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England records 10 more coronavirus deaths in preliminary toll

England today recorded 10 more coronavirus deaths in hospitals in the preliminary toll, while Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland announced no new victims. 

Government officials have yet to confirm the final daily figure, which takes into account lab-confirmed fatalities in all settings. The early death count for England only includes victims in NHS hospitals, not care homes. Health bosses revealed only one of the victims was under the age of 60.

For comparison, Department of Health chiefs yesterday confirmed 18 more coronavirus deaths and just five were recorded last Monday. But the rate has doubled in a week.

Twenty-one patients are now succumbing to the life-threatening infection every day, on average. The figure — an indicator as to whether the outbreak is growing — stood at just 11 last weekend. But patients can take weeks to die from the illness, meaning any spike in deaths now represents a spike in cases around three weeks ago.

It comes as Sir Patrick Vallance today warned the UK faces 50,000 new daily cases of coronavirus by the middle of October and more than 200 deaths everyday by November, if the spread of Covid-19 is not brought under control as Boris Johnson prepares a fresh crackdown on freedoms.

The Chief Scientific Adviser gave the stark warning as Professor Chris Whitty admitted the UK has ‘in a bad sense literally turned a corner’ with rising rates of infection and that the nation needs to view the fight against the virus as a ‘six month problem’ before science eventually can ‘ride to our rescue’.

In other coronavirus developments today:

  • Sir Graham Brady accused Boris Johnson of ‘ruling by decree’ during the coronavirus crisis as Tory MPs demanded any move to reimpose lockdown is put to a vote in the House of Commons;
  • Fears of a second lockdown have shaken market confidence, with the FTSE 100 suffering its worst plunge since June this morning, slumping 3.56 per cent to 5,812;
  • Covid infection rates in 20 London boroughs are higher than areas of England already hit by restrictions as Sadiq Khan met council leaders to demand a new lockdown and rush hour traffic dropped five per cent; 
  • Transport Secretary Grant Shapps defended the way ministers have imposed measures without votes in the Commons as he said the ‘need for speed’ was required to tackle the threat posed by the virus; 
  • Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil, Newport and Blaenau Gwent will be placed under a local lockdown following an increase of coronavirus cases, the Welsh Government has announced;
  • Professor Paul Hunter, an expert in health protection at the University of East Anglia, suggested a ‘circuit break’ new lockdown would only halt the Covid-19 surge temporarily;
  • Downing Street said the delayed NHS Covid-19 app being launched in England and Wales on Thursday will not provide the automatic contact-tracing ability that was first promised.

The key coronavirus warnings from Sir Patrick Vallance and Professor Chris Whitty

  • Coronavirus infection rates are currently doubling in the UK roughly every seven days. 
  • If the spread of coronavirus continues at its current pace then the UK could have 50,000 new daily cases by the middle of October. 
  • In that scenario there would likely be more than 200 coronavirus deaths recorded every day by November. 
  • Coronavirus infections are increasing in every age group across the UK. 
  • The ‘vast majority’ of the people in the UK remain ‘susceptible’ to Covid-19 because the number of people with antibodies is still low. 
  • Latest estimates suggest about three million people may have been infected in UK and may have antibodies – about eight per cent of the population.   
  • But antibody prevalence in city populations is a ‘little higher’ and that as many as 17 per cent of people in London could have them. 
  • Mortality rates from Covid-19 are ‘significantly greater’ than seasonal flu, which killed around 7,000 annually or 20,000 in a bad year.

It comes as Boris Johnson will convene an emergency Cobra committee meeting tomorrow morning before revealing his new lockdown plans after the Government’s two top scientists warned there will be more than 200 deaths a day by November if the UK fails to slow the spread of coronavirus.

The Prime Minister is said to be meeting with senior ministers this afternoon to thrash out the final details of his proposals amid claims they will include an enforcement blitz on pubs and restaurants which allow customers to flout the rule of six.

A Government source told The Sun that police and councils will be told to ‘act immediately when they see rules being broken’ and that could mean shutting premises which refuse to comply.

Mr Johnson is widely expected to unveil his new crackdown in a statement to MPs in the House of Commons tomorrow lunchtime.

The Prime Minister and his top team are deciding on the next steps in the battle against the disease after Sir Patrick Vallance warned this morning that there will be 50,000 new daily cases of coronavirus by the middle of October and more than 200 deaths everyday by November if the virus is not brought under control.

The Chief Scientific Adviser gave the stark warning as Professor Chris Whitty said the UK has ‘in a bad sense literally turned a corner’ with rising rates of infection and that the nation needs to view the fight against the virus as a ‘six month problem’ before science eventually can ‘ride to our rescue’.

Many in Westminster believe Sir Patrick and Professor Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer, were ‘rolling the pitch’ today ahead of Mr Johnson’s grand unveiling tomorrow.

The grim numbers and comments from the pair suggest Britons will be hit with new rules on their daily lives in order to stop the growth of the disease in the winter months.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock today insisted that any new lockdown measures ‘will be different to last time’ but he refused to guarantee that pubs will still be allowed to open this weekend as he said it is socialising which is mainly driving the spike in cases.

Mr Johnson is facing major divisions within his own Cabinet about what to do next amid a tug of war between ministers over protecting the economy.

Mr Hancock and Minister for the Cabinet Office Michael Gove are said to want the PM to take decisive action now while Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Home Secretary Priti Patel are reportedly advocating a more cautious approach, according to The Times.

Any move to reimpose more stringent restrictions is likely to spark a Tory rebellion after Sir Graham Brady this morning accused Mr Johnson of ‘ruling by decree’ as he demanded MPs get a vote in the House of Commons on any new measures.

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