In the Commons, asked what needs to happen for these local restrictions to be lifted, Boris Johnson says the number R should fall below one.
In the Commons Andrea Leadsom, a conservative, is asking Boris Johnson to release details on why specific action is needed in each case. Johnson says the government will.
West Midlands Mayor Andy Street says he is ‘very disappointed’ with his area at high risk Level 2
He says regional leaders were tricked into believing that would not happen, that it would mean households will now be banned from mingling in places like pubs, that the evidence does not support this and that the hospitality industry will suffer.
He also says the West Midlands, with an average infection rate of 123 people per 100,000 people, is treated the same as Manchester, with 550 infections per 100,000 people.
He says the decision should be reconsidered “as soon as possible”.
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In the working communities Yvette Cooper called on Boris Johnson to “come back from the moon and come back to what’s happening on planet Earth”, expressing concerns about the tests. She says:
Just a month ago the PM outlined his moonshot plan where there would be millions of tests performed and returned every day and he said if it all came together it might be possible even for industries like theaters to have a much closer to normal life before. Christmas.
Families now feel like a normal Christmas is beyond [than] never and local health officials in our area said people were waiting six days, not a day, for their test results. If we come back from the moon and go back to what’s happening on planet Earth, when will there be enough testing capabilities in place for my constituents to get their results in 24 hours?
Johnson said testing capacity increased 28% last month, and by the end of the month the system would be able to process 500,000 tests per day.
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9,000 students in England have Covid, MPs say
Nine thousand students in England currently have Covid and 68 universities are facing epidemics, the universities minister said.
Michelle Donelan said the 9,000 figure was from data provided by universities and was a cumulative figure over seven days, compared to a total student body of around 2 million.
Starting next week, she said, the Education Department will work with the Students Office on a new, more transparent data regime to provide numbers.
Speaking on questions about education in the Commons, Donelan also warned higher education institutions against any attempt to make a profit by charging self-isolated students £ 18 a day for food parcels. Donelan said she had spoken to “many” universities on this issue before and warned she would write to follow up.
Students imprisoned at their residence have complained about the cost and quality of food provided by their universities, with some charging hundreds of pounds for meal packages that include dry beans and instant noodles.
More than 2,500 Lancaster University students have signed a petition urging the university to stop ‘taking advantage of self-isolated students’ who pay £ 17.95 a day for meals that students value £ 4.
Donelan told MPs:
No university should seek to profit from student self-isolation, and the reported fee of £ 18 a day for food parcels is just outrageous.
Students who isolate themselves in dining halls should be given free food while other students should be given food that is either free – as many, including Sheffield Hallam and Edge Hill do – or at a price that can be paid within a student’s budget.
I have spoken to many universities about this and I write to make this point as well.
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Figures published on the University of Nottingham’s website showed that 1,510 of its students were diagnosed with active cases of Covid-19 during the week ending last Friday, reports PA Media. The figures included 667 students in private accommodation, a further 523 living in halls of residence and 310 in purpose-built student accommodation.
The number of patients hospitalized with Covid in England increased by 40% compared to last week, according to the latest figures
Figures on the UK government’s dashboard also show that there are now 3,665 patients hospitalized in England with coronavirus.
This is 1,072 more than last week (2,593), an increase of 40%.
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16 h 31 BST
UK records 13,972 new cases, 50 more deaths
The UK government has updated its coronavirus dashboard. Here are the main key figures.
- The UK has registered 13,972 new cases. That’s higher than yesterday (12,872) and higher than the figure for this period last week (12,594), but lower than some days last week.
- The UK has recorded 50 more deaths. It’s 15 less than yesterday.
the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce General manager Paul Cherpeau said businesses in the city were “puzzled, frustrated and angry” by the new restrictions. He said:
A week of speculation and rumors severely damaged confidence. Businesses need to understand the clear evidence of the restrictions that are now being imposed – because many have worked so hard to become Covid safe.
While our visitor economy will bear the brunt of these new restrictions, the percolating effect on supply chains is of great concern, in addition to the psychological impact on our citizens, business owners and investors.
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Vaccine ‘cannot be taken for granted,’ says Johnson
In response to a question from Conservative MP Steve Baker, Johnson said vaccine development “cannot be taken for granted”. He says after 20 years there is still no vaccine for Sars.
UPDATE: Here is the quote from Johnson.
Alas, I cannot give him a date when I can confidently promise that we will have a vaccine. There are some very encouraging signs, including testing of the Oxford AstraZeneca which is underway.
But as he knows the Sars took place 18 years ago, we still don’t have a Sars vaccine. I don’t want to depress him, but we have to be realistic about it.
There is a good chance for a vaccine, but that cannot be taken for granted.
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