Friday evening news briefing: Prime Minister hits the Covid brakes

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Boris Johnson postpones easing of lockdown measures

The Prime Minister has said it is time to “squeeze that brake pedal” on reopening the economy, amid rising fears that the UK is on the brink of a second wave. During his first press conference in a fortnight, Boris Johnson confirmed he was “postponing” further changes for at least two weeks, following the late-night move to impose new restrictions on parts of northern England. England’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty said the UK had probably “reached near the limit or the limits of what we can do in terms of opening up society”. Prof Whitty warned of “difficult trade-offs” lying ahead, hinting that decisions will have to be made about which parts of Britsh life will be allowed to resume. Casinos, bowling alleys and skating rinks will not reopen tomorrow as planned. Indoor theatre will also remain off limits. Mr Johnson also announced the public will be required to wear face masks in more places. Read a guide to the expanded face covering policy and, if you are struggling to keep up, here is a complete summary of the lockdown rules.

Meanwhile, it has emerged more than 2.7m people have been placed under tighter restrictions despite living in neighbourhoods which have had fewer than four confirmed cases in the last 14 days. In all, nearly 4.5m people in Greater Manchester, Bradford, Blackburn and other areas are now banned from holding indoor meetings involving people from different households. Yet analysis by The Telegraph shows many neighbourhoods in these areas have seen low numbers of cases, with one council leader suggesting her local authority is “getting mopped up with the broader area”. Here is a summary of the new rules for large parts of the North and read on to search the number of cases where you live.

Prince Andrew lobbied for ‘favourable’ Epstein deal

Prince Andrew allegedly lobbied the US government on Jeffrey Epstein’s behalf for a “favourable” plea deal in an underage prostitution case in Florida in 2008, it has been claimed in newly unsealed court documents. The trove of documents, published for the first time after an appeal to keep them secret by Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell’s lawyers was rejected this week, highlights the relationship between the Duke and the disgraced late financier. The documents also accuse Ms Maxwell of having sex with girls as young as 15. They also say she lied in court when she claimed she had not been in contact with associate Jeffrey Epstein for “over a decade” before his death. Ms Maxwell is being held without bail in prison in New York. She has pleaded not guilty to six charges including facilitating Epstein’s abuse of minor girls. Read on for details.

Britain bakes during third hottest day on record

The UK has enjoyed its third hottest day on record today, as the Met Office recorded temperatures of 37.8C at Heathrow Airport. More than 100,000 people descended on Bournemouth beach, keen to make the most of the heat. Dorset police said the area was “rammed” by 1pm and threatened to block off roads. It comes as the Met Office released its annual State of the Climate report, in which it said climate change has an increasing influence in the UK. Of course, as the nation swelters, everyone must wear face masks in shops. Read how to cope with a face covering in the heatwave and click here for a guide on how to keep cool.

At a glance: Latest coronavirus headlines

  • Spike fears | Muslim families urged to celebrate Eid at home
  • Huge contraction | France, Spain and Italy suffer savage economic hit
  • Dog dies | Canine was first to test positive for coronavirus in US
  • Pandemic success | Female leaders’ lead the way in crisis
  • Travel updates | Tui cancels more holidays to Spain and its islands

Also in the news: Today’s other headlines

PC Andrew Harper | Three teenage thieves who dragged a newly married police officer to his death were told by a judge he did not believe their claims of remorse as he jailed them. Henry Long, 19, who was driving the car that was towing a stolen quad bike, and his accomplices Albert Bowers and Jessie Cole were locked up for a combined 42 years. Showing extraordinary bravery, PC Andrew Harper’s widow, Lissie, delivered a victim impact statement in person at the Old Bailey.

  • Madeleine McCann | Suspect’s lawyer calls search ‘desperate act’
  • Shamima Begum | Government granted permission to appeal ruling
  • Safari lodge owner’s murder | Prime suspect arrested after six years
  • Duncan Bannatyne | ‘I will never open another business in Scotland’
  • Motorhomes ‘free for all’ | Councillors plead for police to intervene

Around the world: Sharp rise of cases in Italy

A sharp rise in coronavirus cases in Italy has prompted fears of a Spain-style second wave of the pandemic. Italian authorities on Thursday reported 386 new cases in the previous 24 hours, the highest daily number since the end of May. On Wednesday, 289 new cases were logged, while on Tuesday there were 212. The spike in cases is so far being put down to infected travellers. Read on for details.

Friday interview

Eddie Hearn – ‘Boxing’s easy to fall in love with but hard to defend’

Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn

Credit: David Rose

As comeback bouts begin at ‘Matchroom Square Gardens’, the fight game’s biggest promoter tells Oliver Brown what drives him to succeed

Read the full interview

Comment and analysis

  • Nigel Farage | Luxury living shows scale of migrant scandal
  • Dominic Green | Trump may lose because he’s made us all populists
  • Morgan Schondelmeier | Trump’s talking like a wannabe despot
  • Melissa Lawford | Problem with our house price growth obsession
  • Amancay Tapia | Spain travel ban is much to do with Brexit

Editor’s choice

  1. Old school approach | How Princess Anne became beleaguered monarchy’s shining light
  2. Katie Morley Investigates | ‘Revolut lost my £23k house deposit and then blocked me’
  3. My eight-week fitness challenge | Can I lose the weight I gained in lockdown?

Business and money briefing

Arm talks | SoftBank is said to be in “advanced talks” to sell British microchip company Arm to computer giant Nvidia, as it continues to face pressure over its cash flow. Read on for details.

  • British Airways | Owner IAG to raise €2.75bn after record loss
  • Property Doctors | ‘Developer will turn our private road into rat run’
  • On top of markets | Live stocks and shares updates 24 hours a day

Sport briefing

FA Cup final | Arsenal take on Chelsea in the FA Cup final tomorrow and one person who will be unable to pick a side is Cesc Fabregas. The Spaniard, who played for both sides, talks about kneeing Roy Keane, his apology from Antonio Conte, and why Chelsea knew more about winning ugly. Meanwhile, Jamie Carragher thinks the key man to watch is David Luiz and believes if he can cut out the brain freezes he can win the final for Arsenal. Matt Law analyses how Frank Lampard’s ruthless edge helped him navigate an impressive first Chelsea season.

  • Liverpool CEO | Billy Hogan promoted in boardroom reshuffle
  • British Grand Prix | What happened during practice at Silverstone
  • ‘Bin Juice is the foundation of any team’ | The life of a squad player

Tonight’s TV  

British Academy Television Awards 2020, BBC One, 7pm | Richard Ayoade hosts this socially distanced ceremony where nominees will accept awards virtually. Read on for more.

And finally… for this evening’s downtime

‘Novichok was worse’ | The cathedral city of Salisbury was still recovering from the Novichok poisonings of 2018 when Covid-19 arrived. For some businesses the pandemic will be the final nail in the coffin; for others it is proving to be a relatively minor set-back. Paul Miles writes from the city adept at handling setbacks.


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