Coronavirus latest news: Nicola Sturgeon imposes tough new restrictions on Scotland

The health minister suggests that the traffic light system could close pubs
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The First Minister said that indoor restaurants are only allowed to operate between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. daily and are only allowed to sell food and soft drinks.
Bars, restaurants and outdoor cafes are allowed to stay open until 10 p.m. and sell alcohol until then.
However, all licensed premises in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Arran, Lothian and Forth Valley areas - including the cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh - are closed to both indoor and outdoor use.
People in the central belt of Scotland have been asked to avoid public transport unless it is strictly necessary for the next two weeks.
The restrictions will go into effect on Friday at 6 p.m. and are expected to end after October 25th.
Face covering will also become mandatory indoors in Scotland, said the First Minister.
She announced that in the coming weeks the Scottish government will introduce regulations to expand the rule requiring coverage in places such as staff canteens and corridors in workplaces.
Stores are also being asked to revert to the two-meter physical distancing rule, having previously allowed the distance to be reduced to one meter to allow more customers.
Watch live and follow the latest updates below.
5:50 pm
Huge debt increases the risk of an interest rate shock, warns OBR
The OBR has warned that the UK was at increased risk of interest rates rising in the coming years and decades due to rising national debt, writes Tim Wallace.
Richard Hughes told MPs that the government should not rely on borrowing costs to remain at record lows when drawing up tax and spending plans.
"We are clearly in an exceptional time with very low interest rates," said Hughes.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak leaves a television studio in London - Toby Melville / Reuters
“It's a big question how long this will take. It is not something you would want to base government policy on in the longer term when you look back on the vast expanse of history. "
This year, Treasury is expected to raise £ 370bn in the coronavirus crisis, more than double the deficit of £ 158bn in the peak year of the financial crisis.
For the first time since the 1960s, when the costs of World War II were still being paid, debt has already soared to over 100 percent of GDP. However, the markets like to lend at negative interest rates.
Read the whole story here.
5:32 pm
Donald Trump ends talks with Democrats about new Covid relief measures - and then reverses course on Twitter
Donald Trump announced that he would end negotiations with Congress on a new coronavirus economic relief law until after the election, and then appeared to change his stance late Tuesday night, Washington-based Rozina Sabur reports.
The US president said he was urging Republicans in Congress to "focus fully on approving his US Supreme Court candidate, Conservative Judge Amy Coney Barrett."
U.S. stocks fell after Trump's announcement.
In this file photo, US President Donald Trump greets the Truman Balcony after his return from Walter Reed Medical Center to the White House, where he was treated for Covid-19 - Nicholas Kamm / AFP
Mr Trump appeared to be reversing course, urging Congress to approve a number of coronavirus relief measures that he would sign up, including $ 1,200 stimulus checks for Americans.
Earlier in the day he had cut talks between top Democrats and Republicans until "after I win" the elections that seemed to have ruined the chances of a new package. Both steps of the President were taken on Twitter.
Read more: Trump's Twitter change of heart after the stock market slump
5:26 pm
NHS Test and Trace: What went wrong with the system?
Many have felt anger after the UK contact tracing system was responsible for a number of embarrassing errors in the government's coronavirus response, writes our political correspondent Amy Jones.
The most recent bug means that 15,841 positive Covid-19 cases were neither uploaded to national statistics nor forwarded to contact tracers between September 25 and October 2.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock admitted the incident "should never have happened" but stopped apologizing and instead blamed technical errors.
But it's not the only embarrassing test and trace story that's been released in the past few weeks.
When the schools returned in early September the system was overwhelmed, leading to some people being asked to travel hundreds of kilometers to get tested.
UK laboratories have been described as "busy" after a surge in demand. Baroness Dido Harding, director of NHS Test and Trace in England, said she was "very sorry" about the situation.
Read more: The UK Contact Tracing System Responsible for Embarrassing Mistakes
5:15 pm
The ministers confirm the establishment of a quarantine task force
Grant Shapps has announced the creation of a Global Travel Taskforce to develop a test regime that the UK can use to shorten the quarantine period for arriving travelers.
Mr Shapps told the Conservative Party's virtual conference earlier this week that he would soon unveil plans that would allow travelers to bypass the quarantine and restart the weakened travel and tourism industries.
Travelers sign up for a swab test in a Covid-19 test center at Düsseldorf Airport in Düsseldorf - Sarah Pabst / Bloomberg
The task force is led by Mr. Shapps, along with Matt Hancock, Secretary of Health, and is established at the request of Boris Johnson.
Travel chefs insist airport tests are important to save the industry
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17:00 o'clock
Knowsley now has the highest Covid case rate in England
Here is the latest 7-day rolling rate of new cases of Covid-19 for each area in England, according to a PA analysis of Public Health England data:
Knowsley now has the highest rate in England, with 867 new cases registered in the seven days leading up to October 4 - that's 574.7 cases per 100,000 people.

That is a significant increase from 334.7 per 100,000 in the seven days ending September 27.

Liverpool has the second highest rate at 551.6 per 100,000 (up from 342.3), with 2,747 new cases.

Manchester is in third place. The rate rose from 307.0 to 541.5, with 2,994 new cases.

Other areas that are seeing big jumps in their 7-day rates are Nottingham, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Sheffield and Leeds.

4:48 pm
Coronavirus Cases In Scotland - And How They Compare To England
This graphic from our data specialist Alex Clark shows that Scotland was on the way to “zero-covid” in the summer - but the cases are now on the rise again and are practically the same as those in England.
Nicola Sturgeon said new restrictions are now needed north of the border to "accelerate the brighter days" that lie ahead, despite concerns from the hotel industry who will bear the brunt of the new regulations.
4:38 pm
Germany coronavirus cases reach their highest level since April
Weds Update: #Germany turns red for the first time with the highest number of cases since April. #Sweden #Italy and mainland #Greece will only keep an air corridor open if their test positivity is low - numbers tomorrow - but unlikely. #Cyprus turns amber. #UK over #France.
- Paul Charles (@PPaulCharles) October 7, 2020
4:29 pm
Latest headlines: Your Wednesday night briefing
A sign of the future? Nicola Sturgeon today announced a 16-day ban on pubs and restaurants from selling alcohol indoors to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
On the Prime Minister's question today, Sir Keir Starmer urged Boris Johnson to release the evidence supporting a scientific basis for the current 10 p.m. curfew in the hospitality industry.
A flyer photo released by the UK Parliament shows the UK Labor Party's main opposition leader Keir Starmer attending the Prime Minister's Weekly Questions (PMQs) on October 7, 2020 at the House of Commons in London. - Jessica Taylor / AFP
And Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said the planned debate with Donald Trump next week shouldn't take place if the president is still infected with Covid-19.
U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden, attend the first presidential debate at Case Western University and the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio - Oliver Douliery / Pool via Reuters
Chris Price did all of this and more in your Wednesday night press conference.
4:10 p.m.
CBI director warns that new measures are "a big blow" to Scottish companies
Tracy Black, the Scottish director of the CBI, said the recent restrictions confirmed by Nicola Sturgeon for Scotland will be "a major blow" to hospitality.
While claiming control of the virus is central to sustained economic recovery, she said, “Hospitality, leisure and tourism companies are right to be disappointed with this decision as they are deeply into improvement invested in the safety of their premises for employees and customers and received little in return. No consultation on new restrictions. "
"With many pubs, cafes and restaurants just getting back on their feet, there is no doubt that this latest round of measures will seriously endanger more jobs and businesses."
"While the announcement of £ 40m in support is to be welcomed, it is deeply disappointing that companies have been instructed to close before specifying what funds will be made available and how to access them. "
4:04 p.m.
Coronavirus curfew in Jordan will take effect for the foreseeable future
Jordan will introduce a weekend-long curfew from Friday, which will be imposed for the foreseeable future after an increase in the number of cases, writes Helen Nianias.
The curfew will repeat every weekend until further notice, and the nightly curfew between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m. will remain in effect on weekdays.
Students, some of whom are wearing protective masks against the coronavirus, attend a class at one of the private schools for fear of a rising number of COVID-19 cases in Amman, Jordan, Oct.7 - Muhammad Hamed / Reuters
Only key workers are allowed to leave their homes for the 48-hour lockdown, according to the state-run Petra news agency.
Last week the government introduced stricter penalties for those who break the rules. People are punished with one year in prison for organizing gatherings of more than 20 people.
3:56 pm
Life in danger because the pipeline for antivirals against vironaviruses is "bare", warn experts
While potentially distant coronavirus vaccines have received around $ 2 billion in investment, funding for treatments is currently only $ 300 million.
The world is at risk of a “real deficit” in quality coronavirus treatments that puts millions of lives at risk as the pipeline for new antiviral drugs is “empty”, experts have warned.
During a virtual briefing, Dr. Nick Cammack, who leads Wellcome's global search for Covid therapeutics, that there is not enough focus on developing new therapies specifically designed to fight coronavirus.
Researchers in Russia are making Areplivir, a repurposed drug that some experts hope could help Covid patients - Stanislav Krasilnikov \\ TASS
Since Covid surfaced 10 months ago, there have been significant breakthroughs in reusing existing drugs - most notably the finding that the cheap steroid dexamethasone prevents one in three deaths in the most seriously ill patients.
Despite their high price, there is also some excitement about the potential of monoclonal antibodies, laboratory-made injectable antibodies specifically designed to treat Covid. Around 70 are under development and the results of the clinical study are expected within months.
Sarah Newey has the full story.
3:43 pm
Brussels closes cafes as Belgium announces the rule of four to fight Covid
The cafes and bars in Brussels will be closed for a month. This was announced on Wednesday after Belgium announced it would introduce a nationwide "rule of four" to curb the rise in coronavirus infections.
James Crisp has the following dispatch from Brussels:
From September 27 to October 3, infections increased by 57 percent. In Belgium, an average of 87 people were hospitalized every day. In the past week, 2,466 people tested positive for Covid-19 every day.

Brussels has the highest number of infections in Belgium and the second highest in Europe, with fewer cases than Madrid but more than Paris.

The mayors of the capital decided to impose stricter restrictions than anywhere else in Belgium. They closed all cafes and bars in the city for a month from 7 a.m. on Thursday. Drinking in public places is prohibited, but restaurants can remain open.

The nationwide restrictions announced on Tuesday ordered bars and cafes to close at 11 p.m.

Read more about this story here.
3:34 pm
The number of coronavirus cases in the Czech Republic rises above 4,000 for the first time
The Czech Republic reported a record 4,457 new coronavirus cases in a single day, with infections now growing fastest in Europe, according to Reuters news agency.
The 14-day case rate in the Czech Republic is now 326.8 cases per 100,000 cases. Stricter measures are to be announced from Friday.
There is currently no travel corridor between the Czech Republic and the UK and it is unlikely that a corridor will be established anytime soon.
3:27 pm
Sturgeon closes pubs and restaurants on death sentence for business across the central belt
All pubs, bars and restaurants that serve more than half of the Scottish population must be closed for at least 16 days starting this weekend. This is done according to the complicated rules uncovered by Nicola Sturgeon to prevent Covid-19 from returning to its spring summit, reports Simon Johnson.
The First Minister announced that all licensed premises in the central belt, with the exception of the hotels for residents and food stalls, must be closed indoors and outdoors on Friday from 6 p.m. The strict measures will apply in five areas of the health department, in which around 3.3 million people live.
In the rest of the country, licensed premises can be opened for indoor use between 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., but the sale of alcoholic beverages is prohibited. Ms. Sturgeon also urged businesses across Scotland to revert to two meter distance and one-way systems.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Deputy First Minister John Swinney exit an elevator in the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood in Edinburgh - Andrew Milligan / PA
The Prime Minister announced £ 40m in aid to affected businesses, but the hospitality sector said she has "effectively signed a death warrant for many businesses" when the "real problem" is socializing at home.
Stephen Montgomery, spokesman for the Scottish Hospitality Group, said: "This latest blow from the Scottish Government will cause fear and anger in our industry.
"We have repeatedly asked the Scottish Government for scientific data to validate these escalating restrictions and yet we have been singled out, charged and found guilty without evidence."
Read the whole story here.
3:18 pm
UK coronavirus cases increase by 14,162
Another 14,162 laboratory-confirmed cases of Covid-19 have been announced by the Department of Health, bringing the total number of cases in the UK to 544,275.
Another 70 deaths were confirmed in all settings within 28 days of testing positive. This brings the government's official death toll to 42,515.
Another 508 coronavirus patients were hospitalized.
3:14 pm
The closings of pubs in Scotland are "devastating" for thousands, says CAMRA
In the Real Ale campaign, the new hospitality and alcohol restrictions imposed by Nicola Sturgeon today were described as "absolutely devastating news for pubs and breweries":
Customs officers who have operated at reduced rates and have already invested thousands of pounds of their dwindling reserves to make their premises COVID-proof are now facing 16 days with no sales whatsoever.

Understandably, they feel that pubs have become the scapegoats for the pandemic.

The £ 40million in support of the hospitality industry is welcome and necessary, but the devil will be in the details.

Without adequate financial compensation - and longer-term financial support to deal with the decline in trade due to restrictions like the curfew - there is a risk that thousands of pubs, clubs and breweries will close for good before Christmas.

2:57 pm
The traffic light system could see pubs closed in local locks
Pubs and restaurants in local restricted areas could be closed under a new traffic light system completed by Boris Johnson, write Gordon Rayner and Harry Yorke.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned that infection data is "not good news" for the hospitality industry.
Various options for the three-tier model of low, medium and high risk areas have been conveyed to the prime minister, which could be announced later this week.
In this UK Parliament photo, UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock listens to questions in the House of Commons - Jessica Taylor / UK Parliament
The most extreme measures to be considered would be closing pubs and restaurants, banning households from mixing, and possibly even closing non-essential retailers.
Mr Hancock pointed to possible pub closings on a conference call with the Federation of British Industries when he said pubs were the second leading cause of infection after household transmission.
Read More: No Final Decision by Downing Street on the traffic light system
2:44 pm
Central Belt restrictions could affect up to 60 percent of the Scottish population
The additional restrictions for the five areas of the "Central Belt", including Glasgow and Edinburgh, could affect 60 percent of the Scottish population, according to Sky News.
"Any hard sacrifices we make will accelerate the brighter days that lie ahead," Nicola Sturgeon said at the end of the update she gave the MSPs in Holyrood after seeing the restrictions she recognized as going too far would have.
Insisting the virus could be "out of control" by the end of October without action, she said she would seek further assistance from Boris Johnson if needed, in addition to the £ 40million Ms Sturgeon announced today to be around to support affected companies.
2:28 pm
Increased NHS capacity to go into effect, confirms Sturgeon
Nicola Sturgeon says there have been "positive four-nation discussions" about a more unified approach to lockdown.
In pushing for New Zealand's domestic approach, she finds that its borders are completely closed and that Scotland has "different problems" with integration.
On testing, Ms. Sturgeon says that in terms of NHS capacity, Scotland is in the process of creating a number of regional hubs and is transferring nursing home testing to the NHS.
She says she wants "routine testing of asymptomatic groups" in Scotland.
2:20 pm
Impact of Scottish Lockdown Rules on Nicola Sturgeon's Hospitality
"The pandemic will pass, so let's do everything we can to hold on to it, to stick together, and once again my thanks to everyone around the country who we do," concluded Nicola Sturgeon.
Ruth Davidson, the Chair of the Conservative Party in the Scottish Parliament, says the First Minister's announcement is "massively cutting the lives and livelihoods of the people".
She says small businesses can't afford to wait for details and they want to know how much to apply for and how long it will take the money to reach them.
Ms. Sturgeon acknowledged the "terribly difficult decisions" and replied that she would consult with the hospitality sector about its allocation.
"This is not the hospitality's fault, nobody points the guilt, but it is a revelation and somewhere they could have had it or they could have transmitted it where it was positive.
"Because of some characteristics of hospitality - sometimes poor ventilation, places where people, especially with alcohol, mix more and don't mix physically at a distance - these are higher risk attitudes."
2:16 pm
"We want these measures to be temporary."
"We want these measures to be temporary," says Nicola Sturgeon, adding that the Scottish Government also:
Expand the use of face coverings to cover interior canteens and corridors in workplaces.
Ask stores to go back to physical distancing of two meters and reintroduce attenuations like single-use systems.
Do another review of the government's testing strategy to "build resilience".
Complete a comprehensive framework to control the future future.
Ms. Sturgeon admitted that the measures will be "undesirable" but "are intended to reduce the likelihood of a future lockdown". She insists that business continues and that "[restrictions] are temporary but needed".
With them, we hope to slow the spread and that will help keep schools and businesses open this winter and save lives.

So I ask everyone across the country to obey these new rules and continue to take the other difficult but fundamental steps that you know will protect you and each other.

Holding onto all of this isn't easy, and after seven long months it's harder than ever, but it's important.

2:12 pm
Scottish lockdown rules: £ 40 million to be made available to affected companies
Nicola Sturgeon announces that companies affected by the new measures will be made £ 40 million available over the next two weeks.
She says the Scottish Government will ensure that aid "goes to those who need it most" and will discuss how to mitigate part or all of the contribution of the vacation program.
Mrs Sturgeon said the situation was being "reviewed" and Parliament was being kept up to date.
2:11 pm
Nicola Sturgeon gives reasons for restricting hospitality
"The R number appears to have risen above 1 about three weeks after the hospitality business opened," says Ms. Sturgeon. "It turns out that these settings pose a particular risk for the transmission of the virus.
"And that makes sense from what we know about the spread of the virus. There is inevitably a higher risk of transmission indoors. And of course the presence of alcohol can impair people's willingness to physically distance themselves."
Ms. Sturgeon says restrictions on hospitality for 16 days will significantly limit the spread of the virus over that period.
2:09 pm
Lockdown restrictions for Scotland: "Central Belt" to meet tighter restrictions
In the Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Arran, Lothian and Forth Valley areas - including Glasgow and Edinburgh - the following restrictions apply:
All licensed premises, with the exception of resident hotels, must be closed indoors and outdoors.
Food stalls are allowed.
The hotels remain open to residents.
Unlicensed cafes can stay open until 6 p.m. to "support social isolation".
Snooker and billiard halls, bowling alleys, casinos and bingo halls will be closed in these areas for two weeks from October 10th.
Contact sports for people aged 18 and over will be suspended with one exception for professional sports.
Live outdoor events are not permitted in these five regions for the next two weeks.
People in these areas should avoid public transport unless it is "absolutely necessary"; H. You go to school or to work.
2:05 pm
New Scotland blackout rules established by Nicola Sturgeon
The First Minister called the indoor mixing ban "the most important measure" the Scottish Government could have put in place twelve days ago and reiterated the importance of Scottish compliance with these regulations.
"For those who are wondering and will wonder if the measures are going too far, let me be very clear," she says. "I am very aware that this is and cannot be a one-dimensional decision. We have a duty to offset all the various damage caused by the pandemic."
The following measures are set over a period of 16 days, with the exception of five areas of the health authority where even stricter limits apply:
Pubs, restaurants, bars and cafes may be open indoors for food and soft drinks between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Hotel restaurants can only be opened to residents after 6 p.m. without alcohol
Pubs, restaurants, bars and cafes can continue to serve alcohol outside until 10 p.m.
An exception to the alcohol ban applies to weddings and funerals that have already been booked
1:59 pm
Nicola Sturgeon: "Without action, we will likely return to peak levels."
Ms. Sturgeon describes the measures to be announced as "tough but necessary". She says the increase in the number of people hospitalized with Covid reflects a greater increase in new cases among older age groups.
She says local spikes "shouldn't obscure cases across the country," with Orkney and Shetland being the only exceptions.
"Without action, and this is the worst warning in the evidence paper today, we will likely return to the spring highs this month," she says.
1:56 pm
Nicola Sturgeon: "We are now living much more freely than in spring."
"These numbers illustrate the increasing challenge we are facing again from this virus," says Ms. Sturgeon. "This challenge is also set out in an evidence paper released today by Scotland's senior medical advisors."
She insists that action is "urgent" while insisting that the situation is better than the scenario the Scots face in March.
The First Minister says measures such as outdoor meetings, social distancing and face covering are important corrective measures.
"We live much more freely now than in spring and summer," she says. "We're not going to lockdown again today."
1:54 p.m.
Update of the lockdown for Scotland: Nicola Sturgeon recognizes "difficult decisions"
Nicola Sturgeon says that in addition to Scotland's longer term work "living with Covid" she will put in place "difficult but important temporary measures".
"None of this is easy. I am very aware that life and work are at stake with every decision we make," she says. "None of these decisions are taken lightly."

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