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Good morning. Ministers are getting read to announce new restrictions in England, which could see pubs forced to shut in the areas with the highest rates of coronavirus, but it is being reported that the measures may not take effect until next week and this has only fuelled the anger that local leaders already feel about how the government is handling this. Nottingham, which now has the fifth highest Covid rate in England, was expecting new restrictions today. But David Mellen, the Labour council leader, told the Today programme that he now thought they would not happen until next week.
It seems like we’re victims of a government change of approach. And therefore, even though we’ve got very high numbers that we’ve known about since the beginning of the week, we’ve got til next week for government to bring in what we expect will be restrictions in Nottingham.
He also said this meant there was a danger that people might treat this weekend as a chance to party because of the delay. Asked if he feared residents might have “one last blow out”, he replied:
Absolutely. That is our concern, absolutely. This has happened very quickly. We were hampered by 660 people who were positive not knowing their results for a week because of the glitch. Obviously they might have two or three contacts each – lots of people going around the city, going about their ordinary life, without isolating when they should have been if they knew their results and their contacts had been traced.
Yes, there is a chance this weekend that people will think ‘This might be the last chance before Christmas, so let’s go out and party.’ And we can’t have that.
Mellen is not the only local leader who is furious. Last night, responding to a report in the Times saying pubs in the north of England would be forced to close on Monday, Andy Burnham, the Labour mayor of Greater Manchester, said the government was “impossible to deal with”.
Here is the agenda for the day.
9.30am: The ONS is due to publish reports comparing Covid deaths to flu deaths, looking at Covid and the non-UK workforce, and the economic impact of the crisis.
10.30am: Jacob Rees-Mogg, the leader of the Commons, makes a Commons statement on next week’s business.
11am: NHS Test and Trace is due to publish its latest performance figures.
Around 11.30am: MPs begin a general debate on the government’s plans to reform the planning system. More than 50 MPs are due to speak, many of whom are unhappy about the proposals.
12pm: Downing Street holds its lobby briefing.
Politics Live has been doubling up as the UK coronavirus live blog for some time and, given the way the Covid crisis eclipses everything, this will continue for the foreseeable future. But we will be covering non-Covid political stories too, and where they seem more important and interesting, they will take precedence.
Here is our global coronavirus live blog.
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Source: The Guardian
Keyword: UK coronavirus live: delaying new restrictions creates risk of ‘party weekend’, ministers warned | Politics