12.30pm Coronavirus UK news LIVE: Prem stars test positive, 'concerning' spike and ‘red alert’ in Bolton & Manchester

TWO Premier League stars have tested positive for the coronavirus – as Matt Hancock warned that Sunday's spike in coronavirus cases of 2,988 was "concerning".

Manchester City have confirmed that Riyad Mahrez and Aymeric Laporte have tested positive for the bug and are now in self-isolation.

It comes as Bolton and Manchester were placed on red alert, after Greater Manchester recorded its biggest daily rise in coronavirus cases since April.

A total of five boroughs in the Greater Manchester region have been put on the government's highest alert after recording weekly infection rates above 50 cases per 100,000 population.

Meanwhile, the government is set to launch a “seat out to help out” scheme offering cut-price tickets to live sport and theatre in a bid to save the ailing events industry, according to reports.

Culture secretary Oliver Dowden last week ordered Whitehall officials to “move at extreme pace” to get Brits back into large venues – with hopes that mass testing may be the key to getting the industry back to life. 

On Sunday, there were 2,988 new infections in Britain as the death toll rose to 41,551.

Follow our coronavirus blog for the latest news and updates…

  • CASES RISING IN 22 US STATES

    Coronavirus cases are rising in 22 of the 50 U.S. states, according to a Reuters analysis.

    As little as three weeks ago, cases were increasing in only three states, Hawaii, Illinois and South Dakota, according to an analysis comparing cases for the two-week period of Aug. 8-22 with the past two weeks.

    Most of the 22 states where cases are rising are in the less-populated parts of the Midwest and South.

    On a percentage basis, South Dakota had the biggest increase over the past two weeks at 126%, reporting over 3,700 new cases.

  • SNP COUNCILLOR SAYS 'CLOSING PUBS MUST BE ON THE TABLE'

    An SNP councillor has urged Nicola Sturgeon to consider closing down Scotland's pubs to curb the spread of coronavirus.

    Chris McEleny said keeping bars open is “not compatible” with efforts to control the virus, as parts of the country see infections rise.

    He made the plea after Sunday's figures showed Scotland had recorded 208 new coronavirus cases – the highest daily increase in positive tests since May.

  • RUSSIA REPORTS OVER 5,000 NEW CASES

    Russia has reported 5,185 new coronavirus cases today.

    The rise pushes the country's case tally to 1,030,690, the fourth largest in the world.

    It comes as Russia's consumer health safety watchdog announced that early-stage trials on a second Russian coronavirus vaccine will be finished by the end of the month.

    The Russian vaccine has been met with skepticism from experts, who have accused the country of compromising on safety by rushing it through.

  • LABOUR DEMANDS ANSWERS FROM HANCOCK OVER CASE RISE

    Labour has called on Health Secretary Matt Hancock to explain the recent rise in coronavirus cases.

    It comes as Sunday saw 2,988 cases were reported on Sunday – the largest daily figure since May.

    Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth yesterday said: “Today's increase in coronavirus cases is deeply concerning and a stark reminder that there is no room for complacency in tackling the spread of the virus.

    “This increase, combined with the ongoing testing fiasco where ill people are told to drive for miles for tests, and the poor performance of the contact tracing system, needs an explanation from ministers.”

  • OTHER AREAS SEEING A RISE IN INFECTIONS

    Other areas in the UK are also seeing a spike in infections.

    We list them below – with all the latest data.

    • Birmingham has recorded 563 new cases in the seven days up to September 3. Its case rate now stands at 49.3 per 100,000, which is the highest seven-day rate since late April.
    • Leeds has a seven-day rate of 41.6 cases per 100,000 people. This is up from 27.5 with 330 new cases. It is the highest rate since mid-May.

    BOLTON SEES CASE SURGE

    Bolton – which has been put on 'red alert' – recorded 333 new cases in the seven days up to September 3.

    This is the equivalent of 115.8 cases per 100,000 people – up sharply from 36.5 in the previous week (the seven days to August 27).

    In Manchester, the seven-day rate currently stands at 50.1 cases per 100,000 people, up from 39.8 with 277 new cases.

    It marks the highest rate in Manchester since the end of April.

    LATEST COVID-19 RATES REVEALED

    Data showing the coronavirus rates across England in the the seven days to September 3 have just been released.

    We'll be looking at the infection rates in hard-hit areas in the next few posts.

    All numbers have been calculated using the latest Public Health England data published on the Government's website.

    PIZZA EXPRESS ANNOUNCES 73 BRANCHES TO CLOSE

    Pizza Express has confirmed plans to close 73 restaurants, putting 1,100 jobs at risk.

    The pizza chain today announced that it's restructuring plans, first proposed last month, have been approved by creditors.

    It comes as the chain – along with other high street staples – suffered huge losses amid the coronavirus lockdown.

    BREAKING: TWO PREMIER LEAGUE PLAYERS TEST POSITIVE

    Manchester City have confirmed that Riyad Mahrez and Aymeric Laporte have tested positive for coronavirus.

    The two Etihad stars are not suffering with any symptoms of the virus – but will still have to self-isolate.

    It comes just two weeks before the club's first Premier League clash.

    Read the full story here.

    COMMUTERS CAN 'TRAVEL WITH CONFIDENCE'

    Commuters are being told they can “travel with confidence” as rail services were ramped up today.

    Industry body the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) insisted trains are “safe to travel in” as timetables were increased to around 90% of pre-coronavirus pandemic levels.

    RDG director of nations and regions Robert Nisbet told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: “Today is really about telling commuters that 'you can travel with confidence', that we are going to be putting on more trains to increase capacity.

    “But also what we're doing is ensuring that those trains are safe to travel in by increasing hygiene (and) cleaning in stations and on trains.”

    It is hoped that a return to normal services will also encourage workers to get back into offices.

    APPEAL FOR YOUNG BRITS TO FOLLOW SOCIAL DISTANCING MEASURES

    Matt Hancock also appealed for young people to follow social distancing rules in order to prevent a second spike in infections.

    He said: “It is important for everybody to wash their hands, to follow social distancing.

    “It's 'hands, face, space', as in wash your hands, cover your face when appropriate and stay two metres apart where appropriate, or one-metre plus.

    He added: “We will take action if people go to big social events that are completely inappropriate, sadly, in a time of coronavirus.”

    HANCOCK: RISE IN CASES NOT RESTRICTED TO POOR AREAS

    Speaking to LBC, Mr Hancock said the rise in coronavirus cases was not restricted to poorer areas.

    He added: “Over the summer we had particular problems in some of the areas that are most deprived.

    “Actually, the recent increase we have seen in the last few days is more broadly spread.

    “It's actually among more affluent younger people where we have seen the rise.”

    HANCOCK: RISE IN CASES ON SUNDAY IS 'CONCERNING'

    Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that the daily rise in cases of coronavirus on Sunday was “concerning”.

    The UK saw 2,988 infections yesterday, as the death toll rose to 41,551.

    Mr Hancock told LBC: “The rise in the number of cases we have seen in the last few days is concerning.

    “It is concerning because we have seen a rise in cases in France, in Spain, in some other countries across Europe – nobody wants to see a second wave here.”

    AROUND THE WORLD

    Here's the latest on the coronavirus from around the globe.

    • India's coronavirus infections have surged past 4.2 million, as it overtook Brazil to become the country with the second-highest number of cases behind the USA.
    • Australian biotech giant CSL Ltd has said it will manufacture two different COVID-19 vaccine candidates, with the earliest doses due to reach the market early next year.
    • The vice-president of the International Olympic Committee has said that the postponed Tokyo Olympic Games will go ahead next year “with or without Covid”. John Coates told AFP that the games would start on July 23 next year, dubbing them the “Games that conquered Covid”.
    • France is starting to see its rising daily case load reflect a higher rate of hospital admissions. The country recorded 9,000 infections on Friday, marking the largest daily increase since the beginning of the pandemic. Officials have said that some areas have been hit badly – with almost all 70 beds in the southern region of Bouches-du-Rhônecurrently occupied.

    AIRPORT JOBS AT RISK

    Boris Johnson has been told by UK airport bosses to replace quarantining for new arrivals with coronavirus testing – or risk losing 110,000 jobs.

    In a letter to the prime minister, the bosses of the country's 20 biggest airports said that “irreparable damage” would be done to the UK's economy and aviation sector if current quarantine requirements remained in place.

    They said that up to 110,000 jobs were at risk in the sector and related industries, and gave Mr Johnson seven days to announce a programme of testing for new arrivals, the Telegraph reports.

    “We cannot currently envisage an end to this struggle,” they wrote.

    Read the full story on that here.

    FIVE TEACHERS TEST POSITIVE FOR COVID-19 AT SCHOOL

    Five teachers have tested positive for the coronavirus, with the academy closed on Monday on the advice of Public Health England.

    Two other members of staff at the Samuel Ward Academy in Haverhill are waiting to hear their coronavirus test results.

    The school said in a statement that the closure was a “precautionary measure” and it hoped to reopen on Tuesday.

    AUSTRALIA'S VACCINE HOPES

    Some promising vaccine-related news coming from Australia this morning.

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said the country will secure almost 85 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine-if two promising trials prove successful.

    He said the country had struck two deals that could potentially allow free doses to be rolled out in 2021, pending approval from scientists.

    “However the agreement puts Australia at the top of the queue, if our medical experts give the vaccines the green light,” the prime minister said.

    AT A DISTANCE

    Coronavirus is getting WEAKER, experts believe.

    Cases are rising – but deaths have stayed low in recent weeks.

    This could be why.

    Image: AFP

    CAR PARKS FILL AS CIVIL SERVANTS GET BACK TO THE OFFICE

    A full car park at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) in Swansea amid a push by the Government for civil servants to 'lead from the front' and get back to their desks.

    It comes as Downing Street looks to encourage people back to the workplace now that schools have reopened.

    Image: PA

    RED ALERT

    Bolton and Manchester have been placed on red alert after Greater Manchester recorded its biggest daily rise in coronavirus cases since April.

    A total of five boroughs in the region have been put on the government's highest alert after recording weekly infection rates above 50 cases per 100,000 population.

    Here's what you need to know.

    RED ALERT

    Bolton and Manchester are on red alert after Greater Manchester recorded its biggest daily rise in coronavirus cases since April.

    A total of five boroughs in the region have been put on the government's highest alert after recording weekly infection rates above 50 cases per 100,000 population.

    Infections rates rose in every borough of Greater Manchester except Rochdale and Trafford in the week to September 3.

    For the full story, see HERE.

    LOOK OUT FOR NAN

    Matt Hancock has urged young Brits to continue to take social distancing seriously to protect their grandparents against Covid-19 as cases spike.

    The Health Secretary told Sky News: “It is so important that people don't allow this illness to infect their grandparents and to lead to the sort of problems that we saw earlier in the year.”

    The UK has seen an increase of nearly 3,000 cases – the highest increase in more than three months.

    But Paul Hunter, a professor of medicine at the Uni of East Anglia, told The Guardian that some of the new infections could be attributed to a catch-up in results from tests.

    There's been a “high demand” for tests, said a Department of Health boss.

    TESTING TIMES

    People potentially infected with Covid-19 are still having to drive for miles to be tested.

    Jonathan Stoye, a virologist in London, told The Guardian his son had to travel 80 miles from St Albans, Herts, to Gatwick for a test.

    He said: “It's ridiculous.

    “If you want to get people back to work, you've got to get the testing system to work.”

    Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham said many people had complained to him about being offered tests as far away as Scotland.

    He said it raised the risk of spreading the disease, as being “directed to bizarre locations” is likely to make possible coronavirus carriers think “sod that” and not worry about being tested.

    UK '6 WEEKS BEHIND FRANCE'

    There are fears that the UK is lagging “six weeks behind France” because of a recent spike in Covid-19 cases.

    Nearly 3,000 new infections were announced on Sunday in the UK – its highest daily number of new coronavirus cases since May.

    A government source told the Guardian there's concern that the UK is “six weeks behind France” – a country which had a surge of over 8,500 coronavirus cases reported in the past 24 hours.

    Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the sharp rise is concerning.

    He's urged young people to observe social distancing rules.

    TOUGHER CORONA MEASURES HIT BOLTON

    Stricter local lockdown measures have been introduced in Bolton after a spike in coronavirus cases.

    The town’s infection rate has hit 99 cases per 100,000 people, the highest in England.

    People were told to avoid mixing with other households anywhere and to use public transport only if essential.

    Council leader David Greenhalgh and chief executive Tony Oakman said: “It has been a tough period for individuals, families and businesses.

    “But we don't want to throw away all our hard work by allowing the infection rate to rise even higher.”

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