a "generous" offer of financial support had been made to the region, but Mayor Andy Burnham refused it
  • Health Secretary Matt Hancock later told the House of Commons that the £60m offer previously made to local leaders remained "on the table"
  • However, Burnham said that without a "bare minimum" of £65m in support there would still be increased levels of hardship and homelessness
  • The region will receive £22m for expenses such as local enforcement and test and trace - which is separate to the £60m mentioned by Hancock


In other news....

Apart from the drama surrounding the tier-three restrictions for Greater Manchester, here's what you might have missed if you're just catching up.


That's all for now

We're pausing our live coverage for now, but you can still follow the latest updates on the coronavirus outbreak and other stories on the BBC News website.

Today's reporting of the pandemic was brought to you by:
Francesca Gillett, Hazel Shearing, Kate Whannel, Katie Wright, Marie Jackson, Emma Owen, Martha Buckley, John Hand, Paul Seddon and Mal Siret.


Thanks for reading.

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