The Prime Minister dismissed claims at the Conservative Party 1922 Committee that a second wave “couldn’t happen here” in an apparent reference to countries like the US which have suffered second peaks. Mr Johnson stressed “we can’t be complacent” and insisted: “We are doing our best to throttle the life out of the virus”.
The latest figures show that 45,501 people had died in hospitals, care homes and the wider community after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK since the start of the outbreak.
The Government also said in the 24-hour period up to 9am on Wednesday, there had been a further 560 lab-confirmed cases.
Overall, a total of 296,377 cases have been confirmed.
However local figures showed that in Blackburn the rate jumped from 48.3 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days to July 12 to 79.9 in the seven days to July 19, with 119 new cases recorded.
Boris Johnson fears a second wave of COVID-19
UK coronavirus cases mapped
Cllr Mohammed Khan, leader of Blackburn issued a stark warning to the town’s residents to take action to control the virus.
He said: “We are in danger of a local lockdown if there continues to be an increase in cases. Nobody wants this. Please, I urge you to follow the guidelines to protect your families, friends and your community.”
At the same time, Welsh Health Minister Vaughan Gething feared the NHS was facing a “truly extraordinary” autumn and winter as it faces up to the combined challenges of a possible second wave of coronavirus and the annual flu epidemic.
Fearing a second wave, the Labour politician said: “I’m generally concerned about the prospects this winter, not just for coronavirus, but for the potential combination with even an average flu season, let alone the prospects for a worse than normal flu season.
Fears of a second wave have increased
Working with scientists around the world, a study looked at data from, nearly 7,000 patients in hospitals from Croatia, Spain, Italy, Finland, Poland, Germany, the UK and China.
The research found death rates fell in Europe as the continent warmed up but did not change in China where most cases happened in winter.
It also found the odds of dying in Barcelona fell by 4.1 percent per day between March 2 and May 19.
Intensive care demands also dropped by 2.2 percent in Europe between February and May.
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World COVID-19 cases
“We’re working with other UK nations on the prospect for either changing the definitions to include more people who are entitled to a free NHS flu vaccine or whether to concentrate on the current definition and trying to get more of those people to take up a flu vaccine to protect themselves and others.”
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Coronavirus cases around the world
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ordered the British army to prepare for four major disasters this winter which could simultaneously devastate the UK.
Downing Street has asked the Ministry of Defence to tabletop exercises to simulate the combined threat of a second wave of coronavirus, a serious flu outbreak, Brexit and flooding.
The UK Government worries a second wave of coronavirus could overpower the NHS bringing it to its knees.
11.50pm update: Australian state reveals record breaking new cases
Victoria has reported a record breaking 484 new COVID-19 cases in 24 hours.
This is the highest daily increase in the country since the start of the pandemic.
Victoria’s death toll reached 44 as two men in their 90s died of COVID-19 overnight.
Daniel Andrews, Premier of Victoria, said the state is “certainly not seeing numbers come down as we would like them to.”
Manon Dark takes over from Richard Percival.
9pm: Edinburgh New Year Hogmany axed due to COVID-19
Edinburgh’s Hogmanay traditional street festival has been called off and tickets have been withdrawn.
A statement from organisers Underbelly said: “It is clear to all parties that the famous street party cannot take place in its current form in 2020 and tickets are today being taken off sale.
“Customers who have booked tickets will be contacted in the next 14 days to be offered a full refund.
“An announcement on the 2020-21 Edinburgh’s Hogmanay programme will take place towards the end of August.”
Tickets had been on sale since January 1 and it was previously said talks about the event were positive.
7.30pm update: 20 cases linked to Lanarkshire call centre outbreak
A total of 20 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in connection with an outbreak at a call centre in Lanarkshire.
Speaking at the Scottish Government’s coronavirus briefing today, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said 15 positive cases have been identified of people who work at the Sitel premises at Eurocentral, where staff work on Track and Trace for NHS England.
A further five family members and close contacts of workers have tested positive, she added.
Ms Sturgeon said since the outbreak emerged on Sunday, all Sitel workers have been told to self-isolate and to get tested.
6.30pm update: Blackburn sees large number of COVID-19 cases in past week
Five area’s of the UK have reported sharp rises in the number of Coronavirus cases in the last week.
In Blackburn with Darwen, the rate has jumped from 48.3 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days to July 12 to 79.9 in the seven days to July 19, with 119 new cases recorded.
Meanwhile, other areas reporting notable week-on-week jumps include including Oadby and Wigston near Leicester (up from 35.1 to 68.4, with 39 new cases recorded in the seven days to July 19), Rochdale (up from 33.6 to 47.3, with 104 new cases), Hyndburn in Lancashire (up from 4.9 to 38.4, with 31 new cases) and Sandwell in the West Midlands (up from 8.6 to 23.2, with 76 new cases).
Blackburn has seen a significant rise in case numbers
5:45pm update: Aid budget axed due to COVID-19 fears
Britain is to cut its global aid budget by £2.9 billion this year due to the sharp decline in economic activity caused by the coronavirus crisis.
However, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab insists the UK will still meet its commitment to spend 0.7 percent of gross national income (GNI) on international development.
In a letter to Sarah Champion, chairwoman of the Commons International Development Committee, Mr Raab said: “The UK is experiencing a severe economic downturn as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have been able to ensure that the money we will still spend in 2020 remains prioritised on poverty reduction for the ‘bottom billion’, as well as tackling climate change and reversing biodiversity loss, championing girls’ education, UK leadership in the global response to Covid-19, and campaigning on issues such as media freedom and freedom of religious belief.”
The aid budget was set to be £15.8 billion this year before the Covid-19 crisis emerged.
5pm update: Andy Burnham urges Government to ensure self-isolating workers are paid
Andy Burnham has urged the Government to close a “major loophole” in its COVID-19 response by ensuring employees who need to self-isolate are still paid.
The Mayor of Greater Manchester says people should not face “any financial detriment” from “doing the right thing” as part of the test and trace system.
Speaking at his weekly press conference, Mr Burnham said: “The reality is that there are too many people, not just in communities in Greater Manchester but across the north of England, who are not in a position to follow a request from the test and trace system because they know they won’t be paid if they take time off work.
“This is a major loophole, I think, in our response to Covid-19.
“We need everybody to be in a position where they can follow the Government’s advice with piece of mind, i.e. they receive pay to isolate.”
4.05pm update: UK COVID-19 deaths increase by 79
The UK death toll from COVID-19 has increased by 79 today taking the total number of deaths to 45,501.
560 new cases were also confirmed in total across the UK today.
4pm update: Ten more deaths in England from Coronavirus
A further 10 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospital in England, bringing the total number of confirmed reported deaths in hospitals in the country to 29,212.
NHS England said all patients were aged between 50 and 97 years old and all had known underlying health conditions.
One further death was reported with no positive COVID-19 test result.
3.30pm update: Latest COVID figures for Wales
One further person has died in Wales after testing positive for COVID-19 bringing the total number of deaths to 1,548.
Public Health Wales said that there have been another 22 cases reported bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 16,987.
2.40pm update: England’s hospital death rate rises by 10
NHS England have announced a further 10 people have died in hopsital after testing postive for COVID-19.
The total number of hospital deaths is now 29,212.
According to NHS England, all the patients were aged between 50 and 97 and all had underlying health conditions.
There have been another 22 cases reported bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 16,987, Public Health Wales said
Doctor in Dublin dies after contracting COVID-19
2pm update: Matt Hancock gives update on care home visits
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has provided an update on when people can visit families in care homes.
Many people living in care homes have not been able to have visits from their own family due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Now Mr Hancock has announced people can visit these homes but said the government have put guidance in place.
He said: “I know how painful it has been for those in care homes not being able to receive visits from their loved ones throughout this period.
“We are now able to carefully and safely allow visits to care homes, which will be based on local knowledge and circumstances for each care home.
“It is really important that we don’t undo all of the hard work of care homes over the last few months while ensuring families and friends can be safely reunited, so we have put in place guidance that protects everyone.”
1.15pm update: Dublin hospital confirms a doctor has died from COVID-19
A doctor at Mater Misericordiae University Hospital in Dublin has died after contracting the deadly virus.
A spokeswoman for the hospital said: “Dr Waqar Ali Shah passed away after spending three months in ICU being cared for diligently and attentively by his colleagues at the hospital.
“Dr Shah was a frontline healthcare worker who provided selfless emergency care to Covid-19 patients at a number of hospitals as a locum during this emergency pandemic.
“He had been due to begin a shift at the Mater Hospital in April when he felt unwell. He asked to be seen as a patient and was admitted immediately with Covid-19 illness.
“His colleagues remember him as a hardworking and diligent doctor with a humble and down-to-earth personality.
“The Mater Hospital extends its deepest sympathies to Dr Shah’s wife, family and loved ones at this very sad time.”
New virus strand spreading faster in UK than Wuhan
12.20pm update: New COVID mutation helping spread virus around the world
A new mutation of the deadly virus is now the most dominant strand globally.
According the Telegraph, the virus is forming clusters quicker in the UK than the original outbreak in Wuhan.
Professor Nick Loman of the University of Birmingham, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It exists in the spike protein which is a very important way that the coronavirus can enter human cells and we have been noticing in the UK and worldwide that this mutation has been increasing in frequency.
“This mutation was predicted first by computer modelling to have some impact on the structure of that protein and the ability of the virus to bind and enter cells and then quite recently was shown in laboratory experiments to increase the infectivity of cells.”
11.40am update: Coronavirus POLL: Should MPs cancel their 12-week recess to focus on fighting pandemic?
MPs have an extra four weeks off on recess in 2020 under an updated timetable by Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Should politicians cancel their 12-week recess to focus on fighting the coronavirus pandemic?
Under plans introduced at the start of this year MPs are given 63 days of parliamentary recess time over the year, including seven working weeks in the summer.
MPs took a two week break from the Commons in February, which was not taken last year, and both the summer and Easter breaks are a week longer than 2019.
This means in total, MPs are in recess for 63 days this year – equivalent of more than 12 weeks worth of holiday.
This is more than double the UK statutory minimum requirement of 5.6 weeks.
Express.co.uk is asking you whether should MPs cancel their time off to focus on fighting the COVID-19 crisis, which is spreading panic across the globe and has killed more than 45,000 in the UK?
Met police commissioner Cressida Dick
11.20am update: Global deaths surpass more than 600,000
According to latest figures by Reuters, the globall death rate caused by the coronavirus pandemic has risen to 616,276.
The number of those infected on a global scale has surpassed 15million.
Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries since the outbreak was first identified in China last year.
10.40am update: Met Police Commissioner hopes shoppers will be shamed into wearing masks
As of Friday, it will be compulsory for people to wear masks when visiting shops in order to stop the spread of the virus.
But some police forces have said they will not be enforcing the rule as they do not have the time.
Now the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cresside Dick hopes people will be shamed into compliance.
Speaking to LBC, she said: “Calling the police should be a last resort for dealing with a mask issue. But of course the law is the law.
“My hope is that the vast majority of people will comply, and that people who are not complying will be shamed into complying or shamed to leave the store by the store keepers or by other members of the public.
“If somebody is concerned about what is going on in their store, yes, of course they should call the police and we will try to assist.”
She said that supermarkets have managed to maintain social distancing and queuing themselves, only rarely needing to call the police.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps
10am update: Hong Kong’s infection figure rises by 113
Hong Kong have reported a further 113 new coronavirus cases, marking a daily record.
Health Secretary Sophia Chan has said the city will expand strict new social distancing measures from midnight on Wednesday.
These measures include wearing face masks in all indoor public places including shopping centres and markets.
9.30am update: Russia reports nearly 6,000 new cases
Russia has become the fourth largest in the world in regards to coronavirus cases.
On Wednesday, Russian authorities recorded a staggering 5,862 new cases bringing the total figure to 789,190.
The country’s coronavirus crisis response centre said 165 people had died in the last 24 hours, bringing the official death toll to 12,745.
9.10am update: Transport secretary Grant Shapps says guidelines on international travel to be announced
Transport secretary Grant Shapps said the government will be making more announcements on international travel after a review next week.
Speaking to Sky News, Mr Shapps said: “I will be talking more about the way forward on things like international travel corridors then.
“But now, each week actually, we are reviewing and, where required, updating the list of countries it’s safe to travel to.”
Ireland omits Great Britain from safe travel list
8.40am update: Wales announces £50million support package for universities and colleges
The Welsh government has announced a staggering £50million support package will be distributed to universities and colleges to help them cope with the coronavirus crisis.
Around £27million will go to higher education institutions, while £23million will support students in further education colleges and sixth forms.
Education Minister Kirsty Williams said: “This funding will provide a vital support to our institutions in their preparations for the autumn.
“Each one will be important in our recovery as they work with schools, business, international partners and public services.
“So we are supporting these major institutions in Welsh life, so they can support students of all ages, and keep playing their part in our recovery.”
8.20am update: Ireland omits Great Britain from ‘green list’ of travel destinations
Ireland has released its ‘green list’ of destinations for safe travel including Italy and Greece but Great Britain is not featured.
Those travelling from Malta, Finland, Norway, Italy, Hungary, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Cyprus, Slovakia, Greece, Greenland, Gibraltar, Monaco and San Marino will not be required to isolate for two weeks.
Others arriving from overseas will be required to fill in a passenger locator form and self-quarantine for 14 days.
People crossing the border from Northern Ireland are not subject to restrictions on movement.
Great Britain and the US were expected to be excluded, as only places with a coronavirus infection rate the same or lower than Ireland were allowed on the list.
Holiday destinations such as France, Spain and Portugal have also been omitted.
“The pandemic is not over and the public health advice remains the same. The safest thing to do is not to travel,” the Government statement said.
Social Democrats co-leader Roisin Shortall said: “The promised announcement of the green list for countries considered as safe while at the same time advising against all non-essential travel is inherently contradictory.
“But of much more concern is the Government’s ambiguity about travel from countries that are not on the green list.
“Not only has the Government operated a self-isolate policy which has been largely unenforceable over recent months, but, inexplicably, in the last few weeks the travel advice has actually changed and weakened for those countries.
“Incoming travellers are now advised to merely restrict their movements.
“This poses a huge risk to our health, the lives of our vulnerable and to our economy.”