UK Coronavirus Live: Matt Hancock Announces Latest Covid Levels For England | Politics


Hello. A little over two weeks ago, MPs voted on the new ranking system for England. As many Tory MPs threatened to rebel, Boris Johnson wrote backbench MPs ahead of the vote suggesting that in some areas the rules could be relaxed before Christmas, and in the debate he said that in the future the system might be more localized (so that rural constituencies with low Covid rates might not be penalized by being in a country with a city with higher rates). Today we get the results of the first formal review of the system. But we’ve already seen restrictions tighten for London and parts of Essex and Hertfordshire, and reporters are told any changes will be minimal. Here is our story in preview.

Not for the first time, events have not developed in the direction Johnson hoped for. To find out why few areas, if any, will see the restrictions relaxed today, take a look at the latest coronavirus statistics, which were released quite late yesterday on the government dashboard. Yesterday there were 25,161 new cases in the UK. It was the highest figure since the second week of November – when England were in the early stages of their lockdown. Week on week, new cases are up 36%.

Scoreboard figures for Wednesday December 16 Photograph: Gov.Uk/Gov.UK

Here is the agenda for the day.

21h30: ONS publishes latest investigation into coronavirus infections.

9h30: Michael Gove, Cabinet Minister, answers questions in the Commons.

10h: Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, poses questions to the London assembly.

10h30: Jacob Rees-Mogg, the leader of the Commons, makes the weekly declaration of the activities of the Commons.

Around 11:30 am: Health Secretary Matt Hancock is making a statement to MPs about the review of the ranking system for England.

12h30: Downing Street holds its daily lobby briefing.

12h20: Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, answers questions in the Scottish Parliament.

14h: Public Health England publishes its latest Covid surveillance report.

14h: Liz Truss, Minister for Equalities, delivers a speech.

14h: Gove testifies before the Commons Brexit Committee.

16h45: Gove testifies before the EU Lords Committee.

Politics Live is now turning into a live blog on the UK coronavirus and, given how the Covid crisis overshadows everything, this will continue for the foreseeable future. But we’ll also cover non-Covid political stories, like Brexit, and when they seem bigger or more interesting, they will take priority.

Here is our live blog on the global coronavirus.

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