As it happenedended1597435633

UK records highest daily infection total since June as local lockdowns upheld and France threatens quarantine reprisals

Conrad Duncan,Jane Dalton
Friday 14 August 2020 14:33
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UK travellers returning from France face quarantine after government places country on 'no-go' list

The UK has recorded its highest daily rise in infections for two months, with an official total of 1,441 new cases – four times higher than those just over a month ago.

Meanwhile, local lockdown restrictions in parts of the northwest, West Yorkshire, east Lancashire and Leicester will continue until further notice after coronavirus cases there failed to fall to a safe level over the past two weeks, the government has said.

People in the affected areas are not permitted to mix with other households (excluding a support bubble) within private homes or gardens to slow the spread of the virus.

The decision came as France threatened to impose reciprocal measures against the UK after the British government added the country, along with Malta and the Netherlands, to its coronavirus quarantine list.

This is how our live coverage today unfolded:

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

Conrad Duncan14 August 2020 07:50
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UK travellers returning from France face quarantine after government places country on 'no-go' list

Hundreds of thousands of British tourists in France will be forced to follow strict quarantine restrictions when returning to the UK after a surge in coronavirus infections in the country.

France reported 2,669 new cases of Covid-19 on Thursday - the highest figure since lockdown measures were eased - as officials warned the epidemic was “intensifying”.

Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, said the Netherlands, Malta and Monaco would also be added to the quarantine list from 4am on Saturday.

Our political correspondent, Ashley Cowburn, and travel correspondent, Simon Calder, have the full story below:

Conrad Duncan14 August 2020 08:03
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Fines for refusing to wear face masks to increase to £3,200 ahead of lockdown easing

Boris Johnson has announced people who repeatedly refuse to wear a face mask in mandatory settings will risk increased fines up to £3,200 ahead of a further easing of lockdown on Saturday.

Organisers of illegal raves will also face a maximum fine of £10,000 under tougher enforcement rules which are designed to slow the spread of the virus.

From 15 August, indoor theatre, music and other performing arts venues will be able to stage events with socially distanced audiences, while spectators will return to sports in selected pilot events.

Our reporters, Samuel Osborne and Chris Baynes, have the full story below:

Conrad Duncan14 August 2020 08:12
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Government making ‘absolute mess’ of exams grading system, Labour’s deputy leader says

Labour’s deputy leader has criticised the government for making an “absolute mess” of school exams grading after about 40 per cent of teachers’ estimate grades were downgraded.

Angela Rayner told BBC Breakfast that the “only option” left for the government now was to U-turn, like the Scottish government, and go back to the original teacher-awarded grades.

“If you look at what's happened over the last 24 hours, a lot of children who have worked incredibly hard have been devastated by a system that's been completely flawed and has taken into account the school's previous history rather than what that child's been able to achieve this year,” Ms Rayner said.

“I think that's devastating and there's baked inequality in what's happened.”

She added: “The government has to act very quickly on this. There's a lot of young people out there that their life chances are determined by whether or not they're able to get on and get into university or onto the course or the apprenticeship scheme that they want based on these grades.

“The government has made an absolute mess of it and they've known for months now that this was coming down the track.”

Conrad Duncan14 August 2020 08:21
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All travellers returning to UK must complete passenger locator form, transport secretary says

The transport secretary has said it is important that all travellers returning to the UK complete a passenger locator form after France and other countries were added to the coronavirus quarantine list.

“What we have to do is provide clear guidance and, in this case, clear law in order to require people to quarantine,” Grant Shapps said.

“I just want to stress it is very important that people do quarantine.

“Everybody returning to the UK, no matter where from, doesn't matter whether you're in a travel corridor country or a quarantine country, must at this stage fill in a passenger locator form.”

Mr Shapps added: “That is the law and you may well find that people call up to check where you are, and you'll be breaking the law if you were not quarantining, if that was a requirement for the country you'd come from.”

Conrad Duncan14 August 2020 08:30
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Travel options running out for UK holidaymakers returning from France

Travel options are fast closing down and prices are going up as British tourists in France rush to return to the UK to beat the new quarantine deadline.

The UK government announced last night that a 14-day self-isolation would be mandatory for anyone arriving back from France, the Netherlands and Malta after 4am on Saturday morning.

Our travel correspondent, Simon Calder, has the full story below:

Conrad Duncan14 August 2020 08:40
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Minister insists more students from disadvantaged backgrounds are going to university

The transport secretary has insisted that more students from disadvantaged backgrounds are going to university overall following controversy over the system for awarding A-level results this year.

Grant Shapps was asked on BBC Breakfast if he accepted that poor students had been hardest-hit by the moderation system after thousands of pupils had their teacher-assessed results downgraded.

Mr Shapps replied: “No, I think again you should go on the evidence here - that's not been the upshot.

“I was having a look at the numbers and 18-year-olds from the most disadvantaged backgrounds, on the basis of the exam results yesterday, 7.3 per cent more are going to university, have been accepted for university, than just last year.”

When asked whether he was discounting statistics indicating children from the most deprived areas were being affected the most by the results downgrade, the minister added: “I don't [discount it], it's just that I'm reading an actual statistic - 7.3 per cent more children from disadvantaged backgrounds, 18-year-olds, accepted to university this than last year, to which you're coming back and saying I don't agree with that, but you're not providing me any numbers.”

Conrad Duncan14 August 2020 08:52
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Belgium’s hospitals stockpile medical supplies amid fears of second wave

Hospitals in Belgium are stockpiling drugs and protective equipment amid fears of a second wave of coronavirus following a spike in new infections in the country.

New infections have risen steadily in recent weeks, with Belgium now reporting one of the highest number of cases per inhabitant of any European country.

The country of 11 million people has already had one of the world’s highest death rates from Covid-19 per head, with nearly 10,000 deaths linked to the virus so far.

Michel Dewever, chief physician at the Delta Hospital in Brussels, said Belgium had learned lessons from the first wave of the pandemic.

“We have stocked up on curare, anesthetics and antibiotics that allow us to last for two or three months during any second wave that might arise,” Mr Dewever said.

“We have built up a stock of protective equipment for all the staff, whether it be gloves, gowns or masks. We received part of this inventory from the government. We also bought part of it.”

Conrad Duncan14 August 2020 09:07
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Hundreds of deaths linked to Covid-19 misinformation, study finds

Online conspiracy theories and misinformation relating to coronavirus have resulted in at least 800 deaths, new research has found.

The so-called “infodemic” resulted in about 5,800 people being admitted to hospital as a result of following false information on social media in the first three months of this year, according to a study published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

Our reporter, Anthony Cuthbertson, has the full story below:

Conrad Duncan14 August 2020 09:17
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UK government signs deals for 90 million doses of two more experimental vaccines

The UK government has signed deals for early access to two more coronavirus vaccine candidates which could provide 90 million doses in total.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said it had secured access for UK citizens to the candidates through in-principle arrangements with the companies Novavax and Janssen.

It brings the UK’s stockpile of potential coronavirus vaccines to 340 million doses from six candidates.

Our reporter, Jon Sharman, has the full story below:

Conrad Duncan14 August 2020 09:38

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