December 3, 2020

UK coronavirus live: 33,470 people test positive in a day; NI lockdown extended by a week

6.23pm GMT18:23

Early evening summary

at 6.34pm GMT

5.53pm GMT17:53

Northern Ireland’s lockdown extended for another week after executive finally agrees compromise

5.41pm GMT17:41

Alok Sharma’s press conference – Verdict from Twitter commentariat

5.33pm GMT17:33

Most of Greece now added to list of countries covered by English quarantine travel rules

at 5.43pm GMT

5.27pm GMT17:27

5.22pm GMT17:22

5.21pm GMT17:21

5.17pm GMT17:17

5.16pm GMT17:16

Students at Manchester University have occupied a tower in a rent strike, demanding a 40% reduction in rent for the rest of the academic year in recognition of the disruption caused by Covid-19.

The students, who have occupied the 200ft (61m) tower on the Owens Park campus in Fallowfield, also want the university to offer all students no-penalty early release clause from their tenancy contracts, for both this and the next academic years, and more help for students forced to self isolate.

In a letter to the vice chancellor, Dame Nancy Rothwell, the students say:

The decision to bring students back to university in September was purely motivated by profit and set a clear precedent. The poor decisions made by you and this university are not those of incompetence, but those of a calculating capitalist. This has been proven with the decision to ignore the rent strike and again with the erection of the fences around Fallowfield campus; a move clearly influenced by the disparity in cost between erecting fences and funding a working safety and security protocol.

One of the strikers, Izzy Smitheman, tweeted: “We were lied to and brought onto unsafe campuses, forced to pay insane rent for facilities we can’t even access. We’ve tried protests, we’ve withheld our rent and we’re being ignored! So we’re occupying the tower until they respond to us! #uomrentstrike #occupytoweruom”.

A University of Manchester spokesperson said:

We have made it clear to [the protesters] that they shouldn’t be there and that they may also be in contravention of current national health protection regulations. We are already engaging with elected students’ union representatives about many of the issues being highlighted by the protestors. The university is fully committed to freedom of expression.

at 5.23pm GMT

5.14pm GMT17:14

Diving further into the revised Public Health Scotland figures quoted by Ruth Davidson at FMQs earlier, it becomes clear that nearly 10,000 people who tested positive for coronavirus were not spoken to by contact tracers within 72 hours.

The revised numbers show that around 9,469 people in total have not been traced within the 72-hour WHO target since records began in August.

The figures – which PHS says were revised following a coding error – show that the WHO target of tracing people within 72 hours was missed every week from 23 August to 11 October.

For three of the weeks, one-third of cases were not contacted within 72 hours.

Davidson, the Scottish Conservatives’ Holyrood leader, also pointed out that, from October 11, there was a sudden improvement in the figures which coincided with PHS changing their approach to contacting people primarily by text.

Davidson said:

The first minister found out these numbers were wrong a week ago and she should have fronted this up. She didn’t tell us that targets were missed eight weeks running – and they were missed by a mile. Figures now show that the situation only improved when ministers changed what constituted a “contact” – shifting the approach to “primarily” reaching people by text message.

5.11pm GMT17:11

5.06pm GMT17:06

No 10 coronavirus press conference

at 6.09pm GMT

4.58pm GMT16:58

UK records 33,470 further Covid cases

4.28pm GMT16:28

4.17pm GMT16:17