Liverpool lockdown starts as Boris Johnson briefs nation

We will be bringing you the very latest coronavirus updates as new lockdown measures come into force in Liverpool and across Merseyside today as Prime Minister Boris Johnson was expected to outline tougher UK restrictions in the Commons before briefing the nation in a TV address tonight.

After chairing meetings of his Cabinet and the emergency COBRA committee, Mr Johnson will tell MPs – and the nation – what his plan is live in the House of Commons at around 12.30pm.

He will then give a televised address at 8pm tonight.

The new measures coming into force in Merseyside, Warrington, Halton and Lancashire (excluding Blackpool and Greater Manchester) today Tuesday, September 22 are:

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  • Residents must not socialise with other people outside of their own households or support bubble in private homes and gardens;
  • Hospitality for food and drink will be restricted to table service only; and
  • Late night operating hours will be restricted, with leisure and entertainment venues including restaurants, pubs, and cinemas, required to close between 10pm to 5am.

Boris Johnson is also set to make a Commons speech on Tuesday as the UK braces itself for a tightening of lockdown restrictions amid spiralling coronavirus cases.

He will update MPs on the situation on Tuesday after chairing meetings of the Government's Cobra emergency committee and his Cabinet.

The PM is also expected to set out a range of new enforcement measures.

It comes after the Government's chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance warned. the UK could be facing 50,000 new Covid-19 cases a day by mid-October, leading to 200 deaths a day a month later if the current rate of infection is not halted.

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Anger within hospitality sector

The fresh restrictions sparked anger from the hospitality sector, with Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, describing them as "another crushing blow" for many businesses.

"A hard close time is bad for business and bad for controlling the virus – we need to allow time for people to disperse over a longer period," she said.

"Table service has been widely adopted in some parts of the sector since reopening but it is not necessary across all businesses, such as coffee shops.

"It is hard to understand how these measures are the solution to fighting the disease when Government data shows that just 5% of infections out of the home are related to hospitality."

Michael Kill, chief executive of the Night-Time Industries Association, warned the measures could trigger "a surge of unregulated events and house parties which are the real hot-beds of infection, attended by frustrated young people denied access to safe and legitimate night-time hospitality venues".

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Pubs, bars and restaurant to be told to shut at 10pm across country

Pubs, bars and restaurants in England will be ordered to close by 10pm each night from Thursday under tough restrictions set to be announced by Boris Johnson in a bid to curb the rapid rise in coronavirus cases.

The Prime Minister will use an address to the nation on Tuesday evening to outline new measures to stop the spread of Covid-19, which will also restrict the hospitality sector to table service only.

Mr Johnson will emphasise the need for people to follow social-distancing guidance, wear face coverings and wash their hands regularly, and – according to reports – urge people to work from home where it does not hurt businesses.

According to The Daily Telegraph, other potential measures being considered include a further delay to trials of spectators returning to professional sport events and the closure of indoor concert venues.

On Tuesday morning, Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove said there was going to be a "shift in emphasis" on the Government's advice about working from home, telling Sky News: "If it is possible for people to work from home then we would encourage them to do so."

It comes after the Government's chief scientific and medical advisers painted a grim picture of how 200 or more people in the UK could die each day by mid-November if the current rate of infection is not halted.

Sir Patrick Vallance, speaking alongside Professor Chris Whitty on Monday, said the "vast majority of the population remain susceptible" to catching coronavirus and the current situation required swift action to bring the case numbers down.

The UK's four chief medical officers then recommended raising the Covid alert level from three to four – the second highest – indicating the "epidemic is in general circulation; transmission is high or rising exponentially".

Mr Johnson will chair meetings of Cabinet and the Cobra emergency committee – including the leaders of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – on Tuesday before a televised address at 8pm.

A Number 10 spokesperson said: "No-one underestimates the challenges the new measures will pose to many individuals and businesses.

"We know this won't be easy, but we must take further action to control the resurgence in cases of the virus and protect the NHS."

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Alert level

The UK coronavirus alert level has increased from Level 3 to Level 4 due to a significant surge in infections.

In June, the alert level went down to a Level 3 after cases plateaued but now they are on the rise, the UK stands at a Level 4 once again.

An update from the UK Chief Medical Officers on the UK alert level reads: “The Joint Biosecurity Centre has recommended that the COVID-19 alert level should move from Level 3 (A COVID-19 epidemic is in general circulation) to Level 4 (A COVID-19 epidemic is in general circulation; transmission is high or rising exponentially).

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“The CMOs for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have reviewed the evidence and recommend all four nations of the UK should move to Level 4.

“After a period of lower COVID cases and deaths, the number of cases are now rising rapidly and probably exponentially in significant parts of all four nations.

"If we are to avoid significant excess deaths and exceptional pressure in the NHS and other health services over the autumn and winter everyone has to follow the social distancing guidance, wear face coverings correctly and wash their hands regularly.

"We know this will be a concerning news for many people; please follow the rules, look after each other and together we will get through this.”

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Michael Gove says if possible people should work from home

Latest government advice as Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove says people are encouraged to work from home if they can.

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Liverpool lockdown measures begin TODAY

New lockdown restrictions for Merseyside have been confirmed.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced that from Tuesday, new measures will be placed on our entire region to try and combat the rapid rise in covid-19 infections.

In Merseyside, Warrington, Halton and Lancashire (excluding Blackpool and Greater Manchester), regulations will enforce the following restrictions from Tuesday 22 September :

  • Residents must not socialise with other people outside of their own households or support bubble in private homes and gardens;
  • Hospitality for food and drink will be restricted to table service only; and
  • Late night operating hours will be restricted, with leisure and entertainment venues including restaurants, pubs, and cinemas, required to close between 10pm to 5am.

Residents are also advised to adhere to the following guidance to further reduce rates of infection:

  • Only to use public transport for essential purposes, such as travelling to school or work
  • Avoid attending amateur and semi-professional sporting events as spectators.

These decisions have been made in close collaboration with local leaders, with many requesting restrictions to help prevent further increase.

Confirmed cases have rocketed across the region in recent weeks – with Liverpool, Knowsley and St Helens all passing the rate of 100 infections per 100,000 people threshold.

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Two announcements by the Prime Minister

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to make two public announcements today revealing what tough new measures he will put in place in a bid to flatten the second wave of coronavirus.

It has already been confirmed Mr Johnson will announce that all pubs and restaurants in England will have to close from 10pm each night.

The curfew will also be accompanied by a rule enforcing table service only – no queuing at the bar.

The rules will come into force on Thursday.

It is reported a number of other tough new measures for the country will be announced at the same time, with very similar rules coming into force in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

After chairing meetings of his Cabinet and the emergency COBRA committee, Mr Johnson will tell MPs – and the nation – what his plan is live in the House of Commons at around 12.30pm.

He will then give a televised address at 8pm tonight.

Mr Johnson will emphasise the need for people to follow social-distancing guidance, wear face coverings and wash their hands regularly, and – according to reports – urge people to work from home where it does not hurt businesses.

According to The Daily Telegraph, other potential measures being considered include a further delay to trials of spectators returning to professional sport events and the closure of indoor concert venues.

According to The Mirror fines for breacing lockdown rules could be enhanced and there could've new restrictions on the mingling of households.

The Government is also scrapping its campaign telling people to go back to work as working from home will be the preferred option.

It has been reported there could be an even tougher period of two weeks 'lockdown' dubbed a circuit breaker.

It comes after the Government's chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance warned. the UK could be facing 50,000 new Covid-19 cases a day by mid-October, leading to 200 deaths a day a month later if the current rate of infection is not halted.

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