UK coronavirus live: estimated 618,700 people in England had Covid last week; Liverpool begins mass-testing | Politics

Downing Street has conceded there was a mistake after it emerged that official projections were quietly revised to no longer suggest Covid-19 deaths could overtake those at the peak of the first wave.

Graphs shown at a No 10 press conference last weekend indicated that England would see up to 1,500 deaths a day by early next month; far beyond the numbers seen in the first wave. But the Daily Telegraph reported that documents released by the government show the figures were in fact too high and have now been “amended, after an error was found” – the revised forecast reduced the upper limit to 1,000 deaths a day by 8 December; on par with April’s peak.

On Friday, Downing Street acknowledged there had been an “error” in the way the data was presented but said the underlying analysis was unchanged. A No 10 spokesman said:

We want to make the data as clear and transparent as we can. There was no error in the underlying analysis. The consensus is that without action we will breach the first wave (peak) in terms of hospital admissions.

We have acknowledged the mistake which we have corrected and we will continue to try and provide data in the clearest possible way.

Asked about this morning’s virtual British-Irish Council meeting, Nicola Sturgeon has said:

We didn’t go into the detail of what exactly that might look like but there is a recognition that a key part as what all countries have to do to stop this virus spreading is to limit travel and to mitigate where there is travel opportunities for the virus to spread.

Clearly those discussions will always be both particularly important but also particularly difficult and sensitive when it’s your closest neighbours.

R still above 1 across UK, say government advisers

Lunchtime summary

Here’s a summary of recent developments.

Rate of growth in infections in England and Wales has stabilised – ONS

Welsh health minister insists firebreak lockdown ends despite high infection rates in some areas

The Welsh health minister Vaughan Gething has insisted it is right that the country’s 17-day firebreak lockdown ends on Monday despite worrying infection rates in some south Wales valleys.

Merthyr Tydfil county borough has the highest number of cases per 100,000 people in the whole of the UK and rates are also high in Blaenau Gwent and Rhondda Cynon Taf.

But Gething said it would be a “massive breach of trust” if Wales did not end the firebreak as promised. He said a new set of national restrictions would come into place rather than local ones.

The firebreak will end for all parts of Wales. We need to change the way we live our lives.

Speaking at the Welsh government’s press conference in Cardiff, Gething spelled out that the effects of the firebreak would not be seen for several weeks. He said that on Wednesday this week there were more Covid patients in Welsh hospitals than at the peak in April – but the hospitals were not overwhelmed.


Nicola Sturgeon thanked Scotland’s fire crews for their “incredible response” after a difficult bonfire night that saw the fire service receiving 1100 emergency calls and attending 520 bonfires between 3.30pm and 11.30pm last night.

There were also 12 instances of attacks on fire crews, with bricks and fireworks reportedly thrown at vehicles and crew, which Sturgeon condemned as “completely unacceptable”. Two homes in Motherwell were also accidentally set on fire after being hit by fireworks.

Sturgeon reminded the public that the Scottish government earlier this week pledged to change the nation’s approach to fireworks, with firework-free zones and restrictions on sales recommended as part of a “cultural shift” to tackle their antisocial use.

She urged people to display common sense and a sense of responsibility when gathering together but also warned against stereotyping those who were involved in last night’s trouble, after one questioner suggested that it had mainly occurred in lower income areas.

At her daily press briefing, Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed 1,072 new cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours, with 1,237 patients in hospital down by 15 from yesterday, 98 in ICU, up 3 from yesterday and a further 31 deaths from the virus.

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