Friday evening news briefing: 'Circuit break' lockdown looms

If you want to receive twice-daily briefings like this by email, sign up to the Front Page newsletter here. For two-minute audio updates, try The Briefing - on podcasts, smart speakers and WhatsApp. Government considers 'circuit break' short lockdown Is a big announcement looming? Downing Street has admitted a short-term "circuit break" lockdown, thought to be earmarked for October half term, is under consideration, in a bid to get cases back under control. Nicola Sturgeon and Sir Keir Starmer have asked Boris Johnson to convene a Cobra meeting this weekend, for the first time after several months, as the SNP leader warned of "hard but necessary decisions" to be made in the coming days. Read on for details. It comes as swathes of the North-West, Midlands and West Yorkshire have been hit with tougher Covid restrictions to curb rising rates of infection. The new rules, which will come into force from Tuesday and affect more than three million people, prohibit socialising between households in gardens and homes in Merseyside, much of Lancashire, Bradford, Kirklees, and Wolverhampton. Meanwhile, government data today reveals the reproduction number, or R value, of coronavirus transmission across the UK is between 1.1 and 1.4. Our coronavirus liveblog has the latest. As the uncertainty over coronavirus restrictions builds, pub and restaurant bosses have demanded further Government support in the event of a second lockdown as they warned of "increased devastation" to the sector. Elsewhere there are heightened calls for a successor to the furlough scheme when it finishes at the end of October, as figures today showed more than 1.7m jobs in vulnerable retail and hospitality sectors were still furloughed at the end of July. It comes as the CBI said almost half of firms are planning to cut jobs or freeze hiring in the next year. NHS worker's head stamped on five times in bus attack Police are searching for a man who put an NHS track and trace worker in hospital after attacking him on a bus in north London. Scotland Yard believe the attack was "triggered by face masks" after the alleged attacker took offence when "the victim, who was fully covered, consciously moved away from him". The 63-year-old victim boarded the route 149 bus just before Seven Sisters station, with his attacker getting on board at the next stop at about 9.45pm. About five minutes later he was punched repeatedly to the floor and had his head stamped on five times during the attack. You can watch CCTV footage of the horrifying incident. The socially distanced football team that lost 37-0 As allegories go, it is nigh on perfect. A football team socially distances from their opponent, as they fear catching Covid-19. Their rivals interpret the rules totally differently and, with wild abandon, hit the net every two-and-a-half minutes. Final score: 37-0. Already a viral sensation, the game between amateur German sides SV Holdenstedt II and SG Ripdorf/Molzen II can be written into folklore as a symbol for our Covid age. For coronavirus has divided us roughly into two camps, like opposing sides on a football field. Sam Rowe tells the tale of two teams. At a glance: Latest coronavirus headlines Also in the news: Today's other headlines Harvey Weinstein | Disgraced Hollywood filmmaker Harvey Weinstein has been stripped of his CBE by the Queen. The former movie mogul, 68, was granted an honorary CBE for his contribution to the British film industry in 2004. He is currently serving a 23-year prison sentence after being convicted of rape. Read on for details of the notice in The Gazette. Around the world: TikTok banned in US app stores Americans will be unable to download popular Chinese apps TikTok and WeChat from US app stores from midnight on Sunday. The move comes amid rising US-China tensions and a Trump administration effort to engineer a sale of the video app TikTok to American investors. TikTok-owner Bytedance is attempting to seek final approval from the US government to allow Oracle to be its US technology partner - a move it hopes will allay Washington's concerns that its app could be used for Chinese espionage. Meanwhile, it emerged the US president considered making basketball star Dennis Rodman an envoy to North Korea. Friday long-read 'Today's chilling parallels with The Handmaid's Tale' Margaret Atwood Credit: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images In an exclusive piece, author Margaret Atwood writes about revisiting her dystopian classic after 35 years... and how 'creeped out' she was Read the full article Comment and analysis Editor's choice: Features and arts Katie Morley Investigates | 'Waitrose provided Happy Birthday plates for my father’s wake' Beatrice and Eugenie out | Oprah and Gloria Steinem are in as Prince Harry marks his 36th Caught in the middle | 'My mistress has cancer and I want to help her. Should I tell my wife?' Business and money briefing Banking merger wave | A mega-merger between Switzerland's two biggest banks w

Friday evening news briefing: 'Circuit break' lockdown looms

If you want to receive twice-daily briefings like this by email, sign up to the Front Page newsletter here. For two-minute audio updates, try The Briefing - on podcasts, smart speakers and WhatsApp.

Government considers 'circuit break' short lockdown

Is a big announcement looming? Downing Street has admitted a short-term "circuit break" lockdown, thought to be earmarked for October half term, is under consideration, in a bid to get cases back under control. Nicola Sturgeon and Sir Keir Starmer have asked Boris Johnson to convene a Cobra meeting this weekend, for the first time after several months, as the SNP leader warned of "hard but necessary decisions" to be made in the coming days. Read on for details. It comes as swathes of the North-West, Midlands and West Yorkshire have been hit with tougher Covid restrictions to curb rising rates of infection. The new rules, which will come into force from Tuesday and affect more than three million people, prohibit socialising between households in gardens and homes in Merseyside, much of Lancashire, Bradford, Kirklees, and Wolverhampton. Meanwhile, government data today reveals the reproduction number, or R value, of coronavirus transmission across the UK is between 1.1 and 1.4. Our coronavirus liveblog has the latest.

As the uncertainty over coronavirus restrictions builds, pub and restaurant bosses have demanded further Government support in the event of a second lockdown as they warned of "increased devastation" to the sector. Elsewhere there are heightened calls for a successor to the furlough scheme when it finishes at the end of October, as figures today showed more than 1.7m jobs in vulnerable retail and hospitality sectors were still furloughed at the end of July. It comes as the CBI said almost half of firms are planning to cut jobs or freeze hiring in the next year.

NHS worker's head stamped on five times in bus attack

Police are searching for a man who put an NHS track and trace worker in hospital after attacking him on a bus in north London. Scotland Yard believe the attack was "triggered by face masks" after the alleged attacker took offence when "the victim, who was fully covered, consciously moved away from him". The 63-year-old victim boarded the route 149 bus just before Seven Sisters station, with his attacker getting on board at the next stop at about 9.45pm. About five minutes later he was punched repeatedly to the floor and had his head stamped on five times during the attack. You can watch CCTV footage of the horrifying incident.

The socially distanced football team that lost 37-0

As allegories go, it is nigh on perfect. A football team socially distances from their opponent, as they fear catching Covid-19. Their rivals interpret the rules totally differently and, with wild abandon, hit the net every two-and-a-half minutes. Final score: 37-0. Already a viral sensation, the game between amateur German sides SV Holdenstedt II and SG Ripdorf/Molzen II can be written into folklore as a symbol for our Covid age. For coronavirus has divided us roughly into two camps, like opposing sides on a football field. Sam Rowe tells the tale of two teams.

At a glance: Latest coronavirus headlines

Also in the news: Today's other headlines

Harvey Weinstein | Disgraced Hollywood filmmaker Harvey Weinstein has been stripped of his CBE by the Queen. The former movie mogul, 68, was granted an honorary CBE for his contribution to the British film industry in 2004. He is currently serving a 23-year prison sentence after being convicted of rape. Read on for details of the notice in The Gazette.

Around the world: TikTok banned in US app stores

Americans will be unable to download popular Chinese apps TikTok and WeChat from US app stores from midnight on Sunday. The move comes amid rising US-China tensions and a Trump administration effort to engineer a sale of the video app TikTok to American investors. TikTok-owner Bytedance is attempting to seek final approval from the US government to allow Oracle to be its US technology partner - a move it hopes will allay Washington's concerns that its app could be used for Chinese espionage. Meanwhile, it emerged the US president considered making basketball star Dennis Rodman an envoy to North Korea.

Friday long-read

'Today's chilling parallels with The Handmaid's Tale'

Margaret Atwood Credit: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

In an exclusive piece, author Margaret Atwood writes about revisiting her dystopian classic after 35 years... and how 'creeped out' she was

Read the full article

Comment and analysis

Editor's choice: Features and arts

  1. Katie Morley Investigates | 'Waitrose provided Happy Birthday plates for my father’s wake'
  2. Beatrice and Eugenie out | Oprah and Gloria Steinem are in as Prince Harry marks his 36th
  3. Caught in the middle | 'My mistress has cancer and I want to help her. Should I tell my wife?'

Business and money briefing

Banking merger wave | A mega-merger between Switzerland's two biggest banks would be no threat to Wall Street, one US banking boss insists, after reports of talks between Credit Suisse and UBS lit up the banking industry and sent shares in both banks higher this week. If regulators gave the move the green light it could trigger a wave of European bank consolidation. Lucy Burton has the details.

Sport briefing

Haskell revelations | Shooting rabbits, 'dwarf-tossing' and a hotel maid making harassment allegations. In our first extract from James Haskell's explosive new book What a Flanker, the former England forward tells the real story of England's 2011 World Cup disaster.

Tonight's TV  

Ratched, Netflix | This drama gives a backstory to Nurse Ratched, the villain of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. Read on for more.

And finally... for this evening's downtime

'I hate chocolates!' | The author Winston Groom – who has died, aged 77 – relinquished ownership of his character Forrest Gump swiftly after the film's release in July 1994. Gump – a slow-witted boy turned accidental hero, sports star, and shrimping millionaire – was immediately accepted as an icon of wholesome Americana. Yet there was nothing all-American or wholesome about the hero of the late author's original book. Tom Fordy reveals why the Hollywood mega hit sent Forrest Gump's creator running for the hills.