UK coronavirus live: Shapps insists office return is safe; lockdown to ease for two Lancashire boroughs | World news





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Around 28,200 people in England had coronavirus in the week to 20 August, according to the most recent Infection Survey from the Office of National Statistics.

This means around 1 in 1,900 individuals in the community had of Covid-19.

While separate figures published yesterday showed confirmed cases rose to their highest level since June, the incidence rate remained stable, according to the ONS.

This may be because the infection survey is an estimate based on statistical modelling of test results from. Swabs are not necessarily analysed in date order by the laboratory, meaning estimates are revised each week, and may not reflect recent changes.





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New emergency powers banning people from hosting or attending house parties of more than 15 people in Scotland have come into force, after warnings they risk Covid-19 outbreaks among younger people.

Iain Livingstone, the chief constable of Police Scotland, said from today police would have the powers to force entry to homes and make arrests “as a sanction of last resort” intended to keep people safe.

Under the current guidance, no more than eight people from at most three households are allowed to meet indoors.

Airbnb hosts, home owners and families have been blamed for allowing house parties and very large gatherings to take place in recent weeks, following the easing of lockdown. The police also have emergency powers to disperse large groups outdoors and make arrests if people repeatedly refuse to observe physical distancing, and restrictions on group sizes.

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The Scottish Police Federation, which represents junior officers and constables, told BBC Scotland on Friday it worried there were loopholes in the powers: it was hard for officers trying to break up a house party to know who legitimately lived in the property.

Speaking alongside Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister, at the Scottish government’s regular coronavirus briefing, Livingstone agreed the new powers presented challenges for the police. He said they were the 14th or 15th “iteration” of the police’s emergency powers.

But he supported their introduction:


[There is a] public health imperative to try to prevent the virus spreading. What has been clear is that indoor house parties have a high likelihood of transmission, [so] the introduction of the power of entry under certain conditions are clearly necessary for that public health imperative.

Sturgeon said a further 51 positive cases had come to light in the last 24 hours, with 10 of those in Tayside where an outbreak among workers at the 2 Sisters chicken processing plant has spread. She said three people were in intensive care, an increase of one, but there were no new deaths in confirmed cases.

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Lockdown rules to be lifted in Burnley and Hyndburn from next Wednesday

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Hospital trust in Kent faces enforcement action amid concerns over infection control

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Trafford could be released from lockdown restrictions, reports suggest

As those in northern areas of England affected by local lockdown measures await an announcement from the health and social care secretary, Matt Hancock, it has been reported that Trafford in Greater Manchester will be released from the restrictions.

According to Manchester Evening News, Labour has said the government will release the local authority from measures which include preventing people from meeting up with other households in private homes and gardens or at hospitality venues.

Yesterday Hancock and England’s chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, chaired a meeting of the Joint Biosecurity Centre to review the partial lockdowns.

Around 4 million people in Greater Manchester, east Lancashire and West Yorkshire have been affected by the restrictions since 31 July.

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics today show that the north-west of England had the highest Covid-19 mortality rate during the month of July, but that deaths across all regions had fallen since the previous month.

In the north-west, there were 2.8 coronavirus-related deaths per 100,000 of the population, down from 9.2 in June, when the region also had the highest death rate.

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