No travel is ‘risk-free’, Downing Street warns British holidaymakers

Quarantine was imposed with just a few hours' notice - AP
Quarantine was imposed with just a few hours’ notice – AP

British holidaymakers have been warned that “no travel is risk-free” and that “disruption is possible” by Downing Street, following the 11th-hour move to impose a quarantine on people returning from Spain. 

The Prime Minister’s spokesman declined to say whether restrictions on France, Germany or other destinations would follow, urging people to check updates published on and the FCO travel advice website. 

However, he added that “no travel is risk-free” and that “disruption is possible.”

A range of factors were taken into consideration when placing a country on on the “safe list” for quarantine-free travel, Downing Street said. 

Meanwhile Grant Shapps will be expected to quarantine when he returns from his Spanish holiday, after being caught out by the last-minute measures. 

“The same rules apply to ministers as they do anyone else,” the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said.

“The Transport Secretary is in touch with his department,” the spokesman said. “He was involved in the decision-making process.”

Read the latest updates below.

03:05 PM

And that’s it for another day

It’s been a relatively quiet day in Westminster, with only Lord Bethell’s update to the peers and the lobby briefing (which drops down to a weekly update during recess). 

But in the wider world there has been plenty to get our teeth into, not least the news that there has been confirmed human-to-cat transmission, after the Government confirmed the first pet had caught coronavirus. 

The Weybridge moggy had “some shortness of breath” but has since recovered – as have the owners. 

Meanwhile Michael Gove travelled to Scotland as part of ongoing efforts to persuade voters to stick with the union, stressing that the quarantine decision was agreed by “consensus” across all four administrations. 

People both here and in Spain are still unpicking what the two-week quarantine means for them, and it is clearly weighing heavy on people who haven’t yet left for their trips abroad, with warnings that “no travel is risk-free”. 

But for the majority of those who responded to our poll, it appears the weekend’s news has made little difference: some 54 per cent said you were always planning a staycation, while another 29 per cent said you’ll be going abroad no matter what. 

Just 17 per cent said you’ll be waiting until the last minute to make a decision. 

For those of you who are sticking around, I’ll be back at 8am tomorrow morning, for more from Westminster and beyond. 

02:50 PM

ICYMI: Read Matt Hancock set out the Government’s obesity plan

In case you missed it this morning, Matt Hancock wrote exclusively for the Telegraph today, setting out the Government’s plan to tackle obesity. 

“This deadly virus has given us a wake-up call about the need to tackle the stark inequalities in our nation’s health, and obesity is an urgent example of this,” he says.

“If everyone who is overweight lost 5 lbs, it could save the NHS over £100million over the next five years. And more importantly, given the link between obesity and coronavirus, losing weight could be life-saving.”

You can read his column in full here.

02:45 PM

Have your say on: the Spanish quarantine

An estimated 1.5m British holidaymakers have been caught up in the chaos caused by the Government’s last-minute move to reinstate a two-week quarantine on Spain. 

Two health ministers – Helen Whately and Lord Bethell – have defended the decision to do bring a blanket quarantine in with just a few hours’ notice, saying the rate of infections were rising steeply.

Ms Whately also warned that they would do the same with France, Germany and indeed any country where the rates posed a risk to the UK’s public health. 

So will you be risking it – or are you planning to weather the storm(s) back in Blighty? Have your say in the poll below.

02:34 PM

Sadiq Khan: Bus driver deaths are ‘deeply personal’

Sadiq Khan has described the deaths of London bus drivers during the Covid-19 pandemic as “deeply personal” after an independent review suggested that an earlier lockdown could have saved lives.

The London mayor thought of his father Amanullah as he sought to reassure the public that “every possible measure” is being taken to protect frontline staff.

He said: “As the son of a bus driver, this is deeply personal.”

His comments came after a review by the UCL Institute of Health Equity found that many of the drivers who died had underlying health conditions and it is likely the frontline nature of their jobs added to their greater risk of death.

02:16 PM

Spanish quarantine decision ‘consensus view’ across devolved administrations, Michael Gove says

Michael Gove has said the decision to impose a blanket quarantine on all parts of Spain was agreed to by consensus across “all four administrations” in the UK. 

The Cabinet Office minister, who chaired the emergency meeting on Saturday afternoon with the three devolved governments after the UK’s joint biosecurity centre warned about a sharp surge in Covid-19 cases in northern Spain, told reporters he “did crack a joke” about the impact on his impending trip to Ibiza. 

But he shrugged off suggestions the Spanish islands were included because it would have been politically awkward for him to exclude them, saying the evidence was “pretty clear that we needed to take action”.  

“The consensus view, from all four administrations, was that it was better to take the most cautious approach in terms of public health at this point, and that was to extend the ban to all of Spain, and to do so at the quickest practical effective timescale. And that was a shared decision over all,” he said. 

“The fact that I may now have to alter my holiday plans is irrelevant to this decision. It’s an inconvenience for me but that’s nothing compared to the importance of putting public health first.”

Michael Gove is in Scotland today - Bloomberg
Michael Gove is in Scotland today – Bloomberg

02:03 PM

Coronavirus will lead to ‘changes both subtle and profound’, says health minister

Coronavirus will lead to “changes both subtle and profound” in people’s lives, a health minister has said.

Lord Bethell told peers that “patterns of commuting” were likely to see an overhaul as a result of the pandemic.  

That would be underscored by the Government’s “renewed commitment to modes of transport that support our health, particularly cycling and walking”. 

He noted that Transport for London already had “strong cycling and walking plans”, adding: “Those will undoubtedly be enhanced.”

01:56 PM

Lobby latest: Downing Street denies obesity confusion over ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme

Number 10 has denied that it was sending out mixed messages by clamping down on “buy one, get one free” promotions on unhealthy products while also launching a scheme for discounts on meals out which will include fast food restaurants.

“The Eat Out To Help Out scheme applies to all restaurants and people will be able to choose a range of healthy options from the menus if they are trying to lose weight,” the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said.

The scheme is aimed at protecting jobs in a sector “hit very hard by the coronavirus pandemic”.

01:55 PM

Lobby latest: Government is considering online sales tax, Downing Street confirms

The Government is considering an online sales tax to help ensure funding levels for public services.

Downing Street confirmed a call for evidence had been launched on the proposals.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said the call for evidence was examining all aspects of the business rates system.

“As part of this we will consider the case for introducing alternative taxes as part of the review, including an online sales tax,” the spokesman said.

“The pandemic has had a significant impact on how business is done and the effect of this will become clearer over time.

“We will continue to support businesses as far as possible but we must also ensure that the tax system raises sufficient revenue to fund our vital public services.”

01:52 PM

Government ‘must do more’ to engage hard-to-reach communities on coronavirus

Leicester has demonstrated that the Government must “do more” to get the message about social distancing to certain communities, health minister Lord Bethell has said. 

He told peers that there had been many lessons learned from the UK’s first local lockdown, and paid tribute to the people of the city for working to bring the rate back down. 

But he said the Government was now aware of the “hard-to-reach communities where our message has not got through, and we need to do more to reach them”.

He added he was “grateful to faith leaders in Leicester who are working with us on preparing for Eid, to make sure message gets out in time for that celebration”.

01:48 PM

Government ‘concerned’ about shop workers enforcing face mask rule, says minister

The Government is “concerned” about shop workers being put in an “awkward position” of having to enforce the wearing of face masks, a minister has said. 

Lord Bethell, the health minister, told peers that the UK had waited to establish scientific evidence before moving on masks which is why we “may have moved behind some other countries” but stressed that now “the guidance is extremely clear”. 

He added: “I pay tribute to growing and very large number of people who are wearing face masks. We are clearly moving in right direction on this.

But the case of shop workers is something we are concerned about. Usdaw [the shop-workers union] make a good case for the need to protect shop workers who may be put in an awkward situation.

“That is why work closely with police to ensure right protections are in place.”

01:43 PM

Government’s 11th hour Spanish quarantine ‘not a sign of panic or weakness’, health minister insists

The Government’s 11th-hour decision to impose a quarantine on holidaymakers returning from Spain was “not a sign of panic or weakness” but sign that the UK’s “system works”, a health minister has said.

Lord Bethell told peers that “the situation in many countries is fast changing and the Spanish situation is a good example of that”. 

He added: “Fast turnaround decisions are not a sign of panic or weakness, they are a sign that system works and works well.”

When the situation changes quickly “we have to move quickly as well”, he added. 

He also stressed there would be no exemption for people on the Spanish islands, saying: “There is no way for us to control intra-country transport therefore it would be very challenging to give regional exemption list.”

01:31 PM

Minister issues warning over quarantine for France and Germany

British holidaymakers in France and Germany may face a quarantine similar to that imposed on people returning from Spain, a minister has confirmed. 

The Government reimposed restrictions on travel from Spain – including its islands – with just a few hours’ notice on Saturday night, following a surge in coronavirus infection rates.

This morning Helen Whately, the care minister, insisted Downing Street had acted decisively, despite throwing 1.5m British tourists into chaos. 

And she warned that a two-week quarantine for people returning from France and Germany could follow suit, telling Sky News: “If we see rates going up in a country where at the moment there is no need to quarantine, we would have to take action because we cannot take the risk…  We have to keep the situation under review. We have to keep an eye on rates in other countries.”

She told BBC Breakfast ministers were “taking decisions that are needed to keep UK safe”, adding: “We will continue to look at rates and if we see rates rise, we would have to take action.”

The Telegraph analysis shows France’s rate has jumped 50 per cent in a week from six to nine cases per 100,000 of the population, with 1,130 new cases on Saturday, double the previous week’s rate.

01:30 PM

Lobby latest: Coronavirus cat had ‘shortness of breath’

Downing Street said the cat which caught coronavirus had symptoms including shortness of breath.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “The test was carried out by the Animal and Plant Health Agency laboratory having been referred by a private vet who the owners had taken the cat to see.

“Its symptoms were a respiratory infection with a nasal discharge and some shortness of breath.”

01:25 PM

Lobby latest: Grant Shapps will have to quarantine, Downing Street confirms

Asked why Grant Shapps was remaining in Spain given the widespread disruption caused by the Spain quarantine, Downing Street said only that he was in touch with the Department of Transport and had been involved in the decision-making process. 

Pressed on whether ministers were exempt from the quarantine, the Prime Minister’s spokesman told reporters: “The same rules apply to ministers as they do anyone else.”

He also confirmed that so far, just three fines have been issued to people who have flouted the requirement to self-isolate after returning to the UK from a country not included in the exemption list. 

The spokesman also played down suggestions that large numbers of people returning from Spain could flout the guidance, pointing out that the test and trace scheme had seen a “high level of compliance”. 

He added that the “vast majority” of people had followed the guidance because they wanted to help control the spread of the virus.

01:24 PM

Lobby latest: Twitter must do better after Wiley’s anti-Semitic rant, says Downing Street

Downing Street said Boris Johnson shared Home Secretary Priti Patel’s view that grime artist Wiley’s anti-Semitic social media posts were “abhorrent”.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman: “Social media companies need to go much further and faster in removing hateful content such as this.”

The Home Secretary has written to Twitter and Instagram seeking an explanation and the Government expects a full response.

“The message is clear: Twitter needs to do better on this,” the spokesman said.

Mr Johnson is not joining a boycott of Twitter in response to the furore because of the need to communicate “important public health messages”.

“But at the same time we have set out very clearly that Twitter’s performance has not been good enough in response to the anti-Semitic comments made by Wiley and it needs to do much better,” the spokesman added.

01:22 PM

Lobby latest: No travel is risk-free, Downing Street

Downing Street has warned that “no travel is risk-free” after a last-minute quarantine was imposed on holidaymakers coming back from Spain. 

Pressed on how members of the public could check whether it is safe to travel somewhere without risking a situation like Spain arising, the Prime Minister’s spokesman said they should continue to check updates published on and the FCO travel advice website. 

However, he added that “no travel is risk-free” and that “disruption is possible.”

He declined to say whether any other countries were now a matter of concern now that data suggests that infections are also rising in Germany, France and a number of other popular European holiday destinations. 

Asked what the criteria was for a country being placed on the “safe list” for quarantine-free travel, Downing Street said a range of factors were taken into consideration. 

They include an assessment of the Joint Biosecurity Centre, which includes an estimate on the proportion of a country’s population with Covid-19, the trends for death and infections in the country, international intelligence on how the virus is spreading there, and the quality of data available. 

01:16 PM

Lobby latest: Downing Street defends support for people on quarantine 

Downing Street has insisted that people forced to quarantine for two weeks will receive sufficient support, despite critics warning some will face a significant loss of income.

Asked why they were not entitled to statutory sick pay, the spokesman pointed to existing schemes including Universal Credit and Employment Support Allowance. 

The spokesman reiterated Dominic Raab’s comments on Sunday, in which he stated that ministers expected firms to be considerate to employees who are affected. 

Questioned on whether the travel corridor plan was wise given that Spain has already been removed, he added that the Government had always been clear that it would remove countries if they saw spikes in infections. 

“If there is a need to take decisive action because there is an increase in an infection rate in another country then we won’t hesitate to do so,” he added.

“Unfortunately no travel is risk free during this pandemic and disruption is possible. 

“So anyone travelling abroad should be aware that our…travel advice is under constant review.”

01:14 PM

Lobby latest: Downing Street defends inclusion of Balearic islands in Spanish quarantine

Downing Street has defended the decision to include the Balearic Islands in the reimposing of quarantine rules on tourists returning from Spain, insisting it had acted to protect public health. 

Asked why it had taken the Government a day to act, having received data from the Spanish government on Friday, the Prime Minister’s spokesman said that ministers acted “straightaway” following an urgent review by the Joint Biosecurity Centre and public health officials. 

The spokesman added that the data from Spain for Thursday and Friday showed a 77 per cent increase in infections compared to the previous two days, and that the seven-day rate – including across most regions – represented a “significant change.”

Pressed on why the Balearics had been included, he said that ministers had acted “decisively” to protect public health. 

The quarantine requirement will also apply to people who have visited Spain – even if their main holiday was in another country, such as Portugal or France. 

The decision was taken by the Covid O Cabinet committee, members of which include Dominic Raab, Grant Shapps, Michael Gove, Priti Patel and Stephen Barclay. 

A number of ministers from the devolved administrations also took part in the call. 

01:10 PM

Scotland notches up 11 days without coronavirus deaths

No new coronavirus deaths have been recorded in Scotland in the last 24 hours – the 11th day in a row without any fatalities.

The latest Scottish Government figures show that 2,491 patients have died in Scotland after testing positive for Covid-19.

A total of 18,554 people have tested positive for the virus in Scotland, up by three from 18,551 the day before.

There are 270 people in hospital with confirmed coronavirus and two patients are in intensive care.

01:08 PM

Have your say on: the Spanish quarantine

An estimated 1.5m British holidaymakers have been caught up in the chaos caused by the Government’s last-minute move to reinstate a two-week quarantine on Spain. 

Helen Whately, the care minister, this morning defended the decision to do bring a blanket quarantine in with just a few hours’ notice, saying the rate of infections were rising steeply. 

She also warned that they would do the same with France, Germany and indeed any country where the rates posed a risk to the UK’s public health. 

So will you be risking it – or are you planning to weather the storm(s) back in Blighty? Have your say in the poll below.

12:54 PM

Government updates advice for pet owners after cat catches coronavirus

The Government has updated its advice for pet owners, following confirmation that a cat in England has caught coronavirus. 

While stressing it is a rare event, the Government has reminded owners that they “should wash your hands before and after being around or handling animals or their food”.

There is also no evidence to suggest that SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is circulating between animals, including both pets and food-producing animals in the UK.

All available evidence indicates that human-to-human transmission is responsible for the spread of coronavirus in the UK.

“There is no evidence that you need to wash your pets to control the spread of coronavirus. Only wash or use products on your pets that are approved for use on animals.”

12:44 PM

Union demands better protections for people caught up in Spanish quarantine 

A union boss has demanded better sick pay and employment protections for people caught up in the Spanish quarantine chaos, ahead of other similar moves. 

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said sick pay should be increased arguing “no one should suffer financially for following official advice to quarantine”.

She added: “It’s not holidaymakers’ fault that the guidance has changed.

“Wherever possible, employers should do the right thing and pay quarantined workers their full pay.

“The Government must also make it clear that people who can’t work from home during quarantine will be eligible for statutory sick pay.

“And they should increase sick pay from £95 a week to at least the level of the ‘real living wage’ of £320 a week.

“In addition, ministers should change the law to stop employers from sacking quarantined workers.”

12:42 PM

Coronavirus cat had feline herpes first, says Government

The pet cat that is the first domestic animal to have contracted coronavirus in the UK was initially diagnosed with feline herpes, the Government said. 

“This is a common cat respiratory infection, but the sample was also tested for SARS-CoV-2 as part of a research programme,” Defra has said.

Follow-up samples tested at the APHA laboratory in Weybridge confirmed the cat was also co-infected with SARS-CoV2 which is the virus known to cause Covid-19 in humans.

The case has been reported to the World Organisation for Animal Health in line with international commitments.

Although this is the first case of its kind in the UK, there have been a very small number of confirmed cases in pets in other countries in Europe, North America and Asia.

12:33 PM

Earlier lockdown could have saved lives of London bus drivers: study

An earlier lockdown could have saved the lives of London bus drivers who died during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to an independent review.

Many of the drivers who died had underlying health conditions and it is likely the frontline nature of their jobs added to their greater risk of death, the review by the UCL Institute of Health Equity found.

London bus drivers aged 20-64 had a mortality rate that was 3.5 times higher than men of the same age in all occupations in England and Wales from March to May.

Professor Sir Michael Marmot, the director of the UCL Institute of Health Equity, said: “Our review explicitly suggests that lockdown was the main factor that saved bus drivers’ lives. If lockdown had occurred earlier, it would likely have saved more lives… In addition to reducing exposure to the virus, all drivers should therefore be screened for health risk, with those most vulnerable to dying from the virus receiving the most benefit.”

Transport for London (TfL) commissioned the review after 29 of its bus drivers were reported to have died with Covid-19.

12:28 PM

Level-playing field will ensure EU doesn’t ‘backslide’ on environment, Lords tell minister

The UK should accept the level-playing field touted by the EU during trade talks, a group of Lords have suggested.

Peers of the EU Environment Sub-Committee have written to George Eustice, the Environment Secretary, arguing that it would give the UK a lever to make sure that the EU did not “backslide” on its climate ambitions and commitments.

Ministers must build trust with the EU by strengthening its Environment Bill and working with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on approaches to show how the UK will deliver high environmental ambitions, they added.

Lord Teverson, chair of the committee, said while the level-playing field was currently “a stumbling block in negotiations” it was possible for the two sides to find a solution.

“The UK and EU have similarly ambitious aspirations so it should be possible to find common ground. Failure to reach an agreement could have a critical impact.

“There is room for an agreement which addresses the EU’s concerns without restricting the UK’s ability to increase ambition or choose different policies to achieve the same goals.

“I hope that a way forward is found.”

12:12 PM

Coronavirus detected in pet cat for first time in UK, Government confirms 

Coronavirus has been detected in a pet cat in the UK for the first time, the Government has confirmed.

The infection was confirmed following tests at the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) laboratory in Weybridge on Wednesday 22 July.

The animal is not thought to have transmitted the disease to people, but rather that the cat caught it from its owners, who had previously tested positive for Covid-19. The cat and its owners have since made a full recovery and there was no transmission to other animals or people in the household.

Yvonne Doyle, Medical Director at Public Health England, added: “This is the first case of a domestic cat testing positive for Covid-19 in the UK but should not be a cause for alarm.

“The investigation into this case suggest that the infection was spread from humans to animal, and not the other way round. At this time, there is no evidence that pets can transmit the disease to humans.” 

12:02 PM

Travel stocks tumble on Spanish quarantine rules

In case you’re wondering what the Government’s decision to reimpose a two-week quarantine on holidaymakers returning to Spain is having on aviation stocks, it’s not pretty. 

My colleagues on the Business blog have the details.

11:26 AM

Nick Timothy: To tackle Britain’s obesity crisis, we must first cure a deeper societal sickness

As Covid-19 has demonstrated, Britain’s obesity crisis is very real. We are one of the unhealthiest and fattest countries in Europe, with almost two thirds of adults overweight or obese. Research shows that overweight patients are more likely to become seriously ill and die from Covid-19.

A nudge here and there will help a little, as it did with regulations and restrictions on advertising harmful products such as tobacco.

But as Nick Timothy argues today, it will be impossible to address obesity as the crisis it is without recognising that it is a symptom of a wider sickness in our society.

11:06 AM

Roger Bootle: EU infighting shows Scotland should be careful what it wishes for

Last week, the European Union finally agreed on a new coronavirus relief fund. But more important than the measure was the mood music.

Now that the UK is out of the union, the remaining members are supposed to be free to move merrily on to closer union in accordance with everyone’s wishes, unconstrained by the foot-dragging and obstructionism of Perfidious Albion.

In fact, the summit was one of the most fractious in the EU’s history, with president Macron of France threatening to pull out. As it was, he accused the Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte of taking up the role previously occupied by David Cameron.

This was not just a protest, writes Roger Bottle. It was also a warning.

10:46 AM

Matt Hancock: We are taking action to get the nation’s health back on track

Obesity is one of the greatest long term health challenges that we face as a country.

It not only puts a strain on our NHS and care system, but it also piles pressure on our bodies, making us more vulnerable to many diseases, including of course coronavirus

Read Matt Hancock’s column on the Government’s new fat-fighting strategy in full here. 

10:35 AM

More than a quarter of BAME NHS staff still waiting for Covid risk assessment 

More than a quarter of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) NHS staff are still waiting for a risk assessment for Covid-19, data suggests.

Figures seen by the Health Service Journal (HSJ) suggest 73 per cent of BAME staff had had a risk assessment in England by July 17, but in some hospital trusts the figure was just 20 per cent.

NHS England recommended risk assessments for BAME staff as long ago as April and has now extended the deadline for them to be completed to the end of July.

People from BAME backgrounds are thought to be at higher risk of poor outcomes from coronavirus, with Health Secretary Matt Hancock saying they are “disproportionately” dying from Covid-19.

An NHS spokesman said:  “Early indications show significant progress was made in the first two weeks, meaning thousands more staff will now be benefiting from additional measures to protect their health, and trusts tell us that this work continued towards the end of the stated window.”

10:29 AM

Three-quarters of Britons reject PM’s hopes of Christmas normality

Almost three-quarters of Britons believe things will not be back to normal by Christmas despite the Prime Minister’s roadmap setting that as an ambition.

Just one in 10 Britons think things will have returned to normal by then, with 72 per cent disagreeing, according to the fourth Kekst CNC international tracking survey. 

The number of people expecting a second wave have also increased since June with three-quarters (76 per cent up from 72 per cent) expecting this in the next year or so.  This proportion is well above the 64 per cent average seen in the other countries surveyed.

People are also expecting the impact of the virus to last for longer than their international counterparts. More than nine in ten British adults (91 per cent) believe that Covid-19 will affect the economy for at least another year (up from 87 per cent in June) while 62 per cent believe disruption will last into 2022. 

This may in part be caused by people overestimating the overall impact of the virus. On average the UK public believes that one in five of their fellow citizens has had the virus, more than four times the figures published by the ONS, and that seven per cent of the population have died of the virus, more than 100 times the figures published by Public Health England.  

10:18 AM

Government’s dining discount scheme works ‘hand in hand’ with obesity drive, minister says

The Government’s “Eat out to Help out” scheme can go hand-in-hand with healthy eating, a minister has insisted, ahead of a new policy launch designed to get people to lose weight. 

Helen Whately, the care minister, admitted that “people tend to eat more and consume more calories if they are eating out” but stressed the Government wanted to “enable people to make informed choices” by telling them how many calories are in a given meal. 

Asked on BBC Breakfast if she was concerned about mixed messaging as the Government embarked on its goal for the nation to lose weight, she said: “On the one hand we know it’s important for the economy and the hospitality sector for people to be out and eating in restaurants and pubs. But that can be hand-in-hand with making healthy choices. 

“On a menu there will be a range of options, the important thing is that you have the information to enable you to decide and to know the amount of calories you’ve consumed.”

10:01 AM

Banning junk food ads might not help obesity problem, IFS warns

Banning junk food adverts before the watershed is “unlikely” to have a large reduction in the amount of ads seen by people because it could lead to a rise in the number shown after 9pm, a leading think tank has said. 

In response to the Government’s new strategy the Institute for Fiscal Studies said: “Research has shown that this happened before. Following the introduction of the 2007 ban on advertising food and drink products that are high in fat, sugar or salt during children’s television, restricted adverts were shifted from children’s television to unrestricted non-children’s television.”

The IFS also argues that the policy’s effectiveness depends on what behaviour advertising actually encourages, noting that “an advert for Coca Cola could lead someone to buy Coke when they would otherwise have drunk water, but it could also just lead them to buy Coke instead of Pepsi”.

“In the latter case, an advertising ban is likely to be less effective at getting people to eat more healthily.” 

09:51 AM

Sainsbury’s trials virtual queuing system

Sainsbury’s is to trial a virtual queuing system which will allow customers to wait their turn to enter stores from the comfort of their car, a nearby cafe or their home.

Customers will be able to join the line to shop in stores by using a smartphone app, eliminating the need to stand in a socially distanced line outside the store.

The retailer said it is starting the trial across five UK stores from Monday.

The system, which runs via the app ufirst, will be piloted at its stores in Uxbridge, Pimlico, Dome Roundabout in Watford, Leicester North and Newham Royal Wharf.

Sainsbury's wants to reduce the number of people queuing outside its supermarkets - Getty
Sainsbury’s wants to reduce the number of people queuing outside its supermarkets – Getty

09:28 AM

Matt Ridley: Five reasons why the coronavirus nightmare may soon be over

Like the ancient mariner, the virus refuses to leave us alone. Resurging in Blackburn, Spain, and America, it is still going to be around here when the winter comes. As we head indoors, it will be back for a dreaded second wave, disguised among a host of colds and flus.

Yet Matt Ridley is now optimistic that the nightmare will end this year or at least by the spring.

Here are five reasons.

09:13 AM

Lib Dem candidate quits London mayoral race

Liberal Democrat Siobhan Benita has abandoned her campaign to become mayor of London.

The election, originally due to be held in May, was postponed until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ms Benita said the delay meant she was not able to commit to another full year of campaigning.

She said: “The demands on a candidate are significant and an election of this scale, particularly in an unpaid role, means it’s really difficult to get other work.

“And unfortunately with the delay due to the pandemic I’m simply not able to commit to another full year of campaigning and to leading the type of campaign that I really want to lead in London.”

09:11 AM

Watch: Boris Johnson opens up over his own battle with weight loss

Boris Johnson has been famously enthusiastic about cycling, and frequently photographed running. But the Prime Minister has, until now, taken a free market approach to food, not so long ago saying we should “fight, fight, fight” against the “insulting, ugly and otiose labels” on packaging. 

He’s the first to admit his brush with coronavirus has helped him see the light – but he still fights off the “nanny” tag.

Watch him explain in the video below.

08:56 AM

Have a hand in the future of our live blogs

We want to better understand what you think about live blogs on The Telegraph website. 

That’s why we are asking our readers to fill out this quick survey ahead of our redesign of them.

It’ll take just five minutes, and you’ll have a hand in shaping the way we work in the future. 

08:48 AM

Tourism boss urges Government to deploy ‘more nuance’ to Spanish quarantine

An executive of the largest leisure, travel and tourism company in the world has urged the Government to rethink its blanket quarantine on people returning from Spain.

Andrew Flintham, managing director of Tui UK and Ireland, called for a “more nuanced policy” to include rules based on regions as well as countries.

He noted that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is not advising against non-essential travel to Spain’s Balearic Islands, but the quarantine requirement covers arrivals from both mainland Spain and its islands.

Speaking to Sky News, Mr Flintham said: “If the Balearics are still OK to go to – and clearly the travel advice says you can travel – should we have a different quarantine or no quarantine for those and not lump it all together, as in one big total Spain quarantine?

“We’re really after a little bit of a nuance because, being honest, going forward, with something like the United States, it could be there’s a problem in Florida but not in California, and you wouldn’t want to close the whole of the United States to tourists.”

Tui has cancelled all holidays to mainland Spain up to and including August 9.

08:33 AM

Twitter and Facebook accused of ‘complicity’ over Wiley’s anti-Semitic tweets

Britain’s Chief Rabbi has accused Twitter and Facebook of “complicity” in their response to anti-Semitic posts by grime artist Wiley.

Ephraim Mirvis said he would join politicians, celebrities and other high-profile figures in a 48-hour boycott of the social media sites from Monday.

The two platforms have been heavily criticised for their slow response to Wiley’s posts, with Twitter accused of “ignoring anti-Semitism” as his tweets were still visible 12 hours after they were first posted.

In letters sent to Twitter boss Jack Dorsey and Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, the Jewish leader said: “This cannot be allowed to stand. Your inaction amounts to complicity.”

Police are now investigating a series of comments made on the musician’s Instagram and Twitter accounts on Friday that led to him being banned from both for seven days.

08:27 AM

MPs boycott Twitter for 24 hours as Home Secretary demands answers on Wiley’s anti-Semitic posts

The Twitter launch of the Prime Minister’s new obesity campaign is interesting timing, as lots of MPs are among those boycotting the social media platform. 

The #NoSafeSpaceForJewHate campaign will run for 48 hours from 9am this morning in protest at Twitter’s perceived failure to act on anti-Semitism, following a series of racist tweets by grime artist Wylie at the weekend.

Twitter removed some of Wiley’s tweets with a note saying they violated its rules – but other tweets were still visible 12 hours after being posted. It later said Wiley’s account had been locked for seven days. 

Labour shadow Cabinet ministers Kate Green, Louise Haigh and Jonathan Reynolds, former Lib Dem leader Tim Farron and former Tory Minister Harriett Baldwin are among those pledging to join the boycott.

Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, has demanded a “full explanation” for why his “abhorrent” posts were left up so long. 

08:18 AM

Boris Johnson: I was too fat

Boris Johnson has launched the Government’s new “Better Health Strategy” campaign to tackle obesity, telling the nation if they protect their health “you’ll be protecting the NHS”.

In a video posted online the Prime Minister said he has lost more than a stone since he went into intensive care with coronavirus, admitting: “I was too fat.”

He urged people to join him in a morning run, promising “the rest of the day will be a breeze” compared to the exertions, adding: “You feel much better.”

The Prime Minister added that the campaign is “not excessively bossy or nannying” – he hopes. 

Watch the full video below.

08:01 AM

Have your say on: quarantine and holidays

An estimated 1.5m British holidaymakers have been caught up in the chaos caused by the Government’s last-minute move to reinstate a two-week quarantine on Spain. 

Helen Whately, the care minister, this morning defended the decision to do bring a blanket quarantine in with just a few hours’ notice, saying the rate of infections were rising steeply. 

She also warned that they would do the same with France, Germany and indeed any country where the rates posed a risk to the UK’s public health. 

So will you be risking it – or are you planning to weather the storm(s) back in Blighty? Have your say in the poll below.

07:46 AM

No plans to extend sugar tax to food, minister confirms 

The Government will not be extending the sugar tax to include food, a minister has confirmed. 

Boris Johnson is to launch the Government’s new obesity-fighting plan – including a ban on junk-food adverts, scrapping buy one get one free deals on chocolate and crisps and calorie counts placed on menus – this morning. 

The policies “draw on the evidence of what works”, Helen Whately told the Today programme this morning, arguing that junk food ads had “an impact on children” and banning them pre-watershed would help “control influences”.

The second component of the Government’s strategy was to “support people in changing their lifestyle and making better choices”, the care minister said.

But challenged on why the Government was not extending the sugar tax, which she conceded had been successful, Ms Whately confirmed this measure was “not in the policies we are setting out today”.

Boris Johnson could solve Britain’s obesity crisis - but not without restricting sugar consumption
Boris Johnson could solve Britain’s obesity crisis – but not without restricting sugar consumption

07:38 AM

Labour urges ‘smarter measures’ than blanket quarantine 

Labour’s shadow home secretary has urged the Government to introduce “smarter measures” at the border rather than a blanket quarantine for those returning from Spain.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Nick Thomas-Symonds said: “We certainly would be following the advice and introducing protective measures at the border if there are spikes in cases in other countries, absolutely.

“But there are two serious questions around this. The first is why we are still employing the… blunt tool of the 14-day quarantining rather than smarter measures and secondly the chaotic nature of the decision-making which certainly hasn’t bred confidence in the Government’s approach.”

He added: “I think you need a smarter set of quarantine measures at the airport. I’ve suggested this test, trace and isolate regime but you can also have temperature checking and other things – you look at a range of measures.”

07:37 AM

Pandemic is ‘moment of reset’ on obesity, minister says 

The pandemic has created a “moment of reset where people can think again” about their lifestyle and lose weight, a minister has said. 

Helen Whately told the BBC’s Today programme the country has “a huge heath challenge with obesity”, adding “now is the moment” for people to act.

Asked why the Government is not imposing a sugar tax on food, after success with the levy on drinks, she said businesses would “be responsible”.

She added: “We may well see ingredients changing to make them healthier.” 

07:31 AM

Last-minute Spanish quarantine imposed because of steep trajectory, minister says

The Government had to impose a new 14-day quarantine with just a few hours’ notice because infection rates were “going up very, very quickly in Spain”, a minister has said.  

Helen Whately told the Today programme that rates had trebled from eight per 100,000 a fortnight ago to 27 per 100,000 now “and the trajectory is rising steeply”. 

She added: “We needed to take a clear, decisive, robust decision… We said we would need to monitor rates in other countries, that is exactly what we did in Spain. 

“We were enacting the policy we said we would,” she added. “If we hadn’t taken action, I imagine you would be asking me why.” 

07:28 AM

ICYMI: Boris and Dilyn on today’s front page

The Prime Minister is expected to set out his plans to get the country losing weight later today, alongside Downing Street dog Dilyn. 

We have a sneak preview of the pair on our front page today – and plenty of other news too.

07:17 AM

Two ministers among the British holidaymakers caught up in Spanish quarantine

Joining the 1.5m British holidaymakers facing a two-week quarantine after the Government’s 11th hour decision to impose new restrictions on Spain will be at least two ministers. 

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps was caught out by the decision, which came on Saturday evening – outside of the usual review period.

 Paul Scully, the small business minister, is currently in Lanzarote, which is also included in the restrictions. 

07:10 AM

Government ‘not telling people what to do’ on junk foods, minister insists

The Government is not “telling people what to do”, Helen Whately has said, ahead of a new scheme designed to tackle the UK’s obesity epidemic. 

Ms Whately, the care minister, told Sky News the Government “is not here to tell people what to do but here to give them support”,

She rejected the suggestion Downing Street was nannying the country, saying they were helping support people “make choices they want to make”.

Boris Johnson will be releasing a new social media video this morning starring himself and Dilyn the dog. The Prime Minister has blamed his own weight for his struggle to fight off coronavirus, and last week confirmed he had lost “a stone and a bit” through healthier eating and exercise. 

But the Prime Minister’s health campaign to tackle the country’s obesity problem is already being attacked by advertising and hospitality representatives, who claim it is coming at a tough time for the industries, while some health experts have warned it will not have enough impact. 

07:04 AM

Lose 5lb and save the NHS £100m, says Matt Hancock, after coronavirus ‘wake-up call’ on obesity

​Everyone who is overweight should lose at least 5lbs in order to save countless lives and spare the NHS a £100 million cost, the Health Secretary has said.

Matt Hancock said coronavirus was the “deadly wake-up call” Britain needed to tackle obesity, as the Government unveils a strategy to slim the nation’s waistlines.

The advertising of unhealthy food will be banned online and before the 9pm watershed on television, with buy one get one free deals on chocolate and crisps axed and calorie counts placed on menus.

Am army of “weight loss coaches” at GP surgeries will be trained to persuade millions of people to change their diets and reform couch potato lifestyles. 

Writing for The Telegraph, Mr Hancock said: “This deadly virus has given us a wake-up call about the need to tackle the stark inequalities in our nation’s health, and obesity is an urgent example of this.

“If everyone who is overweight lost 5 lbs, it could save the NHS over £100million over the next five years. And more importantly, given the link between obesity and coronavirus, losing weight could be life-saving.”

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