The UK has recorded a further 367 coronavirus-related deaths across all settings, the Department of Health has announced.
This is the highest figure recorded since May 27, when there were 422 deaths announced.
Deaths recorded by the Department of Health on Tuesdays tend to take into account a reporting lag from the previous weekend.
Meanwhile 22,885 people tested positive for Covid-19, taking the UK's total caseload since the start of the pandemic north of 900,000, and 1,142 patients were admitted to hospital.
What happened today
Good evening. Here is a summary of today's key developments:
The Department of Health confirmed a further 367 coronavirus-related deaths across all settings, the highest death count announced by the Government since May 27, while the UK's case tally rose by 22,885.
A survey by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that the infection rate among those who travelled abroad in the past 30 days is roughly the same as that for people who stayed in the UK.
The Conservative party is on the cusp of a civil war over the North-South divide, Tory MPs have claimed, after more than 50 backbenchers signed an open letter to Boris Johnson expressing their concerns about a lack of a Covid exit strategy.
Officials in Scotland are considering putting North and South Lanarkshire into the top level of new restrictions following a surge in cases.
HSBC could be the first to call an end of free banking in the UK as the Bank of England considers turning rates negative in light of the pandemic.
People in Sweden's third city, Malmö, have been instructed to avoid public transport, shopping centres, museums, libraries, swimming pools and gyms, following a surge in infections and hospitalisations.
Protesters in Italy smashed windows, looted shops and hurled petrol bombs at police in anger at the country’s new anti-Covid regulations, as several European countries considered toughening restrictions further.
And a new study has shed light on why bats do not get sick while carrying zoonotic viruses that can prove fatal for humans and other animals.
Spanish doctors stage strike over loosening of employment laws
Spanish doctors today staged a one-day strike over the loosening of employment laws to allow 10,000 health workers without EU-validated qualifications to join the workforce in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, writes James Badcock.
Some 85 per cent of the professionals who were able to support the strike did so, according to the CESM medics' union.
However, most Spanish regional health authorities imposed high minimum service levels to ensure that disruption was minimal.
“Patients have to understand that the government wants to hire more than 10,000 doctors without a specialisation to work as specialists with patients over the coming years,” said Antonio Matador, the secretary general of the SIMPA doctors’ union in Asturias, during a protest outside the Central University Hospital in Oviedo.
Spain’s healthcare system has been swamped during the Covid-19 crisis, with many in the sector blaming years of austerity that mean that even with extra personnel drafted in this spring, staff numbers are often lower than a decade ago.
Spain became the first western European country to reach one million confirmed Covid cases last week, and has been placed under a state of emergency for the second time this year by Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, with measures including a nationwide curfew.
On Tuesday Andalusia, Madrid and Castilla y León were considering whether to seal off their borders to non-essential traffic, a step already taken by five other regions including the Basque Country.
New study reveals why bats can carry killer viruses without getting sick
A second bat-based blog entry for today. One of the world’s leading emerging infectious diseases experts has made a key discovery on why bats do not get sick while carrying zoonotic viruses that can prove fatal for humans and other animals, Nicola Smith writes.
The findings on bat immunology by Professor Wang Linfa, a biologist who was one of eight scientists to discover that bats were the natural host of the 2003 SARS epidemic, provide important pointers for future medical research on human diseases.
Fresh knowledge on the molecular mechanisms used by bats to suppress viruses including SARS, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), Ebola and – most likely – SARS-CoV-2, the pathogen behind the ongoing pandemic, is a vital piece of a puzzle that could ultimately lead to a breakthrough in treatment.
“Professor Wang’s research is all the more important in the context of Covid-19, by contributing to a greater understanding of how zoonotic diseases persist in nature, and potentially aiding new approaches to managing future outbreaks,” said Professor Patrick Casey, Senior Vice-Dean for Research, Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore.
Vitamin D: Majority of Covid patients in new study had a deficiency
The majority of patients tested in a new Covid-19 study were found to have low levels of vitamin D.
Researchers in Spain found that out of a group of 216 people who had tested positive for the virus, 82 per cent had a vitamin D deficiency.
In the control group used in the study, 47 per cent of people who did not have the virus were deficient.
Patients tested at the Marqués de Valdecilla University Hospital in Spain also showed increased serum levels of inflammatory markers, such as ferritin and D-dimer.
Researchers did not find an association between the levels of vitamin D and the severity of Covid, including the need to be put on a ventilator or admitted to intensive care.
'I had to be pushy to get my cancer diagnosis': The devastating impact of Covid delays
An analysis by Cancer Research UK has found that more than 350,000 people have not been urgently referred for a cancer check who should have been, and that one in three people living with cancer have faced delays to diagnosis or treatment.
Toria Pickering, 31, from Worcestershire, discovered a lump in her abdomen just before the country went into its first lockdown.
Despite the doctors believing at the time it was a benign tumour, Toria soon started feeling so much pain that she was admitted into A&E for emergency surgery to remove it.
Having heard nothing from the hospital for another five weeks, she decided to telephone the hospital only to be told she had cancer.
With no more immediate information on what type of cancer she was living with or which treatment would be available amid a pandemic, the mother-of-two feared she would never see her children go to school.
Toria shares her full story in the video below - which echoes the devastating impact of delays to cancer care during the pandemic.
A postcard from Portugal, where the locals are reclaiming their tourist spots
This year, in spite of the pandemic, I found myself returning to Portugal’s capital, to work remotely, writes Emma Cooke.
"Despite the FCDO advice against it, I’m glad I did. Along with Amsterdam, Venice and Barcelona, Lisbon has frequently made headlines these past years as a site of extreme overtourism, but these stories felt like a distant memory as I traversed the streets of the city this month.
"Though noticeably less crowded, the city was no ghost town. Restaurants, sights and shops were instead filled with relaxed locals – both Portuguese and the many people who have chosen to make the city their permanent home.
"Clear skies and temperatures in the twenties meant diners and drinkers took full advantage of the streets, with tables spilling out of restaurants and surrounding the city’s kiosk cafés, the better to allow socially-distanced groups to bask under the sun.
"Outside Lisbon, everyone seemed to be commenting on the refreshing change in the country. As my partner and I sped along in an Uber to the resort town of Sintra, one of Portugal’s most famous – and busiest – tourist sights, our driver commented how lucky we were: "Normally, there’d be back to back cars queuing to get up to the palacio. You wouldn’t believe what it looked like here last year.""
Transatlantic flights won't recover for years, warn experts
Experts have warned that demand for transatlantic flights will not recover until at least 2026, leaving the likes of British Airways and Virgin Atlantic particularly exposed, writes Oliver Gill.
Services from Europe to North America will be the last to recover, according to consultancy Bain.
Flights within Asia will rebound the fastest, returning to pre-pandemic levels in little more than a year.
Flying passengers between the UK and North America has been particularly profitable for BA in recent years, with the flag carrier holding a dominant position on a number of key routes.
Letters: The frightening ease with which Wales imposed arbitrary restrictions
This from Tony Craig of Mold, Flintshire in our letters section:
I am now genuinely frightened. Not by the coronavirus, even though I am 80. We have spent the last eight months learning about the risk and how to try to keep safe.
What is frightening is the ease with which the First Minister and the Welsh government closed down Wales and its economy.
As we approach Remembrance Day, we recall those who gave their lives for us to be free. Now we face tyranny from our own government. It will be a long way back to freedom and true democracy.
Sweden coronavirus news: Malmö residents subject to 'local general recommendations'
People in Sweden's third city, Malmö, have been instructed to avoid public transport, shopping centres, museums, libraries, swimming pools and gyms, writes Richard Orange, following a surge in infections and hospitalisations.
The new 'local general recommendations', which also apply to the surrounding Skåne county, mark the second time the Public Health Agency of Sweden has issued targeted local recommendations, following a similar edict given to the city of Uppsala last week.
"It’s a very worrying development. We are in a completely different situation from what we were in only a week ago, and it's a serious situation," Eva Melander, the doctor in charge of infectious diseases in Skåne, said at a press conference of the Public Health Agency.
"Now we need to slam on the emergency brakes to stop this development. It's serious now."
People in Skåne are also advised to avoid close physical contact with anyone they do not live with and to work from home if possible, while those arranging of sports competitions for adults are advised to cancel or postpone them.
Coronavirus cases in Hull could lead to Tier 2 move
The director of public health in Hull has said the infection rate in the city is "increasing rapidly", with the city council now in talks with the Government about moving to Tier 2.
Julia Weldon said that the rate had risen from £17.3 cases per 100,000... to 209.9" in the space of a month.
She added talks were ongoing about "if and when" Hull could become a Tier 2 area.
Winter sun hopes boosted as airport boss says London-Dubai travel corridor is ready
Winter sun hopes have been boosted after an airport boss said a London to Dubai travel corridor was ready – but needed the two governments' approval, reports our home affairs supremo Charles Hymas.
Paul Griffiths, the chief executive of Dubai airports, said a test and quarantine regime had been agreed by hubs and airlines, but whether they moved forward was "in the hands of politicians".
"It's about time that governments actually recognise what a great job the travel and tourism industry is doing in controlling the spread of the virus," he said, adding that reviving demand for travel was "an essential part of the kick-start of the global economy".
The move follows a similar travel bubble between Singapore and Hong Kong, underpinned by testing, which is due to start within weeks.
Singapore is understood to have agreed similar "bubbles" for business travel from other countries including Germany, Japan, Malaysia and South Korea. India has established "bubbles" with 17 countries.
Andy Burnham criticises Tesco over failing to take 'responsible' attitude
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham today accused Tesco of failing to be "Covid-safe" over the use of face coverings, and accused the supermarket giant of having failed to take a "responsible attitude".
Appearing before the Lords economic affairs committee, Mr Burnham said local leaders had called for the Government to give them the power to enact targeted enforcement against firms that fail to protect staff and customers.
"We asked for summary closure powers of all premises that were not deemed to be Covid-safe," he said.
"I'm not just talking about pubs and restaurants. There are large supermarkets in Greater Manchester who in my view have not properly implemented the requirements around face coverings. And I'll name one chain: Tesco.
"I don't believe they've taken a responsible attitude to this issue, they've said it's not for them to enforce. Well I do think it is for those organisations to enforce."
Local lockdowns: 'The North is in despair over the lack of a lockdown exit plan'
A friend calls and we preface our chat with ten bars of the Tier 3 blues, writes Angela Epstein.
Well, living in Manchester, where we labour under the toughest set of restrictions, it's hard not to start every conversation this way.
We bemoan not seeing loved ones who live outside our support bubble (even in the back garden, for goodness' sake).
And remember the days of going to the pub? Forget it. In a move that has paralysed the local hospitality sector, nearly 2,000 pubs and bars have closed. Places which never had the good fortune to reap benefits of "Eat Out To Help Out" through lack of recourse to a "substantial meal menu".
How long will it be like this? How many more will lose jobs or face the prospect of watching their businesses crumble? It's what, above all else, damns the Government tier strategy. The sense that we are being left in a state of existential drift with no obvious plans to timetable our way out of the misery is palpable.
The old adage of what to do when going through hell ("keep going") rings hollow. We keep going without an end in sight – the way in well scripted, the way out a blank page.
English tourists ‘escorted’ from Wales by police after crossing border
More than 500 vehicles were stopped by police in Wales this weekend, as officers began enforcing the new ‘firebreak’ lockdown which prohibits non-essential travel in the country, writes Hazel Plush.
Among them was a family that had driven for five hours from their home in Sussex, only to be stopped by officers in Carmarthenshire. When questioned, the family admitted they were travelling for non-essential reasons, and were escorted back to the border by the police.
Other cases include a man from Rotherham in Yorkshire, who told officers he had broken the lockdown rules because he wanted to “climb Mount Snowdon alone”. He was instructed to leave North Wales immediately.
Since the 'fire break' lockdown was introduced on Friday, all non-essential travel in Wales is now prohibited, and land borders are closed.
The Welsh Government advises that those caught breaking the new laws may have to pay a fixed penalty of £60 – rising to £120 for a second breach – and face criminal proceedings.
Pub and restaurant restrictions in Scotland to be loosened
Pubs and restaurants in many areas of Scotland will be able to serve alcohol indoors again from next week, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced.
Ms Sturgeon said that the decision will allow licensed premises in level two of the country's new five-tier system to serve alcohol with a meal up until 8pm.
In level three areas, set to include Scotland's Central Belt which takes in Edinburgh and Glasgow, such premises will be able to reopen but they will not be allowed to serve alcohol.
The new system is set to take effect from Monday (November 2).
Latest ONS data shows virus on the decline in many university towns and cities
And the new pair of tables to show top 30 MSOAs by week-on-week increases and decreases. pic.twitter.com/szvhpZFrHO
— Richard 📊📉 (@RP131) October 27, 2020
Comment: 'Where’s the lockdown exit strategy? Er... there isn’t one'
It was reasonable to think that by now Western governments might have got Covid largely under control, allowing a semblance of normality to return to our beleaguered economies, writes Jeremy Warner.
That was the working assumption ten months ago when all this began, and if you believe Donald Trump, we are indeed nearly there. “Even without a vaccine, we’re rounding the turn. It’s going to be over”, he told a rally at the weekend. He’s been saying it from the start, but who knows, maybe he’s finally right.
Yet, with infection rates at record levels, and hospitalisations in both the US and Europe rapidly following them upwards, if mercifully not yet the mortality rate, the evidence suggests otherwise.
The response over much of Europe is to lockdown afresh. The restrictions are not as tough as last time, but they are quite severe enough, causing the economy once again to nosedive.
It’s true that a lot more testing is being done today than when the pandemic first hit, so you would expect to find more cases of it than back then. But also rising fast is the case positivity rate – that is the number of positive tests as a proportion of the total – suggesting that the infection is once again rampant.
What’s so depressing is that there doesn’t seem to be any kind of an exit strategy. As the Northern Research Group of Conservative MPs have complained in a letter to the Government, there is no discernible methodology behind why some regions are put into higher levels of lockdown, nor any apparent roadmap out of them.
Coronavirus updates from around the world
Like the UK, Italy has today recorded its highest death toll since May, with 221 Covid-related deaths just confirmed. It is the first time that more than 200 deaths have been registered since May 15. Italy has also confirmed a record caseload of 21,994.
Pfizer Inc has said that it does not yet have data from the vaccine that it is developing with BioNTech SE in Germany, and confirmed its release is unlikely until after the US Presidential election a week today.
The Mayor of Mexico City, Claudia Sheinbaum, has tested positive for coronavirus but has said she feels well and has not developed any symptoms.
Belgium has become the country in the European Union with the highest case rate of infections per 100,000 citizens. The nation had 1,390 new cases per 100,000 over the last two weeks, data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control has shown.
And Greece, widely praised for its early handling of the coronavirus outbreak, has recorded a daily peak of 1,259 confirmed cases. Twelve deaths were also confirmed today, amid the introduction of night-time curfews in Athens and Thessaloniki.
Lord Sumption: Ministers stoked fear to justify lockdowns
A former supreme court judge will tonight the Government on Tuesday of “propaganda and stoking fear” in order to justify Covid lockdowns, writes Charles Hymas.
Lord Sumption, a retired supreme court judge, will say the Government has been able to impose draconian measures on the public by instilling fear about the dangers of the Covid-19 virus.
Giving the Cambridge Freshfields annual law lecture he will say ministers sidestepped Parliament through the Public Health Act which, unlike other legislation, allowed them to introduce lockdowns and other measures without the same level of scrutiny by the Commons or Lords.
In announcing the first lockdown, he will accuse the Government of “tendentiously” presenting guidance - such as two metre social distancing - as if it was law.
Lord Sumption, an author and medieval historian, will warn that the actions of the Government during the pandemic threatens to re-shape the relationship between state and the public in a dangerous way.
UK coronavirus deaths at highest level since May
The UK has recorded a further 367 coronavirus-related deaths across all settings, the Department of Health has announced.
This is the highest figure recorded since May 27 when the Department for Health recorded 422 deaths across all settings.
22,885 more people have tested positive for Covid-19, taking the UK's total caseload north of 900,000, while 1,142 patients were admitted to hospital.
Coronavirus vaccine won't inoculate all of EU population until 2022, warn bloc officials
The European Union has warned there will not be enough of a coronavirus vaccine to inoculate its population until 2022.
This comes despite the fact that the 27-nation bloc has secured more than one billion doses of vaccine candidates from there different manufacturers. The EU is also negotiating the procurement of a further billion vials.
"There will not be sufficient doses of COVID-19 vaccines for the entire population before the end of 2021," a European Commission official told diplomats from EU states in a closed-door meeting on Monday, a source familiar told Reuters.
The statement was confirmed by a second official, although an EU Commission spokesman was not available for comment.
Parks closing again should be 'last resort', say researchers
Parks and libraries should only close again as a "last resort" in any potential future lockdowns, researchers from five universities have said.
They discovered that three-quarters of babies and toddlers had spent more time watching TV or playing with a tablet during the lockdown, with those from disadvantaged backgrounds likely to spend more time on screens.
Researchers from Oxford Brookes and the universities of Oxford, Leeds, Warwick and East Anglia set out to assess the damage done by the closure of libraries, playgroups and outdoor spaces including parks throughout the pandemic.
During lockdown, but not before, parents from more disadvantaged backgrounds were less likely to engage in enriching activities with their child, particularly activities requiring outdoor space and access to books.
The authors have therefore recommended communal outdoor spaces and libraries should be closed only as a last resort in lockdowns.
'Matt Hancock's chilling logic will condemn Britain to permanent lockdown'
No punches pulled by Ross Clark in his take on the latest immunity findings:
If Covid antibodies do last only a few months in the human system, it could have profound implications for the likely success of vaccines. The words of Professor Paul Elliott, director of the Imperial College study, that “the vaccine response may behave differently to the response to natural infection” is hardly reassuring.
We are facing the possibility that even if the billions being spent on vaccines does produce a viable drug, we could find that its effect wears off too rapidly to be of much use.
Government policy doesn’t seem to take this into account. Asked on the Today programme recently what was the long-term strategy for Covid-19, health secretary Matt Hancock said it was to suppress the virus until a vaccine came along. And what if an effective vaccine doesn’t come along? There seems to be no plan.
Why not? At some point – and sooner rather than later – we are going to have to have a reasoned debate as to what happens in the long term if the SARS-CoV-19 virus becomes endemic.
Back in the spring, ministers at least used to tell us that we couldn’t live in lockdown forever. Now, they appear to think we can subsist in a perpetual twilight world of local lockdowns, circuit-breakers and permanent bans on meeting up with more than a few people.
Operations cancelled at Leeds hospital after patient numbers jump 30 per cent
One of the largest NHS trusts in England has become the latest to confirm that it is being forced to cancel operations for patients, following a 30 per cent rise in the number of its coronavirus patients across the weekend.
Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust has told staff that the numbers of Covid patients are near the peak of the first wave earlier this year, The Independent reports, with the overall numbers of all patients in hospital higher than the first spring wave of the pandemic.
Further cancellations could await patients with the Trust admitting that it expects Covid-19 patients to take up a greater amount of its capacity in the coming days and weeks.
The northeast and Yorkshire NHS region had 1,962 patients in hospital with Covid-19 on Monday, according to the most recent NHS data, which represents an increase of 47 per cent on a week earlier.
Social distancing exhibited by wild bats when sick, suggests new study
Wild vampire bats socially distance when they are sick, a new study suggests.
Scientists had previously seen this behaviour in lab conditions, but wanted to find out if it occurred in the wild.
The researchers captured 31 adult female vampire bats from a hollow tree in Lamanai, Belize. The team injected half the bats with lipopolysaccharide, an immune-challenging substance, to make them sick while the other half received saline injections.
The researchers then glued proximity sensors to the bats and released them back into their tree.
The team tracked changes over time in the associations among the 16 sick bats and 15 control bats.
The researchers found that the animals that were ill spent less time near others, associated with fewer group mates and were less socially connected to those that were healthy.
UK coronavirus deaths: Hospital deaths rise by 252 in highest increase since May
A further 252 patients have died with Covid-19 in hospitals across the UK, marking the highest single-day rise in hospital deaths since May.
This figure includes 207 fatalities in England, plus seven new deaths in Wales, 25 in Scotland, 13 in Northern Ireland, and seven in Wales.
One person aged between 20 and 39 died with the virus, the NHS England figures show.
The UK's death toll across all settings and current caseload will be published later today.
UK coronavirus deaths 'worsened by air pollution', suggests major study
Air pollution exacerbated the UK death toll from Covid-19, a major study has found, suggesting that 14 per cent of deaths could have been avoided.
An international team of experts combined localised satellite imagery of pollution hotspots with epidemiological data from the pandemic and of conditions known to raise people’s risk from Covid-19, such as heart disease.
They estimate that, from the start of the pandemic to the first week of June, more than 6,100 Covid-19 deaths in the UK might have been avoided were it not for long-term exposure to air pollution, in particular tiny particles called PM2.5. This was marginally below the global average of 15 per cent.
In Europe as a whole, the proportion was roughly 19 per cent, with the Czech Republic worst at 29 per cent, then Germany at 26.
The proportion of Covid-19 deaths related to pollution in China was 22 per cent, and in the US it was 18 per cent.
Henry Bodkin has the story.
Nottingham lockdown looms as residents urged to show 'resilience'
Residents in Nottingham and surrounding boroughs have been urged by local leaders to keep showing "resilience" two days before new Tier 3 restrictions are imposed.
Tougher Covid-19 rules for Nottingham city and the Broxtowe, Gedling and Rushcliffe borough council areas will come into force on Thursday, with more details of the measures set to follow later today.
Under blanket pre-existing Tier 3 measures, bars and pubs in the city will have to close unless they serve "substantial" meals.
A package of financial support measures for affected businesses and workers, agreed with Government, will be put in place, in line with other areas that are subject to Tier 3.
Rushcliffe Borough Council leader Simon Robinson told the PA news agency he believes the measures are supported by a "majority" of residents.
"People are showing a lot of resilience, because people understand we need to get on top of the virus," he said.
"The restrictions are currently being detailed now with Government. It's very complex, there's a huge amount of work to be done. Then there will be an announcement this evening - I'm not quite sure how that will be done because Parliament is in recess."
Covid recovery drug approved for use among eczema sufferers
A drug that has been shown to cut the recovery time from coronavirus has been approved as a once-a-day eczema treatment.
In addition to its Covid uses, Baricitinib is now available across Europe for adults who have moderate to severe eczema.
The drug, which was first designed to treat arthritis, can be taken as a daily tablet and has been shown to cut Covid-19 recovery time by a day in hospitalised patients when combined with remdesivir.
A final-phase stage three clinical trial run by the manufacturer Eli Lilly is ongoing to see if there are any further benefits from baricitinib.
Tier 4 lockdown: What would the rules be, and what UK areas could be affected?
The Government will "rule nothing out" on the prospect of a new fourth tier of restrictions, Matt Hancock has said.
Officials are drawing up fresh plans to add an extra lockdown level, which could see restaurants and non-essential shops shut in the event infection rates in England fail to drop.
The fourth tier is thought to be viewed as a short-term option, which could be deployed instead of national circuit-breaker restrictions in order to get the spread of the virus back under control.
The Scottish Government has opted for a five-tier model in which Level 4 is closer to the full lockdown.
Asked about it on October 26, the Health Secretary told BBC Breakfast: "We've always said all along that we take nothing off the table."
Death of the city break as two-week beach holidays return
New data has revealed drastic shifts in UK travel behaviour since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, our assistant content editor Emma Beaumont can reveal.
The research, from airport transfer and sightseeing company Welcome Pickups, analysed UK traveller behaviour from March to the end of September this year, comparing it to the same period in 2019.
Among the changes, it found an increase in longer trips and a move towards beach holidays, marking a nostalgic return to the way Britons used to travel.
However, other findings, such as the rise of solo breaks, suggest that the pandemic is sparking a number of unexpected trends that could have a long-lasting impact on the way we travel.
Excess deaths at home during pandemic still number more than 100 per day
Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter, chair of the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication at the University of Cambridge, has expressed his concern at the number of excess deaths taking place at home during the pandemic.
"There continues to be 100 extra non-Covid deaths each day in private homes - one-third more than usual, and showing no sign of decreasing," he said.
"Perhaps this is a long-term effect of the pandemic. If there is good end-of-life care, then this could be a positive change, but it is unclear if this is the case."
Also reacting to the latest ONS data release, Professor Kevin McConway, Emeritus Professor of Applied Statistics at the Open University, said: "The weekly ONS data release on deaths, based on death registrations, provides sobering reading.
"[It] would be concerning whatever the actual cause of these excess deaths is, but the ONS data indicate very clearly that the main cause of the excess is Covid-19.
"Deaths involving Covid-19 registered in the week ending 16 October were 53 per cent higher than the previous week.
"There's a much smaller rate of increase than at the start of the pandemic in the UK last Spring, but so far there’s very little sign that the rate of increase is slowing."
More than half of English secondary schools have pupils in self-isolation
More than half of secondary schools in England sent at least one pupil home because of Covid-19 last week, new Government figures show.
About six to seven per cent of state school pupils did not attend class for coronavirus-related reasons on October 22, according to the Department for Education.
Fifty-five per cent of secondary schools, excluding those that have currently broken up for their half-term holiday, said that they had at least one pupil self-isolating. This compares to 20 per cent of primary schools.
Total school attendance dropped from 89 per cent a week earlier to 86 per cent on October 22, the data indicates, with a four per cent drop in secondary school attendance.
New York students must test negative before leaving for Thanksgiving
New York’s public university system is requiring students to test negative for the coronavirus before they can leave for Thanksgiving break, the AP news agency has reported.
It is hoped that the requirement for a negative Covid-19 test for all students at State University of New York will mitigate the spread of the disease, as students travel across the country to return to their homes.
The majority of universities in New York did not force their students to get tested before a widespread return to campus in August.
'Non essential items' Wales rules must be relaxed, urge retailers
The ban on non-essential items being sold during Wales' current lockdown should be relaxed to let shoppers "make their own decision", retailers have told the Welsh Government.
Groups representing supermarkets today made numerous recommendations to ministers after confusion over what can and cannot be sold during the 17-day fire break.
A joint statement issued by CBI Wales, the Welsh Retail Consortium, and the Association of Convenience Stores said:
We recommend the individual customer is trusted to make their own decision as to whether a product is non-essential or not, taking into account the notices displayed throughout the store and their immediate needs.
If the customer goes ahead with the purchase of the item the final liability ought to rest with the customer.
These recommendations would mean non-essential items are not removed from shelves, or cordoned off in stores, but large notices are placed in front of the products and in communal spaces informing customers of the Welsh Government's regulations and the Welsh public are trusted to make the right decision.
What's your 'Covid age', and what factors shape it?
As anybody who has followed the news for the last eight months will know, Covid-19 is a far deadlier threat to the old than the young, writes Luke Mintz.
Over-80s make up more than half (53 per cent) of patients who have died in English hospitals after testing positive for the virus, and 92 per cent were over 60, according to data from Public Health England (PHE).
But some doctors are now worried that the public’s overwhelming focus on age – whilst undeniably a huge factor – is making broadly healthy older people more frightened than they need to be, and lulling younger patients with conditions like obesity and diabetes into thinking they have nothing to fear.
Instead, some in the medical world think it might be more helpful to think of your ‘Covid age’ – how various factors like age, weight, kidney function and diabetes coalesce to determine your vulnerability to the virus.
Covid banking impact: The end of free accounts?
Banks have warned they could start charging current account customers as profit margins remain wafer thin and the Bank of England mulls negative interest rates amid the coronavirus crisis, reports Will Kirkman.
In its financial results, HSBC said that it could be forced to charge millions of account holders a monthly fee after posting a 36pc fall in profits.
The firm's Ewen Stevenson said: "We will have to look at charging for basic banking services in some markets, because a large number of our customers will be losing us money.”
An HSBC spokesman said it was committed to offering a free account but warned this would be "basic". They also said it would constantly review the cost of any other current accounts it charged for.
Experts have warned more banks could follow suit. This would mean a sea change for consumers who have have known nothing else other than free current accounts. Telegraph Money takes you through the key questions.
Coronavirus cases data now showing difference between those staying in UK and tourists
There is now no difference between Covid-19 infections among Britons who have been on holiday and those who have not, newly released statistics show.
Data from between September 25 and October 8 showed a difference of just 0.09 per cent in positivity rate between the groups, according to figures produced by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Only 0.58 per cent of those who had travelled abroad in the most recent 30 days had tested positive for the virus, compared to 0.49 per cent who remained in the UK.
"Analysis now shows that, unlike before, there is no longer a difference in the rate of infections between those who have travelled abroad and those who haven't,” said Katherine Kent, co-head of the ONS’ Infection Survey.
The study also found that just three per cent of Britons had travelled abroad in the most recent two weeks for which data is available.
Portsmouth University party leads to 19-year-old being reported for summons
A 19-year-old man has been reported for summons over reports of a large party at a halls of residence in Portsmouth on Friday.
Police attended Margaret Rule Halls, in Isambard Brunel Road and found a large group of people in the street who then dispersed.
They were then called back to the same area at around 2.45am, following reports that around 40 people were having a party in the street and not adhering to social distancing.
Second lockdown winners and losers will be very different from last time
With much of the global economy going back into lockdown, investors probably feel they have a pretty good idea how the next few months will play out, writes Matthew Lynn. It will be tech, tech, and more tech, Nothing else will get any attention at all.
Amazon will complete its annexation of a continent or two. Apple and Google will zip effortlessly through the $2 trillion market value barrier. Zoom will triple in size, Netflix will sign up another 500m subscribers and the IPOs of sourdough bread-making apps will be massively oversubscribed.
But the big winners from Lockdown 2.0 will in fact be very different from Lockdown 1.0. There are already signs that if we have to hunker down at home through the winter while we wait for a vaccine to finally bring this crisis to a close then it will be the old economy that does better this time around.
Why? Because technology is running out of steam; because consumers are turning to comforting staples; and because traditional businesses have started to figure out how to adapt to the crisis.
Investors and chief executives simply expecting a replay of the spring are in for a surprise.
Italy coronavirus restrictions spark mass protests across country
Protesters threw petrol bombs and looted shops last night as demonstrations that consisted of thousands of Italians standing against their government’s tough new anti-virus measures broke out in cities across the country.
In Turin, protesters set wheelie bins on fire and looted a Gucci shop in the centre of the city. Around a dozen people were injured in clashes, including police officers.
There were also protests in Rome, Naples and Trieste. In Milan, trams were vandalised and 28 people were arrested after demonstrators gathered outside the offices of the regional government of Lombardy.
While most protesters were law-abiding, a minority engaged in clashes with riot police, throwing stones, firecrackers and petrol bombs.
Watch below, and read more from Nick Squires here
Coronavirus vaccine latest: Why waiting for a jab could be a flawed strategy
The findings from a surveillance study of 365,000 people raise a terrifying prospect, writes Laura Donnelly – one of Britain as some sort of Narnia, where it is always winter but never Christmas.
Research by Imperial College London has been key to Government policy-making on the pandemic from the off. Most famously, it was behind the modelling that persuaded Boris Johnson to order the country into full lockdown in March.
The study being published now is no less significant. For months, the Government's approach to the pandemic has been predicated on the assumption that a vaccine will ultimately come to the rescue.
Until then, measures can only "buy time". If successful, restrictions on liberty can push down the 'R' rate, reducing levels of infection, saving lives and preventing the NHS from becoming overwhelmed.
All of this is, of course, a short-term measure with colossal costs, not just to the economy but also in lives lost from diseases other than Covid-19. But the research suggests a still more fatal flaw in the strategy – that such policies could be counting on a breakthrough that may never come.
Donald Trump Covid tweets continue apace as he claims US 'rounding the turn'
With a week to go until arguably the most significant US election in some time, this from President Donald Trump, who hasn't held back in his use of capital letters:
ALL THE FAKE NEWS MEDIA WANTS TO TALK ABOUT IS COVID, COVID, COVID. ON NOVEMBER 4th, YOU WON’T BE HEARING SO MUCH ABOUT IT ANYMORE. WE ARE ROUNDING THE TURN!!!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 27, 2020
The President promises that the day after the vote he hopes will mark his re-election, "you won't be hearing so much about [coronavirus] anymore" - and proceeds to claim that the US is "rounding the turn" in its response to the virus.
The country is currently averaging more than 65,000 cases of Covid-19 per day, with California having this week become the first American state to top 900,000 cases.
In total, there have been 8.78 million cases and more than 225,000 deaths linked to the virus in the US.
Rishi Sunak admits to sharing 'frustration' of northern Tory backbenchers
Rishi Sunak has said that he shares the "frustration" of more than 50 backbenchers who signed an open letter to Boris Johnson demanding a road-map out of lockdown.
"I absolutely share my colleagues' frustration at restrictions - of course that's frustrating if you're having to live under these things and you want to know when it's going to be over," the Chancellor told BBC Radio 1's Newsbeat.
"But I also share their passion and ambition for the North. I want my constituents to make sure they have the same opportunities that everyone else does. The conversation can't always just be about what's going on in London, marvellous as London is."
He said that the Government remains committed to investing in jobs, education, infrastructure and broadband in response to the letter's calls for the Government plan to "build back better" to centre on "things we really excel at in the North".
Jake Berry, chair of the newly-formed Northern Research Group, has said that ministers should "level with the public" and publish "easy, digestible data" amid decisions on the ongoing pandemic.
Scotland tier system could see Lanarkshire practically in full lockdown
Nicola Sturgeon is to seek cross-party support for her five-tier plan for Covid restrictions today, reports our Scottish correspondent Daniel Sanderson.
It comes as it emerged that Ms Sturgeon was last night considering imposing a near full lockdown on Lanarkshire.
The First Minister has said there is likely to be “no immediate change” for those living in many parts of the country, when the new system comes into force next week.
Much of the Central Belt, where enhanced restrictions are currently in force, is likely to be placed into the second-top level while those in the rest of the country are likely to be placed into the middle tier.
However, it emerged on Monday night that officials were considering putting North and South Lanarkshire into the top level, following a surge in cases. It would mean non-essential shops, as well as businesses such as hairdressers and gyms, would close.
Lincoln Covid alert level could change to Tier 2 by weekend
Health bosses have said that there is a serious possibility that Lincoln could be forced to move into Tier 2 Covid restrictions as soon as this week.
The number of cases in the city rose by 59 yesterday, and the infection rate is now stands at 213.5, marginally above the national average for England.
Lincolnshire's Outbreak Management Board, comprised of councillors, health representatives and members from other response bodies, will meet tomorrow in order to discuss potential next steps.
Working from home and tier systems push Premier Inn owner to £725m loss
Premier Inn owner Whitbread plunged £725 million into the red for its half-year, reports Simon Foy, as the group says trading has slowed since the Government instructed Britons to work from home if possible earlier this month.
The FTSE 100 company posted a £725 million pre-tax loss for the six months to August 27, compared with a £220 million profit for the same period last year. Revenues fell by 77 per cent to £251 million.
UK demand rose gradually in August and September, with occupancy levels at 51 per cent and 58 per cent respectively, but there have again been fewer customers since local lockdowns were implemented in October.
Despite the uncertain outlook, Whitbread said it was continuing to focus on its expansion in Germany and has signed deals for a further 15 hotels.
Last month, the company announced plans to axe up to 6,000 jobs and said the move was vital to protect the business.
Holidays over Christmas: Dubai could be back on the menu
Dubai could soon be back on the menu for British holidaymakers, reports Hazel Plush.
An air link between London and the United Arab Emirates is currently being discussed at government level, which could see a reciprocal quarantine-free travel arrangement.
Paul Griffith, CEO of Dubai Airports, told Bloomberg TV that the progression of the plans is “in the hands of politicians”, and that negotiations are currently in process with other cities around the world.
Boosting tourism in the emirate is “an essential part of the kick-start of the global economy,” said Griffith. “It’s about time that governments actually recognise what a great job the travel and tourism industry is doing in controlling the spread of the virus.”
The UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office currently advises against non-essential travel to the UAE, of which Dubai is part.
As such, travellers from the UK must quarantine for 14 days on their return, and risk invalidating their travel insurance if they decide to visit.
Warrington looks on the 'spooky' side of Tier 3 restrictions
At one minute past midnight Warrington entered Tier 3 restrictions.
Downing Street yesterday ruled out trick or treating for those living in 'very high risk areas', due to the ban on household mixing indoors and in outdoor private spaces.
As trick or treating involves knocking on someone's front door, children would be entering someone’s private property if they knocked on their doors and therefore be in breach of the rules.
But one household in Warrington looked to bring some spooky cheer to their neighours by decorating their garden statues in cobwebs and face masks.
Death rates halve among Covid patients in hospital
Death rates among people hospitalised with Covid-19 have halved since the peak of the first wave, new research has found.
Analysis of over 21,000 hospital admissions revealed the significant drop for both high dependency unit admissions and intensive care admissions between March and the end of June.
The findings, led by the University of Exeter, involving the University of Warwick and supported by The Alan Turing Institute were published in Critical Care Medicine.
Death rates from late March showed around a quarter (26 per cent) of people admitted to high dependency units and 41 per cent of people admitted to intensive care died from virus.
In June, this dropped to just 7 per cent among high dependency units and 21 per cent for intensive care.
Factors such as improved understanding of the disease and more effective treatments are thought to have contributed to the drop.
Dr Bilal Mateen, of the University of Warwick, said: “The reduction in the number of people dying from Covid-19 in hospitals is clearly a step in the right direction, but it’s important that we do not become complacent as a result.
Which areas are currently under Tier 3?
Germany could be heading towards another lockdown
Several media outlets in Germany are reporting that Angela Merkel intends to push for a “lockdown light” at a crunch meeting with federal leaders on Wednesday, Jörg Luyken reports.
With cases numbers having tripled in the past fortnight, Berlin is coming under increasing pressure to enact stricter measures.
According to a report in Bild newspaper, Ms Merkel will propose to state leaders that they order all bars and restaurants to close as well as ban all public events.
The lockdown would not affect the retail sector. Schools and kindergarten would also be allowed to stay open except in areas where there is a particularly serious outbreak.
Some in the Chancellor’s CDU party are pushing for more draconian measures. Deputy leader Thomas Strobl said on Monday he was in favour of a 10-day lockdown in which the whole population would have to stay home.
Mr Storbl said that by shutting down “absolutely everything” Germany would "probably be able to bring the spread of the virus to a halt” and thus reopen by Christmas time.
Some 11,400 new cases were reported in Germany on Tuesday morning as well as 42 new deaths.
Uwe Janssen, the head of the ICU association, said that Germany has plenty of capacity in intensive care wards but doesn’t have enough nurses. He described the shortfall as “dramatic”.
ONS: UK Covid-related deaths reach 61,000
More than 61,000 deaths involving Covid-19 have now occurred in the UK, new figures show.
A total of 59,927 deaths have so far been registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate, including suspected cases, according to the latest reports from the UK's statistics agencies.
This includes 54,609 deaths in England and Wales up to October 16 (and registered up to October 24), which were confirmed by the ONS this morning.
Since these statistics were compiled, a further 1,044 deaths are known to have occurred in England, plus 36 in Scotland, 62 in Wales and 47 in Northern Ireland, according to additional data published on the Government's coronavirus dashboard.
Together, these totals mean that so far 61,116 deaths involving Covid-19 have taken place in the UK.
Mass testing is 'overkill', says China's top epidemiologist
China’s chief epidemiologist Wu Zunyou has said that mass testing of millions of people is costly “overkill,” Sophia Yan reports.
“From the scientific perspective of epidemiology, it is unnecessary to test everyone,” Mr Wu told Chinese state media.
Local officials in the city of Qingdao recently rushed to test all 9 million residents over five days – the first step that Chinese authorities have taken to combat subsequent outbreaks of coronavirus after it emerged in Wuhan. In the end, only 12 results came back positive.
“But this kind of judgement is based on expertise and can only be 95 to 99 per cent accurate,” said Mr Wu. There is a “1 per cent to 5 per cent chance of uncertainty”.
Even a sliver of uncertainty drives local officials to conduct mass testing, especially as they’re keen to show the central government in Beijing that everything possible is being done to control the spread of coronavirus.
Bureaucrats think "if you test everyone...it will provide 100 per cent reassurance the outbreak has been contained".
Rather, it’s sufficient to stop mass testing when the first batches mostly come back with negative results, as officials did in June in Beijing in response to a cluster outbreak, he said. Detailed contact tracing will also be useful.
At first, city authorities planned to test the entire city of 20 million, but finally stopped halfway through at the urging of experts as many tests came back negative.
“When tests of tens of thousands of people, or hundreds of thousands, returned negative, data was sufficient” to show there weren’t many more new infections, he said. Otherwise “the social cost will be huge and unnecessary".
In pictures, authorities attempt to test millions of residents in Qingdao
A postcard from Ibiza, where a long, tough winter awaits
The White Isle's hospitality industry is bracing itself for a slow winter as the season comes to an end, Abigail Lowe writes.
The end of October is usually met with both relief and celebration in Ibiza. After months of hard graft with little pause for respite, club closing parties mark the end of the tourist season and finally, locals are able to take a breath and enjoy the last days of sunshine before the peacefulness of winter arrives. But this year, it’s a totally different story. Despite relatively low numbers of Covid-19 cases over the course of summer, Ibiza was hit hard by tough government restrictions and UK quarantine rules, and now residents are facing the bleakest winter in recent memory.
Read the full story here.
ONS: Northern England records highest Covid-related deaths since June
North West England had 229 deaths involving Covid-19 registered in the week ending October 16 - the highest number for the region since the week ending June 5, according to the ONS.
In North East England, 93 Covid-19 deaths were registered in the week to October 16, which is also the highest since the week to June 5.
In Yorkshire and the Humber, 87 deaths were registered: the highest since the week to June 19.
Registered deaths involving Covid-19 increased week-on-week in every region of England in the week to October 16.
Use our post code tool below to see if coronavirus cases are rising or falling in your area.
ONS: Covid-related deaths rise for sixth week
The number of deaths involving Covid-19 registered in England and Wales has risen for the sixth week in a row.
A total of 670 deaths registered in the week ending October 16 mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
This is up from 438 deaths in the week to October 9 - a jump of 53 per cent.
It is the highest number of registered deaths involving Covid-19 since the week ending June 19.
Five stories to read this morning
Risk factor: What’s your ‘Covid age’?
Polish PM calls on protests to be halted after cases surge
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki called on Tuesday for mass protests over abortion rights to be halted, saying those attending were disregarding "massive risks" from the resurgent coronavirus pandemic.
Poland has seen five days of widespread protests following a ruling by the Constitutional Tribunal last Thursday that amounts to a near-total ban on abortion in the predominantly Catholic nation.
Russia tightens mask wearing as cases soar
Russian authorities have ordered people across the country to wear face masks in some public places and asked regional authorities to consider shutting bars and restaurants overnight after a surge in coronavirus cases.
The consumer health watchdog told regional authorities to make masks mandatory in parking lots, elevators, taxis and public transport. Some cities, including the capital Moscow, have already made masks mandatory on public transport.
It also suggested they close bars and restaurants between 11pm and 6am. The RIA news agency had earlier reported this as an order, not a recommendation.
Russia has seen a surge in new Covid-19 infections in recent weeks, prompting the authorities to open temporary hospitals and urge the population to take precautionary measures.
The authorities have said they will not repeat the total lockdowns imposed across the country earlier this year.
Russia had reported 1,547,774 infections, the world's fourth largest Covid-19 case load after the United States, India and Brazil.
Free school meals: 'Dark centre of government is invisible to me', says food tsar
The Government's food tsar, Henry Dimbleby, said holiday clubs which provide meals for hungry children would be a better way of addressing the problem than money through the benefits system.
The co-founder of restaurant chain Leon told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "This problem is real, it should go without saying it's serious, it's immediate and it's going to get worse as employment gets worse and the Government isn't doing enough.
"One in seven families already are reporting not be able to afford enough food."
Mr Dimbleby, the head of the national food strategy, said he has been lobbying ministers to act.
He said that "in-kind support" through holiday clubs, providing food and education, had been shown to have a better impact than putting the same "small amount of money" into Universal Credit.
"I haven't been backward in coming forward with ideas that I have been feeding in to Treasury, to Education and to Number 10, ideas of how they could rapidly implement this by Christmas," he said.
"But ... the dark centre of government is invisible to me and I have no idea exactly what they're working on as we speak."
Less than half trust news organisations for Covid information
Less than half of Britons trust in news organisations as a source for Covid-19 information, the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism said.
The level of trust has fallen throughout the pandemic and about 8 million people in Britain are now at risk of being less informed, uninformed or misinformed about the disease just as the government grapples with a second wave, the Institute said in a report.
"The significant growth in the number of people vulnerable to misinformation means the UK is less well equipped to deal with the coronavirus communications crisis during the second wave and the winter ahead," director Rasmus Kleis Nielsen said.
Trust in news organisations as a source about the pandemic fell to 45 per cent in August from 57 per cent in April. Daily use of Covid-19 news has dropped 24 percentage points over the same period, to 55 per cent from 79 per cent, the Institute's report said.
While most people in the United Kingdom were well informed significant minorities - around 20 million people - felt neither the news media nor the government had explained what people should do in response to the virus.
'Lifelong immunity for coronaviruses doesn't seem to be the case'
Professor Paul Elliott, director of the React antibody study from Imperial College London, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that a vaccine response "may behave differently to the response to natural infection".
Asked what the implications were for a coronavirus vaccine and how long protection from a vaccine may last, he said: "I think that's an open question that needs to be kept under close research and close scrutiny over the coming weeks and months.
"It's possible that people might need booster vaccines. For some viruses there's lifelong immunity; for the coronaviruses that doesn't seem to be the case, and we know that the immunity can fluctuate so, yes, this is something that needs to be looked at very carefully."
He said healthcare workers were found to have higher levels of antibodies in the study, as did people living in large households and those from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds.
If someone is 'really in trouble' they will be looked after, Surgeons say
Professor Neil Mortensen, president of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, said it is "tough" calling patients to tell them their operation is not going ahead because of hospital restrictions.
"I guess the theme really is that international comparisons have shown that our numbers of ITU beds, our numbers of doctors per head of population, nurses per head of population, have been at the lower end of the scale already.
"And you add this massive, massive crisis on top of it and it's very, very easy for it to fall over," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
He added: "Those most in need obviously come first. And if you're not an emergency patient then an elective operation - like a hip or a knee - I'm afraid takes second place."
Prof Mortensen said it is currently "really, really tough", adding: "I think it's going to happen more."
He did stress that if someone is "really in trouble" with a bleeding ulcer or a bowel obstruction for example, they will be looked after.
'The rate of increase has slowed', minister says
Nadhim Zahawi, Business Minister, said Tier 3 areas were subject to 28-day reviews and that bringing the virus under control was the route out of restrictions.
His comments follow concerns raised by northern Tory MPs about the coronavirus exit strategy.
Mr Zahawi told LBC Radio: "There is some good news. I have to be very cautious about this... but what I would say if you look at the the data, where we are working really well together, the rate of increase has slowed down.
"It's still too high, and we've got to continue to protect our hospitals, make sure that we save lives, protect the NHS and of course protect livelihoods and businesses, which is why this is a balancing act."
He added: "It's a choice between two harms - the harm of the virus and the harm to the economy and to livelihoods, which ultimately also leads to health harms as well."
Millions of children will still be able to trick or treat on Hallowe'en
Millions of children across England will still be able to go trick or treating on Hallowe'en, Downing Street has confirmed.
Dispelling fears that the annual tradition would be shelved this year due to the pandemic, the Prime Minister’s spokesman said that youngsters would be expected to follow the local restrictions in their areas.
It means that children in tier two areas, where the rule of six still applies outdoors, could still take part providing they do not step indoors when door-knocking their neighbours.
Read more the full story by Harry Yorke, here.
March lockdown: No other restrictions have had same impact, says expert
When asked if Tier 3 restrictions were tough enough to control the virus, Prof Barclay said: "I think that one of the points we tried to put across yesterday in the paper was that the total lockdown that we had back in late March was enough to turn the tide, and get the virus back under control.
"So far, none of the other restrictions that we've seen and none of the other actions, seem to have done that.
"So it's a very difficult balancing act and I think we need to keep trying to find the right formula, which allows people to get on with their lives but also gets the R number in the right direction."
'We can continue to be optimistic about vaccines'
Prof Barclay, from Imperial College London, said there was still reason to be optimistic about a vaccine.
She told Times Radio: "I think that we can still continue to be optimistic about vaccines because vaccines will work in a different way.
"What we're measuring at the moment is the way that our bodies immune response reacts to the virus infecting us.
"But when we immunise with vaccines - particularly the new generation of vaccines that have been developed and put forward into trials for Sars-CoV-2 - the virus that causes Covid - they work in quite different ways and they might like an immune response which is much more long lasting than natural infection. So we have to keep optimistic about that."
Supporting the North is 'absolutely our focus', minister says
Supporting the North is "absolutely our focus", Nadhim Zahawi, Minister for Business and Industry, has said.
Mr Zahawi told BBC Breakfast ministers were listening to concerns from the Northern Research Group.
He said: "They are rightly champions for their area. They want to make sure the Northern powerhouse strategy that Jake Berry and others have worked so hard on is delivered. That is absolutely our focus and you will see it coming through in our refresh of the industrial strategy."
He told BBC Breakfast that they "quite rightly worry now" about the post-Covid future of the North, saying "of course" the North-South divide was a concern.
Covid-19 behaving like 'the common cold'
Virologist Professor Wendy Barclay from Imperial College London said the new coronavirus was behaving in a similar fashion to seasonal coronaviruses - which are responsible for the common cold.
Prof Barclay, who is one of the authors of new research which found that people's immunity built up after a Covid-19 infection could only last a few months as their levels of protective antibodies decline, told Times Radio: "This new coronavirus seems to be behaving in a somewhat similar fashion to the seasonal coronaviruses that have been in humans for decades, if not hundreds of thousands of years.
"And for them we know that you do get reinfected every one or two years because your immunity, whether it's made up of antibodies or T-cells, fades away to such an extent that you can become reinfected."
On the concept of a "immunity passport" - whereby people could go about their lives as normal after an infection - she added: "This concept of a passport for immunity - at the moment it is not a good idea because individuals can vary quite a lot in the sort of quality of the antibody response they make.
"We wouldn't like people to go out and change their behaviour thinking they were protected when they are not.
"What's more, the study we've published shows that if you had to test one month, then you might need to be taking the test the next month or the month after because your antibody levels might change over time."
Nottingham Council leader: 'Difficult to tell' if Government support is enough
Councillor David Mellen, leader of Nottingham City Council, said it is "difficult to tell" whether the city has the Government support it needs for Tier 3, adding that all areas have been given a "flat rate".
He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I think we have additional responsibilities of running a big city, and the city centre in particular has additional needs.
"I'm not sure that all of that will be covered in what we've been promised from the Government."
He said costs and lost income from the first wave of Covid-19 "were not fully met as was promised", meaning that budgets are "strained and stretched".
Northern England schools 'most disrupted by Covid'
Children in the North of England have had their education most disrupted by the pandemic, according to data seen by the BBC.
In mid-October, around 710 teachers had coronavirus in the North West - around a third of all total confirmed cases among English teachers.
While more than 40 per cent of schools in Bury, Knowsley, Liverpool and Manchester all had confirmed cases at the time.
The analysis from the North West Association of the Directors of Children's Services, seen by the BBC, reveals the challenges some schools have faced during the pandemic.
The data was a snapshot taken on October 16.
Victoria Derbyshire backtracks on Christmas rule-breaking comments
Victoria Derbyshire has apologised for saying she would ignore coronavirus restrictions and break the rule of six in order to celebrate with her family at Christmas.
The BBC presenter and fixture of the corporation’s daytime Covid-19 coverage previously said she would flout the prohibition if it is still in place during the festive period.
But this morning, she has backtracked on her comments stating they were "hypothetical".
I talked about my mum, her partner & my dad-in-law spending it with us - making seven in our home in a Tier One area (medium). It was hypothetical - however I was totally wrong to say it & I’m sorry. We’ll of course continue to follow whatever rules are in place on Dec 25th 2/2
— Victoria Derbyshire (@vicderbyshire) October 27, 2020
Liverpool mayor backs idea of fourth tier
Joe Anderson, Liverpool mayor, has backed the idea of a possible fourth tier of coronavirus restrictions if Tier 3 measures do not go far enough to halt the spread of Covid-19.
The city is one of five northern locations currently under the nation's strictest level of lockdown measures due to a surge in coronavirus cases.
But in an interview with BBC Breakfast, Mr Anderson, whose brother Bill was one of 61 people to die with the virus in the city in one week, said he is not opposed to the introduction of "tougher measures if necessary".
He told the programme: "(The pandemic) has taken untold damage on people's wellbeing and a huge toll on families where people have died.
"If anything was required to bring it down faster I would do that.
"However, I want to make sure that we are giving tier three a chance to see if the measures have an impact."
He added he would review the results of the Tier 3 restrictions in 14 to 16 days' time.
His comments come as a group of 50 Tory backbenchers representing northern constituencies have urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to detail a "road-map out of lockdown" amid fears the pandemic is threatening his election pledge to "level-up" the country.
Warrington council leader denies 'rolling over' on Tier 3
Russ Bowden, Warrington's Labour council leader, defended the deal done with the Government as the authority entered Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions.
He admitted that "we went in with a larger ask than what we got from Government" but denied it had been a "case of rolling over".
Warrington council will receive a financial support package of £1.68 million to help contact-tracing and enforcement, as well as £4.2 million in business support from the Government.
Mr Bowden told ITV's Good Morning Britain: "Ultimately we had to make a call whether or not to accept that, that's what a negotiation is about.
"We have got a good deal for the people of Warrington, we have got promises for further funding that will come out in due course.
"This was the right decision to make. Sometimes they are tough ones, you don't always get what you ask for, but I can absolutely assure the people of Warrington that we have got them a good deal."
More clashes in Italy over tough new Covid restrictions
By Nick Squires in Rome
There have been demonstrations and clashes across Italy overnight after the government on Sunday introduced a tough new package of anti-virus restrictions, including the closure of bars and restaurants at 6pm.
Thousands of people protested against the new measures, from Turin in the north to Sicily in the south.
While most protesters were law abiding, a minority engaged in clashes with riot police, throwing stones, firecrackers and petrol bombs.
The new government decree also ordered gyms, swimming pools, theatres and cinemas to close and many people are fearful for their livelihoods, having already taken a big financial hit during the national lockdown in the spring.
In the city of Cremona, restaurant owners banged pots and pans outside government offices, while in Catania in Sicily they threw firecrackers at a police station.
There were protests in Genoa, Naples, Milan and Trieste. In some cases, police fired tear gas as protests turned violent.
Police said many of the troublemakers were not legitimate business owners but extremists from the far-Right and far-Left, as well as 'Ultra' football fans.
Over-70s who embraced exercise in lockdown and got creative
When it comes to being at risk of coronavirus, age is one of the most prominent factors. But as we learn more about the virus, some in the medical world think we should consider one's 'Covid age' – how various factors like age, weight, kidney function and diabetes coalesce to determine your vulnerability to the virus. Being fit and healthy puts you in a better position to combat Covid-19.
Here, we hear from three people in their 70s who not only kept themselves active during lockdown, but got creative in the process.
Read more: What’s your ‘Covid age’?
Pandemic pummelling foreign investment, says UN
The coronavirus crisis is expected to drag foreign direct investment down by up to 40 percent this year, with a recovery not expected until 2022, UN economists said Tuesday.
A report by the United Nations Conference on Trade, Investment and Development (UNCTAD) found that lockdowns and the prospect of a deep global recession had dramatically shrunk FDI, which is a measure of cross-border private sector investment.
The agency said that worldwide, FDI was 49 percent lower during the first half of 2020 than during the same period in 2019 - and that every major form of foreign investment took a hit, ranging from infrastructure funding to mergers and acquisitions.
US plan to cover out-of-pocket vaccine costs, Politico reports
The US Trump administration will this week announce a plan to cover out-of-pocket costs of Covid-19 vaccines for millions of Americans who receive Medicare or Medicaid, Politico reported late on Monday, citing four people with knowledge of the plan.
According to the plans, Medicare and Medicaid will now cover vaccines that receive emergency use authorisation from the Food and Drug Administration. The changes are expected to be announced on Tuesday or Wednesday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the report added.
The planned rule will also address other Covid-19 related issues like expanding flexibility for Medicaid patients seeking care for the coronavirus, Politico reported.
CMS did not immediately respond to a request for comment outside regular working hours.
Cases reported in India at three-month low
Authorities in India are reporting 36,470 newly confirmed coronavirus infections - that's the lowest one-day tally in more than three months in a continuing downward trend.
In its report Tuesday, the Health Ministry also listed 488 new fatalities in the previous 24 hours, raising the overall death toll to 119,502.
The case number reported on Tuesday is the lowest since India had 35,065 newly confirmed infections on July 17. Last month, the country hit a peak of nearly 100,000 cases in a single day, but daily infections have been decreasing since then.
Philippines' Duterte wants government-to-government deal for vaccines
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Tuesday he would favour a government-to-government deal for the purchase of coronavirus vaccines to prevent the risk of corruption, adding that Manila would not beg other nations for access to vaccines.
The Philippines, with its more than 108 million people and among the highest number of Covid-19 infections in Asia, is considered as both a suitable location for clinical trials and a large market for global vaccine manufacturers.
"Let me tell everybody that we will not beg, we will pay," Mr Duterte said in a weekly televised address."To the Chinese government, you need not look for partners, we can make it government-to-government."
The Philippine leader later said that while China and Russia appeared to be ahead in the vaccine race, any country that submitted the best offer could be chosen.
Australia's hotspot records two days without new cases
The Australian state of Victoria, the epicentre of Covid-19 infections, said on Tuesday it had gone 48 hours without detecting any new cases for the first time in more than seven months.
Victoria will allow restaurants and cafes in Melbourne to reopen from Wednesday after more than three months under a stringent lockdown.
Despite case numbers dwindling and businesses poised to reopen, Victoria will only ease limits on social gatherings in the home, allowing two adults and dependents from one house to make one daily visit to one other household.
China reports decline in infections
Mainland China reported 16 new confirmed ovid-19 cases on Oct. 26, down from 20 a day earlier, the country's health authorities said on Tuesday.
The number of new asymptomatic cases also fell to 50, from 161 reported a day earlier amid a fresh wave of symptomless infections being reported in the northwestern Xinjiang region.
Xinjiang's authorities said separately that 26 new asymptomatic cases were reported on Oct. 26, down from 137 a day earlier. China does not classify asymptomatic infections as confirmedcases.
The total number of confirmed cases in mainland China now stands at 85,826, while the death toll remained unchanged at 4,634.
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