Ban on social mixing could be reimposed, suggests minister

The Government is considering further restrictions if coronavirus infections continued to rise, a minister has suggested, saying the country faces “a choice” about what happens next. 

Asked about reports this morning that further national restrictions are looming Helen Whately, the care minister, pointed to existing restrictions on household mixing in the North East as a possible next step. 

It is thought that the rest of the North and London, where rates have been rising and last week was placed on the at-risk list, could be next to come under more draconian restrictions, including shutting all hospitality and banning household mixing. 

“We don’t want to bring in more restrictions but of course we keep a constant eye on what’s going with the Covid rates and we have seen these upward trends in recent weeks,” Ms Whately told Sky News.

“This is the moment in time we have an opportunity, we have a choice as a country to get this back down under control.

“We have to break these chains of transmission. That’s the way we get the rates back down again. We have seen them going up again in the last two weeks.”

Read the latest updates below.

11:42 AM

Victoria Lambert: University students should be treated like the paying customers they are, rather than criminals

Seeing university students quarantined in halls – just days after arriving, for some the first time they’ve left home – is grim. There will be those able to treat this as a great adventure but many others will be feeling isolated, anxious and home-sick, a rough start to their three-year journey into independence. 

For those claiming it’s good character building stuff, perhaps bear in mind that many 18-year-olds are not allowed out by security even to get food; online delivery slots are full and in some halls the laundrettes are closed. 

As Victoria Lambert argues, it is no wonder students and parents are united in one thought: what the hell are we paying for?

11:35 AM

Have your say on: the hospitality curfew

Images emerged this weekend of spontaneous street parties forming after people were kicked out of pubs early because of the the new 10pm curfew. 

Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, said it needed to be urgently reviewed, claiming it caused “more harm than good”, while evidence suggests hospitality accounts for just a tiny minority of the overall transmission. 

But without a curfew on hospitality, it makes it more likely that other restrictions – such as a a full ban on hospitality and a ban on household mixing – could be imposed. 

So should the curfew stay, with some tweaks? Should the Government go further and shut hospitality as well as banning socialising? Or should they scrap the whole thing and ban household transmission while letting people still go out for food and drinks? Have your say in the poll below. 

11:15 AM

In pictures: Boris Johnson plays cricket in Ruislip school

Rain did not halt play as Boris Johnson enjoyed a game of cricket during a visit to Ruislip High School in his local constituency of Uxbridge, west London.

Boris Johnson - PA
Boris Johnson – PA
Boris Johnson - PA
Boris Johnson – PA
Boris Johnson - PA
Boris Johnson – PA

11:05 AM

Higher education watchdog will ‘look very closely’ at quality of university education

The higher education watchdgo will be “looking very closely” at the quality of education being provided by institutions, amid growing calls for universities to refund students who are forced to live under draconian coronavirus restrictions. 

Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of the Office for Students (OfS), told Radio 4’s Today programme that institutions must be clear with students on what teaching conditions they can expect and if this changed.

“What we can’t have is a situation where students don’t know what’s going on, that they’re locked in their halls of accommodation, and can’t get hold of food,” she said.

She said students had “legal rights as consumers” and could raise complaints with their university and the Office of the Independent Adjudicator.

Asked if students should receive a refund of tuition fees she said it was “a question for government”.

10:54 AM

‘Still potential’ for Brexit deal, says Taoiseach – as he warns he is ‘not that optimistic’

Micheal Martin has told the Liberal Democrats’ conference that he was “not that optimistic” of a future free trade agreement being reached between the UK and the EU.

He said the Irish Government was preparing its latest Budget on the basis of a no-deal Brexit.

“That’s the basis upon which we’re preparing our Budget and we’re warning and alerting businesses to that terrible reality.”

But the Taoiseach said he believed there was “still potential” for a deal to be struck.

“A deal is the sane and sensible thing to do,” Michael Martin said. But he described talks so far as slow and said that genuine efforts needed to be made if they are to be successful.

“It will take serious engagement and time is running out,” he warned.

Taoiseach Micheal Martin - PA
Taoiseach Micheal Martin – PA

10:37 AM

Parliamentary bars will stop serving alcohol at 10pm following outcry over curfew exemption

The Parliamentary authorities have rowed back on plans to allow bars on the estate to stay open after 10pm, despite the national curfew on hospitality. 

This morning it was reported that bars were being exempted from the restrictions, arguing they fall under “canteen” categories. That prompted anger from MPs on all sides, while Helen Whately, the care minister, said she thought the bars should be shut (8:47, 8:59am). 

Following the mini row, a UK Parliament spokesperson said: “Alcohol will not be sold after 10pm anywhere on the parliamentary estate.”

It will come into effect immediately, but the catering of food can continue if the House sits later.

10:31 AM

Parliament to observe minute’s silence for police officer killed in Croydon

The Commons will this afternoon observe a minute’s silence for police sergeant Matiu Ratana, the officer who was killed in Croydon in the early hours of Friday. 

Sgt Ratana, from New Zealand, died in hospital on Friday after being shot in Croydon as a handcuffed suspect was being taken into custody.

After he has been honoured, Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, will take questions, followed by a general debate on coronavirus emergency powers, which will give an indication of the scale of the Tory rebellion growing over the use of executive powers. 

Rebel MPs led by Sir Graham Brady are hoping that an amendment will be accepted by Speaker Sir Linday Hoyle that could curb the use of these powers. 

10:24 AM

Nick Timothy: Both Johnson and Starmer face a reckoning from their restive parties

As with life, so with politics: the disruption and distancing made necessary by Covid has disturbed not only the business of politics, it has changed the personalities of our leaders, the decisions they make and their relationships with their parties and the public at large.

Last week, Keir Starmer gave an important speech to an empty room at Labour’s virtual conference in Doncaster. Next week, Boris Johnson will seek to show the country the way forward, through the pandemic, the economic crisis, and Brexit, in a speech delivered online, to a remote audience of party supporters watching at home, alone.

Party management at conference can be a nightmare. Ambitious ministers preen in front of the members. Policy announcements can blow up and rows break out. Rumours and gossip spread through the bars late at night. Ministers and advisers make injudicious comments after one drink too many with journalists. Ministers say stupid things at fringe meetings.

And yet, argues Nick Timothy, this is why conferences are important. 

10:09 AM

Second backbencher compares Boris Johnson to bewitched king from Lord of the Rings

Another Conservative MP has compared the Prime Minister to a Lord of the Rings character who is “under the spell of his advisers”, in a sign of growing unease over the direction Number 10 is taking.  

Last week, one backbencher sent me a clip of the  king Théoden who has been bewitched by Gríma Wormtongue, allowing  his wicked adviser to rule – and ruin – the land. The adviser is then defeated by the Chancellor Gandalf.

It seems that clip might be doing the rounds on the Tory WhatsApp groups, because this morning a different MP – former Brexit minister Steve Baker – told Times Radio: “Many of us will have seen Lord of the Rings… Theoden the king is under the spell of his advisers. And he has to be woken up from that spell.

“When he wakes from that spell joy comes to pass in the kingdom.”

09:56 AM

Boris Johnson urged to make online learning ‘the norm’ for universities

The Prime Minister has been urged to ensure online learning “becomes the norm” for university students.

In a letter to Boris Johnson, the University and College Union (UCU) claimed university employers were “hiding behind the Government’s current sectoral guidance, with all the ambiguities associated with the term ‘blended learning”‘.

It added: “Whilst other sectors are being encouraged by the Government to work from home to help control the spread of the virus, universities are requiring staff to travel across their local regions to work on-site and in-person with any number of students.

“Considering the known risks associated with in-person teaching and students living in close quarters, why did the Government not insist on minimising in-person teaching and students travelling to universities?

“We have concerns that universities are taking this stubborn position because they depend on rents from student accommodation – and because your own Government refuses to step in and underwrite universities’ lost income for the duration of the pandemic to ensure they are not negatively impacted and jobs are not lost.”

A poster put up at Glasgow University - PA
A poster put up at Glasgow University – PA

09:53 AM

UK returning to ‘worst days of Thatcher’s sink or swim mentality’, says Labour

Labour has attacked the Government after a minister said they could not support jobs “where there simply isn’t work at the moment”, saying this is a return to “the worst days of Thatcher’s sink or swim mentality”. 

Helen Whately, the care minister, told Sky News this morning that the Chancellor was supporting “jobs where there is an opportunity ongoing” and that the hospitality curfew was designed to ensure there were as many jobs in the economy as possible. 

But Wes Streeting, the shadow Treasury minister, claimed this was “black and white” proof of ministers turning their backs on sectors unable to reopen. 

He said: “Millions [have been] consigned to the scrap heap because the Chancellor wouldn’t back jobs that would be viable in the long run with a proper work sharing scheme that incentivised employers to keep more staff on.

“We’re back to the worst days of Thatcher’s sink or swim mentality. And just like in the 1980s, it’s people on the lowest incomes in the north and the midlands who will pay the highest price.

“The shine is well and truly coming off Rishi Sunak.”

09:46 AM

Carrie Symonds praises Boris Johnson’s ‘brilliant’ rewilding plans

Boris Johnson has promised to restore to nature 30 per cent of Britain by 2030 as he signs a biodiversity pledge with other UN leaders.

The Prime Minister will today unfurl plans to secure an area of land the size of the Lake District and South Downs national parks combined to make sure almost a third of the country is wild.

Existing National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and other protected areas already comprise approximately 26 percent of land in England. 

The move, which you can read more of here, has got the support of at least one environmental campaigner… 

09:36 AM

Andrew Neil: I am not out to seek revenge against BBC

Andrew Neil has said he is not out to “seek revenge” as he leaves the BBC to launch a new channel aimed at those who feel “under-served and unheard by their media”, to launch early next year.

Mr Neil told ITV’s Good Morning Britain he moved on from the BBC in an “amicable way” although admitted there were “times where I have been unhappy at how the BBC has treated me”. 

Mr Neil said the new director-general of the BBC, Tim Davie, had presented him with a number of offers but that they had felt like a “step back”.

He added: “The new DG came up with some really good offers at the end but they weren’t quite good enough.

“I felt it was a bit of step back, too much water had flowed under the bridge. It was time to move on and I do so in an amicable way.

“I’m not out to seek revenge. I’m not going to do a John Humphrys in which you leave the BBC with glowing reports, then 24 hours later you beat up on the BBC. That’s not my style.”

Discovery Inc-backed GB News hopes to create at least 120 positions, including more than 100 journalists in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.  

09:17 AM

Have your say on: the hospitality curfew

Images emerged this weekend of spontaneous street parties forming after people were kicked out of pubs early because of the the new 10pm curfew. 

Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, said it needed to be urgently reviewed, claiming it caused “more harm than good”, while evidence suggests hospitality accounts for just a tiny minority of the overall transmission. 

But without a curfew on hospitality, it makes it more likely that other restrictions – such as a a full ban on hospitality and a ban on household mixing – could be imposed. 

So should the curfew stay, with some tweaks? Should the Government go further and shut hospitality as well as banning socialising? Or should they scrap the whole thing and ban household transmission while letting people still go out for food and drinks? Have your say in the poll below. 

09:04 AM

Will we be in lockdown for Christmas? What celebrations will look like during Covid-19

It may be too early to put up the Christmas tree, but that doesn’t mean Christmas isn’t on the minds of many Britons. It will be here before we know it, but it’s clear Christmas 2020 will be unlike any other.

The Government has announced yet another fresh wave of lockdown rules following a rapid increase in coronavirus cases in the UK. In addition to the ‘rule of six’, which bans social gatherings of more than six people, Britons will face new curfews for hospitality venues, stricter face mask requirements and pleas to work from home if possible from later this week.

But how long is it expected to last? And what else is around the corner? Find out what’s in store here.

Will Father Christmas be free to deliver presents? - Getty
Will Father Christmas be free to deliver presents? – Getty

08:47 AM

Irish Taoiseach ‘not optimistic’ about Brexit trade deal

Irish Taoiseach Micheal Martin has said he is “not optimistic” that a trade deal will be struck, with the last round of scheduled talks due to begin tomorrow.

Mr Martin said there was still the “potential for a deal”, but warned that the controversial Internal Market Bill had “eroded trust”.

He told the i newspaper that the legislation “damaged the credibility” of agreements already entered into.

Asked if he believes a free trade deal is likely, he said: “I’m not that optimistic, if I’m honest. Just to let you know that the (Irish) government is preparing its budget in three weeks’ time on the basis that there will be a no-deal Brexit.

“That’s the basis on which we’re preparing the budget and we’re warning and alerting businesses to that terrible reality.

“I think progress has been slow in the talks so far, I think there is still potential for a deal, I believe a deal is the sane and sensible thing to do, and I think all of us as politicians have an obligation to those we represent – and in terms of Brexit that means the least damage possible to workers, to employers and to business and economy.”

08:34 AM

Shadow minister apologises for saying Labour should not ‘let a good crisis go to waste’

Shadow education secretary Kate Green has apologised for comments relating to the Covid-19 pandemic in which she said the Labour Party should not “let a good crisis go to waste”.

Appearing on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, she said: “That was the wrong thing to say. I regret it. I know it will have caused pain and offence to people who’ve suffered under this terrible pandemic and I should not have said that.

“What I would say is that the crisis has exposed all sorts of things about our economy and about the pressure on our public services that we’ve got to learn from, we have to learn the lessons of this pandemic.”

She added: “I apologise profusely for those comments, they were the wrong thing to say and I’m particularly ashamed that people should feel that I was seeking to make political capital out of a crisis.”

Kate Green MP - Heathcliff O'Malley
Kate Green MP – Heathcliff O’Malley

08:31 AM

Increas testing so students can go home for Christmas, says Labour MP

The Government should “step up” testing capacity to help ensure university students can return home for Christmas, the shadow education secretary has said.

Thousands of students are self-isolating around the country, following outbreaks in the university population. Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, has said he would not rule out banning these young people from going home over the holiday. 

This morning Kate Green said the Government must increase testing capacity to avoid this situation. 

She told Sky News: “Students will desperately want to be able to go home to be with friends and family at Christmas. And, of course, it’s right that we all have a part to play in keeping distance and keeping safe.

“But the real key to this is getting the mass testing rolled out so that students can be tested, we can know if somebody is testing positive and make sure that they are isolated and don’t travel.

“But it would mean the other students would be able to get back home for Christmas and that’s why the Government needs to step up too and make sure that that testing capacity is available.”

08:19 AM

Brexit talks to resume this week – remember ‘the tunnel’?

It’s not just Westminster that we will be focusing on this week, with the last scheduled round of EU-UK post-Brext trade talks getting under way tomorrow.

Firstly, Michael Gove is heading to Brussels to discuss the Withdrawal Agreement and if the UK plans to go ahead with its threat to breach it, via the Internal Market Bill. As the two sides have reached an understanding on third party listing it seems unlikely that any laws will be broken – but the question is whether the EU will stand firm on its position that the powers must be removed from the bill if a deal is to proceed. 

After that, talks between Michel Barnier and David Frost will resume tomorrow. There is talk of negotiators returning to the intensive media-black phase dubbed ‘the tunnel’ (remember that from last time?) in the hope of reaching a deal in time for it to be considered during the European Council summit on October 15-16. 

Commentators agree there is a “landing zone” for an agreement – but as we’ve seen before, there will be plenty of maneouvring before we get there.

This week is likely to be just another chapter in the Brexit epic drama, but I suspect we are still a little way from the denouement.

08:03 AM

Students ‘trapped in disgusting conditions’, says NUS boss

Students self-isolating at universities are “trapped” in “disgusting conditions”, the president of the National Union of Students (NUS) has said.

Appearing on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, Larissa Kennedy said: “I’m hearing from some students across the country where there are security guards outside of these blocks where students are being kept, stopping people from leaving, coming and going, where students are being discouraged from getting deliveries and told by the university that they’ll deliver food and that delivery has not arrived and so they’ve gone for the day without food.

“I’ve heard from other students who, they’ve turned up with an amount of toilet roll, told with no notice that they’re going to be locked down and wondering where the next roll of toilet roll is coming from.

“It just feels like these are disgusting conditions for students to have been trapped in.”

Read: Senior Tories call for tuition refunds for university students forced to lock down

07:59 AM

MPs back minister in calling for Parliament bars to adopt national curfew

MPs are backing Helen Whately in calling for Parliament to follow the curfew rules imposed on the rest of the country, and shut its bars by 10pm. 

Steve Baker, the former Brexit minister, tweeted: “This surely will not last the day, and rightly so.”

Tim Loughton replied saying: “It’s also wrong. Royal Palaces are exempt from licencing laws but that didn’t stop us bringing in the smoking ban.”

Helen Whately, the care minister, this morning said she thought the estate bars should by shut by 10pm, although stressed that was her personal view (8:47am).

07:54 AM

Public responsible for preventing further restrictions, says minister

It is the public’s responsibility to follow the new rules, or face further restrictions, a minister has said. 

Asked if the Government was planning to introduce more restrictions including bans on household mixing, Helen Whately, the care minister, told Radio 4’s Today programme: “We don’t want to bring in more restrictions, clearly we don’t want to do that.

“but I wouldn’t rule it out – we do need to get Covid rates under control.”

Asked if people should call the police if they see people breaking the rules, Ms Whately urged the public to “do the right thing ourselves”, adding: “We all take responsibility –  it is quite clear what you should be doing.” 

07:47 AM

Bars in Parliament should abide by 10pm curfew, says minister

Bars in Parliament should be shutting at 10pm, in accordance with the rest of the country, a minister has said.

Facilities serving alcohol on the parliamentary estate are exempt from the earlier closing time on the basis that they fall under the description of “a workplace canteen”, The Times reported this morning.

Helen Whately told Radio 4’s Today programme that she did not know whether that was the case as she had “not been spending time in the bars in Parliament” lately. 

But she added: “I don’t see that we in Parliament shouldn’t be sitting around late at night drinking, we have job to do when we are there.”

Asked if they should close, she said yes but stressed it was “just my personal view”. 

07:36 AM

Pub curfew causing ‘more harm than good’, says Manchester mayor

Pub curfews are causing “more harm than good”, Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham has said. 

Photographs and videos emerged this weekend of revellers breaking social distancing rules as they congregated after hospitality venues kicked them out to meet the 10pm curfew. 

Mr Burnham said this should prompt an “urgent review of the emerging evidence”, saying his gut feeling was that it was creating “more harm than good”. 

He added: “It is potentially contradictory because creates an incentive for people to gather in the street, or more probably, their home, which is the opposite of what local restrictions are trying to do.”

It was “not fully thought-through”, he added. 

But the Labour politician stressed he was “not coming on in spirit of scoring points, I am looking for solution here – I understand what the Government is trying to do”. 

Mr Burnham suggested a 9pm curfew on the sale of alcohol in shops “would prevent the rush” for people looking to continue drinking after pubs had shut. He also called for “on-street dispersal” teams to break groups up. 

07:31 AM

Government’s tiered system for Covid restrictions ‘can’t come soon enough’, says Andy Burnham

The Government’s tiered system “can’t come in soon enough”, the Greater Manchester mayor has said, as he argues that confusion over restrictions is making compliance more difficult. 

Local coronavirus lockdowns are set to be automatically triggered by a three-tier “traffic light” system, with alerts sent directly to people’s mobile phones, The Telegraph revealed last week. The planned new approach divides the country into different areas based on local infection rates, which will dictate the severity of local lockdowns.

Speaking to Radio 4’s Today programme this morning Andy Burnham said that although nationwide restrictions made it easier for people to understand, it was not right to return to a second lockdown “at this stage”, but as the country has to “learn to live with Covid”, greater clarity was needed. 

“We can have more of our normal if we observe the rules,” he said. “But we need urgent simplification and clarification about the rules… I understand they are looking at new system of tiers in terms of explaining the rules and that can’t come in soon enough.”

He added that authorities have “all got to get better at explaining this”. 

07:24 AM

MMU students to be given food supplies and ‘access to outdoor space’, Manchester mayor confirms

Students at Manchester Metropolitan University will be given food supplies, “access to outdoor space” and a support package, the mayor of Greater Manchester has confirmed. 

Up to 1,700 students have been told to self-isolate, with security guards blocking people from leaving to get food while police action was threatened after students stuck posters up criticising the university and the Government. 

Andy Burnham told Radio 4 that “people are able to leave [their halls] if they have got a good reason to do that” but stressed that the university is “dealing with very worrying situation” that required a “firm response”. 

He added: “It is not the welcome we would want to give. I don’t know what message was given out by whom, maybe the university needs to look back at that….  Nobody would have wanted this to be welcome to Manchester for students.”

Mr Burnham said the university was going to announce a financial package today, and that students would be given “food supplies and access to outdoors space”. 

07:15 AM

UK must quadruple test capacity to get through second wave, NHS boss says

The country needs “probably four times as many tests as we’ve currently got” to get through the second wave over the winter, the boss of NHS Providers has said. 

Current capacity stands at around 200,000 a day Helen Whately, the care minister, said this morning. The Government has set itself a target of 500,000 by the end of October. 

Chris Hopson told BBC Breakfast that NHS Test and Trace “has now become as important in a sense as catching criminals, fighting fires and treating heart attacks.

“It’s a key public service and when it doesn’t work, then we all suffer.”

He said that going into winter, the country would need “probably four times as many tests as we’ve currently got”.

And he said there was a need to build testing facilities much closer to where people live and work, and reduce turnaround times for results.

07:12 AM

Labour attacks Government for consigning 1m jobs ‘to the scrap heap’

Labour has launched a fresh attack on the Government’s job support scheme, claiming that more than a million workers are being “consigned to the scrap heap”.

Shadow ministers said there was no acknowledgement about the plight of several sectors, particularly arts and entertainment, which will be forced to remain fully or mainly closed for the next six months.

Lucy Powell, shadow minister for business and consumers, said: “The Chancellor is consigning whole sectors of our economy to the scrap heap, damaging lives and livelihoods, and threatening the recovery.

“The failure of ministers to ensure an effective test, track and trace system means that many businesses have no idea when they can reopen.

“Even for those who can access it, the job support scheme is badly designed and could lead to a wave of job losses.”

Lucy Powell with the Telegraph's Christopher Hope - Heathcliff O'Malley
Lucy Powell with the Telegraph’s Christopher Hope – Heathcliff O’Malley

07:09 AM

Minister defends pub curfew, despite low transmission rate in hospitality

Health minister Helen Whately has defended the Government’s 10pm curfew for pubs and restaurants, despite evidence suggesting hospitality was behind just three per cent of infections in the run-up to the restrictions being imposed.

“As people drink more they tend to socially distance less. So one approach to keeping people socially distancing is to limit the amount of time that people are in places where they are drinking and then this breaking down of compliance with the rules,” she told BBC Breakfast.

“We have also seen in some of the places where there have been higher rates over the summer that sometimes bars have been the places where there has been an outbreak so this is a reason why one of the actions we have taken is to have people stopping being out drinking at an earlier time.”

Ms Whately again failed to rule out the prospect that university students may be unable to return home at Christmas.

“We want them to be home for Christmas. Everybody wants to come home and spend Christmas with family. We want that very much to be the case,” she said. “Christmas is some time off yet and it is down to all of us to get this under control so we can spend Christmas with our families.”

07:06 AM

People will ‘make their own judgements’ about snitching, minister says

Health minister Helen Whately has said people will have to make their own judgments on whether to inform on neighbours who break coronavirus rules.

Neighbours are being encouraged by the Government to report Covid sufferers who are not self-isolating to the police, as it becomes an offence punishable with a fine of up to £10,000 from today.

Police will also conduct spot checks in areas with high infection rates and in high-risk groups.

“Everyone will make their own judgments,” she told Sky News.

“If you see that there’s a marquee in someone’s garden, there’s a huge party going on, you are probably going to take action about that because that is clearly a risk of spreading the virus.”

07:05 AM

Covid tests can’t be diverted to uni students because of uptick in care home cases, minister admits

Coronavirus tests cannot be diverted to universities, despite outbreaks meaning more than 3,000 students have been placed under self-isolation, because of an uptick in cases in care homes, a minister has said.

Helen Whately, the care minister, echoed comments made by her boss Matt Hancock last week in saying the Government wouldn’t rule out the possibility that those students currently locked down would have to remain on campus over Christmas. 

Challenged on whether testing, which is expected to reach 500,000 this month, could release these students, Ms Whately stressed the need for care homes to continue to get regular tests as cases start to rise.   

“In the last couple of weeks we have seen rates go up in the tests we do every week [in care homes], particularly in staff but also in residents,” she told Sky News. 

06:47 AM

Neighbours urged to call police on Covid self-isolation cheats

Neighbours are being encouraged by the Government to report Covid sufferers who are not self-isolating to the police, on the day it becomes an offence punishable with a fine of up to £10,000.

Police will also conduct spot checks in areas with high infection rates and in high-risk groups.

The news comes amid concerns that people are becoming increasingly fatigued by lockdown measures and suggestions by Boris Johnson that the virus is spreading because people are not abiding by the rules.

The new legal duty to self-isolate, which comes into force on Monday, covers anyone who has tested positive for coronavirus or has been contacted by NHS test and trace and told to stay at home.

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