Boris Johnson has confirmed a return to a full national lockdown that will come into force in England from Thursday (November 5).
With exceptions for education, work where people cannot work from home, recreational exercise, and shopping for food and essentials, the Government is once again asking the public to stay at home - with the same "protect the NHS, save lives" messaging as in March.
Pubs, restaurants and non-essential retail must close, Mr Johnson told a press briefing, while the furlough scheme has been extended on a time-limited basis to provided support for shuttered businesses until England returns to the three-tier system in December.
Schools, childcare, colleges and universities will stay open, and clinically vulnerable people will not be asked to shield, although they have been urged to minimise their social interactions with others.
"No responsible Prime Minister can ignore the message of those figures," Mr Johnson said as Professor Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance produced stark graphs which claimed deaths and hospitals could exceed the first peak whilst leaving the NHS overwhelmed.
" Unless we act we could see deaths in this country running at several thousands a day. The overrunning of the NHS would be a medical and moral disaster beyond the loss of life.
"Now is the time to take action because there is no alternative."
Follow the latest updates below.
New lockdown rules for England: what you can and can't do from Thursday
In his latest press conference on Saturday, October 31st, Boris Johnson announced a new national lockdown across the UK, after a rapid rise in coronavirus cases.
The new measures will come into effect on Thursday, November 5th and will last until December 2nd.
Determined to "save Christmas", the Prime Minister has been forced to act after Britain's infections increased and Tier 3 restrictions across much of England failed to stem the spread.
Johnson's announcement came on the same day the UK surpassed 1 million lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus.
Around 500,000 'non-essential' businesses likely to close, suggests analysis
Around 500,000 business premises will be forced to close from Thursday under the new lockdown restrictions, according to an analysis from the real estate adviser Altus Group.
The group estimates that almost 363,000 non-essential retail shops will have to close, while a further 5,414 car retailers and showrooms are likely to close.
If all accommodation businesses are required to be closed, it will affect 13,985 hotels, guest and boarding houses and 64 holiday centres.
Gyms and swimming pools that will shut will total more than 6,400 as a range of restrictions on indoor activity take effect.
Alex Probyn, the group's UK president, said the further national lockdown “will be a difficult balancing act for the Chancellor” and that “the grant funding paid during the first lockdown has long since been used”.
Hospitals may be forced to move Covid patients elsewhere
Several hospitals in the north of England are already at full capacity and may have to start moving patients to other regions, doctors have warned.
Consultants fear that if Covid infection rates do not begin to fall significantly the NHS will be overwhelmed in less than a month from now.
Members of the British Medical Association have reported that Intensive Care Units (ICU) in a number of regions, including Manchester, Liverpool and Hull, are close to capacity as the number of people hospitalised with Covid-19 continues to grow.
Dr Vishal Sharma, chairman of the BMA’s consultants committee, told The Telegraph: “Capacity in the north of England is at the limits and in some places above the limit. Our next concern is ICU capacity, which is always tight at this time of year, even without Covid.”
Dr Sharma said some general ward beds could be adapted to provide intensive breathing support for Covid patients, and the re-opening of Manchester’s Nightingale Hospital may also take the pressure off ICU departments.
Second lockdown delay will come at 'economic cost and human cost', says Keir Starmer
"Labour called for a circuit breaker in England in line with SAGE’s recommendation to bring infections down," Sir Keir Starmer has said in a statement.
"The government completely rejected that, only to now announce the same thing.
"That delay will come at an economic cost and a human cost."
This is how Covid cases look across the country
UK coronavirus deaths: What scientists are projecting
Retail will be 'permanently set back' by second lockdown
Reaction is now starting to pour in to Mr Johnson's address to the nation.
The British Retail Consortium has said in a statement:
“Retail faces a nightmare before Christmas...it'll cause untold damage to the high street in the run up to Christmas, cost countless jobs, and permanently set back the recovery of wider economy with only a minimal effect on transmission of the virus."
That's all, folks: Johnson signs off with 'rays of sunshine'
Professor Chris Whitty says that the two million people who were on the shielding list "still need to take extra precautions", but some of the things "did not" work during the programme.
"There were practical problems and people feeling completely cut off from society," he says. "But people who are particularly vulnerable do need to take extra precautions."
Boris Johnson repeats the "three rays of sunshine of optimism" - the prospect of better drugs, the hopes of a vaccine, and confidence in rapid turnaround testing.
"In the meantime, we have to put in place these tougher measures from now until December 2.
"Don't forget the basics, don't forget hands, face, space, gets a test if you have symptoms. Stay safe, thank you."
'Schools play vital role', says general secretary of education association
Responding to the Prime Minister’s announcement that schools will remain open in a second national lockdown in England, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:
It is right that keeping schools open should be the priority in the new national lockdown announced in England because of rising Covid infection rates.
Children only get one chance at education, and we have to do everything possible to provide continuity of learning. Schools also play a vital role in providing support for children with special educational needs and safeguarding the welfare of vulnerable children.
However, this second Covid wave and the announcement of a new national lockdown will be very worrying for many pupils, parents, and staff, and it is important that the government provides clear information to reassure the public about the rationale for its decision to keep schools open.
While scaling back the opening of schools is clearly a last resort, this rapidly deteriorating situation of growing transmission rates may mean that some restrictions will become necessary sooner rather than later, such as implementing the rota system in secondary schools suggested in the government’s own contingency planning.
Whitty and Vallance optimistic about scientific advances
Chris Whitty says that the new measures about making sure Christmas is "not an impossible place for the NHS", but notes that scientists are "much more optimistic when it comes to Spring". He says late autumn and winter is the period of greatest Covid risk.
"Science will bring forward a large number of things that will get on top of this," he says.
Sir Patrick Vallance says dexamethasone is already making a positive difference, and vaccines are in late-stage trials showing an immune response.
"The idea of faster testing, which has been difficult up until now, now looks real," he says. "Those things are likely to come into play next year, spring and beyond, you'll see the effect of those."
Boris Johnson confirms that the Premier League will continue.
Boris Johnson: 'We were just seeing too many cases'
Boris Johnson says that all measures are best achieved in line with regional authorities.
However, he adds, "the trouble we've got is the local leadership and the local initiatives made progress... their sacrifices, their effort made a huge different... and perhaps if we continued it would have worked in those areas.
"The problem was that we were just seeing too many cases really taking off across the whole country. And it wasn't coming down fast enough in those most badly affected areas. So you have to take a judgement and we have to try now to get the R right under control."
Boris Johnson insists there are 'incredibly difficult' judgements
Told by Sky's Beth Rigby that he had said a national lockdown would be a disaster, Mr Johnson is asked if he regrets that he has not "followed the scientific advice more closely".
Mr Johnson says "we've had to listen to all kinds of scientific advice, some of which tends in a different direction". He says that scientific advice must be balanced with mental health and livelihoods amid lockdown measures.
He says that there is a "range of advice and a balance that we have to strike. We are not going back to... We're not closing schools. It's very important we're keeping schools open. These judgements are incredibly difficult."
Prof Chris Whitty says there is "no perfect time and there are no good solutions - all the solutions are bad". He says that the Government is aiming for the "fewest, least bad" decisions.
Boris Johnson: 'Constant struggle' between lives and livelihoods
In response to questions from members of the public, Mr Johnson says that the pressure on hospitals even in the South West is "particularly acute".
Asked by Laura Kuenssberg "what took you so long?" after he was advised by scientists to lock down earlier, Boris Johnson says that this is a "constant struggle" and a "choice between lives and livelihoods".
"Lives must come first but we must be mindful of the scarring long-term economic impact of the measures we're obliged to introduce," he adds. He insists the tiered system was "right and rational", and "would have been a great way forward" were it not for rising case rates.
He says it is "absolutely vital to protect, to spare our NHS and save lives".
Sir Patrick Vallance says that it is a "horrible virus with horrible decisions to make", and that the "earlier you go in the better" in terms of lockdown but "people have to take into account other things as well and that's a matter for politicians".
'Stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives'
"We will get through this, but we must act now to contain this autumn surge," Mr Johnson says.
He insists that it is not a "full-scale lockdown as seen in April", arguing that the new rules are "less restrictive", but from Thursday the basic message is the same:
Stay at home. Protect the NHS. Save lives.
Second lockdown Parliament debate and vote at the start of next week
Mr Johnson says that Parliament will vote on the measures on Wednesday, and he hopes they will come into force on Thursday.
He says he "stands ready" to work with devolved administrations, and "we're not alone".
"As we come together now to fight this second wave I want to say something about the way ahead," he says.
"People will reasonably ask when will this all end, and I am optimistic this will feel very different and better by Spring.
"It's not just that we have better medicines and therapies and the prospect of a vaccine, we now have the very immediate prospect of using millions of rapid turnaround tests. Tests you can use yourself whether or not you're infectious and get the result in 10 to 15 minutes."
He says over the next few days and weeks the Government plans "a steady but massive expansion" in the deployment of smart rapid tests, including helping women in labour to be able to see their partners during birth.
He says the Army has been involved in the testing trials and will continue to be so.
Second lockdown: Schools will stay open
"It's my sincere hope and belief that we can allow families to be together," the PM says of Christmas. "My priority, our priority remains keeping people in education - childcare, schools, colleges and universities will still be open.
"We cannot let this virus damage our children's futures even more than it already has."
Furlough extended through November
Boris Johnson confirms that furlough will be extended until December, with time limited measures from November 5.
He says restrictions will lapse on December 2 when the UK returns to a tiered system.
Boris Johnson confirms second lockdown
Boris Johnson says that "the risk is for the first time in our lives, the NHS will not be there for us and our families".
He says even if he could double capacity overnight, "it would still not be enough because the virus is doubling faster than we conceivably add capacity".
"Now is the time to take action because there is no alternative," he says.
"You must stay at home, you must only leave home for education, work if you cannot work from home, recreational exercise with one person from another household or your household, and to escape injury or harm, to shop for food and essentials or provide care for vulnerable people as a volunteer."
Boris Johnson confirms pubs, restaurants and non-essential retail must close, and says that workplaces should stay open where people can't work from home in the constructing and manufacturing centres. He confirms support bubbles can still be formed.
"We will not ask people to shield again in the same way, but we are asking those who are clinically extremely vulnerable to minimise their contact with others," he says.
Boris Johnson: 'We have to be humble'
Boris Johnson says "we have to be humble in the face of nature and the virus is spreading even faster than the reasonable worst-case scenario".
Unless we act we could see deaths in this country running at several thousands a day.
Even in the South West it's now clear there that the current projections are that hospitals in the South West run out of capacity in just a couple of weeks unless we act.
The overrunning of the NHS would be a medical and moral disaster beyond the loss of life, because the huge exponential growth in the number of patients would mean that doctors would be forced to choose which patients to treat. Who would get oxygen and wouldn't. Who would live and who would die.
And doctors and nurses would be forced to choose between saving Covid patients and non-Covid patients... It would mean depriving Covid patients of the need they need.
The general threat from public health comes not from focusing too much on Covid but failing to get it under control.
Boris Johnson: 'No responsible Prime Minister can ignore the message of the figures'
"No responsible Prime Minister can ignore the message of those figures," Boris Johnson says.
"When I told you two weeks ago we were approaching a local and regional approach, I believed then that was the right thing to do. Because we know the cost of the restrictions, the impact on jobs and livelihoods and on people's mental health.
"And no one wants to be imposing those kinds of measures anyone and we didn't want to be shutting businesses, pubs, restaurants in one part of the country where infections were very low." He said he hoped the problems could be addressed locally.
"I want to thank the millions of people who have been putting up with restrictions in their areas for so long. As you can see from some of those charts, the R has been kept lower than it would otherwise have been and there are signs that your work has been paying off."
Sir Patrick Vallance: Deaths will be 'very close' to first wave if nothing done
Sir Patrick says "inevitably hospitalisations lead unfortunately to deaths" and says that deaths will be "very close to the first wave peak if nothing is done" on the basis of the current trajectory.
Sir Patrick also forecasts that hospitalisations could well exceed those in the first wave "in the absence of action", before pointing to NHS forecasts that show the extra available beds will be exceeded in mid-November.
"Extra capacity caused by having to postpone the things no one wants to postpone gets exceeded some time in September, and a similar picture is seen on ventilator beds," he says.
Patrick Vallance: 'The numbers get very big quite quickly'
Prof Whitty warns "the death rate will track the number of people going into the NHS system", and hands over to Sir Patrick Vallance to present forecasts of the future.
Sir Patrick says "50,000 plus" are catching Covid each day and presents the following slide showing the R rate, which has been above one - signifying epidemic growth - since August.
"It's still growing and that growth from a high baseline means numbers get very big quite quickly."
He also says that scenario modelling shows deaths could be worst than in the first wave:
Chris Whitty: 'If we do nothing, we will exceed spring peak'
Professor Chris Whitty says Covid has "steadily moved across the ages and it doesn't stay in one age group".
Prof Whitty says says that the UK is starting to see this trend in hospitalisations, and that there is a rise in most age groups among those going into hospital with Covid.
"If we do nothing, the inevitable result will be that these numbers will go up and they will exceed the peak that we saw in spring this year," he says.
He says that the number of hospitals with more than 100 Covid inpatients will increase in the coming weeks. "The progression is steady and we now have hospitals with more Covid inpatients than they had in the first peak in spring,"
UK coronavirus cases stand at around 50,000 a day, says Chris Whitty
Chris Whitty says the R rate of coronavirus has been going up very rapidly, and cites an Office for National Statistics estimate that there are 50,000 cases a day.
"The R is substantially lower than it would have been if people were not doing social distancing and other things," he says.
He says there is still an increase in the case rate and R rate apart from in some parts of the North East. He adds the margin of error is "very, very small" even in the one area where there is some flattening.
Here we go....
Boris Johnson starts with an apology for "disturbing your Saturday evening with more news of Covid" and says he wouldn't if it wasn't absolutely necessary.
Chris Whitty presents a version of a slide that shows the weekly case rate is spreading "steadily while quite heavily concentrated in particular areas".
He says there is a "significant rate of increase" across virtually the entire country.
The presser will now be closer to 7pm than 6.30pm
While we wait for the prime ministerial pronouncements and gargantuan graphs, why not have a read of Rob Perkins' dispatch from Torridge?
It's the North Devon area that has England's lowest Covid rate - and residents think that the Government is using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.
Despite being a magnet for holidaymakers from the Midlands and beyond, Torridge has avoided the worst of the pandemic primarily because of its rural nature - of its near 1,000 sq km, the district is classified as 95 per cent green space.
Which means that there’s plenty of space to self-distance and subsequently the numbers of Covid cases have been kept low.
Michael Deacon has a point here as we (continue to) wait...
Announcement of lockdown till 2nd December now delayed until 2nd December
— Michael Deacon (@MichaelPDeacon) October 31, 2020
We hope to hear from the Prime Minister very soon...
Just like old times - as a national lockdown looms, Boris Johnson is set to be joined by Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer, and Sir Patrick Vallance, the chief scientific adviser.
Boris Johnson announcement coming up
We're expecting to hear from Boris Johnson in the next few minutes. We also expect that he is to introduce a four-week string of 'stay-at-home' measures akin to the March lockdown.
Watch the Prime Minister's address to the nation at the top of this blog, and follow live text updates throughout.
Coronavirus vaccine news: Age, ethnicity and wealth could determine who gets it first
People could be prioritised for a coronavirus vaccine depending on their sex, ethnicity and wealth under proposals being discussed by the government, writes Paul Nuki.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), the body charged with devising the UK’s vaccine strategy, is considering the best way to decide who is most at risk from becoming seriously ill from COVID-19.neptune
It may even use an algorithm developed by academics at Oxford University which factors in a wide range of variables including “age, sex, ethnicity, deprivation, smoking status, body mass index, pre-existing medical conditions and current medications”.
The JCVI has already produced an 11 tier priority vaccination list as an “interim recommendation”, which is based largely on age but includes consideration of occupation and pre-existing medical conditions.
However, it is currently being reviewed and an updated version is expected to be published in the next two weeks.
National lockdown prospect leads shoppers to panic
Talk of a second lockdown prompted people to make emergency hair and beauty appointments, scramble to book slots for home deliveries as shelves were cleared of toilet roll and customers queued outside shops.
Saturday brought one last hurrah as nationwide restrictions loomed ahead of Boris Johnson’s press conference.
Salons said they were overrun with customers fearful of a repeat of the lockdown measures introduced in March that led to DIY hairstyles or simply succumbing to overgrown roots.
While in a case of panic buying deja vu, toilet rolls were grabbed from shelves as people were seen queuing outside stores and home delivery slots were fully booked by midday.
Shai Greenberg, co-founder of Gielly Green boutique salon in Marylebone, said he has seen a surge of bookings in recent days.
"We've been very busy today and are fully booked tomorrow, Monday and Tuesday," he told The Telegraph. "We've opened every single slot up and are completely booked up."
Read the full story here from Jessica Carpani, Laura Onita and Dominic Penna.
Boris Johnson says 'there is a clear way out of this' in WhatsApp message
This from our politics live editor Catherine Neilan - the Prime Minister has sent a WhatsApp message apologising to Tory MPs that they have "had to hear about all this from the newspapers today".
He says that the 6.30pm press conference will "avoid any further uncertainty" and says that the lockdown is to "ensure that the NHS is not overwhelmed".
Read the Prime Minister's mobile mea culpa below:
Message being sent to MPs this afternoon - clearly written with one eye on the fact it'll be made public pic.twitter.com/i9dpnPVDGA
— CatNeilan (@CatNeilan) October 31, 2020
New lockdown rules: 'It's a hard job and a hard decision'
People in central London have their say on the news that the Government are considering a potential new national lockdown, as the Prime Minister holds a Cabinet meeting nearby in Downing Street later this evening.
Watch the video below for what they had to say:
How to save your local pub: Join Tom Kerridge in the fight against last orders
According to a study commissioned by hospitality industry bodies, a quarter of Britain’s 47,000 pubs are unlikely to survive the Covid-19 pandemic, costing 290,000 jobs and causing untold damage to the communities that frequent them.
A stark picture, then, for Britain’s beloved watering holes. But coronavirus has merely exacerbated a long-term trend. Between 2001 and 2018, 13,000 pubs shut down – more King’s Dead than King’s Head.
One man who knows more than most about the plight of the pub industry is Tom Kerridge, who owns three in Marlow, Buckinghamshire.
Pubs are something I’ve always been comfortable in,” says Kerridge, both “from a consumer point of view” and as a chef. “Pubs are inviting, whatever your background, education, finances, sex; they’re there for everybody.”
Professor Neil Ferguson: 'We need to impose more measures'
Professor Neil Ferguson - the epidemiologist who in March was dubbed 'Professor Lockdown' after he predicted the deaths of 500,000 Britons - has said that the tier system "doesn't seem to be enough" and "we need to impose more measures".
Speaking to BBC News, he said: "I think it's a difficult set of questions because there is an economic impact to all these measures, businesses are already suffering.
"I understand the political reasons [for waiting]. At the end of the day there's a balancing act between introducing measures we think will work effectively, but at huge cost, and balancing the impact of the economy.
"Lockdowns are effective when they're enforced and reverse infections, but then once you release them infection levels we predict start going up again. So the really important question is what's going to follow this lockdown? What sort of measures are we going to put in place that allows some economic activity but don't allow the virus to spike?"
He says that "we would all like to be in a position where we can mingle more" over Christmas, "if only for a few days".
Jobs disaster looms with long-term unemployment set to top 1.6m
A record jobs disaster could be on the way as long-term unemployment is set to hit a record 1.6m next year if the second Covid wave crushes the recovery, writes Tim Wallace.
The youngest and oldest workers are at particular risk of falling out of work for 12 months or more, potentially for many years to come, the Learning and Work Institute has warned.
More than one million people could still be in this category even by the middle of the decade, with dire implications for families and the wider economy.
“It scars individuals, families, and communities for years to come. It lessens the chances of finding work and significantly reduces income in future years,” said the think tank.
“It demotivates people, undermines their skills, and can lead to health problems, especially mental health.”
Second lockdown 'not sustainable for the next few months', says Prof Devi Sridhar
Devi Sridhar, a global public health professor at the University of Edinburgh, tells the BBC:
Unfortunately in the position England's in, they have to slow it down. And although no one wants a lockdown, it seems there's no other choice because the uncontrollable spread will be even worse.
I go back to the summer and I say we had a lockdown, we've been living in some kind of restrictions in March, we got numbers pretty low in June.
For me there are three things East Asian countries have done - strict border restrictions, voluntary good guidance to the public on avoiding the virus at all ages, and third, a test, trace and isolate system that works well.
Just relying on a lockdown is the harshest and crudest way to get this under control. I don't think it's sustainable for the next few months, it would be a pretty rubbish path to go down.
Steve Baker: 'Listen to what the Prime Minister says today'
Conservative backbencher and lockdown sceptic Steve Baker says he has today had an opportunity to "take a team into Downing Street and robustly scrutinise the arguments, the data, the forecasts of where we're going".
He adds: "The Prime Minister's got very, very difficult choices to make, and I would encourage all members of the public and all members of Parliament to listen to what the Prime Minister says today, and over the coming days."
Boris Johnson announcement now expected at 6.30pm
After initially expecting the Prime Minister at 4pm, which was followed by a delay to 5pm, the Prime Minister is now set to address the nation at 6.30pm.
We're expecting a four-week nationwide lockdown order for England, the forced closure of businesses deemed non-essential, and people told to stay at home once more.
Schools, universities and essential shops are set to remain open in plans that Boris Johnson hoped would stay private until an announcement initially drafted for Monday.
Test and Trace app 'delete my data' button undermining it, claim top scientists
The NHS Test and Trace app includes a button that allows users to delete isolation warnings, The Telegraph can reveal as experts have warned it risks undermining the system.
The NHS Covid-19 app’s ‘delete all my data’ function resets timers telling users how long they have to isolate, an investigation has found.
The revelation has prompted academics to call for the function to be changed so that people can erase data in the app without erasing self-isolation advice. One professor of public health has warned allowing users to effectively erase self-isolation warnings rendered the app "not fit for purpose" as it undermined its core contribution.
The revelation comes after documents from the Government’s Sage advisory body showed that only around one in 10 people are isolating for the full two weeks when advised to do so by NHS Test and Trace as they may have had contact with an infected person.
People are legally obliged to isolate if they are told to do so by human contact tracers and face fines up to £10,000 if caught breaching their isolation, but similar warnings from the app are only ‘advisory’.
Mike Wright has the full exclusive story.
Second lockdown press conference delayed
The Prime Minister will no longer address the nation at 5pm, marking a further delay to the press conference which is expected to see additional restrictions announced.
We will update you as soon as we have more on when the briefing will be.
Second lockdown: Everything we know so far
Boris Johnson is expected to announce a new national lockdown across the UK after a rapid rise in coronavirus cases.
Determined to "save Christmas", the Prime Minister has been forced to act after Britain's infections increased and Tier 3 restrictions across much of England failed to stem the spread.
So what is he going to announce and why?
Here's what we know so far ahead of Mr Johnson's announcement at 5pm.
UK 1 million milestone highlights 'increasingly precarious situation'
Commenting on the news that more than one million lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus have been recorded in the UK, Dr Yvonne Doyle, medical director at Public Health England, said: "For many among this million, getting infected has meant serious illness and even death.
"We have all already made huge sacrifices and we are in an increasingly precarious situation as hospital admissions grow each day.
"But we can all continue to play our part in bringing this virus under control and must abide by the restrictions in place, socially distance, wear a face covering and regularly washing our hands."
Austria brings in second virus shutdown
Austria's government announced Saturday a second mass shutdown and a curfew starting next week until the end of November, in an attempt to halt rocketing coronavirus infection numbers.
"From midnight on Tuesday until the end of November there will be a second lockdown," Chancellor Sebastian Kurz told a press conference. A curfew between 8pm and 6am will also come into force.
"All events will not be possible. This will affect the sports, cultural and leisure sectors. Hotels will have to close with the exception of work travel and we must also close restaurants and cafes, with the exception of delivery and takeaway services," Kurz said.
However, unlike the first lockdown in the spring, shops will remain open.
In recent weeks the number of positive test results has surged in Austria, far exceeding the levels recorded in the springtime first wave of the pandemic.
Friday saw a new record of 5,627 infections within 24 hours, while Saturday's figure was barely any lower at 5,439.
UK monthly toll rises by 326
The Government said a further 326 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Saturday. This brings the UK total to 46,555.
Separate figures published by the UK's statistics agencies for deaths where Covid-19 has been mentioned on the death certificate, together with additional data on deaths that have occurred in recent days, show there have now been 62,000 deaths involving Covid-19 in the UK.
The Government said that, as of 9am on Saturday, there had been a further 21,915 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK. It brings the total number of cases in the UK to 1,011,660.
UK infections surpass 1 million
The UK on Saturday passed one million confirmed coronavirus cases, a new milestone.
“Between 31 January and 31 October 2020, there have been 1,011,660 people who have had a confirmed positive test result,” the government said.
Cases rose by 21,915 from the previous day.
The death toll increased by 326.
Too close to home or just the right amount of light relief?
More on this year's cracking Halloween decorations:
the COVID-safe decorations on my street have become particularly brutal pic.twitter.com/iiqQ1pAnUI
— Róisín Lanigan (@rosielanners) October 31, 2020
What could the PM's 5pm announcement entail?
Well according to ITV's politics editor England could be be hit with quite a lot of new restrictions.
Here's a summary garnered from Robert Preston's hefty Twitter chain:
New restrictions will come into effect 00:01 on Thursday and last until at least December 2
All pubs and restaurants across England will close, though takeaways and deliveries will be permitted
All non-essential retail will close, though supermarkets won't have to follow the Welsh example of fencing off non-essential goods
There will be no mixing of people inside homes, except for childcare and other forms of support
Outbound international travel will be banned, except for work. Same applies for travel within England and overnight stays away from home
Courts, schools, and universities will remain open
Outdoor exercise and recreation will be encouraged
Private prayer will continue in places of worship, but not services
After December 2, Preston's thread suggests that different parts of England will then scale down from 'Tier 4' to the three-tiered regional system, depending on how serious the virus is in these respective places.
We'll bring you the latest updates on this from 5PM when Boris Johnson is scheduled to address the nation.
English death tolls rises by 208
A further 208 people who had tested positive for Covid have died in English hospitals, NHS England has announced.
The patients were aged between 26 and 101. The deaths occurred between 21 to 30 October.
NHS provided this regional breakdown of the fatalities:
East of England - 14
London - 20
Midlands - 36
North East & Yorkshire - 36
North West - 83
South East - 9
South West - 10
In Scotland, a further 1,101 new infections and another 24 deaths have been reported. The daily number of cases is down from the 1,281 infections announced on Friday.
Northern Ireland has reported a further 649 infections, down from its record rise of more than 1,000 announced earlier this month. A further 11 deaths were also reported.
Wales, which is a week into its “fire break” lockdown, has reported another 1,301 new infections. This is down from a record high of 1,414 announced on Wednesday.
Public Health Wales also announced that another 13 people had died from the virus, taking the death toll in Wales to 1,872.
Health Minister says only 'crystal ball' could have predicted need for second lockdown
The Conservative health minister has been criticised after suggesting the worsening coronavirus pandemic could only have been predicted with a crystal ball.
Nadine Dorries, who was the first sitting MP to test positive for Covid-19 in March, made the comments in response to criticism that the Government repeatedly took action too late.
Boris Johnson is expected to outline tougher national coronavirus restrictions later on Saturday.
Writing on Twitter, Ms Dorries said: "If only we had a crystal ball and could actually see how many over 60s would be infected, the positivity rate, the infection rate and the subsequent lag giving us the 14 day anticipated demand on hospital beds on any particular day, three weeks in advance."
See? If only we had a crystal ball and could actually see how many over 60s would be infected, the positivity rate, the infection rate and the subsequent lag giving us the 14day anticipated demand on hospital beds on any particular day, three weeks in advance. https://t.co/WtQI5D9T4u
— Nadine Dorries 🇬🇧#StayAlert (@NadineDorries) October 31, 2020
In September, the Government's chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance warned that the UK could see 50,000 Covid-19 cases a day by mid-October - a claim which proved accurate.
He also said there could be 200-plus daily deaths in November.
Canary Islands to require test upon entry as restrictions tighten across Europe
Holidaymakers will soon be required to present a negative Covid-19 test upon entering the Canary Islands, it has been confirmed.
As of November 10, the ruling states that all tourists over the age of six – from other parts of Spain or other countries – must take a PCR or antibody test, at their own expense, 48 to 72 hours before travelling or on arrival, to be able to stay in the Canaries.
Without a negative result they can be denied access to their accommodation. Anyone who turns up at their hotel, villa or apartment without this will be sent to a testing centre.
These new restrictions leave British holidaymakers with only three countries that require no mandatory test upon entry, or a 14-day quarantine sentence upon return: Gibraltar, Greece and Sweden.
It comes amid curbs on international travel across Europe, as countries including France and Germany enter new national lockdowns; and heavy speculation that Boris Johnson will follow suit next week.
Lockdown 'deja vu' entirely 'preventable'
Dr Stephen Griffin, Associate Professor of the School of Medicine at University of Leeds, said:
"The deja vu that the United Kingdom is about to endure was entirely preventable. Lockdowns are a last resort, enacted when an epidemic has got out of control.
"And yet we are again facing a scenario with the potential to overwhelm the NHS and cause profound mortality and morbidity if drastic measures are not taken. It mortifies me that the ceaseless, and now growing again numbers of Covid victims are something to which many of us have become desensitised, or are prepared to use as capital during nuanced arguments around statistics.
" It is right for people to be angry and upset, and it is vital that we ask why we are now back at square one. Nobody is insane enough to "want" a lockdown, but when called for the obligation is ensure that it won't need to happen again.
"Despite several baseless deadlines, Covid has not been "sorted", neither did it ever leave us. Seemingly the lessons, equating to loss of life, around acting quickly, and being pro- rather than reactive have been forgotten over the summer. "
Union calls for universities to move online during lockdown
Universities must move all non-essential teaching online if England goes into another national lockdown, a union has said.
The University and College Union (UCU) said it would be "incomprehensible" if teaching continued in person if England faces tighter restrictions from next week as expected.
Figures put together by the union suggest that there have been more than 35,000 cases on campuses since term started last month.
UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: "The health and safety of the country is being put at risk because of this government's insistence that universities must continue with in-person teaching.
"It would be incomprehensible if universities were allowed to continue to do this after the outbreaks we have seen on campuses across the country this term.
"Ministers must tell universities to move all non-essential in-person teaching online as part of any national lockdown."
Welsh case count sweeps passed 50,000
The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Wales has surpassed 50,000.
A further 1,301 cases were reported by Public Health Wales on Saturday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 50,872.
There were a further 13 deaths reported, taking the total in Wales since the start of the pandemic to 1,872.
Lockdown 2.0 'entirely predictable', says doctor
A potential second national has been described as "entirely predictable, by a UK doctor
Dr Amitava Banerjee, Associate Professor in Clinical Data Science and Honorary Consultant Cardiologist at the Institute of Health Informatics for University College London said:
“As we again contemplate national lockdown, entirely predictable and predicted, we now have convincing evidence from this country and abroad to support urgent policy in three areas to gain the most benefit from any lockdown.
"First, framing the debate as “opening the economy” versus “suppression of the virus” has under-played the impact of constantly changing tiered measures and continuing uncertainty for the most vulnerable in society, as well as the huge economic effect of rising infection rates.
"Second, we cannot prioritise “COVID care” OR “non-COVID care” (including cancer and cardiovascular disease); they are both urgently required, and it is unchecked infection rates that led to health system strain and indirect effects on non-COVID care.
"Third, whether lockdown or tiered interventions, potential benefit is countered by an inadequate test and trace system. Therefore, aiming for a minimal infection rate and total rethinking of our national test and trace process are crucial for physical, mental and economic health of the nation.”
Halloween celebrations from around the world – in pictures
While we await updates from the Government's emergency cabinet meeting, here are some spooky shots of Halloween celebrations from around the world:
A barista dressed in a Pennywise clown halloween costume is pictured at a coffee shop in Nonthaburi province, Thailand
Snow falls on masked skeletons ready to bury the year 2020
A lioness with a pumpkin during Halloween celebrations at the Novosibirsk Zoo, Russia
Nicola Sturgeon urges Scots to avoid travel to England
Nicola Sturgeon has told Scots not to travel to England unless it is for "essential purposes".
She made the plea as Prime Minister Boris Johnson is said to be considering a second lockdown for England to curb the recent surge in coronavirus cases.
The Scottish First Minister said the prevalence of the virus is lower in Scotland than in other parts of the UK, after stricter measures were introduced north of the border in September.
That saw Scots barred from going into other people's homes, and the Scottish Government also acted to close bars and restaurants across the central belt in early October.
A new five-level system of restrictions for tackling coronavirus will come into force in Scotland on Monday, which will see travel restrictions imposed on many Scots.
In Level 3 areas - the second highest tier in the new Scottish system and which affects the central belt including Glasgow and Edinburgh, as well as Ayrshire and Dundee - people are urged not to go outside of their own local authority area.
'Obamacare' sign-ups begin as millions more are uninsured
Millions of Americans who have lost health insurance in an economy shaken by the coronavirus can sign up for taxpayer-subsidized coverage starting Sunday.
It's not a new Covid relief program from the government but the return of annual sign-up season under the Affordable Care Act, better known as "Obamacare." Open enrollment lasts through December 15.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which runs HealthCare.gov, says premiums are down slightly on average for 2021 and most people will have at least three insurers from which to pick plans. Lower-income people and even middle-class families may qualify for tax credits that can greatly reduce what they pay monthly for premiums.
But President Donald Trump, unrelenting in his opposition to President Barack Obama's signature domestic program, is asking the Supreme Court to overturn the entire law.
Trump has been promising a much better replacement since before taking office, but never came out with his plan. The justices are scheduled to hear the case November 10, and the administration is doing little to promote sign-ups, having previously slashed the program's ad budget.
"Affordable health coverage is more essential than ever during the pandemic," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who's urging people to enroll even if Trump keeps trying to do away with the law.
Hard numbers on how virus-related job losses have affected health coverage are not available because the most reliable government surveys will not be out until next year.
Estimates range from 5 million to 10 million newly uninsured people. That's on top of 26 million uninsured last year, before the pandemic, or about 8 per cent of the U.S. population.
Press conference moved to 5pm
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is planning to hold a Downing Street press conference at 5pm, alongside chief medical officer for England Professor Chris Whitty and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance.
Press conference at Number 10 will now be 5pm not 4
— Laura Kuenssberg (@bbclaurak) October 31, 2020
Welsh cabinet to meet on Sunday following England coronavirus update
First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford said on Twitter his Cabinet would meet on Sunday "discuss any potential border issues for Wales in light of any announcement by No 10".
He added: "Any announcement by @10DowningStreet will relate to England.
"The Welsh firebreak will end on Monday, November 9."
Any announcement by @10DowningStreet will relate to England.
The Welsh firebreak will end on Monday, November 9.
Our cabinet will meet tomorrow to discuss any potential border issues for Wales in light of any announcement by No 10.
— Mark Drakeford (@fmwales) October 31, 2020
Swedish regions demand tougher local restrictions in row with central government
Swedish regions are pleading with the central government to introduce tougher coronavirus restrictions amid a new surge in cases.
The head of the region surrounding Sweden's third city, Malmo, has called for tough restrictions similar to those in neighbouring European countries, in an attempt to move the country away from its famed light-touch approach.
More than 150 evacuated from Russian coronavirus hospital after fire
More than 150 patients were evacuated on Saturday from a makeshift coronavirus hospital in the Russian city of Chelyabinsk in the southern Urals following an oxygen explosion and fire, the Emergency Ministry said.
The ministry said the fire broke out following an explosion in an "oxygen booth" in a dormitory that was being used as a temporary hospital. It said 158 people had been evacuated and admitted to other hospitals in the city.
No one was injured, according to preliminary information, it said. The Healthcare Ministry also said that 158 patients were being treated in other clinics and that there were no casualties as a result of the blaze.
The governor of Chelyabinsk region denied reports that two patients had died in the incident, saying they died before the explosion and fire, TASS news agency reported.
Why Europe's efforts to stop a second wave of Covid were doomed to fail
The sun was shining, the drinks were flowing, and there was even music in the air. It was July 1 this year, and while the pandemic continued to rage in other parts of the world, the Czech Republic was hosting a 'farewell party' for Covid-19, held on Prague's iconic Charles Bridge.
“This is a celebration to show people that we are not afraid and we do not have to remain locked in our rooms,” the organiser, Ondrej Kozba, boasted, as the country emerged from a strict, quickly enforced lockdown, relatively unscathed by its initial brush with the deadly virus.
Four months later, the Czech Republic has one of the fastest growing epidemics in the world, with almost 300,000 cases and 2,675 deaths, three-quarters of which were reported in the last month.
But the country is not alone. In the last even days Europe reported some 1.5 million cases, nearly half of all new infections worldwide, and surpassed the grim milestone of 10 million cumulative cases. Deaths have also risen by 32 per cent, to 11,733, and now account for nearly one third of all new fatalities globally.
Our Telegraph reporters explain why Europe's efforts to stop a second wave of Covid were always doomed to fail.
PM to chair last-minute press conference
Boris Johnson will lead a Downing Street press conference on Saturday afternoon alongside chief medical officer for England Professor Chris Whitty and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance.
It is expected to begin at 4pm.
Weddings, wakes and conferences banned in Tehran to combat rising cases
Weddings, wakes and conferences will be banned in the Iranian capital until further notice as the Middle East’s hardest-hit nation battles a third wave of Covid-19, police said on Saturday.
President Hassan Rouhani meanwhile announced new restrictions that will take effect on Wednesday in 25 of Iran’s 31 provinces for 10 days.
The official IRNA news agency said Tehran police had extended by one week the closure of businesses including beauty salons, teahouses, cinemas, libraries and fitness clubs.
Police will make unannounced visits to other high-risk businesses, and those that violate health protocols will be shut down, IRNA quoted police official Nader Moradi as saying.
Deputy Health Minister Alireza Raisi said in a televised press briefing that the new restrictions will include the closure of institutions such as schools, universities, libraries and mosques.
Iranian authorities have blamed a sharp increase in cases on people failing to follow restrictions, and Rouhani said an operations headquarters will be set up to ensure compliance with the health protocols.
Sturgeon urges Scots not to 'twist' new coronavirus rules
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is urging Scots not to "twist" new coronavirus regulations when they come into force on Monday.
Ms Sturgeon said if people applied their own interpretation of the rules then they "simply won't work".
The First Minister has already warned the country the new five-tier system of restrictions represents the best chance of avoiding another national lockdown.
In a plea to "frustrated" Scots, she urged them to think about the impact their decisions would have on others at this "critical point in the pandemic".
The First Minister spoke out ahead of the new system of coronavirus restrictions coming into force at 6am on Monday November 2.
As part of that the Scottish Government is launching a new campaign about the implications if people fail to abide by the rules, which include preventing people across much of Scotland travelling outside their local council area, apart from for essential purposes.
The new travel restriction applies in areas classed as Level 3 - the tier being applied across central Scotland, including Glasgow and Edinburgh, as well as Ayrshire and Dundee.
Understanding the importance of contact tracing
A Twitter user has brilliantly summarised the (struggle and) importance of investing in effective contact tracing.
Testing and tracing when cases are low is like emptying a bath tub with buckets. It's work but it will work.
Testing and tracing after the epidemic surges is like emptying the ocean with teaspoons.
Low transmission rates are not a given here. They must be maintained.
— Infectious Diseases (@InfectiousDz) October 31, 2020
So how as the UK got to the situation we are in now?
Our global health reporter, Sarah Newey, had this to say on the matter:
"The big problem in the UK and across Europe right now is we’re attempting the latter - we reopened without an effective public health “scaffold” in place and now we’re paying the price as our lines of defence are overwhelmed."
China local authority warns of coronavirus on packaging of imported Brazilian pork
Packaging on a batch of frozen pork imported from Brazil which had entered a district in Eastern China's Shandong province has tested positive for the coronavirus, the local government said.
Residents of the Wendeng district in Weihai city who may have come into contact with the pork should report to authorities, the local government said in a notice.
It did not say which Brazilian company the frozen meat came from.
Government to hold emergency cabinet meeting this afternoon following lockdown leak
The Government is due to hold an emergency cabinet meeting at 1:30pm, following leaked rumours that a national lockdown could be on the cards from as early as next week.
It is understood that ministers will discuss the possibility of introducing a month-long lockdown through November.
The public will once again be asked to stay at home, but it is thought that Boris Johnson will keep schools, colleges and universities open.
The hope is that the action would slow the spread of the disease and allow ministers to ease restrictions into Christmas.
More as we get it.
Current measures are not sufficient. but national lockdown will buy time, expert says
Sir Farrar added that the current restrictions were not sufficient enough to protect the NHS and welcomed rumoured changes to the nation's coronavirus restrictions, which should ease the strain on the national health service.
"Doctors and scientists agree that none of the current restrictions have been enough to stop the virus spreading. Without a change, the NHS would have been overwhelmed within weeks and it would have been difficult if not impossible to cope in the winter months with the inevitable increase in caring for people with Covid as well as non-covid illnesses.
"There’s absolutely no doubt that many more of us would have seen loved ones die, suffer with long-term covid symptoms or from other illnesses.
"We have to use this time well. The test, trace and isolate system remains critically important and needs all our support. We need enhanced capacity in the NHS, to protect vulnerable people, particularly healthcare workers and those in care homes, and continue to push on urgently to develop safe and effective treatments and vaccines."
Disease expert credits Government turn around following lockdown rumours
Sir Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, has praised the Government for changing its tact after it emerged that Whitehall is considering a national lockdown in response to a worrying rise in coronavirus infections.
‘This isn’t a decision any government would want to make. No one envies the job ministers have right now. The evidence is stark but this is still a very tough call and the government deserves credit for changing its approach in the light of a very fast-moving epidemic.
‘This has been such a tough year already. And while we knew that the virus would come back in a second wave, actually seeing it happen is the last thing anyone wanted.
"My experience from other virus outbreaks is that the second wave is always harder. Everyone is worn out, healthcare workers in particular. It can feel more hopeless the second time round. We wish it would just go away. But we have to remember it isn’t hopeless and what we do will make a difference.
"The sooner we act, the sooner we can start to recover. It will be a very difficult few weeks now and no one can underestimate the toll that will take on people. But the consequences of sticking with the current insufficient restrictions would have been much worse.
"Unless we suppress the virus now, it will be a lot longer before it’s safe to do any of this again."
Businesses, we want to hear from you...
How will a second lockdown impact your business? Our retail editor wants to hear from you:
I want to speak to businesses about a) the impact of a second lockdown and b) what further support they would need to keep going? DMs are open or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org #journorequest
— Laura Onita (@LauraOnita) October 31, 2020
Clashes in Florence between Italian police and protestors
The mayor of the Italian city of Florence lashed out against protestors on Saturday after violent skirmishes broke out between police and demonstrators opposed to the government's anti-Covid-19 measures.
Police arrested approximately 20 people during an unauthorised protest late Friday after about 200 people gathered in the city centre were stopped from entering the Renaissance city's Piazza della Signoria, newspapers reported.
Clashes broke out in neighbouring streets between police in riot gear and protesters, some of whom hurled Molotov cocktails, bottles and rocks, overturning trash bins and breaking security cameras.
"We've lived a surreal, terrible and painful night in Florence," wrote Mayor Dario Nardella on Facebook early Saturday.
"This is not how you protest your grievances, this is not how you voice your suffering," Nardella wrote. "It's only violence as an end in itself, gratuitous.
"Those who scar Florence must pay for what they have done."
US reports world record of more than 100,000 cases in single day
The United States set a new all-time high for coronavirus cases confirmed in a single 24-hour period on Friday, reporting just over 100,000 new infections to surpass the record total of 91,000 posted a day earlier, according to a Reuters tally.
The daily caseload of 100,233 is also a world record for the global pandemic, surpassing the 97,894 cases reported by India on a single day in September.
Five times over past ten days, the United States has exceeded its previous single-day record of 77,299 cases registered in July. The number of daily infections reported during past two days indicates that the nation is now reporting more than one new case every second.
The spike comes just four days ahead of the US presidential election on Tuesday. The Covid-19 pandemic, which has killed nearly 230,000 people in the United States, has dominated the final stretch of the campaign.
The United States crossed 9 million cumulative cases on Friday, representing nearly 3 per cent of the population, according to a Reuters tally of publicly reported data.
RCOG postpones post-grad exams as London infections soar
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has reportedly cancelled a number of its postgraduate medical exams citing soaring rates of infections in London, where the assessments were due to be held.
In an email seen by The Telegraph, the body said the risk of "bringing together several hundred doctors from all over the UK" was too great, in spite of the extensive safety measures already put in place.
The organisation goes on to claim that London's R-value could now be as high as 2.9, according to new scientific evidence, although it does not cite its source. The Government's official website puts the city's reproductive number at around 1.1-1.3.
Exams will be postponed until a fully virtual model could be put in place, and doctor's career progression will not be affected.
"We have done everything in our power to try to ensure the exam could go ahead, as part of our commitment to support our trainees and members as much as possible throughout the pandemic. However, our best intentions have been overtaken by circumstances completely beyond our control," the email signed by the RCOG's president Dr Eddie Morris states.
Trump criticises those fighting coronavirus
President Donald Trump is spending the closing days of his re-election campaign criticising public officials and medical professionals who are trying to combat the coronavirus pandemic, even as cases surge across the United States.
Campaigning in the Midwest on Friday, Trump delivered a closing message that promised an economic revival and a vaccine to combat Covid-19, which is pushing hospitals to capacity and killing up to 1,000 people in the United States each day.
Trump falsely said doctors earn more money when their patients die of the disease, building on his past criticism of medical experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country's top infectious diseases expert.
The president criticised Democratic officials in Minnesota for enforcing social-distancing rules that limited his rally to 250 people. "It's a small thing, but a horrible thing," he said.
Opinion polls show Trump trailing Biden nationally, but with a closer contest in the most competitive states that will decide the election. Voters say the coronavirus is their top concern.
Greek PM declares partial coronavirus lockdown
Greece will expand a night-time curfew on movement and shut restaurants and bars in the most populous areas of the country for one month to contain a resurgence in Covid-19 cases, the prime minister said on Saturday.
The country has reported less cases of the novel coronavirus than most in Europe, but has seen a gradual increase in infections since early October.
Restaurants, bars, coffee houses, cinemas, museums and closed gyms will be shut from this coming Tuesday, November 3, for a period of one month across northern Greece and Attica region, which includes the capital Athens.
A curfew on night-time movement, until now applicable to the hardest-hit areas, would be expanded across the country from midnight to 5.00 am.
"These new rules are focused on two sources which are, verifiably, conducive to the spread of the virus; entertainment and the movement of people," Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in an public address.
Retail businesses, industry and schools will remain open, along with service industries like hotels and hairdressing salons.
UN urges cities to build back better after Covid
Covid-19 will not spell the end of world cities, which are set to grow further over the next decade, the United Nations said on Saturday, urging civic leaders to use the pandemic as a springboard to build better, more liveable urban centres.
About 60 per cent of the global population is expected to live in cities by 2030, up from 56 per cent today, despite the coronavirus pandemic pushing many to look for a new home outside congested urban centres, the UN said in a report.
Yet the virus has inflicted the most harm on marginalised communities and laid bare inequalities that must be addressed if cities are to manage growth fairly, according to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
"The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed deep inequalities," Guterres said in a foreword to the report, adding that tackling the virus has proven more challenging in areas with substandard housing, uneven access to healthcare and patchy transport links.
"We cannot go back to business as usual. Cities and communities are demanding that those in authority take the opportunity to build back better."
Birmingham shisha cafe shut down after second breach
Police have closed a shisha cafe after finding about 150 people inside, days after the venue was hit with a £10,000 fine for Covid-19 breaches.
Officers forced their way in to Kasablanca in the Highgate area of Birmingham at 1 am on 24 October.
A video posted on YouTube shows officers forcing entry to the smokers' lounge on Moseley Street, with shrieks audible as they disperse the crowds.
The venue had broken restrictions earlier this month, police said.
Tory MP says he is 'full of foreboding' over lockdown rumours
Sir John Redwood, MP for Wokingham, has said he is "full of foreboding" after rumours of a second national lockdown were leaked to the press late on Friday evening.
Speaking to BBC Radio Four's Today Programme he said:
"I'm full of foreboding about it. Before we give support for such a measure I think there will need to be a very convincing case about how much these measures proposed would do to save lives.
"We need honest explanation of how much more damage it's going to do to jobs livelihoods in the economy, because we are impairing people's ability to go to work and to earn a living.
"We are destroying good businesses...And we will need to weigh that in the balance."
His voice joins a handful of other Tory MPs who have expressed concern that another national lockdown may do more harm to the economy than good.
Last night newly released minutes from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) meeting in early October, revealed that top scientific advisors had warned that the number of coronavirus deaths were"highly likely" to exceed the reasonable worst-case scenario if drastic measures were not taken soon.
Sage had called for an immediate 'circuit-breaker' to be put in place over October half term, suggesting that it was the only sustainable way to save lives and jobs, amid soaring cases and worrying levels of hospital admissions.
While Scotland and Wales brought in their own 'fire breaks', England largely chose to stick to a local lockdown meaures.
Government to launch official enquiry into lockdown leak as cabinet calls afternoon meeting
The Government is to launch an official enquiry into leaked rumours of an imminent national lockdown, Sky News has reported, with suggestions that an emergency cabinet meeting has been called for this afternoon.
According to Sky's Political Editor Beth Rigby, Number 10 had wanted to hold announcements that a possible second lockdown was on the cards until Monday and now having to change plans.
There is now a cabinet briefing and 30 minute call just after lunch
— Beth Rigby (@BethRigby) October 31, 2020
Russia's daily coronavirus cases stay above 18,000
Russia's daily tally of coronavirus cases stood at 18,140 on Saturday, including 4,952 in Moscow, taking the national total to 1,618,116 since the pandemic began.
Authorities also reported 334 deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing the official death toll to 27,990.
Taiwan celebrates equality amid coronavirus victory
More than 130,000 people, many wearing rainbow masks, marched through Taipei on Saturday to celebrate LGBTQ+ equality and the island's success in fighting coronavirus, in one of the largest Pride marches globally this year.
"Taiwan has done a fantastic job at both equality and pandemic control," said Chen Wei-chun, a 32-year-old bank employee who joined the march with a rainbow mask on. "That makes us proud."
Taiwan has recorded just 555 Covid-19 infections and seven deaths, the majority of cases imported, thanks to early and effective response.
Taiwan was the first to test arrivals from China in the early stage of the outbreak and imposed an “electronic fence” system that requires a 14-day quarantine for overseas arrivals and tracks their whereabouts via cellphones.
Taiwan last year became the first place in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage. This week, two women became the first Taiwanese military officers to marry their same-sex partners at a military wedding, marking another landmark for LGBTQ+ rights in Asia.
Organisers say more than 130,000 people marched through the streets of Taipei in the annual Pride parade, joined by major political parties including the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
"Amid the global pandemic, we need more selfless love to unite one another and tolerate difference to make Taiwan a more progressive place," Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-chang wrote in a Facebook post to support the Pride march.
Malaysia's Muhyiddin urges lawmakers to pass budget to tackle Covid-19
Malaysia Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on Saturday urged lawmakers to pass the 2021 budget to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Southeast Asian nation has seen a resurgence in infections, with the number of cases more than doubling in the past month.
"I hope all parliamentarians can put aside political differences to ensure that the 2021 Budget is approved in the interest of the people and the country," he said in a televised address, adding that "an understanding can be framed among members of parliament".
Malaysia's king also urged lawmakers this week to set aside political disagreements to pass the budget.
Muhyiddin's administration is scheduled to present its first budget on November 6, amid a challenge for the premiership by opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim. The prime minister's credibility was dented after he failed to secure royal assent to declare emergency rule.
Poland reports record rise in daily coronavirus cases
Poland reported a record 21,897 new coronavirus infections on Saturday, while the country faces massive protests following an abortion ruling last week.
Poland has seen widespread, but mostly peaceful protests following a ruling by the Constitutional Tribunal last week that amounts to a near-total ban on abortion in the predominantly Catholic nation.
National lockdown would be 'absolutely devastating' for hospitality sector
A national lockdown would be "absolutely devastating" for the hospitality industry, Kate Nicholls of UK Hospitality has said.
She expected that some businesses would be unable to trade at all and the sector would need "significant additional help in order to get through this".
She told BBC Breakfast: "People have borrowed up to the hilt and spent money in order to get Covid-secure.
"There is no spare capacity in the tank to be able to fund a lockdown, even for three to four weeks."
Police chief calls for 'clear communication' over possible new lockdown
The chairman of the representative body for rank and file police officers in England and Wales has called for “clear communication” over a possible new national lockdown.
John Apter, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, which represents 120,000 officers, criticised the briefing of coronavirus measures to the media, claiming it increased pressure on the emergency services.
His comments come as the government’s latest plans on a new national lockdown, slated to come into force next week, were selectively briefed to the media last night.
This can add immense pressure to the 999 services who are already struggling with the demand they have. Please be more responsible. Clear communication, not corridor briefings.
— John Apter (@PFEW_Chair) October 31, 2020
Could bats save us from Covid-19?
They were blamed for hosting Covid-19... But could bats be the creatures to get us out of this mess – and save us from future pandemics?
Labour backs circuit-breaker but 'worried' about the impact on other sectors
On whether a month-long lockdown would be appropriate, Labour's shadow business minister Lucy Powell said: "We have been calling for a circuit-breaker for a number of weeks."
She said the Government was presented with scientific documents back in September to say that the most effective strategy at that point would be a two to three-week circuit-breaker.
Ms Powell told BBC Breakfast that more of the economy could have been saved and there could have been reduced impacts with "a shorter, earlier circuit-breaker that coincided with the half-term".
She told the programme: "Now we are looking at an even longer circuit-breaker at a very critical time of year.
"I am really worried about the impact of this at this point in time for a longer period of time than was necessary on retail and hospitality."
Tiered approach not effective enough, Sage member says
Professor Calum Semple, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), also told BBC Breakfast that "the tiered approach to restrictions hasn't worked particularly well".
When asked what could be achieved with a reported four-week lockdown, Prof Semple said: "If that was applied nationally and was adhered to you would see a dramatic fall in hospital admissions and that's in four weeks' time."
He suggested there should be a review at four weeks and there could be a "bit of easing around the festive activities" but that a lockdown would give officials "time to get test, trace and isolate processes really up to scratch".
UK has been passed 'reasonable worse-case scenario for some time'
Professor John Edmunds also confirmed that the situation in the country is worse than the reasonable worst-case scenario produced by Sage.
He told Today: "We've been significantly above that reasonable worst-case scenario for some time actually."
Prof Edmunds said it was "possible" that there would be 85,000 coronavirus deaths this winter - more than there were in the first wave.
"It is really unthinkable now, unfortunately, that we don't count our deaths in tens of thousands from this wave.
"The issue is, is that going to be low tens of thousands if we take radical action now or is that going to be the high tens of thousands if we don't?"
Asked if measures would have to be more severe than a "circuit-breaker" proposed last month, Prof Edmunds said: "Decisions are horrible - they are very difficult - but putting them off doesn't make them any easier, in fact it makes them more difficult.
"And so if we are going to put the brakes on the epidemic now, then unfortunately we're going to have to put the brakes on harder and longer to bring the cases down to what might be an acceptable level."
Family Christmas 'relatively safe' if cases are brought down, expert says
Family Christmases can be made "relatively safe" if coronavirus cases are brought down sharply with stringent restrictions, a Government scientific adviser has said.
Professor John Edmunds, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "The idea of a lockdown is to save lives primarily.
"I think the only real way that we have a relatively safe Christmas is to get the incidence right down because otherwise I think Christmas is very difficult for people - nobody wants to have a disrupted Christmas holiday period where you can't see your family and so on.
"So I think the only way that that can be safely achieved is to bring the incidence right down, and in order to do that we have to take action now and that action needs to be stringent, unfortunately."
Protect the NHS, critical care expert urges
Professor Anthony Gordon, a critical care expert at Imperial College London, warned that if the NHS becomes "overwhelmed" then it will not be able to provide the best care for coronavirus patients.
"We have to stop the spread of the virus because if we don't we will overwhelm the health service and none of us want that," he told Today.
Virus is 'running riot' across all age groups, Sage member warns
Coronavirus is "running riot" across all age groups, Professor Calum Semple, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), has warned.
Speaking in a personal capacity, he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "For the naysayers that don't believe in a second wave, there is a second wave."And unlike the first wave, where we had a national lockdown which protected huge swathes of society, this outbreak is now running riot across all age groups."
He also said there were "many more cases particularly in younger females between the ages of 20 and 40".
Prof Semple said there were three to four times as many women in the age group coming into hospital as men, because they are exposed in hospitality, retail and some educational settings.
Latest news in brief
India's caseload stood at 8.1 million on Saturday, with 48,268 new cases being recorded in the last 24 hours, data from the health ministry showed.
China suspended imports from FIREXPA S.A., an Ecuadorian seafood product manufacturer, after the novel coronavirus was found on the packaging of a batch of imported frozen fish, according to a notice by the General Administration of Customs.
The number of confirmed cases in Germany increased by 19,059 to 518,753, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed on Saturday.
Ukraine registered a record 8,752 new cases in the past 24 hours, the national security council said on Saturday, up from 8,312 cases on Friday.
China has reported six new confirmed cases in an outbreak in Xinjiang, bringing the total in the far-west region to 51.
Winter of economic despair begins as Sunak's support schemes dry up
Share prices plunged this week as markets began to price in a second wave of the virus.
Economists have warned that families face a bleak winter with less generous state help as infection rates rise and lockdown measures intensify. Unemployment will rise, consumer spending will fall and the housing market will come under renewed pressure, they have predicted.
The first support measure to go is the £40bn furlough scheme, which paid the wages of almost 10 million employees at its height. It ends today, replaced by the less generous job support scheme, which requires employees to work at least a fifth of their normal hours.
Tom Kerridge in the fight against last orders
According to a study commissioned by hospitality industry bodies, a quarter of Britain’s 47,000 pubs are unlikely to survive the Covid-19 pandemic, costing 290,000 jobs and causing untold damage to the communities that frequent them.
A stark picture, then, for Britain’s beloved watering holes. But coronavirus has merely exacerbated a long-term trend. Between 2001 and 2018, 13,000 pubs shut down – more King’s Dead than King’s Head.
One man who knows more than most about the plight of the pub industry is Tom Kerridge, who owns three in Marlow, Buckinghamshire.
That their comforting presence on the high street is no longer a given has inspired the chef to embark on his latest TV series, Saving Britain’s Pubs with Tom Kerridge.
What are the potential exit strategies from lockdown?
When the Government published its roadmap out of the pandemic in the summer, it was hoped that social distancing could be eased by November and local lockdowns would needed only as a last resort.
Fast forward three months and the position is altogether bleaker. Local restrictions seem to be doing little to curb the spread of infections, Test and Trace is failing to pick up tens of thousands of cases each day and deaths are on the rise.
It is clear now that normality cannot resume without an increase in the virus, and that cases will come back as soon as restrictions are lifted.
So how do we get out of the ongoing "lockdown and lift" cycle?
Latest news from around the globe
The US passed 9 million reported cases on Friday and broke its own record for daily new infections for the second day with more than 94,000 cases in 24 hours, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.
Protesters clashed with police across Spain on Friday night after hundreds gathered to demonstrate against new restrictions, including a curfew and a ban on leaving the city over the holiday weekend.
Australia has announced it will spend $500 million (£271 million) to secure Covid-19 vaccines for the Pacific and Southeast Asia "as part of a shared recovery for our region from the pandemic".
Slovakia on Saturday begins a programme to screen its entire population for coronavirus with antigen tests in what would be a global first, but critics have said the plan is poorly thought out.
Eat Out to Help Out 'accelerated second wave'
Rishi Sunak's government scheme to encourage diners back into the UK's restaurants after the coronavirus lockdown may have accelerated the second wave of cases, according to a new study.
Researchers at the University of Warwick have suggested that the Chancellor's Eat Out to Help Out programme – which launched in August and offered customers discounts at restaurants – played a "significant" role in spreading the coronavirus.
According to the study there was a sharp rise in infections a week after the Government initiative began. Researchers said the scheme was to blame for as many as 17 per cent of new clusters between August and early September, which is one in every six.
The report also suggested that between 8 and 17 per cent of newly detected infection clusters could be linked to the scheme.
However, Prof Paul Hunter, a disease expert at the University of East Anglia, criticised the findings, telling the Daily Mail that the report did not factor in population density.
"Even though the author included population and population density in several models I am not convinced that this will have adequately controlled for such a correlation effect," he said.
What might be announced
Any new restrictions will have to go further than Tier 3 measures which have been unsuccessful in stopping the spread of the virus.
In the past few days, officials had been drawing up fresh plans to add an extra lockdown level – a fourth tier. These plans could indicate the types of measures the Government might introduce next week.
Closing restaurants and non-essential shops
Banning family gatherings, including wedding receptions
Read more: What's in the Tier 4 plans?
Was Keir Starmer right?
Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, called for a circuit breaker lockdown on October 13, weeks after members of Sage had reportedly been pushing for such a lockdown, only to be overruled by the Government.
Sir Keir came out in support of a circuit breaker, saying it would prevent a "sleepwalk into a long and bleak winter".
But a No 10 source accused him of being a "shameless opportunist".
Now – see the post from 1.05am – Government scientists have reportedly told the PM that it is too late for a circuit breaker lockdown and tougher, longer measures are needed, for perhaps as long as six weeks.
Or as The Telegraph's Michael Deacon points out, perhaps Matt Lucas was right all along...
And so, once again, just to be clear https://t.co/lAKuIbUjQK
— Michael Deacon (@MichaelPDeacon) October 30, 2020
What Telegraph readers think
Telegraph readers are less than impressed at the news that we are about to go back into lockdown. Here's what they think:
"The lunatics have finally taken over the asylum." – Garden of England
"Boris can go and do one. I'm carrying on as normal paying respect to social distancing and hand hygiene. I will carry on seeing my family and will go where I want to, we are free people." – Barry Guevara
"I'd rather go to jail than follow these monkey rules. I am fueling up the camper and preparing for Sweden." – Jon thorsen
Do you agree with the UK heading back into national lockdown? Have your say in the comments below.
Ministers push for tough measures
Tougher local measures were under consideration from the Government but ministers have lobbied for this national lockdown, according to a report.
Tier 4 restrictions had been mooted in Whitehall but are set to be overruled by the Cabinet, The Times claims.
“The data is really bad,” a source told the newspaper. “We’re seeing coronavirus rising all over the country and hospitals are struggling to cope. There has been a shift in our position.”
The newspaper also claims that a senior scientist told the Government that it is too late for a circuit breaker lockdown, which had been demanded by scientific advisers and the Labour party (see video below).
“It’s definitely too late to think that the two-week circuit breaker on its own would sort us out. It almost certainly would need to go on for longer,” he said.
“This is going in the wrong direction and it’s been going in the wrong direction for a while . . . If the trajectory doesn’t change, you end up with hospitals coming under very significant pressure as happened in the first wave.”
Read more: What is a circuit breaker lockdown?
'What are we hoping to achieve?'
Former MEP and Telegraph columnist Daniel Hannan asks what the Government's strategy is given that there seems to be no clear plan for how we get out of lockdown.
The only real argument for a lockdown was to buy time. Buy time for what, though? Are we three or four weeks away from a vaccine? If not, what are we hoping to achieve?
— Daniel Hannan (@DanielJHannan) October 31, 2020
Lockdowns 'don't work'
The Telegraph's Allison Pearson says that despite the news that we're all heading back into lockdown, there is little proof that they work:
Your reminder that the World Health Organisation says lockdowns don’t work. Lockdown is a “panic measure” which should only ever be used short term to buy time for a health service. Lockdowns “make the poor even poorer”.
— Allison Pearson (@allisonpearson) October 30, 2020
Mr Johnson has so far resisted pressure from scientists and Labour to introduce a "circuit-breaker" to curb Covid-19 cases, but he is facing fresh calls after new data showed the extent of cases across England.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) infection survey found cases "continued to rise steeply" in the week ending October 23, with an estimated 568,100 people in households becoming infected.
Scientific advisers at the top of Government believe it is now too late for a two-week national circuit-breaker to have enough of an effect and a longer national lockdown is needed to drive the reproduction number, or R value, of the virus below one.
All parts of England are on course to eventually end up in Tier 3 restrictions, they believe, while deaths could potentially hit 500 per day within weeks.
Government scientists are also confident that more than 50,000 new cases of coronavirus are now occurring every day in England.
PM meets ministers to discuss lockdown
Boris Johnson met Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor, Michael Gove, the Cabinet Office minister, and Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, in Downing Street on Friday to discuss the next steps as the prospect of a national lockdown looms.
The ministers discussed closing down all but essential retailers and schools, with universities and nurseries also staying open.
If Mr Johnson decides to announce the measures at a press conference on Monday they could come into force on Wednesday and last until December 1.
Such a move would meet vehement opposition from many Tory MPs who have insisted that the economy must be protected.
Read more: PM set to announce national lockdown
Today's top stories
Boris Johnson is expected to announce a new national lockdown next week after scientists warned Covid-19 was spreading faster than their worst predictions
A record jobs disaster could be on the way as long-term unemployment is set to hit a record 1.6m next year, if the second wave of Covid crushes the recovery
Covid-19 rates are not surging, researchers at King's College have said after results from its symptom tracker app showed a far less deadly virus trajectory than Imperial College findings
Belgium closed all non-essential shops and banned homes from receiving visitors, except for a single "cuddle contact", as it announced its second coronavirus lockdown on Friday
Rural churches are struggling to pay their vicars, as clergy and wardens issue a stark warning to the Archbishop of Canterbury to “act now to save the village church”
Pubs and restaurants are claiming that marquees and tents count as outdoor space in a bid to get around Tier 2 and 3 restrictions
Parents have lashed out after the Scottish Government announced secondary pupils as young as 15 are to be forced to wear face masks in class across most of the country from Monday