Coronavirus LIVE: France quarantine rules begin today as UK cities could face more local lockdowns

BRITS returning from France must self-isolate for 14 days from today.

This follows a rise in cases in the country – with anyone returning to the UK from 4am this morning must now quarantine.

Those heading across the Channel should only do so if essential, but they could face their own period in isolation in France after hints from their government.

People returning from Malta and the Netherlands must also do the same and remain indoors for two weeks.

Meanwhile, eight UK towns and cities have been added to the government's "watchlist" meaning they could enter into a local lockdown.

In Newark and Sherwood there are 26.3 Covid cases per 100,000 population – compared to 34 cases per 100,000 in Manchester and 56.3 per 100,000 in Leicester.

The latest data from the Department of Health shows a continued rise in cases in Oldham and Pendle while numbers remain high in Blackburn with Darwen.

Meanwhile deaths hit 41,347 after 18 more coronavirus fatalities.

Follow our coronavirus live blog for all the latest news and updates…

  • SOUTH KOREA: AUTHORITIES STRUGGLE WITH SEOUL OUTBREAK AS NEW CASES REACH HIGHEST LEVEL IN 5 MONTHS

    New coronavirus cases in South Korea have reached the highest level in five months, and authorities fear infections are getting out of control in the Seoul region, which is home to half the country's 51 million people.

    Officials reported 166 newly confirmed cases Saturday– the highest since March 11, when South Korea reported 242 amid an outbreak in the southeastern city of Daegu and nearby towns.

    With 103 new cases reported Friday, this is the first time since late March that the daily increase surpassed 100 two days in a row.

    Officials say all but 11 of the new cases were local transmissions, and most were in the Seoul area.

  • SOFT PLAY CENTRES, CASINOS AND BOWLING ALLEYS TO OPEN FROM TODAY

    Casinos, bowling alleys and soft play centres will reopen from today.

    Music venues, comedy clubs and theatres can finally throw open their doors as restrictions are lifted.

    Wedding receptions with up to 30 guests can also take place from this weekend.

    Facial treatments at beauty salons can also take place from today.

    Other beauty services such as hairdressers, nail bars and pedicures were already available from last month.

    But face coverings are required in: casinos, skating rinks, bowling alleys, indoor play areas, exhibition halls and conference centres.

    Read more here.

  • APPEALS OVER GRADES WILL BE FREE FOR SCHOOLS IN ENGLAND, SAYS WILLIAMSON

    Schools in England will be able to appeal against A-level and GCSE grades free of charge, according to the Education Secretary.

    Gavin Williamson said it would be a “shocking injustice” if cost stopped appeals being made on behalf of pupils with a “strong and legitimate” case.

    Appeals against grades vary between exam boards, with charges of up to £150 for an independent review, and costs are refunded if the appeal is upheld.

    There were 3,205 appeals against grades granted for GCSEs, AS and A-levels for exams sat in summer 2019, equivalent to 0.05% of all entries, and 16% – of 516 grades – were changed, according to figures from Ofqual.

  • BRITS RETURNING FROM FRANCE, MALTA AND NETHERLANDS TO SELF-ISOLATE FROM TODAY

    British tourists returning from countries including France, the Netherlands and Malta will be required to self-isolate for 14 days from today after the nations were removed from the UK's quarantine exemption list.

    Tens of thousands of UK tourists in France made last-ditch bids to return home before the imposition of quarantine restrictions at 4am on Saturday.

    Tickets for planes, trains and ferries were snapped up by travellers at increased prices as they attempted to beat the deadline.

    Transport Secretary Grant Shapps insisted the Government had taken “a practical approach” to the new restrictions.

    The quarantine conditions also apply to travellers returning to or visiting the UK from the Netherlands, Monaco, Malta, Turks & Caicos and Aruba.

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  • PARIS EXPANDS MASK REQUIREMENTS FOR PEDESTRIANS

    Paris is expanding the areas of the city where pedestrians will be obliged to wear masks starting Saturday morning, with health officials saying the coronavirus is active in the French capital and the Mediterranean city of Marseille.

    The Champs-Elysees Avenue and the area around the Louvre museum are among zones where masks will be mandatory.

    Paris police checks ensuring respect for mask wearing in designated areas are to be reinforced. Bars and restaurants could be ordered closed if distancing and other barriers to virus transmission aren't respected.

  • THOUSANDS ATTEMPT TO LEAVE FRANCE TO BEAT QUARANTINE RESTRICTIONS

    Tens of thousands of UK tourists in France have made last-ditch bids to return home before the imposition of quarantine restrictions.

    People arriving in the UK after 4am on Saturday will be required to self-isolate for 14 days, due to rising numbers of coronavirus cases in France.

    Tickets for planes, trains and ferries were snapped up by travellers at increased prices as they attempted to beat the deadline.

    Transport Secretary Grant Shapps insisted the Government had taken “a practical approach” to the new restrictions.

    He estimated 160,000 holidaymakers were attempting to return to the UK from France on Friday.

  • MOST AMERICANS SAY GETTING ENOUGH SLEEP HAS CAUSED THEM THE MOST STRESS DURING THE PANDEMIC

    Almost half of Americans believe the coronavirus pandemic has negatively affected their sleep patterns.

    According to a survey of 2,000 Americans, four in 10 said their sleep schedule is the top stress point in their life during the Covid-19 crisis.

    Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Mattress Advisor, the survey revealed — for many respondents — sleeping habits are tied to mental health.

    Seventy-eight percent of those surveyed agreed their mental health has a direct impact on their sleeping habits, and six in 10 respondents said their mental health has been negatively affected by the covid-19 news cycle.

    In fact, 57% of those polled said they don’t watch the news at night because it stresses them out.

    And many respondents are taking steps to change that: aside from eating healthier and trying to exercise more, 27% of those polled said they’ve been opting for a good book or listening to music before bed to improve their sleep schedule.

    More on the story here.

  • SURGE IN BRITS DITCHING COVID JITTER TO MAKE MOST OF EAT OUT TO HELP OUT SCHEME

    Soaring numbers of Brits are ditching Covid jitters to lap up Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Eat Out to Help Out meals.

    Some 28 per cent who left their homes in the past week went to a restaurant or café.

    The number enjoying meals out has rocketed from ten per cent four weeks ago, the Office for National Statistics said.

    The Sun revealed Brits ate out to help out 10.5million times in a single week.

    And the surge in dining out has not triggered a spike in people living with the virus.

    More on the story here.

  • BRAZIL'S COVID NUMBERS

    Brazil registered 3,275,520 confirmed cases of new coronavirus cases up from 3,224,876, according to the country's health ministry.

    Deaths rose from 105,463 to 106,523 yesterday.

  • WEARING MASKS FRENCH PILGRIMS SEND A MESSAGE OF HOPE AHEAD OF RELIGIOUS FEAST

    French Catholics defied coronavirus woes and marched in a procession on Friday towards the Notre-Dame Cathedral as part of a weeks-long pilgrimage even as the government declared Paris a high-risk zone.

    Government data showed more than 2,500 new infections of the novel coronavirus in France for the third day in a row.

    Nearly 2,000 people marched behind a carriage transporting a statue of the Virgin Mary at the procession ahead of the celebration of the feast of Assumption, marked by Catholics as the day when Jesus' mother Mary rose into heaven, due on Aug. 15.

    The procession is part of two 140-day long pilgrimages – one from the French city of Lourdes and one from the city of La Salette.

    Both started on June 1 and will conclude in September, with participants walking more than 2,000 kilometres.

    Paris Archbishop Michel Aupetit said participants have been careful in observing health measures set by the government, such us wearing masks.

    “It's a bit of a message of hope in these difficult times that we're living through.

    It's true that COVID-19 made us hesitate, but by taking precautions … we know that we could protect ourselves quite well,” he said.

  • PRINCESS ANNE MARKS 70TH BIRTHDAY WITH LOW KEY CELEBRATION AFTER COVID-19 CANCELLED GATHERING

    Princess Anne will mark her 70th birthday on Saturday with a low-key celebration, as befits the traditionally hardest-working member of the royal family, after COVID-19 forced a gathering to be cancelled.

    To mark her birthday, the royal family released three official portraits of Anne at her country residence of Gatcombe Park in western England.

    Taken by the high profile photographer John Swannell, two showed the princess in formal dress while a third pictured her outside in the countryside.

    Mike Tindall, Anne's son-in-law and a former England rugby player, told the BBC this week that plans for a gathering in Scotland had been scaled back because of a nearby local lockdown sparked by an outbreak of COVID-19.

    “It is a shame. I'm sure we will do something as a family to celebrate her 70 amazing years,” he said.

    “She's just an incredible woman in terms of how much work she can get through in the year.”

  • 'NEW OUTBREAKS ARE THE NORM' SAYS SPAIN AS COVID-19 TRAVEL CURBS PILE UP

    Outbreaks of the coronavirus are happening across Europe and each country has to make its own decisions on how to halt them, Spain's foreign minister said on Friday as Germany declared most of her country a risk region.

    Germany's decision followed a move by Britain to impose quarantine on people returning from Spain, dealing a further blow to hopes of a swift revival for tourism, which usually accounts for around 12% of the Spanish economy.

    “New outbreaks are the norm, they are not the exception, in Spain or any other country in the European Union,” Arancha Gonzalez Laya told Reuters in an interview.

    “Every country is taking measures to fight COVID … that they think are necessary to protect their citizens. We don't question the measures other countries take.”

  • FRANCE QUARANTINE 'SHAMBLES' SLAMMED BY TRAPPED BRITS AS EUROTUNNEL BOSS WARNS TRAINS ARE 'FULLY BOOKED' & PRICES HIKED

    Brits stuck in France have today slammed the quarantine “shambles” – as the Eurotunnel boss warned trains are “fully booked” and prices were hiked.

    Holidaymakers attempting a mad dash out of France in a bid to avoid the two-week enforced quarantine have been hit with huge queues, with many turned away.

    Half a million Brits are now evacuating amid a spike in coronavirus cases across holiday spots – and they need to get back before 4am tomorrow to avoid quarantine.

    Adding to the chaos, British Airways today hiked flight prices and Eurostar demand soared sparking chaos at airports and terminals.

    P&O Ferries also reported a surge in interest with more than 8,000 searches for tickets this morning. 

    But travellers have been warned not to rush to ports and terminals – amid fears they will be turned away.

    As BA flight prices rocketed from £664 to £770, Eurotunnel Le Shuttle warned all shuttles are fully booked until tomorrow.

    A foreboding statement added: “Please do not arrive at the terminal unless you have a ticket valid for travel today.”

    More on the story here.

  • TWO PUPILS IN CORONAVIRUS CLUSTER 'ATTENDED SCHOOLS' BEFORE TESTING POSITIVE

    Two pupils linked to a coronavirus cluster in Lanarkshire had attended their high schools for short periods of time on Wednesday before testing positive, the local health board has confirmed.

    NHS Lanarkshire is carrying out an investigation after three pupils from St Ambrose High School and one from St Andrew's High School, both in Coatbridge, tested positive.

    A fifth case, who is linked to these but is not a school pupil, has also been identified.

    One of the pupils at St Ambrose was in the school and “had limited contact with any other pupils” during that time, according to NHS Lanarkshire director of public health Gabe Docherty.

    He also said the St Andrew's pupil “attended school for a relatively short period of time” on Thursday before testing positive on Friday.

  • CAN I BE FINED FOR NOT WEARING A FACE MASK IN SHOPS AND TAKEAWAYS?

    Face masks have been compulsory in shops and takeaways since July.

    Anyone who refuses to wear one could see customers forced to fork out over £100 with staff told to report those without one to the police.

    Thames Valley and Devon and Cornwall forces have also said officers will only attend such incidents if they turn violent.

    Shops are not planning to challenge people going in without them, and will instead use signs and posters to encourage visitors to stay safe.

    The rules mean:

    • Brits must wear a mask in all shops, including malls and indoor markets
    • It is compulsory to use a face covering when collecting takeaway food or drink- including coffee
    • Masks are not required if having a sit down meal or in any scenario with table service
    • Police can hit those not wearing them with a £100 to £3,200 fine
    • Shoppers can also be turned away at tills if they are not wearing a mask.
    • The rule also applies to services like lawyers, hairdressers, banks and beauty technicians
    • You also have to wear one when visiting entertainment venues like museums and cinemas
    • You do not have to wear one if you are exempt

    BRITS HEADING TO FRANCE FACE 2 WEEK QUARANTINE WHEN THEY ARRIVE AS FRENCH VOW TO FORCE SEL-ISOLATION IN RETALIATION

    Thousands of holidaymakers heading to France face a two-week isolation on arrival.

    Last night Emmanual Macron plunged thousands of sunseekers into travel chaos by vowing revenge quarantine rules on new arrivals – but no one told the Brits the details.

    The move follows yesterday's announced people arriving in the UK from France after 4am on Saturday will be required to spend 14 days in self-isolation due to rising numbers of coronavirus cases there.

    France's secretary of state for European affairs said the UK decision would lead to “reciprocal measures” across the Channel.

    Clement Beaune tweeted: “A British decision which we regret and which will lead to reciprocal measures, all in hoping for a return for normal as soon as possible.”

    The French transport minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari also tweeted to say France “regrets the UK decision” and “will apply reciprocal measures”.

    He said he wanted to have similar rules in place “to ensure a high level of protection on both sides of the Channel”.

    But no information was provided on when it would kick in or how strict it would be.

    More on the story here.

    UK'S CORONAVIRUS R RATE STABLE – AS EAST ANGLIA CREEPS UP TO 1

    The coronavirus R rate remained stable in the UK – with East Anglia creeping up to the crucial one mark.

    Areas such as London, the South East and South West have all seen a reduction in the R rate, a sign that the pandemic could be dispersing in those areas.

    When the value is below one, it means transmission of the virus is no longer high.

    But the reality is the true R rate probably lies somewhere between the upper and lower estimates.

    The latest figures published today by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) shows that the rate has stayed the same in many parts of the country.

    The rate in the East of England is 0.8-1, up from last week when it had been the only place in the country where the rate fell from 1.

    MOSCOW ATTRIBUTES 1,706 DEATHS TO CORONAVIRUS IN JULY

    Moscow's health department said on Friday it had recorded 1,706 deaths related to the novel coronavirus in July, a toll it said helped account for a rise of about 7% in the city's mortality rate compared to the same month last year.

    Moscow, the area worst hit by the pandemic in Russia, said it had recorded 10,773 deaths in July, including 1,706 linked to the coronavirus.

    The department identified 742 cases in which the coronavirus had been the main cause of death and said 964 others had died of other causes while testing positive for the virus.

    The authorities said last month the deaths of 3,408 people were linked to the coronavirus in June.

    With 912,823 cases, Russia has the world's fourth highest number of infections in the world. The authorities have said that 15,498 people have died from the virus.

    FRANCE LIKELY TO IMPOSE RECIPROCAL QUARANTINE ON UK 'WITHIN DAYS'

    France is likely to impose Coronavirus quarantine measures for people arriving from Britain “within days,” a government source in Paris indicated tonight.

    It follows the UK insisting that anybody arriving from France from 4am on Saturday will have to spend two weeks self-isolating. 

    “Reciprocal arrangements are common in these situations and these are likely within days,” said the French government source.

    France is the world’s most popular tourist destination, and the British are one of the biggest visitor groups, meaning the quarantine will have a devastating effect.

    Regions such as Brittany, Normandy, the French Riviera and Paris itself are normally packed with Britons in August. 

    According to official estimates, some 160,000 Britons are currently trying to leave France before the Saturday deadline, however. 

    RISHI SUNAK BEGS BRITS TO EAT OUT & GET BACK TO WORK TO SAVE ECONOMY

    The Chancellor is begging Brits to do their bit to help save the economy.

    Rishi has told Brits they must return to offices and dine out using the Eat Out to Help Out scheme in order to kick start the economy.

    Speaking to the Evening Standard he said: “We all have a vital role to play in our recovery and making sure our economy bounces back as quickly as possible.

    “Together we can come out of this crisis thriving and stronger than ever before.”

    The Chancellor also praised Londoners for the current low coronavirus rate in the capital.

    However, he added, we can now start to move forward and drive London's “powerhouse economy forward”.

    More on the story here.

    ARGENTINA STICKS WITH COVID-19 LOCKDOWN FOCUSED IN AND AROUND BUENOS AIRES

    Argentina extended until Aug. 30 restrictions taken against the coronavirus, President Alberto Fernandez said on Friday, affirming that the country's lockdown would continue in its current form in an around capital city Buenos Aires.

    The measures, which are more relaxed in less densely populated areas, had been scheduled to expire on Sunday.

    “The only medicine we have found so far is to limit the movement of people and the face-to-face meeting of people as much as possible,” Fernandez said.

    “The plan worked and it is working, but the risk always exists.”

    Argentina has had 276,072 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 5,428 of which have been fatal.

    The country's lockdown began on March 20.

    Argentina and Mexico will produce the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for most of Latin America. Its rollout is expected in the first quarter, Fernandez said.

    POSITIVE CORONAVIRUS TESTS AT TWO-MONTH HIGH AFTER SANDWICH FACTORY OUTBREAK

    Positive coronavirus tests in the UK have hit a two-month high, following an outbreak at a sandwich factory in Northampton.

    The daily number published on Friday for positive tests – 1,441 lab-confirmed cases – is the highest since June 14.

    Figures show 104 new cases in Northampton were recorded on Monday and another 104 the following day, pushing the town to the top of the list of highest weekly rates in England.

    Northampton's rate shot up to 115.8 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days to August 11 – from 34.7 in the previous seven days to August 4.

    On Thursday Northamptonshire County Council said 292 people had tested positive for Covid-19 after an outbreak at Greencore sandwich factory.

    Parts of the north of England which have been under local lockdowns for a fortnight have been told they are facing a third week of restrictions.

    Households in areas of the North West, West Yorkshire, East Lancashire and Leicester cannot mix indoors, unless they are in a support bubble, and limits remain on numbers meeting outside.

    LOCAL COVID-19 MEASURES COULD 'CAUSE DIVISION AND ECONOMIC DECLINE'

    Local measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 could cause divisions across the country and lead to fear and anger among communities, according to scientific advisers.

    Restrictions at a local level have the potential to undermine the “we are all in this together” spirit of the national lockdown, according to a paper considered by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) in July.

    Behavioural scientists warn that this could lead to feelings of “isolation, fear, anger, stigmatisation and shame” for those in the affected area.

    It may also cause a negative long-term economic impact on towns and cities, as places identified as a coronavirus “hotspot” could be avoided over fears of the virus.

    Published by the Government on Friday, the document comes as it was announced that large swathes of northern England and Leicester are to remain under tighter coronavirus measures.

    The paper by the Independent Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviours (SPI-B) – which provides behavioural science advice to Sage – advises against using the term “local lockdown”, as it implies punishment of that area.

    CANADA SAYS NEW WAVES OF VIRUS COULD SWAMP HEALTHCARE SYSTEM, SEND DEATH TOLL SOARING

    Canada is planning for a “reasonable worst case scenario” in which new waves of the coronavirus would intermittently swamp the public health system and send the death toll soaring, officials said on Friday.

    Under the scenario, there would be a large peak later this year followed by a number of smaller peaks and valleys stretching to January 2022.

    Each peak would exceed the health system's capacity.

    The system has so far managed to deal with the outbreak but evidence shows that if it does suffer breakdowns, “the mortality goes up really really high”, chief public health officer Theresa Tam told a briefing.

    Tam declined to say what the chances were of the worst case scenario occurring.

    Several of Canada's 10 provinces have reported higher numbers of COVID-19 infections as the economy restarts and restrictions on social gathering are relaxed.

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