Johnson gives Britons a stark warning to abide by coronavirus restrictions … Trump brushes off 200,000 US deaths … America’s kissing cowboys
Britons are waking up to the prospect of another national coronavirus lockdown unless they stick to the new rules designed to limit the spread of the disease. In a national televised address last night, Boris Johnson refused to rule out the possibility of a second lockdown and warned that people must find the resolve to abide by new rules in England announced in the Commons earlier, including a 10pm closing time for pubs and restaurants, a renewed ban on indoor team sports and stricter rules on mask-wearing. “If people don’t follow the rules we have set out, then we must reserve the right to go further,” he said. Similar restrictions are coming into force in Wales, while the Scottish government has banned any mixing between households. The new threat from the virus was underlined when hundreds of students at Abertay University in Dundee were ordered to isolate last night after an outbreak at a hall of residence. In addition, West Ham United manager David Moyes and two players had to leave before the team’s cup match against Hull last night after testing positive.
The prime minister told MPs that the new rules could be in place for as long as six months, raising fears that the recession will last until the spring. To offset the economic fallout, chancellor Rishi Sunak is considering a German-style wage subsidy scheme to help businesses through the downturn. But business groups were not happy with the new government advice for workers to work from home if they can, coming as it does hard on the heels of ministers urging people to go back into their offices. Johnson’s speech receives top billing in all the papers today with varying degrees of optimism, but our sketch writer, John Crace, calls Johnson a poundshop imitation of Churchill. And here we suggest six ways to get through the next six months, including not picking a fight with your neighbour, knocking off early so you can get more hours in at the pub before it shuts, and doing something for other people.
Trump’s toll – The US death toll from the virus has passed 200,000, prompting Donald Trump to say that it would have been closer to 2.5 million if his government “didn’t do it properly and do it right”. Asked about the figure, the world’s highest, the president said “I think it’s a shame”, but tried to shift blame onto China whose response he had criticised fiercely in a speech to the United Nations general assembly earlier in the day. As other leaders urged collaboration to beat the virus, Trump blamed China for allowing the “plague” to spread. He also attacked the World Health Organization, which he falsely claimed was “controlled by China”. You can catch up with all the overnight developments in the pandemic around the world at our live blog.
Care home risk – A ban on relatives visiting their loved ones in care homes risks many more premature deaths as the elderly and infirm give up on life in the face of limited contact with their families. The warning from health experts comes as more than 2,700 care homes in England are either shut down to visitors or are about to be under the government’s new rules to stop the spread of Covid-19. To overcome the problem, one care home group in the south of England, Brendoncare, is planning to invite relatives to move in with their loved ones for two-week stints.
Patient abuse – Staff at a mental health hospital in Essex have been caught on CCTV dragging, slapping and kicking a patient. Inspectors uncovered the abuse after an unannounced visit to Cygnet Yew Trees hospital in Kirby-le-Soken in Essex after its provider reported allegations of patient abuse. The 10-bed facility caters for women who have a learning disability. The inspectors said they reviewed “21 episodes of closed-circuit television footage and witnessed staff drag, slap and kick a patient. We witnessed staff shove a patient.”
Mitt’s move – Senator Mitt Romney has said he will vote for Donald Trump’s supreme court nominee in a significant boost to the US president’s hopes of appointing a conservative replacement for the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Romney’s announcement virtually kills off any hopes that Democrats had of blocking the nomination process before the November presidential election. Two Republicans have said they will not back Trump but Democrats need two more upper house votes to prevent it going ahead. Meanwhile, Cindy McCain, wife of the late Republican presidential candidate John McCain, has publicly endorsed Trump’s Democratic rival, Joe Biden.
Stranded whales – Rescuers trying to save 270 whales in shallow water off the coast of Tasmania have spotted another 200 stranded around 10km away, all of which appear to be dead. The discovery takes the number of long-finned pilot whales to die in the stranding event to 290, making it one of the worst ever recorded anywhere in the world.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a pioneer of women’s rights and a liberal stalwart of the US supreme court. Her death last week will change the political balance of the court and has rocked the US election campaign with just weeks to go, explains Moira Donegan.
Sorry your browser does not support audio – but you can download here and listen https://audio.guim.co.uk/2020/09/22-73586-200923TIFginsburg.mp3
Luke Gilford, an American photographer, was amazed when he stumbled across a gay rodeo group and after discovering more about this largely unknown subculture he has documented it in a collection called National Anthem. Gilford, whose father was a rodeo champion, says: “It embraces both ends of the American cultural spectrum: people living on the land, but who are also queer.” There’s also this gallery showcasing some of Gilford’s stunning images.
Sport has been warned the pause in the return of crowds, which was announced by the government on Tuesday, could last throughout winter – and even until the start of April. The extended period without spectators will leave many sports clubs and governing bodies facing an uncertain future, while the new lockdown laws could leave Saracens, who are looking to bounce straight back into the Premiership, in limbo for next season. Ole Gunnar Solskjær started the evening demanding a vastly improved performance but ended it extremely thankful for Dean Henderson’s match-winning save on his debut as Manchester United eventually overcame Luton Town. And today marks the 50th anniversary of a tennis rebellion, when on 23 September 1970 nine women decided they had seen enough misogyny in tennis and broke away to play their own tournament, sowing the seeds for today’s WTA.
Elon Musk has promised Tesla will have cheaper, more powerful, longer-lasting batteries for its electric cars within three years. Admitting that the company’s cars are still not widely affordable, Musk said “we’ve got to get the cost of batteries down”. Tesla shares fell after his comments. The FTSE 100 is expected to rise 0.57% today while the pound is on $1.273 and €1.089.
The prime minister’s grim message to the nation dominates the front pages this morning. The Guardian says “Follow new restrictions or risk a second lockdown, Johnson warns”, while the Times quotes the PM with “A struggle humanity will win” and the Telegraph goes for “There are difficult months to come. The fight against Covid is by no means over”.
The Mail is more bellicose, splashing with “Boris gives UK both barrels”, the Mirror has a gloomier “Boris in last chance saloon”, but the Express conjures an almost euphoric “Our destiny is in our own hands”. The FT says “Johnson warns of ‘perilous’ time as curbs imposed for 6 months”. In Scotland, the Scotsman says “Home visits banned as lockdown tightens” and the Dundee Courier’s bleak front page says “Scotland braced for a long and lonely winter”.
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News – Wednesday briefing: last orders in fight to avoid lockdown