Related Video and Audio
More now on the new social distancing rules in England, announced yesterday, that will restrict gatherings to six people from Monday.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps tells BBC Breakfast the new rule came about after extensive discussions with medical and scientific advisers.
He concedes the advice is much simpler than previous guidance, adding “you need to set some rules and you need to stick by them”.
It also means that he won’t be able to invite both his parents to his home from Monday, because there are five people in his household.
Asked about gatherings such as art classes or fitness classes, Shapps says that businesses will have put in measures to ensure they are Covid-secure.
“A professionally organised thing would be suitable but we do ask people to be very sensible and very smart about not gathering in groups more than six where it is not in a formal Covid-secure environment, like a business.”
Shapps adds that if the public follows the new advice, the R number – the rate at which an infected person passes the virus to someone else – will come down below 1.
“We know for certain it is somewhere above 1 because it is growing,” he says.
Meanwhile, here is a quick catch-up on coronavirus news in the UK today:
- Scientists and health professionals have raised doubts about Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s “Operation Moonshot” plan for mass coronavirus testing – which he hopes will give millions of people results within minutes
- A leaked Whitehall document puts the cost of the plan at £100 billion – almost the cost of the entire NHS England budget, according to the BBC’s Health Editor Hugh Pym
- Businesses and other public settings where people meet socially in England will have to record contact details of anyone on their premises from 18 September to tackle the spread of coronavirus
- Indoor venues in Scotland, including concert halls and theatres, will learn later if they can reopen from Monday – Nicola Sturgeon is due to announce any further changes to lockdown restrictions at her coronavirus briefing
- A private company has agreed to provide Exeter University with thousands of coronavirus tests that give results in 24 hours. The deal is thought to be the first of its kind in the UK
- Christmas is still a few months away – but there are concerns that social distancing restrictions could still be in place then, making it difficult for families to gather to celebrate
We’re also expecting to hear from Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, who is facing media questions this morning, as well as Jenny Harries, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England.
Thanks for joining our rolling coverage of the global
coronavirus pandemic – it’s Helier Cheung, George Bowden and Yaroslav Lukov
with you today in London.
Our team and BBC reporters around the globe will be bringing you
all the latest developments – so stay with us for regular updates.
To help you catch up,
here are some of the main headlines from across the world:
- Global deaths linked to Covid-19 have now passed 900,000, according to Johns Hopkins University – with the US making up more than a fifth of deaths
- US President Donald Trump admitted earlier this year that he knew Covid-19 was deadly – but said he wanted to “play down” the virus to avoid panic, according to a new book and recording
- Shipping coronavirus vaccines around the world will be the “largest transport challenge ever” and require the equivalent of 8,000 Boeing 747s, according to the airline industry.
- Indonesia’s capital Jakarta will bring back social distancing measures, with the governor warning of an “emergency” situation as hospitals fill up
The Japan Sumo Association says 18 wrestlers
from one stable tested positive, meaning that the entire squad will miss the
Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament starting this weekend