Coronavirus UK news – Covid-19 outbreaks at more than 50 Brit universities amid hopes for vaccine ‘in 3 months’

MORE than 50 universities in the UK have confirmed cases of coronavirus as thousands of students return to campus.

According to a survey of 140 institutions, more than 2,500 Covid-19 cases have been identified among university students and staff.

A surge in coronavirus cases in recent weeks has led to thousands of students having to self-isolate in their halls at some universities.

Northumbria University confirmed late on Friday afternoon that 770 students have tested positive for Covid-19 and they are all now self-isolating.

Meanwhile, a new interactive map perfectly explains the coronavirus restrictions currently in place in your area with around 20 million Brits are now living in local lockdown.

The map, created by the government, shows which specific restrictions apply to different areas of the country and includes simple bullet point details on whether different households can mix, which businesses are open and whether you can leave your local area for a staycation.

The figures comes as US President Donald Trump, 74, sensationally tested positive for coronavirus and has been taken to hospital  in an “abundance of caution”.

Follow our coronavirus blog for the latest news and updates

  • Samantha Lock

  • Samantha Lock

  • Samantha Lock

    VIRUS HITTING NORTH WORSE DUE TO COLDER TEMPS

    Coronavirus is hitting the North and Scotland worse because of colder temperatures and less sunlight, scientists have said.

    The UK's top scientists have highlighted statistics showing how the North has seen a “heavy concentration” of the coronavirus compared to the South.

    The latest data appears to show a link between the weather and the current Covid-19 outbreaks.

    For example, Manchester – the centre of the spiralling cases in August – experienced twice as much rainfall compared to London – where cases remained relatively low towards the end of the summer.

    Met Office data for August shows the South saw more sunshine and hotter days.

    By the end of September, the North West was recording twice as many infections as the next worst-hit region – and where the top ten highest case rates were located.

    In the North West, areas including Manchester and Liverpool are recording between 168 and 288 infections per 100,000 people. 

    Top scientists have admitted that it is “entirely reasonable” to blame weather as a factor driving cases up.

    Colder temperatures and less sunshine are more likely to encourage people to meet indoors.

  • Samantha Lock

    50 UNIVERSITIES ACROSS UK HAVE COVID-19 CASES

    More than 50 universities in the UK have confirmed cases of coronavirus as thousands of students return to campus.

    Over 2,500 Covid-19 cases have been identified among university students and staff, a survey which contacted 140 institutions suggests as reported by PA news agency.

    A surge in coronavirus cases in recent weeks has led to thousands of students having to self-isolate in their halls at some universities – including Manchester Metropolitan and Glasgow University.

    Northumbria University confirmed late on Friday afternoon that 770 students have tested positive for Covid-19 and they are all now self-isolating.

    There have been more than 200 cases at the University of Sheffield and 177 University of Liverpool staff and students have tested positive.

    Around 56 universities across the UK have had at least one confirmed case of Covid-19, an analysis of university responses and media reports suggests.

    More than 2,600 positive cases of Covid-19 have been identified at these universities, the analysis suggests.

  • Jon Rogers

    COVID VACCINE ROLL OUT EXPECTED IN LESS THAN THREE MONTHS

    A mass roll-out of a Covid-19 vaccine in Britain could be finished in as little as three months, The Times reported, citing government scientists.

    Scientists working on the Oxford vaccine hope that the regulators approve it before the beginning of 2021, the newspaper said.

  • Jon Rogers

    TRUMP – LATEST UPDATE

    President Donald Trump “remains fatigued but in good spirits,” in the latest update from his physician, Dr. Sean Conley.

    The doctor revealed that Trump has been treated with one dose of Regeneron's polyclonal antibody cocktail, as well as zinc, vitamin D, the antihistamine famotidine, melatonin and aspirin.

  • Jon Rogers

    JAMES BOND MOVIE SEES RELEASE DATE PUSHED BACK AGAIN

    The new James Bond movie No Time To Die has had its release date pushed back for a second time.

    It is now set for a cinema release in April 2021 after it had been due to hit the big screen on November 11.

    The film had been due to air earlier this year but was postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

    Cinemas have been struggling to draw audiences during the pandemic.

  • Samantha Lock

    LONDON TOWER HAMLETS RESIDENTS TOLD NOT TO VISIT OTHER HOUSEHOLDS

    Residents of the borough of Tower Hamlets in east London are being advised to avoid visiting other households by the local council, despite no changes to coronavirus restrictions in the capital being made by the Government.

    In an open letter, the borough’s mayor John Biggs asked those who live in the area to avoid visiting other households “unless absolutely necessary” due to a rise in coronavirus cases.

    Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and councils in the capital have urged the Government to implement additional measures for Londoners, but so far no extra restrictions have been put in place by ministers.

  • Samantha Lock

    MP MARGARET FERRIER URGED TO QUIT

    SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has called on Margaret Ferrier to quit as an MP after she made a “monumental” error of judgment by taking a train from London to Scotland when she knew she had tested positive for coronavirus.

    The Scottish First Minister said she had spoken to Ms Ferrier – who has had the whip withdrawn by the SNP – and made it “crystal clear” she should resign her seat, though the MP did not reveal what she intends to do.

    Speaking at her daily coronavirus briefing on Friday, the First Minister could not hide her displeasure with her former party colleague and said Ms Ferrier should “come to the right decision” and step down as an MP.

    Ms Sturgeon said: “This was a monumental, actually almost incomprehensible, error of judgment on Margaret's part, and I can't make my feelings on that any clearer than I am doing.

    “There surely can be nobody in this country who doesn't know that if you have a positive test for Covid you should isolate yourself, and you certainly shouldn't sit on a train for six hours taking a 450-mile journey.”

  • Samantha Lock

    THIRD OF UK UNDER NEW RESTRICTIONS FROM SATURDAY

    More than a third of the UK will be under heightened restrictions when Liverpool, Warrington, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough enter local lockdowns on Saturday.

    Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced new restrictions on north-west England, similar to those imposed in the North East earlier this week.

    He told MPs that action was needed with there being 268 cases per 100,000 people in Liverpool.

    It will be illegal for households to mix indoors there, as well as in Warrington, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough, from Saturday.

    Local lockdowns came into force in Denbighshire, Flintshire, Conwy and Wrexham in North Wales from 6pm on Thursday.

    Proposals being considered in Whitehall could see a simpler, three-tiered approach to local restrictions, but these have yet to be finalised.

  • Samantha Lock

    OUTBREAK AT BASILDON HOSPITAL

    Basildon Hospital has been struck by an outbreak of coronavirus with 12 staff and patients infected.

    The outbreak in the Essex hospital is said to have happened in the respiratory ward rather than the hospital's specialist Covid ward.

    It is believed six staff have tested positive, with another six cases among patients, the Echo reports.

    John Spence, who is in charge of health and adult social care, said: “An outbreak of Covid-19 has arisen in the respiratory ward (not the intensive care ward) at Basildon Hospital.

    “Currently we are aware of about 12 cases, evenly split between staff and patients. 

    “Our Director of Public Health is satisfied that the outbreak is being tightly controlled and managed.

    “Basildon MPs are being advised by the NHS. 

    “While I appreciate that this will cause concern, I would stress that the outbreak is under close control.”

  • Samantha Lock

    SNP MP POLICE PROBED FOR TRAVELLING WITH VIRUS

    Police have tonight launched an investigation after SNP's Margaret Ferrier travelled TWICE between London and Scotland while she had coronavirus.

    Cops said that she contacted Police Scotland herself to report she had breached legislation and guidance relating to coronavirus.

    Margaret Ferrier made a reckless tour of the UK after getting a coronavirus test and failing to self-isolate.

    She travelled almost 400 miles by train, spoke in Parliament, and then returned to Scotland by train after she found out she was positive for coronavirus.

    First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said this lunchtime that Ms Ferrier's breach was the “worst imaginable” kind after the SNP MP got a train from London to Scotland and back while infected with coronavirus.

    Ms Ferrier, who has lost the SNP whip for travelling to London before getting her test results, visited several local businesses on the same day she took her test.

  • Samantha Lock

    R-RATE FOR UK BETWEEN 1.3 – 1.6

    The R-rate of coronavirus transmission across the country still remains above 1 and is continuing to creep up, data shows.

    The data released by the Government Office for Science and the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies shows the estimate for R for the whole of the UK is between 1.3 and 1.6.

    Last week, the R number was between 1.2 and 1.5.

    Sage has cautioned that while there are some early indications that suggest the growth of the epidemic might be slowing, it is too early to draw firm conclusions.

    The scientific advisers said “it is still highly likely that the epidemic is growing exponentially across the country” and more data is needed to accurately assess recent changes in coronavirus transmission.

    Data from the Office for National Statistics also released on Friday said an estimated one in 500 people were infected with coronavirus in England between September 18 and 24.

  • Samantha Lock

    750 UNIVERSITY STUDENTS TEST POSITIVE FOR COVID-19

    More than 750 students at Northumbria University are self-isolating after testing positive for Covid-19.

    A spokesperson for the university, based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, said that as of Friday it was aware of 770 students testing positive – 78 of whom are symptomatic.

    All these students, as well as their flatmates and any close contacts, are self-isolating for 14 days in line with Government guidance, the spokesperson said.

    The university is among more than 50 institutions to have confirmed coronavirus cases in recent weeks, as thousands of students return to campuses.

    Self-isolating students are being provided with food, laundry, cleaning materials and welfare support by the university, working alongside the students' union and Newcastle City Council.

    A university spokesperson added: “The increase in numbers comes in the week after students returned to university and reflects the good access to and availability of testing, as well as rigorous and robust reporting systems.”

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    CHECK IT

    Airports are being forced to drastically change their health and security procedures due to coronavirus – the biggest “since 9/11” according to one expert.

    Cameras which detect mask-wearers as well as locating areas which are not social distancing are likely to be the norm in the future.

    Sergio Colella, the Europe president of tech company SITA who are leading experts on technology in the travel industry, said the changes to the travel industry have “not [been] seen since 9/11,” according to the Telegraph.

    One huge change is making travelling through the airport touch-free – something which many are doing already, such as Beijing Airport.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    UK NEGOTIATOR CONFIRMS CONCERN OVER TIME TO RESOLVE

    Another 6,968 people have tested positive for coronavirus overnight – as the total number of infections reaches 467,146.

    And 66 more people have lost their life to the deadly bug in the UK.

    Yesterday, 6,914 new cases were recorded – a slight drop on the previous two days, when more than 7,000 people tested positive.

    Another 47 people died in hospitals in England. Patients were aged between 51 and 97.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    EU PROPOSES EXTENDING RELAXED STATE AID RULES UNTIL JUNE

    The European Commission is proposing to the EU member states to continue flexing state aid rules until the middle of next year to help mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

    Since the pandemic struck, the EU has approved a multi-billion rescue package. Meanwhile, member states have agreed on a 1.8 trillion euro recovery plan and long-term budget for the 2021-2027 period.

    To further relieve the pressure on hard-hit businesses, the bloc's executive arm decided in March to relax strict state-aid rules to allow for other possible sources of public support.

    Over the past seven months, our state aid temporary framework has paved the way for almost 3 trillion euros of member state potential support to businesses hit hardest by the coronavirus crisis,” Margrethe Vestager, the EU commissioner in charge of competition policy, said Friday.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    DONALD TRUMP SHOWING 'MILD SYMPTOMS' OF COVID-19 AFTER POSITIVE TEST

    US President Donald Trump is showing “mild symptoms” of coronavirus after he and first lady Melania tested positive.

    Mr Trump announced his diagnosis in a tweet in the early hours of Friday, following a positive test from one of his closest aides.

    Hope Hicks returned a positive test on Thursday, with Mr Trump later tweeting: “@FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!”

    Mr Trump, 74, is now experiencing “mild symptoms” of the virus which can notably cause fever, a cough and a loss of smell or taste.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    EU WANTS TO EXTEND LOOSER COVID-19 STATE AID RULES TO MID-2021

    Easier state aid rules allowing EU governments to pump trillions of euros into companies ranging from airlines to tour operators and events organisers may be extended to mid-2021, EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager said on Friday.

    The European Commission in March loosened the rules, which are designed to ensure that EU countries do not give an unfair advantage to local businesses, to help firms hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

    Vestager to date has cleared almost 3 trillion euros of state aid, with Germany accounting for 54% of the amount and France and Italy 14%.

    “The effects of the crisis will stay with us for a while. That's why we are proposing to prolong the Temporary Framework until mid-next year and adjust it to continued needs of businesses, while protecting the EU's Single Market,” Vestager said in a statement.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    GREENS CALL FOR 'NEW NORMAL' IN WAKE OF COVID PANDEMIC

    The Greens have called on voters to embrace a “new normal” after the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

    Co-leaders of the party Jonathan Bartley and Sian Berry used the party's conference to reject cutbacks in the wake of the aftermath of the Covid pandemic.

    Mr Bartley said the action taken in response to the crisis had made it clear that things could be different.

    Addressing the party's virtual conference, he said: “In the middle of all the horror of the pandemic, we glimpsed that a different world might be possible.”

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    MADRID OFFICIALS RELUCTANTLY READY CITY FOR PARTIAL LOCKDOWN

    Madrid's regional government has appealed against a national order that requires a partial lockdown of the Spanish capital, just hours before a Friday night deadline for enacting the restrictions in the European coronavirus hot spot.

    The appeal to the National Court argues that restrictions on movement, social gatherings and commerce by central authorities violate regional self-rule laws and provoke totally unjustified economic damage.

    Madrid is leading the resurgence of the virus in Spain, which has Europes highest cumulative caseload 770,000 since the onset of the pandemic.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    WALES – COVID NUMBERS

    There have been a further 462 cases of Covid-19 in Wales, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 24,845.

    Public Health Wales said three further deaths had been reported, with the total number of deaths since the beginning of the pandemic increasing to 1,625.

  • Debbie White

    IRISH HIGH COURT DISMISSES RYANAIR COVID CASE

    Ireland's High Court ruled on Friday that the government's advice against non-essential travel to most countries due to the risk of Covid-19 infection was legal, dismissing a case brought by low-cost airline Ryanair .

    Ireland advises against non-essential travel to all but four countries – Cyprus, Finland, Latvia and Liechtenstein.

    Passengers from all countries – other than those four – coming into Ireland are advised to restrict their movements for 14 days.

    Ryanair had described the measures as “nonsensical” and questioned their legality in a High Court case that rival Aer Lingus also participated in.

    However, “the government acted lawfully in providing travel advice and public health advice in respect of the coronavirus pandemic on a non-statutory basis,” the ruling by Justice Garrett Simons said.

  • Debbie White

    MADRID FIGHTING AGAINST PARTIAL LOCKDOWN

    Madrid’s regional government has appealed against a national order that requires a partial lockdown of the Spanish capital.

    The officials made their move just hours before a Friday night deadline for enacting the restrictions in the European coronavirus hot spot.

    The appeal asks National Court judges to outlaw restrictions on movement, social gatherings and commerce by arguing that the order by central authorities violates regional self-rule laws and that it provokes “totally unjustified” economic damage.

    Madrid is leading the resurgence of the virus in Spain, which has Europe’s highest cumulative caseload — 770,000 since the onset of the pandemic.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    SCOTLAND RECORDS FOUR NEW CORONAVIRUS DEATHS AS TOTAL CASES PASS 30,000

    Scotland has recorded four new coronavirus deaths in the past 24 hours, Nicola Sturgeon has announced, and the number of cases has now passed 30,000.

    The First Minister said the country registered 775 new infections in the last day, with the number of people in hospital and intensive care increasing.

    The 775 cases are 12.6% of newly-tested individuals, up from 10.8% the previous day.

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