Leaders in northern England have attacked the government for its much-leaked plan to impose new lockdown restrictions in the region because of a lack of detail.
Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, said Boris Johnson had “lost the dressing room” through his poor communication. Earlier he tweeted he had learned of the plans in the press rather than an official briefing by ministers.
Pubs, restaurants and hairdressers could be ordered to shut again in some parts of the country, according to reports. There could also be a ban on overnight stays away from home in some areas, according to the BBC. It comes as hospitals face being overwhelmed as coronavirus infections continue to soar in places such as Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle.
Dire warnings came thick and fast on Thursday. Matt Hancock said the situation was “perilous", with hospital admissions doubling every fortnight - including among people aged 60 and over. Deaths were also rising, he said.
At the same time, people waiting for routine surgery may see their operations pushed back still further if intensive care units fill up with Covid-19 patients, the Royal College of Anaesthetists and the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine said as they urged the public to stick with social distancing rules.
Also, worrying news from the Test and Trace service, which failed to reach more than 30 per cent of close contacts of people who tested positive for the coronavirus in England in its latest round of figures - the worst yet.
In the US, there was much wrangling over whether and if another presidential debate would take place between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, and whether it would be virtual or in-person.
Mr Trump plans to return to the campaign trail on Friday - but virtually, through the medium of conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh’s programme.