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UK coronavirus: 3,539 new infections in a day as R-value rises above 1 – as it happened

Birmingham city council leader, Ian Ward, said the spread had primarily occurred in private households and in places where social distancing was not being observed, with younger people disproportionately affected by infections.

“We know this is difficult. The virus has not gone away, it has not weakened, it is relentless and we must be relentless in dealing with it,” he said.

The leader went on to express some frustration at the government about lack of clarity surrounding its Covid marshall scheme announced earlier this week.

“We need extra clarity on how it will work on the ground,” he said. Ward added that he was pressing for “a route map” for what would happen next, particularly if infection rates came down.

“This will ensure residents have incentives to follow the rules for now,” he said.

The Welsh first minister, Mark Drakeford, has criticised the UK government’s “Operation Moonshot” mass testing idea.

Drakeford said: “I’m a bit allergic to these ‘with one leap they were free’ solutions. We’ve heard a number of these over the months. I remember when the prime minister said that antibody testing was going to be a game-changer.

“I think we need to concentrate less on magic bullets. I think there is a risk it distracts people. All too often, these magic bullets turn out to be less magic than they were hoped for.”

Drakeford said Wales was looking at giving local authorities extra lockdown powers, such as the ability to impose curfews or limit the amount of alcohol an individual could buy at any one time.

Trade talks between the UK and the EU this week were “more constructive” than expected despite the near-catastrophic clash over Boris Johnson’s plans to renege on part of the Brexit deal, British officials have said.

Talks will continue in Brussels next week after there were some breakthroughs on process, but continued significant differences over major issues, including fisheries and state aid.

A senior UK negotiating official said:


Talks this week have been relatively more constructive than you might expect, but ultimately progress will be determined by whether we get more realism from them on the key areas of divergence.

Whilst we are beginning to get discussions of substance of some issues, big important areas remain unresolved. We will carry on talking in Brussels next week.

On subsidies we are asking that the EU agree with us what they have agreed with so many others in this area.

Despite their insistence to the contrary, on fisheries their position is still a long a way from the huge change we need to get an agreement.

It is understood progress has been made in some areas, including trading of goods, services and social security.

The UK is also concerned over what it perceives to be a veiled threat not to put Britain on the “third country list” for food exports. Progress was achieved after the EU dropped its policy of parallelism – the insistence that progress had to be made on all elements of the talks, ranging from the fundamental stumbling blocks of state aid and fisheries to smaller, easier issues to settle.

Read the original article at The Guardian

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