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As it happenedended1600901979

Coronavirus new: Starmer blames government ‘failures’ for new restrictions as UK sees 6,000 new cases

Follow all the latest updates and statistics 

Chiara Giordano,Samuel Osborne,Andy Gregory
Wednesday 23 September 2020 23:59 BST
Boris Johnson says restrictions could remain in place for at least 6 months

Keir Starmer has laid the blame for “necessary” new coronavirus restrictions at Boris Johnson’s feet, repeating that the resurgence of the virus is “not an act of God [but] a failure of government”.

It came after Dominic Raab has warned a second national lockdown “can't be ruled out” if the latest restrictions do not manage to control a surge in cases.

Meanwhile, Professor Peter Openshaw, professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London, has said a ban on households mixing in England could be coming “very soon” and waiting just two or three weeks to implement such a measure would be too late. 

Please allow a moment for the liveblog to load:


Good morning and welcome to today’s live blog. We’ll be bring you the latest updates and statistics on the coronavirus pandemic around the world.

Chiara Giordano23 September 2020 07:50

Second national lockdown ‘can’t be ruled out’

Foreign secretary Dominic Raab has said the government "can’t rule out" a second national lockdown if a new raft of measures brought in to curb the spread of coronavirus do not have the desired effect.

He told Sky News: "We've always said we've got a sort of repository of measures in the arsenal to take. I don't think we would speculate about what further could be done.

"But the reality is they will be more intrusive or we could end up in a national lockdown. That is what we want to avoid."

Mr Raab added that a second nationwide shutdown may not be needed by Christmas if “everyone plays by the rules”

He said: "Let's hope that we can get through the winter months if we take these measures and if everyone plays by the rules, and we go into Christmas not needing to go into that national lockdown with all the impact on society and families but also the damage it would do to businesses."

Chiara Giordano23 September 2020 07:53

England ‘could ban house visits’

England’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty reportedly believes a ban on people visiting each other’s houses might be needed to stop the spread of coronavirus in the country.

Scotland on Tuesday announced it would be banning household visits until further notice from Friday.

Mr Whitty is said to have agreed with his Scottish counterpart’s advice during a meeting of the four home nations on Monday, according to The Times.

Northern Ireland has also introduced a ban on home visits.

Chiara Giordano23 September 2020 07:59

10pm curfew criticised by scientists, industry leaders and politicians

Scientists, industry leaders and Scotland’s first minister have criticised Boris Johnson’s national 10pm curfew on pubs, bars and restaurants as likely ineffective, dealing “a potentially fatal blow” to businesses, and paving the way for a surge in raves and house parties, Andy Gregory reports.

With the prime minister appearing keen to assuage rising Tory discontent over what some described as his “authoritarian” governance throughout the crisis, the self-identified libertarian insisted the curfew struck a balance between protecting businesses and public health.

But the Food and Drink Federation warned “many pubs and coffee shops will not be able to trade profitably under these new rules and will have to close again", thus dealing “a potentially fatal blow" to hospitality manufacturers. 

Boris Johnson’s 10pm curfew criticised by scientists, industry leaders and politicians

Scientists warn measure will likely have ‘little to no impact’ as hospitality sector braces for further pain

Chiara Giordano23 September 2020 08:09

Increase in people reporting each other to police

Martin Hewitt, chairman of the National Police Chiefs' council, said forces had seen an increase in people reporting others for breaching coronavirus rules.

He was asked on BBC Radio 4's Today programme if police were seeing many instances of the public ringing in to report their neighbours since the introduction of the "rule of six" restriction.

Mr Hewitt said: "We have seen more reports of people giving us information when they think that people are breaching that regulation.

He added: "It's only a week old, it takes a while for these things to bed in, but we have seen an increase of people phoning in to say they believe that others are not abiding by those rules."

Chiara Giordano23 September 2020 08:18

More stringent measures 'will come too late again’

Professor John Edmunds, a member of the Government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), has said action was not taken quickly enough back in March and that "mistake" is about to be repeated.

Speaking in a personal capacity to BBC Radio Four's Today programme, he said: "I suspect we will see very stringent measures coming in place throughout the UK at some point, but it will be too late again.

"We will have let the epidemic double and double and double again until we do take those measures.

"And then we'll have the worst of both worlds, because then to slow the epidemic and bring it back down again, all the way down to somewhere close to where it is now or where it was in the summer will mean putting the brakes on the epidemic for a very long time, very hard - which is what we had to do in March because we didn't react quick enough in March, and so I think that we haven't learned from our mistake back then and we're unfortunately about to repeat it."

Chiara Giordano23 September 2020 08:33

This is what really happens when you try to get a Covid test

It’s 3pm on Saturday, and I’m standing in a car park begging a bouncer to let me past the barriers. I’m not at a daytime rave or the opening of an exciting new store — but a coronavirus testing centre in East London.

My attempt to get a Covid test began first thing in the morning, after my son woke up with a hacking cough.

Harriet Sinclair explains what it’s like trying to get a coronavirus test in this piece for Indy Voices:

This is what really happens when you try to book a coronavirus test

The health secretary claims testing is widely available — but how easy is it to get a Covid test?

Chiara Giordano23 September 2020 08:49

‘Small minority’ could ‘blow it for everyone else’

Dominic Raab warned that a "small minority" could "blow it for everyone else" if they do not obey the new coronavirus restrictions.

The foreign secretary was asked if scientific advice suggested the new measures would be sufficient, during an interview with BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

He said: "The scientific advice that we've had presented by the chief scientific adviser and the chief medical officer is that these measures can help us bear down again on the uptick we've seen in the virus if everyone complies with it.

"Overwhelmingly the public... have been fantastic in rallying behind the guidance and we've seen compliance at very high levels.

"But the risk is, of course, that that frays at the edges, that a small minority, if I can put it this way, blow it for everyone else, and that's why the measures that we've introduced are targeted along with increased fines and making sure we've got consistent enforcement and compliance."

Chiara Giordano23 September 2020 08:57

Scotland has reached new 'tipping point’

First minister Nicola Sturgeon has said a new Covid-19 "tipping point" has been reached requiring new restrictions in Scotland.

She told Good Morning Britain: "I've made a judgment that we are again at a tipping point with Covid.

"I'm looking at data that alarms me, frankly, and if we don't act now, urgently and decisively, then we might find Covid running out of control again.

"So the judgment I've made, and it's not an easy one, is that if we take tough action now we might actually manage to be under these restrictions for a shorter period of time than we will end up being if we delay that action.

"So these are tough judgments but I think, given the loss of life we know that Covid can result in, the health damage that it does, we've got to be prepared at moments like this, people like me, to take tough decisions, and to be prepared to do things even if they're unpopular, for the greater good."

Chiara Giordano23 September 2020 09:13

Coronavirus news you may have missed overnight

My colleague Daisy Lester has put together this round-up of the coronavirus news you may have missed overnight:

Coronavirus news you may have missed overnight

The introduction of tougher restrictions in the UK comes as daily cases around the world continue to surge

Chiara Giordano23 September 2020 09:20

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