Sadiq Khan furious at ‘plans to quarantine London inside M25’

By | August 4, 2020

London COULD be locked down: No 10 refuses to rule out blockade of capital and other cities to control virus outbreak amid fury from Sadiq Khan at Boris Johnson’s ‘unacceptable’ M25 quarantine plan

  • Sadiq Khan has condemned the idea of sealing off the M25 around London if coronavirus cases rise again
  • The London Mayor complained that he has not been consulted by Boris Johnson on the dramatic prospect 
  • An M25 lockdown was among the options mooted at ‘war gaming’ session conducted by the PM last week 
  • Downing Street refuses to rule out the move but says the quarantine concept is not only applicable to London 

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No10 today refused to rule out effectively sealing off London if coronavirus cases spike as Sadiq Khan accused Boris Johnson of ‘riding roughshod’ over the city’s best interests.

The Mayor of London has written to the PM to voice ‘great surprise’ at suggestions a quarantine zone could be created within the M25, complaining that it has been 12 weeks since he was invited to a Cobra meeting and the lack of consultation is ‘unacceptable’.

Mr Johnson held a ‘war game’ session with Chancellor Rishi Sunak last week to run through possible options as fears mount over a second peak in the disease. 

Measures being considered included lockdown-like conditions for London, with the M25 acting as a barrier around the capital. Drastic plans could also see people banned from leaving the towns or cities they live in, with entire areas turned into no-go zones.

Downing Street said the government’s ‘Contain’ strategy set out that restrictions can be imposed on transport links ‘if there is an area that is particularly badly affected’. But the PM’s spokesman said that was not only a possibility for London because any location could be subject to similar curbs.

Official figures show the worst-hit area of the capital is currently Hackney and the City of London, with 19.4 cases diagnosed for every 100,000 people between July 25 and 31. It is a lower rate than that of seven of ten boroughs in Greater Manchester, which was last week hit by tough new lockdown measures to control growing outbreaks.

It comes as the UK today recorded its most coronavirus infections in six weeks, after 938 people were diagnosed with the life-threatening disease in 24 hours. Not since June 27 – a week before pubs, restaurants, hairdressers and cinemas opened on ‘Super Saturday’ – have daily cases been so high.

In other developments today:

  • Health Secretary Matt Hancock has dismissed ‘inaccurate’ claims that all over-50s could be ordered to shield if the situation deteriorates; 
  • The coronavirus R rate could be as high as 1.1 in the North West of England, scientists say as separate data revealed infections have doubled in a week in locked-down parts of Greater Manchester;
  • The government has launched its ‘eat out to help out’ scheme with 50 per cent discounts to encourage people to support restaurants; 
  • A top scientist has condemned the ‘shroud of secrecy’ around government decision-making on coronavirus; 
  • Civil servants are rebelling against Mr Johnson’s call for them to return to offices amid concerns about the risk of infection; 
  • New 90-minute saliva tests have been unveiled and hailed as a ‘game-changer’ by ministers. 
A map of London shows the weekly infection rates ¿ how many cases were diagnosed for every 100,000 people between July 25 and 31 ¿ across the capital's 32 boroughs. For comparison, the highest rate in London is in Hackney and the City of London (19.4), making it the fifteenth worst-hit area of England and behind seven of ten boroughs in Greater Manchester, which was last week hit by tough new lockdown measures to control soaring coronavirus cases. Green arrows show if the infection rate in the borough has decreased in the pat week, while red arrows show the opposite. Yellow line means no change

A map of London shows the weekly infection rates — how many cases were diagnosed for every 100,000 people between July 25 and 31 — across the capital’s 32 boroughs. For comparison, the highest rate in London is in Hackney and the City of London (19.4), making it the fifteenth worst-hit area of England and behind seven of ten boroughs in Greater Manchester, which was last week hit by tough new lockdown measures to control soaring coronavirus cases. Green arrows show if the infection rate in the borough has decreased in the pat week, while red arrows show the opposite. Yellow line means no change

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan (pictured last month) has written to the PM to voice 'great surprise' at suggestions the capital could be effectively sealed off if there is a spike in coronavirus infections

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan (pictured last month) has written to the PM to voice ‘great surprise’ at suggestions the capital could be effectively sealed off if there is a spike in coronavirus infections

Mr Khan said it was 'totally unacceptable' that contingency plans were being discussed without his knowledge

Mr Khan said it was ‘totally unacceptable’ that contingency plans were being discussed without his knowledge

Top scientist slams ‘shroud of secrecy’ over Covid decisions 

A top scientist has slammed the ‘shroud of secrecy’ around the government’s coronavirus decisions – as civil servants rebel over Boris Johnson‘s call for people to return to offices.

Sir Paul Nurse, chief of the Francis Crick Institute, raised concerns that crucial choices seemed to be made by a ‘black box’ in Whitehall with the results sometimes ‘shambolic’. 

He insisted more transparency and scrutiny was needed to get the ‘best results’.

The intervention came as the government faces a fresh backlash about mixed messaging. Treasury subsidies for eating out at restaurants are launched today, and advice that everyone should work from home is being downgraded.

However, there are also mounting rumours about tightening coronavirus rules in some areas, with fears of a looming second wave.

Civil servants have complained they are being used as guinea pigs for the return to offices, with claims of more cases at the heart of government over the past fortnight.

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A letter sent to Mr Johnson from Mr Khan and chair of London Councils, Peter John, said: ‘It is with great surprise that we read in the Sunday papers that Government held a critical exercise last week in which a major resurgence in Covid-19 infections in London was a central scenario.

‘According to media reports, the plans included using the M25 as a quarantine ring — effectively sealing off the city.

‘Our surprise is that such far-reaching contingency plans have been discussed and tested without the involvement or awareness of London’s government.

‘This is clearly totally unacceptable and an affront to London and Londoners.’

The letter also said the Government has been slow to take decisions or has taken the wrong decisions ‘time and again throughout this crisis’, adding: ‘This must stop.

‘Riding roughshod over democratically elected representatives who understand their communities better than central Government will lead to worse outcomes for Londoners, and the country as a whole.’

In a tweet, Mr Khan said: ‘Excluding local leaders in this way won’t help us control the virus and must stop now.’

Downing Street said the ability to impose travel restrictions had been set out in its strategy for preventing the spread of coronavirus but denied it was a plan specifically drawn up for the capital. 

The ‘Contain’ strategy sets out ‘the possibility of putting in place restrictions on travel if there is an area that is particularly badly affected’. 

‘One of the steps within that potentially includes closing down local transport networks,’ the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said. 

‘It’s there, it’s contained in the document, it’s not a new thing – we have informed the public and politicians of that being a potential action that we could take. 

CORONAVIRUS R RATE COULD BE AS HIGH AS 1.1 IN THE NORTH WEST 

The coronavirus reproduction rate could be as high as 1.1 in the North West of England, according to figures released today — as separate data revealed infections have doubled in a week in locked-down parts of Greater Manchester.

Researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine estimate the ‘R’ level has risen well above the danger zone in the North West, where 4.5million people were put under tough new lockdown measures last week because of a spike in cases. 

The R – which represents the average number of people an infected Covid-19 patient passes the disease to – must stay below 1 or the virus will start to grow exponentially.

The data, compiled by the university’s Centre for Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases, suggests cases in the region could double in 56 days if the R rate is not squashed. 

But the estimates are slightly out of date due to a lag in the way the reproduction rate is calculated, meaning they only go up to July 18. Any effect last week’s lockdown might’ve had on the R value won’t show up in the figures for several weeks.

Separate worrying figures published by Public Health England today show that infection rates increased in nine out of 10 boroughs in Manchester between July 22 and 29, two days before the new rules were introduced. 

Rochdale was the only place where cases were not on the rise but infections have now also started to dip in Wigan and Bolton after a weekend of lockdown measures.

Oldham, the second worst affected borough in England, saw 148 cases over the week — taking its rate from 41.6 to 62.8 cases per 100,000 people. Rates in both the City of Manchester and Tameside have more than doubled in seven days.

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‘But, to be clear, it’s not something that is specific to London or anywhere else.’ 

Meanwhile, a top scientist has slammed the ‘shroud of secrecy’ around the government’s coronavirus decisions.

Sir Paul Nurse, chief of the Francis Crick Institute, raised concerns that crucial choices seemed to be made by a ‘black box’ in Whitehall with the results sometimes ‘shambolic’. 

He insisted more transparency and scrutiny was needed to get the ‘best results’.

The intervention came as the government faces a fresh backlash about mixed messaging. Treasury subsidies for eating out at restaurants are launched today, and advice that everyone should work from home is being downgraded.

However, there are also mounting rumours about tightening coronavirus rules in some areas, with fears of a looming second wave.

Civil servants have complained they are being used as guinea pigs for the return to offices, with claims of more cases at the heart of government over the past fortnight.

A leading expert today hit out at the ‘rash’ move to put 4.5million people in the North West under tough new lockdown measures because of a spike in coronavirus cases.

Ministers last week announced people from different homes in Greater Manchester, parts of Lancashire and West Yorkshire would be banned from meeting each other inside their homes or in gardens following a spike in cases.

But Professor Carl Heneghan, director of Oxford University’s Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, claimed Covid-19 cases aren’t actually rising — despite government figures showing an upwards trend. 

He said the rising infection rates are down to more people being tested and warned of inaccuracies in the data, telling the Daily Telegraph: ‘The northern lockdown was a rash decision.

‘Where’s the rise? By date of test through July there’s no change if you factor in all the increased testing that’s going on.’

He warned there was a rise in detected cases because of more targeted testing in areas such as Oldham, the second-worst hit borough in the country with 55.2 cases for every 100,000 people in the past week.

Boris Johnson (pictured today) held a 'war game' session with Chancellor Rishi Sunak to run through possible options if there is a second coronavirus peak

Boris Johnson (pictured today) held a ‘war game’ session with Chancellor Rishi Sunak to run through possible options if there is a second coronavirus peak

Tube journeys are 75% down on the day Boris urges Britons to return to work: Trains are far from full as workers ignore pleas to get back to their desks 

London Underground journeys are still down by 75 per cent on last year as workers ignored the government’s drive to get back to work today.

Just 240,000 trips were made on the Tube during this morning’s rush hour to 10am, which marks a six per cent increase on last week.

Passengers, some still not wearing face coverings, had plenty of space for social distancing as a few took the Jubilee Line into the city centre.

Boris Johnson had heralded today – the first Monday in August – as the day ‘work from home’ guidance ends and Britain should return to the office.

But almost five in six office employees will continue to stay at home despite the desperate drive to reignite the economy.

Commuters sat on the Tube on their phones and read the newspaper this morning, with plenty of spare seats and only a few travellers forced to stand.

It is a world away from the usual jostle for a position at rush hour, when thousands of weary Londoners cram into all available spaces in the carriages.

On a typical morning before the coronavirus struck, about 1,124,825 would take the London Underground between 4am and 10am.

But during the pandemic this plummeted by up to 90 per cent, with just 109,306 taking the network on the morning of May 29. MailOnline has contacted Transport for London for today’s figures. 

Liverpool Street Station in central London looks bare today as few passengers take to public transport to get back to the office

Liverpool Street Station in central London looks bare today as few passengers take to public transport to get back to the office

A woman scratches her head as she walks down a gangway from a train as she gets into Liverpool Street Station in central London

A woman scratches her head as she walks down a gangway from a train as she gets into Liverpool Street Station in central London

The Tube today
The Tube last week
Slide me

Left: Today. Right: Last week. The London Underground remained quiet at rush hour this morning despite the PM saying ‘work from home’ is over

Passengers, some still not wearing face coverings (pictured), had plenty of space for social distancing as a few took the Jubilee Line into the city centre

A few passengers leave the train at Liverpool Street Station this morning as they head to work in the city centre

A few passengers leave the train at Liverpool Street Station this morning as they head to work in the city centre 

Desolate trains are parked at Liverpool Street Station in London which was devoid of commuters at rush hour today

Desolate trains are parked at Liverpool Street Station in London which was devoid of commuters at rush hour today

Boris Johnson had heralded today ¿ the first Monday in August ¿ as the day 'work from home' guidance ends and Britain should return to the office. But rush hour was quiet

Boris Johnson had heralded today – the first Monday in August – as the day ‘work from home’ guidance ends and Britain should return to the office. But rush hour was quiet

London traffic data from TomTom shows congestion at rush hour this morning stood at just 22 per cent, down from 26 per cent last week and 52 per cent last year.

But Apple mobility trends, which is only available up to Saturday, suggests there are more people driving in London – up 10 per cent – while walking and transit are down 11 per cent and 29 per cent respectively.

A Mail audit of 30 of Britain’s biggest firms, representing 320,000 employees, found just 17 per cent of office-based staff would travel to work this week.

The PM said Britons could go back to the workplace at the ‘discretion’ of their employers and would no longer be advised to stay away from public transport.

But many businesses are not planning for most workers to return to offices until at least towards the end of the year, while the likes of Facebook and bank RBS said staff will not go back until 2021.

Coronavirus R-rate in the North West may now be as high as 1.1 as figures show cases have DOUBLED in some parts of locked-down Greater Manchester and officials declare a ‘major incident’

The coronavirus reproduction rate could be as high as 1.1 in the North West of England, according to figures released today – as separate data revealed infections have doubled in a week in locked-down parts of Greater Manchester. 

Researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine estimate the ‘R’ level has risen well above the danger zone in the North West, where 4.5million people were put under tough new lockdown measures last week because of a spike in cases. The R – which represents the average number of people an infected Covid-19 patient passes the disease to – must stay below 1 or the virus will start to grow exponentially. 

The data, compiled by the university’s Centre for Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases, suggests cases in the region could double in 56 days if the R rate is not squashed. But the estimates are slightly out of date due to a lag in the way the reproduction rate is calculated, meaning they only go up to July 18. Any effect last week’s lockdown might’ve had on the R value won’t show up in the figures for several weeks.

Separate worrying figures published by Public Health England today show that infection rates increased in nine out of 10 boroughs in Manchester between July 22 and 29, two days before the new rules were introduced. Rochdale was the only place where cases were not on the rise but infections have now also started to dip in Wigan and Bolton after a weekend of lockdown measures.

Oldham, the second worst affected borough in England, saw 148 cases over the week — taking its rate from 41.6 to 62.8 cases per 100,000 people. Rates in both the City of Manchester and Tameside have more than doubled in seven days. 

Local public health officials who were privy to the PHE data declared a ‘major incident’  in Greater Manchester over the weekend due to the rapidly escalating transmission rates. The alert level is normally reserved for major floods or terror attacks.  

Researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine estimate that the R rate has crept to 1.1 in the North West of England

Researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine estimate that the R rate has crept to 1.1 in the North West of England

This graph shows the number of infections across Greater Manchester from July 1 to July 29, two days before the new lockdown measures were reintroduced

This graph shows the number of infections across Greater Manchester from July 1 to July 29, two days before the new lockdown measures were reintroduced

Revellers in Manchester on Saturday night did not follow social distancing measures despite the rise in cases

Revellers in Manchester on Saturday night did not follow social distancing measures despite the rise in cases  

HOW MANY PEOPLE WILL BE AFFECTED BY THE NEW RULES? 

Greater Manchester (including City of Manchester, Trafford, Stockport, Oldham, Bury, Wigan, Bolton, Tameside, Rochdale and Salford):  2,835,686

Blackburn with Darwen: 149,696

Burnley: 88,920

Hyndburn: 81,043

Pendle: 92,112

Rossendale: 71,482

Bradford: 539,776

Calderdale: 211,455

Kirklees: 439,787

Total: 4,509,957

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Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham told the Manchester Evening News that the figures ‘underline the need for caution and to follow the guidance. 

All 2.8million residents in Greater Manchester were banned from meeting anyone from different households inside their homes or in gardens, in a drastic move that was announced with just three hours’ notice last Friday.

The ban, also applied to parts of Lancashire and West Yorkshire, extended to pubs and restaurants — but those businesses are permitted to remain open for people visiting individually or from the same household. 

But young people are still flocking to packed pubs, with large groups of friends gathering at busy nightspots on Saturday. 

Ministers have been urged to encourage youngsters to abide by the rules, which are designed to halt the spread of the virus and give the economy chance to recover. 

Meanwhile, mounting fears of a second wave last week prompted Boris Johnson to announce he was ‘squeezing the brake pedal’ on lifting coronavirus restrictions still throttling some sectors of UK business. 

Officials have drawn up radical plans that could see millions of people — including over-50s — asked to stay at home, if the virus does strike again. 

And two new game-changing tests will be offered to millions of Britons in a major advance in the war on coronavirus as the government looks to avert a second wave and restart the stalled economy, which experts fear face a ‘long and precarious’ recovery. 

Researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine calculated the R rate for all regions in the UK by drawing on figures from Public Health England, the NHS and Office for National Statistics to get aggregate case data. 

Researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine calculated the R rate for all regions in the UK by drawing on figures from Public Health England, the NHS and Office for National Statistics to aggregate case data

Researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine calculated the R rate for all regions in the UK by drawing on figures from Public Health England, the NHS and Office for National Statistics to aggregate case data

They believe the reproduction rate - the average number of people an infected patient passes the disease to - is at 1 in the West Midlands and Yorkshire

 They believe the reproduction rate – the average number of people an infected patient passes the disease to – is at 1 in the West Midlands and Yorkshire

The R in the East Midlands is still just under 1, according to the estimates, but it is hovering at the danger zone in London

The R in the East Midlands is still just under 1, according to the estimates, but it is hovering at the danger zone in London

After escaping the first epidemic relatively unscathed, the South East has also seen its R creep up to 1, the researchers say

After escaping the first epidemic relatively unscathed, the South East has also seen its R creep up to 1, the researchers say

TWO NEW COVID TESTS THAT GIVE RESULTS IN 90 MINUTES TO BE OFFERED TO BRITS  

Two new game-changing tests will be offered to millions of Britons in a major advance in the war on coronavirus.

Hailed as ‘transformative’, the tests – which give results in 90 minutes – will start being rolled out from next week. 

One is so simple it could soon be deployed in airports, offices, schools, pubs and restaurants – bringing testing to the bulk of the population.

The companies involved would not reveal the cost but claim it is similar or cheaper to current tests – which are around £18 privately but less to the NHS.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock last night described the move as ‘lifesaving’ as the Government looks to avert a second wave of the disease, prevent the need for draconian lockdowns and restart the stalled economy.

The two tests will initially be introduced in the NHS and care homes before being made available more widely over the next few months.

Unlike current tests given mainly to patients who already think they  have the virus, the new methods will be used to routinely screen members of the public who show no symptoms.

Officials hope they will flag up local outbreaks before they take hold, avoiding the need for local lockdowns such as that imposed in the North West last week.

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They estimate the R is above the level 1 in the North West (1.1), Wales (1.1) and Northern Ireland (1.3). But due to the low case rates in Wales and Northern Ireland, they are less confident about their estimates.

Scientists say the R becomes increasingly difficult to predict when there are only a handful of cases each day, because one small cluster can skew the figures upwards. 

The researchers also believe the R is hovering at the danger zone of 1 in London, the South East, West Midlands and in Yorkshire and The Humber.

Data released today by Public Health England, which takes into account cases diagnosed between July 25 and 31 — the first day of the measures being in place, shows that infection rates are still rising in seven of the 10 boroughs in Greater Manchester. 

Bury — home to 190,000 people — saw the biggest rise in cases compared to the week before. Its infection rate jumped by 112 per cent, to 18.9 cases for every 100,000 people.

Stockport’s coronavirus infection rate jumped by 59 per cent to 22.3 compared to the previous seven-day spell, followed by a 51 per cent rise in the City of Manchester (32.5) and a 41 per cent increase in Tameside (24.4). 

Salford’s rate jumped 18 per cent to 23.6, followed by a slightly smaller 7 per cent rise in Oldham (55.2) and just a 3 per cent increase in Trafford (34.3). 

However, Rochdale’s infection rate dropped 38 per cent to 24.5, Wigan’s plummeted by 24 per cent to 4.9 and Bolton’s fell 2 per cent to 17.9.   

Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, urged residents to stay calm last night after officials decided to increase their readiness as they grapple with the escalating coronavirus transmission rates in the region.

‘People should not be alarmed that a major incident has been declared,’ Sir Richard said.

The Labour politician called the move ‘standard practice for complex situations’ and said it would allow a ‘central command structure’ to be created to enable agencies to ‘draw on extra resources’.

Oldham has seen the highest number of cases in Greater Manchester, with the boroughs of Trafford, Tameside, Rochdale and Stockport, along with the cities of Manchester and Salford, also featuring among a list of England’s 20 worst-hit areas.  

This graphic shows infection rates in the North West – with parts of Greater Manchester seeing among the highest concentrations of cases, according to figures released today

A group of friends out on the town have a hug on Manchester's Wilmslow Road which was packed on Saturday night

A group of friends out on the town have a hug on Manchester’s Wilmslow Road which was packed on Saturday night

It was still business as usual for restaurants and pubs across Manchester yesterday

It was still business as usual for restaurants and pubs across Manchester yesterday

Groups of people - including eight women who appear to be celebrating a hen do - were pictured meeting for drinks in the city centre yesterday

Groups of people – including eight women who appear to be celebrating a hen do – were pictured meeting for drinks in the city centre yesterday

RESIDENTS OF BEAUTY SPOTS BRACE FOR FRESH STAMPEDE OF TRAVELLERS FOR AFRICAN ‘HEAT FLARE’ 

Residents of beauty spots across Britain are bracing for a fresh stampede of revellers as a major ‘African heat flare’ is set to roast the country during a ten-day heatwave.

Tourists are expected to flock back to beaches across the country as temperatures up to 91F (33C) sweep in from central Europe by the end of the week – following 71F (22C) highs today.

But the warm weather will concern local authorities in areas such as Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Sussex which can expect another huge influx of holidaymakers as Britons shun foreign trips to go on staycations.

Beleaguered Cornish residents reported over the weekend how the popular county had turned into ‘Benidorm on steroids’ as floods of visitors left them too scared to leave their homes.

Meanwhile Thanet District Council in Kent begged people to avoid four of the area’s beaches – including the popular Margate’s Main Sands – due to the number of visitors.

And a drunken fight broke out on the seafront in Brighton on Saturday night as two women went toe-to-toe and others cheered and ignored social distancing.

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Pictures of partygoers packing local nightspots this weekend are likely to cause concern amid the rise in cases.

Writing in the Sunday Mirror before the announcement, Labour mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said people in the area ‘on the whole’ had been brilliant at adhering to the new rules and rejected ‘efforts to blame some for breaking lockdown rules’.

The comments follow a claim made by Tory MP Craig Whittaker, whose West Yorkshire seat of Calder Valley was one of the areas affected by the fresh lockdown measures, that it was the ‘BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) communities that are not taking this seriously enough’.

While the new regulations for Blackburn with Darwen and Bradford were published on Friday, those for Greater Manchester are not expected to be published until this week.

Mr Burnham has said restrictions will be reviewed on a weekly basis.

It came as former England midfielder Paul Scholes was accused of holding a party at his Oldham home to celebrate his son’s 21st on the same day lockdown measures were reimposed across parts of the North West.

The Sun cited phone footage as showing revellers ignored social distancing ‘as they drank and danced’ at the seven-hour party on Friday, with the paper citing Tory MP Andrew Bridgen criticising Mr Scholes for ‘reckless behaviour’.

Greater Manchester Police said they attended the property and encouraged those present to ‘be compliant’ with the newly imposed restrictions.

In national developments, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick cast doubt on reports of so-called ‘nuclear’ options under consideration for avoiding a second national lockdown. 

The Times reported the Prime Minister held a ‘war game’ session with Chancellor Rishi Sunak on Wednesday to run through possible options in the event of a second wave of infections, measures that are said to include lockdown-like conditions for London, with the M25 acting as a barrier around the capital. 

But Mr Jenrick told Times Radio the mooted proposals, such as asking those as young as 50 to shield from society, were ‘just speculation’.

Meanwhile, Mr Sunak’s Eat Out To Help Out scheme launched today, giving diners 50 per cent off at a range of pubs and restaurants.  

Two new game-changing tests are also set to be offered to millions of Britons in a major advance in the war on coronavirus.

Hailed as ‘transformative’, the tests – which give results in 90 minutes – will start being rolled out from next week.

One is so simple it could soon be deployed in airports, offices, schools, pubs and restaurants – bringing testing to the bulk of the population.

And the Government will start testing sewage to track coronavirus and could ban domestic travel to stop local outbreaks. 

It comes as residents of beauty spots across Britain were today bracing for a fresh stampede of revellers as a major ‘African heat flare’ is set to roast the country during a ten-day heatwave.

Tourists are expected to flock back to beaches across the country as temperatures up to 91F (33C) sweep in from central Europe by the end of the week – following 71F (22C) highs today.

But the warm weather will concern local authorities in areas such as Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Sussex which can expect another huge influx of holidaymakers as Britons  shun foreign trips to go on staycations.

Beleaguered Cornish residents reported over the weekend how the popular county had turned into ‘Benidorm on steroids’ as floods of visitors left them too scared to leave their homes.

Meanwhile Thanet District Council in Kent begged people to avoid four of the area’s beaches – including the popular Margate’s Main Sands – due to the number of visitors.

And a drunken fight broke out on the seafront in Brighton on Saturday night as two women went toe-to-toe and others cheered and ignored social distancing. 


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