December 2, 2020

UK coronavirus live: Boris Johnson set to lead Downing Street briefing

5.03pm GMT17:03

Nearly 200 gyms and other fitness industry figures from across the UK have backed calls to provide an exemption for those looking to use such facilities to keep fit during the coronavirus lockdowns.

They have written an open letter to the chief executive of NHS England Sir Simon Stevens claiming they provide an essential service and saying people will struggle to get enough exercise as winter draws in. They wrote:

As we enter the dark winter months, people’s routines have been disrupted, with many having lost their jobs. Depression will become a serious consideration. The links between exercise and depression are very well documented.

The signatories, which include the major sports brand Grenade, asked Stevens to back their call for the government to review lockdown rules and allow gyms to reopen where they have been ordered to close.

It comes after several in England decided to defy orders to shut down last week and the former England rugby player James Haskell rode on a self-propelled gun to Parliament in a protest organised by Grenade.

While they wrote to the head of the NHS in England, the businesses are based across the UK. The specific rules governing what can and cannot open under lockdown conditions is devolved.

5.01pm GMT17:01

Boris Johnson’s press conference

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