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Coronavirus LIVE Updates: The latest news from across Gloucestershire on Friday, January 8

The ongoing coronavirus situation is changing by the hour with announcements being made about businesses and services that are being forced to adapt and change.

Punchline is committed to trying to keep you up to date with all the news that matters to you and your business.

Our team will update this story throughout the day, to ensure the latest important developments can be found in one - clickbait free - place.

If you or your business has any news, views or advice to share with the Gloucestershire business community, get in touch with Punchline team at news@moosemarketingandpr.co.uk.

Friday, January 8

Update #8237 - 12.39 Third vaccine cleared for use in the UK

The coronavirus vaccine from US company Moderna has become the third to be approved for use in the UK.

The Government has ordered 17million doses of the vaccine, which is similar to the Pfizer version which is being rolled out in the UK, but is not expected to be available until the spring.

An original order of seven million has been increased to speed up the vaccination process.

Health secretary Matt Hancock said: "This is further great news and another weapon in our arsenal to tame this awful disease."

Update #8236 - 11.35 Coronavirus tests required for UK arrivals

International passengers will have to test negative before travelling to the UK under new coronavirus restrictions.

Under the new rules, which are expected to come in to place next week, anyone arriving in the UK will have to undergo a negative test within 72 hours of leaving their departure country or face a fine.

Arrivals from countries not on the Government's travel corridor list must still quarantine on arrival for 10 days, regardless of the test result.

Update #8235 - 11.30 Barratt expects to build more houses in 2021

Barratt Developments has increased the number of houses it predicts to sell in 2021 after seeing completions rise by 9.2 per cent in the past year.

Britain's biggest housebuilder, whose Gloucestershire developments include Great Sodbury in Stonehouse and Forest Grove in Coleford,

The 2021 forecast in October had been between 14,500 and 15,000 completion, but the company has increased that estimate to between 15,250 and 15,750 homes.

A statement said: "During the first half we saw an increased sales rate as strong underlying demand was supplemented by pent-up demand from the initial national lockdown, the introduction of the stamp duty holiday and the March 2021 end of help to buy for existing homeowners."

Update #8234 - 08.44 Latest coronavirus figures for the UK and Gloucestershire

The latest data for coronavirus cases and deaths of patients with COVID-19 were released yesterday by the Government's department of health and social care and NHS England.

Updated UK figures show the total number of deaths within 28 days of positive test rose to 78,508 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

This is an increase of 1,162 on the previous day's figures.

Across the UK, 52,618 people have tested positive for the virus over the last 24 hours and 2,889,419 since the outbreak began.

But on a more positive note, 1,296,432 people have now received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine as of January 3.

Latest Public Health England figures show that the total number of cases within the county sits at 14,922 as of Thursday afternoon - an increase of 356.

The total number of deaths in Gloucestershire within 28 days of a positive test sits at 679 - a rise of 10 on the day before.

Cases are split across the following regions:

Gloucester - 4,275 cases (increase of 96)

Cheltenham - 2,544 cases (increase of 75)

Stroud - 2,481 cases (increase of 49)

Tewkesbury - 1,907 cases (increase of 41)

Cotswolds - 1,755 cases (increase of 35)

Forest of Dean - 1,960 cases (increase of 60)

Thursday, January 7

Update #8233 - 15.26 National Express suspends coaches for second time

National Express is to suspend all of its coach services until at least March amid tightening Covid restrictions and falling passenger numbers.

Services will end at midnight on Sunday with free amendments or full refunds for anyone has a booking cancelled.

The coach service was suspended from April to July and has been running at half capacity with strict coronavirus protocols in place.

Employees will again be furloughed throughout the latest suspension.

Managing director Chris Hardy said: "We have been providing an important service for essential travel needs. With tighter restrictions and passenger numbers falling, it is no longer appropriate to do this."

Update #8232 - 12.53 High street pharmacies to aid vaccine roll out

With the Government's target to immunise 13 million Britons by mid-February, pharmacies will start to offer shots of the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine to support the efforts.

Selected pharmacies will offer shots of the vaccine either on their premises or at designated sites following an NHS approval process.

The health service is currently assessing more than 200 sites including branches of Boots and Lloyds with the hopes that they will be able to deliver more than 1,000 shots each week.

Many community pharmacies already offer flu and travel vaccinations so already have the required training and equipment to handle the new coronavirus vaccines. 

Update #8231 - 11.45 Christmas online orders double at Sainsbury's

Sainsbury's doubled the number of online orders in the run-up to Christmas as it saw sales rise by 9.3 per cent through November and December.

The supermarket saw more than 1.1 million online orders in the 10 days before Christmas, twice the previous year's numbers.

Like-for-like sales for the 15 weeks to January 2 were up 8.6 per cent with sales of its premium range rising 11 per cent.

Chief executive Simon Roberts said the company expects to report underlying profit before tax of at least £330million for the year to March, down from £586million in the previous 12 months.

Update #8230 - 11.42 Month of two halves in shopping numbers

Shopping numbers across the UK improved slightly in December compared to the previous month, despite the impact of coronavirus restrictions.

Numbers were down 41.9 per cent across the month compared with last year after a drop of 51.2 per cent in November.

The drop had been 31.5 per cent until the introduction of tier four restrictions in parts of England.

Boxing Day shopping numbers tumbled by 60 per cent as the restrictions hit the normal rush to the annual sales.

Update #8229 - 11.41 Boots agrees deal for wholesale arm

The owners of Boots has agreed a £4.8billion deal to sell the majority of its wholesale and distribution business.

Walgreens Boots Alliance said it will focus on retail operations after selling Alliance Healthcare to US drug wholesaler AmerisourceBergen.

Alliance Healthcare will continue as Boots' distribution partner in the UK until 2031.

Update #8228 - 10.00 Latest coronavirus figures for the UK and Gloucestershire

The latest data for coronavirus cases and deaths of patients with COVID-19 were released yesterday by the Government's department of health and social care and NHS England.

Updated UK figures show the total number of deaths within 28 days of positive test rose to 77,346 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

This is an increase of 1,041 on the previous day's figures.

Across the UK, 62,322 people have tested positive for the virus over the last 24 hours and 2,836,801 since the outbreak began.

Latest Public Health England figures show that the total number of cases within the county sits at 14,566 as of Wednesday afternoon - an increase of 284.

The total number of deaths in Gloucestershire within 28 days of a positive test sits at 669 - a rise of 18 on the day before.

Cases are split across the following regions:

Gloucester - 4,179 cases (increase of 84)

Cheltenham - 2,469 cases (increase of 33)

Stroud - 2,432 cases (increase of 36)

Tewkesbury - 1,866 cases (increase of 58)

Cotswolds - 1,720 cases (increase of 29)

Forest of Dean - 1,900 cases (increase of 64)

Wednesday, January 6

Update #8227 - 14.42 McDonald's closes doors on takeaways

McDonald's has suspended walk-in service at its restaurants during the coronavirus lockdown in England.

Drive-through and delivery service will remain open at the fast food chain which has around 1,300 outlets in the UK.

McDonald's UK and Ireland chief executive Paul Pomroy said: "This is a temporary change in our operations to allow us to test and validate and additional measures that may further enhance the safety of our takeaway service."

Burger King said a takeaway service was still available in some outlets while Deliver has made contact-free delivery mandatory.

Update #8226 - 12.51 Automotive industry sees 29 per cent fall in new car registrations

The UK new car market fell by almost a third in 2020, with annual registrations dropping to 1,631,064 units, according to figures published by the industry body.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said that a -10.9 per cent decline in December wrapped up a turbulent 12 months, which saw demand fall by 680,076 units to the lowest level of registrations since 1992.

Against a backdrop of Covid restrictions, an acceleration of the end of sale date for petrol and diesel cars to 2030 and Brexit uncertainty, the industry suffered a total turnover loss of some £20.4 billion.

READ MORE  

Update #8225 - 12.48 Cirencester court back in session this month

Cirencester's former magistrates court will hear its first cases in nine years later this month after being taken out of mothballs for use as an emergency Nightingale Court.

Gloucestershire's Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl, who initially offered the use of the building in April to ease the backlog of cases caused by the coronavirus pandemic, confirmed the court will begin hearing criminal cases on January 25.

He tweeted: "Well done to all those who made it happen."

SEE MORE 

Update #8224 - 11.15 Double-drip recession on cards as sales drop

More than 40 per cent of UK firms saw sales fall by 43 per cent in the last three months according to a survey by the British Chambers of Commerce.

Tougher coronavirus restrictions ensured the hospitality and catering sector was the hardest hit with 79 per cent reporting a fall in sales - up from 66 per cent in the previous quarter.

The survey, which questioned more than 6,200 businesses, found 26 reported rising sales with 30 per cent saying there had been no change.

Manufacturing showed a slight improvement on the previous quarter with the balance reporting improved domestic sales rising from minus 15 per cent to minus nine per cent.

Suren Thiru, head of economics at the BCC, said: "Though the vaccine rollout provides real optimism, a new national lockdown means that a significant double-dip recession in the first quarter of this year is looking increasingly likely."

Update #8223 - 11.12 M&S explores deal for fashion brand

Marks & Spencer are believed to be close to an agreement to buy fashion retailer Jaeger from administration.

Jaeger, which has a branch at Gloucester Quays, is part of the Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group which entered administration in November.

According to Sky News, a deal for Jaeger's brand and stock - but not its remaining shops - could be agreed this week.

The future of other Edinburgh Woollen Mills brands such as Peacocks and Austin Reed remains unclear.

Update #8222 - 09.30 Latest coronavirus figures for the UK and Gloucestershire

The latest data for coronavirus cases and deaths of patients with COVID-19 were released yesterday by the Government's department of health and social care and NHS England.

Updated UK figures show the total number of deaths within 28 days of positive test rose to 76,305 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

This is an increase of 830 on the previous day's figures.

Across the UK, 60,916 people have tested positive for the virus over the last 24 hours and 2,774,479 since the outbreak began.

Latest Public Health England figures show that the total number of cases within the county sits at 14,282 as of Tuesday afternoon - an increase of 241.

The total number of deaths in Gloucestershire within 28 days of a positive test sits at 651 - a rise of one on the day before.

Cases are split across the following regions:

Gloucester - 4,095 cases (increase of 72)

Cheltenham - 2,436 cases (increase of 34)

Stroud - 2,396 cases (increase of 19)

Tewkesbury - 1,828 cases (increase of 52)

Cotswolds - 1,691 cases (increase of 20)

Forest of Dean - 1,836 cases (increase of 44)

Tuesday, January 5

Update #8221 - 14.47 Lockdown pushes Paperchase towards administration

Paperchase has become the latest high street name on the brink of administration.

The stationery chain, which has 127 outlets and employs around 1,500 people, has filed a notice of administration after coronavirus restrictions hit its vital Christmas market.

A company statement said: "Out of lockdown we've traded well, but as the country faces further restrictions for some months to come, we have to find a sustainable future for Paperchase.

"We are working hard to find that solution and this is a necessary part of this work. This is not the situation we wanted to be in."

The company negotiated a company voluntary agreement arrangement.

Update #8220 - 11.24 Christmas sales soar at Aldi

German supermarket chain Aldi has revealed record festive performance, with sales rising 10.6 per cent year-on-year in the four weeks to December 24.

Aldi, Britain's fifth largest supermarket with an 8 per cent market share, said it has seen boosted demand for its premium products as well as beers, wines and spirits.

It sold 4.5 million bottles of champagne, sparkling wine and prosecco in the run up to Christmas.

READ MORE 

Update #8219 - 11.17 Edinburgh Woollen Mill's debt revealed

Edinburgh Woollen Mill owes unsecured creditors around £192million according to a report from the retailer's administrator.

The Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group entered administration in November and, according to the report by FRP Advisory, owed £191.6million to suppliers, landlords and other unsecured creditors on December 24.

A buyer is being sought for Edinburgh Woollen Mill's remaining stores although 56 were closed in November.

Update #8218 - 10.30 Chancellor announces fresh grants to help businesses

Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses will receive grants of up to £9,000 as part of a package announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak following the introduction of the latest coronavirus lockdown.

The £4.6billion package follows Prime Minister Boris Johnson's announcement of the national lockdown which will run until at least mid-February.

Designed to provide affected businesses with support through to spring, the one-off grants are payable per property and are expected to benefit more than 600,000 businesses.

A further £594million discretionary fund has been made available for other businesses hit by the lockdown which will be distributed through local authorities.

The Prime Minister will hold a press conference from Downing Street at 5pm.

READ MORE 

Update #8217 - 09.05 Latest coronavirus figures for the UK and Gloucestershire

The latest data for coronavirus cases and deaths of patients with COVID-19 were released yesterday by the Government's department of health and social care and NHS England.

Updated UK figures show the total number of deaths within 28 days of positive test rose to 75,431 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

This is an increase of 407 on the previous day's figures.

Across the UK, 58,784 people have tested positive for the virus over the last 24 hours and 2,713,563 since the outbreak began.

Latest Public Health England figures show that the total number of cases within the county sits at 14,041 as of Monday afternoon - an increase of 423.

The total number of deaths in Gloucestershire within 28 days of a positive test sits at 650 - a rise of six on the day before.

Cases are split across the following regions:

Gloucester - 4,023 cases (increase of 121)

Cheltenham - 2,402 cases (increase of 48)

Stroud - 2,377 cases (increase of 66)

Tewkesbury - 1,776 cases (increase of 62)

Cotswolds - 1,671 cases (increase of 66)

Forest of Dean - 1,792 cases (increase of 60)

Monday, January 4

Update #8216 - 15.26 Shopping numbers tumble after Christmas

The first week after Christmas saw shopping numbers fall by more than half on the same week last year as coronavirus restrictions took hold.

Figures from retail research firm Springboard revealed total shopping numbers were 23.2 per cent down in the week to January 2.

The numbers were down 55.7 per cent on the same week last year.

Update #8215 - 15.04 PM expected to announce further lockdown measures

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will speak to the nation tonight after warning "tougher measures" were set to be introduced in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

He will make the televised announcement at 8pm with Parliament recalled on Wednesday to allow MPs to vote on any new measures.

Scotland's First Minister Nichola Sturgeon has announced strong restrictions from midnight for at least the rest of January.

A No 10 spokesman said: "The Prime Minister is clear that further steps must now be taken to arrest this rise and to protect the NHS and save lives."

Speaking as the first doses of the Oxford/Astra Zeneca vaccine were administered, Mr Johnson said: "If you look at the numbers there's no question we will have to take tougher measures and we will be announcing those in due course."

Update #8214 - 11.20 Primark predicts £220m fresh tier of losses

Fashion chain Primark has predicted an additional £220million loss in sales with more shops across the UK forced to close under the latest tier four restrictions.

Associated British Foods, owners of the cut-price retailer, last month predicted a loss of £430million in sales for the year to September.

SEE MORE 

Update #8213 - 11.15 Cheltenham extends planning rules relaxation

Cheltenham Borough Council has extended the relaxation of planning regulations designed to help businesses adapt the way they trade during coronavirus.

The council temporarily relaxed planning regulations in March to allow pubs and restaurants to operate as takeaways and allowed temporary structures or buildings for Covid-19 related reasons.

And with more space needed to accommodate social distancing and safer operations, the relaxation of the regulations has been extended to May 31. 

READ MORE 

Update #8212 - 09.20 Latest coronavirus figures for the UK and Gloucestershire

The latest data for coronavirus cases and deaths of patients with COVID-19 were released yesterday by the Government's department of health and social care and NHS England.

Updated UK figures show the total number of deaths within 28 days of positive test rose to 75,024 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

This is an increase of 454 on the previous day's figures.

Across the UK, 54,990 people have tested positive for the virus over the last 24 hours and 2,654,779 since the outbreak began.

Latest Public Health England figures show that the total number of cases within the county sits at 13,618 as of Sunday afternoon.

The total number of deaths in Gloucestershire within 28 days of a positive test sits at 644.

Cases are split across the following regions:

Gloucester - 3,902 cases

Cheltenham - 2,354 cases

Stroud - 2,311 cases

Tewkesbury - 1,714 cases

Cotswolds - 1,605 cases

Forest of Dean - 1,732 cases

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