Restrictions will be rolled back in Bolton, Stockport, Trafford, Burnley, Hyndburn, parts of Bradford excluding the city centre and Keighley town, parts of Calderdale excluding Halifax, and parts of Kirklees excluding Dewsbury and Batley. The easing of the strict measures, which will come into effect on Wednesday, comes as Trafford’s COVID-19 infection rate shot up by a third.
The jump in the Greater Manchester borough took the local alert system into amber.
The Government issued a formal announcement on Friday detailing the upcoming changes.
The decision to bring Trafford out of lockdown goes against the wishes of the borough’s Labour council leader Andrew Western.
He slammed the move, claiming it was “premature” given the environment the borough’s residents have found themselves in.
Meanwhile, the virus infection rate has trebled in Redditch in just seven days as health bosses warn virus hotspots are “moving south”.
Seventeen areas of England – the vast majority in the Midlands and the south – saw cases jump in the seven days to Sunday.
Public Health England figures showed Oxford, Redditch, Kettering, Hackney and Dacorum are among the places to have been hit by sharp increases of COVID-19 infections.
Coronavirus is continuing to spread across the UK
17 cities where COVID-19 is on the rise
The 17 areas that have seen coronavirus rates per 100,000 of the population sharply increase:
Rochdale – 41.8, up from 35.5
Oxford – 30.2, up from 19.7
Redditch – 27.0, up from 8.2
Kettering – 26.5, up from 13.8
Hackney and City of London – 25.4, up from 13.1
Windsor and Maidenhead – 25.1, up from 8.6
Blaby – 22.7, up from 10.8
Dacorum – 22.0, up from 4.5
Newcastle-under-Lyme – 19.3, up from 5.4
Ealing – 19.0, up from 11.4
South Bucks – 18.6, up from 10.0
Wandsworth – 17.6, up from 10.9
Southwark – 16.0, up from 11.6
Bath and North East Somerset – 15.0, up from 5.2
Folkestone and Hythe – 14.2, up from 7.1
Mid Devon – 13.4, up from 1.2
South Tyneside – 12.6, up from 2.6
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Life is returning to a new normal in London
Saturday, August 29
1.03am update: Nevada confirms first US Covid-19 reinfection
Researchers in Nevada have confirmed the first American case of someone being reinfected with coronavirus.
The 25-year-old tested positive for two different strains of the disease.
Earlier this week Hong Kong also confirmed a case of Covid-19 reinfection, though they remain extremely rare.
Friday, August 28
11.07pm update: Children can carry COVID-19 in noses for weeks
Children can carry coronavirus in their noese and throats for weeks according to a new study from South Korea.
The researchers said: “In this case series study, inapparent infections in children may have been associated with silent COVID-19 transmission in the community.”
Whilst children often display few or no COVID-19 symptoms they are able to pass the infection on to others.
James Bickerton takes over live reporting from Laura O’Callaghan
9.10pm update: First US coronavirus reinfection cases identified
Researchers for the first time have identified someone in the United States who was reinfected with the novel coronavirus, according to a study that has not yet been reviewed by outside experts.
The report, published online, describes a 25-year-old man living in Reno, Nevada, who tested positive for the virus in April after showing mild illness. He got sick again in late May and developed more severe COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.
Kristian Anderson, professor of immunology and microbiology at Scripps Research in La Jolla, California, said in an emailed comment: “This study likely represents a clear example of reinfection … reinfections are possible – which we already knew, because immunity is never 100 percent.”
Cases of presumed reinfection have cropped up in other parts of the world, but questions have arisen about testing accuracy.
8.16pm update: Ending furlough scheme completely is very short-sighted – Dodds
Labour’s shadow chancellor has suggested the UK Government’s poor handling of the coronavirus crisis has increased support for Scottish independence as she called for more flexible borrowing, investment and targeted extensions of the furlough scheme.
Anneliese Dodds criticised the “very, very short-sighted” plan to end the job retention scheme in October, which she warned will lead to even higher unemployment in Scotland.
Speaking after a visit to Summerhall – one of the main venues of the Edinburgh Festival – where she met with festival organisers, the STUC and business representatives, Ms Dodds said there needed to be an extension of furlough for certain industries.
Calling for a “more flexible system of wage support”, she said: “The Labour Party’s been saying that we don’t want to see that wage support expire across the whole economy at the same time across every sector.
“We think that’s very, very short-sighted; doing that will just lead to additional waves of unemployment coming through.
“That’s a particular issue in Scotland where we’ve got higher rates of unemployment already but we’ve also got very low rates of new vacancies coming through.”
Life across the UK has changed to fight the COVID-19 crisis
7.01pm update: Ireland Gardai to receive new powers to shut pubs breaking rules
Gardai will receive tough new powers to shut pubs which break Ireland’s coronavirus rules, the Government said.
Fines of up to €2,500 or a maximum of six months in prison will be the sanction if bars infringing social distancing regulations refuse to close for a day.
Closure orders could be issued by a district court resulting in a pub being shut for up to 30 days.
6.34pm update: Twenty new COVID-19 deaths in France
6.22pm update: France declares 7,379 new infections
France’s Health Ministry said the 7,379 new cases were up from the 6,111 declared on Thursday.
5.12pm update: Government hails ‘positive progress’ ahead of local lockdown lifting
Coronavirus lockdown restrictions are to be lifted in parts of Greater Manchester, Lancashire and West Yorkshire where incidence rates have fallen, the Department of Health and Social Care has announced.
The Government said “positive progress” means two households can mix again in areas including Bolton, Stockport, Trafford, Hyndburn and Burnley.
The department said some improvements occurred in Leicester, though current restrictions are remaining in place for a further two weeks as cases “remain high”.
From Wednesday September 2, restrictions on two households mixing introduced last month will be lifted in Bolton, Stockport, Trafford, Burnley and Hyndburn.
The move will also impact on parts of Bradford excluding Bradford city and Keighley town, parts of Calderdale excluding Halifax, and parts of Kirklees excluding Dewsbury and Batley.
UK coronavirus map
4.29pm update: Nine new COVID-19 deaths in UK
All nine fatalities were in England.
A total of 1,276 fresh infections have been declared across the UK.
4.02pm update: Hungary to close borders to foreigners
Hungary will close its borders to foreigners as of September 1 to curb a rise in coronavirus infections and Hungarians returning to the country from abroad will have to go into quarantine, Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s cabinet chief said on Friday.
Gergely Gulyas said Hungarian citizens could leave quarantine only with two negative COVID-19 tests.
Exceptions for foreigners’ entry would be military convoys, humanitarian transit and business or diplomatic travel.
3.05pm update: Weekly COVID cases in Ireland ‘more than 600’
The number of weekly confirmed Covid-19 cases in Ireland has increased to more than 600 in recent weeks, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) said.
More than half (53 percent) of all confirmed cases are now linked to an outbreak.
Nursing homes accounted for 41 percent of all confirmed cases related to a cluster.
Hospitals, residential institutions and nursing homes made up 57 percent of all cases linked to an outbreak.
The workplace contributed 12 percent of cases linked to a cluster, up from 3 percent in mid-April.
The 25-44 age group still showed the highest number of confirmed cases at 9,803.
Healthcare workers made up almost a third of illnesses.
1.42pm update: Sturgeon won’t tolerate people buillied into work
Nicola Sturgeon has said she will not “countenance” people being intimidated into going back to work in offices.
Speaking at the daily coronavirus briefing, the First Minister said reopening offices too soon would risk the virus spreading and compromise the ability to keep schools open.
She said: “I will not countenance in Scotland any kind of narrative around this that is seeking to almost intimidate people back to work before, as a country, we have taken a decision that that is safe.”
1.30pm update: Norway won’t ease restrictions yet
Norway will not yet ease restrictions designed to counter the novel coronavirus even through the spread has been slower recently, Prime Minister Erna Solberg said on Friday.
Ms Solberg told a news conference: “Even if the infection numbers are coming down, we can’t say that we have landed safely yet… we have to be sure that we maintain control.”
12.50pm update: Restrictions in Lancashire to be lifted
Restrictions on mixing between different households in homes or gardens in Burnley and Hyndburn will be lifted from next Wednesday in line with the rest of England, according to public health officials in Lancashire.
Lancashire’s director of public health, Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, said: “People living in Burnley and Hyndburn will be pleased that Government has lifted the additional restrictions in their areas, but this should not lead to complacency.
“In both Burnley and Hyndburn infection rates are significantly above the national average with an increasing rate in Hyndburn.
Coronavirus does not respect administrative boundaries and there is a high volume of social, educational and commuting travel between these areas and Lancashire’s hotspots.
“The virus is very much still present in both Burnley and Hyndburn so residents must play their part to help protect themselves, their families and their communities.”
Coronavirus continues to spread across the UK
11.25am update: New measures deployed to bolster safe vaccine
New measures have been announced to strengthen the UK’s ability to deliver a coronavirus vaccine if one becomes available.
They include expanding the trained workforce who can administer Covid-19 and flu vaccines, and reinforced standards to support the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to grant temporary authorisation for the use of a new Covid-19 vaccine.
They will also clarify any protection from civil liability for the additional workforce administering vaccinations.
If a vaccine is discovered before 2021, the proposals will bolster existing powers that allow the MHRA to consider approving its use, before a full product licence is granted.
This is provided it is proven to be safe and effective during clinical trials.
11.15am update: Amsterdam ends experiment
The city of Amsterdam said it is ending an experiment with mandating the use of face masks in crowded public spaces as a way to slow the spread of coronavirus, as the peak of the tourism season has passed.
The city, bucking national guidelines that only require masks on public transportation, had introduced mandatory masks in tourist hotspots on August 5.
Social distancing requirements remain in place in the city, which remains a virus hotspot, and nationally.
10.51am update: Merkel warns COVID-19 to get more difficult
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said the coronavirus pandemic will make things more difficult in the coming months and over the winter.
She said: “It will probably get more difficult.”
9.48am update: Police body idenitifies loopholes on Sturgeon’s new powers
Loopholes have been identified in new powers to allow police to disperse indoor gatherings, the body representing rank-and-file officers has said.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the move on Thursday, with the new powers permitting officers to disperse indoor gatherings with more than 15 people from one household.
David Hamilton, chairman of the Scottish Police Federation (SPF), said the organisation was not consulted on the move by the Scottish Government and it has questioned how the new powers will work in practice.
Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme on Friday, Mr Hamilton said: “The legislation was only published yesterday and we have a number of questions with that… we’ve identified a number of loopholes.
“We didn’t get any consultation on this at SPF, so we have a number of questions we’ve put back to Government, but hopefully we can work something out about what that means and what they’re meaning with this legislation.
“We’ll also work with Police Scotland in terms of developing that operational guidance.”
People are urged to wear face masks
8.37am update: Russia surpasses 980k COVID-19 caes
Russia reported 4,829 new cases of coronavirus on Friday, bringing its nationwide tally to 980,405, the fourth largest caseload in the world.
Russia’s coronavirus taskforce said 110 people had died over the last 24 hours, pushing its official death toll to 16,914.
8.33am update: Coronavirus has not caused death of ‘health school children’
A professor who sits on the Government’s Sage advisory group has said parents should be “reassured” that Covid-19 has not caused the deaths of any healthy school children.
Professor Calum Semple of the University of Liverpool told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “So we looked at roughly two-thirds of all hospital admissions to England, Scotland and Wales over the first wave of the pandemic, so we looked at 69,500 people attending, I think, 280 hospitals. So that is a very big study.
“And when we looked really carefully and did all the numbers, we found that out of that 69,500 there was only 650 children – so 1% of hospital admissions were children. And then of that 1 percent, only six children died.
“Now each of these deaths is a huge personal tragedy, of course, but in the bigger picture, this is quite reassuring.”
7.55am update: ‘Safe to go back to work’ Grant Shapps
Grant Shapps said there is a limit “in human terms” to remote working.
Speaking on Sky News, the Transport Secretary said: “What we’re saying to people is it is now safe to go back to work and your employer should have made arrangements which are appropriate to make sure that it is coronavirus-safe to work and you will see some changes if you haven’t been in for a bit as a result.”
He added: “We’re absolutely clear that employers and employees need to work together to resolve this and there are of course a whole host of sort of employee protections in place if employees have concerns about the work place for example, then the Health and Safety Executive, the local authority will be the right places to go.
“The vast majority of employers just want to get their businesses back up and running, they want to do the right thing, and many will have found that actually home working can work for some of their employees.
“But as I say, I think there’s a limit, just in human terms, to remote working. And there are things where you just need to spark off each other and get together in order to make progress.
“So I think common sense will prevail between employers and employees. It’s certainly what we’ve seen so far and I very much think that will carry on next week as people do start to return more often to the office.”
Coronavirus cases around the world