Coronavirus UK: Boris gives update as daily cases reach highest level

Coronavirus UK: Boris gives update as daily cases reach highest level

The Prime Minister is set to deliver an update to the public today as the number of coronavirus cases has reached its highest level since the start of the pandemic.

Boris Johnson will be joined in Downing Street at 5pm by chief medical officer for England, professor Chris Whitty, and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance for the 100th Covid-19 press briefing since they began.

But the Prime Minister’s official spokesperson confirmed the purpose of the briefing is to ‘provide an update on the latest statistics’.

‘It is not because there is some specific set of new announcements to make,’ they added.

The Times reports Mr Johnson is going to announce weekly press conferences rotating between Cabinet ministers to give updates on the spread of Covid-19.

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The last time the trio appeared together at the podiums was on September 9 when the PM announced the ‘rule of six’ and urged people to limit their social contact ‘as much as possible’.

But three weeks on from the implementation of these restrictions, the UK has recorded 7,143 more Covid-19 cases in 24 hours – which is the highest number of daily new cases ever recorded in the UK.

It is five times more than the number recorded four weeks ago, when 1,295 cases were reported.

It comes after new regulations in Northumberland, Newcastle, Gateshead, North and South Tyneside, Sunderland and County Durham came into force at midnight and will see fines imposed if people mix with others from outside their household or bubble in indoor settings, including pubs and restaurants.

But public health messaging from the Government has been criticised after Mr Johnson had trouble explaining his own rules.

With the rules not published until late last night, ministers were asked about whether they would apply in settings such as beer gardens.

In response, Mr Johnson said: ‘In the North East and other areas where extra-tight measures have been brought in, you should follow the guidance of local authorities but it is six in a home, six in hospitality but, as I understand it, not six outside.’

But he later tweeted: ‘Apologies, I misspoke today. In the North East, new rules mean you cannot meet people from different households in social settings indoors, including in pubs, restaurants and your home. You should also avoid socialising with other households outside.’

Mixing with other households in pub gardens or outdoor restaurant spaces is not illegal but goes against advice, the Department for Health and Social Care confirmed last night.

But Newcastle Council leader Nick Forbes said a lack of detail about the measures has led to ‘confusion’.

Mr Forbes said having a ‘gap between what’s announced in headlines and the details that people can understand’ undermined the ‘principle of community consent’.

‘What that does is sow confusion, it creates doubt, it creates uncertainty,’ he added.

And Liverpool is thought to be days away from becoming the first city in England to face a two-week ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown as cases continue to soar in the area.

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson told The Daily Telegraph it was ‘only a matter of days’ until a more severe lockdown was imposed on the city.

He said: ‘For me, it is only a matter of time because the virus isn’t able to be controlled in the city with the restrictions we have now.

‘We need a circuit breaker or stricter lockdown to try to stop the virus spreading.

‘If we can have the severest measures of lockdown now, we may arrest the increase and start to bring it down by the end of October, so that in the lead up to Christmas we can get some normality.’

MPs are also set to vote on the renewal of the Coronavirus Act’s powers in the Commons today, and more than 50 Tories have backed an amendment calling for Parliament to be given a greater say over the use of measures to curb people’s freedoms.

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