Scientists warn of 50,000 coronavirus cases per day by mid-October without action now

Prof Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance have laid the groundwork for a second lockdown, warning that without further measures the UK will see 50,000 cases a day by mid-October. 

Boris Johnson will convene a Cobra meeting tomorrow morning, the first since mid-May, before he gives a statement to the Commons, where he is expected to set out new restrictions. 

Rolling the pitch for the Prime Minister, the "two chiefs" highlighted the exponential rise in coronavirus cases in Britain, which was following the trend seen in Spain and France, where fatalities are starting to rise again. 

In the UK, the epidemic is now doubling roughly every seven days "if that continues unabated...there would be something like 50,000 cases per day by the middle of October," Sir Patrick warned. That will lead to "200-plus deaths per day" by November. 

Today's warning was to ensure "we do not enter this exponential growth... that requires speed, that requires action and it requires enough [of both] to bring that down," he added. 

Prof Whitty raised the prospect of a long period of disruption to life, saying science would eventually "ride to our rescue" but "in this period of the next six months, I think we have to realise that we have to take this collectively, very seriously".

Follow the latest updates below.

And that's it for another day...

Matt Hancock is just winding up his appearance in the Commons. As expected, there was little new in there beyond the promise of lockdown exemptions for grandparents who take on childcare duties. 

The main show will be tomorrow when the Prime Minister comes to the Commons to set out the next steps for coronavirus restrictions, following the gloomy forecast from Prof Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance earlier today. 

The "two chiefs", as they used to be known during the first lockdown, warned that left unchecked cases will hit 50,000 a day by mid-October, leading to 200 deaths a day by November. They also warned of six months' disruption if people do not follow the rules, including social distancing, self-isolation when required and the local lockdowns if relevant. 

Boris Johnson will have a particularly busy day tomorrow, with a Cabinet meeting and a Cobra before his Commons appearance. But this evening could well be his toughtest gig, as he goes head-to-head with senior members of his own party unhappy with his "ruling by decree". 

Nearly 1,700 people voted in today's poll, and a whopping 77 per cent agreed with Sir Graham Brady: Downing Street has gone too far and must be curbed. 

I'll be back tomorrow to bring you all this and more from Westminster. 

Boris Johnson to meet 'small group' from 1922 committee ahead of Commons statement

Boris Johnson is due to meet a small group of members of the 1922 committee of backbench MPs tonight ahead of his Commons statement on Covid-19 tomorrow, my colleague Christopher Hope reports.

The Telegraph understands that the PM had hoped for a much larger meeting of the 1922 committee but was unable to book the normal committee room 14 due to a prebooked meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party.

The PM's meeting comes as senior Tory MPs told The Telegraph that the mood on the backbenches is "sulphurous" over the prospect of future natural coronavirus restrictions in coming days.

Sir Graham Brady, the 1922 chairman, is also planning to amend a vote next week on refreshing the Government's lockdown powers to give Parliament a lock on future restrictions.

The Telegraph understands that Government business managers are considering allowing general votes on the principle of future powers, but not on every announcement about local shutdown.

Matt Hancock signals that social bubbles will continue under new restrictions

Simon Clarke, the well-liked communities minister who resigned a fortnight ago citing personal reasons, has urged Matt Hancock to allow "some social contact" under the next set of restrictions. 

Speaking from the backbenches, Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland MP  said: "Whatever further measures are in contemplation for the days ahead, can I issue a plea for proportionately

"Human beings in a free society must have a right to some social contact as they go about their daily lives, even at this difficult time."

Mr Hancock said he agreed "100 per cent" pointing to the social bubbles for single households "which were created for precisely this reason". 

Greg Clark challenges Matt Hancock over seven-day test

Greg Clark, the chair of the Science and Technology Committee, challenges Matt Hancock on tests, saying "the evidence is that Covid is detectable within seven days of being infected". 

He asks why people cannot be tested at that point and be "released" then. 

But Mr Hancock says it is "still estimated to require a 14 day isolation - if we could reduce that time I would be the first to do so". 

"This is a point that is critical on which we must rely on the scientific evidence," the Health Secretary adds, although asks Mr Clark to show him any evidence that might prove him wrong. 

The case for national lockdown has not been made, says Chris Grayling 

Chris Grayling, the former transport secretary, welcomes the measures announced today and says Matt Hancock is "getting the balance right". 

But he points to the fact that there is a "huge regional variations" across the country, and asks "given those regional variations... I do not believe the case for further national measures has been made". 

The Health Secretary says there is "an important balance" between the national restrictions and the "stronger" local lockdowns. He says those have had to be expanded, but "the balance between what we do nationally and what we do locally is as important as the balance overall". 

Matt Hancock pledges to protect test centre staff from potential violence

Jeremy Hunt says he supports the measures outlined by the Health Secretary, and asks if he will commit to a new WHO charter for health worker protection, that asks countries not just to sign up to supply adequate PPE and mental health support, but also a zero tolerance approach to violence towards workers. 

Matt Hancock says he will "happily sign up" to those proposals. 

He says: "We must make sure that in these difficult times, we protect our careworkers and frontline staff, including staff at the test centres."

Labour challenges Matt Hancock for blaming coronavirus surge on people breaking rules

Labour has challenged Matt Hancock over the "tone" of his previous remarks, for suggesting  coronavirus cases are rising because people have broken the rules.

"Neither he nor I came into politics to place upon individuals the heavy burden of curtailments on our freedoms," said Jon Ashworth, pledging to work constructively during the pandemic. 

"People have done what they were asked, in return ministers were supposed to fix test, trace and isolate so we could - in the words of the Government advert - get back to the things we love."

He highlighted the many failings with the test and trace system, including the outpaced demand, and the delay in getting results. "Test, trace and isolate should have been fixed - that failure has left us vulnerable and exposed."

Responding, the Health Secretary thanked Mr Ashworth for his "constructive approach", and the fact they both agree on the overriding strategy, but did not apologise for blaming the public. 

"The truth is, it is vital all people follow the rules that have been put in place - the vast majority have, but critically enough have not followed them that we need to make them mandatory in many places, rather than relying on civic duty," he said. 

Matt Hancock prepares the ground for Boris Johnson's statement tomorrow

Matt Hancock has laid the ground for Boris Johnson to unveil further restrictions during his statement to MPs tomorrow. 

The Health Secretary told the Commons: "The Prime Minister will update the House tomorrow with any more action we need to take.

"This is a moment where we once again must come together to tackle this deadly disease.

Childcare and adult care allowed to continue in lockdowns, Matt Hancock confirms

Matt Hancock then turns to local lockdowns, which are in place in huge swathes of the North and Midlands. 

He says there are some hugely concerning areas of outbreaks including Liverpool and Warrington. 

New measures are being put in place tomorrow, "to protect education and employment as much as possible while bearing down on the virus."

Hospitality will be kept open but table service only, and on a curfew basis. 

"I know how hard this is," he says. "I have heard the concerns about the impact of local action on childcare arrangements". 

People looking after children  under the age of 14, or adults for caring purposes, in formal and informal arrangements, will now be allowed during lockdowns. Parties and playdates are not included, he says. 

Priorities for testing revealed by Matt Hancock

Self isolation has been "instrumental in breaking the chain and blunting the force of the virus," says Matt Hancock, stressing the method as the most important way of halting the spread of Covid-19. 

Testing is also important, and two new Lighthouse Labs will be opened in Newcastle and Bracknell. 

However demand has gone up, which is why a new prioritisation list has been published today, setting out how they are allocated. 

Firstly he says they will support acute clinical care, secondly people in social care and thirdly NHS staff including GPs and pharmacists.

Then it will be for targeted outbreak managament and surveillance studies. 

Schools are the fifth priority, he says, following the general public. 

"The system relies on people coming forward for tests, if and only if they have symptoms or have been specifically advised to by a health professional", Mr Hancock says. 

Matt Hancock confirms £500 'isolation support' for people on low incomes

Matt Hancock is now giving a statement to the House, confirming that the PRime Minister has held conversations with all the Devolved Administrations to ensure "wherever possible we are united" in efforts to fight the spread of the virus. 

He reiterates the CMO and CSA's comments from earlier today, warning that there weill be 50,000 cases a day by mid-October if nothing is done to stop the spread. 

He stresses the individual responsibility that everyone has, saying "the crucial part" is people self-isolating if they or their close contacts have the virus.

"This is the primary way that we together break the chains of transmission". 

Mr Hancock confirms a new £500 isolation support for people on low incomes, starting from next Monday, which will apply directly in England and via the Devolved Administrations in the nations. 

He also confirms the £10,000 fine for people who breach the rules. 

Government 'determined' to ensure defence review will be 'matched by funding', says Ben Wallace

Previous defence reviews were let down by funding rather than policy mistakes, the Defence Secretary has said. 

Labour's shadow defence secretary John Healey asked if he would "avoid making the big mistakes of the last two" defence reviews in its Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy.

Ben Wallace replied: "The mistakes of all the defence reviews, including the 1998 one - which was an exceptionally good review - and indeed Lord Drayson's review - was they weren't matched by funding.... The key here is to make sure our review is driven by threat, then the threat defines what we need to do to keep us safe at home and then the ambition defines how far we wish to go.

"All of that needs to be matched with the Treasury funding. If we are overambitious, underfunded or both, we end up in a position in a few years' time like we have been today and like we have been in the past.

"It has been my determination to support the men and women of the armed forces - that the shadow defence secretary talks about - by making sure we give them something we can afford and tailor our ambition to match our pocket."

Government  'will deliver whatever demands are put on them', says Defence Secretary 

The Government is prepared to meet the challenges of Covid-19 and "any second eventuality", Ben Wallace, the Defence Secretary has said. 

Tobias Ellwood, Tory chairman of the Commons Defence Select Committee, called for "greater use of our senior armed forces to help advance Whitehall's strategic thinking, operational planning and delivery as well as clarity of the message".

He added: "Following the briefings this morning in Number 10, arguably the biggest threat facing this nation is actually Covid-19 and with cases once again rising we must learn lessons from the first spike, and it's clear that the bandwidth, the capacity of all governments, including the UK's, are being tested by this enduring emergency."

Responding, Mr Wallace said: "Backed up with people like defence intelligence we have already started planning for any second eventuality.

"Whether that is a second wave, whether that is not a wave but an alternative challenge, whether it is winter pressures, whether it is floods, whether it is Brexit. All of that is ongoing. I'm confident that the men and women will be able to deliver whatever demands are put on government."

Lobby latest: NHSx app will be able to trace contacts from launch, PMOS clarifies

Earlier today we were told by Downing Street that the NHSx app launching later this week would not be able to contact trace. 

However, the spokesman - who was self-isolating last week - admits he was mistaken. 

A statement from the Department for Health and Social Care confirms: "Contact tracing will be at the heat of the NHS Covid-19 app... it will log the time and distance a user has spent near anyone, even if they don't know them, so it can alert them if necessary if that person later tests positive for Covid-19, and help them self-isolate, book a free test if they develop symptoms, and get their results."

The official NHS Covid-19 "Test and Trace" contact tracing app launches on Thursday Credit: Getty

Lord Mayor's Show cancelled for first time in over 150 years

This year's Lord Mayor's Show in the City of London has been cancelled for the first time since 1852 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

A scaled-back version of one of the capital's landmark annual events was due to be held on November 14, but organisers have abandoned plans in the interests of safety.

The City of London Corporation said this year's show, which traditionally features a three-mile-long procession through the streets, had previously aimed to go ahead as a "contained, televised spectacle" with restricted public access.

The governing body of the Square Mile said that according to historical records, the Lord Mayor's Show was last cancelled in 1852 to allow for a period of national mourning for the Duke of Wellington.

The decision to cancel was taken on Monday by organisers the Lord Mayor's Show Ltd.

The pageantmaster of the Lord Mayor's Show, Dominic Reid, said: "Today's decision to cancel this year's show is as inevitable as it is regrettable, but we are facing uncertain times and despite everyone's best efforts, we took the view that cancelling the event is the most appropriate and responsible action."

The Lord Mayor's Show in more usual times Credit: Geoff Pugh for the Telegraph

Further 10 people die with coronavirus in England

A further 10 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died, bringing the total number of confirmed reported deaths in hospitals in England to 29,757.

Patients were aged between 44 and 95 years old. All had known underlying health conditions.

Date of death ranges from 17 to 20 September 2020.

There were four deaths in the North East & Yorkshire, the worst-affected region, followed by the North West, which had three. There was one death recorded in the East of England, London and the Midlands while no deaths were reported in the South East and South West. 

Scotland to face new restrictions in next 48 hours, says Sturgeon, as she hints at return of four-nation approach

Scotland will "almost certainly" face new restrictions across the entire country "in the next couple of days", Nicola Sturgeon has said. 

The First Minister is speaking with Boris Johnson this afternoon, and will join the virtual Cobra meeting tomorrow, as well as chairing a Scottish cabinet meeting "to take stock", she said. 

"I am very clear that it must be in a position to decide the way ahead for Scotland within the next 48 hours," Ms Sturgeon said during her regular press conference. "I need to be absolutely straight with people across Scotland that additional restrictions will almost certainly be put in place in Scotland over the next couple of days.

"If we move sharply now to get the virus back under control, we can minimise the time we all spend under any new restrictions. If we wait, it will take longer – potentially a lot longer – to come out of the other side.

"For that reason, as I indicated on Friday, we are preparing to introduce a package of additional measures with the intention of bringing the R number back below 1."

Ms Sturgeon said "ideally" some of those measures would be taken on a four nations basis, across the UK.

Ms Sturgeon said "ideally" measures would be taken on a four-nation basis Credit: AFP

Perugia airport boss: Boris Johnson was confused with Tony Blair 

The Telegraph's correspondent in Rome has the latest on "Perugia-gate", following Italian newspaper La Repubblica's claims that Boris Johnson had gone to Italy and an under-the-radar break earlier this month, where he is supposed to have had baby Wilfred baptised. 

According to Nick Squires, the airport whose statement the story is based on has backtracked, claiming he was "confused" with Tony Blair. 

UK could 'realistically' face Italy-style scenario this winter, Sage scientist warns

The UK could "realistically" face the "catastrophic" scenarios seen by Italy and Wuhan this spring, when patients were turned away because there was not enough room in hospitals, a Sage scientist has warned. 

Professor Peter Horby, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), told the BBC: "If we look back to March this year, or if we look back even further to what was happening in northern Italy, or we look back to January to what was happening in Wuhan, these were fairly catastrophic events.

"There were ICUs ... absolutely rammed full of very sick patients. There were terrible decisions having to be made about turning people away or not putting people on ventilators.

"That's what we realistically could face again this winter," he added. "I think those who say that it's a milder disease now which changed in virulence, it's only flu, I think they're sorely mistaken.

"I think we are going to have to face the facts that the next six months are going to be very difficult. We really can't afford to have a replay of what we saw in March this year."

"There were terrible decisions having to be made about turning people away or not putting people on ventilators." Credit: LaPresse

What's on the agenda for the rest of the day

As always with Mondays, things will kick off in the Commons from 2:30pm and run well into the evening. 

MPs will be quizzing Ben Wallace, the Defence Secretary, before hearing a statement from Matt Hancock on coronavirus. 

We are not expecting any huge fireworks from this statement, given the Prime Minister is speaking tomorrow. 

After that MPs will be debating the now-somewhat-less-controversial Internal Market Bill. It's unlikely to get significant push back given what has been promised to the rebels, although there are some legal purists who are still clearly unhappy with it.

Those grievances are likely to be aired tomorrow when it comes to debating and voting on the amendment, which replaces the one Sir Bob Neill was putting forward. 

Lobby latest:  NHSx contact tracing app will launch without contact tracing ability

The delayed NHS Covid-19 app being launched in England and Wales on Thursday will not provide the automatic contact-tracing ability initially, Downing Street has said. 

During today's lobby briefing the Prime Minister's official spokesman said it would not, telling journalists: "It will be there to check and report symptoms, book a test, find out if you have tested positive or not and if you need to self-isolate.

"You will be able to check the risk level of your local area and it will provide for the QR code check-in on entry to various premises with your phones, instead of having to fill out a check-in box or anything else to provide your contact details."

Asked if it would do automatic contact tracing, the spokesman said: "I have set out to you the functions which it will have when it has launched." 

Boris Johnson to give statement in House of Commons

Boris Johnson's anticipated statement will be given to the Commons tomorrow, amid increasing anger at his lack of respect for parliamentary norms. 

The Prime Minister and members of his Cabinet have been repeatedly criticised by the Speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, for making key announcements outside the Chamber, meaning they are not subject to the usual srutiny. 

Critics see it as further sign that he and chief adviser Dominic Cummings are trying to shift the role towards something more presidential. 

However this morning Sir Graham Brady, chair of the influential 1922 Committee of backbenchers, went public with his concern about the Government "ruling by decree". 

Whether the Prime Minister's statement was always intended to be given to MPs or not, this will go some way towards smoothing ruffled feathers. 

Lobby latest: No change to workplace guidance, Downing Street says

There is no change to the Government's position on people working in offices, the Prime Minister's official spokesman said, insisting it was still down to the discretion of staff and their employers. 

He also suggested there were no plans to halt the push to get civil servants back to Whitehall amid rising coronavirus cases.

Sir Mark Sedwill had written to staff saying 80% should return to workplaces for some time each week by the end of September, before standing down as Cabinet Secretary.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "I haven't seen any update to the letter which you've all reported on."

He also said there was no update to the Covid-alert level.

"The alert level is kept under review by the joint biosecurity centre and by the four chief medical officers. The most recently published decision is that it was at level three, if and when there's any update to that we will make it public," he said.

Lobby latest: Cabinet given 'detailed briefing' from advisers this weekend

Boris Johnson and his Cabinet were briefed on the spread of coronavirus and its economic effects on Saturday, Downing Street said.

Senior ministers were briefed by Professor Chris Whitty, Sir Patrick Vallance and chief economic adviser at the Treasury Clare Lombardelli, No 10 said.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "The PM has been engaged with the Cabinet throughout this process. The Cabinet received a detailed briefing from the Government's chief medical, scientific and economic advisers over the course of the weekend.

"The PM will work with his colleagues to ensure that we respond in the most effective way to try to control the spread of the virus and to save lives."

A calling notice for a meeting of the Cobra committee has been sent.

"Cobra will take place tomorrow morning," the spokesman added.

Lobby latest: PM to chair Cobra tomorrow to set out 'next steps' on coronavirus, Downing Street confirms

Boris Johnson will chair a Cobra meeting tomorrow morning - the first one since 10 May - Downing Street has confirmed. 

The Prime Minister will spend this afternoon holding one-to-ones with Scotland's Nicola Sturgeon and Wales's Mark Drakeford separately, and will also speak to Northern Ireland's First Minister Arlene Foster and her deputy Michelle O'Neill together.

It is not thought there are plans to speak to London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

Asked if he will set out new restrictions subsequently, the Prime Minister's spokesman said: "You have heard the Prime Minister say we keep everything under review in order to keep rate of infection down, and are looking at what other measures we could potentially make.

"The PM and his colleagues have been working throughout the weekend on the coronavirus response and as soon as in position to set our next steps then I will do so.

"What you heard from the Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Adviser this morning was setting out that we do face significant challenge in combating infection as we head into the winter months and the PM has said we are keeping everything under review."

Cobra meeting will take place following Nicola Sturgeon's demand

A Cobra meeting will take place to discuss the surging coronavirus cases, following calls from Nicola Sturgeon and others across the devolved nations to co-ordinate new measures.

The Scottish Government learned of the plans for a Cobra meeting during another meeting with Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove on Saturday, Ms Sturgeon said during her regular press conference.

However, the First Minister said it was "frustrating" that there had not been a date set for the Cobra gathering.

She also said she would be speaking to the Prime Minister this afternoon.

Ms Sturgeon added: "In that call, I will impress upon the Prime Minister my view that we need decisive, urgent and as far as possible given our individual responsibilities, co-ordinated action across the UK.

"I will be clear that I am willing to allow a bit more time for four-nations discussions to take place before making final decisions for Scotland, but I will be equally clear that the urgency of this situation will mean that we cannot, must not and will not wait too long."

Rishi Sunak let 'the clock run down on millions', and risks doing the same to businesses, claims Labour

The clock is running down for millions of people on the job furlough scheme as businesses face "going to the wall", Labour has said.

Speaking during the party's virtual conference shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds attacked Rishi Sunak for "allowing the clock to run down on the four million people on furlough" adding he was doing "exactly the same for the millions of businesses ". 

"From March next year repayments will start for the loan schemes set up to help businesses through the crisis, but on the current trend, our economy won't be anything like back to normal by then.

"Without effective Government action, many companies will go to the wall with more job losses and more costs for the public finances," she said. 

A programme must be set up now "so we don't end up once again with last-minute panicked schemes that waste public money," she added. "It must be targeted so that support goes to purposeful, responsible businesses that will invest for the future."

Labour Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds Credit: PA

Spike in cases 'not inevitable' but caused by Government 'incompetence', says Labour

Labour has urged the Government to avoid imposing a second lockdown in response to the rising Covid-19 cases, after Prof Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance "presented a grim picture" about rising cases. .

Jonathan Ashworth said the rise was "not inevitable, but a consequence of the Government's incompetence and failure to put in place an adequate testing system".

The shadow health secretary added: "The Prime Minister is making a statement later this week, but Labour's priority is that there must be a national effort to prevent another national lockdown.

"The Government must do what it takes to prevent another lockdown, which would cause unimaginable damage to our economy and people's wellbeing.

"We need an effective testing and tracing system with support for people to isolate. When testing breaks down we can't track this virus and it quickly gets out of control.

"We are also calling for a Cobra of the nations and regions so that the Government acts with the urgency this demands."

Sir Bernard Jenkin: Time for the PM to take back control – and bring in the Armed Forces

It is horribly apparent that the UK infection rate is heading for a second peak, that testing capacity is falling far short of demand, and that the “world-beating” track-and-trace system has simply not been established. In short, we are heading for the worst for the economy – another spike and another lockdown. This is not the case in many other countries. 

As Sir Bernard Jenkin argues in today's Telegraph, the problems with tracking, tracing and testing have been well-understood for months. The predicament facing the Government is not fundamentally one of policy; it is one of logistics and implementation. 

The Prime Minister must take back control of his Government from publicity-obsessed and unaccountable advisers, and look to the Armed Forces instead.

Have your say on: Ministerial overreach and coronavirus emergency powers

The Government is facing a new backbench rebellion, after Sir Graham Brady tabled an amendment seeking to curb ministerial powers on further coronavirus restrictions. 

The chair of the 1922 Committee of Conservative backbenchers told the Today programme Downing Street had "got into the habit of ruling by decree" and was treating the public like children, echoing a point made by the Telegraph's Editor Chris Evans yesterday. 

But Grant Shapps defended the "need for speed", warning: "Our civil liberties are very much at risk if we fail to act with a virus like this. We know where it leads if you don't act - it leads you to where we were in the first lockdown, where it was actually illegal - illegal -  to be outside your house for any other than one of four reasons. 

"That is what happens to civil liberties."

So is Government guilty of ministerial overreach? Or do desperate times call for desperate measures? Have your say in the poll below. 

In numbers: Cases doubling every seven days

Prof Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance have urged the country to follow the rules or face further restrictions, warning that cases are doubling every seven or eight days currently. 

Left unchecked that will result in 50,000 cases a day by mid-October, they warned. 

See what that looks like in the chart below. 

Screenshot of PM during Zoom call appears to back up Downing Street's Perugia claims

Backbench Tories are questioning the Prime Minister's version of events after an Italian newspaper reported that he was in Perugia at the time he held a party-wide Zoom call. 

Some MPs have claimed this explains why the connection was so bad - at the time there were many complaints that Boris Johnson kept freezing and couldn't be heard. 

But the below tweet has been drawn to my attention, which strongly backs Downing Street's argument that he was in London at the time. 

UK may see coronavirus vaccine this year, says Sir Patrick Vallance

Chris Whitty then turns to what people should do to turn back the tide. He urges people to remember the "hands, face, space" mantra, and that anyone with symptoms or who have travelled from high risk areas should self-isolate. "This is an absolutely critical par t of the response". 

Reducing social contacts, either in work or social environments, is also important "in the least damaging way", he says, noting the balance of risk. 

Whatever we do, there will be "some downside", but if we do not break the chain we will be in serious trouble. 

Then he outlines drugs, both in terms of treatment and vaccines. 

Sir Patrick Vallance says "good progress" has been made on vaccines, and "several" are in "very late stage of clinical testing". 

The UK has got access to a number of these, he says. It is possible some will be made available this year, but more likely we will see them early next year. "In the meantime we have to get control of this.. to make sure we can live with it."

Vaccines

CMO urges 'collective' response as he outlines four health challenges coronavirus poses

Prof Chris Whitty says there are four ways this virus will have a bad effect on the nation's health: direct deaths, overwhelming the NHS, indirect deaths and the long-term effects of economic damage. 

"If the NHS is having to spend a large proportion of its effort" dealing with coronavirus "it till lead to a reduction of services in other areas," the CMO warns. 

On the other sides, there is the economic and mental health issues caused by lockdown, he adds. 

He warns of "the chain" that everyone is in. "You cannot in an epidemic take on your own risk... it is important we see this as something we have to do collectively."

'We have, in a bad sense, turned a corner,' says Chris Whitty

Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer, returns to what his colleague Sir Patrick Vallance said earlier about cases doubling seven or eight days, saying this will pick up pace exponentially. 

"We have in a bad sense literally turned a corner," he says, adding "the seasons are against us". 

The weather "benefits respiratory diseases" such as coronavirus in the same way as they do the flu. 

For the next six months we have to take this very seriously collectively, he adds. 

And the suggestion that the virus is not as serious as previously thought should not be believed, he says, pointing to the fact that younger people have been more likely to get it so far, but as it moves up the age bands the mortality rates will be "similar to, slightly lower but similar to" the spring mortality rates. 

He says flu would normally kill between 7,000 and 20,000. "This virus is more virilent than flu," he adds. 

Chris Whitty: This is not someone else's problem

Prof Chris Whitty takes over the press conference, turning to the slide showing where outbreaks are. 

You can use our interactive chart to see if you live in, or near, an area with rising coronavirus cases.

Prof Whitty says the country is seeing increases broadly, saying "this is not someone else's problem, this is all of our problem". 

Sir Patrick Vallance: The vast majority of us do not have immunity to coronavirus

Sir Patrick Vallance then turns to immunity, noting that just "something under eight per cent of the population" have been infected and/or have antibodies. 

It may be higher in the cities, as high as 17 per cent. The vast majority of us do not have immunity, he adds. 

Even those who do have antibodies will probably see their immunity diminish over time. 

Antibodies 

 

Sir Patrick Vallance: Coronavirus cases could reach 50,000 a day by mid-October

Sir Patrick Vallance says the epidemic is doubling roughly every seven days - "if that continues unabated...there would be something like 50,000 cases per day by the middle of October". 

That would lead to "200-plus deaths per day" by November, he adds. 

But this is a warning to ensure "we do not enter this exponential growth... that requires speed, that requires action and it requires enough to bring that down," he adds. 

Estimate for mid-October

 There is the potential to move very fast, he adds. 

Sir Patrick Vallance: 70,000 people now infected in UK, 6,000 per day

Sir Patrick Vallance then turns to the UK, where we are seeing a rise in cases from July onwards. 

The slide shows a breakdown by age groups, and there has been an increase in every group - and not because of the rise in testing, he says. There is an increase in "test positivity" as well as the population survey, where it is now estimated 70,000 people are now infected, around 6,000 per day, Sir Patrick says. 

"Numbers are clearly increasing, they are increasing across all age groups. It is a little bit different in different areas... but this increase in umbers is also translating into an increase in hospital admissions," he says. 

Increase across all age groups

Sir Patrick Vallance: Increased cases lead to increased deaths

Sir Patrick Vallance begins by reminding people that by reducing contacts and avoiding poor ventilation, and reducing the probability of coming into contact with people with the virus, are the most important points to bare in mind. 

He turns to the slides, looking at Spain and France where increased cases have led to deaths. 

"There is a simple message from this slide - as cases increase... those increases in hospitalisations will lead to an increase in deaths," he says. 

Spain and France Credit: Downing Street

 The virus has changed a bit, but not in terms of its propensity to cause deaths, particularly among the elderly.

Matt Hancock: The nation will determine how normal Christmas is this year

It is down to the country how "normal" Christmas will be this year, Matt Hancock has said. 

The Health Secretary told ITV that the current moment was a critical point in slowing the spread of the disease, saying:  "It depends how much we can control it now.

"If this runs out of control now, then we'll have to take heavier measures in the future. The more we can control it now by everybody doing that bit, including us - absolutely - but everybody together, then the easier it is going to be to have as normal a Christmas as possible."

On the possibility of a vaccine, Mr Hancock said: "For the mass rollout we're talking about the first bit of next year, if all goes well.

"Hopefully in the first few months - there's still a chance of it coming on stream before Christmas, but we've then got to roll it out and the first people who will get it are the people who are most vulnerable - people in care homes, older people.

"There's a series of different vaccines, but we are talking about - essentially, for it to have an impact on how we live our lives - we're talking about the start of next year."

MP and close ally to Boris Johnson apologises after being pictured breaking coronavirus rules

A Conservative MP close to Boris Johnson has apologised after he was pictured on a train without a mask, less than two weeks after he urged his constituents to wear one on public transport.

Danny Kruger, who was elected last year after leaving his job as Boris Johnson’s political secretary, said he “forgot” to wear a face covering on a train from Hungerford to London.

Government is 'ruling by decree', and treating public 'like children', claims chairman of 1922 Committee

The Government has "got into the habit of ruling by decree", the chairman of the 1922 Committee has claimed, amid signs of a new rebellion on the backbenches. 

Boris Johnson is expected to introduce new lockdown measures this week, putting him on a collision course with his own backbenchers for the second time in two weeks. 

Sir Graham Brady is tabling an amendment which would require the Government to put any new measures to a vote of MPs.

"The British people are not used to being treated like children," he told the Today programme, stressing that parliamentary scrutiny of the rule of six would have enabled MPs to question why the limit was put at six and not eight or ten and why children were included in England and not in Wales or Scotland.

He questioned whether the lockdown strategy had worked, pointing to the situation in Sweden, where such restrictions were not used.

And he denied that greater scrutiny would prevent ministers from acting swiftly to deal with the pandemic.

"Governments find it entirely possible to put things to Parliament very quickly when they choose to do so," Sir Graham told Today.

However Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, defended the Government's approach, telling BBC Breakfast action was taken "by and large with the consent of the British people". 

He added: "We are not living in normal times where you have the luxury of more time to pass rules. There are these powers which enable rules to change pretty quickly... most people understand that the pressing nature of this [pandemic] is why we have to act quickly."

Matt Hancock hints at restrictions for social settings

Matt Hancock suggested that any new restrictions would focus on social settings rather than schools or the workplace.

The Health Secretary told ITV's This Morning he wanted to avoid school closures: "The evidence is ... schools aren't where a lot of the transmission happens, it's more about people socialising."

He pointed out that there were already parts of the country where "there are measures in place to say that you shouldn't socialise with people outside your household".

Matt Hancock unable to confirm if pubs will stay open this weekend

Matt Hancock was unable to say whether England's pubs would be allowed to open this weekend as the Government prepared extra measures to curb the spread of coronavirus.

On ITV's This Morning, Health Secretary Mr Hancock was asked whether landlords would be told to shut this weekend.

"We will be absolutely clear about the changes we need to make in the very, very near future," Mr Hancock said.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to address the nation on Tuesday amid mounting concern about the rise in the number of Covid-19 cases.

Mr Hancock said his answer on pubs was "not a no, and it's not a yes", adding: "We have been working on this all weekend, we haven't taken the final decisions about what we need to do in response to the surge that we have seen in the last few weeks."

The Health Secretary spoke to Mr Johnson on Monday morning and added: "He is as worried as we all are about the rise in the number of cases and we have to make a final decision about what's the best response to that."

Matt Hancock unable to confirm if pubs will be open this weekend Credit: Barcroft Media

Backbenchers fan flames of doubt over Number 10's Perugia denials

Backbenchers are raising questions over whether Boris Johnson was in Italy during a party-wide Zoom call held by the Prime Minister, despite Number 10's denials. 

Italian newspaper La Repubblica reported that Mr Johnson was in Perugia September 11-14 inclusive, citing an official statement of the Italian airport dated September 17. Downing Street has said this is "completely untrue" (8:10am). 

But one MP, who had complained about the terrible reception during the call, said Mr Johnson was "not in the usual room" at the time. 

"It was quite a grand room, a formal room - it had the appearance of being in an embassy. It definitely wasn't the normal room," the MP said. "I am not really that bothered [about the trip], but the whole Government has a problem with lack of transparency... it is not so much that they are trying to hide the fact they've gone away, or that [Carrie] was pregnant - there is an active misinformation campaign."

Another said: "Those who want him to fail will see it as another example of lack of judgement. Those who support him will give him the benefit of the doubt. He is marmite. The denial is more of problem."

Labour attacks Government's 'unacceptable' ending of rail franchise 

In a further sign of the topsy-turvy world that British politics is right now, Labour has attacked the Government's move to end rail franchises.

 The Department for Transport announced that it was taking on franchise holders' revenue and cost risks since March, at a cost to taxpayers of at least £3.5 billion, to mitigate the impact of the pandemic. 

Tan Dhesi, Labour's shadow rail minister, said: "We welcome the Government admitting privatisation hasn't worked and bringing in greater public sector involvement in managing the railways.

"But today's agreements mean taxpayers are set to continue paying hundreds of millions of pounds in profit to private rail companies to run the network. This is completely unacceptable.

"These agreements paper over the cracks of a broken rail system. It's time to put passengers before profit and bring our rail franchises back into full public ownership."

Former special envoy suggests he will support Sir Graham Brady's rebel amendment

A former special envoy, who resigned his post over the Internal Market Bill, has said he may back Sir Graham Brady on his amendment requiring the Government to put any new measures to a vote of MPs.

Rehman Chishti, who quit as special envoy for freedom of religion or belief last week over the law-breaking clause in the bill, told Sky that despite being a Brexiter it was "completely unacceptable... if you start compromising with that principle, which other laws can you then move away from". 

"At the same time we are dealing with difficult, challenging circumstances with people's freedoms, asking them to do the right thing and yet we have a minister at the despatch box saying in limited specific circumstances you can break the law," he said. 

The MP for Gillingham & Rainham added: "There is a  lot of stuff going through... that is dealt with statutory instrutments, which means they are not voted on or debated on by MPs."

If Sir Graham's amendments "ensure parliamentary scrutiny - and for me that leads to better legislation - that is something I would look at very closely," he said. 

Have your say on: Ministerial overreach

The Government is facing a new backbench rebellion, after Sir Graham Brady tabled an amendment seeking to curb ministerial powers on further coronavirus restrictions. 

The chair of the 1922 Committee of Conservative backbenchers told the Today programme Downing Street had "got into the habit of ruling by decree" and was treating the public like children, echoing a point made by the Telegraph's Editor Chris Evans yesterday. 

But Grant Shapps defended the "need for speed", warning: "Our civil liberties are very much at risk if we fail to act with a virus like this. We know where it leads if you don't act - it leads you to where we were in the first lockdown, where it was actually illegal - illegal -  to be outside your house for any other than one of four reasons. 

"That is what happens to civil liberties."

So is Government guilty of ministerial overreach? Or do desperate times call for desperate measures? Have your say in the poll below. 

Circuit break lockdown just a temporary measure, says health expert

Professor Paul Hunter, an expert in health protection at the University of East Anglia, suggested a "circuit break" national lockdown would only halt the Covid-19 surge temporarily.

And he called for an end to mixed messages from ministers, telling Today: "We've certainly seen a lot of confusion and a lot of mixed messages over the past few months and examples of people in authority who don't feel that they need to follow the rules themselves."

This morning the Children's Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, said she would back the idea of a short-term lockdown as being less disruptive to young people's education. 

Grant Shapps defends Government's 'need for speed'

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said the "need for speed" has required extraordinary responses after criticism that ministers have been "ruling by decree".

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "We're in a situation we've not seen literally since the war where we've had to act at incredible pace.

"Of course it's right to look at the balance here but the need for speed, as we're going to hear later today from the scientific and medical experts, does mean that these are exceptional times," he added. 

This morning Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee, claimed ministers were "ruling by decree" as he revealed plans to table an amendment which would require the Government to put any new measures to a vote of MPs.

Parliament 'surrendered' its role over coronavirus laws, says Lady Hale 

Parliament has "surrendered" its role over emergency laws restricting freedoms amid the coronavirus pandemic, the former president of the supreme court has said.

Lady Hale, who retired in January, has claimed that the Coronavirus Act 2020, passed in March, gave ministers “sweeping” powers alongside other “draconian” regulations. 

While Parliament has resumed much of its traditional role "it did surrender control to the government at a crucial time", she told the Guardian. "Maybe the lockdown and its severe consequences … were inevitable or at least the best solution that could be devised in the circumstances. My plea is that we get back to a properly functioning constitution as soon as we possibly can."

Lady Hale, who rejected Boris Johnson's attempted five-week prorogration last year as unlawful, also took aim at Dominic Cummings over his trip to Durham, saying: “A certain government adviser obviously did know what the regulations were and what they said. Others might have also felt that they had a reasonable excuse for doing something like he did. But they did not do it, either because they did not know the law and just abided by what they were told or because they felt they were not safe."

Lady Hale Credit: Reuters

Tories must return Chernukhin cash, says Labour MP

A Labour member of the Foreign Affairs Committee has said the Conservative party should "return every penny it has received from Lubov Chernukhin now", ahead of Panorama film into the donor. 

Ms Chernukhin has given £1.7m to the Tories, including paying to spend time with the last three prime ministers. 

Leaked files show her husband received $8m (£6.1m). The money initially came from a politician facing US sanctions due to his closeness to the Kremlin, the BBC reports. 

Her lawyers say the donations are not tainted by Kremlin influence.

Grant Shapps defends Boris Johnson's no-show today

Grant Shapps has defended the fact that Boris Johnson will not appear alongside his chief medical advisers during today's "tipping point" press conference. 

Prof Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance, the Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Adviser respectively, are due to give a press conference at 11am today. 

When asked why the Prime Minister was not going to be part of their public address, Mr Shapps added: "What he wants to do, quite rightly, is allow without politicians there, to allow scientists to set out the picture to the country.

"He will come out very soon after that and speak to the country."

It is thought Mr Johnson will set out the next steps in tackling the pandemic, including new restrictions, tomorrow. 

Boris Johnson yesterday Credit: Reuters

End of rail franchising to protect trains through pandemic, Transport Secretary says 

Rail franchising has been "ended" by extending measures introduced to keep trains running after the coronavirus outbreak, the Department for Transport (DfT) has announced.

Operators have been moved to "transitional contracts" ahead of the creation of a "simpler and more effective structure" which will be developed over the coming months, the DfT said. The department has taken on franchise holders' revenue and cost risks since March, at a cost to taxpayers of at least £3.5 billion.

Explaining the move, Grant Shapps said it was vital to ensure railways kept running so key workers could get to work.

When asked on BBC Breakfast how the new rail measures will be paid for, the Transport Secretary added: "As with everything else related to the coronavirus we are having to pay the money into it and we are anxious to get a recovery in our railways.

"But I can't have a situation where the railway are not running and not allowing our key workers to get to work, our NHS staff, or indeed people able to travel safely with enough capacity to get to their jobs."

ICYMI: Telegraph Editor says politicians 'address us as if we were all naughty children'

Sir Graham Brady isn't the only person who thinks the Government is increasingly treating the British public like they are children. 

Yesterday the Editor of the Telegraph, Chris Evans, posted a rare tweet to this effect, saying: "I’m not sure it’s wise of politicians and scientists (and some journalists) to seek to blame the public for whatever freedoms are about to be denied us. The vast majority are behaving responsibly. Yet we are addressed as if we were all naughty children."

Civil liberties will be worse if don't act fast, warns Grant Shapps

Grant Shapps has defended the Government for not always "coming to Parliament first", after Sir Graham Brady accused ministers of "ruling by decree", saying the country's civil liberties would be worse if they did not act fast. 

The Transport Secretary told BBC Radio 4's Today Programme the "exceptional circumstances have meant we have had to move at a unbelievable pace and that hasn't always meant we could come to Parliament first when we are dealing with coronavirus".

Asked about the civil liberties implications, he said: "Our civil liberties are very much at risk if we fail to act with a virus like this. We know where it leads if you don't act - it leads you to where we were in the first lockdown, where it was actually illegal - illegal -  to be outside your house for any other than one of four reasons. 

"That is what happens to civil liberties... I don't dispute for one moment that Parliament needs to be involved and consulted - and it is."

Children's Commissioner backs October half-term 'circuit break'

The Children's Commissioner for England has thrown her weight behind the idea of a "circuit break"-style mini lockdown over half-term as a way of minimising disruption to education.   

It has been proposed that this could take place over the October half-term. 

Anne Longfield told BBC Breakfast: "A half term circuit break makes sense - it won't feel like disruption to the same scale [and] children will know it is temporary."

She added: "If we let children lose confidence in schools, their ability to learn with friends and teachers, that will knock their confidence in learning, and their ability to progress in schools will really be knocked."

Anne Longfield Credit: Jeff Gilbert for Telegraph

Reports that Boris Johnson was in Italy earlier this month 'completely untrue' says Downing Street

Downing Street has denied as "completely untrue" a report that Prime Minister Boris Johnson travelled to Perugia this month.

Italian newspaper La Repubblica claims the Prime Minister visited Italy between September 11-14, during which time he held a Zoom call with backbenchers over the Internal Market Bill, something that was beset with technical problems. 

Asked about it this morning, Grant Shapps said it was not true "as far as I know", stressing he did not "track his movements by the hour".

This morning a No 10 spokesman said: "This story is completely untrue. The Prime Minister has not travelled to Italy in recent months. Anyone who publishes these claims is repeating a falsehood."

Grant Shapps urges British to follow the rules or face 'situations we don't want to be in'

 Grant Shapps has warned that if people do not follow the rules "we're going to end up back in situations we don't want to be in".

He told Sky News: "We're certainly at a critical moment this morning.

"It is clear we're just a few weeks behind what we're seeing elsewhere in Europe.

"You only have to look at what's happening in France, particularly in Spain, and you can see that things have taken off there including, I'm afraid, deaths. So it is very important that we do everything we can to bear down on this.

"It's absolutely vital that people do (follow restrictions) because otherwise we're going to end up back in situations we don't want to be in."

Grant Shapps Credit: AFP

Britain is 'at tipping point', says Grant Shapps 

Britain is at a "tipping point", we will be told by Government scientists today as they urge the public to renew their efforts at following the coronavirus rules, Grant Shapps has said. 

Chief medical officer Chris Whitty and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance will issue a stark warning today, in a last ditch bid to avoid a second national lockdown. The pair will give a press conference from 11am. 

Speaking ahead of their appearance the Transport Secretary told Sky News that ministers had been given a briefing by both men over the weekend and it was "clear that we are just a few weeks behind what is happening in Europe", pointing to Spain where deaths are starting to creep up as a sign of things to come.

Speaking from his home, rather the studio where ministers have been appearing more recently, Shapps said further restrictions could still be avoided if people follow the rules, saying they "provide a lot of downward pressure" while keeping the economy going. 

He noted that, as with Spain, cases were spreading particularly among 17-24 year olds "but it can never stay isolated to that age group, it always ends up spreading".

'Last chance saloon': Britain given final warning to avoid new lockdown

​Britain is in "the last chance saloon" to avoid tougher lockdown measures, Government sources have warned.

Boris Johnson is expected to give Britain one final chance to prove it can follow the rules and suppress a second wave, as his chief medical officer warns on Monday that the nation has reached a "critical point in the pandemic”.

Professor Chris Whitty will give a live televised broadcast to the nation alongside Sir Patrick Vallance, the Chief Scientific Advisor, warning the spread of the virus is "heading in the wrong direction" and that Britain faces a "very challenging winter period".

The Prime Minister is expected to threaten curfews on pubs and bans on households socialising if the public does not follow strict self-isolation and social distancing rules.