Coronavirus UK news – Intensive care units PACKED amid fears London could get tougher Tier 2 lockdown within days

INTENSIVE care units are filling up with coronavirus patients at extraordinary rate, a rare glimpse inside the NHS has shown.

Boris Johnson warned that the number of UK coronavirus cases has 'quadrupled in the last three weeks' with yesterday's daily case total standing at 13,972 – up 11 per cent on the previous week.

There are now 3,665 hospital admissions in the UK – an increase of 40% in just two weeks meaning there are more covid hospitalisations now than there were when lockdown kicked in on March 23.

ITV footage filmed at Blackpool's Victoria Hospital showed patients young and old gasping for air on breathing machines, with critical care consultant Dr Jason Cupitt saying this is "probably going to carry on for a long time".

It comes as London Mayor Sadiq Khan warned that the capital could be declared a Tier Two 'high risk' area, with tough new lockdown restrictions coming in within days.

Follow our coronavirus blog for the latest news and updates

  • Joseph Gamp

    RUSSIA: DAILY COVID CASES AND DEATHS REACH ALL-TIME HIGH

    Russia's coronavirus cases rose by 13,868 on Tuesday.

    Today's figure is a new daily record since the start of the outbreak early this year, pushing the overall total number of infections to 1,326,178.

    The previous record of 13,634 new cases was registered on Sunday.

    Russia's coronavirus crisis centre also reported a record daily rise of 244 deaths from the virus, bringing the official death toll to 22,966

  • Joseph Gamp

    GOVERNMENT 'IGNORED SCIENTISTS' ADVICE' ON LOCKDOWN LAST MONTH

    The Government has been accused of ignoring its own scientists after documents showed that a “circuit-breaker” lockdown was recommended for England by expert advisers three weeks ago.

    The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) suggested immediately introducing a national lockdown lasting between two and three weeks to halt the rapid spread of the virus, with the Government's failure to act on the advice branded “alarming” by Labour.

    Downing Street insisted that “robust but targeted and proportionate” action had been taken in September, including the rule of six and the 10pm hospitality curfew.

    The Sage document, dated September 21 and released hours after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his three-tier system of alert levels for England, said a package of interventions was needed to reverse the “exponential” rise in cases.

    The paper set out a shortlist of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) that should be considered for “immediate” introduction, also suggesting that all university teaching should be online unless face-to-face teaching was “absolutely essential” at a time when students were starting or returning to university.

  • Joseph Gamp

    UNEMPLOYMENT AT 3 YEAR HIGH

    UK unemployment has jumped to its highest level for more than three years as the coronavirus crisis claimed jobs across the economy, according to official figures.

    The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said unemployment rose by 138,000 quarter on quarter to 1.52 million in the three months to August – the highest since the start of 2017.

    This saw the rate of unemployment jump to 4.5%, from 4.1% in the previous three months. The ONS added that the number of UK workers on company payrolls fell by 673,000 between March and September, despite edging up by 20,000 last month.

    Jonathan Athow, deputy national statistician at the ONS, said: “Since the start of the pandemic there has been a sharp increase in those out of work and job-hunting but more people telling us they are not actively looking for work.

    “There has also been a stark rise in the number of people who have recently been made redundant.”

  • Joseph Gamp

    JENRICK: ALERT LEVELS WERE AGREED WITH LOCAL LEADERSHIPS

    During the BBC Breakfast interview, Jenrick was asked whether some areas with high infection rates such as Manchester and Newcastle should be in the higher alert level, Robert Jenrick said the current position had been agreed with the local leadership.

    He said: “I hope they don't have to go into Tier 3. There is no plan for them to do so.

    “We hope that the measures that we have put in place are sufficiently robust to bear down on the virus and to get it back down under control and to flatten the curve in those communities, but we keep this under review.

    “The purpose of the tiered approach is to show people what the path might be should the steps we have implemented this week not be sufficient.”

  • Joseph Gamp

    JENRICK: GOVERNMENT HAS TAKEN 'ROBUST' ACTION ON PANDEMIC

    Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said the Government had taken “robust action” despite being accused of ignoring its own scientists, after documents showed that a “circuit-breaker” lockdown was recommended for England by expert advisers three weeks ago.

    Mr Jenrick said this had included introducing the rule of six and 10pm curfews for pubs and restaurants but that the Government had also taken a “balanced ” approach to the situation.

    The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) had suggested immediately introducing a national lockdown lasting between two and three weeks to halt the rapid spread of the virus.

    Mr Jenrick told BBC Breakfast: “We listened to that advice as we always do and we did take action but these are balanced judgments.

    “We also have to balance that up against the effect on the economy, people's jobs and livelihoods, on education which we have made a priority and all the other unintended consequences of taking action, whether that is on people's mental health, on other illnesses and elective surgery that might be delayed or cancelled as a result of that.”

  • Joseph Gamp

    IN PICTURES: PEOPLE QUEUE FOR COMPULSORY COVID TESTS IN QINGDAO, CHINA

  • Joseph Gamp

    RISHI SUNAK: NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR THOSE WHO LOSE THEIR JOBS

    Rishi Sunak said there would be new opportunities for people who lose their jobs after data on Tuesday showed a sharp fall in employment and a record rise in redundancies in August.

    “I've been honest with people from the start that we would unfortunately not be able to save every job. But these aren't just statistics, they are people's lives,” Sunak said in a statement.

    “For those who do lose their job, there will be new opportunities through apprenticeships, traineeships and our £2billion pound Kickstart scheme, and extra work search support which will help to ensure nobody is left without hope.”

  • Joseph Gamp

    MAPPED: COVID-19 TIERS IN ENGLAND

  • Abe Hawken

    PAYROLL DECLINE

    The number of UK workers on payrolls increased by 20,000 last month, but has fallen by 673,000 between March and September due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

  • Abe Hawken

    'HUGE DIFFERENCE'

    An NHS leader believes there could be a “huge difference” in how the second wave of Covid-19 affects the UK, amid fears the health service could struggle to manage the virus alongside its usual winter pressures.

    Dr Layla McCay, a director at the NHS Confederation, said the expected surge in Covid cases in the coming weeks and months, combined with cases of seasonal illnesses such as flu, were causing concern.

    “At the best of times, when winter comes there is a surge and often the NHS has to work very hard to keep up with demand,” said Dr McCay, who has been leading for the organisation on Covid and Brexit.

  • Abe Hawken

    COVID TAX HIT

    Rishi Sunak’s aid package will save only 230,000 jobs, a study found — as Brits face a £40billion per year tax hit from Covid.

    And the new job retention and wage support schemes will not stop 1.8million more roles being axed, said the Institute for Public Policy Research.

    The study by the IPPR also suggests the jobs preserved will be a drop in the ocean compared with the total of four million expected to be made unemployed as a result of the pandemic.

  • Hana Carter

    LIVERPOOL TO ENTER STRICTEST LOCKDOWN MEASURES

    Boris Johnson announced a new three-tier lockdown for the UK last night

    In tier three areas – which at the moment is Liverpool, Wirral, Sefton, Knowsley, St Helens and Halton – households are not allowed to mix either indoors or outdoors – including in pubs and private gardens.

    Pubs and bars will close in the very high alert level areas unless they can operate as a restaurant.

    People will also be advised against travel in and out of the areas.  

    Local authorities will be able to put forward 'bespoke' measures under the different tiers – for example, those in tier three could suggest closing gyms.

  • Hana Carter

  • Hana Carter

    LABOUR MAYORS REFUSE TOUGH RESTRICTIONS

    Boris Johnson carved up Britain into three Covid risk categories tonight — with 17million people in the two highest tiers.

    But Labour mayors refused to accept the toughest restrictions in a row over money while fellow Tories blasted the new rules as “insane”.

    Unveiling his new system, Mr Johnson urged we “must act now” in a bid to avoid another national lockdown.

    He said dire virus numbers are “flashing at us like dashboard warnings in a passenger jet”.

    Under the new plans, the highest-risk areas will get “baseline restrictions” with leaders urged to choose additional measures depending on local circumstances.

    From Wednesday, 1.5million on Merseyside will be on the very high risk Tier Three — where pubs, gyms and bookies will shut.

  • Hana Carter

    TOUGH RESTRICTIONS WON'T BE ENOUGH TO SLOW SPREAD

    Chris Whitty has tonight warned that tough new restrictions for millions of Brits WON'T be enough to slow the spread of coronavirus.

    England's top medic said that even the toughest 'tier three' shutdowns in Liverpool will not “be enough to get on top of it” as documents show the government's scientific advisors recommended a short-term lockdown three weeks ago.

    During a doomsday address to the nation, he said: “I am very confident that the measures that are currently in place are helping to slow the virus.

    “These measures will help to slow it further.

    “I am not confident – nor is anybody confident – that the tier three proposals for the highest rate, if you did the absolute base case and nothing more would be enough to get on top of it.”

  • Hana Carter

    DOWDEN: TOUGH RESTRICTIONS MAY BE NEEDED UNTIL XMAS

    Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has said that tough new coronavirus restrictions may be needed until after Christmas.

    Boris Johnson is due to set out a new three-tier system of controls for England in the Commons later today.

    Mr Dowden told Sky News: “If those measures are successful we hope to be able to take areas out of those high levels of restrictions.

    “The purpose of doing this is to ensure we get the virus under control so by the time that we get through to after Christmas we are in that position where it is under control.

    “Indeed I hope it will be sooner than that.”

  • Hana Carter

    PUBS AND BARS TO CLOSE

    Pubs and bars in England are among the businesses that may be forced to close in Tier Three coronavirus lockdown areas.

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his new three-tier system for tackling rising coronavirus cases today, with Tier Three being the highest risk regions.

    Speaking in the House Commons, Mr Johnson said he didn't want to go back to another national lockdown – but added “we need to go further” to control the spread of Covid-19.

    The Prime Minister said: “In recent months we have worked with local leaders to counter local spikes with targeted restrictions, but this local approach has inevitably produced different sets of rules in different parts of the country that are now complex to understand and to enforce.”

  • Debbie White

    GOVERNMENT 'DISINGENUOUS' TO SUGGEST LOCAL LEADERS BEHIND LOCKDOWN PLAN – MAYOR

    Local leaders were given “no choice” by the Government around the type of measures that would be imposed for the Liverpool City Region, its metro mayor said.

    Steve Rotheram told Channel 4 News on Monday it was the Government that decided “we needed local restrictions in our area and to place the Liverpool City Region into Tier 3.

    “It wasn't local leaders, it was the Government, and it's disingenuous for them to indicate otherwise.”

    He added: “There was no choice with the tier that we were going into and the restrictions that we were therefore placed under.”

    Pubs and bars in the Liverpool City Region will have to close from Wednesday, when the area will be placed into the most serious Covid-19 local alert level.

    The restrictions will also see wedding receptions banned, and the closure of gyms, sports facilities, betting shops and casinos.

  • Hana Carter

    CHRIS WHITTY SAYS WE NEED TO DO MORE

    The Chief Medical Officer for England said we are “going to have to do more – significantly more”.

    Prof Whitty explained local councils would have to bring in more measures for the “very high” regions, saying:

    “The idea we can do this without causing harm is an illusion, and every country is struggling with this.

    “It is a balancing act between two harms: a harm for society and the economy on the one hand and a harm for health on the other hand.”

    Today, another 13,972 cases of coronavirus were reported in the past 24 hours with another 50 fatalities recorded.

    According to new stats released tonight, the North East, Yorkshire and The Humber and the North West have reported the biggest increase across England. UK hospitalisation rates also rose sharply since late August.

  • Hana Carter

    WHAT BORIS SAID TONIGHT

    • He did not want to go down the 'extreme route' of a national lockdown 'right now'
    • The PM said he hoped Brits could get back to normal life by Christmas
    • Chris Whitty warned Tier 3 restrictions 'will not be sufficient' to control the virus in high risk areas
    • Rishi Sunak confirmed the job support scheme would continue for another six months

    BORIS COMPARED COVID CASES TO 'WARNING FLASHES ON PASSENGER JET'

    Boris Johnson tonight warned “we must act” as he said the rise in coronavirus cases was “flashing like warnings in a passenger jet”.

    The PM said that Britain was entering a “new and crucial fight” after he unveiled his new three tier lockdown system to fight the deadly bug.

    It comes after he rejected the idea of a full national lockdown, saying he did not “want to go down that extreme route right now”.

    Acknowledging the growing number of infections across the UK, he said: “These figures are flashing at us like dashboard warnings in a passenger jet and we must act now.”

    Speaking tonight flanked by Rishi Sunak and Professor Chris Whitty, he said he wanted to avoid more drastic nationwide measures, saying: “No one, least of all me, wants to impose these erosions of our personal living.”

    He added: “The British people have the resolve to beat this virus and together we will do just that.”

    BORIS STRESSES THAT THE UK CONTINUE TO FOLLOW RESTRICTIONS

    The PM closed the conference expressing the importance of the country “doing their bit” and following guidance as we continue to battle this pandemic.

    He said he believes that this effort will drive the R rate down.

    LONG TERM SUPPORT

    Mr Sunak said the new measurements are for long term support.

    He said the Job Support Scheme will be in place until next Spring.

    'NO UNFAIR TREATMENT'

    Mr Sunak said it was wrong to say that there was unfair treatment in different parts of the country.

    We value all people's jobs as equal and the job scheme is for everyone in the country.

    Our levels of support is in line with most other countries.

    FINDING BALANCE

    Chris Whitty stressed about the importance of finding the right balance again with the UK's dealing with the country.

    Boris Johnson pointed out the bars in Paris have been closed and Berlin has had its first curfew since the 90s.

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