Coronavirus news LIVE: France threatens “reciprocal” measures on the UK and lockdown eases in England

HOLIDAYMAKERS returning from France will have to quarantine, the government has announced.

It means 500,000 tourists have until 4am on Saturday to return to the UK to avoid two-week quarantine, the PM said.

France was taken off the "safe" list last night following crunch talks.

The PM said yesterday while on a trip to Northern Ireland: “We have got to be absolutely ruthless about this, even with our closest and dearest friends and partners. I think everybody understands that.

“We can’t be remotely complacent about our own situation. Everybody understands that in a pandemic you don’t allow our population to be reinfected or the disease to come back in.”

Malta and The Netherlands were also added to the list.

Budget airline Easyjet has said it will continue to fly to the countries that have recently been added to the UK's quarantine list.

Meanwhile deaths hit 41,347 after 18 more coronavirus fatalities.

Follow our coronavirus live blog for all the latest news and updates…

  • EUROTUNNEL FULLY BOOKED UNTIL SATURDAY MORNING

    Eurotunnel has announced its shuttle service is now fully booked until Saturday morning.

    It said it had 'no more ticket availability' and warned people not to turn up to check-in without a ticket.

  • NEW POWERS TO TACKLE CORONAVIRUS MASK REFUSERS

    Fines for repeatedly refusing to wear a mask could soar to £3,200 and organisers of illegal raves could face a £10,000 penalty, under new government powers.

    At present, people who refuse to wear a face covering where it is required face a £100 fine, which can be reduced to £50 if paid within 14 days.

    Under the new measures, that penalty will double for subsequent offences, up to a maximum of £3,200.

    In England face coverings are mandatory in settings including public transport, shops and museums, with some exemptions for children or on medical grounds.

    A clampdown on illegal gatherings of more than 30 people could see those responsible hit with spot fines of up to £10,000, a No. 10 source indicated.

    Police chiefs have promised increased patrols to prevent unlicensed events following a spate of parties during the heatwave.

    The tougher enforcement measures come as the Prime Minister confirmed plans to open up more of the economy from Saturday, potentially adding to the risk of spreading coronavirus.

    The moves were postponed from August 1 due to concerns about a slight increase in the number of people in England testing positive but that now appears to have levelled off.

  • FRANCE THREATENS 'RECIPROCAL' QUARANTINE MEASURES

    France has threatened to impose “reciprocal” measures on the UK after the British Government removed the country from its safe destination list.

    Clement Beaune, France’s secretary of state for European affairs, described the quarantine announcement as “a British decision which we regret and which will lead to reciprocal measures, all in hoping for a return for normal as soon as possible.”

    France recorded 2,669 new cases of Covid-19 in a single day – the highest figure since lockdown measures were eased – with the health ministry warning that the circulation of the virus was “intensifying”.

    It is not clear what measures the French government may introduce or when.

  • EASYJET TO CONTINUE FLYING TO AND FROM NEW QUARANTINE COUNTRIES

    The budget airline has said it will continue flying to and from the countries recently added to the UK's quarantine list.

    The airline says it intends to run its planned schedule to and from new quarantine destinations in the coming days.

    A number of countries were recently added to the UK's quarantine list, including France, the Netherlands and Malta with restrictions coming into force at 4am on Saturday.

    Easyjet says customers who do not wish to travel to affected nations can transfer their flights without a change fee or receive a voucher.

    It said in a statement: “We plan to operate our full schedule in the coming days.

    “Customers who no longer wish to travel can transfer their flights without a change fee or receive a voucher for the value of the booking.

    “Should any flights be cancelled for later in August customers will be notified and informed of their options which includes transferring to an alternative flight free of charge, receiving a voucher or applying for a refund via a webform on our dedicated Covid Help Hub.

    “We're operating our normal schedule for the time being and so will not be putting on any additional capacity ahead of the 0400 deadline on Saturday.”

  • CORONAVIRUS CASES SPIKE IN SOUTH KOREA

    South Korea has seen a spike in coronavirus cases, confirming it had 103 new cases on Friday.

    The country has been praised for its tackling of the coronavirus pandemic, especially its effective testing and tracing system.

    Out of the total number of new cases it said 83 had come from its highly populated Seoul metropolitan area.

    Eighteen of the new cases were linked to international arrivals.

    Health authorities have in recent weeks tackled a string of clusters linked to churches, nursing homes, schools and workplaces.

    Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun during a virus meeting on Friday said that authorities will be forced to consider stricter social distancing measures in the greater capital area if transmissions continue to rise.

  • BELGIUM STOCKPILES MEDICAL SUPPLIES OVER FEARS OF A SECOND WAVE

    Hospitals in Belgium are stockpiling drugs and PPE over fears the country could be hit by a second outbreak of coronavirus as cases start to rise.

    New infections have risen steadily in recent weeks, with Belgium now reporting one of the highest number of cases per inhabitant of any European country.

    Michel Dewever, chief physician at the Delta Hospital in Brussels, said Belgium had learned lessons from the first wave of the pandemic.

    He said: “We have stocked up on curare, anesthetics and antibiotics that allow us to last for two or three months during any second wave that might arise.

    “We have built up a stock of protective equipment for all the staff, whether it be gloves, gowns or masks. We received part of this inventory from the government. We also bought part of it.”

  • RETURNING HOLIDAYMAKERS TOLD DON'T JUST 'TURN UP'

    British holidaymakers frantically trying to beat the quarantine deadline and return to the UK have been told don't simply turn up expecting to be able to travel.

    Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told Sky News that British holidaymakers should contact travel operators before trying to get back.

    “The advice from all the travel operators is very clear: to contact them in advance. Don't just turn up,” he said.

    “Because you'll almost certainly be disappointed and it will just create queues, which no one wants to see.”

  • BA TO USE BIGGER PLANES IN RUSH TO BRING BRITS BACK

    British Airways has said it will put on bigger planes where possible allowing more customers to return home from the new quarantine countries.

    In a statement responding to the Government's decision to add new countries to the quarantine list – including France, the Netherlands and Malta – it said: “We are currently operating a limited schedule to these countries.

    “As always, if a customer's flight is cancelled they are entitled to a voucher or a full refund.

    “Our Booking with Confidence policy now covers customers due to travel up to the end of September 2020.

    “It allows customers to book a trip now, with the confidence that they can change the date or destination and re-book their journey for travel until April 2022.

    “This means that if a customer wants to change their booking they can – rebooking or taking a voucher for future travel.”

  • PEOPLE 'KNEW THE RISKS' OF TRAVELLING – SHAPPS

    Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has indicated the Government will not provide financial assistance to holidaymakers who are out of pocket having returned home early due to the new quarantine restrictions.

    It appears this would apply both to people out of pocket after being quarantined or to those having to pay more money to travel back to the UK early.

    Mr Shapps has stated that people “knew the risks”.

    Holidaymakers went abroad “with their eyes open” and “knowing that there was a significant chance of this happening,” he said.

    Brits face having to spend several hundred pounds returning to the UK to beat the new quarantine restrictions which come into effect at 4am on Saturday.

  • RETURNING HOLIDAYMAKERS NEED TO COMPLETE LOCATOR FORM

    Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, has underlined the need for British holidaymakers to fill out a passenger locator form when they arrive back in the UK.

    He told BBC Breakfast: “The reality is that in all of the things to do with coronavirus, there always has had to be a cut-off and we've seen this throughout, haven't we, in the way that rules have had to be implemented and, so, 'if we can do this, why can't we do that?', that's always going to be the case.

    “What we have to do is provide clear guidance and, in this case, clear law in order to require people to quarantine.

    “I just want to stress it is very important that people do quarantine. Everybody returning to the UK, no matter where from, doesn't matter whether you're in a travel corridor country or a quarantine country, must at this stage fill in a passenger locator form.

    “That is the law and you may well find that people call up to check where you are, and you'll be breaking the law if you were not quarantining, if that was a requirement for the country you'd come from.”

  • SHAPPS: MUST HAVE 'CUT-OFF' DEADLINE FOR RETURNING HOLIDAYMAKERS

    The Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has underlined the need to impose a “cut-off” date for those being mandated to self-isolate on their return to the UK from abroad.

    Mr Shapps was asked why it is the case that those who return to the UK from France before 4am on Saturday will not have to quarantine for 14 days whilst those returning after that time would have to do so.

    He told BBC Breakfast: “I think the truth of this is, as everyone watching realises, there's no perfect way to deal with coronavirus.

    “Unless you were going to have a sliding scale that sort of said if you stay another 24 hours the you must quarantine for X amount of time, another 36 hours for Y amount of time, you know, clearly there has to be a cut-off somewhere.”

    Mr Shapps added: “To be clear, the Joint Biosecurity centre have cleared our approach to this.”

  • COPS SEIZE CRYPTOCURRENCY LINKED TO SUSPECTED COVID-19 FRAUD

    Cops have seized £115,000 of cryptocurrency believed to have come from fraudulent applications for bounce back loans designed to help small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.

    A 35-year-old woman was arrested in Ipswich on Wednesday on suspicion of fraud and money laundering.

    It follows an investigation by detectives from the Met's proactive money laundering team, which was launched after officers suspected the woman was controlling a large sum of fraudulently obtained Bitcoin.

    The Government's Bounce Back Loan scheme, which allows small businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000, launched in May.

    Detectives established that a number of mule bank accounts – used to transfer criminal cash on behalf of others – had been used to receive the proceeds of fraudulent applications to the scheme.

    The money was then transferred from the mule accounts to the cryptocurrency wallet of the suspect.

    Met officers, assisted by Suffolk Police, searched a home in Ipswich on Wednesday and found several children on their own.

    The suspect was found close to the address and arrested on suspicion of fraud, money laundering and child neglect.

    She was later released under investigation after being interviewed.

  • RETURNING FROM FRANCE: WHAT IT WILL COST BRITISH HOLIDAYMAKERS

    Brits face having to stump up a large amount of cash if they want to return home from France before the new quarantine restrictions come into force.

    Prices for a seat on the Eurostar from Paris to London today start from £210, compared with £165 on Saturday.

    The cost of taking a car through the Channel Tunnel on Eurotunnel Le Shuttle services on Friday morning is £260.

    All trains though after midday are fully booked.

    P&O Ferries has limited availability, but one person travelling with a car from Calais to Dover can buy a ticket for £200.

    Travellers in the south of France may struggle getting back to the UK before the 4am Saturday quarantine deadline.

    Many direct flights to the UK on Friday are sold out

  • BRITAIN ORDERS MORE CORONAVIRUS VACCINES

    The Government has bought a further 90million doses of a potential coronavirus vaccine.

    It has placed an order for a vaccine being developed jointly by firms in the US and Belgium.

    The order bring the number of potential vaccines the UK has bought to 340million doses of six potential vaccines.

  • NEWCASTLE MCDONALD'S DEEP CLEANED

    A Newcastle McDonald's restaurant has been deep cleaned after a staff member tested positive for coronavirus the company has confirmed.

    A spokesperson for the fast food chain said the employee at the West Denton Retail Park branch, had self-isolated after coming into close contact with someone who tested positive for coronavirus.

    The person subsequently tested positive themselves and had not returned to work.

    McDonald's said the restaurant has now been deep cleaned “as a precautionary measure” and has reopened.

    It is the latest Covid-19 case to hit the city's eating spots this week after KFC Byker and Miller & Carter Gosforth Park also had staff members test positive for the virus.

    A McDonald's spokesperson said: “One employee at the Stamfordham Road restaurant has self-isolated, having been in close contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19 – that person does not work for McDonald’s.

    “The employee has subsequently tested positive themselves, and has therefore not returned to work. As a precautionary measure the restaurant was deep cleaned by an external cleaning company.”

  • 'NO CHOICE'

    Britain had no choice but to impose a 14-day quarantine on all arrivals from France from Saturday in order to protect public health domestically, transport minister Grant Shapps said.

    Shapps told Sky News: “It's a dynamic situation, and I don't think that anybody… would want us to do anything other than protect public health and public safety.”

    “That does mean where we see countries breach a certain level of cases … then we have no real choice but to act.”

  • MATERNAL STRESS

    The pandemic could lead to a rise in maternal emotional stress and smaller babies, an academic has predicted.

    Professor Barry Bogin, emeritus professor of biological anthropology at Loughborough University, reviewed previous biocultural studies to predict how Covid-19 could impact the birth weight of the next generation.

    He and Dr Carlos Varea, of Madrid Autonomous University, previously looked at changes in birth weight related to the 2008 financial crisis in Spain and used these findings to consider the possible consequences of this pandemic.

    In a piece for the American Journal of Human Biology, they predict “it will take two or more generations to assess the biocultural consequences of the Covid-19 crisis on people – from fetuses to the aged”.

    They add that “one may hypothesise that for the immediate future there will be a global rise in maternal emotional stress and a decline in birth weight”.

  • 'RECIPROCAL MEASURES'

    The UK's move to impose quarantine restrictions on Brits returning from France came in last night.

    It is a blow to the hard-pressed French tourism industry which relies heavily on visitors from the UK.

    Meanwhile France's secretary of state for European affairs said the UK decision would lead to “reciprocal measures” across the Channel.

    Clement Beaune tweeted: “A British decision which we regret and which will lead to reciprocal measures, all in hoping for a return for normal as soon as possible.”

  • HOME HELP

    Financial help for struggling households should be extended into 2021, Which? has urged.

    The consumer group said the protection window currently in place should be extended to January 31 2021.

    It said the Financial Conduct Authority should take further steps to protect households facing “a potentially disastrous financial cliff edge” when temporary relief measures such as payment holidays and interest-free overdrafts come to an end.

    The ending of the furlough scheme in October could mean that some people potentially only start to experience financial difficulties later this year.

    At present, people have until October 31 2020 to ask their lender for temporary support with borrowing such as mortgages, personal loans and credit cards.

    Borrowers requesting payment deferrals will still accrue interest on the loan and need to pay it off eventually.

    Meanwhile, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is set to close on October 31, 2020.

  • RED ALERT

    The French government has declared Paris and the Bouches-du-Rhone area around Marseille in the South as a “red” zones with a high coronavirus infection risk, according to a government decree published on Friday.

    The decree gives local authorities the power to limit the circulation of people and vehicles, to restrict the access to public transport and air travel, to limit the access to public buildings and to close some establishments where there is a high risk of infection.

    The measure follows a sharp increase in COVID-19 infections over the past two weeks.

  • YOUNG DEATH

    A man in his 20s has become the youngest person to die of the coronavirus in Australia.

    He was among 14 new deaths and 372 new infections reported by Victoria state health officials Friday in an outbreak centered in Melbourne.

    And Prime Minister Scott Morrison said 188 elderly people had died over the past week as the virus ripped through aged-care homes in Melbourne.

    Officials say about 70 per cent of Australias 375 virus deaths have been at aged-care facilities.

  • DRUG HOPES

    US drug developer Novavax Inc said the UK would buy 60 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine candidate, NVX-CoV2373, for a phase 3 clinical trial in the country.

    The company and the UK government will collaborate for the trial to assess the efficacy of the vaccine in the UK, Novavax said in a statement.

    The trial will be a study in about 9,000 adults between 18 years and 85 years of age.

    Financial details of the deal were not disclosed

  • NEW ZEALAND

    Health officials said they were investigating whether shipping workers were a source of New Zealand's first domestic coronavirus outbreak in more than three months.

    The outbreak has grown to 30 people and extended beyond Auckland, the country's largest city, for the first time.

    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is to announce whether a three-day lockdown in Auckland would be extended past Friday, which seemed likely given the increase in cases.

    Until the cluster was discovered Tuesday, New Zealand had gone 102 days without community-spread infections, with the only known cases all travelers quarantined after arriving from abroad.

    Health officials don't believe the virus was lurking undetected in the community for months but believe it started with a returning traveler or a border worker. But stumped officials have yet to discover the origins.

  • LONDONERS ‘HAVE MORE COVID’

    Four times as many Londoners have had Covid compared to Cornwall residents, according to the largest study of its kind.

    Imperial College London research shows one in eight of those living in the capital have been infected since the start of the pandemic.

  • CASINOS & BOWLING ALLEYS TO OPEN THIS WEEKEND

    Casinos, bowling alleys and soft play centres will reopen THIS weekend.

    The PM forced the businesses to stay shut for a further two weeks over fears of a spike in coronavirus cases.

    Most businesses were able to reopen in July – including hairdressers, gyms and pubs – but a handful of indoor venues were scheduled to reopen on August 1.

    Hopes of flinging open their doors again were dashed when Boris Johnson said the UK needed to pause reopening as multiple cities went into local lockdowns.

    But The Sun understands the businesses forced to stay shut will be able to reopen from this weekend.

Source: Read Full Article