Coronavirus: PM’s address, herd immunity and lockdown from above

Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Wednesday morning. We’ll have another update for you at 18:00 BST.

1. UK facing ‘difficult winter’

Six months after lockdown was imposed, the country must “summon discipline, resolve and a spirit of togetherness” to get through a second battle against coronavirus. That was the message from Boris Johnson on Tuesday night. He said there had been “too many breaches” of the rules which were leading to a surge in infections, and therefore, new restrictions were needed – here they are in full. The PM warned he’d have to get “tougher” if they were ignored or not effective, but health correspondent Nick Triggle says that’s being weighed against the recognition within government that the public is tiring of the fight.

2. Indoor mixing banned

Boris Johnson only decides the rules for England and he stopped short of joining Scotland and Northern Ireland in banning people visiting each other’s homes. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon urged people in Scotland to comply from today, with enforcement being introduced on Friday. Exemptions are in place for certain groups of people. The feeling is it’s almost inevitable that England will follow suit in the coming weeks.

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Media captionThe key moments of Scotland’s lockdown journey

3. Herd immunity ‘backlash’

Emails sent by the government’s most senior scientific and medical advisers, seen by the BBC, have revealed their alarm about claims at the start of the pandemic that they were pursuing a herd immunity strategy. That’s the idea that if enough people are allowed to catch a disease and build up some immunity, ultimately it will no longer be able to spread. In one email from March, chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance asks for help to “calm down” academics who expressed anger at his repeated references to the concept and the delays in announcing a lockdown.

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EPA

Image caption

Prof Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance came under fire at the start of the pandemic

4. ‘Wet pubs’ reopen

About 600 drink-only bars in Northern Ireland can welcome back customers today for the first time since March. Until now, pubs could only sell alcohol if they also served food or if customers were outside. Northern Ireland hasn’t yet imposed earlier closing, but in England, Scotland and Wales kicking out time will soon be 22:00 BST. Industry representatives want to align with the Republic of Ireland, where it’s 23:30. The BBC has spoken to landlords who say early closing could halve their takings.

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Reuters

Image caption

Bars must put safety measures in place

5. Lockdown from above

Chris Gorman’s drone photos have revealed extraordinary scenes during the UK lockdown. From panic-buying to empty shopping centres and theme parks, he says “every day provided a new and unique picture”. Check out some of his images.

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Chris Gorman / Big Ladder

Image caption

Unsold cars were stacked up on airport runways, like this one in Oxfordshire


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Plus, meet the pop star doctor who decided to scrub up and help out on the wards again after coronavirus put paid to her tour.


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