Coronavirus news you may have missed overnight: Northeast England faces lockdown and teachers warn of school closures

1 week ago 1

As coronavirus infections spike around the UK, northeast England is facing new lockdown restrictions.

Meanwhile, schools in England and Wales are struggling to operate effectively because of a shortage of tests, teachers say.

Here is your morning Covid-19 briefing.

Ministers are expected to announce new restrictions for the region. There has been a sharp increase in cases in Newcastle, for example, with the Northern Echo reporting that rules could include a ban on households socialising and a 10pm pub curfew.

Matt Hancock was due to make an announcement on the subject on Thursday morning, Newcastle City Council leader Nick Forbes said.

Schools across England and Wales are struggling to cope with a lack of coronavirus tests and the “increasingly out of control” situation could force widespread closures in the weeks ahead, teachers and education unions have warned.

Thousands of pupils have been sent home in recent days after positive test results for the disease have forced hundreds of schools to ask classes or year group bubbles to self-isolate for 14 days.

Head teachers have told The Independent about the obstacles faced by school staff when trying to procure Covid-19 tests, and said teacher shortages were already causing “significant” problems in delivering lessons.

The government is looking at bringing in a curfew on pub opening hours to stop the spread of coronavirus, the prime minister has said.

Boris Johnson said he hoped the government's new "rule of six" would be enough to send the country's "R number" negative again, and said he did not want to impose a full nationwide lockdown for the sake of businesses.

Record daily case rises around the world

At least three countries around the world have reported record one-day rises in coronavirus infections.

In the Czech Republic, the health ministry recorded 2,139 cases of Covid-19 on Wednesday, up from a previous record 1,675 reported for Tuesday.

India, which is on course to overtake the US as the worst-hit country, logged 97,894 cases in the past 24 hours.

And Ukraine set a daily record with 3,584 new infections.

Donald Trump said his Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director “made a mistake” because he was “confused” when he told lawmakers on Wednesday that a coronavirus vaccine won’t be widely distributed until next spring.

"He misunderstood the question, probably,” the president told reporters at the White House, of Robert Redfield’s Senate testimony.

Mr Trump said he “got the impression” that Mr Redfield did not mean to say what he said earlier in the day on a call with his CDC boss.

David Cameron has conceded that “better work could have been done" in ensuring the UK was prepared for the coronavirus pandemic.

The former Conservative prime minister, who resigned in 2016 after finding himself on the wrong side of the result in his own Brexit referendum, suggested that too much emphasis had been placed on dealing with a possible flu pandemic.

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