Hancock says he has launched leak inquiry into source of reports about plans for Greater Manchester
The mandatory rules requiring people to wear face masks in Scottish shops and cafes have been extended to workplace canteens and communal areas, Nicola Sturgeon has announced.
The first minister said face coverings now had to be worn in canteens, except when people are eating, and in communal workplace areas like corridors in Scotland, under new regulations coming into force on Friday.
At the same time, couples getting married or entering civil partnerships would be exempted from the face coverings rules during the ceremony, Sturgeon told MSPs during a virtual sitting of the Scottish parliament.
She disclosed that 13 more people had died overnight, taking the total number of people who had died following confirmed Covid-19 tests to 2,585, with 31 new admissions to hospital overnight, taking the total hospitalised to 601. There were 51 people now in intensive care.
Sturgeon confirmed she was considering travel restrictions to bar people from Covid hotspots from entering Scotland; the Welsh government is legislating to bar travellers from English, Scottish and Northern Irish hotspots from entering Wales, to slow down virus transmission.
The Scottish government also plans its own three or four tier restrictions system, mirroring that introduced by Boris Johnson for England earlier this week, in consultation with other parties. “This is a critical moment and our position is precarious, and that demands tough decisions from government,” Sturgeon said.
Italy poised to be removed from England’s travel corridor
The latest test and trace statistics for England make for a sobering read: between 1 October and 7 October 89,874 people tested positive for coronavirus – a rise of 64% on the week before. And while turnaround times for in-person testing have fallen, they have increased for home tests and satellite tests (this includes care home testing).
Contact tracing is also a matter of concern: “Taking into account all contacts identified, 62.6% were reached,” the report notes.
However, the data reveals only 56% people asked to give details of contacts were reached within 24 hours, with over 17% taking three or more days to be reached – precious time in which infectious contacts could have unwittingly been out and about, spreading the virus.
‘Shitshow doesn’t begin to summarise’ – How Labour and Tory Manchester MPs expressed fury in call with minister
Greater Manchester MPs worked together to present a united front against the imposition of tier 3, which meant Matt Hancock was unable to announce the measure in the Commons.
One Labour MP in the telephone briefing said:
Shitshow doesn’t even begin to summarise that meeting with [care minister] Helen Whately. We let the Tory MPs go first and they piled into her saying: what’s the point of this meeting if you are just going to brief to the media that you’ve already made a decision?
The Conservative MPs – who represent nine of the region’s 27 constituencies – were “united on opposing tier 3” said the Labour MP.
For them it’s more about the libertarian aspect, whereas for us it’s about the support package on offer. For us, tier 3 is guaranteed destitution. It’s not just the fact that you will have minimum wage earners seeing their income drop two-thirds to £5.60 an hour, but there’s also a question of eligibility for support.
No one understands why the government is only offering extra resources for local test and tracing to tier 3 areas, said the exasperated MP: “Local test and trace is exactly what you need to avoid going into tier 3.”
The meeting ended with Whately saying: “I can see there are opposing views here.” Apparently she was then “shouted down by everyone saying: no there aren’t, we all agree we don’t want tier 3”.