Liverpool is to be plunged into a Tier Three lockdown from tomorrow with pubs, bars, bookies, casinos and gyms ordered to close, according to a report.
Vast swathes of the north are facing a similar crackdown ahead of a new tiered system expected to be announced by Downing Street on Monday.
Liverpool’s leaders are understood to have been told the city will be plunged into a strict Tier Three lockdown with restrictions on non-essential travel as well as hospitality businesses.
Local leaders held a call with officials in London this afternoon and were briefed on the move, Sky News reported.
Meanwhile, politicians from Manchester have launched last-ditch appeal to ministers not to shut all pubs and restaurants in the city and instead hand them the power to only close those which are not meeting coronavirus safety restrictions.
Liverpool recorded the second-highest infection rate in England in the 14 days before October 4, with 4,593 confirmed cases (928.2 per 100,000 people).
The neighbouring borough of Knowsley had the worst rate, with 1,412 cases and an infection rate of 944.
Downing Street sources said no decision had yet been taken on where a Tier Three system would apply.
Liverpool’s mayor Joe Anderson tweeted tonight: ‘We have not agreed anything, we have been told this is what Government intends to do with “no buts.” I and all the Leaders of the CA and @MetroMayorSteve have not accepted anything we have been trying to get financial support to protect our businesses and support our Region.’
Revellers leave the pubs after closing time in Liverpool city centre this evening enjoying the last weekend before COVID restrictions are expected to force pubs and bars close in the area
LIVERPOOL: Revellers pack into Church Street on Saturday night – the city is expected to be plunged into strict Tier Three measures tomorrow
LIVERPOOL: A trio of women walk through the streets with jugs of alcohol after kicking out time last night
MANCHESTER: Diners enjoy a meal out on Sunday ahead of new measures for the north of England
Young people having a drink out in Manchester on Sunday, ahead of a government announcement on Monday
Customers at The Restaurant Bar and Grill in Manchester on Sunday ahead of a government announcement on Monday
People outside the Revolucion de Cuba bar in Manchester on Sunday
As the mayors in the north threatened legal action over ‘oppressive’ lockdowns imposed from London:
- Britain recorded 12,872 new Covid cases – just 9% more than last Sunday’s adjusted total – and 65 deaths;
- Researchers found Covid-19 can survive for a month on surfaces including banknotes and phone screens;
- London could be shielded from the worst of a second wave because one in eight people have antibodies;
- Town hall bosses will be given powers to deploy volunteers to knock on doors and ask people to self-isolate;
- Labour leaders in the North demanded more cash handouts from the government to support lockdown and called the new furlough scheme ‘insufficient’;
- Doctors have warned face masks should be mandatory inside and outside to curb the spread of infections;
- BCG vaccine was given to 1,000 people in Exeter University trial to test claims that it helps fight Covid by stimulating the immune system;
- Schoolchildren have been banned from singing Happy Birthday over fears it could spread covid;
- Health Secretary Matt Hancock made a tasteless ‘drinks on me’ Covid test joke in Commons bar as he ‘joined MPs flouting 10pm curfew’;
- ‘Rule of Six’ restriction may be lifted temporarily by Chancellor Rishi Sunak over the festive period.
Boris Johnson’s decision this afternoon to brief Cabinet members on the reported three tier set-up was a rare move amid mounting pressure from up north.
Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham this morning blasted a lack of communication, telling Times Radio: ‘To be called to a meeting with 10 Downing Street on a Friday evening, to be effectively presented with proposals that needed to be agreed over the weekend, I mean that isn’t adequate or acceptable consultation to me.
‘That is being railroaded into a position. It’s all come too late.’
Mr Johnson’s plans were also savaged by the leader of Bolton Council, who warned they would destroy the economy of the north of England at a time when he was trying to ‘build back better’, including in former Red Wall Labour seats taken at the 2019 General Election.
And giving a brutal assessment of the plans on the BBC’s Andrew Marr programme this morning, David Greenhalgh said: ‘My immediate reaction is that it is oppressive.’
A further 32 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospital in England, bringing the total number of confirmed deaths reported in hospitals to 30,471, NHS England said this afternoon.
Mr Burnham, asked on Times Radio what he would say to Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick, said: ‘Isn’t it time for a major change here, a complete reversal of what we have seen so far?
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick insisted today that the Government is working closely with local leaders ahead of new coronavirus measures being brought in
Some 65 more people have died after testing positive for Covid-19 – nearly double the 33 deaths recorded last week
‘Localising the response to this crisis but critically, as Joe (Anderson, Liverpool mayor) said, putting in place a help package and an economic package to help the North of England through.
Rise in Britons being treated with Covid in hospital is partly driven by them catching it on wards, figures show
The rise in Britons being treated with coronavirus in hospital is being driven in part by them catching it on the wards, the latest available figures indicate.
The number of hospital cases rose from 2,396 to 3,660 – an increase of 52 per cent – between September 30 and October 7.
But separate statistics show almost one in five with the virus in hospital tested positive seven days or more after admission – implying they caught it there.
The findings suggest Covid-19 hospitalisations caused by community outbreaks may not be growing as fast as some fear.
Rises in admissions have been greatest in North West England, say health officials.
But the total number of virus patients in UK hospitals is still a fraction of the peak figure of 19,849 in April.
‘I would say to him this, are we levelling up here or are we levelling down? Which is it?
‘If you go ahead with this financial package, in my view, that will be to break what the Government said it would do when they were elected.
‘If they continue with this, jobs will be lost, businesses will collapse, the fragile economies of the North will be shattered.
‘The Government has a real choice here, if it proceeds on the path it is on, in my view, the central so-called mission of this Government to level-up will be over.’
Shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy told Marr: ‘It’s really hard to explain how angry people are in the north of England about what has happened, not just over the last few months but over the last few days. I haven’t felt anger like this towards the government since I was growing up here in the 1980s.
‘People feel that they haven’t just been abandoned by the government, they now feel that the government is actively working against us.’
Mr Jenrick insisted today that the Government is working closely with local leaders ahead of new coronavirus measures being brought in.
He told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday: ‘We have spent the weekend working with those local leaders.
‘I have spent the whole weekend talking to leaders from Merseyside, from Greeter Manchester, from other parts of the country.
‘We are trying to work very closely with mayors, with council leaders, with chief executives to design these measures with them. That does take time.
‘We want to have good communication between national and local government before we announce how we are going to take this forwards.’
Mr Greenhalgh also took aim at the new Job Support Scheme (JSS) unveiled by Rishi Sunak on Friday, warning that anything less than support on the level of the original furlough programme would send firms ‘to the wall’.
He added: ‘We cannot ”build back better” if we have lost some of these businesses.’
The Prime Minister is expected to introduce a three-tier system of lockdown measures in an attempt to make the existing patchwork of restrictions easier to understand.
Prime Minister is set to detail a new three-tier system of restrictions with measures expected to force pubs and restaurants to shut across the North of England and see millions of people banned from mixing indoors and outdoors
Areas with relatively low infection levels will be placed in ‘tier one’, where only national restrictions such as the ‘rule of six’ and the 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants will apply.
Tier two will also include bans on home visits and indoor socialising with other households. Options for tier three include total closure of the hospitality sector, a ban on overnight stays outside the home and the closure of venues such as cinemas.
‘Rule of Six’ restriction may be lifted temporarily by Chancellor over festive period
The ‘Rule of Six’ restriction on social mixing could be lifted temporarily for Christmas to let family groups of up to 12 enjoy the festive period.
If approved, the limit on meetings of more than six people would be doubled during Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to allow inter-generational celebrations.
The temporary total of 12 was chosen because it would allow two sets of grandparents and parents, three children and an aunt or uncle to meet without flouting the law.
Those two days were suggested because, typically, they are when families spend the most time indoors together – and by Boxing Day are keen to escape outside.
Business Secretary Alok Sharma is understood to be the leading Cabinet advocate of the plan – assuming Covid infection rates have been broadly kept under control by mid-December.
The temporary lifting is regarded as a better option than the alternative plan, which would be for families to isolate for a fortnight before Christmas to allow them to gather on the day.
The rule of 12 plan is being hatched as Tory MPs grow increasingly restive about the rule of six and the 10pm pub curfew.
Swathes of the North of England, including Manchester and Liverpool, could be placed immediately into the tier with the most severe restrictions, so pubs and restaurants would have to shut their doors.
Mr Greenhalgh added: ‘We have put our proposals in as Greater Manchester leaders … that we are against a lockdown as we understand it, at Tier 3, which is the complete lockdown of hospitality.
‘Our position is very clear that we feel we need to move to extra restrictions, but ones that protect those most vulnerable and susceptible to the virus but ones that don’t continue to have an adverse effect on our local businesses and economy.’
Real estate adviser Altus Group has said there are 7,171 pubs in areas with restrictions across the north of England at risk of temporary closure.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced on Friday workers in businesses which are forced to close under the new restrictions will have two-thirds of their wages paid by the Government under the JSS.
But it is less generous than the furlough scheme which comes to an end on October 31.
Asked about Mr Sunak’s JSS revamp, unveiled on Friday, Mr Greenhalgh added that anything less generous than the original furlough was ‘quite frankly unacceptable’.
‘Many of these businesses will sadly go under,’ he said.
‘We cannot build back better if we have lost some of these businesses. These great independent businesses that people put their life savings into will be lost.
‘The north feels like it is being treated differently. We know our (covid) rates are high, we are not underestimating that, but we have to find a way through this that … looks at the economy.
‘We cannot throw our local economy to the wall, to kill it in the north.
Britain has reached a coronavirus ‘tipping point’ one of the country’s top scientists said as new figures reveal the nation’s infections have trebled in two weeks with 15,166 more infections and 81 deaths recorded yesterday.
The figures come as millions of people across the North face draconian new measures when Boris Johnson sets out the details of a new three-tier local lockdown system in a speech to MPs.
On Saturday, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, England’s deputy chief medical officer said ‘the seasons are against us’ and the country is running into a ‘headwind’ ahead of the winter months.
In a statement, Prof Van-Tam said that while the epidemic ‘re-started’ again among younger people over the past few weeks, there is ‘clear evidence of a gradual spread into older age groups’ in the worst-hit areas.
But he also said the UK has ‘much improved testing capabilities’ and ‘better treatments’ available, meaning that ‘we know where it is and how to tackle it’.
An empty looking Mathew Street in Liverpool, the latest area of the north of England to be hit by local restrictions preventing households from mixing
He stressed the importance of following public health guidance and minimising contact with others, adding: ‘I know this is very hard, but it is an unfortunate scientific fact that the virus thrives on humans making social contact with one another.’
On Saturday, in the daily update figures, the country recorded another 15,116 Covid cases and 81 more deaths, up from 13,864 infections on Friday, 12,827 seven days ago and 6,739 a fortnight ago.
The number of deaths dropped from the 87 recorded on Friday to 81 on Saturday. The figure has increased from this time last week, when there were 53 coronavirus-related deaths in the UK, and 39 deaths recorded a fortnight ago.
One in eight Londoners is immune to coronavirus: Up to 13% of capital’s residents now have Covid antibodies – while other regions are as low as 1%
By William Cole For Mailonline
There is growing optimism that the UK’s largest city is not seeing a rapid rise in case numbers because a higher percentage of residents have become immune to the virus than in any other region.
Recent data from Public Health England shows a prevalence of SARS-Cov-2 antibodies among blood donors as high as 13.4 per cent.
The figures from London stand in contrast to the rest of the country, with the North East and Yorkshire showing a 3.9 per cent prevalence, and the South West region at 3.5 per cent.
And in the north west, which has been largely placed under local lockdown for the past month, had a prevalence of 6.8 per cent in the latest figures, suggesting high infection rates in the region had meant more people produced antibodies.
The rate of antibodies in the population does vary over time, and government advisers are believed to have suggested up to 20 per cent of the capital’s residents could be immune to the virus, according to the Sunday Times.