Health Minister Matt Hancock announced that large swaths of southeast England will enter Level 3 restrictions this weekend, as Greater Manchester is set to remain in the top tier of coronavirus.

Hancock told the House of Commons that Portsmouth, Peterborough, Bedfordshire and Berkshire are among the regions to be placed at Tier 3.

Meanwhile, some parts of England have seen their restrictions lower, including Bristol and North Somerset.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that the leave scheme will be extended for another month until April, with government loan plans also extended until the end of March.

The news that French President Emmanuel Macron had tested positive for Covid-19 was a reminder that the pandemic is far from over.

Macron is self-isolating for seven days, as world leaders who recently met him take precautions.

Follow the latest updates

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Hospitals cancel operations as intensive care beds fill

London hospitals are already running out of critical care beds ahead of the easing of the rules over Christmas – which is expected to increase cases further, a leaked NHS briefing warned. Our health reporter Shawn Lintern Reports:

Jane DaltonDecember 17, 2020 17:30

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High school comeback is staggered

Pupils in high school write that they will start the class online under new plans Zoe Tidman:

Jane DaltonDecember 17, 2020 17:05

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Official figures show that 532 people have died from Covid-19 in the past 24 hours.

And 35,383 new infections were recorded in the same period.

This brings the official number of deaths in the UK of people who have died within 28 days of a positive test to 66,052.

The daily numbers are in line with those that occurred throughout December, although there are fluctuations.

Jane DaltonDecember 17, 2020 17:01

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GWR cancels Christmas train services after crew see the Covid-19 outbreak

The Great Western Railway (GWR) train operator has announced that it will cancel a “small number” of services over Christmas due to the coronavirus outbreak among employees.

The Great Western Railway (GWR) said it will operate on a revised schedule from December 21-27 that will see “a small number of services” change or cancel during the holiday period.

The new schedule is expected to provide “ground transportation at key locations”.

The decision comes as nearly 50 GWR workers have been forced into self-isolation after several crew members tested positive for Covid-19, according to the PA.

Jane DaltonDecember 17, 2020 16:45

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The Scots warned against Hogmanay parties

Scots are being urged to comply with coronavirus restrictions and not meet Hogmanay.

The coronavirus restrictions are set to be eased from December 23-27 for Christmas, but a short relaxation of the rules will not extend to New Year’s celebrations.

Speaking at a Covid-19 committee meeting in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday, Constitution Minister Mike Russell said that Scots should not “do Hogmanay”, according to the Palestinian Authority.

“If someone can meet outside, they are allowed to meet outside and may want to meet outside in the middle of the night, but in no way do it if you don’t feel you should do it,” he said.

“The rules that apply in the area you live in should apply, absolutely and strictly. There is no relaxation at Hogmanay.”

Chantal da SilvaDecember 17, 2020 16:20

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London Health Fund postpones routine procedures amid rising Covid cases

A major London hospital said it would postpone some routine measures after moving into the “high pressure” phase of its winter escalation plan.

The NHS Trust, which serves nearly 2.5 million people in East London, said the decision was made to focus on “large numbers of patients with Covid-19”.

A company spokesperson said: “We are treating large numbers of Covid-19 patients, and in line with our plan to escalate the winter, we have moved into the“ high pressure ”phase and are taking steps to keep our patients safe.

“These include postponing some routine procedures during the coming days so that we can redistribute staff and increase the number of critical care and general beds available.”

The plan will not affect cancer patients. Those affected will be contacted directly.

Chantal da SilvaDecember 17, 2020 15:53

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Kent residents are urged to act as if they have Covid-19

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has urged everyone in Kent to act as if they all have coronavirus in order to help reduce case numbers.

Addressing Members of Parliament on Thursday, Mr. Hancock said: “I would like to say to everyone across Kent that we really need to act with serious responsibility throughout Kent, no matter what part of Kent you are, we have a very serious problem in Kent.

“ The only way we can control it is for people in Kent to basically act as if they have the virus and try not to pass it on to someone else.

“Be really careful in Kent, it is this area of ​​the country that has the biggest problem both in terms of case rates and in terms of the tremendous pressure on the NHS in Kent.”

The latest data shows that Kent is home to 11 of England’s top 25 regions with the highest rates of coronavirus cases.

In the week ending December 12, 9,997 new cases were recorded in Kent, up from 7,127 the previous week.

Chantal da SilvaDecember 17, 2020 15:39

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The mayor of West Midlands calls for more corporate funds after the level review

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street is calling on the government to provide additional cash support to companies after announcing that a significant portion of the area will remain at Level 3.

Mr. Street, a conservative, said the current package allowing aggrieved companies to claim up to £ 3,000 a month “will not cover it”.

He said that the Treasury “should do more in this regard,” with the mayor confirming that he has already written to the chancellor to demand more support, according to the Palestinian Authority.

The words of Mr. Street echoed the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce (GBCC) describing the current business support as “amazingly insufficient”.

Chantal da SilvaDecember 17, 2020 15:22

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COVID-19 cases are increasing in all but one region of England, and the fastest is London

The new figures show high rates of coronavirus infection across England except for one region, where London reported the largest increase in infections.

In the week ending December 13, the metropolitan rate rose from 199.9 the previous week to 319.3 cases per 100,000 people, according to data from Public Health England (PHE).

The only region to see a decline on a weekly basis was Yorkshire and the Humber, where the rate fell slightly from 153.6 to 148.5.

Chantal da SilvaDecember 17, 2020 15:10

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The state-backed lending scheme has expanded and licensed, the Treasury Department says

The Treasury Department announced that the holiday scheme is set to continue for another month, with companies also being able to obtain state-backed loans through March.

The coronavirus jobs retention scheme, under which the state provides 80 percent of the wages of authorized workers, was due to expire at the end of March 2021, but will now continue until at least the end of April.

Chantal da SilvaDecember 17, 2020 14:37

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