Coronavirus news you may have missed overnight: Boris Johnson to announce three-tier lockdown system as Trump claims to be 'immune'

Questions raised over localised disparities in new restrictions, policing of fines and widening inequalities

Andy Gregory
Monday 12 October 2020 09:02
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Country to be divided into ‘medium’, ‘high’ and ‘very high’ Covid alert areas

The UK is to get a first look at what restrictions lie ahead this winter, with Boris Johnson set to outline a three-tier system dividing the country into medium, high and very high alert levels.

But with the measures expected to hit the north of England hard, Downing Street faces a growing revolt among city leaders there over the levels of financial support offered to firms and workers forced to stay at home.

Here is your daily briefing of coronavirus news you may have missed overnight:

Coronavirus widening across UK, business leaders warn, as minister says ‘rising national debt’ means no extra support for workers

When it comes to “levelling up” Britain, ministers should focus on “people as well as places” in order to create "a stronger, fairer and more resilient economy", the Covid Recovery Commission has said.

The commission, set up in July by the bosses of major firms such as Vodafone, Heathrow Airport and Shell UK, found that the pandemic is widening inequalities in the UK.

While those living in the poorest neighbourhoods are at a higher risk of dying with the virus, and to be suffering more from unemployment and worsening mental health, some of the highest levels of deprivation were found in some of the wealthiest parts of the country, according to the commission.

Meanwhile, communities secretary Robert Jenrick on Sunday defended the government’s decision not to give out any further financial support to workers and firms hit by new lockdowns because “the national debt is rising”.

It came after the mayors of Greater Manchester, Sheffield, Merseyside and Tyneside said the government’s planned support package – which covers just two-thirds of wages and only applies to some workers in specific sectors – was “insufficient” and would “level down the north of England and widen the north-south divide”.

Postcode lottery for fines as some police forces 80 times more likely to hand out penalties

Analysis of official figures by The Independent has revealed a postcode lottery for coronavirus fines, with some police forces having issued more than 1,000 fines and others less than 100.

The disparity means that people in some of the worst-hit areas are receiving the fewest penalties.

Dyfed-Powys Police, in Wales, have given out the highest number of fines (1,731), followed by the Metropolitan Police (1,088), and Devon and Cornwall (1,010). The compares with just 43 fines issued by Staffordshire Police and 64 in Warwickshire.

The rate for West Midlands Police is less than half the average across England and Wales, despite the introduction of tighter restrictions amid rising infection rates.

Trump claims to be 'immune' and says he has ‘protective glow’

“I have to tell you, I feel fantastically. I really feel good," the US president told Fox News on Sunday.

“And I even feel good by the fact that, you know, the word immunity means something — having  really a protective glow means something. I think it's very important to have that, to have that is a very important thing.”

Eric Trump claims president father received 'a vaccine' for Covid-19

Twitter then intervened as Donald Trump continued these claims on social media, flagging a post celebrating his supposed immunity granted by “a total and complete sign off from White House doctors” as “spreading misleading and potentially harmful information”.

MPs launch legal action against government over failure to disclose £3bn Covid contracts

Green MP Caroline Lucas, Labour's Debbie Abrahams and Lib Dem MP Layla Moran have filed a judicial review against the government over its failure to disclose details of its spending on coronavirus contracts, alleging concerns over its procurement process during the pandemic.

While the Department of Health and Social Care said in September that it had awarded at least £11bn in contracts since April, new analysis by Tussell, which monitors government spending, shows more than £3bn of these have not been made public.

UK study tests if BCG vaccine protects against coronavirus

Trials are to begin in the UK to determine whether a vaccine typically given to protect children from tuberculosis could help people fight off coronavirus.

Researchers at the University of Exeter are recruiting care home staff and healthcare workers in southwest England for trials to find whether the Bacillus Calmette-Guerin vaccine could protect against contracting Covid-19 after the jab was found to stimulate the immune system.

It is not expected to be an ultimate solution but could help protect people against coronavirus until more effective vaccines are discovered.

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