EIGHT towns and cities have been added to the government's "watchlist" today meaning they could enter into a local lockdown.

In Newark and Sherwood there are 26.3 Covid cases per 100,000 population – compared to 34 cases per 100,000 in Manchester and 56.3 per 100,000 in Leicester.

The latest data from the Department of Health shows a continued rise in cases in Oldham and Pendle while numbers remain high in Blackburn with Darwen.

Holidaymakers returning from France will have to quarantine, the government has announced.

It means 500,000 tourists have until 4am on Saturday to return to the UK to avoid two-week quarantine, the PM said.

France was taken off the "safe" list last night following crunch talks.

Malta and The Netherlands were also added to the list.

Airlines, ferries and the Eurostar have been branded “shameless” for “cashing in on desperate hard-working Brits” by experts as thousands dash back to Britain to beat the deadline.

Meanwhile deaths hit 41,347 after 18 more coronavirus fatalities.

Follow our coronavirus live blog for all the latest news and updates…

  • CANADA SAYS NEW WAVES OF VIRUS COULD SWAMP HEALTHCARE SYSTEM, SEND DEATH TOLL SOARING

    Canada is planning for a “reasonable worst case scenario” in which new waves of the coronavirus would intermittently swamp the public health system and send the death toll soaring, officials said on Friday.

    Under the scenario, there would be a large peak later this year followed by a number of smaller peaks and valleys stretching to January 2022.

    Each peak would exceed the health system's capacity.

    The system has so far managed to deal with the outbreak but evidence shows that if it does suffer breakdowns, “the mortality goes up really really high”, chief public health officer Theresa Tam told a briefing.

    Tam declined to say what the chances were of the worst case scenario occurring.

    Several of Canada's 10 provinces have reported higher numbers of COVID-19 infections as the economy restarts and restrictions on social gathering are relaxed.

  • GERMANY DECLARES MOST OF SPAIN AS VIRUS RISK REGION

    Germany declared nearly all of Spain, including the tourist island of Mallorca, a coronavirus risk region following a spike in cases there.

    The move deals a blow to hopes for a swift revival of mass tourism after months of lockdown all but wiped out this year's high season in Europe.

    The Bild daily had reported earlier that Mallorca had been added to the list of high-risk regions published by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Germany's public health agency.

    The latest version of the RKI's list on its website said the whole of mainland Spain and the Balearic islands were risk regions.

    Designations as risk regions are typically followed by the German Foreign Ministry warning against tourist travel to those areas and mean people returning from there could face a coronavirus test or two weeks' compulsory quarantine.

    The German government considers regions within the European Union high-risk once the number of new coronavirus infections exceeds 50 cases per 100,000 people over the course of seven days.

  • FRANCE REPORTS YET ANOTHER NEW POST-LOCKDOWN PEAK IN DAILY COVID-19 CASES

    The French health ministry reported 2,846 new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours on Friday, setting a new post-lockdown daily high for the third day in a row and taking the country's cumulative total of cases to 212,211.

    The seven-day moving average of new infections, which averages out weekly data reporting irregularities, increased to 2,041, doubling over the last two weeks, and going beyond the 2,000 threshold for the first time since April 20.

  • EIGHT TOWNS AND CITIES ON BRINK OF LOCAL VIRUS LOCKDOWNS AS NEWARK AND SHERWOOD ADDED TO WATCHLIST

    These are the eight towns and cities facing local lockdowns like Manchester and Leicester.

    Newark and Sherwood in Notts was added to the government's 'watchlist' today, meaning residents could soon be restricted from seeing their families indoors.

    In Newark and Sherwood there are 26.3 Covid cases per 100,000 population – compared to 34 cases per 100,000 in Manchester and 56.3 per 100,000 in Leicester.

    The latest data from the Department of Health shows a continued rise in cases in Oldham and Pendle while numbers remain high in Blackburn with Darwen.

    A total of 89.7 cases per 100,000 population have been confirmed in Pendle to date, with 82.3 per 100,000 in Oldham and 82.3 per 100,000 in Blackburn with Darven.

    They are among 20 towns and cities in Greater Manchester, Lancashire, West Yorkshire and Leicestershire on the government's Covid hotlist – and where indoor gatherings are banned between different households.

    It is likely, that the rise in cases in these areas are partly due to an increase in testing.

    More on the story here.

  • SPREAD OF CORONAVIRUS IN SCHOOLS IS 'LOW', HEALTH BOSSES SAY

    Transmission of coronavirus in schools appears to be “low”, England’s health bosses have found.

    The findings are a massive boost for the government’s mission to get all pupils back to class in September.

    The Public Health England report trawled through studies of outbreaks of the bug in classrooms across Europe.

    It punctured a massive hole in the myth that kids could be super spreaders of the killer bug.

    It found: “Overall evidence consistently suggests that transmission of Covid-19 within school settings may be low, however this is based on a small number of studies and the evidence is considered to be weak.”

  • RULE-BREAKING LANDLORDS FACE CRACKDOWN OVER CUSTOMER DATA FAILINGS, SAY POLICE

    Rule-breaking pub landlords are facing a police crackdown for failing to properly record customers' details as concerns grow about a rising Covid infection rate in Birmingham.

    The latest data showed the second city had a rate of 23.6 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days to August 10 with the trend increasing, according to the NHS Digital progression dashboard.

    A climbing rate has caused “concern” among health chiefs, placing Birmingham behind only Sandwell, which to date has been the worst-hit local authority area in the West Midlands.

    But during a video-call with journalists on Friday, health bosses said the trend in Sandwell has been decreasing while Birmingham's is rising.

    The focus is now on getting that increase under control, particularly as “thousands of students” will be returning to universities next month, city council leader Ian Ward said.

    Clive Wright, a West Midlands regional convenor for the Department of Health and Social Care, said Birmingham's infection rate rise “right across the city” was down to multiple factors.

    He said: “It looks as though it's a combination of people socialising and not maintaining social distancing and perhaps hospitality settings or other gatherings of people and this may be the underlying problem.”

  • IRELAND – OUTBREAK IN MUSHROOM FACTORY

    A mushroom plant in Co Tipperary, Ireland has suspended operations after a number of workers tested positive for Covid-19.

    In a statement, Walsh's Mushrooms said: “Operations are being suspended after a member of staff was diagnosed with Covid-19 while in self-isolation. Subsequent testing of close contacts has resulted in further positive cases.

    “As a business we have stringent measures in place to control Covid-19 since March and we have had no incidence of Covid-19 up to this point.

    “We are working with the HSE and all relevant authorities assisting in contact tracing and testing of all staff. We will use the opportunity to deep clean the plant during the temporary closure. Essential maintenance will continue at the facility.

    “The safety, well-being and protection of our employees, their families and the local community is our number one priority.”

  • BRITAIN LINES UP MORE POTENTIAL COVID-19 VACCINE SUPPLIES WITH J&J, NOVAVAX DEALS

    The UK will buy potential COVID-19 vaccines from U.S. drugmakers Johnson & Johnson and Novavax Inc, the companies said on Friday, boosting the number of deals it has with drugmakers as the global vaccine race rages on.

    Britain and the United States are in the lead with six vaccine deals with drugmakers each, as companies and governments worldwide work overtime to find a vaccine against the pandemic disease.

    The latest agreements bring Britain's total number of doses secured to 340 million, with options for millions more, for a population of 66 million.

    Britain said both vaccines could be available by the middle of next year for priority groups, such as such as frontline health and social care workers, ethnic minorities, adults with serious diseases, and the elderly.

    The deals cover a wide range of vaccine types currently in development for COVID-19, as Britain seeks to hedge its bets should one or more of the technologies prove ineffective.

  • GOVERNMENT CONFIRMS 1,441 CASES IN 24-HOUR PERIOD

    The Government said in the 24-hour period up to 9am on Friday, there had been a further 1,441 lab-confirmed cases.

    Overall, a total of 316,367 cases have been confirmed.

    The daily figure for positive tests is the highest since June 14.

    The Government also said 41,358 people have died in the UK within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19, as of Friday.

    This up by 11 from the day before.

    Separate figures published by the UK's statistics agencies show there have been 56,800 deaths registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.

  • SCOTLAND – NEW POSITIVE CORONAVIRUS CASE IN CLUSTER LINKED TO ORKNEY FISHING VESSEL

    A new positive coronavirus case has been confirmed in the cluster linked to an Orkney fishing vessel, taking the total to six.

    The incident management team met on Friday afternoon to discuss progress with contact tracing taking place across NHS Highland, NHS Grampian and NHS Orkney.

    It comes after NHS Orkney chief executive Michael Dickson said on Thursday a number of people had developed symptoms and then travelled to their homes across Orkney and to mainland Scotland.

    He said at the time that the cluster involves a minimum of nine people.

    Louise Wilson, NHS Orkney director of public health, said: “We ask the Orkney community to continue following the physical distancing guidelines.

    “Anyone who develops symptoms should self-isolate and contact NHS Orkney for a test.

    “This is no time to be complacent but we can prevent the risk of the virus spreading further if we all follow the FACTS guidance.”

  • EU STRIKES COVID-19 VACCINE DEAL

    The European Union (EU) has struck a deal to buy at least 300million doses of AstraZeneca’s potential coronavirus vaccine.

    The European Commission said the deal included an option to purchase 100m additional doses from the drugmaker provided its vaccine proves to be safe and effective. 

    The exact terms of the deal have not been revealed.

    AstraZeneca said in a statement: “This new agreement will give all EU member states the option to access the vaccine in an equitable manner at no profit during the pandemic”. 

  • NEARLY HALF OF SCOTS WANT ENGLISH TOURISTS BANNED UNLESS THEY QUARANTINE

    Nearly half of Scots think English tourists should not be allowed to cross the border unless they go into quarantine due to coronavirus, according to a YouGov poll.

    The survey found 47 per cent of people in Scotland wanted visitors from England only to be allowed to enter the country if they undergo a period of self-isolation.

    More than half (54 per cent) of SNP voters surveyed said they did not want English tourists to be able cross the border freely, compared to 37 per cent of Scottish Labour voters, and 19 per cent of those who voted for the Conservatives at the 2019 election.

  • DAILY CORONAVIRUS CASES HIGHEST SINCE JUNE

    The Government said in the 24-hour period up to 9am on Friday, there had been a further 1,441 lab-confirmed cases.

    Overall, a total of 316,367 cases have been confirmed.

    The daily figure for positive tests is the highest since June 14.

    The Government also said 41,358 people have died in the UK within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19, as of Friday.

    This up by 11 from the day before.

    Separate figures published by the UK's statistics agencies show there have been 56,800 deaths registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.

    Read more here.

  • COVID-19 CASES RISE IN HALIFAX DESPITE NW LOCKDOWN

    Coronavirus infections have seen a rise in Halifax in Yorkshire – with some areas now reportedly recording higher rates of infection than hard-hit Leicester.

    It comes despite lockdown restrictions being reimposed in the town and across the North West of England in a bid to curb the spread of the bug.

    Yorkshire's Public Director of Health, Debs Harkins, claims that certain areas of the borough of Calderdale now have a higher case rate than parts of Leicester, which became the first region in England to be placed under a local lockdown following a spike in infections.

    Government data shows that the area of Pellon West & Highroad Well recorded 26 cases between August 3 and 9, with Pellon East seeing 30 new cases.

    In the same period in hard-hit Blackburn With Darwen, the areas with the highest number of cases were Lammack & Revidge and Audley with 17 new infections.

    Read more here.

  • UK'S CORONAVIRUS TRANSMISSION RATES 'MAY BE INCREASING'

    The growth rate of coronavirus transmission, which reflects how quickly the number of infections is changing day by day, has changed slightly across the UK since last week, with early indications the value may be increasing.

    Figures published on Friday by the Government Office for Science and the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) has shown the growth rate to be between minus 4% to minus 1, a slight change from between minus 5% to zero last week.

    Meanwhile, the reproduction number, referred to as R, for the UK as a whole remains unchanged at between 0.8 to 1.

    The R number represents the number of people each Covid-19 positive person goes on to infect.

    In England, the R is between 0.8 and 1, but Sage has indicated it is not confident that R is currently below one in the region.

    Regional R values also appear to be close to 1.

    The estimates for R and growth rate are provided by the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (SPI-M), a subgroup of Sage.

    It said: “We are starting to see early indications that these values may be increasing.

    “This is not yet reflected in these estimates because the data used to calculate R and growth rate reflect the situation from a few weeks ago.”

  • GERMANY TO DECLARE MOST OF SPAIN A 'CORONAVIRUS RISK REGION'

    Germany is poised to declare most of Spain a “coronavirus risk region,” following a spike in cases.

    The move deals a blow to hopes for a swift revival of mass tourism after months of lockdown to stop the spread of the virus all but wiped out this year's high season for tourism in Europe.

    Daily Bild had reported earlier that Mallorca had been added to the list of high-risk regions published by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Germany's public health agency.

    The sources told Reuters that all of Spain except for the Canary Islands would be included on RKI's next list of risk regions.

    Designations as risk regions are typically followed by the German Foreign Ministry warning against touristic travel to those areas and mean people returning from there face a coronavirus test or two weeks' compulsory quarantine.

    The Balearic islands, off Spain's northwestern coast, include holiday destinations like Ibiza, among the most popular destinations for north European sunseekers.

    The German government considers regions within the European Union high-risk once the number of new coronavirus infections exceeds 50 cases per 100,000 people over the course of seven days.

    Infections in Spain have spiked in recent days following the end of Spain's tough lockdown seven weeks ago.

    Friday's almost 3,000 new cases, little changed from Thursday but about double the average in the first 12 days of August, brought the cumulative total to 342,813 – the highest number in Western Europe.

    But the Balearic Islands have some of the lowest daily infections among the Spanish regions. After peaking at around 80 cases in July, they have come down to 9 as reported by the health ministry on Friday.

    Spanish authorities earlier on Friday ordered the closure of nightclubs, banned drinking in outdoor public areas and all but outlawed smoking to try to stem the virus resurgence.

  • JOHN LEWIS CONFIRMS CLOSURE OF EIGHT 'AT RISK' SITES

    Retailer John Lewis has confirmed all eight sites announced in July as being at-risk of closure, including the Birmingham and Watford department stores, would now never reopen.

    The company said the affected stores were “already financially challenged prior to the pandemic and a number of contributing factors, including the shift towards online shopping which Covid-19 has accelerated, meant these shops would not be commercially viable in the future”.

    The business said it would work with staff to find new roles where possible.

    In a statement, John Lewis said: “This is a very sad occasion and one we never thought was imaginable when we first opened these shops.

    “Our expectation was that we would trade in these locations for many years to come, but they were financially challenged before the pandemic and we have not been able to find a way that would allow us to turn that around.

    “We are grateful to those who have expressed their support since announcing the proposed closure last month, and for the incredible professionalism our partners have shown – they remain our absolute priority and will be fully supported over the coming weeks.”

  • COUPLE FORK OUT £1K TO BEAT UK'S QUARANTINE RESTRICTIONS

    A British couple have told how they had to fork out nearly £1,000 to return from France and beat the UK's new quarantine restrictions.

    Holidaymakers Stuart and Anna Buntine said they were forced to cut their break short from east-central France on Friday.

    Speaking outside St Pancras, Mr Buntine, 58, said: “We didn't get our notification until this morning, where we were staying in Burgundy there wasn't a lot of internet.

    “I went to bed last night thinking it was all OK, woke up at 7am to find we had to get back here pretty sharpish.

    “We couldn't get tickets, all the sites had crashed… we had to buy business class tickets back today so it's cost nearly £1,000.

    “It is what it is. It's a bit of a b****r but we can't do much about it can we?”

    Mrs Buntine added: “We left here with our eyes knowing that it was a possibility, so we decided we'd take that risk.”

    The couple have a farm in the Midlands and run a sports events company. They said they were originally due back on Monday but needed to return sooner due to a work event within the quarantine window.

  • JOHN LEWIS'S GRAND CENTRAL STORE IN BIRMINGHAM WILL NEVER REOPEN

    John Lewis's Grand Central department store in Birmingham, which had been closed since lockdown, will never reopen, according to West Midlands mayor Andy Street.

    Mr Street said in a weekly video call with journalists on Friday: “A sad piece of news that is to do with John Lewis in central Birmingham.

    “We were contacted yesterday by them and they have indeed confirmed to their staff that the proposal to close the central Birmingham shop has become a reality and it will not now reopen.”

    Mr Street said himself and other local leaders put forward “viable alternatives” to closing the store, but they were not accepted.

    A former managing director of John Lewis, Mr Street had been urging the chain to reverse what he called the “dreadful mistake” of closing its Grand Central branch, since the proposal was announced at the end of July.

  • UK'S R RATE REMAINS UNCHANGED

    The reproduction number, referred to as R, for the UK as a whole remains unchanged from last week and is between 0.8 and 1, latest figures show.

    Data published on Friday by the Government Office for Science and the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) has also revealed the growth rate of coronavirus transmission is between minus 4% and minus 1%, changing from between minus 5% and zero last week.

    The growth rate reflects how quickly the number of infections is changing day by day, as a way of keeping track of the virus.

    In England, the R is between 0.8 and 1, but Sage has indicated it is not confident that R is currently below one in the country.

    The R number represents the number of people each Covid-19 positive person goes on to infect.

  • GREATER MANCHESTER REMAINS 'CHALLENGING'

    The situation in Greater Manchester remains “challenging,” authorities have said after it was announced coronavirus restrictions in northern England would remain for another week.

    A spokesman for Greater Manchester Combined Authority said: “The Mayor of Greater Manchester and leaders once again agreed on Wednesday that increased restrictions should continue across the city-region for another week.

    “The situation in Greater Manchester remains challenging. It is clear that while the current restrictions appear to be having a positive effect in some places, we urgently need to bring the number of cases down in several boroughs.

    “Everyone in Greater Manchester must do all they can to reduce the number of cases. That means individuals, pubs, restaurants and supermarkets all taking this seriously and following all the regulations.

    “We will continue to work as one Greater Manchester system with a particular focus on providing support to Oldham as they strengthen further their intensive test and trace operation.”

  • RESTRICTIONS EASED SLIGHTLY FOR EXTREMELY VULNERABLE IN LEICESTER

    Leicester City Council has said people considered clinically extremely vulnerable and shielding until at least September 7 will receive a letter or text from the NHS stating that guidance will be slightly relaxed from Monday.

    People in this category in the city will be allowed to meet in a group of up to six people outdoors, that they do not need to observe social distancing with other members of their household and that a single adult household can form a support bubble with one other household.

  • COVID-19 MEASURES FOR NORTHERN ENGLAND REVIEWED NEXT WEEK

    The coronavirus restrictions currently in place in parts of northern England will be reviewed next week, the government has said.

    Health Minister Edward Argar said: “I'd like to thank everyone in Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, East Lancashire and Leicester for their continued patience in following these vital rules put in place to tackle the spread of the disease – I know it hasn't been easy.

    “We will review the measures again next week as part of our ongoing surveillance and monitoring of the latest data.

    “It is essential we all remain vigilant, and I urge everyone in these areas to continue to follow the rules – wash your hands regularly, follow social distancing, get yourself a free test as soon as you get any symptoms, and isolate if NHS Test and Trace tells you to.”

  • HAIRDRESSERS AND BARBERS ORDERED TO WEAR SURGICAL MASKS

    Hairdressers and barbers in England have been ordered to wear full surgical masks to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

    Anyone working in “close contact services” – which also includes nail and beauty salons – must wear a disposable 'Type 2' mask as well as a face visor from today.

    The only compulsory thing hairdressers have had to wear since they reopened on July 4 has been a face visor.

    This includes hairdressers and barbers, as well as nail and beauty salons, tattoo, tanning and massage parlours, and dress fitters and tailors.

    Each mask must be worn only once and then discarded safely, “ideally into a non-touch and self-closing bin”.

  • UK'S HOSPITAL CORONAVIRUS DEATH TOLL RISES BY NINE

    A further eight people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospital in England, bringing the total number of confirmed reported deaths in hospitals to 29,452, NHS England said on Friday.

    The patients were aged between 75 and 90 and all patients had known underlying health conditions.

    One other death was reported with no positive Covid-19 test result.

    Northern Ireland recorded one death while Wales and Scotland didn't record any deaths.

    Last Friday's overall hospital deaths was recorded as 17.

    Yesterday, 13 fatalities recorded in hospitals were in England, with none in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.

    The latest total number of daily deaths recorded brings the overall total to 41,347.

    However, Public Health England said it would not be release yesterday's new lab-confirmed cases due to 'technical difficulties'.

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