July 15, 2024

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Tuesday morning news briefing: End of freedom

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Biggest lockdown of society in British history ordered

The world feels very different this morning. The Prime Minister has ordered much of the British population to stay indoors, in a removal of basic freedoms not seen in peacetime. Admitting there are “no easy options” left in the battle against coronavirus, Boris Johnson banned all public gatherings of more than two people, closed down “non-essential” shops and imposed draconian restrictions on anyone leaving their own home. The measures – to be enforced by police with on-the-spot fines – come after people up and down the country ignored government advice by flocking to public spaces. Watch Mr Johnson’s sombre televised address to the nation last night. Michael Deacon perfectly sums up his speech in this sketch of the moment Mr Johnson adopted a new serious persona and got tough at last. And, if you bookmark one thing today, make it this: the new rules for daily life explained in a nutshell.

The UK death toll now stands at 335 and the number of positive tests at 6,650. We were told the virus is most dangerous for the old, but now the young are turning up in critical care. Why? I can recommend this analysis by Paul Nuki, our Global Health Security Editor. Search for confirmed cases in your area using our postcode checker. And take a moment to allow Matt to raise a smile with today’s cartoon.

PS: News you can trust is more important now than ever. Stay informed with our liveblog, daily Global Health Bulletin, WhatsApp group, coronavirus podcast and index page with all our articles. Our subscribers make our journalism possible. Please consider joining them. Subscribe today to enjoy your first month free – then from just £2 per week.

Lack of testing means we have ‘lost track of virus’

Britain is under pressure to increase the number of coronavirus tests. Ex-health secretary Jeremy Hunt has warned that one million people are likely to be infected by next week – yet the Government will have no idea who they are because it stopped testing in the community. Read his attack on the Government’s strategy. As Science Editor Sarah Knapton reports, the UK is now seriously lagging behind other nations in monitoring the spread of the virus. Meanwhile, coronavirus patients will be treated with an HIV drug or steroid as part of a University of Oxford trial to see if existing medications can beat the deadly infection.

Extra work for the milkman as UK takes to deliveries

Milk deliveries are back in fashion. Thousands of households have returned to having milk delivered to their doors amid the pandemic. Milk and More, the UK’s largest milk and groceries delivery service, has reported an increase of 25,000 customers as local deliverers said demand had “gone berserk”. Here is a throwback – a photo dispatch gallery on the return of the milkman… and the glass bottle.

You Are Not Alone: Surviving coronavirus lockdown

Comment and analysis

Gallery: Virus fightback in pictures

Smart motorway | This timely message telling motorists to stay at home during the Covid-19 pandemic appeared on the A23 in West Sussex. View our gallery of images of the UK Covid-19 fightback.

Only a fraction of the vehicles that usually use the road were on it – EDDIE MITCHELL

Also in the news today

Conspiracy claims | Alex Salmond sent a warning shot to Nicola Sturgeon by stating he will go public with an alleged conspiracy against him after being sensationally cleared of 13 sex offences. Speaking outside the High Court in Edinburgh following his acquittal, the ex-SNP leader and First Minister said he had been prevented from leading “certain evidence” to the trial but pledged that it would now “see the light of day”.  

Editor’s choice

  1. Be a better neighbour | What I learned from swapping Notting Hill for Gloucester
  2. Clive Anderson interview | ‘I should have done comedy first, and then the law’
  3. Princess Eugenie at 30 | Looking back at her style evolution – gallery

Business and money briefing

Economic impact | Chancellor Rishi Sunak is under mounting pressure to protect the livelihoods of the UK’s five million self-employed workers as many face disaster during the lockdown. Tim Wallace explains how it is feared that without immediate action, huge numbers of tradesmen and others who work for themselves could face disaster within days.  

And finally…

Untended graves | Cemeteries will be left overgrown in areas where graves are rarely visited to allow wildlife to flourish. East Suffolk Council has told maintenance staff to stop strimming at some wild patches in graveyards to help boost butterfly numbers.

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