Covid UK news – London could be ordered into tier 3 coronavirus lockdown TODAY amid 'deep concern' over huge spike

LONDON could be told today that it will enter tier 3 coronavirus lockdown as cases spiral out of control.

A huge spike in the capital – largely driven by a rise in cases in secondary schools – has sparked "deep concern".

London Mayor Sadiq Khan is urging the government to consider closing schools and colleges early and reopen later in January de to the "significant" coronavirus outbreaks among 10 to 19-year-olds.

The outbreak is understood to be so bad that London's tier review scheduled for Wednesday could be brought forward to today, meaning the tier 3 rules will come into force on Wednesday, rather than Saturday.

Every day counts as the controversial five-day Christmas rule-break looms, and thousands of London households mix indoors, take publc transport and see elderly and vulnerable relatives.

Follow our coronavirus live blog below for the very latest news, reaction and updates on the lockdown plans…

  • John Hall

    GPS BEGIN GIVING COVID JABS TODAY

    Hundreds of coronavirus vaccine centres across England are opening today as GPs get ready to inoculate the most vulnerable.

    The centres will be run by local doctors who will receive the Pfizer/BioNTech jabs this morning, with most GPs opening their clinics later this afternoon.

    Care home residents in Scotland are due to receive the vaccine for the first time today.

    The majority of clinics are expected to provide the service from tomorrow, with over 80s, care home workers and residents expected to receive the vaccine.

    Professor Martin Marshall, chairman of the Royal College of GPs, said: "GPs and our teams are about to embark on an enormous challenge, delivering the Covid-19 vaccination programme in the community whilst also delivering the expanded flu vaccine programme and the usual care and services our patients rely on us for."

  • John Hall

    ALOK SHARMA TELLS BRITS TO MAKE 'PERSONAL CHOICE' OVER CHRISTMAS PLANS

    Cabinet Minister Alok Sharm has suggested Brits should make a "personal choice" over whether they should form festive bubbles with loved ones this Christmas.

    Business Secretary Alok Sharma told ITV's Good Morning Britain today: "If people feel that they would be safer not doing that, that is up to them.

    "I know on your programme people have talked about 'families will hug' but I also know that there are people who have taken a conscious decision that, whilst they may have their elderly parents come over Christmas, they will ensure that they don't hug them."

    Mr Sharma added that the approach to Christmas is "proportionate" and "balanced".

    The news comes as fears grow that London and other parts of the south of England will be put into tough Tier 3 restrictions this week.

  • John Hall

    270M FEWER PINTS TO BE SOLD DUE TO TOUGH COVID RULES

    Pubs across Britain will pull 270 million fewer pints this month as tough Covid rules wreck trade.

    Just 30 million pints will be sold instead, as the majority of pubs stay shut or see their customer numbers drop.

    In December, boozers normally sell around 300 million pints.

    The news means £935 million in turnover will be wiped out from pubs and the brewing sector this month.

    BBPA's Emma McClarkin warned: "This Christmas could be the last for many of our pubs."

  • John Hall

    BRITAIN COULD BE BACK TO 'NORMAL' BY SUMMER, SAYS TOP SCIENTIST

    Britain could be back to normal by summer unless Christmas household mixing triggers a deadlu third wave of the virus, a top scientist has said.

    Head of the Oxford Vaccine project Professor Sarah Gilbert said masks and social distancing could come to an end within six months, so long as virus rates don't surge in January.

    Prof. Gilbert warned: "What we do over the next few weeks is going to have a big impact on how long it takes."

    Brits across all four nations will be allowed to mix in households of three from December 23 to December 27 for Christmas.

    But scientists and politicians across the UK have urged caution over the festive period.

  • John Hall

    SADIQ KHAN CALLS FOR ALL LONDON SCHOOLS TO SHUT TODAY AS TIER 3 FEARS LOOM

    Sadiq Khan has called for all schools in London to shut from today following a surge in Covid cases in the capital.

    The Mayor of London's comments comes hours after Labour-run Greenwich council announced it is to close its classrooms for Christmas from tonight.

    And Sadiq Khan is now calling for all schools across 32 boroughs to shut as the city teeters on the brink of moving into Tier 3 this week.

    Mr Khan will brief London MPs on the latest figures, which show that infections are now doubling every four days in the city.

    Greenwich council leader Danny Thorpe said yesterday Public Health England had advised the authority to shut all 133 schools as Covid cases were "escalating extremely quickly".

  • John Hall

    TESTING RAMPED UP IN SEOUL AS INFECTIONS SURGE

    South Korea is opening dozens of free coronavirus testing sites in the greater Seoul area amid a surge in infections.

    About 65 per cent of the new cases were found in the Seoul area, which has been at the centre of the recent spike.

    Starting on Monday, health authorities will open 150 virus testing centres in phases in addition to more than 210 existing sites as part of efforts to slow down the outbreak.

    The new testing sites are scheduled to stay open for three weeks, and anyone can take a free coronavirus test.

  • John Hall

    FAMILY DOCS IN ENGLAND TO BEGIN GIVING COVID VACCINATIONS

    Vaccination clinics run by family doctors will begin across England from Monday but people have been warned that a rise in cases after Christmas socialising could disrupt the roll out of protective jabs.

    GP practices in more than 100 locations will have the approved Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine delivered to them on Monday, with some offering vaccinations within hours.

    The majority will begin providing vaccination services to their local community from Tuesday, NHS England and NHS Improvement said.

    NHS staff including nurses and pharmacists will work alongside GPs to inoculate those aged 80 and over, as well as care home workers and residents.

    The vaccination centres will operate from doctors' surgeries or community hubs in villages, towns and cities.

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