Troubled test and trace system to be scaled back
The failing test and trace system will be scaled back nationally under new plans to put more “boots on the ground” to stop the spread of coronavirus. Council workers will be told to knock on the doors of people who fail to respond to calls warning them that they have been in contact with positive virus cases. The major overhaul follows warnings that the safe reopening of schools depends on improvements in efforts to test and track the virus. Health Editor Laura Donnelly has the details, which come amid mounting fears of a fresh Covid-19 surge. The UK has recorded its largest rise in new cases since the end of June, with a total of 1,062 people testing positive for Covid-19 in a single day. Dominic Gilbert analyses which age groups are responsible for the rising number of infections – and how survival rates are changing in Britain.
Meanwhile, Boris Johnson has urged local authorities to keep schools open even if local lockdowns are imposed. Responding to the growing tension around children returning to schools in September, the Prime Minister said on a visit to a school in east London that he hoped classrooms would not be forced to close as a result of local action – but has not ruled it out. Sherelle Jacobs analyses why the September schools showdown is make or break for Mr Johnson.
RAF plane surveys Channel as PM condemns crossings
An RAF surveillance plane has been drafted in to patrol the English Channel for the first time as British authorities stepped up their response to migrants’ crossings. Boris Johnson has branded the latest attempts to reach British shores from France a “very bad and stupid and dangerous and criminal thing to do” as he hinted at changing laws to tackle the crisis. The Prime Minister’s comments came as a French politician warned the UK’s decision to send in the Royal Navy “won’t change anything” and a former Home Office official said he was sceptical of the plans. Home Secretary Priti Patel headed to Dover to meet Border Force staff and was spotted disembarking from a police boat that had been out in the Channel earlier that morning. Read on for the latest.
France ‘days away from being added to quarantine list’
France is days away from being added to the UK’s quarantine list, according to senior sources within the Government. The Foreign Office is due to update its ‘safe’ list this week, with Portugal hoping to gain its first travel corridor of the pandemic, meaning returning holidaymakers will not be required to self-isolate for 14 days. France, however, is one of several countries in Europe to have seen a rise in its number of coronavirus infections in recent days. Paul Charles, spokesperson for campaign group Quash Quarantine and a travel PR consultancy boss, claims to have the inside line on the UK’s quarantine policy, and reveals the statistics being examined closely by Public Health England staff.
At a glance: Latest coronavirus headlines
Also in the news: Today’s other headlines
‘Tropical nights’ on the rise | The heatwave gives many the chance to bask on the beach but the flipside can be that it is nigh on impossible to sleep in the hot, humid conditions. Now meteorologists have warned that climate change means this kind of restless night is likely to continue to increase year on year, and become a regular part of our summers. Helena Horton reveals how the Met Office is predicting a surge in so-called “tropical nights”, where the mercury does not drop below 20C – a phenomenon once so uncommon in Britain that it was not logged.
Around the world: Protests erupt over Belarus election
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko won a landslide re-election victory, the country’s central election commission said, after late night clashes between police and thousands of protesters who said the vote was rigged. Svetlana Tikhanouskaya, a former English teacher who emerged from obscurity a few weeks ago to become Lukashenko’s main rival, won only 9.9 per cent of the vote, the data showed. As police responded to protesters with violence on election night, Nataliya Vasilyeva rushed into a suburban hospital, calling out the name of her friend, a journalist who was roughed up by helmeted officers and beaten up in a police van until he lost consciousness. She recounts her night of fear and anxiety in Minsk in the violent aftermath of the Belarus election.
Bruce Hornsby – ‘I was a pretty bad pop star’
Unofficial member of the Grateful Dead, Stevie Nicks collaborator, hip-hop hero… Craig McLean reveals why Bruce Hornsby, the man behind The Way It Is, is no one-hit wonder.
Read the full interview
Comment and analysis
Editor’s choice: Features and arts
Adopted by an MI6 agent | The extraordinary life of Pablo Escobar’s secret son
Marriage diaries | The prospect of normal life returning fills me with dread
The doctor who gave up showers | Laying bare the dubious science of hygiene
Business and money briefing
‘Fake invoices’ probe | Collapsed hospital firm NMC Health is being investigated over claims of fake invoices and forged documents relating to hundreds of millions of dollars worth of sales. Read on for details.
Premiership preview | After a hiatus of nearly five months, the Premiership is set to return on Friday at the Twickenham Stoop. With that in mind, what are each of the 12 sides aiming to achieve over the remainder of a disjointed season… and what might their supporters fear? Read on for the top 10 signings ahead of the season restart.
Unsaid Stories, ITV 9pm | Two strong televisual trends at the moment are socially distanced dramas with small casts and stories inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. Now ITV brings them together in this nightly series of short, punchy dramas. Read more.
And finally… for this evening’s downtime
Sense and sanitisation | A crowdfunding campaign has granted one of our most important small museums a stay of execution. Jake Kerridge reports from the home of Jane Austen.