I am running the coronavirus live blog today, bringing you global updates from London where it is 8 am.
Please get in touch with me while I work to share any thoughts, comments or news tips using any of the methods below. Thanks for following.
Hello everyone. I am taking over the coronavirus live blog, bringing you global updates from London. Please get in touch with me while I work to share any thoughts, comments or news tips using any of the methods below.
Downing Street says the country is at a “critical juncture” in managing Covid-19 as Boris Johnson prepares to lay out a new three-tier alert system for England. After a Cobra meeting this morning which will determine the final plan, Johnson will address parliament and then appear on TV tonight alongside the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, and England’s chief medical officer, Prof Chris Whitty.
“This is a critical juncture and it is absolutely vital that everyone follows the clear guidance we have set out to help contain the virus,” a spokesman for No 10 said.
The plan is expected to include areas with relatively low infection levels being placed in what is being described as tier 1, where only national restrictions such as the rule of six, the 10pm curfew on restaurants and pubs and existing rules on masks and social distancing will apply. The next tier is likely to include bans on home visits and indoor socialising with other households in bars or restaurants.
In areas under the toughest tier 3 restrictions – including Merseyside, Manchester and Newcastle – bars and pubs are expected to be forced to close. Late last night, the metro mayor of the Liverpool City Region and six other local leaders said in a statement their area was expected to face the toughest restrictions. Restaurants in tier 3 councils were expected to be allowed to stay open until 10pm, but casinos, gyms and betting shops will have to close.
However, government sources have reportedly disputed that restaurants would be allowed to remain open in Liverpool, and claimed that “nothing has been agreed” until this morning.
You can read the details of the tiers here. The plans will be debated on Tuesday, and could be implemented as soon as Wednesday, sources said. Business leaders are preparing to mount a legal challenge to the changes, which they say have “decimated the hospitality industry”. It comes as a survey by the Sustainable Restaurant Association showed 76% of respondents said they would revert to their previous habits of dining out up to four times a month, once restrictions allowed.
Speaking at a huge military parade held at the weekend to mark the 75th anniversary of the ruling Workers’ party, Kim removed his glasses and wiped away tears – an indication, analysts say, of mounting pressure on his regime.
“Our people have placed trust, as high as the sky and as deep as the sea, in me, but I have failed to always live up to it satisfactorily,” he said, according to a translation of his comments in the Korea Times. “I am really sorry for that.”
Citing his grandfather and father – North Korea’s previous two leaders – Kim continued: “Although I am entrusted with the important responsibility to lead this country upholding the cause of the great comrades Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il thanks to the trust of all the people, my efforts and sincerity have not been sufficient enough to rid our people of the difficulties in their lives.”