Could Tees Valley and Tyneside AVOID Tier Three? Ministers pause talks over cash aid as anti-Covid measures show signs of working after PM sidelines Andy Burham to offer Manchester £60m and South Yorkshire AGREES a deal leaving 7million Brits in lockdown

  • Talks with Tees Valley and Tyneside over financial package have been halted amid hopes it will not be needed
  • It is understood that infection data suggests measures to halt the spread of coronavirus are working 
  • South Yorkshire is entering Tier Three lockdown from Saturday after £41million deal with the government 
  • Labour’s Sheffield mayor Dan Jarvis insisted the agreement with ministers was the ‘responsible’ thing to do
  • Boris Johnson yesterday announced Greater Manchester being unilaterally forced into tighten restrictions 
  • The move from midnight tonight came despite furious bust-up with the local Labour mayor Andy Burnham 
  • Mr Johnson had offered Mr Burnham £60m in extra business support but the mayor wanted at least £65m  

What is the row over Tier Three bailouts?  

The government has been engaged in brutal haggling with local leaders across swathes of England about the financial package linked to entering Tier Three restrictions.

The funding is on top of the government’s wider job support scheme for workers put on hold due to lockdown, and business grants. 

What did Liverpool City Region get? 

The government has said that ‘baseline’ funding for the top tier includes £8 per head of population to bolster local contact tracing and enforcement.

Liverpool received £14million on this strand of funding. And there was another £30million allocated to support businesses affected by the squeeze, around £20 per capita. 

Lancashire 

Lancashire was the second area into Tier Three lockdown. 

It will receive £12million for contact tracing and enforcement, as well as £30m in business support – broadly in line with the Liverpool settlement.

Greater Manchester  

The contact tracing and enforcement settlement came to £22million due to the higher population in the region.

The government initially offered around £55million in business support, roughly proportional to the other packages.

The final offer was £60million, £22 per head. But Andy Burnham originally asked for £90million and only came down to £65million. Ministers say the money is still ‘earmarked’ for the region, but ministers are trying to bypass Mr Burnham. 

South Yorkshire 

The contact tracing element agreed with Labour mayor Dan Jarvis was £11million.

There is also a £30million package of business support – £22 per head and roughly in line with the allocation for the other regions. 

Two major areas of North East England could avoid being placed into the highest lockdown tier, it emerged today, because efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus appear to be working.

Talks with Tees Valley and Tyneside over a financial package for a Tier Three shutdown have been halted, it is understood, amid hopes it will not be required. 

It came as Boris Johnson moved to sideline Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham today, insisting he would honour the £60million package of business support for the region he offered to the Labour mayor but go through borough leaders instead. 

The premier also jibed that he had a ‘great conversation’ with Sheffield City mayor Dan Jarvis, who today agreed a deal for the region to be escalated to Tier Three from Saturday. 

South Yorkshire has secured a £41million deal for contact tracing, enforcement and business support, and Mr Jarvis swiped at Mr Burnham by saying he had acted ‘responsibly’ in reaching an agreement. 

Alongside a ban on households mixing indoors, pubs and bars will have to shut from midnight on Saturday, as well as betting shops, casinos and soft plays.

However, gyms and leisure centres can stay open – with Liverpool also getting their rules eased after a protest at double standards between regions. 

And West Yorkshire leaders say they have been told it will not be escalated into Tier Three this week – although government sources insist discussions are still ongoing.

The Tees Valley and Tyneside are both currently in Tier Two. There were 314.1 cases per 100,000 people in Tees Valley for the week to October 16, up from 278.4 the previous week. But there were 276.1 cases per 100,000 people in the North East for the week to October 16, down from 316.6 the previous week.

The latest dramatic moves today mean 7.3million people will be under the top level of restrictions by the weekend.

The sum granted to South Yorks is in roughly in line with that handed to Merseyside and Lancashire, adjusting for population size.

But talks with Mr Burnham broke down yesterday after he demanded £65million for Greater Manchester, which would have been proportionally far more than accepted by other areas. He originally asked for £90million. 

Mr Johnson offered £60million, with government sources claiming the mayor’s ‘pride’ stopped him saying yes. 

In an apparent swipe at his Labour colleague today, Mr Jarvis said: ‘We all recognise the gravity of the situation and have taken the responsible route to ensure we save lives and livelihoods, and protect our NHS.’ 

In a round of interviews this morning, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick dismissed the idea that Mr Burnham learned news of the package during an explosive press conference last night. ‘He didn’t,’ he said, adding: ‘I phoned him and told him.’

Mr Jenrick also complained that the haggling with Mr Burnham had held up crucial action to protect the public. ‘We probably in honesty should have acted a few days ago but we hadn’t been able to reach an agreement with the mayor of Greater Manchester,’ he said.

In other coronavirus developments:

  • Nicola Sturgeon has said that ‘circuit breaker’ restrictions on hospitality in Scotland will be in place for a week longer than previously stated, until at least November 2;
  • Gyms in Liverpool are being allowed to reopen after anger that other regions in Tier Three had looser rules;
  • The crippling impact of coronavirus on the public finances was laid bare today after new figures showed the government borrowed more than £208billion over six months; 
  • Mr Jenrick said a ‘loophole’ permitting working lunches despite the ban on households mixing indoors in Tier Two and Three was ‘being closed’;
  • Sage scientists warn that children could become the ‘lost generation’ as pandemic policies take their toll on youngsters; 
  • The UK recorded another 21,331 coronavirus cases, a 23.8 per cent increase on last Tuesday, and 241 more deaths, compared to 143 on the same day last week; 
  • ONS figures show the number of people dying of Covid-19 in England and Wales rose for the fifth week in a row to 438 between October 3 and 9; 


A furious blame game erupted between Boris Johnson (right at PMQs) and Andy Burnham (left) after talks over a Tier Three lockdown bailout failed 


In an apparent swipe at his Labour colleague Andy Burnham today, Sheffield City Region mayor Dan Jarvis (right) said doing a deal with the government was the ‘responsible’ course of action. Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick (left) complained that the haggling with Mr Burnham had held up crucial action to protect the public

How the war of words between Burnham and No 10 unfolded 

October 14: The three-tier system is introduced in England. Andy Burnham instantly brands it ‘fundamentally flawed’ and threatens legal action if imposed by Government. 

October 15: Mr Burnham accuses the Government of treating the North with ‘contempt’ as a row erupts over proposed coronavirus lockdown restrictions in the area. 

October 16: Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab accuses Mr Burnham of trying to ‘hold the Government over a barrel’ by resisting tougher restrictions and urges him to ‘do the right thing by the people of Manchester’.

The Prime Minister urges leaders in Greater Manchester to ‘reconsider and engage constructively’ over Tier 3 restrictions but says he will intervene if an agreement cannot be reached. 

October 17: Mr Burnham said no meetings had taken place since Thursday morning and urged in a joint statement with council leaders that ‘we are ready to meet at any time’.

Downing Street on Saturday indicated a call had been scheduled for the following morning after a message was left with Mr Burnham.

October 18: Mr Burnham accused the Prime Minister of having engaged in an ‘exaggeration’ of the severity of Covid-19 in the region during a Downing Street press conference.  

October 19: Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick warned local leaders they had until midday the following day to strike a deal with Government. 

October 20: Figures in London and Manchester continued to talk even after the noon deadline for negotiations had passed. 

Mr Burnham civic leaders were prepared to reduce their bid for financial support from £90million to £65 million – a figure he described as the ‘bare minimum to prevent a winter of real hardship’. 

At a 5pm press conference no deal had been reached and the PM announced he would be unilaterally imposing Tier 3 on the region.

After more than a week of wrangling, Mr Johnson last night unilaterally shifted Greater Manchester to the highest level of curbs, saying Mr Burnham had rejected an offer of £60million business support, on top of £22million for contact tracing and enforcement.

Whitehall sources said an agreement of £55million was initially reached, but during a final telephone to rubber-stamp the arrangement Mr Burnham blindsided the Prime Minister with a demand for £65million.

The PM tried to compromise on £60million but a government source said: ‘Andy Burnham’s pride got in the way of a deal.’

Another source claimed the mayor had told the PM it was ‘important to him that he got more than Lancashire and Merseyside’, the other two areas already under Tier Three.

Last night six Conservative MPs in the region wrote to Mr Burnham asking to stand aside so other local leaders to broker a new deal with the government.

Chris Clarkson, Mark Logan, Christian Wakeford, James Grundy, Jame Daly and Mary Robinson all put their name to the note telling Mr Burnham he had ‘completely failed’. 

In a combative PMQs this afternoon, Sir Keir Starmer accused Mr Johnson of a ‘corrosive and miserly’ approach sparking ‘local battles’.

He told the Commons: ‘This is a Prime Minister who can pay £7,000 a day for consultants on track and trace, which isn’t working, can find £43 million for a garden bridge that was never built but he can’t find £5 million for the people of Greater Manchester…

‘On Friday, thousands of people in Greater Manchester – taxi drivers, pub and hospitality workers, people working in betting shops, the self-employed and freelancers will either be out of work or face significant pay cuts, that’s the reality on Friday in Greater Manchester.

‘But their rent and their mortgage won’t be lower, their food and their heating bills won’t be lower, and that could last for months. Why can’t the Prime Minister and the Chancellor understand this? Stop bargaining with people’s lives, stop dividing communities and provide the support that’s needed in Manchester.’

Mr Johnson said he was ‘very proud that this Government has already given Greater Manchester £1.1billion in support for business, £200million in extra un-ringfenced funding, £50million to tackle infections in care homes, £20million for test and trace, another £22million for local response that we announced yesterday’.

‘Yesterday the Mayor of Greater Manchester was offered a further £60 million which he turned down,’ the PM said.

‘So I can tell the House today that that cash will be distributed to the boroughs of Greater Manchester.’ 

Mr Jenrick has written to council leaders in Greater Manchester asking them ‘to come forward directly’ for money.

‘The purpose of that letter is to re state the offer of business support,’ the PM’s spokesman said. ‘And what it states is that the fund of £60m is for the businesses and people of Greater Manchester.’ 

Downing Street said the recipients of the letters ‘reflects the fact that it is the council leaders who will be distributing the money’.  

The Conservative leader of Bolton Council said he had spoken to Mr Jenrick and confirmed the council is willing to look at an individual deal over the Government’s offer.

Councillor David Greenhalgh said: ‘It is clear the amount on the table, which is what has been accepted in Liverpool, Lancashire and now South Yorkshire, and I am not prepared for Bolton businesses to miss out on this extra financial help.

‘This is not the time for posturing and politics. This is about getting the best deal available for Bolton business and those who work in the sectors worst affected.

‘I hope to have further discussions later today with Government officials and ministers, and progress as a matter of priority to enable a scheme to be worked up that targets those most affected.’

Sir Keir also demanded to know what the mechanism was for areas to leave Tier Two and Three restrictions.

And in a session with MPs on the health and science committees, Dr Clare Gardiner, director general of the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC), admitted there was no intention of having a ‘single hard threshold’ for imposing and withdrawing measures.

‘We’re trying to develop a set of soft trigger points, one of which is case rate and something in the region of 100 to 150 might be the most reasonable piece there,’ she said. 

‘Positivity, 7.5 per cent and above, is another area where we might want to start looking more deeply at what’s happening. 

Understanding rates of change, particularly in over-60s, so looking at the full suite of measures as soft indicators or triggers to then start a conversation about the potential necessity for further action, I think, is the way to think about it rather than hard thresholds and a mechanistic approach that says ‘if this, then that’ because the situation across the country is so nuanced.’

Dr Gardiner explained that the JBC also looks at the numbers of people in hospitals with coronavirus and how this compares to the capacity of local hospitals to cope, as well as outbreaks in care homes.

Death rates for hospitalised Covid-19 patients ‘now almost a QUARTER of peak’ 

Death rates for hospitalised Covid-19 patients are now almost a quarter of what they were during the peak of the pandemic, studies have shown.

Research conducted at one New York care facility revealed 25.6 per cent of hospital patients died in March. But in June, this rate plummeted to just 7.6 per cent.

The authors of the paper, due to be published next week, say generally it is younger and less frail people being admitted to hospital now. But other top scientists say that medical breakthroughs — such as the discovery of drugs that help treat critically-ill patients — have boosted survival rates.

In the UK, similar scientific studies have revealed that death rates in hospitalised coronavirus patients have fallen by at least two-thirds.

Experts at the University of Exeter Medical School showed deaths in hospitalised patients in England fell from 29 per cent to 10 per cent from March to May.

And The Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre has shown death rates among intensive care patients has more than halved from 39 per cent in the first wave, to 12 per cent now.

The reasons why fewer patients are dying include that doctors have learnt how the disease progresses and so can spot early signs of deterioration.

She said: ‘If one sets an arbitrary threshold of 150 cases per 100,000, and an area is currently at more than 500 per 100,000, it is very, very unlikely that they, in four weeks, will cross that lower threshold, which is why I think one should be looking at the relative stabilisation rate as opposed to setting specific thresholds.’

Regions in Tier Two and Three will remain under restrictions ‘as long as is necessary’, health minister Edward Argar said.

He told the Commons: ‘Areas in Tier 3 or in Tier 2 will remain in those areas as long as is necessary to protect the health of the local people and the NHS in that region.’

There were angry scenes in the Commons later as MPs traded blows over a Labour call for there to be a national structure for Tier Three financial support.  

Tory MP for Hazel Grove, William Wragg said he did not support the lockdown as the ‘medicine could be worse than the disease’.

‘Perversely, the closure of Covid-secure premises will make it more likely that people will meet in each other’s homes where we know it is a far higher rate of transmission taking place.

‘The isolation and loneliness people are feeling is palpable. Increasingly I speak with my distressed constituents who are not able to enjoy a reasonable quality of life.

‘Yes there are support bubbles, but many vulnerable people are living in fear, terrified of criminalising themselves inadvertently simply through usual interaction.

‘We want to be able to have our businesses to operate, to function, to provide livelihoods and jobs for others. We don’t want to come with a begging bowl.

‘However, if it is the case that we must close by law, it is only right that their local representatives should strive for every penny of support from the Government which has mandated their closure.’

Tory MP Chris Clarkson, who reresents Heywood and Middleton, said there were now 2.8million people in Greater Manchester ‘in desperate need of answers’.

He accused Mr Burnham of ‘doning his carefully confected outrage’ during his press conference on Tuesday.

Mr Clarkson said: ‘We should now let local leaders, with the support of Greater Manchester’s MPs, talk to the Government about how we will be supported over the next 28 days and beyond.

‘The people I represent are being asked to face the toughest restrictions of their lives and livelihoods since March. I am genuinely worried, I’m sure colleagues are too, about the future of the people and businesses in the communities we serve.

‘I’ve asked the Government to ensure that their efforts and redoubled and that any settlement with individual boroughs in Greater Manchester is conducted quickly.’

Angela Rayner ‘calls Tory MP scum’ in Commons 

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner was today accused of calling a Tory MP ‘scum’ after he claimed members of the opposition frontbench view coronavirus as a ‘good crisis’.

Speaking in the House of Commons the Conservative backbencher Chris Clarkson suggested senior Labour figures viewed the current outbreak as an opportunity to be exploited.

Ms Rayner, who was sat on the frontbench, then appeared to heckle Mr Clarkson who asked her: ‘Excuse me, did the honourable lady just call me scum?’

The exchange prompted an intervention from a furious Commons Deputy Speaker Dame Eleanor Laing who said she would not accept such comments in the chamber ‘under any circumstances’.

The clash between Ms Rayner and Mr Clarkson happened during an opposition day debate in the Commons this afternoon as MPs debated funding for areas facing additional coronavirus restrictions.

Labour is calling on the Government to publish ‘clear and fair national criteria for financial support for jobs and businesses’ in areas moved into Tier Three.

Mr Clarkson, the Tory MP for Heywood and Middleton, told Labour to ‘park the opportunism’ as he cited comments made by shadow education secretary Kate Green who previously said Covid-19 was a ‘good crisis’ for the party.

In his statement today, Mr Jarvis appeared to deliver a stern rebuke to Mr Burnham over turning down a deal.

‘We called on Government to offer a local lockdown lifeline for our local authorities and economy, and the new restrictions will be introduced alongside resources which mean we are better equipped to control the virus and limit some of the damage on jobs and businesses,’ he said.

‘While infection rates vary across South Yorkshire, collective action was the only practical choice to keep everyone in our region safe. If restrictions are effective, individual local authorities will be able to move to lower alert levels as soon as it is safe to do so, in consultation with fellow local leaders, myself and national government.’

At midnight on Thursday the region will be elevated to the very high coronavirus alert level, meaning pubs must shut unless they serve meals, along with betting shops, casinos, bingo halls, gaming centres and soft play areas.  

The Tier Three measures imposed on the region’s 2.8million people could lead to the closure of an estimated 1,800 pubs and 140 wine bars as well as 277 betting shops and 12 casinos.  

The region will receive a standard £22million to bolster test and trace infrastructure, but it is feared vulnerable businesses will struggle to stay afloat without urgent support.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock last night said the Government’s £60million offer is still on the table, while Mr Jenrick said this morning that the money had been ‘earmarked’ for Greater Manchester. 

The Prime Minister said he had been left with no choice but to impose the closure of pubs, bars and restaurants as well as banning households from mixing indoors and in most outdoor settings after the Government was unable to reach a deal with local leaders in Manchester.

Mr Johnson said he appreciated the rules are ‘tough, both on businesses and individuals’ but that the move to the Very High alert level is needed in order to combat a surge in coronavirus cases in the region.   

He added he regretted the fact the Government had been unable to strike a deal with Mr Burnham because ‘we would have a better chance of defeating the virus if we work together’. 

Mr Johnson said ‘unfortunately’ Mr Burnham opted not to accept the deal as he added: ‘Given the public health situation, I must now proceed with moving Greater Manchester, as I say, to the Very High alert level because not to act would put Manchester’s NHS, and the lives of many of Manchester’s residents, at risk.’  

Mr Johnson’s comments came after Mr Burnham effectively declared class war on the Prime Minister for dooming Greater Manchester to lockdown ‘poverty’ by refusing to hand over a ‘bare minimum’ £65million bailout.

Government borrows an eye watering £208bn in just six months of coronavirus crisis 

The crippling impact of coronavirus on the public finances was laid bare today after new figures showed the government borrowed more than £208billion over six months.

Another £36.1billion was borrowed in September – the third-highest month on record and compared to just £7billion a year ago – as tax revenues slumped and the Treasury poured out bailout money.

It means that since April £208.5billion has been added to the UK’s debt pile – nearly four times as much as in the whole of last year. 

National debt hit £2.06trillion at the end of last month, equivalent to 103.5 per cent of the size of the whole economy. The ratio has not been worse since 1960, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The eye-watering figures will raise fresh concerns about a grim reckoning of tax rises and austerity when the government has to borrow the books.

At his own press conference earlier, the mayor launched a furious tirade at the Government for imposing the harshest level of curbs without ‘proper support’, saying he had asked for what the region ‘needed’.

Painting himself as the champion of the northern working class, Mr Burnham said: ‘It wasn’t about what we wanted, it was about what we needed… what we have seen today is a deliberate act of levelling down.’     

Despite slamming ‘penny pinching’ ministers, Mr Burnham told people in Greater Manchester to ‘observe the law at all times’. 

He added: ‘At no point today were we offered enough to protect the poorest people in our communities through the punishing reality of the winter to come.

‘Even now, I am still willing to do a deal but it cannot be on the terms that the Government offered today.’

Mr Burnham had taken aim at ‘selective’ figures highlighted by Downing Street that suggested Greater Manchester hospitals could be overwhelmed within weeks unless tougher action is taken. He insisted intensive care bed occupancy was about normal for this time of year, at 80 per cent. 

Mr Johnson told the press conference that he hoped leaders in Greater Manchester will now work with the Government to ensure the new restrictions are rolled out.

He also said the Government remained in negotiations with local authorities in a number of other areas about moving to 3. 

‘Despite the failure to reach an agreement, I hope the Mayor and council leaders in Greater Manchester will now work with us to implement these measures,’ he said. 

‘Ultimately all of us want to protect the NHS, and in doing so to save lives.’  

Police have urged pubs and restaurants to snoop on customers to ensure they stick to lockdown rules, the Mail can reveal today.

Scotland Yard has been writing to struggling traders in London to say they should ask for names, addresses and even photo ID.

Officers said the procedures would stop households mixing – in keeping with Tier Two curbs introduced last weekend.

However business chiefs said this placed ‘completely unacceptable’ demands on staff and would cost venues bookings if customers could not prove they were following the Covid-19 restrictions.

The Night Time Industries Association has taken legal advice over the ‘unlawful and misleading advice’.

Police forces around the country are checking on Facebook and other social media sites to see whether landlords are letting customers flout social distancing rules. 

The row came as Boris Johnson faced a revolt after ordering Greater Manchester into the toughest level of lockdown restrictions.

As the row split along party lines again, Greater Manchester’s Labour MPs lined up to blast Mr Johnson for the failed talks.

Labour’s Manchester Central MP Lucy Powell said it was ‘utter spite’ and ‘the idea of ‘all in this together’ has been totally shattered this week’.

Wigan MP and shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy said: ‘This is bad faith, it’s immoral – just disgraceful.’

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the collapse of talks between Greater Manchester and Westminster was ‘a sign of Government failure’.

‘The Conservatives have been treating local communities, particularly in the Midlands, North West and North East, and their leaders with contempt.

‘Labour recognise the need for stricter public health restrictions. However, that must be accompanied by extra financial support.

‘Labour will continue to support Andy Burnham in the fight for people’s jobs, lives and livelihoods.’ 

William Wragg, Tory MP for Hazel Grove in Greater Manchester, said on Twitter: ‘The sense of failure is overwhelming…

‘Leadership is required from everybody. Trust is placed in us all and that is the privilege of public office.’ 

Official figures have shown that coronavirus infections are now falling in some of England’s biggest cities including Manchester, despite Mr Hancock’s threats to plunge many of them into Tier 3. 

In Nottingham the rolling weekly rate of cases peaked at 1,001.2 per 100,000 people for the seven days to October 8 – the highest in England – but since then the number has been falling, currently standing at 787.6.

Manchester’s current rate is 432.5, after peaking at 583.5 in the seven days to October 3, while in Sheffield it’s 396.7, down from a high of 500.3 in the week ending October 7. The rate in Newcastle stands at 371.5, down from 553.8 in the same period. 

Although some of the country’s major cities are seeing infections tumble, the towns and boroughs around them are starting to see the steep increases, which may explain the Government’s keenness to lockdown in more areas.   

Manchester city is the only area in Greater Manchester seeing daily infections drop, but outbreaks in Trafford, Stockport and Oldham have also stabilised, Public Health England figures. And the rate at which cases are rising in the other nine boroughs has began to decelerate. 

Nicola Sturgeon EXTENDS Scotland’s circuit breaker by a week 

Nicola Sturgeon today announced pub and restaurant closures across the central belt will be extended by a week to November 2 after Scotland recorded its highest number of coronavirus deaths since May.

The First Minister imposed the closure of hospitality venues in Covid-19 hotspots as well as a 6pm indoor hospitality curfew in other areas earlier this month.

The rules were originally due to last for two weeks and end on October 26 but Ms Sturgeon said this lunchtime that the measures will have to be kept in place for longer.

She said extending the shutdown to November 2 would allow for a ‘smooth’ transition to a new tiered system of restrictions, scheduled to come into effect on the same date.

The original introduction of the measures prompted hospitality chiefs to warn of a ‘death sentence’ for hundreds of Scottish venues.

Ms Sturgeon made clear she believed the extension of the measures was necessary after Scotland recorded a further 28 Covid-19 deaths and an additional 1,739 cases – the highest number of fatalities since May 21.

For example, Bury was reporting an average 108 cases per day by October 12, up from 97 daily cases the week prior, an increase of 11 per cent. This is down significantly from the rise between September 28 and October 5, when daily cases jumped 33 per cent from 73 to 97.

A similar trend has played out in the other boroughs. In Wigan, the rolling seven day average number of daily cases is 205 – which is up nine per cent compared the seven days prior. For comparison, this figure almost doubled from September 28, when it was 99.3, to October 5’s 188.

Rochdale’s is currently recording 149 cases per day, up by 16 per cent the week before, when it was 128. The week-on-week rise then was much smaller than the increase between September 28 and October 5, when daily cases jumped 59 per cent from 86 to 128. 

Meanwhile, restrictions in other parts of the UK are continuing to diverge.

Nicola Sturgeon today announced pub and restaurant closures across the central belt will be extended by a week to November 2 after Scotland recorded its highest number of coronavirus deaths since May.

The First Minister imposed the closure of hospitality venues in Covid-19 hotspots as well as a 6pm indoor hospitality curfew in other areas earlier this month.

The rules were originally due to last for two weeks and end on October 26 but Ms Sturgeon said this lunchtime that the measures will have to be kept in place for longer.

She said extending the shutdown to November 2 would allow for a ‘smooth’ transition to a new tiered system of restrictions, scheduled to come into effect on the same date.

The original introduction of the measures prompted hospitality chiefs to warn of a ‘death sentence’ for hundreds of Scottish venues.

Ms Sturgeon made clear she believed the extension of the measures was necessary after Scotland recorded a further 28 Covid-19 deaths and an additional 1,739 cases – the highest number of fatalities since May 21.

Meanwhile, Wales’s health minister Vaughan Gething has said there is ‘a very real risk’ that the country’s health service would be overwhelmed without the ‘firebrea’ restrictions being imposed there.

Scientific experts in Wales have calculated that the number of Covid-19 infections is growing by 4% each day in Wales, with an estimated 2,500 daily infections.

Mr Gething told a press conference there were 894 people in hospital with coronavirus, up 26 per cent from last week.

‘This is the highest that is has been since June this year,’ Mr Gething said.

There are 43 people in critical care with Covid-19, which is 72 per cent higher than last week and amounting to one in four critical care beds across Wales.

The daily number of coronavirus cases, counted by the date specimens were taken, has eased in key cities over recent days 

Official data shows the rolling seven day average of coronavirus cases in Greater Manchester has been falling in recent days

The graph on the left shows how many Covid-19 deaths (blue dots) have been recorded across Manchester’s NHS trusts every day since the pandemic began. The three dotted lines are projections based on previous modelling from health bosses, leaked to The Guardian, which show how deaths could have sped up under different scenarios. The newspaper did not reveal what the different lines stood for but it is likely the steepest would have shown how quickly deaths would have spiralled under the worst-case scenario. The graph on the right shows the same but for how many infected patients were in intensive care. Red dots show the actual number of coronavirus patients receiving mechanical ventilation on any given day, while the three dotted lines show projections for how the numbers could grow under different growth speeds

Britain recorded 18,804 Covid-19 cases and 80 deaths yesterday as infections and fatalities rise

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