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2020-09-17T11:03:04.626Z

But Rees-Mogg defends the testing system:

Rees-Mogg: Stop carping about virus tests… it’s a phenomenal success

Jacob Rees-Mogg has told people to start celebrating the number of coronavirus tests available in the UK rather than “endlessly carping” about the system.

The Leader of the Commons, who himself was self-isolating last week while awaiting a test, said Labour MPs should stop complaining about the difficulties of getting one.

2020-09-17T11:01:53.003Z

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said restrictions will be put in place in the North East from Friday.

Speaking in the Commons, he said: “From tomorrow, in Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Newcastle upon Tyne, Gateshead, Sunderland and County Durham, residents should not socialise with other people outside their own households or support bubble.

“Hospitality for food and drink will be restricted to table service only and late night restrictions on operating hours will be introduced so leisure and entertainment venues must close between 10pm and 5am.”

2020-09-17T11:00:40.863Z

Just 1.9% of people in England who used a home test kit for Covid-19 received their result within 24 hours in the week to September 9.

This is the lowest percentage since Test and Trace was launched at the end of May.

Some 9.3% of people received the result of a home test within 48 hours, the lowest percentage since the week to June 10, when the figure stood at 9.1%.

2020-09-17T11:00:30.653Z

BREAKING: 

Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed local lockdown restrictions will be introduced in Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Gateshead, Sunderland and County Durham following “concerning rates of infection”.

2020-09-17T10:45:49.516Z

BREAKING: 

The proportion of in-person test results returned within 24 hours in the week to September 9 – 33.3% – was the lowest since the week to June 17, when the figure stood at 31.3%.

2020-09-17T10:32:41.963Z

Pilot John Romain with the “Thank You NHS” Spitfire at Cumbernauld Airport as he carries out final preparations ahead of flying over Scottish hospitals to raise money for NHS Charities Together. 

(PA)

2020-09-17T10:30:07.896Z

Some 33.3% of people who were tested for Covid-19 in England in the week ending September 9 at a regional site, local site or mobile testing unit – a so-called “in-person” test – received their result within 24 hours.

This is down from 66.5% in the previous week.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson had pledged that, by the end of June, the results of all in-person tests would be back within 24 hours.

He told the House of Commons on June 3 he would get “all tests turned around within 24 hours by the end of June, except for difficulties with postal tests or insuperable problems like that”.

2020-09-17T10:29:34.700Z

BREAKING: A total of 18,371 new people tested positive for Covid-19 in England in the week to September 9, according to the latest Test and Trace figures.

This is an increase of 75 per cent in positive cases on the previous week, and is the highest weekly number since Test and Trace was launched at the end of May.

Since the launch of Test and Trace, 339,438 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 78.1% out of a total of 434,612 people identified as close contacts.

The remaining 95,174 people (21.9%) were identified as close contacts, but were not reached.

2020-09-17T10:18:23.980Z

Here’s the difference from around the world: 

Global Covid cases rise above 30m as India becomes latest epicentre

The number of coronavirus infections rose above 30 million today as cases of the disease continue to increase sharply around the world.

The global caseload jumped by about 300,000 to reach 30,043,000 by 9am, according to the tracking website worldometer.info, passing yet another grim milestone in the pandemic.

2020-09-17T10:16:55.370Z

Shadow Commons leader Valerie Vaz questioned why the Government’s head of the coronavirus “Test and Trace” programme, Dido Harding, has not spoken in public since August.

Ms Vaz said: “Now I know that there is a health statement later, but where is the chair of the Test and Trace programme? She’s made no statement since 19 August.

She added: “So the number of tests returned within 24 hours has fallen from 68% to 8% – it seems to be all talk, talk and no test, test.”

Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg replied: “We all have an obligation to try and stop the dangerous disease spreading, but the issue of testing is one where we have gone from a disease that nobody knew about a few months ago to one where nearly a quarter of a million people a day can be tested.

“And the Prime Minister is expecting that to go up to half a million people a day by the end of October.

“And instead of this endless carping, saying it is difficult to get them, we should actually celebrate the phenomenal success of the British nation in getting up to a quarter of a million tests of a disease that nobody knew about until earlier in the year.”

2020-09-17T10:16:42.833Z

Donald Trump undermines his own health expert’s forecast. 

‘It’ll be ready in weeks’: Trump rejects own expert’s vaccine timeline

Donald Trump has insisted that a vaccine will be ready “in weeks” despite his own health expert’s prediction that it won’t be ready for the public until the middle of next year.

Dr Robert Redfield, director of the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said that key workers and those at high risk may get a vaccine in January but it was unlikely to be available to the public before late spring or early summer 2021. 

2020-09-17T10:14:03.566Z

Latest test and trace figures in…

Some 73.9% of close contacts of people who tested positive for Covid-19 in England were reached through the Test and Trace system in the week ending September 9, according to new figures from the Department of Health and Social Care.

This is up from 69.5% in the previous week, but below the 77.2% reached in the week to August 19.

For cases handled by local health protection teams, 98.9% of contacts were reached and asked to self-isolate in the week to September 9.

For cases handled either online or by call centres, 63.7% of close contacts were reached and asked to self-isolate.

2020-09-17T10:13:29.933Z

Read about how clubs are being hit: 

Night-time industry ‘set to lose 700,000 jobs without further support’

The night-time economy is “on the brink of collapse” with more than 700,000 jobs at risk — and the end of the furlough scheme could be “the final blow”, an industry body has warned.

A survey of Night-Time Industries Association (NTIA) members found 71 per cent of businesses are set to make “more than half” of their workforce redundant “in a matter of weeks”.

The Job Retention Scheme, which has seen the Government pay 80 per cent of wages for more than 10 million furloughed employees during the Covid-19 pandemic, is set to end on October 31.

2020-09-17T10:11:29.866Z

Labour MPs representing north-east England seats called for further information from Matt Hancock on the measures being taken.

They requested “urgent clarification on a number of key issues” around interventions being planned in Sunderland, South Tyneside, Gateshead, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, North Tyneside, Northumberland and County Durham.

The letter, signed by 15 Labour MPs, asked whether household-level information and contact tracing data will be available to local authorities and what extra testing capacity would be put in to the region.

“We agree that restrictions must be put in place in order to protect public health, and prevent the further spread of Covid-19, and we support measures taken in order to save lives,” the MPs said.

“We do, however, believe that this must be done in close collaboration with local authorities, who must have access to all appropriate information, data and support in order to make the best decisions for their areas.”

The letter was sent by Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott and signed by colleagues including shadow chief secretary to the Treasury Bridget Phillipson and shadow science minister Chi Onwurah.

2020-09-17T09:45:43.060Z

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has written to Health Secretary Matt Hancock calling for action on the coronavirus testing “chaos and confusion”.

The Labour mayor told London Assembly Members: “This is a critical moment in the fight against Covid-19. Many Londoners are being told there are no testing sites available in London.

“The delays are preventing frontline workers from being able to do their jobs, and children are being kept away from their classrooms unnecessarily.

“This failure is putting lives and livelihoods in jeopardy. We’ve known for months now that come the autumn demand for testing would increase. This crunch point should have been foreseen, and then avoided.

“And unless the Government massively ramps up testing capacity in London we’ll be back to where we started: trying to halt the spread of the virus in the dark.

“Nothing is more important than a fully functioning test, trace and isolate system if we are to prevent a devastating second wave, and time is fast running out. “

2020-09-17T09:45:20.186Z

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has sought to reassure the public that buses and trains are safe to use during the pandemic.

He told the Commons: “The number of passengers now returning was just 42% last week and I think it’s incumbent on all of us to demonstrate that the railways are safe, to take the railways from time to time which I’m sure members across the House do and to reassure people of the safety and efficacy of the use of the railways and all other public transport systems.”

2020-09-17T09:38:35.383Z

Read the full story here:

2020-09-17T09:34:51.463Z

Labour MP Feryal Clark (Enfield) pressed ministers to confirm that additional emergency support for Transport for London will not be left until the “11th hour”.

She told the Commons: “Private train operating companies were told on March 23, right as lockdown began, that the Government would take on all their revenue and cost risk and support them through the pandemic.

“By contrast, Transport for London (TfL) was not granted its emergency funding deal until May 14. Can (Transport minister Andrew Stephenson) explain why that is and reassure Londoners that the additional emergency support TfL needs will be confirmed as a matter of urgency, rather than being left until the 11th hour like the last time?”

Mr Stephenson responded: “In May the Government agreed a £1.6 billion funding package, but let us be clear that Transport for London’s finances were in trouble well before Covid-19 with Transport for London with a projected deficit of £220 million last year, £422 million the year before.

“Many of the financial problems can be directly traced to poor decision-making by the current mayor of London (Sadiq Khan).”