Coronavirus restrictions ‘in days’ and the new face of Downing Street


Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Thursday night. We will have another update for you on Friday morning.

1. Midlands and North MPs call for clarity on restrictions

New restrictions to curb rising infection rates could be introduced in England “within days,” Culture Secretary Robert Jenrick warned, after the BBC learned that pubs and restaurants in worst-hit areas could be forced to close. There could also be a ban on overnight stays and a new three-tier local lockdown system could be introduced. MPs for the Midlands and North constituencies complained about discovering new measures from newspaper articles and demanded clarification after a meeting with ministers. A final decision on the extent of the potential closures has yet to be made and an official announcement is not expected to be made until Monday, BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg said.

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PA Media

2. NHS waiting list at its highest in 12 years

The number of people waiting for hospital treatment for more than a year has hit a 12-year high in England as the NHS struggles to return to normal amid the coronavirus pandemic. Nearly 2 million patients have waited more than the target of 18 weeks for routine care, with 111,000 remaining for more than a year, according to figures from NHS England. The number of people starting cancer treatment and getting urgent checks is also lower than levels seen a year ago, but the NHS is seeing more people than it was in the spring when the pandemic hit.

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Getty Images

3. Former BBC journalist to lead daily government briefings

Former journalist Allegra Stratton will lead the government’s new daily televised briefings, according to BBC sources. Stratton, who has worked for the BBC and ITV, will become the new government press secretary in a role similar to that used in the White House in the United States. The Daily Updates, which are expected to begin later this month, come after a series of televised Downing Street press conferences during the coronavirus pandemic. Stratton was Rishi Sunak’s communications director at Treasury.

4. Covid “three times more deadly than the flu”

Three times as many people have died from Covid-19 than from flu and pneumonia combined in England and Wales this year, according to official figures. Between January and August 2020, there were 48,168 deaths from Covid-19 compared to 13,600 due to pneumonia. Only 394 were due to the flu – a particularly low level. The greatest number of flu and pneumonia deaths have been in January, in the winter, when there is usually a lot of flu. But deaths from Covid-19 were higher between March and June.

More deaths caused by Covid-19 than pneumonia and influenza

Deaths in England and Wales in 2020

5. British teenagers stranded in a hotel in Sicily for three weeks

When Millie, Lily, Lily Rose, and Rachel finished their A levels this year, they just wanted to get away from it all for a few days. They flew to Sicily, Italy on September 8th (it was on the UK’s safety list at the time) and they had a great trip until they were ready to go back home. Then disaster happened as they each lost their sense of smell. After testing positive they were taken to a hotel where – 22 days later – three of them are still staying. In the area, you have to return two negative tests to be allowed to leave, which means that only Millie has been able to return home so far.

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Lily Rose Wallace

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And do not forget …

Find more information, tips and guides on our coronavirus page and get all the latest information on our live page.

And… if you are planning to leave for the October semester but are not sure what you are allowed to do, you can read our how-to guide.

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