Coronavirus UK news – Death forecasts that triggered lockdown were WRONG and 2nd wave covid deaths won't be higher

Coronavirus UK news – Death forecasts that triggered lockdown were WRONG and 2nd wave covid deaths won't be higher

THE death forecasts used to justify a new national lockdown were WRONG and second wave deaths won't top those in the first, according to reports.

The graphs used during Boris Johnson's TV address declaring a second lockdown showed predictions of 1,500 deaths a day by early December – a terrifying number that meant a UK-wide lockdown was inevitable.

But the government has now found that "an error" had crept into the graphs, making the numbers far too high, The Telegraph reported. As a result Downing Street has quietly amended the graphs, reducing the worst case scenario to just under 1,000 deaths per day.

The news came as Boris has said a four week lockdown in England is "enough" to make a "real impact" on coronavirus infection rates.

Speaking at a Downing Street news conference on the first day of England's second national lockdown, the prime minister expressed his hope of "as normal a Christmas as possible" after the month-long restrictions.

He stressed: "These measures, though they are tough, are time-limited… There is light at the end of the tunnel.”

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  • Samantha Lock


    The UK Government's Scottish Secretary, Alister Jack, denied that the furlough scheme was only extended due to a change in circumstances, with England going into a second national lockdown.

    Asked on the BBC's Good Morning Scotland radio show about the timing of the announcement – as Scotland entered new levels of restriction and with Wales coming out of a circuit-breaker – he said: “No, I don't accept that it has changed because of England – the job support scheme is for the whole country.

    “The scheme was moving into the Job Retention Scheme … and at that point, when we saw us getting back into more difficult, harsher economic conditions through the lockdown, the Chancellor adapted the scheme.

    “This is a fast-moving health crisis, an evolving position, and we have to evolve our approach to respond.

    “With England going into lockdown there was a need to reset the Job Support Scheme, which, as you know, was designed when there was a lower prevalence of the virus during the summer.

  • Samantha Lock


    The NHS Test and Trace system has made no difference to the spread of coronavirus in the UK, a scientist has warned.

    James Naismith, professor of structural biology at Oxford University, said the system was only reaching a fraction of the number of people who should be contacted.

    “It hasn't been effective at all. The only ways we are currently able to control infection spreading are social restrictions. Tracking and tracing hasn't really made any difference to the spread of the epidemic,” he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

    “Testing is really important. The problem is that if you just look at the number of cases in the UK for the last week you would estimate about 350,000 cases of actual people infected; the testing system only identified just under half of them.”

  • Britta Zeltmann


    People in England can be fined £200 for leaving their homes without a reasonable excuse from today as new coronavirus laws came into effect.

    It means people will face fixed penalty notices and potentially a criminal record for being caught going away on holiday – as that's not a named excuse on the list.

    From today people have been told to stay home unless they are leaving for work, exercise, medical need, to get food, or a string of other reasons.

    Travelling in and out of their local area is also not allowed, and people may face fines if they break the laws.

    The fine will be reduced to £100 if paid within 14 days but repeat offenders could be hit with penalties rising to £6,400 – or a conviction if they challenge it in the courts.

    Specific exemptions for leaving your home for non-elite sport, protest and wedding receptions have been removed – meaning you can now face penalties for that too.

  • Alahna Kindred


    Britain said it is removing Denmark from its travel corridor list, with people arriving from there needing to self-isolate from Friday after health authorities in Denmark reported widespread coronavirus outbreaks in mink farms.

    Denmark announced strict new lockdown rules on Thursday in the north of the country after authorities discovered a mutated coronavirus strain in minks bred in the region, prompting a nationwide cull.

    Authorities said five cases of the new virus strain had been recorded on mink farms and 12 cases in humans.

  • Elizabeth Little


    Ireland is on track to get its second wave of Covid-19 infections under control by the end of November when the government hopes to ease some of the strictest restrictions in Europe, a senior public health official said.

    Philip Nolan, the chair of the Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, told a press briefing: “The way case numbers are behaving would suggest that case numbers are declining rapidly and that we are on target for the sort of end position we want to be in at the end of the six weeks,” on 1 December.

  • Elizabeth Little


    The organiser of a birthday rave attended by 60 people has been issued a £10,000 fine.

    Officers found a sound system and large balloon arches when they arrived at the function room in Wolverhampton.

    West Midlands Police said the venue on Dale Street, Bilson, also had a drawer of cash, a card reader and supplies of alcohol despite being unlicensed.

    Supt Simon Inglis called it a “blatant breach” of coronavirus regulations at a “critical time for the city's health”.

    He added: “As well as issuing fines to those who arrange such events, those who attend also face the risk of individual fines, and we will not think twice about issuing them when necessary.”

  • Elizabeth Little


    A dozen US states have reported record one-day increases in Covid-19 cases.

    It comes just one day after the country set a record with nearly 105,000 new infections reported on Wednesday.

    The Covid-19 outbreak is spreading in every region of the country, but is hitting the Midwest the hardest based on new cases per capita.

    Illinois reported nearly 10,000 new cases and along with Texas is leading the nation in the most cases reported in the last seven days.

    Other Midwestern states with record increases in cases on Thursday were Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota and Ohio.

    Arkansas, Maine, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Utah and West Virginia also set records for rises in new infections.

  • Elizabeth Little


    Brazil has reported another 22,294 cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours.

    A further 630 Covid-19 related deaths were also confirmed, the health ministry said on Thursday.

    The country has now registered 5,612,319 cases since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 161,736.

  • Elizabeth Little


    Protesters have been arrested after anti-lockdown and “Million Mask March” demonstrators gathered in central London today.

    On the first day of England's new national lockdown, police urged people to go home after they took to the streets near the capital's Trafalgar Square.

    Protesters, very few wearing face coverings, began to walk up the Strand shortly after 6pm, chanting “freedom” and “no more lockdown”.

    Piers Corbyn, the brother of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, was among those marching.

  • Elizabeth Little


    Students have ripped down rows of fencing around residence halls on the first day of England's national lockdown.

    Crowds of undergraduates at the University of Manchester trampled on the barriers and set off flairs in protest.

    The huge blockages were erected earlier today by tradesmen, to mark the start of the four-week shutdown.

    The barriers were placed around communal areas and blocks on the Fallowfield campus, dubbed “HMP Fallowfield” and home to thousands of mostly first-year students.

    Students said the fencing made them trapped and would have a devastating impact on their mental health.

  • Elizabeth Little


    The official statistics watchdog has warned the government and its scientific advisors their use of coronavirus data could “confuse the public and undermine confidence in the statistics.”

    The UK Statistics Authority (UKSA) said there was a danger that confidence in official figures could be undermined if they were not “supported by transparent information being provided in a timely manner.”

    Asked about the government's use of data today, Boris Johnson said: “We try to make things as clear as we possibly can,” although he acknowledged that the “projections vary widely” and there was also a “political judgment” to be made in order to take into account economic factors.

  • Elizabeth Little

    UK DEATHS REACH 48,120

    Today’s coronavirus cases were up from 23,065 on the same day last week, a rise of 1,076.

    The government at one point warned that new cases were doubling every week, although fears continue that the virus's spread could accelerate as the winter weather sets in.

    Today's figures brought the total number of deaths in the UK to 48,120 and the total number of cases to 1,123,197.

    Read more on today's figures here.

  • Elizabeth Little


    The second coronavirus wave is “serious and real”, the head of the NHS warned tonight.

    Sir Simon Stevens presented a graph at today's Downing Street press conference, showing more than 11,000 Covid patients are being treated in England's hospitals.

    He said that equates to 22 hospitals full of Covid-19 patients.

    Sir Simon acknowledged that in some parts of the country the health service is coping better than others, but he warned the NHS faces a grave winter.

  • Elizabeth Little


    Since March, the average American has spent an additional two hours a day sitting on their sofa – coming to a total 448 hours in the past 32 weeks, according to new research.

    A poll of 2,000 Americans revealed seven in 10 even said their perfect night involves spending time in the living room and on the sofa.

    When asked how they were spending their time, 35% said they’re enjoying nights indoors binge-watching a Netflix series and nearly a third (32%) are spending their evenings catching up with a good book.

    Conducted by OnePoll in conjunction with Article, the survey aimed to uncover how and where people are spending their time inside during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

    Results revealed 42% spend their nights inside ordering takeout while a further 35% are spending their nights in playing board games.

    Read more on the survey results here.

  • Elizabeth Little


    Britain has already passed the second peak of coronavirus cases, one of the country's leading experts has claimed.

    Professor Tim Spector said new data shows Covid-19 infections are falling – but a time lag means this won't be reflected in death figures for a month.

    The King's College London epidemiologist, who has been leading the ZOE Covid Symptom Study app, also suggested the crucial R rate had dropped to 1.

    Sharing his findings on Twitter, he said: “Further evidence today from our Zoe CSS survey that we have passed the peak in second wave new cases in the UK.”

    “There will be a four week lag before this is seen in a decline in deaths and 1-2 weeks in hospitalisation. R value close to one in most areas now.”

  • Elizabeth Little


    Coronavirus cases have fallen across most of London – just as England's new national lockdown begins.

    New positive tests for Covid-19 have fallen in 19 out of 32 boroughs, official figures show.

    However, the rate of cases per 100,000 people remains about 100 in every area of the capital.

    Following a rise in cases, the city was previously placed under Tier 2 restrictions, which ban casual sex and meeting friends from different households for a pint inside a pub.

    The new rules were enforced one minute after midnight on October 17 – and today's figures suggest that the measures were possibly beginning to work.

  • Elizabeth Little


    Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said on Thursday a hard lockdown will be imposed in seven municipalities in northern Denmark after a mutation of the coronavirus that was found in mink had spread to humans.

    Bars, restaurants, all public indoor sport activities and public transport will be shut in the municipalities concerned, and people are being encouraged not to travel to and from the region, she said at a news conference.

  • Elizabeth Little


    The Chinese government has temporarily stopped non-Chinese travellers from the UK entering the country, due to the uptick in coronavirus cases.

    In a statement, the Chinese embassy in London said: “China has decided to temporarily suspend entry into China by non-Chinese nationals in the UK holding visas or residence permits still valid at the time of this announcement.”

    “The Chinese embassy and consulates in the UK will no longer issue Certified Health Declaration Form for the above-mentioned personnel.”

    Without a Certified Health Declaration Form, entry to China is denied.

  • Elizabeth Little


    368 more coronavirus deaths have been recorded in Spain.

    It is the sharpest daily increase for the pandemic's second wave, health ministry data showed on Thursday.

    It takes the country's total number of Covid-19 related deaths to 38,486.

  • Elizabeth Little


    Germany and Sweden are being added to the UK's coronavirus quarantine list.

    Travellers returning from both countries will have to isolate for 14 days.

    The measure will come into force from 4am on Saturday, applying to people arriving in the UK.

    Ministers took the decision after a steep rise in cases in both countries, with the number of new infections in Germany increasing by 75% in the past four weeks and 34% in Sweden during the same period.

  • Elizabeth Little


    People in England can be fined £200 for leaving their homes without a reasonable excuse from today as new coronavirus laws came into effect.

    From today people have been told to stay home unless they are leaving for work, exercise, medical need, to get food, or a string of other reasons.

    Travelling in and out of their local area is also not allowed, and people may face fines if they break the laws.

    The fine will be reduced to £100 if paid within 14 days but repeat offenders could be hit with penalties rising to £6,400 – or a conviction if they challenge it in the courts.

    Specific exemptions for leaving your home for non-elite sport, protest and wedding receptions have been removed – meaning you can now face penalties for that too.

    Read more on what you can and can’t do under new lockdown restrictions here.

  • Elizabeth Little


    Dominic Raab is self-isolating after coming into close contact with someone who tested positive for coronavirus.

    The Foreign Secretary has not tested positive, but will have to isolate for 14 days.

    A source close to Mr Raab said in a statement: “The foreign secretary was today informed that an individual with whom he has been in recent close contact with has tested positive for coronavirus.”

    “In line with government regulations and NHS Track and Trace rules, the foreign secretary has taken immediate steps to self-isolate for the required period. He will continue to work remotely during this time.”

  • Elizabeth Little


    Police have ordered a gym to close after its owner defied coronavirus restrictions by remaining open on the first day of England's second national lockdown.

    Alex Lowndes, owner of Gainz Fitness and Strength in Bedford, did not shut the gym on Thursday, claiming the Government have “got it very wrong” with what businesses are classed as essential.

    Officers from Bedfordshire Police, working alongside Bedford Borough Council, issued him with a prohibition notice for breaching coronavirus regulations, while three other people were handed fines.

    The force said on Facebook: “We understand that exercising is a priority for a lot of people, but we would urge you to find an alternative, such as a home workout or out in the open air.”

    “We all need to play our part in stopping the spread of coronavirus and unfortunately this means that businesses, such as gyms, need to close. If you are planning to come to Gainz Gym, please don't as you will be at risk of being fined.”

    Mr Lowndes, 32, said he would now be taking a “breather” to seek legal advice and will “go from there”, telling the PA news agency: “It's certainly not the end of the fight.”

  • Elizabeth Little


    People in England will be fined £200 if they are caught trying to go on holiday – as Germany and Sweden joins the UK quarantine list.

    Draconian new measures introduced by Ministers means heading on a trip away could see people handed a criminal record.

    Repeat offenders could be hit with penalties rising to £6,400 – or a conviction if they challenge it in the courts.

    This is in line with any breach of coronavirus laws which, during this second lockdown, bans any travel for holidays.

    Read more here.

  • Elizabeth Little


    Boris Johnson today promised a four-week lockdown is enough to tackle the coronavirus and save Christmas.

    But he warned everyone must work together to put Covid-19 “back in its box” if they want “as normal a Christmas as possible”.

    Catch up on the conference here.

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