Friday evening news briefing: Covid rate 'doubling every week'

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. R number 'at 1.7' as coronavirus cases rise across UK Coronavirus is on the march in the community in "all areas" of the UK. That is the verdict of government health officials after a surveillance project found the infection rate is doubling almost every week - with the national R value estimated to be as high as 1.7. Data from an Imperial College London study shows virus rates are increasing in all adult age groups below the age of 65. You can search for confirmed infections in your area. And Science Editor Sarah Knapton explains the R value (or reproduction rate) and its reliability. Meanwhile, new restrictions are being imposed across Birmingham after infections rocketed. People in the city of 1.14 million residents - alongside neighbouring Solihull and Sandwell boroughs - are to be banned from mixing with other households. Read a reminder of the local lockdowns imposed so far. Number 10 today suggested it would not review the decision to include children in the "rule of six" limit on social gatherings, which comes into force on Monday - despite Scotland and Wales exempting those under 12. Its handling of the crisis has been fraught with convoluted guidelines and haphazard quarantines that have forced holidaymakers to rush back from countries where infection rates were, in some cases, barely higher than our own. How does this appear from elsewhere? Telegraph Travel's destination experts take the temperature around Europe. PM tries to head off growing Brexit rebellion Downing Street has insisted a post-Brexit free trade deal with the European Union is still possible despite an increasingly bitter war of words with Brussels amid the threat of legal action. The Prime Minister will this evening urge Conservative backbenchers to support his bid to override the divorce deal, as MPs plan to rebel over controversial new legislation. More than 30 MPs could support an amendment by Tory rebels that would block the Government from overwriting the Withdrawal Agreement. It comes after the EU gave Britain 20 days to back down or face the collapse of trade talks. With relations at an all-time-low, Brussels Correspondent James Crisp says the stakes are high. UK orange skies caused by California wildfires Have you noticed an orange tint to the sky today? It could be due to wildfires 5,000 miles away. California's largest ever inferno has been identified as the cause of an unusual glow in parts of Britain after smoke blew across the Atlantic. View pictures. More than half a million people have fled blazes on the US West Coast and officials warned the death toll could shoot up. At least eight people have been confirmed dead in the past 24 hours across California, Oregon and Washington. Officials say some areas are still impossible to reach. Watch the latest video footage. At a glance: Latest coronavirus headlines   Also in the news: Today's other headlines Officer attacked | A 30-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of the attempted murder of a police officer after trying to set him on fire outside a school in Newquay. The officer suffered serious, "life changing" burns to his arms and legs. Crime Correspondent Martin Evans explains he had been trying to tackle a man who had been acting aggressively.   Around the world: 'Are we safer than four years ago?' Donald Trump had active and retired servicemen to thank for his victory over Hillary Clinton, winning the military vote - which accounts for nearly 12 per cent of the electorate - by a decisive 27-point margin. While many appear to be sticking by him, recent polls suggest there has been a small but significant dip in support. US Correspondent Josie Ensor examines why Mr Trump risks losing the military vote in November. Friday interview: 'Actors are not used to begging for themselves' Tom Hollander talks to Benji Wilson about his new drama series, the paradox of partnering up and the crisis facing theatre. Read the full interview. Tom Hollander Comment and analysis Editor's choice: Features and arts Gyles Brandreth on his friend Diana Rigg | 'I smoke, I love wine, I take the dog for walks' Andy Zaltzman interview | 'Impartiality is hard in comedy - I don't know how to define it' The power of brown | Stone me! Psychology behind 2021's 'colour of the year' Business and money briefing Japan breakthrough | The UK has struck a historic trade deal in principle with Japan - Britain's first agreement as an independent country for 47 years. The agreement, previously delayed by Shinzo Abe's resignation and disagreements over Stilton cheese, is expected to come into force in January. Lizzie Burden examines its significance.   Sport briefing Premier League predictions | Less than seven weeks after the last season finished, the 2020-21 campaign has arrived. Liverp

Friday evening news briefing: Covid rate 'doubling every week'

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.

R number 'at 1.7' as coronavirus cases rise across UK

Coronavirus is on the march in the community in "all areas" of the UK. That is the verdict of government health officials after a surveillance project found the infection rate is doubling almost every week - with the national R value estimated to be as high as 1.7. Data from an Imperial College London study shows virus rates are increasing in all adult age groups below the age of 65. You can search for confirmed infections in your area. And Science Editor Sarah Knapton explains the R value (or reproduction rate) and its reliability. Meanwhile, new restrictions are being imposed across Birmingham after infections rocketed. People in the city of 1.14 million residents - alongside neighbouring Solihull and Sandwell boroughs - are to be banned from mixing with other households. Read a reminder of the local lockdowns imposed so far.

Number 10 today suggested it would not review the decision to include children in the "rule of six" limit on social gatherings, which comes into force on Monday - despite Scotland and Wales exempting those under 12. Its handling of the crisis has been fraught with convoluted guidelines and haphazard quarantines that have forced holidaymakers to rush back from countries where infection rates were, in some cases, barely higher than our own. How does this appear from elsewhere? Telegraph Travel's destination experts take the temperature around Europe.

PM tries to head off growing Brexit rebellion

Downing Street has insisted a post-Brexit free trade deal with the European Union is still possible despite an increasingly bitter war of words with Brussels amid the threat of legal action. The Prime Minister will this evening urge Conservative backbenchers to support his bid to override the divorce deal, as MPs plan to rebel over controversial new legislation. More than 30 MPs could support an amendment by Tory rebels that would block the Government from overwriting the Withdrawal Agreement. It comes after the EU gave Britain 20 days to back down or face the collapse of trade talks. With relations at an all-time-low, Brussels Correspondent James Crisp says the stakes are high.

UK orange skies caused by California wildfires

Have you noticed an orange tint to the sky today? It could be due to wildfires 5,000 miles away. California's largest ever inferno has been identified as the cause of an unusual glow in parts of Britain after smoke blew across the Atlantic. View pictures. More than half a million people have fled blazes on the US West Coast and officials warned the death toll could shoot up. At least eight people have been confirmed dead in the past 24 hours across California, Oregon and Washington. Officials say some areas are still impossible to reach. Watch the latest video footage.

At a glance: Latest coronavirus headlines  

Also in the news: Today's other headlines

Officer attacked | A 30-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of the attempted murder of a police officer after trying to set him on fire outside a school in Newquay. The officer suffered serious, "life changing" burns to his arms and legs. Crime Correspondent Martin Evans explains he had been trying to tackle a man who had been acting aggressively.  

Around the world: 'Are we safer than four years ago?'

Donald Trump had active and retired servicemen to thank for his victory over Hillary Clinton, winning the military vote - which accounts for nearly 12 per cent of the electorate - by a decisive 27-point margin. While many appear to be sticking by him, recent polls suggest there has been a small but significant dip in support. US Correspondent Josie Ensor examines why Mr Trump risks losing the military vote in November.

Friday interview: 'Actors are not used to begging for themselves'

Tom Hollander talks to Benji Wilson about his new drama series, the paradox of partnering up and the crisis facing theatre. Read the full interview.

Tom Hollander

Comment and analysis

Editor's choice: Features and arts

  1. Gyles Brandreth on his friend Diana Rigg 'I smoke, I love wine, I take the dog for walks'
  2. Andy Zaltzman interview | 'Impartiality is hard in comedy - I don't know how to define it'
  3. The power of brown | Stone me! Psychology behind 2021's 'colour of the year'

Business and money briefing

Japan breakthrough | The UK has struck a historic trade deal in principle with Japan - Britain's first agreement as an independent country for 47 years. The agreement, previously delayed by Shinzo Abe's resignation and disagreements over Stilton cheese, is expected to come into force in January. Lizzie Burden examines its significance.  

Sport briefing

Premier League predictions | Less than seven weeks after the last season finished, the 2020-21 campaign has arrived. Liverpool are likely to lead the charge again. But there is plenty more to look out for. Sam Wallace predicts how the league will finish this seasonJason Burt looks at why this is one of the most congested campaigns in memory. And JJ Bull introduces the five most intriguing summer signings.  

Tonight's TV  

The Romantics and Us with Simon Schama, BBC Two, 9pm | Exploring the powerful legacy that the Romantics have left on our modern world. Read more on this and other TV listings.

And finally... for this evening's downtime

ITV's Diversity disaster | One Britain's Got Talent semi-final performance has stolen the headlines and drawn more than 10,000 complaints. What was ITV's plan - if they had one? Ed Power explains how Black Lives Matter gatecrashed the show.