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Coronavirus news: Pubs and gyms set to close as Johnson prepares to announce new local lockdown measures amid growing northern revolt

Follow the latest updates from the pandemic

Robert Jenrick: 'We can't do everything, we're in deep recession'

Boris Johnson is set to announce the closure of pubs and gyms when he unveils a new three-tier system for local coronavirus restrictions in England on Monday.

The new system, which has sparked anger from leaders and councils in the north of England, is also expected to lead to millions being banned from mixing indoors and outdoors.

However it remains unclear which parts of England will be placed under the most severe restrictions. Liverpool City Region confirmed that the government had decided on the closures of pubs, gyms, betting shops and casinos in the area but called for more funding to support those affected.

Robert Jenrick, the housing secretary, had earlier rejected calls for more financial support for areas hit by local restrictions, arguing that "the national debt is rising" and the government "can't do everything" to protect all jobs.

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Hello and welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic today.

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Millions could be banned from mixing under new coronavirus rules

Millions of people could be banned from mixing indoors and outdoors when Boris Johnson outlines a new three-tiered system of local restrictions on Monday.

Thousands of pubs are expected to be forced to close under the new rules, which are likely to hit the north of England hardest.

You can find more details on the story below:

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Hancock denies flouting 10pm drinking curfew in Commons bar

Health secretary Matt Hancock has denied claims that he broke the 10pm drinking curfew in the Commons bar following a report in the Mail on Sunday.

The newspaper reported that Mr Hancock arrived at the bar just before a 9.40pm vote, ordered a glass of white wine and made a joke about mismanagement in Public Health England.

A spokesperson for the health secretary said the “proposed timeline of events” was false and no rules had been broken.

Our reporter, Peter Stubley, has the full story below:

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UK is at ‘tipping point’ with coronavirus like in March, top scientist warns

The UK is at a “tipping point” in the coronavirus crisis similar to the early weeks of March before the national lockdown, according to the deputy chief medical officer.

In an op-ed for the Department of Health and Social Care, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam called on the public to act immediately to “prevent history repeating itself” as he outlined the severity of the spread of the virus.

He said people needed to help the NHS by keeping Covid-19 cases low to allow non-urgent medical procedures and treatments to continue.

However, he noted that the UK was in a better situation than earlier in the year with “much-improved testing capabilities” and better treatments for Covid-19.

“Earlier in the year we were fighting a semi-invisible disease, about which we had little knowledge, and it seeded in the community at great speed,” Professor Van-Tam said.

“Now we know where it is and how to tackle it – let’s grasp this opportunity and prevent history from repeating itself.”

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Sturgeon denies virus is out of control in Scotland

Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon has denied that the spread of coronavirus is out of control in her country after she introduced new restrictions on hospitality this week.

Ms Sturgeon insisted that the number of cases per 100,000 in Scotland were the lowest in the four nations of the UK, even though the virus was “spreading a little bit faster”.

“That is because over the summer we suppressed the virus... That doesn't mean we can be complacent about it, or not take it very seriously,” she told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge.

“It shows we were right to do that over the summer and I think we're right now to act quickly and decisively to try and stop that increase in cases.”

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Sturgeon reiterates call for MP who broke self-isolation to resign

Nicola Sturgeon has reiterated her call for MP Margaret Ferrier to resign after she said she would not step down despite travelling from London to Glasgow after a positive coronavirus test.

When asked what action had been taken against the former SNP MP, Ms Sturgeon said: “We suspended her from party membership, we now have a due process we've got to go through.

“I can't unilaterally decide to expel somebody, we have a process and the SNP in that process will take its course, we've done everything in terms of SNP membership that we're able to do at this stage.”

She added that “no party leader has the power to make an MP resign” but insisted she wanted to see Ms Ferrier step down.

“I have to stand and ask people across the country to do horrendously difficult things, to not visit their loved ones.. and it is unacceptable that somebody in her position flagrantly disregarded the rules like that," Ms Sturgeon said. 

“I cannot be clearer about that, it is not acceptable and she should resign.”

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How the coronavirus pandemic could break up the union

An unexpected effect of the coronavirus crisis has been a surge in independence movements in Scotland and Wales following anger at the national government’s handling of the pandemic.

Campaign groups in the nations have said more people are joining them due to a growing feeling that devolved administrations have handled the crisis better than Westminster.

Our reporter, Colin Drury, has the full story below:

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Government has ‘lost control’ of crisis, Labour‘s shadow minister says

The government has “lost control” of the coronavirus crisis with failures on messaging and Test and Trace, Labour’s shadow work and pensions secretary has said.

Jonathan Reynolds told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge that further restrictions which are expected in the north of England needed to come with additional financial support for businesses.

“Look the first thing I just have to put on the record is the level of anger and frustration that exists in towns and constituencies like mine at the way this is happening,” Mr Reynolds said.

“There have been leaks to newspapers, there's been no consultation with local leaders - this is not the way to do things.

“People feel they are being treated with contempt and not with respect and that is simply not good enough.”

He added: “To answer your question directly, the fact is there are going to have to be further measures and the reason for that is the government has lost control.

“They've lost control of the messaging, they've lost control of Test and Trace, they've lost control of the virus, unfortunately.

"And that means we're going to have to have the measures. That wasn't inevitable. That time we got from the lockdown and from the development of what should have been an effective Test and Trace system should have meant we didn't have to get to that position.”

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Housing secretary Robert Jenrick has rejected calls for more financial support in areas affected by local lockdowns.

Instead, Mr Jenrick told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge that the government promised to offer “hope and opportunity” to people who have lost their job - an answer which is unlikely to satisfy many businesses in the North.

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Mayor of Liverpool suggests workers would get better treatment if Covid spikes were in South

The mayor of Liverpool has suggested that workers and businesses would receive better support from the government if spikes in coronavirus cases were happening in the south of England.

Joe Anderson told Times Radio that local leaders had “very little influence” over what measures the government was planning to take with its new three-tiered local restrictions system.

“The rhetoric of this prime minister is about levelling up and what we are going to be witnessing in Liverpool, and I know, I'm quite happy to say I've been told, that Liverpool will be likely to be placed in tier three,” Mr Anderson said.

“That is going to have huge economic damage and damage that will take us back to the position this city was in in the 80s with large levels of unemployment, of people unemployed and it will set us back a long time.

“Let's make it absolutely clear here, if this was down in the south east in London, it wouldn't be happening, it simply wouldn't be tolerated.”

He added: “If this was in London we wouldn't be talking about this. It's because it's the North West they want to do it on the cheap and we are not going to allow them to do that.”

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