Coronavirus has entered a stage where it can no longer be contained in Britain and public health efforts must move towards delaying the spread, experts warned as cases soared. Boris Johnson announced on Sunday the government was establishing a ‘war room’ in the Cabinet Office, bringing together experts to respond to the growing crisis. The Prime Minister admitted the situation will get worse before it gets better, and said there would “clearly” be more cases as the virus “spread a bit more.” A further 13 people tested positive for coronavirus on Sunday, including the first case in Scotland. It brings the total to 36 – a 57 per cent increase and the largest rise to date. Two of those diagnosed over the weekend had not come into contact with people from abroad, leading officials to fear the spread could be worse as patients are harder to trace.
A feared coronavirus “super-spreader” sought by health officials has been linked to at least four cases as the number of confirmed infections in the UK made its biggest jump in a day so far. Two primary schools will be closed today after staff were diagnosed with the infection. The parents of more than 500 pupils will have to keep them at home or make other arrangements. The number of cases rose by 13 to reach 36 yesterday, including the first case to be found in Scotland. The previous highest number of new diagnoses in one day was four.
Health officials are desperately trying to find coronavirus carriers unwittingly spreading the deadly illness. They fear the individuals have only mild symptoms and do not realise they are infected. The crisis deepened yesterday when 13 new cases were reported – bringing the number in the UK to 36. The total has almost tripled in four days with the virus now reaching all corners of the British Isles. But the South East is on the front line with experts trying to identify the sources of outbreaks in Essex, Surrey and West Sussex. Five of the latest victims caught coronavirus within the UK – and not abroad – meaning it may already be too late to head off an epidemic. Officials have not ruled out drastic measures such as locking down cities, closing schools, recalling retired doctors and banning large gatherings.
CORONAVIRUS could shut down entire cities to stop it spreading, the Health Secretary warned today. Matt Hancock also admitted a vaccine to treat the deadly bug was months away and the Government would publish doomsday plans this week. It comes as doctors battle a “nightmare scenario” after a man became the first to catch coronavirus within Britain. Another 13 cases of Covid-19 were confirmed yesterday – taking the total to 36. In France the Government has banned gatherings of more than 5,000 people to try and stop the spread of the killer virus. Mr Hancock today refused to rule out cutting off entire cities like Wuhan in China where the bug originated. Andrew Marr asked him: “China, of course, isolated entire cities. Is it conceivable under any circumstance, you try and cut off the city in this country?” Mr Hancock replied: “There’s clearly a huge economic and social downside to that.
Large gatherings could be banned, cities put on lockdown and operations cancelled if coronavirus continues to spread in the UK, it has been warned. Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Sky News he could not rule out banning big events where thousands of people would gather, if the situation gets worse. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the UK is now 36, including one each in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland – after a sudden jump on Sunday. He later said that despite a “huge economic and social downside” closing down cities could not be taken “off the table at this stage because you have to make sure you have all the tools available if that is what is necessary”.
Thirteen new cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the UK – including the first one in Scotland. It is the biggest jump in COVID-19 cases the UK has seen in one day – and means all four home nations have now been affected. The Scottish patient, who is receiving treatment after being placed in isolation, is a resident of the Tayside area and has recently returned from Italy. The other 12 cases are in England – including a “family cluster”.
Boris Johnson will pledge today that the government will “stop at nothing” to fight coronavirus as ministers prepare the public for drastic measures to tackle the spread of the illness. The prime minister is to chair a meeting of the government’s emergency Cobra committee that will sign off a “battle plan” to tackle the virus, which, he will warn, presents “a significant challenge for our country”. Health officials confirmed yesterday that the number of infections had jumped from 23 to 36, the biggest rise in a single day, including a second case where a cause had not been identified.
The UK government has refused to rule out cutting off entire cities if Britain enters a worst-case scenario of Coronavirus. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said “we don’t take anything off the table” as the global death toll neared 3,000 – including one Brit on a cruise ship in Japan. The Tory Cabinet minister, who is setting up a “war room” and passing emergency laws, warned scientists have said it is “inevitable” that the virus will become endemic in society. If that happens, he said, in a worst case scenario the UK may need “significant actions” that would have “social and economic disruption” – which could include closing some schools with a specific risk and pulling ex-doctors out of retirement.
The government is refusing to rule out placing entire cities on lockdown if the UK experiences a widespread coronavirus outbreak, according to the health secretary. Matt Hancock said he would not take anything “off the table at this stage” when asked about a Wuhan-style quarantine by BBC’s Andrew Marr on Sunday. “There’s clearly a huge economic and social downside to that but we don’t take anything off the table at this stage because you’ve got to make sure that you have all of the tools available if that is what’s necessary,” he said. The health secretary added: “I want to minimise the social and economic disruption, and at this stage we still have the hope – although the numbers elsewhere are rising fast – we still have the hope that we might be able to avoid this outcome.”
Traders and investors should prepare for more coronavirus-related havoc in markets worldwide after last week’s “rude awakening”, the Bank for International Settlements has said. Almost $6 trillion was wiped off global stocks last week, leaving indices nursing their largest weekly falls since the 2008 financial crisis. “One thing is sure,” Claudio Borio, head of the bank’s monetary and economic affairs department, said. “Markets will continue to dance to the tune of news about the virus and of the authorities’ response.”
Downing Street and the Department of Health are locked in a row over post-Brexit access to an EU pandemic warning system in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. Matt Hancock’s department wanted to retain membership of the Early Warning and Response System (EWRS) as part of the EU-UK future relationship deal, but No 10 said “no”, The Daily Telegraph has learnt. Senior health advisers warned that exiting the EWRS, which has helped coordinate the response to the virus and played a vital role during the bird flu outbreak, would put public health at risk.
Britain is ready to quit the European Convention on Human Rights which blocked the deportation of dangerous foreign criminals, setting up a row with the EU and within Tory ranks. UK negotiators are said to be ready to reject clauses requiring the country to sign up to the set of rules in any future trade agreement with Brussels. Critics of the ECHR, who include Home Secretary Priti Patel and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, argue that it prevents Britain from deporting dangerous foreign criminals convicted by UK courts.
The UK looks set to reject EU demands to stick to the European Convention on Human Rights, sparking a massive Brexit row. Brussels chiefs have demanded Britain obeys the ECHR – which enshrines rights to family life, free speech and protection from discrimination – as an explicit part of a trade deal after Brexit . The EU’s opening statement last week said Britain must stick to the Convention as part of any deal, otherwise co-operation over law enforcement will be “automatically terminated”. But Britain’s opening statement says the UK should be free to choose how human rights are upheld.
BELGIAN MEP Guy Verhofstadt has issued a chilling warning to the bloc ahead of Brexit trade talks with the UK, saying the “keys of Europe” have been handed to Turkey. The EU’s former Brexit coordinator spoke about after Ankara said it had allowed 76,000 migrants into Greece after opening its border. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made the move on Friday after 33 Turkish soldiers were killed win an airstrike in Syria. At around 10am local time on Sunday (7am UK time) Turkey’s interior minister Salesman Soylu said 76,358 people had left the country though the city of Edirne. Mr Verhofstadt took to Twitter to warn the crisis would have consequences for Greece today but tomorrow the effects would ripple across the entire 27-member union.
Ministers have been told that they risk paralysing cross-Channel trade with Europe unless they agree a Brexit deal that is acceptable to French fishermen. In what is being described as a “nightmare” scenario, Whitehall officials have told ministers that there is a “very realistic chance” that cross-Channel ports would be blockaded by EU fishing fleets in the event that no trade deal is agreed. They are particularly concerned that Calais is uniquely vulnerable to even a small-scale protest against attempts to restrict the access of EU fishing fleets to UK waters.
French Europe Minister Amélie de Montchalin had a simple answer to Marr’s question ‘could UK-EU trade negotiations collapse over an argument about fishing rights’. Yes.
The public has been promised lower prices and greater choice on super-market shelves as ministers prepare to launch post-Brexit trade negotiations with the United States. Boris Johnson vowed last night to “drive a hard bargain” during talks over a free trade agreement that Whitehall officials hope will support some of Britain’s leading industries. Carmakers and farmers are among those expected to be the biggest winners should the deal eliminate US tariffs, alongside professional service exporters such as architects and lawyers, according to the Department for International Trade. The government is today announcing its long-awaited negotiating objectives for an “ambitious and comprehensive” pact, which will include a pledge to “rigorously protect” the National Health Service and uphold domestic food standards.
Boris Johnson has claimed he will “drive a hard bargain” in upcoming trade talks with the United States, as ministers prepare to outline their negotiating objectives. Amid pleas not to lower UK food standards or allow the US companies to ramp up the cost of medicines under a new free trade agreement, Whitehall said it wants to open up opportunities for British businesses and investors. As Labour accused ministers of making “false promises” and trade union chiefs urged Mr Johnson not to “cosy up” to Donald Trump, the government insisted it will ensure the NHS is not for sale — a claim heavily contended during the general election race.
Boris Johnson has been warned he faces a “big choice” between following EU or US standards – as the government reveals what it wants from talks with Donald Trump. Ministers will on Monday set out what they want – and don’t want – in a US-UK trade deal, with talks between the two sides expected to begin this month. Monday will also see the first round of trade talks between the UK and the EU’s negotiating teams in Brussels, following Britain’s exit from the bloc in January and entry into an 11-month Brexit transition period. Trade expert David Henig, the UK director of the European Centre for International Political Economy, warned the government would face a difficult decision as it conducts parallel trade negotiations with the US and EU.
Boris Johnson has said he will drive a hard bargain as the UK outlined its negotiating objectives for the forthcoming trade talks with the US. Despite fears that disagreements between London and Washington could obstruct the launch of the negotiations, a government press release claimed the prime minister wanted to open up opportunities for British businesses and investors while also ensuring the NHS was not for sale via the desired free trade agreement. In an acknowledgement of deep concerns among the British electorate that the US will demand access to the NHS, the government stated once again that it remains committed to keeping the health service universal and free at the point of use.
BRITAIN’S economy will enjoy a £3.4billion boom under the Government’s plans to strike a free trade deal with America. Boris Johnson said shoppers will pay ultra-low prices on US goods. And he moved to stamp out Labour scare stories by promising to protect the NHS and maintain high food standards. The PM said: “We have the best negotiators in the business and of course we’re going to drive a hard bargain to boost British industry. “Trading Scottish smoked salmon for Stetson hats, we will deliver lower prices and more choice for our shoppers.
BORIS Johnson has been warned not to “cosy up” to US President Donald Trump in their forthcoming trade talks. The government has set out its overall strategy for a trade deal with the US, vowing not to cut standards or allow any privatisation of the NHS. Ministers predict a free trade agreement could boost the UK economy by opening up opportunities for British businesses and investors, while facilitating greater choice and lower prices for producers and consumers. Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress, has warned Boris Johnson that he must not sign the country up to lower food or employment standards in order to cut a deal.
The first round of post-Brexit trade talks between the UK and European Union are due to start on Monday, with the two sides well apart on a final agreement. David Frost, the Prime Minister’s Europe adviser, and his team of negotiators will travel to Brussels to kick-start the nine-month process of vying to secure a new trade arrangement with the EU. Both sides published their negotiation mandates last week, revealing that they are at odds over Boris Johnson’s push for a comprehensive Canada-style free trade deal, as well as demands over fishing, state subsidies and standards.
So this is it. After three messy years negotiating the UK’s exit from the EU, Monday is the day that trade talks finally begin between the two sides. David Frost, the UK’s chief negotiator, arrives in Brussels in the afternoon, armed with 100 advisers and civil servants, preparing to spread themselves across 10 working groups, focusing on everything from fishing to financial services to truck drivers’ cross-border access. Negotiations are to take place once every two or three weeks from now until the summer at least, alternating between Brussels and London – with the prime minister insisting a deal must be struck by the year’s end. On the edge of your seat with excitement, are you? Thought not. But should you be?
Boris Johnson yesterday praised Priti Patel as a “fantastic” Home Secretary as it emerged a complaint was said to have been made about her conduct as a minister four years ago. The Prime Minister moved to dispel speculation that Ms Patel could be ousted in the wake of her most senior civil servant’s resignation at the weekend, saying she had his “absolute confidence”. Sir Philip Rutnam quit as the Home Office’s permanent secretary after blaming Ms Patel for a briefing campaign against him, and on Sunday the BBC was told about a formal complaint that was made about Ms Patel’s behaviour by a civil servant in another department she worked in. Jonathan Powell, a former Downing Street chief of staff, predicted on Sunday that Ms Patel is “going to go” and that Mr Johnson might decide to “get rid” of her before the start of an employment tribunal that Sir Philip has said he will instigate.
Senior civil servants have called on the cabinet secretary to open an independent investigation into bullying claims against Priti Patel as it emerged that there had been at least one earlier formal complaint before the resignation of her top civil servant. The home secretary is facing calls to answer questions from MPs today after the resignation on Saturday of Sir Philip Rutnam, permanent secretary at the Home Office. He accused Ms Patel of “shouting and swearing” at staff, “belittling people” and making “unreasonable and repeated demands”. The Times understands that Downing Street is so far resisting calls for an independent inquiry into Ms Patel’s conduct. Ms Patel denies allegations of bullying.
Boris Johnson is facing escalating pressure to launch an urgent investigation into bullying allegations against Priti Patel after the unprecedented resignation of the top civil servant at the Home Office. In an explosive statement to cameras, Sir Philip Rutnam effectively accused the home secretary of lying, claimed she had created an atmosphere of “fear” and said he would sue the government for constructive dismissal. The Home Office permanent secretary insisted he had been the “target of a vicious and orchestrated briefing campaign” that had left him with no alternative but to resign from government after a career spanning 33 years.
In the cellar of the 18th-century Château du Pavillon in Bordeaux are 70,000 bottles of wine that nobody seems to want to drink. Olivier Fleury, 48, the château owner, had earmarked them for the United States, where they usually sell for between $25 and $60 (£20-£45) a bottle. That was before President Trump imposed a 25 per cent tariff on $7.5 billion worth of European exports including Scotch whisky, Italian cheese and still French wine containing less than 14 per cent alcohol. The result has been a slump in sales as importers block orders and customers turn to Chilean, Argentinian and Italian bottles, unaffected by the tariffs.