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A second lockdown might be needed “sooner rather than later” to curb a second wave of coronavirus in the UK, an expert has warned.
Professor Neil Ferguson – whose modelling led to the government ordering the national lockdown in March – said the country is facing a “perfect storm” following the easing of controls over the summer.
Ministers are considering tough new coronavirus restrictions as Boris Johnson said the long-feared second wave of the pandemic has arrived in the UK. The prime minister said he did not want a second national lockdown, but with new cases of the disease in England estimated to have doubled over the past week, he admitted the government was keeping “everything under review”.
Hundreds of conspiracy theorists have gathered in central London to protest against coronavirus restrictions in the UK as infections worsen.
Scuffles broke out as police moved in on demonstrators in Trafalgar Square, who formed human blockades in an attempt to prevent arrests and forced officers to move back.
Police have told people protesting coronavirus lockdown restrictions in central London to leave the area immediately or risk being arrested.
The Metropolitan Police said protesters have refused to leave Trafalgar Square, “putting themselves and others at risk”, and some have been “hostile” and “violent” towards officers.
“Those who remain may get arrested,” the force said in a statement. “It is important to remember that we are still in the middle of a global pandemic, and the changes have been introduced to help control the spread of the virus, keep everybody safe and save lives.
Hundreds of people descended on Trafalgar Square for the “Resist And Act For Freedom” rally this afternoon, before sections got into scuffles with police officers.
A further 16 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospital in England, bringing the total number of confirmed reported deaths in hospitals to 29,735.
NHS England said the patients were aged between 69 and 97 and all had known underlying health conditions.
The dates of the deaths were between 19 August and 18 September, with the majority on or after 17 September. Five other deaths were reported with no positive Covid-19 test result.
The mayor of Liverpool has lambasted the decision for new coronavirus restrictions not to come into force in the city until Tuesday – despite cases already surging there, Colin Drury reports.
New rules announced on Friday will ban different households from mixing and prevent pubs, restaurants and other leisure venues from opening beyond 10pm.
But Councillor Anderson expressed astonishment that despite infection rates now soaring to 106.4 cases per 100,000 people there, the government said new measures would not be implemented for more than half a week.
‘We have no idea why they are waiting until Tuesday for these measures to be brought in – our infection levels are high now’
One of the architects of lockdown has warned new coronavirus restrictions will be needed “sooner rather than later” to prevent the disease surging again.
Professor Neil Ferguson, from Imperial College London, said the UK was facing a “perfect storm” after controls eased over the summer.
Dozens of Metropolitan Police officers, including some on horseback, moved in for a second attempt to break up a gathering in London’s Trafalgar Square organised by opponents of coronavirus lockdown measures, PA reports.
Traffic was brought to a halt as protesters erected a blockade in a bid to prevent officers from making arrests.
One protester hit a London taxi after the driver beeped in frustration. The protester then appeared to spit through the window at the driver.
A partial lockdown aimed at stemming a sharp rise in coronavirus cases is set to begin in some of Madrid’s poorer districts next week, but residents of one of the worst-hit neighbourhoods doubt the new measures will work.
Vallecas, a southern district with a lower average income and higher immigrant population, has one of the highest infection rates in the Spanish capital – almost six times higher than in Chamberi, a wealthier, northern district.
Under the restrictions, announced by Madrid’s regional government yesterday, movement between and within six districts that are home to about 850,000 people will be restricted from Monday, but people will still be able to go to work. Police will be deployed to enforce the lockdown.
Access to parks and public areas will be restricted, gatherings will be limited to six people and commercial establishments will have to close by 10pm in the areas.
Civil servant Feli, who lives in Vallecas, described the restrictions as “completely useless”, adding: “We have to travel from one area which has a lot of cases to another which has less and we are going to spread it.”
Lola, a cleaner, said people would not obey the measures “because many people do not even have a bank book”. She added: “If they fine them, how are they going to get the money?”
Scuffles have broken out between demonstrators and police at a rally in Trafalgar Square organised by opponents of coronavirus lockdown measures.
Metropolitan Police officers moved in on the protesters as they congregated near Nelson’s column on Saturday.
Scuffles broke out between the two sides next to the National Gallery, before officers were pushed back by the loud crowd, who began cheering and chanting.
One protester held a banner calling for the government’s Sage scientific advisers to be sacked, while another’s declared Covid-19 a “hoax”.
The lockdown has had a remarkable effect in suppressing grassroots activism for most of this year, writes John Rentoul:
It took Neil Kinnock seven years to take back control of the party from the Bennites in the 1980s – the pandemic has helped seal Starmer’s ascendancy over his party in just five months
A selection of images from around the world today shows how people are reacting to the coronavirus restrictions.
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News – Lockdown might be needed to curb second wave – follow live