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UK records 691 deaths as mutant strain spreads
Boris Johnson has said he had “no choice” but to plunge England into a third national lockdown, after new figures showed one in 50 people was infected with coronavirus last week. The Office for National Statistics figures estimate 1.1 million people in private households in England had COVID-19 between 27 December and 2 January – equivalent to around 2.06% of the population.
We have no choice
Johnson, speaking at a Downing Street press conference the day after announcing another lockdown, said: “I believe that when everybody looks at the position, people understand overwhelmingly that we have no choice." The UK recorded 60,916 lab-confirmed coronavirus cases as of 9am on Tuesday – the highest daily total reported so far.
Record numbers in hospital with COVID
Hospital admissions of people with COVID-19 have reached another record high, NHS England figures also show. A total of 3,351 admissions in England were reported for 3 January, passing the previous record of 3,145 on 2 January. During the first wave of the virus, admissions peaked at 3,099 on 1 April 2020. The number comprises all patients admitted in the previous 24 hours who were known to have COVID-19, plus any patients diagnosed in hospital with COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours.
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UK coronavirus cases up by nearly 61,000 in new record high (Evening Standard)
—The big coronavirus stories today—
Lockdown to last until March
Tough new coronavirus restrictions may have to remain in place until March, cabinet minister Michael Gove has warned as England enters its third national lockdown. Gove said rules would be in force until some weeks after the government's mid-February target for vaccinating at-risk groups.
Sunak offers £4.6bn for high street firms
Around 600,000 retail, hospitality and leisure sites will be able to claim a one-off grant of up to £9,000, chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced. The grants will cost the Treasury £4.6bn, and are aimed to help support the high street as new lockdown measures announced take hold.
Joe Wicks brings back PE lessons
Personal trainer Joe Wicks has announced he will bring back his PE with Joe exercise classes as schools close for England's third national lockdown. The Body Coach, 34, will host the live fitness sessions for children on his YouTube channel three days a week from 11 January.
1.3 million people vaccinated in UK
Boris Johnson has said that 1.3 million people in the UK – including 1.1 million in England – have now received the coronavirus vaccine. The prime minister told a No 10 press conference the figure includes 650,000 people over the age of 80, which amounts to 23% of all the over 80s in England.
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Paperchase on brink of collapse
Stationery chain Paperchase is on the brink of collapsing into administration after sales were hammered by closures at the end of last year. The firm, which has 127 stores and 1,500 employees, confirmed it has filed a notice to appoint administrators from PwC to advise on its insolvency process.
YouTube removes talkRadio’s channel
YouTube has removed the official channel of talkRadio from its platform. The Google-owned video sharing site has not yet commented on the incident or confirmed the reasons for taking the action. In a statement posted to Twitter, talkRadio said it was waiting for an explanation from the technology giant.
Trump warned he can’t visit Scotland
Donald Trump has been warned he's not allowed to visit Scotland to play golf during Joe Biden's inauguration after speculation he was planning to make the trip. First minister Nicola Sturgeon cautioned the outgoing president that golf would not be deemed an "essential purpose" for transatlantic travel into the country during the COVID crisis.
Royal garden parties cancelled for 2021
Royal garden parties have been cancelled this year after the prime minister announced further lockdown restrictions. The parties are hosted by members of the royal family at Buckingham Palace in London and the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, with more than 30,000 guests in total attending each summer.
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