Starmer calls for nationwide lockdown within ‘24 hours’
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has called for a nationwide lockdown to be introduced within 24 hours to control the spread of coronavirus following a surge in new cases.
More than 50,000 positive tests for Covid-19 were reported for the sixth consecutive day on Sunday, with 54,990 cases recorded in the past 24 hours.
Sir Keir told reporters that the virus was “clearly out of control” and it was “inevitable” that some schools would have to remain closed on Monday.
It came after Boris Johnson warned that England’s tier system for restrictions is “probably about to get tougher” due to surging infection rates across the country.
However, the prime minister resisted calls to keep all schools closed next week and claimed that he had “no doubt” that classrooms were safe this winter.
UK Covid death toll passes 75,000
The UK’s coronavirus death toll has now surpassed the grim milestone of 75,000 fatalities after 454 deaths were reported this afternoon.
Today’s figures bring the total death toll to 75,024 since the first recorded death in the UK, back in March 2020.
However, these figures only refer to those who died within 28 days of receiving a positive Covid result. Data showing deaths where Covid was mentioned on the death certificate have now reached 82,624.
Conrad Duncan3 January 2021 17:04
Pope criticises people going on holiday to flee lockdowns
Pope Francis has criticised people who travelled abroad on holiday to escape coronavirus lockdowns and argued that they need to show greater awareness of the suffering of others.
“They didn’t think about those who were staying at home, of the economic problems of many people who have been hit hard by the lockdown, of the sick people,” the pope said.
“[They thought] only about going on holiday and having fun.”
You can find the full story below:
Conrad Duncan3 January 2021 17:00
What is Sir Keir Starmer actually calling for today? The headline is that he wants a national lockdown, which sounds like what happened in March, but it is unclear exactly what that would mean.
The Labour leader has said he does not want to call for the closure of schools on Monday because that would “add to the chaos” but also says that more schools closing is “inevitable”.
ITV’s Daniel Hewitt has reported that Sir Keir’s lockdown would be closer to November’s measures rather than March, with more non-essential venues closed across the country and a return to national “Stay At Home” messaging.
Conrad Duncan3 January 2021 16:46
India will not allow exports of Oxford vaccine ‘for several months’
India will not allow exports of doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine which are produced in the country for several months, the head of the country’s Serum Institute has said.
Serum Institute, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, has been contracted to produce one billion doses of the jab for developing nations.
Adar Poonawalla, the company’s CEO, told AP that the Oxford vaccine was granted emergency authorisation by India’s regulator on Sunday on the condition that Serum Institute does not export shots before vulnerable people in the country are protected.
“We can only give [the vaccines] to the government of India at the moment,” Mr Poonawalla said, adding that the decision was also made to prevent hoarding.
As a result, he said the export of vaccines for COVAX – the initiative created to ensure equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines set up by the World Health Organisation – would not begin until March or April.
Mr Poonawalla added that Serum Institute was currently in the process of signing a larger contract with COVAX for 300-400 million doses of the vaccine.
Conrad Duncan3 January 2021 16:38
“It’s not good enough for the prime minister to hint at further restrictions at unspecified times and then do nothing,” Starmer says.
Conrad Duncan3 January 2021 16:16
Starmer says it is ‘inevitable’ more schools will have to close
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said it is “inevitable” that more schools will have to close due to rising infection rates but stopped short of calling for all classrooms to be shut.
“Everybody wants children back in school. There is nobody that would argue with that. Of course that’s what we all want,” Sir Keir told reporters.
“It’s inevitable more schools will close.”
He added: “I don’t want to call for the closure of schools tomorrow morning and add to the chaos, but we do need to recognise that it is inevitable that more schools will close, and we need a plan in place to deal with it.
“But it can only be part of a wider strategy that has a national lockdown in place in the next 24 hours.
“The prime minister is hinting at it, but he’s not doing it. We can’t afford that delay again.”
Conrad Duncan3 January 2021 15:59
Footage of Sir Keir Starmer’s comments can be found below:
Conrad Duncan3 January 2021 15:48
Our political correspondent, Ashley Cowburn, has more details below on Sir Keir Starmer’s call for a new national lockdown:
Conrad Duncan3 January 2021 15:42
BREAKING: Starmer calls for ‘national restrictions’ within next 24 hours
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has told Boris Johnson to bring in new national coronavirus restrictions within the next 24 hours, rather than delay until later this month.
“The virus is clearly out of control,” Sir Keir told reporters on Sunday.
“And there’s no good the prime minister hinting that further restrictions are coming into place in a week, or two or three.
“That delay has been the source of so many problems.”
He added: “So, I say bring in those restrictions now, national restrictions, within the next 24 hours.
“That has to be the first step towards controlling the virus.”
Conrad Duncan3 January 2021 15:36
More than 50,000 daily UK Covid cases recorded for sixth consecutive day
The UK has reported more than 50,000 confirmed coronavirus cases for the sixth day in a row, with 54,990 cases recorded in the past 24 hours.
Government figures published on Sunday also showed a further 454 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19, bringing the UK’s official death toll to 75,024.
Our reporter, Sam Hancock, has the full story below:
Conrad Duncan3 January 2021 15:25