Tuesday, 29 Sep 2020

Coronavirus map LIVE: Councils handed powers to demolish homes to prevent second wave

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Local authorities will be given the power to bulldoze trains, cars, buses and aeroplanes if approved by the magistrates. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has handed local councils a broad range of powers to contain COVID-190 outbreaks as soon as they are detected in his bid to stop the nation being shutdown for a second time.

Under the Government’s COVID-19 Contain Framework, councils will be given the authority to draw on six separate Acts of Parliament to ban events, order mass testing and enforce the lightning closure of public buildings.

They will also have the power to limit travel to key workers only and limit school openings.

The document, published by the Department of Health and Social Care, tells councils, under the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984, they can apply to a magistrate “to impose restrictions or requirements to close contaminated premises; close public spaces in the area of the local authority; detain a conveyance or movable structure; disinfect or decontaminate premises; or order that a building, conveyance or structure be destroyed”.

This means offices, factories, care homes and even private care homes could be destroyed as a last resort if it is deemed to be at the centre of a surge in coronavirus cases.

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7.50am update: Lockdwon laws come into force

Laws enforcing lockdown restrictions in areas of the north of England including Manchester, parts of east Lancashire and West Yorkshire have come into force.

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions on Gatherings) (North of England) Regulations 2020 were finally published on Tuesday afternoon.

Ministers had said the rules – which ban people from different households meeting in a private home or garden following a spike in coronavirus cases – would apply from midnight on July 31.

Officials refused to comment when asked why there had been a delay in introducing the laws and on what legal basis they had been enforced for the first five days of the measures.

Human rights barrister Adam Wagner, commenting on the legislation on Twitter, said: “They come into force and do not (cannot) apply to anything which happened before that.”

The legislation imposes restrictions on metropolitan, city and borough council areas in: Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Wigan, Burnley, Hyndburn, Pendle, Rossendale, Calderdale and Kirklees.

7.47am update: Ukraine reports record jump in cases

Ukraine recorded a record daily jump of 1,271 coronavirus cases on Tuesday. 

The number of infections has increased sharply in Ukraine in the past two months as authorities have eased some restrictions, allowing cafes, churches and public transport to reopen.

Health minister Maksym Stepanov urged people to obey broader restrictions that are still in place.

He said: “Ukrainians, the fight against coronavirus is impossible without you. The rules are very simple – the use of masks, antiseptics and a distance of 1.5 metres. Following these simple rules significantly reduces the risk of disease.”

The total number of cases rose to 75,490, including 1,788 deaths and 41,527 recovered as of August 5. 

7.40am update: Schools will return in September 

Schools minister Nick Gibb has confirmed the Government’s position that all children will return to school in September.

He told Sky News: “We’re very clear that all children will be returning to school in September, including in areas of local lockdown such as Greater Manchester.

“It is hugely important for children’s education, for their wellbeing, that they do return to school and schools are working enormously hard in preparation for September to make sure that the risk of transmitting the virus within the school environment is kept to an absolute minimum.

“We have issued very detailed guidance to schools about hygiene, about keeping children in these bubbles – class-sized bubbles in primary schools, year-group bubbles in secondary schools – making sure children aren’t unnecessarily mixing with other children in the school, staggered lunch breaks, staggered play times, doing everything that we can to minimise contact – one-way systems through schools and so on – so that children are safe in school.”

Asked whether the Government would consider closing pubs and restaurants to ensure all children can return to school safely in September, Mr Gibb replied: “Our priority is to make sure that children are back in school with their friends.”

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