Britain records FEWEST daily Covid-19 cases in a fortnight


Britain today recorded the fewest daily Covid-19 cases in a fortnight offering more proof that the crisis is slowing down and isn’t spiralling out of control.

Department of Health figures show another 18,950 people tested positive for the disease — down 9.3 per cent in a week and the lowest since Monday, October 19 (18,804).

Top scientists claimed the data suggests England’s three-tier lockdown approach was actually working by cutting down the speed of growth in the North. But one infectious disease expert warned that testing may have reached capacity or there has been another ‘glitch’, skewing the actual daily figures. 

The UK also saw another 136 coronavirus deaths — up 33.3 per cent on the 102 lab-confirmed fatalities posted last week.

It comes as Boris Johnson today begged Tories to keep faith in his Covid-19 strategy as he defended his plan to plunge England into a fresh national lockdown. Furious Conservatives have branded the policies ‘unimaginable’ and compared the actions to that of a ‘totalitarian regime.

In a statement to the Commons, the Prime Minister insisted cases were surging so high there was ‘no alternative’ to the month-long blanket restrictions across England. He said otherwise the death toll could be double that in the previous peak.

On another chaotic day as the UK wrestles with the worst public health crisis in a generation:

  • Shares in retail and leisure firms have plummeted as the stock market reacted to Mr Johnson’s hastily released plans;
  • Mr Sunak has revealed that support for the self-employed is set to be boosted along with furlough, which has been extended for the duration of the national lockdown;
  • Wales has insisted that its ‘firebreak’ lockdown will end on November 9 despite the move in England, as the divisions within the UK widened alarmingly;
  • There are complaints that a model suggesting 4,000 people a day could be dying from coronavirus by next month could be four or five times too high and is already out of date;
  • SAGE experts have claimed thousands of lives could have been saved if the government had moved to lock down earlier.

BORIS BEGS TORIES TO KEEP FAITH IN HIS COVID STRATEGY

Boris Johnson today begged Tories to keep faith in his coronavirus strategy as he defended his plan to plunge England into a fresh national lockdown

Boris Johnson today begged Tories to keep faith in his coronavirus strategy as he defended his plan to plunge England into a fresh national lockdown

Boris Johnson today begged Tories to keep faith in his coronavirus strategy as he defended his plan to plunge England into a fresh national lockdown.

In a statement to the Commons, the PM insisted cases were surging so high that there was ‘no alternative’ to the month-long blanket restrictions across England.

He said otherwise the death toll could be double that in the previous peak.

But he tried to soothe a growing mutiny by reassuring the House that the measures will legally end on December 2 – and if they need to be extended there will be another vote.

He also declared that grants for the self-employed will be ramped up from 40 per cent of average previous profits to 80 per cent, although it is not clear whether that will be just for the during of the squeeze.

However, Sir Keir Starmer launched an excoriating attack on Mr Johnson for his ‘failure’ to introduce the crackdown quickly enough.

He said the premier had wasted 40 days when his own scientific experts were urging a ‘circuit breaker’ – during which time daily deaths had soared from just 11 to 326.

Mr Johnson tried to soothe a growing mutiny by reassuring the House the measures will legally end on December 2 — and if they need to be extended there will be another vote.

He also declared that grants for the self-employed will be ramped up from 40 per cent of average previous profits to 80 per cent, although it is not clear whether that will be just for the during of the squeeze.

However, Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer launched an excoriating attack on Mr Johnson for his ‘failure’ to introduce the crackdown quickly enough.

He said the premier had wasted 40 days when his own scientific experts were urging a ‘circuit breaker’ — during which time daily deaths had soared from just 11 to 326.

The intervention came as Mr Johnson faced the wrath of Conservative MPs enraged by the ‘evil’ new rules. They have been branded ‘unimaginable’ and compared to the actions of a ‘totalitarian regime.

A crunch vote is due on the lockdown plan on Wednesday, with dozens of Tories threatening to oppose them.

There is little danger of the restrictions being struck out, but Mr Johnson could be left humiliatingly relying on the support of Labour in order to carry the day.

Before the statement, Speaker Lindsay Hoyle laid into government leaks that prevented the news being announced to Parliament first. He insisted that the culprit must be identified and if it is an MP they must make a personal apology to the House.

Scientists and Cabinet ‘Doves’ have been accused of an extraordinary choreography to force Mr Johnson into the draconian lockdown – amid warnings it could devastate the economy.

MPs are furious about a concerted effort to ‘bounce’ the PM into imposing the swingeing restrictions in England from December 2, as it was revealed that science chief Sir Patrick Vallance gave a blood-curdling briefing to reporters on Friday underlining SAGE’s demands for an immediate lockdown – alongside figures suggesting more than 85,000 people could die this winter.

The bombshell assessment came an hour before the powerful ‘quad’ of the PM, Michael Gove, Matt Hancock and Rishi Sunak met around 3.30pm to discuss the move.

Sir Patrick told stunned reporters that it was too late for a two-week circuit breaker, and a four-week lockdown similar to that introduced in France was the best way to control the R number. Those in the briefing were left in little doubt that a national squeeze was coming.

In fact Mr Johnson had still been wavering on the issue that morning, when Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab was sent out to defend the local ‘Tiers’ system on the airwaves. The premier even ‘argued against himself’ about whether the damage from lockdown would be worse than the disease during the ‘Quad’ meeting.

But, confronted with Sir Patrick and Chris Whitty’s dire predictions he set the wheels in motion on a month-long lockdown.

Within hours the tentative decision taken by the elite group was leaked to the Daily Mail and Times – before the full Cabinet had been informed – in an apparent effort to prevent the PM changing his mind.

By Saturday morning the BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg was giving details of two key documents that were shown to the ‘quad’, a controversial prediction that the daily death toll would hit 4,000 a day and that NHS hospitals would be overwhelmed.

There has since been criticism that the 4,000 a day projection was already out of date. It was produced by experts from the University of Cambridge and Public Health England who have since revised their numbers and lowered the possible numbers of deaths.

Nevertheless, both slides formed a key part of the data finally officially presented on Saturday night, when a livid Mr Johnson brought forward his announcement after a call with his clueless wider Cabinet.

A formal leak inquiry has now been launched to find the culprit – with claims that just 15 people, including Sir Patrick, chief medical officer Chris Whitty and NHS England head Sir Simon Stevens were in the meeting.

There have even been dark threats that the police could be called in to find who undermined the PM’s approach. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk