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Pubs shut in Liverpool as UK tightens virus control measures

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday ordered pubs in Liverpool to shut as part of a new strategy to tackle a surge in coronavirus cases, as staff at three field hospitals across the country were told to prepare for a wave of admissions.

The northwest English city is the first to be placed at “very high risk” under a new three-tiered system designed to bring order what has become a complex web of local restrictions.

Johnson, heavily criticised for his government’s response to the outbreak, said he did not want to impose a new nationwide lockdown.

But said he could not allow Covid-19 to “let rip” and risk the death toll — the highest in Europe at almost 43,000 — spiralling even higher.

“This is not how we want to live our lives,” the Conservative leader, who himself was hospitalised with coronavirus in April, told the House of Commons.

“But this is the narrow path we have to tread between the social and economic trauma of a full lockdown and the massive human and economic cost of an uncontained epidemic.”

Inter-household mixing will be banned indoors and in private gardens while pubs, bars, gyms, betting shops and casinos will close from Wednesday in Liverpool, which has a population of about 1.5 million.

Johnson said businesses forced to close would be supported under a new government programme to fund two-thirds of an employee’s monthly wages, as well as extra support for local contact tracing and enforcement.

Other areas of England will be classed either as “medium”, in which current nationwide rules limiting social gatherings to six will apply, or “high”, where different households are banned from mixing indoors.

Whole swathes of northern England already facing local restrictions will automatically enter the “high” risk tier.

Earlier, the state-run National Health Service (NHS) announced that three field hospitals across northern England, in Manchester, Sunderland and Harrogate, would be mobilised to accept new patients.

They are among a string of temporary hospitals, named after nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale, put up by the military in conference centres and stadia coronavirus as swept across the UK earlier this year.

Testing for hospital staff is also being stepped up in high-risk areas, as health officials warned infection rates were rising across the country and in all age ranges, not just the young.

Almost 14,000 new coronavirus cases were reported across the UK on Monday, with 50 further deaths. 

“The number of cases has quadrupled in the last three weeks. There are now more people in hospital with Covid than when we went into lockdown on March 23,” Johnson said.

– ‘Wholly disproportionate’ –

A UK-wide stay-at-home order was lifted in June but England, whose health policy is controlled by the UK government, and the devolved administrations in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have all since imposed new measures to stop the spread of the virus.

They include blanket restrictions on social gatherings, in addition to more localised measures. 

Pubs in England must shut at

Pubs to Shut in Central Scotland

These are the UK coronavirus stories you need to know about today.

Tougher Restrictions Announced for Scotland

Pubs and restaurants in central Scotland have been told to close for 16 days as the Scottish Government tries to contain growing numbers of COVID-19 cases.

The sharp rise in coronavirus cases in many parts of Scotland has also led to National 5 exams being cancelled in 2021 and replaced with teacher assessments and coursework.

New rules for the hospitality industry apply to licenced premises in the central belt, including Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Arran, Lothian, and Forth Valley.

In other areas of Scotland, licenced premises will be able to open but will only be able to serve alcohol outdoors up to the current curfew time of 10pm.

In addition, snooker and pool halls, indoor bowling alleys, casinos, and bingo halls will close in central Scotland.

People living in the five central health boards have also been asked not to travel outside their region unless they need to.

The new restrictions will come into force at 6pm this Friday and remain in place until 25 October.

In a statement to the Scottish Parliament, Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister, announced an extra £40 million to help businesses affected by the new measures.

Ms Sturgeon said that without the measures “there is a very real risk that the virus will run out of control by the end of this month”, but that with them in place “we hope to slow down its spread, and that will help us keep schools and businesses, including hospitality businesses, open over the winter”.

It was later announced that staging National 5 exams for teenagers in Scotland next year posed “too big a risk”.

Daily Data

In today’s daily data another 14,162 UK positive tests were reported and 70 deaths.

UK Daily Cases By Date Reported Source: DHSC

There are 3145 COVID-19 patients in hospital and 410 ventilator beds are in use.

Herd Immunity

Meanwhile, a body of experts have questioned the need for tough lockdown restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus.

A group of influential scientists called for a ‘herd immunity’ approach to the pandemic through a system of “focused protection”.

The so-called Great Barrington declaration said lockdown measures were wreaking “devastating effects on short and long-term public health” and should only be applied to the most vulnerable in the community.

It called for a “compassionate approach” to “allow those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally to build up immunity to the virus through natural infection, while better protecting those who are at highest risk”.

The authors, including Prof Sunetra Gupta, an epidemiologist at the University of Oxford, said those not in a vulnerable category “should immediately be allowed to resume life as normal” and that “arts, music, sport ,and other cultural activities should resume”.

By Wednesday evening the declaration had been endorsed by 3298 medical and public health scientists, and 5049 medical practitioners.

The declaration resulted from