Coronavirus UK news LIVE – Paul Pogba tests positive, cases rise in 10 areas & restaurants extend Eat Out to Help Out

MAN UTD star Paul Pogba has tested positive for Covid-19.

The news was confirmed earlier today by France's international manager Didier Deschamps in a press conference.

Coronavirus infections have risen in 10 areas in England in the last week, new government data has revealed.

Oxford and Redditch were among the areas to see a surge in case numbers in the past seven days.

The Eat Out to Help Out scheme is due to end on Bank Holiday Monday August 31.

But some chains have chosen to continue to offer 50% off deals at their own cost.

This comes as 1,048 new positive cases and 16 deaths were recorded on Wednesday August 26.

The death toll now stands at 41,465.

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

  • STURGEON SAYS 'VIRUS DOESN'T CARE ABOUT THE SHAPE OF THE BALL' IN STADIUMS

    Nicola Sturgeon has said Covid-19 “doesn't care about the shape of the ball” when asked about rugby fans returning to a live stadium game before football supporters.

    Around 700 spectators will be allowed into Murrayfield as a trial event on Friday when Edinburgh host Glasgow Warriors.

    The First Minister was asked whether rugby supporters were receiving preferential treatment at the daily coronavirus briefing on Thursday.

    She denied this was the case, saying: I'll let you into a wee secret here, the virus doesn't care about the shape of the ball at these events.

    “What we are testing is how we can operate in a stadium with spectators and maintain with all the physical distancing and other hygiene rules.”

  • MANCHESTER LOCKDOWN RULES COULD BE EASED TODAY AS CASE NUMBERS DROP

    The Joint Biosecurity Council is meeting later today to decide whether measures can be relaxed after a month of having a ban on indoor gatherings.

    The number of cases in Manchester per 100,000 has fallen to 28.9 last week, compared to 36.3 the week before.

    That means they're almost back down to levels when the local lockdown was first brought in, where there were 28.6 cases per 100,000.

    Groups of six from up to two households are allowed to meet outdoors, and across the city people aren't supposed to meet up inside at all.

    But sources said restrictions could possibly be lifted later today.

    More on the story here.

  • MORE THAN 1 MILLION AMERICANS APPLIED FOR JOBLESS BENEFITS

    Just over 1 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, a sign that the coronavirus outbreak continues to threaten jobs even as the housing market, auto sales and other segments of the economy rebound from a springtime collapse.

    The Labor Department reported Thursday that the number of people seeking jobless aid last week dropped by 98,000 from 1.1 million the week before.

    The number of initial claims has exceeded 1 million every week but one since late March. Before the coronavirus pandemic, they never topped 700,000 in a week.

    More than 14.5 million are collecting traditional jobless benefits — up from 1.7 million a year ago — a sign that many American families are depending on unemployment checks to keep them afloat.

  • NEW YORK COULD GET GREEN LIGHT FOR HOLS

    Brits could be allowed to fly to New York without having to quarantine for 14 days when they return.

    Top-level talks between the UK and US governments are said to be currently under way -although they are thought to be at an early stage.

    Ministers are studying plans for regional air bridges.

    These would allow business travellers and holidaymakers to come to the UK from “low-risk” areas, such as New York City, within countries which are “red-listed” because their overall high coronavirus rates.

    Here's the story.

    Image: Alamy

  • POGBA TESTS POSITIVE

    Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba has tested positive for Covid-19, according to France manager Didier Deschamps.

    The 27-year-old was not in the France national team squad announced on Thursday for the upcoming Nations League double-header against Sweden and Croatia.

    Pogba was due to be called up but has been replaced by 17-year-old Rennes midfielder Eduardo Camavinga.

  • LOCKDOWN COULD BE EASED IN MANCHESTER

    Strict local lockdown laws in Manchester could be eased today after case numbers dropped.

    The Joint Biosecurity Council is meeting later today to decide whether measures can be relaxed after a month.

    The number of cases in Manchester per 100,000 has fallen to 28.9 last week, compared to 36.3 the week before.

    Image: Mark Waugh

  • SURGE IN ASSAULTS AGAINST EMERGENCY SERVICES WORKERS

    One of the country's most senior police officers has said he is “disgusted” at a surge in recorded assaults against emergency services workers in England and Wales.

    Martin Hewitt, chairman of the National Police Chiefs' Council, said constabularies would “use the full force of the law” to prosecute those accused of striking police officers, ambulance workers and fire crews.

    His comments came after latest figures showed the number of incidents in a four-week period rose by almost a third compared with the same period last year.

    Image: Alamy

  • OFF-ICE LIMITS

    Matt Hancock today said he doesn't mind if his civil servants work from home – more on that in the blog post below.

    And it's now been revealed that FIFTY of the UK's biggest employers say they have no plans to return all staff to offices full-time in the near future.

    The BBC surveyed the unnamed employers, which range from banks to retailers.

    Of those, some 24 firms said that they did not have any plans in place to get workers back in.

  • HANCOCK EXPOSES CABINET RIFT

    Matt Hancock has today said he doesn't mind that his civil servants are working from home – even though Boris Johnson has told Whitehall officials to return to their desks.

    The Health Secretary said he was concerned how his civil servants “perform” in their jobs rather than whether or not they return to the office – in direct contradiction to the PM's orders.

    Here's the story.

  • LESS THAN HALF OF BRADFORD CONTACTS ARE REACHED

    We've already blogged today about the test and trace system – and it's been revealed that just 43 per cent of contacts have been reached for positive cases in Bradford.

    That's the lowest proportion for any local authority area in England.

    Elsewhere:

    • 47 per cent of contacts Middlesbrough and Peterborough were reached
    • The figure was 48 per cent for Blackburn with Darwen
    • It was also 48 per cent for the City of London and Hackney
    • In Nottingham and Oldham the number is 49 per cent

    EUROPE WILL BE SPARED 'HORROR' SECOND WAVE

    A top coronavirus expert says he believes Europe will be spared the “horror” of a second wave – despite more outbreaks in the future.

    Dr Sergio Brusin, from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, said the “horrible scenes” and deaths witnessed by the first wave might not happen again.

    “I am optimistic we will not see the big horrible scenes we saw in March and April, but we will see a lot more cases,” he said.

    Image: PA

    SURGE IN CASES INVOLVING YOUNG PEOPLE

    Coronavirus cases in Oxford have surged recently – and many of the newly-diagnosed are young people.

    Oxfordshire's director of public health Ansaf Azhar has warned of a rise in case involving people aged between 18 and 30.

    Here's all you need to know.

    VIRUS CASES RISE IN 10 AREAS

    Coronavirus infections have risen in 10 areas in England in the last week, new government data has revealed.

    Oxford and Redditch were among the areas to see a surge in case numbers in the past seven days.

    TEST AND TRACE SYSTEM FAILS TO REACH 80% TARGET FOR NINTH WEEK IN A ROW

    Three-quarters of close contacts of people who tested positive for Covid-19 were reached through the NHS Test and Trace system, once again falling short of the Government's target, the latest figures show.

    Some 75.5% of close contacts in England were reached in the week ending August 19.

    While this is up from 71.6% in the previous week, it is the ninth week in a row where the Government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) target of isolating 80% of contacts of coronavirus cases within 48-72 hours has been missed.

    Ahead of this week's figures being published, Health Secretary Matt Hancock acknowledged the system was “not quite there”.

    He told LBC radio on Thursday: “One of the challenges is we want to get NHS Test and Trace up to over 80% of contacts, getting them to self-isolate – we're at just over 75%, so we're nearly there but not quite there.”

    The figures, published by the Department of Health and Social Care, show that 65,398 people who tested positive for Covid-19 in England have had their cases transferred to the NHS Test and Trace contact tracing system since its launch.

    ONLY 1 IN 5 STAFF IN UK CITIES BACK IN WORKPLACES, THINK-TANK SAYS

    Only 17% of workers in British cities had returned to their workplaces by early August, underscoring the challenge for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to steer the country away from its coronavirus shutdown, data published on Thursday showed.

    The Centre for Cities said the data, based on mobile phone signals, showed no increase in the footfall of workers going to city centres between late June and the week starting Aug. 3.

    Johnson last month encouraged people working from home to get back to their workplaces to help the economy recover from its 20% contraction in the April-June period, the biggest fall among big developed economies.

    “The costs of office closure are becoming clearer by the day,” Carolyn Fairbairn, director-general of the Confederation of British Industry, an employers group, said.

    “Some of our busiest city centres resemble ghost towns, missing the usual bustle of passing trade. This comes at a high price for local businesses, jobs and communities,” she wrote in an article for the Daily Mail newspaper.

    PEOPLE WHO TESTED POSITIVE IN ENGLAND HAVE HAD THEIR CASES TRANSFERRED TO NHS TEST AND TRACE

    A total of 65,398 people who tested positive for Covid-19 in England have had their cases transferred to the NHS Test and Trace contact tracing system since its launch.

    Of this total, 50,876 people (77.8%) were reached and asked to provide details of recent contacts while 12,851 (19.7%) were not reached.

    The figures cover the period May 28 to August 19.

    Since the launch of Test and Trace, 246,262 close contacts of people who have tested positive for Covid-19 have now been reached through the tracing system and asked to self-isolate.

    This is 80.6% out of a total of 305,725 people identified as close contacts.

    CERTAIN CRIMES RETURNING TO PRE-LOCKDOWN LEVELS – POLICE FORCE DATA

    Data form police forces in England and Wales indicate certain crime trends are returning towards pre-lockdown levels.

    Previous reporting showed a 28% reduction for the four weeks to April 12, a 25% fall for the four weeks to May 10, an 18% fall in the four weeks to June 7, and a 12% fall in recorded crime for the four week to July 5.

    The seven per cent fall in the latest bulletin continues the trend that recorded crime is getting closer to 2019 levels.

    FRENCH GOVERNMENT EXPECTS COVID-19 VACCINE FROM END OF 2020 OR EARLY 2021

    New coronavirus vaccines could be available from the end of 2020 or the beginning of 2021, a presentation by French Health Minister Olivier Veran suggested on Thursday.

    French Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Thursday the government must move fast to head off a deadly new COVID-19 wave as the virus's reproduction level has jumped, with infections surging in the Paris region and among young people.

    LIVERPOOL COUNCIL APPEALS TO ADULTS UNDER 40 TO FOLLOW SOCIAL DISTANCING AFTER RISE IN CASES

    Liverpool City Council has appealed to adults under 40 to follow social distancing guidelines following a rise in cases across the city.

    The authority said there had been a steady increase in the rolling weekly total over the last fortnight, with those aged 40 and under accounting for half of the cases.

    Director of public health Matt Ashton said: “It is really important that as schools start to reopen and more workplaces are getting back to normal, we all take responsibility and follow the guidance to limit the spread of cases as far as possible.”

    He urged people to stick to the two-metre social distancing rule, wear masks in confined spaces, wash their hands regularly and get tested if they had symptoms.

    CONTINUED

    “What I care about is how effectively people work and obviously people should come back to the office if that is what they need to do their job.

    “And also employers need to make sure the offices are Covid-secure, as we have obviously in the Department for Health, as you would fully expect us to.

    “But what I care about is that people perform and so the people I work with, some of them have been working from home, some come in sometimes, some are in full-time, and what matters to me is that they deliver and, frankly, they've been delivering at an unbelievable rate.

    “I mean, you know, there's sometimes this caricature that people who work in the Civil Service work a 9 to 5 day, it's just completely untrue in my experience.

    “And people are working incredibly hard because, ultimately, it's a mission-driven job and, in the middle of a pandemic, the whole department has stepped up to that mission.”

    MATT HANCOCK HAS 'NO IDEA' HOW MANY HEALTH DEPARTMENT STAFF ARE HOME-WORKING

    Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said he has “absolutely no idea” how many people in his department are currently working from home.

    It came after CBI director-general Carolyn Fairbairn urged the Government to lead firms in getting staff back to the workplace.

    Ms Fairbairn warned that commercial centres risk becoming permanent “ghost towns” and said that returning employees to offices is as important as getting pupils back to schools.

    In an interview on Times Radio, Mr Hancock was asked if he knew what percentage of staff in the Department for Health were working at home.

    “I have absolutely no idea,” he responded.

    INTERACTIVE MAP REVEALS IF CORONAVIRUS CASES ARE RISING IN YOUR AREA

    This interactive map reveals how many people have tested positive for coronavirus in your postcode area.

    People in England can use the Government tool to look up Covid-19 data for their local area.

    To visit the map website, click here.

    TOURISTS URGED TO PLAN VISITS AHEAD OF BANK HOLIDAY WEEKEND

    Two police forces are urging tourists to plan their visit ahead of the bank holiday weekend.

    Many thousands of holidaymakers are expected to visit the counties of Dorset, Devon and Cornwall over the three-day break.

    Police said they expect congested roads and increased demand on all emergency services.

    Devon and Cornwall Police said the latest figures for August show 999 call demand remaining at record levels with a 13% increase in calls compared with the same period in 2019 – averaging almost 1,000 per day and rising to 1,200 during busy days and weekends.

    FRENCH GOVERNMENT SAYS IT NEEDS TO INTERVENE IN ORDER TO CONTAIN COVID-19 SPREAD

    French Prime Minister Jean Castex said today the government needs to intervene to contain the new coronavirus outbreak spread as the virus was circulating widely among young people.

    Castex also told a news conference that Health Minister Olivier Veran will start holding weekly news briefings over the COVID-19 situation in the country.

    The government is hoping to avoid a new nationwide lockdown, but the country has been facing a resurgence of new COVID-19 infections since July, with an acceleration from mid-August.

    CHINA SAYS HALT OF CORONAVIRUS VACCINE PARTNERSHIP UNRELATED TO CANADA RELATIONS

    China said today that the end to a partnership on a coronavirus vaccine between Chinese firm CanSino Biologics and Canada is unrelated to diplomatic relations between the countries.

    The Chinese government supports Chinese companies cooperating with other countries according to law, foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a daily news briefing.

    Canada's National Research Council said on Wednesday that it had ended its partnership on a coronavirus vaccine with CanSino, saying the company lacked the authority to ship the vaccine at this time.

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