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UK coronavirus news: government scientists give Covid spread update

Deputy chief medical officer for England leads statement; Boris Johnson to reveal plan for country to be graded in three tiers of restrictions

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Prof Jonathan Van-Tam, the deputy chief medical officer for England, is about to hold a briefing on the latest coronavirus statistics. It is due to be carried live by the 24-hour news broadcasters.

Here are the main points from Sir Keir Starmer’s LBC phone-in.

The government has been treating local communities, particularly in the Midlands, north-west and north-east – and their leaders – with contempt, that Whitehall knows best and we will simply tell you what’s coming your way. It’s just not good enough, you have to take people with you on this, listen to what local leaders are saying.

Keir Starmer says Margaret Ferrier’s behaviour was “jaw-dropping” and she “should just resign”.

Her constituents, he adds, are “livid, furious, and embarrassed” after she travelled from London to Scotland after testing positive for Covid-19 #CallKeir | https://t.co/Tz6tnBdQi8 pic.twitter.com/TA4IvD6pcG

I think it does sometimes have to involve the police, unfortunately. When I was director of public prosecutions there was a lot of focus on whether what people say on social media should be policed or not. There’s got to be a level of tolerance, of course. But there is a line that can be crossed and it’s very important that when it is crossed there is [police] involvement, in some cases prosecutions.

Of course journalists have the right to ask questions, and there has to be tolerance of free speech. All I’m saying is, as a general proposition, that there is a line. When people go over the line is, it’s right that it’s investigated.

Decisions of the police to investigate particular cases are clearly an operational matter for them which I can’t comment on, but as a general principle, it’s important the law protects freedom of speech.

Make no mistake. This is the Leader of the Opposition supporting the arrest of a journalist for something his guest has said. Absolutely extraordinary, with terrifying repercussions for freedom of the press. https://t.co/CEn5WZfzl5

Somalia-born former Labour Mayor of Islington Rakhia Ismail earlier told LBC the only wanted to have her involved as a “tick box”.

This was Keir Starmer’s reaction to her concerns…#CallKeir | https://t.co/Tz6tnBdQi8 pic.twitter.com/Gp0LRZij6r

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