ANOTHER 13,972 Brits have tested positive for coronavirus overnight and 50 more have lost their lives, as the Prime Minister warned cases have quadrupled in just three weeks.
Reports of infections are surging across the country – with a total of 617,688 people now having tested positive for the killer bug in Britain.
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And today, the PM said cases are surging – and more people are now in hospital than they were at the beginning of the national lockdown, back in March.
However, he's reaffirmed his commitment to avoiding another country-wide lockdown, which he says will deprive childlren of their education, damage the economy and "erode long-term ability to fund the NHS and crucial public services".
Today's stats show another 36 people have died with the virus in English hospitals. Patients were aged between 31 and 97, and all but two casualties – aged 81 and 93 – had known underlying health conditions.
In Scotland, 961 more people have tested positive, but there have been no new deaths, while in Wales, there have been 487 new positive tests, and four more have died.
Experts have reassured Brits that the number of new cases is likely to be significantly lower than it was during the first wave.
Earlier this year, the UK's top scientist Sir Patrick Vallance said it's believed there were 100,000 new cases a day during March and April – but the number couldn't be confirmed because of limited testing.
His comments came after new data revealed that the true scale of March’s coronavirus peak in Europe was ten times the current second wave.
It comes as:
- Manchester prepares to go into a 'tier two' lockdown
- Loud talkers have been warned they are spreading coronavirus
- Liverpool medics say hospitals are at 'critical' levels and routine ops are being cancelled
- The number of people hospitalised with Covid is higher now than it was in March
- Coronavirus can remain on bank notes and mobile phone screens for 28 days, scientists say
Boris Johnson will tonight give a national address on the new 'three-tier' lockdown system.
He confirmed this afternoon in the Commons that Liverpool will be the first area of England to go into the third tier of tough new measures.
But it's reported that Manchester could be spared the stricter restrictions and instead be placed in Tier 2.
Under the strict shutdowns, which could last for up to six months, pubs, bars and gyms will shut.
There will also be a ban on mixing households indoors or outdoors and travel in or out of the area will be limited.
Which areas are worst-hit by new three-tier lockdown?
Most areas of England will be in the lowest tier – ‘medium’.
- Liverpool will be placed under Tier 3 restrictions
- Nottinghamshire will be placed under Tier 2 restrictions
- West Cheshire will be under Teir 2
- The North East is believed to be going into Tier 2 restrictions
- Manchester is expected to be put into Tier 2
- Birmingham faces Tier 2 restrictions
- Leicester is also expected to be put on Tier 2
The PM said he did not want to "shutter our lives and our society" – but needed to prevent the virus from ripping through the country.
Liverpool recorded the second-highest infection rate in the country in the two weeks to October 4.
There were 4,593 confirmed cases, or 928.2 per 100,000 people.
The neighbouring council area of Knowsley was top, with 1,412 cases and an infection rate of 944.
Northern leaders have begged the PM not to shut pubs, saying "coronavirus restrictions are beginning to work".
Meanwhile, Nightingale Hospitals around the north are on standby – as doctors warn Brits are 'four weeks away' from virus levels seen at the peak of the pandemic in April.
And Government maps reveal coronavirus cases are now spreading from hotspots in the North to the rest of the country.
Yet the numbers of new cases fall far short of the doomsday prediction made by Sir Patrick Vallance and Prof Chris Whitty of 50,000 cases by mid-October.
The Government advisers made the bleak forecast during a press conference on September 22 – where they also warned there would be about 4,000 infections each day by tomorrow.
But the latest Department of Health figures released yesterday show the virus has fallen well short of their predictions with 12,872 positive tests.
Despite that, it was revealed last night that officials are still considering a short 'circuit-breaker' lockdown over the October half-term.
One senior minister told The Sun a so-called 'circuit breaker' national shutdown when kids aren't at school is "still on the table" – although this has been publicly denied.
Suspicions were heightened in Westminster when a Commons holiday was hastily scheduled to coincide with schools being off later this month.
A "circuit breaker" lockdown – which could be used if infection rates continue to rise over the next fortnight – would likely include bans on socialising with other households, and telling people not to use public transport unless it is essential.
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