Priti Patel says 14-day coronavirus quarantine on UK arrivals is ‘essential’


Priti Patel insisted 14-day quarantine for UK arrivals is ‘essential to save lives’ today but admitted it will hit businesses hard – and confirmed ‘travel corridors’ are being considered to low-infection countries.

The Home Secretary defied a huge Tory revolt to tell MPs the blanket rule will come into force from Monday, with the next review new due to happen until the end of the month.

With only very limited exceptions for lorry drivers and NHS workers, everyone coming to the country by plane, rail or sea will be ordered to give an address and self-isolate for two weeks, with spot checks from officials. 

While she was adamant the clampdown was ‘proportionate’ to ensure coronavirus did not spike again, Ms Patel did raise hopes by saying the government is looking at ‘international travel corridors’ to low infection countries in the future. 

But she was assailed by a slew of Conservatives, with former minister Theresa Villiers urging her to act to ‘save jobs in aviation and let families go on holidays in the sun’. 

Ex-trade secretary Liam Fox said the government’s policy contortions resembled ‘gymnastics’, and the focus should be on test and trace rather than ‘unnecessary economic isolation’. 

Ryanair branded the system ‘utterly ineffective’ saying because spot checks are carried out on the phone people could trick officials even if they were out playing golf or on the beach.  

Ms Patel said: ‘Currently, there should only be essential travel, but across Government and with the sector we continue to explore all options for future safe travel. Any international approaches will be bilateral and agreed with the other countries concerned,’ she said. 

‘We need to ensure that those countries are deemed to be safe. We are not alone in our fight against this disease, or in the measures we have taken to stop it.’ 

Boris Johnson and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps are among ministers who have been pushing the idea behind the scenes – with Portugal this morning becoming the latest holiday destination to suggest it wants a deal in place soon.

The review criteria for the quarantine include international infection rates, what controls other countries have in place and whether ‘antibody and other testing methodologies’ can help minimise the health risk. 

Despite the resistance from business and Conservative MPs, Ms Patel was boosted today by a poll suggesting the public overwhelmingly supports the restrictions. The YouGov research found 63 per cent in favour of applying the rule broadly, while 24 per cent said it should only cover countries with high infection rates. Just 4 per cent did not think there should be any quarantine.   

In other news today as the coronavirus crisis rages on:

  • Leaked figures showed the new track-and-trace system identified only half of contacts in its first three days;
  • Labour’s Keir Starmer has torn into Boris Johnson for ‘winging it’ by loosening lockdown, saying the PM had an ‘exit but not a strategy’;
  • The children’s commissioner for England has warned that some vulnerable children might never return to school after lockdown, and ‘immense’ damage is being done to their prospects;
  • Wales has announced that schools are going to start reopening from June 29, but only for around a third of pupils; 
  • There have now been more deaths related to Covid-19 in Scottish care homes than in hospitals north of the border, according to latest figures; 
  • A study suggested that most prospective students want the start of the academic year delayed in order to secure more face-to-face teaching at university;
  • Mr Johnson has insisted ‘black lives matter’ and condemned the ‘inexcusable’ death of George Floyd but refused to criticise Donald Trumps’ response to protests; 

Priti Patel (pictured in the Commons today) insisted 14-day quarantine for UK arrivals is needed to prevent more deaths

YouGov research found 63 per cent in favour of applying the rule broadly, while 24 per cent said it should only cover countries with high infection rates

YouGov research found 63 per cent in favour of applying the rule broadly, while 24 per cent said it should only cover countries with high infection rates

From Monday, people coming into the UK from abroad will have to quarantine for 14 days to stop the spread of coronavirus

From Monday, people coming into the UK from abroad will have to quarantine for 14 days to stop the spread of coronavirus

A police officer talking to beach-goers in Italy. The UK has more cases of coronavirus per million people than most of the 15 most popular holiday destinations for Britons - including Italy

A police officer talking to beach-goers in Italy. The UK has more cases of coronavirus per million people than most of the 15 most popular holiday destinations for Britons – including Italy

A couple hug each other at Misericordia beach in Malaga. Spain has a far lower level of coronavirus infection rate than the UK

A couple hug each other at Misericordia beach in Malaga. Spain has a far lower level of coronavirus infection rate than the UK

Can Britons head off to their favourite destinations on holiday this summer?

France 

How many British visitors each year? 8.5million 

Can you visit? No. Its borders are closed to all tourists until June 15 at the earliest. Any foreigner arriving, including Britons, must go into 14-day quarantine.  

Is there anything open? Thousands of Britons have second homes in France. Hotels, B&Bs, campsites and gites open for French citizens from June 3. Cafes and restaurants are also open – but in Paris only ones with outside space can serve customers.   

Italy 

How many British visitors each year? 4.3million 

Can you visit?  Yes. Its borders open from today and there is no mandatory quarantining at all.

Is there anything open? Hotels are slowly opening from today while all campsites are now up and running. Beaches are open with social distancing and bars and restaurants are serving.  

Spain 

How many British visitors each year? 15.6million

Can you visit? No. Spain will open its borders from July 1. There is no quarantine planned but Britain is currently not on its list of agreed visitors because its coronavirus infection and death rates ‘still have to improve’. 

Is there anything open? Yes, but still limited options. Beaches are reopening with strict capacity numbers. Many hotels, restaurants and bars remain closed but are slowly reopening to be ready for the end of the month. 

Portugal 

How many British visitors each year? 2.8million

Can you visit? No, but probably soon. Borders are open but not currently to Britain. Although the two Governments are expected to agree an ‘air bridge’ meaning citizens can travel between the two nations with no quarantine. 

Is there anything open? Yes. Most hotels, B&Bs and campsites are expected to be open in the next fortnight. Beaches are fully open from the weekend onwards.  Golf courses are opening too.

United States 

How many British visitors each year? 3.9million

Can you visit? No. President Trump banned all EU visitors in mid-March but has said he soon will ‘start to open up’ to Europeans soon. There are still commercial flights between the UK and US.

Is there anything open? New York lockdown is not expected to ease until next week at the earliest – but on the west coast beaches, restaurants and beauty spots are opening. Restrictions vary from state to state.

Greece 

How many British visitors each year? 2.4million

Can you visit? No. Tourists are banned until mid-June. Border guards will test people arriving from high risk destinations. Mandatory quarantine of seven days is required. And the Greek Government has already said it will not accept flights from 13 UK airports, excluding Heathrow. 

Is there anything open? Yes. Hotels, tavernas and bars are open but with restrictions on numbers. Beaches are free to use and ferries still run between islands.  

Australia 

How many British visitors each year? 493,000

Can you visit? No. Only Australian citizens can enter – and they must go into quarantine for two weeks. There are plans to run an air corridor with neighbouring New Zealand from the Autumn.

Is there anything open? Yes. Restaurants and bars can operate with a maximum of 50 people. Pubs are open to diners not drinkers. Some, but not all, beaches are open.  

New Zealand 

How many British visitors each year? 128,000

Can you visit? Only NZ citizens can jet in – and as in Australia they must quarantine for 14 days on arrival. They will probably reopen an air corridor with Australia and Pacific islands from September.  

Is there anything open? As cases plummet, social distancing could end as early as next week – but gatherings will not exceed 100 people. Most businesses, including hotels, are now open.

United Arab Emirates

How many British visitors each year? 1.4million

Can you visit? No. But tourists could be allowed back in from July 1. A 14-day quarantine is likely. 

Is there anything open? Yes. Hotels, beaches, shopping centres and parks opened in May but face masks are mandatory. 

South Africa 

How many British visitors each year? 440,000 visits a year 

Can you visit? No. The South African borders are closed to all visitors. Experts believe this will remain in place until February 2021 with South Africans not allowed to holiday in the country themselves until Christmas. 

Is there anything open? No. Wildlife and safari parks, beaches, beauty spots and restaurants are all shut. 

Portugal’s foreign minister Augusto Santos Silva revealed this morning that his country is in discussions with the UK about forming an air bridge so tourists can avoid being quarantined, telling the BBC that ‘quarantine is an enemy of tourism’. 

He added: ‘During these weeks our diplomats will work together in order to guarantee that British tourists coming to Portugal would not be subjected on their return to England to any kind of quarantine.’

Germany will lift a travel ban for European Union member states plus Britain, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland from 15 June as long as there are no entry bans or large-scale lockdowns in those countries, the foreign minister said.

But Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Germans would be urged not to travel to the UK while 14-day quarantine is in place.

Ms Patel told the Commons that the government was ‘taking a proportionate and time-limited approach to protect the health of the British people’.

She said arrivals will be required to fill in a ‘contact locator form’, including details on where they will isolate and how they can be contacted.

She said: ‘The form must be completed in advance of travel to provide details of the journey and Border Force will be at the front line of enforcing this requirement.

‘Passengers require a receipt, either printed or on their phone, to prove they have completed the form.

‘Border Force will undertake spot checks at the border and may refuse entry to non-resident nationals who refuse to comply. They will have the power to impose a £100 fixed penalty notice to those who don’t comply.’

Ms Patel said the data collected will be used by Public Health England, which will undertake checks to ensure people understand and follow the rules, adding: ‘If Public Health England has reason to believe someone is not following the law as they should be, they will inform the police.’

A breach of self-isolation could result in a £1,000 fixed penalty notice in England, or potential prosecution, Ms Patel added.

Labour’s shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds called for the Government to be clear on the scientific advice surrounding its plans to introduce a quarantine for overseas arrivals. 

He said: ‘If these measures are necessary from June 8, why have they not been necessary in recent weeks or from when they were first announced by the Home Secretary herself on May 22? 

‘And can the Home Secretary give me her assurance these measures from Monday next week have been recommended and approved by SAGE?’ 

Senior Tory Dr Fox said: I’m afraid I simply cannot get my head around the public health mental gymnastics of this policy.

‘If such a barrier was required, why was it not introduced earlier in the outbreak.

‘And if it is a contingency measure against a second wave, why apply it to countries with a lower infection rate than we already have.

‘Surely the answer lies in the government’s test-and-trace system, rather than unnecessary economic isolation.’ 

The 14-day quarantine scheme will be reviewed on June 29 to see whether low case numbers in some destinations might allow the measures to be relaxed on a country-by-country basis. 

A Downing Street source said: ‘We will be guided by the science, but the PM does not want to be standing in the way of people’s holidays unnecessarily.’ 

Health minister Edward Argar said earlier that he hoped people would be able to go on holiday this year.

He told Today: ‘I’m not going to say a particular date on when that might happen because we will have to be guided by how the disease behaves, controlling any risk of a second wave and controlling the disease.

‘I hope that people will be able to go on holiday at some point this year, but I can’t make that promise and because I have to be cautious and go with the science and I don’t have that forward view yet of how a second wave or otherwise might behave.’

Heathrow chief John Holland Kaye warned there was a danger of the ‘health pandemic becoming an unemployment pandemic’. 

He said there had to be an ‘exit plan’ from the quarantine plan to avert huge redundancies. 

‘If we don’t get a plan from the Government in the next few days on how we are going to reopen the economy, those jobs are at risk,’ he said.

‘I am going to have to make that decision in the next few weeks about jobs in my own company.

‘We need to stop this health pandemic becoming an unemployment pandemic.’

In a glimmer of hope for airlines, it has emerged that commercial flights will resume at London City Airport by the end of June.

Domestic routes will be the first to restart, with international flights ‘depending on the proposed quarantine of passengers arriving into the UK’, according to a statement.

London City’s runway has been closed to commercial and private flights since March 25 due to travel restrictions and the collapse in demand.

Leading travel operators still fear they will have to lay off 60 per cent of their staff, however. 

And the London Chambers of Commerce warned today that the policy sends out the message that the UK is ‘closed for business’.

Chief executive Paul Scully said: ‘Domestically, the Government’s roadmap to restarting the economy is correctly centred on a risk-based approach. 

‘Yet this blanket aviation proposal doesn’t appear to be risk-based. 

‘If it was, it would recognise that arrivals from some countries with much lower transmission levels than the UK and low incidence of the disease would not increase our risk, provided they adopted our social distancing protocols on arrival. 

‘The proposal sends out the message that the UK is closed for business, at a time when we are beginning to restart our economy.’ 

The news came as it emerged that nearly every country popular with Britons as a summer holiday destination has a lower coronavirus infection rate than the UK. 

The UK currently has more cases of coronavirus per million people than most of the 15 most popular holiday destinations for Britons. 

Only the US and Portugal have a higher infection rate with places like France, Spain, Greece and Italy all drastically lower than Britain. 

Ryanair says phone checks mean people in quarantine can be off ‘playing golf’

Ryanair has described the UK’s quarantine as ‘utterly ineffective’, claiming people can be playing golf or lying on a beach when telephone checks are made.

The airline claimed quarantines can only work when passengers are ‘detained’ at their point of arrival.

It said in a statement that the UK plans to allow people to travel on public transport across the country, and there is ‘nothing to stop’ them shopping in a supermarket to collect groceries before their 14-day quarantine begins.

The airline went on: ‘Once they have arrived at their ‘quarantine address’, the UK Government will phone less than 1% of these visitors but only on their mobile phone, which can be answered from any golf course, beach, park or indeed supermarket across the UK, thereby rendering this quarantine utterly ineffective and useless.

‘For the UK to be imposing a 14-day quarantine on inbound visitors when it already has one of the worst Covid infection and death rates in Europe, is closing the door long after the horse has bolted.

‘Most visitors to the UK from Europe are arriving from countries with a lower R rate than the UK.’

The data is sure to fuel the anger of opponents of the quarantine, after some 124 chief executive and owners of businesses worth a combined £5billion said they expect to make up to 60 per cent of their staff redundant if the scheme goes ahead.

Details of the quarantine scheme, which is due to come into force on Monday June 8, were expected to be revealed to MPs yesterday. 

But Downing Street confirmed that Home Secretary Priti Patel is now expected to unveil them later today, fuelling suggestions that some sort of compromise could be on the cards. 

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said yesterday he was growing ‘more optimistic’ about the prospect of Britons taking holidays abroad this year.  

Ms Patel will face rebellious Conservative MPs in the Commons later, warning them that opposition to the quarantine plan risk alienating the public and throwing away the country’s progress in tackling coronavirus. 

The 14-day quarantine scheme will be reviewed on June 29 to see whether low case numbers in some destinations might allow the measures to be relaxed on a country-by-country basis.

Leading travel operators still fear they will have to lay off 60 per cent of their staff however.  

Mr Johnson has been told to drops the plans to force visitors and returning British nationals to self-isolate for 14 days to avoid a ‘catastrophic’ hammer blow to the tourism and hospitality industries. 

MPs have also branded the curbs ‘ridiculous’ and ‘pointless’ after it emerged people will be allowed to pop out for food, only a fifth face spot checks, and officials will not be allowed to enter their homes.     

Under that plan, agreements between Britain and countries with low infection rates would allow people from those nations to visit the UK without self-isolating. 

Asked about the government’s policy in the evening Downing Street press briefing, Mr Hancock hinted at friction within the cabinet: ‘This air bridge idea has been floated. 

‘I know there has been a lot of discussion about it and I know that some countries have been mentioned in the media but that is a piece of work that is being done by the Home office and the DfT and I’m not going to tread on the toes of my colleagues no matter how tempting it is.’

The Health Secretary also said that all measures taken by the government, including those related to travellers, were taken with people’s safety as the key consideration.  

The new quarantine rules will allow people subject to the 14-day restrictions to leave their place of isolation for a number of reasons, including shopping for food. 

Travellers will also be able to board public transport from the port or airport to where they will quarantine, although they will be encouraged to use private vehicles instead. 

But the rules will only be in place for an initial three weeks, with the first review on June 29. 

Campaigner George Morgan-Grenville, the chief executive of tour operator Red Savannah, said: ‘By pursuing its quarantine plans without due regard for the economic consequences, the Government is choosing to ignore the devastation it will cause to companies, to employment and to the lives of all those whose jobs will be lost.

Heathrow chief warns over an ‘unemployment pandemic’ 

Heathrow’s chief railed against the quarantine place today warning there is a danger of the ‘health pandemic becoming an unemployment pandemic’. 

John Holland Kaye said there had to be an ‘exit plan’ from the restrictions to avert huge redundancies. 

‘If we don’t get a plan from the Government in the next few days on how we are going to reopen the economy, those jobs are at risk,’ he said.

‘I am going to have to make that decision in the next few weeks about jobs in my own company.

‘We need to stop this health pandemic becoming an unemployment pandemic.’

In a glimmer of hope for airlines, it has emerged that commercial flights will resume at London City Airport by the end of June.

Domestic routes will be the first to restart, with international flights ‘depending on the proposed quarantine of passengers arriving into the UK’, according to a statement.

London City’s runway has been closed to commercial and private flights since March 25 due to travel restrictions and the collapse in demand.

 

‘The quarantine measures are a blunt weapon which will bring only economic disaster.’

Ministers are also facing a major Tory rebellion over the issue.  

Whitehall sources said the quarantine plan had been championed by the PM’s chief adviser Dominic Cummings. 

But Mr Johnson is said to have been taken aback by the scale of opposition from within his own party.

Meanwhile, former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith said travellers should not face quarantine unless arriving from a country with a higher infection rate than the UK’s.

A Government spokesman said: ‘Our priority will always be to protect the public’s health and these new measures are being introduced to do exactly this. We have received clear science advice and the quarantine system is designed to keep the transmission rate down, stop new cases being brought in from abroad and help prevent a devastating second wave of coronavirus.

‘We are supporting businesses in the tourism sector through one of the most generous economic packages provided anywhere in the world and we will continue to look at options to increase international travel, when it is safe to do so, as we move forward.’ 

The rules are due to take effect on Monday, but a there are growing signs the measures will be scaled back again when they are reviewed in three weeks. 

The air bridges plan, championed by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, could see restrictions eased on countries like Australia and Greece with low levels of coronavirus. 

It offers some hopes of summer holidays for Britons as the nation struggles to get back to normal after months of lockdown. 

Ministers are expected to use a five-point assessment to judge which countries could be prioritised for the agreements. 

The criteria could include the economic and cultural ties to the UK, the infection rate and the level of health screening at departure airports.  

A country’s R rate of infection is likely to be the key factor in whether an air bridge agreement is considered.   

Just 23 people used Gatwick Airport in an entire day last week - down from its pre-covid average of 45,000

Just 23 people used Gatwick Airport in an entire day last week – down from its pre-covid average of 45,000

The news comes as MPs urged the government to rethink the 14-day quarantine to avoid killing off the airline industry.    

How UK coronavirus cases compare to 15 popular holiday destinations for Britons  

Tourism bosses and MPs have discussed air bridges to popular tourist destinations and countries who send large numbers of tourist to the UK.

Here is how the UK’s coronavoirus cases compare to popular nations. The figures are the daily confirmed cases of coronavirus per million people for each country, as of June 1.

UK – 28.52

SPAIN – 4.30

FRANCE – 3.94

ITALY – 5.87

USA – 59.84

GREECE – 0.19

PORTUGAL – 29.13

NETHERLANDS – 10.80

TURKEY – 9.85

IRELAND – 12.35

GERMANY – 3.98

BELGIUM – 16.82

MEXICO – 24.45

MOROCCO – 0.73

AUSTRALIA – 0.39

NEW ZEALAND – 0

Tory MP Henry Smith, whose Crawley constituency covers Gatwick, said low passengers at the airport last week highlighted the scale of the problem.   

He said: ‘It’s well-intentioned but it hasn’t been thought through.

‘It sounds good, to stop people at the borders so we don’t get re-infections of Covid-19. But I don’t think it is going to be a benefit to public health and will prolong the economic damage.’

Travel industry experts say quarantine, will cost Britain’s tourism sector as much as £15billion if it is maintained throughout the summer.

Under the plans, people arriving in the UK from Britain, including citizens returning from abroad, will have to self-isolate for two weeks. 

There are exemptions for groups including lorry drivers, health workers and scientists. 

Spot checks will be carried out on addresses and fines of £1,000 could be imposed on people breaking the rules.

But according to the Guardian, only a fifth of arrivals will be subject to spot checks. 

People will be able to give more than one address where they will be self-isolating – and will also be allowed to go out to buy food – including for pets – or medicine.

‘To get caught, you will either have to be unlucky or stupid,’ one source said.  

Like the wider lockdown measures, the plans will be reviewed every three weeks.

Former transport minister Stephen Hammond asked what the point of the quarantine was when it could be dodged relatively easily.

The Tory MP told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that air bridges would be a ‘sensible, targeted response’ between low-risk countries.

‘I think the idea of air bridges are the right way forward,’ he added.

‘I think, as we’ve seen across the world, people are taking measures out of the lockdown and this targeted approach would be a much more sensible way to behave.’

The air bridges idea was first floated by Mr Shapps last month, before being played down by No10 sources.

However, sources told the Telegraph that Mr Johnson is now ‘personally in favour’ of the plan. 

Priti Patel, the home secretary, is thought to remain sceptical. 

Travel companies are offering up to 65 per cent off summer holidays – but tourism experts are warning Britons the trips may not end up going ahead.

The bargain packages are being advertised on booking sites for as early as July in a bid to salvage the season.

It came as last night the holiday dreams of millions of Britons were given a boost after Portugal and Greece said they were ready to welcome back UK tourists within days.

Tui, Britain’s biggest tour operator, is cutting three nights all-inclusive at the TUI SUNEO Odessos in Bulgaria on July 10 from £543 per person to £296. And a seven-night trip to Gran Canaria on July 6 has been slashed from £606 to £394.

Travel Zoo is offering two nights in Paris in September for £79 – up to 64 per cent cheaper than usual.

And easyJet Holidays is selling a week-long stay at Anseli Hotel in Rhodes from July 8 for £195 with flights and transfers.

But experts have warned desperate Britons to hold off booking for now.

The Foreign Office still advises against all but essential travel and there will be a two-week quarantine for returning holidaymakers from June 8.

Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel, said: ‘If consumers are keen to book something now they should go into it with their eyes open.

‘If the FCO advice is still in place when their holiday is due to take place, they will get a refund, but there’s a good chance they will be waiting a long time.

‘Holiday providers need to make it clear to their customers that these holidays may not take place.’

The UK quarantine will be reviewed every three weeks. TUI spokesman Liz Edwards said they hope it will be lifted on June 29 in time for summer trips.

She added: ‘We believe we will be having summer holidays this year, hopefully from July. We hope the quarantine will be lifted, but air bridges are certainly a possibility.

‘Bookings have been really picking up. Spain, Greece, Cyprus are likely to open up first. The Canaries and Balearics are keen to welcome back tourists.’

Airlines are also heavily discounting flights. A Heathrow to Cancun return with Air France in September, which usually sells for around £800, is being advertised for £312.

And return flights from Manchester to Reykjavik with easyJet in November are being sold for £41 (usually £150 plus), and Manchester to Dubrovnik with Jet2 from £30 one-way in late June (usually around £120).

Emma Coulthurst, from TravelSupermarket, said: ‘The 14-day quarantine measure makes holidays pretty impractical, although I have heard of some people willing to do it to get a holiday. There is a risk booking now as there is no guarantee the holiday will go ahead.’

Research by TUI revealed the most popular destinations for trips this year are Spain, Greece and Italy followed by Florida and the Caribbean.

AREAS WITH THE MOST AND LEAST COVID-19 DEATHS

According to ONS data for England and Wales up to May 22, these are the areas that had recorded the most and least deaths from the coronavirus: 

MOST DEATHS

  1. Birmingham (1,082) 
  2. Leeds (605)
  3. County Durham (567)
  4. Liverpool (529)
  5. Sheffield (498)
  6. Brent (465)
  7. Croydon (458)
  8. Barnet (442)
  9. Cheshire East (417)
  10. Bradford (416)

FEWEST DEATHS

  1. Isles of Scilly (0)
  2. City of London (5)  
  3. Ceredigion (7)
  4. Hastings (8)
  5. South Hams (12)
  6. Rutland (15)
  7. Mid Devon (15)
  8. West Devon (15)
  9. Norwich (17)
  10. Mendip (18)

And those hoping to go to Greece or Portugal this summer could still get the chance.

Officials in Lisbon believe Britain has coronavirus ‘under control’ and want quarantine-free travel between the two countries to restart from this Saturday.

Greece’s tourism minister Harry Theocharis told the Mail the epidemic was moving ‘in the right direction’ in the UK and restrictions could be dropped for Britons from June 15.

The interventions increased pressure on Downing Street to re-think its plan for a ‘blanket’ 14-day quarantine amid a growing backlash from MPs at being denied a vote on the measures.

Ms Patel will now introduce the regulations in Parliament to come into effect from next Monday.

But they will be brought as a statutory instrument, which does not automatically go to a vote. Tory MPs are expecting the government to give a strong signal on air bridges to head off an outright rebellion.

Under the plans, anyone entering the country by plane, train or boat will have to go into quarantine for two weeks.

This will apply to foreign tourists as well as Britons returning from abroad.

However, some people, including medical professionals and lorry drivers, will be exempt.

MPs among a cross-party group of at least 40 who are critical of the plans last night voiced their fury.

They want the Government to leave open the option of creating ‘air bridges’ – which would allow tourists between two countries to visit without needing to quarantine – to salvage as much of the summer holiday season as possible and help keep the hard-hit tourism industry afloat.

They say, instead of quarantine, arrivals to the UK could be subject to health checks or testing.

Industry chiefs say millions of Britons are desperate for a foreign getaway, but the blanket quarantine policy has all but cancelled summer holidays.

Former Cabinet minister David Davis said: ‘Parliament should be properly involved and quite plainly it is not. In this particular case, its very blanket policy could reasonably be amended in a number of ways. 

‘For example, our death rate is many, many times than that in Greece. So the idea of quarantining someone coming from Greece who would have a much lower risk of suffering from the disease than someone anywhere else in Britain is plainly not supported by any sort of science.

‘The idea of putting in air bridges might be a sensible amendment.’

Former environment secretary Theresa Villiers said: ‘I would very much prefer the quarantine rules be targeted on flights from Covid hotspots.

‘I appreciate why the Government is bringing in quarantine but I do think that applying it in a blanket way across the board is an over-reaction.’

Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the influential 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers, said: ‘I hope the Government will move swiftly to introduce air bridges and also to introduce a testing regime at airports as quickly as possible.’

Downing Street last night insisted it still intended to push ahead with the policy.

It has stressed quarantine will be reviewed every three weeks and has left open the possibility of striking air bridge deals in future.

But the first review period would not be until June 29. 

It comes as a leading expert predicted today that Britain is on track to have zero Covid-19 deaths by July – as health chiefs announced 324 more coronavirus fatalities. 

Professor Carl Heneghan, an Oxford University epidemiologist, expects no ‘excess deaths’ when weekly data taking into account suspected and confirmed deaths is published next Tuesday.  

The week ending May 22 had the fewest coronavirus deaths of any seven-day period since Britain's lockdown began in March. The Office for National Statistics showed that 1,983 people died in England and Wales in the week ending May 22, down from 2,766 a week earlier

The week ending May 22 had the fewest coronavirus deaths of any seven-day period since Britain’s lockdown began in March. The Office for National Statistics showed that 1,983 people died in England and Wales in the week ending May 22, down from 2,766 a week earlier

The weekly death toll in England and Wales dropped to its lowest levels since the lockdown began, an Office for National Statistics (ONS) report said today. A total of 1,983 people in England and Wales died with Covid-19 in the week ending May 22, down almost 30 per cent in a week and the lowest figure for two months.  

Both England and Wales – which suffered 16,000 deaths during the darkest fortnight of the crisis in April – are now en route to the way they were before the unprecedented lockdown was imposed on March 23.  

But sobering statistics also show that there have now been nearly 50,000 people killed by Covid-19 across the UK this year, cementing Britain’s position as one of the worst-hit countries in the world. And other estimates looking at ‘excess deaths’ – deemed the most reliable measure to work out the true scale of an infectious disease outbreak – show 62,000 more fatalities were recorded during the pandemic than expected.

It comes as the UK Government this week starts to move the nation out of lockdown and back to work and school as the number of new deaths and cases continue to tumble. 

Department of Health figures today revealed the official death toll has jumped to 39,369 – an increase of 324 on yesterday. For comparison, 111 fatalities were registered yesterday, as well as 134 last Tuesday – a figure much lower than expected due to a recording lag on the bank holiday Monday.  

At this evening’s press Downing Street press conference, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the trend for daily infections is ‘broadly down but there is still some way to go’, as the total number of positive tests neared 278,000. 

Mr Hancock said the number of new admissions for Covid-19 in England has fallen to the lowest since March 20, and demonstrates progress against the disease. Daily admissions are down seven per cent since last Tuesday.  

The Department of Health revealed 324 more people had died across all settings. 

Each nation’s health agency reported their own figures earlier today – including 12 in Scotland, seven in Wales and two in Northern Ireland. These figures do not always match with the DH count because of a difference in how they are recorded.

Today’s official Government figure, which brings the total closer to 40,000, is 68 per cent lower than the Tuesday a fortnight ago, when 545 deaths were recorded following a lag in reporting over the bank holiday. 

Processes for recording people’s deaths are known for slowing down and even stopping at the weekends and on bank holidays, meaning there is a dip every Monday, followed by surges on Tuesdays.   

The weekly report from ONS said there were 12,288 deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending May 22, known as ‘Week 21’.

This was 2,285 less than the previous week – but still 2,348 more than usual for this time of year.

Professor Heneghan, director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, University of Oxford said he expects deaths to be back to normal by next week. 

Asked during a Science Media Centre briefing whether he expects deaths from Covid-19 to stop or plateau, Professor Heneghan said: ‘If the trends continue, the deaths look like they will be back to where they should be normally by next week.

‘There’s been a continued reduction in hospital deaths, care home outbreaks are coming down so the ‘all deaths’ by (week) 22 I’m expecting will be back to where we should be.’

Professor Heneghan said there may be no Covid-19 deaths by the end of June – which would follow Spain yesterday. Italy is still reporting between 50 and 100 deaths per day, and France around 30.

‘But it also depends on what happens next, within sporadic outbreaks,’ Professor Heneghan said.

He warned that there will be spikes in deaths with further outbreaks in care homes, and said information on how many people are catching the virus in hospital would ‘give us a really good understanding of the spreading of this disease’.

Professor Kevin McConway, emeritus professor of applied statistics at The Open University, said: ‘I certainly don’t want to be a prophet of gloom, but I would urge some caution about these positive trends. 

‘The new week’s data would not yet have been affected by the loosening of the lockdown. That began to happen in the previous week (ending 15 May), though most changes occurred much more recently.

‘If any of the changes turn out to have increased infections, that won’t show up in death statistics yet anyway, because obviously there is a time gap between infection and death. But we’ll see eventually.’ 

Priti Patel says 14-day coronavirus quarantine on UK arrivals is ‘essential’


Priti Patel insisted 14-day quarantine for UK arrivals is ‘essential to save lives’ today but admitted it will hit businesses hard – and confirmed ‘travel corridors’ are being considered to low-infection countries.

The Home Secretary defied a huge Tory revolt to tell MPs the blanket rule will come into force from Monday, with the next review new due to happen until the end of the month.

With only very limited exceptions for lorry drivers and NHS workers, everyone coming to the country by plane, rail or sea will be ordered to give an address and self-isolate for two weeks, with spot checks from officials. 

While she was adamant the clampdown was ‘proportionate’ to ensure coronavirus did not spike again, Ms Patel did raise hopes by saying the government is looking at ‘international travel corridors’ to low infection countries in the future. 

But she was assailed by a slew of Conservatives, with former minister Theresa Villiers urging her to act to ‘save jobs in aviation and let families go on holidays in the sun’.

Ex-trade secretary Liam Fox said the government’s policy contortions resembled ‘gymnastics’, and the focus should be on test and trace rather than ‘unnecessary economic isolation’.   

Ms Patel said: ‘Currently, there should only be essential travel, but across Government and with the sector we continue to explore all options for future safe travel. Any international approaches will be bilateral and agreed with the other countries concerned,’ she said. 

‘We need to ensure that those countries are deemed to be safe. We are not alone in our fight against this disease, or in the measures we have taken to stop it.’ 

Boris Johnson and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps are among ministers who have been pushing the idea behind the scenes – with Portugal this morning becoming the latest holiday destination to suggest it wants a deal in place soon.

The review criteria for the quarantine include international infection rates, what controls other countries have in place and whether ‘antibody and other testing methodologies’ can help minimise the health risk. 

Despite the resistance from business and Conservative MPs, Ms Patel was boosted today by a poll suggesting the public overwhelmingly supports the restrictions. The YouGov research found 63 per cent in favour of applying the rule broadly, while 24 per cent said it should only cover countries with high infection rates. Just 4 per cent did not think there should be any quarantine.   

In other news today as the coronavirus crisis rages on:

  • Leaked figures showed the new track-and-trace system identified only half of contacts in its first three days;
  • Labour’s Keir Starmer has torn into Boris Johnson for ‘winging it’ by loosening lockdown, saying the PM had an ‘exit but not a strategy’;
  • The children’s commissioner for England has warned that some vulnerable children might never return to school after lockdown, and ‘immense’ damage is being done to their prospects;
  • Wales has announced that schools are going to start reopening from June 29, but only for around a third of pupils; 
  • There have now been more deaths related to Covid-19 in Scottish care homes than in hospitals north of the border, according to latest figures; 
  • A study suggested that most prospective students want the start of the academic year delayed in order to secure more face-to-face teaching at university;
  • Mr Johnson has insisted ‘black lives matter’ and condemned the ‘inexcusable’ death of George Floyd but refused to criticise Donald Trumps’ response to protests; 

Priti Patel (pictured in the Commons today) insisted 14-day quarantine for UK arrivals is needed to prevent more deaths

YouGov research found 63 per cent in favour of applying the rule broadly, while 24 per cent said it should only cover countries with high infection rates

YouGov research found 63 per cent in favour of applying the rule broadly, while 24 per cent said it should only cover countries with high infection rates

From Monday, people coming into the UK from abroad will have to quarantine for 14 days to stop the spread of coronavirus

From Monday, people coming into the UK from abroad will have to quarantine for 14 days to stop the spread of coronavirus

A police officer talking to beach-goers in Italy. The UK has more cases of coronavirus per million people than most of the 15 most popular holiday destinations for Britons - including Italy

A police officer talking to beach-goers in Italy. The UK has more cases of coronavirus per million people than most of the 15 most popular holiday destinations for Britons – including Italy

A couple hug each other at Misericordia beach in Malaga. Spain has a far lower level of coronavirus infection rate than the UK

A couple hug each other at Misericordia beach in Malaga. Spain has a far lower level of coronavirus infection rate than the UK

Can Britons head off to their favourite destinations on holiday this summer?

France 

How many British visitors each year? 8.5million 

Can you visit? No. Its borders are closed to all tourists until June 15 at the earliest. Any foreigner arriving, including Britons, must go into 14-day quarantine.  

Is there anything open? Thousands of Britons have second homes in France. Hotels, B&Bs, campsites and gites open for French citizens from June 3. Cafes and restaurants are also open – but in Paris only ones with outside space can serve customers.   

Italy 

How many British visitors each year? 4.3million 

Can you visit?  Yes. Its borders open from today and there is no mandatory quarantining at all.

Is there anything open? Hotels are slowly opening from today while all campsites are now up and running. Beaches are open with social distancing and bars and restaurants are serving.  

Spain 

How many British visitors each year? 15.6million

Can you visit? No. Spain will open its borders from July 1. There is no quarantine planned but Britain is currently not on its list of agreed visitors because its coronavirus infection and death rates ‘still have to improve’. 

Is there anything open? Yes, but still limited options. Beaches are reopening with strict capacity numbers. Many hotels, restaurants and bars remain closed but are slowly reopening to be ready for the end of the month. 

Portugal 

How many British visitors each year? 2.8million

Can you visit? No, but probably soon. Borders are open but not currently to Britain. Although the two Governments are expected to agree an ‘air bridge’ meaning citizens can travel between the two nations with no quarantine. 

Is there anything open? Yes. Most hotels, B&Bs and campsites are expected to be open in the next fortnight. Beaches are fully open from the weekend onwards.  Golf courses are opening too.

United States 

How many British visitors each year? 3.9million

Can you visit? No. President Trump banned all EU visitors in mid-March but has said he soon will ‘start to open up’ to Europeans soon. There are still commercial flights between the UK and US.

Is there anything open? New York lockdown is not expected to ease until next week at the earliest – but on the west coast beaches, restaurants and beauty spots are opening. Restrictions vary from state to state.

Greece 

How many British visitors each year? 2.4million

Can you visit? No. Tourists are banned until mid-June. Border guards will test people arriving from high risk destinations. Mandatory quarantine of seven days is required. And the Greek Government has already said it will not accept flights from 13 UK airports, excluding Heathrow. 

Is there anything open? Yes. Hotels, tavernas and bars are open but with restrictions on numbers. Beaches are free to use and ferries still run between islands.  

Australia 

How many British visitors each year? 493,000

Can you visit? No. Only Australian citizens can enter – and they must go into quarantine for two weeks. There are plans to run an air corridor with neighbouring New Zealand from the Autumn.

Is there anything open? Yes. Restaurants and bars can operate with a maximum of 50 people. Pubs are open to diners not drinkers. Some, but not all, beaches are open.  

New Zealand 

How many British visitors each year? 128,000

Can you visit? Only NZ citizens can jet in – and as in Australia they must quarantine for 14 days on arrival. They will probably reopen an air corridor with Australia and Pacific islands from September.  

Is there anything open? As cases plummet, social distancing could end as early as next week – but gatherings will not exceed 100 people. Most businesses, including hotels, are now open.

United Arab Emirates

How many British visitors each year? 1.4million

Can you visit? No. But tourists could be allowed back in from July 1. A 14-day quarantine is likely. 

Is there anything open? Yes. Hotels, beaches, shopping centres and parks opened in May but face masks are mandatory. 

South Africa 

How many British visitors each year? 440,000 visits a year 

Can you visit? No. The South African borders are closed to all visitors. Experts believe this will remain in place until February 2021 with South Africans not allowed to holiday in the country themselves until Christmas. 

Is there anything open? No. Wildlife and safari parks, beaches, beauty spots and restaurants are all shut. 

Portugal’s foreign minister Augusto Santos Silva revealed this morning that his country is in discussions with the UK about forming an air bridge so tourists can avoid being quarantined, telling the BBC that ‘quarantine is an enemy of tourism’. 

He added: ‘During these weeks our diplomats will work together in order to guarantee that British tourists coming to Portugal would not be subjected on their return to England to any kind of quarantine.’

Germany will lift a travel ban for European Union member states plus Britain, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland from 15 June as long as there are no entry bans or large-scale lockdowns in those countries, the foreign minister said.

But Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Germans would be urged not to travel to the UK while 14-day quarantine is in place.

Ms Patel told the Commons that the government was ‘taking a proportionate and time-limited approach to protect the health of the British people’.

She said arrivals will be required to fill in a ‘contact locator form’, including details on where they will isolate and how they can be contacted.

She said: ‘The form must be completed in advance of travel to provide details of the journey and Border Force will be at the front line of enforcing this requirement.

‘Passengers require a receipt, either printed or on their phone, to prove they have completed the form.

‘Border Force will undertake spot checks at the border and may refuse entry to non-resident nationals who refuse to comply. They will have the power to impose a £100 fixed penalty notice to those who don’t comply.’

Ms Patel said the data collected will be used by Public Health England, which will undertake checks to ensure people understand and follow the rules, adding: ‘If Public Health England has reason to believe someone is not following the law as they should be, they will inform the police.’

A breach of self-isolation could result in a £1,000 fixed penalty notice in England, or potential prosecution, Ms Patel added.

Labour’s shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds called for the Government to be clear on the scientific advice surrounding its plans to introduce a quarantine for overseas arrivals. 

He said: ‘If these measures are necessary from June 8, why have they not been necessary in recent weeks or from when they were first announced by the Home Secretary herself on May 22? 

‘And can the Home Secretary give me her assurance these measures from Monday next week have been recommended and approved by SAGE?’ 

Senior Tory Dr Fox said: I’m afraid I simply cannot get my head around the public health mental gymnastics of this policy.

‘If such a barrier was required, why was it not introduced earlier in the outbreak.

‘And if it is a contingency measure against a second wave, why apply it to countries with a lower infection rate than we already have.

‘Surely the answer lies in the government’s test-and-trace system, rather than unnecessary economic isolation.’ 

The 14-day quarantine scheme will be reviewed on June 29 to see whether low case numbers in some destinations might allow the measures to be relaxed on a country-by-country basis. 

A Downing Street source said: ‘We will be guided by the science, but the PM does not want to be standing in the way of people’s holidays unnecessarily.’ 

Health minister Edward Argar said earlier that he hoped people would be able to go on holiday this year.

He told Today: ‘I’m not going to say a particular date on when that might happen because we will have to be guided by how the disease behaves, controlling any risk of a second wave and controlling the disease.

‘I hope that people will be able to go on holiday at some point this year, but I can’t make that promise and because I have to be cautious and go with the science and I don’t have that forward view yet of how a second wave or otherwise might behave.’

Heathrow chief John Holland Kaye warned there was a danger of the ‘health pandemic becoming an unemployment pandemic’. 

He said there had to be an ‘exit plan’ from the quarantine plan to avert huge redundancies. 

‘If we don’t get a plan from the Government in the next few days on how we are going to reopen the economy, those jobs are at risk,’ he said.

‘I am going to have to make that decision in the next few weeks about jobs in my own company.

‘We need to stop this health pandemic becoming an unemployment pandemic.’

In a glimmer of hope for airlines, it has emerged that commercial flights will resume at London City Airport by the end of June.

Domestic routes will be the first to restart, with international flights ‘depending on the proposed quarantine of passengers arriving into the UK’, according to a statement.

London City’s runway has been closed to commercial and private flights since March 25 due to travel restrictions and the collapse in demand.

Leading travel operators still fear they will have to lay off 60 per cent of their staff, however. 

And the London Chambers of Commerce warned today that the policy sends out the message that the UK is ‘closed for business’.

Chief executive Paul Scully said: ‘Domestically, the Government’s roadmap to restarting the economy is correctly centred on a risk-based approach. 

‘Yet this blanket aviation proposal doesn’t appear to be risk-based. 

‘If it was, it would recognise that arrivals from some countries with much lower transmission levels than the UK and low incidence of the disease would not increase our risk, provided they adopted our social distancing protocols on arrival. 

‘The proposal sends out the message that the UK is closed for business, at a time when we are beginning to restart our economy.’ 

The news came as it emerged that nearly every country popular with Britons as a summer holiday destination has a lower coronavirus infection rate than the UK. 

The UK currently has more cases of coronavirus per million people than most of the 15 most popular holiday destinations for Britons. 

Only the US and Portugal have a higher infection rate with places like France, Spain, Greece and Italy all drastically lower than Britain. 

The data is sure to fuel the anger of opponents of the quarantine, after some 124 chief executive and owners of businesses worth a combined £5billion said they expect to make up to 60 per cent of their staff redundant if the scheme goes ahead.

Details of the quarantine scheme, which is due to come into force on Monday June 8, were expected to be revealed to MPs yesterday. 

But Downing Street confirmed that Home Secretary Priti Patel is now expected to unveil them later today, fuelling suggestions that some sort of compromise could be on the cards. 

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said yesterday he was growing ‘more optimistic’ about the prospect of Britons taking holidays abroad this year.  

Ms Patel will face rebellious Conservative MPs in the Commons later, warning them that opposition to the quarantine plan risk alienating the public and throwing away the country’s progress in tackling coronavirus. 

The 14-day quarantine scheme will be reviewed on June 29 to see whether low case numbers in some destinations might allow the measures to be relaxed on a country-by-country basis.

Leading travel operators still fear they will have to lay off 60 per cent of their staff however.  

Mr Johnson has been told to drops the plans to force visitors and returning British nationals to self-isolate for 14 days to avoid a ‘catastrophic’ hammer blow to the tourism and hospitality industries. 

MPs have also branded the curbs ‘ridiculous’ and ‘pointless’ after it emerged people will be allowed to pop out for food, only a fifth face spot checks, and officials will not be allowed to enter their homes.     

Under that plan, agreements between Britain and countries with low infection rates would allow people from those nations to visit the UK without self-isolating. 

Asked about the government’s policy in the evening Downing Street press briefing, Mr Hancock hinted at friction within the cabinet: ‘This air bridge idea has been floated. 

‘I know there has been a lot of discussion about it and I know that some countries have been mentioned in the media but that is a piece of work that is being done by the Home office and the DfT and I’m not going to tread on the toes of my colleagues no matter how tempting it is.’

The Health Secretary also said that all measures taken by the government, including those related to travellers, were taken with people’s safety as the key consideration.  

The new quarantine rules will allow people subject to the 14-day restrictions to leave their place of isolation for a number of reasons, including shopping for food. 

Travellers will also be able to board public transport from the port or airport to where they will quarantine, although they will be encouraged to use private vehicles instead. 

Heathrow chief warns over an ‘unemployment pandemic’ 

Heathrow’s chief railed against the quarantine place today warning there is a danger of the ‘health pandemic becoming an unemployment pandemic’. 

John Holland Kaye said there had to be an ‘exit plan’ from the restrictions to avert huge redundancies. 

‘If we don’t get a plan from the Government in the next few days on how we are going to reopen the economy, those jobs are at risk,’ he said.

‘I am going to have to make that decision in the next few weeks about jobs in my own company.

‘We need to stop this health pandemic becoming an unemployment pandemic.’

In a glimmer of hope for airlines, it has emerged that commercial flights will resume at London City Airport by the end of June.

Domestic routes will be the first to restart, with international flights ‘depending on the proposed quarantine of passengers arriving into the UK’, according to a statement.

London City’s runway has been closed to commercial and private flights since March 25 due to travel restrictions and the collapse in demand.

 

But the rules will only be in place for an initial three weeks, with the first review on June 29. 

Campaigner George Morgan-Grenville, the chief executive of tour operator Red Savannah, said: ‘By pursuing its quarantine plans without due regard for the economic consequences, the Government is choosing to ignore the devastation it will cause to companies, to employment and to the lives of all those whose jobs will be lost.

‘The quarantine measures are a blunt weapon which will bring only economic disaster.’

Ministers are also facing a major Tory rebellion over the issue.  

Whitehall sources said the quarantine plan had been championed by the PM’s chief adviser Dominic Cummings. 

But Mr Johnson is said to have been taken aback by the scale of opposition from within his own party.

Meanwhile, former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith said travellers should not face quarantine unless arriving from a country with a higher infection rate than the UK’s.

A Government spokesman said: ‘Our priority will always be to protect the public’s health and these new measures are being introduced to do exactly this. We have received clear science advice and the quarantine system is designed to keep the transmission rate down, stop new cases being brought in from abroad and help prevent a devastating second wave of coronavirus.

‘We are supporting businesses in the tourism sector through one of the most generous economic packages provided anywhere in the world and we will continue to look at options to increase international travel, when it is safe to do so, as we move forward.’ 

The rules are due to take effect on Monday, but a there are growing signs the measures will be scaled back again when they are reviewed in three weeks. 

The air bridges plan, championed by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, could see restrictions eased on countries like Australia and Greece with low levels of coronavirus. 

It offers some hopes of summer holidays for Britons as the nation struggles to get back to normal after months of lockdown. 

Ministers are expected to use a five-point assessment to judge which countries could be prioritised for the agreements. 

The criteria could include the economic and cultural ties to the UK, the infection rate and the level of health screening at departure airports.  

A country’s R rate of infection is likely to be the key factor in whether an air bridge agreement is considered.   

Just 23 people used Gatwick Airport in an entire day last week - down from its pre-covid average of 45,000

Just 23 people used Gatwick Airport in an entire day last week – down from its pre-covid average of 45,000

The news comes as MPs urged the government to rethink the 14-day quarantine to avoid killing off the airline industry.    

How UK coronavirus cases compare to 15 popular holiday destinations for Britons  

Tourism bosses and MPs have discussed air bridges to popular tourist destinations and countries who send large numbers of tourist to the UK.

Here is how the UK’s coronavoirus cases compare to popular nations. The figures are the daily confirmed cases of coronavirus per million people for each country, as of June 1.

UK – 28.52

SPAIN – 4.30

FRANCE – 3.94

ITALY – 5.87

USA – 59.84

GREECE – 0.19

PORTUGAL – 29.13

NETHERLANDS – 10.80

TURKEY – 9.85

IRELAND – 12.35

GERMANY – 3.98

BELGIUM – 16.82

MEXICO – 24.45

MOROCCO – 0.73

AUSTRALIA – 0.39

NEW ZEALAND – 0

Tory MP Henry Smith, whose Crawley constituency covers Gatwick, said low passengers at the airport last week highlighted the scale of the problem.   

He said: ‘It’s well-intentioned but it hasn’t been thought through.

‘It sounds good, to stop people at the borders so we don’t get re-infections of Covid-19. But I don’t think it is going to be a benefit to public health and will prolong the economic damage.’

Travel industry experts say quarantine, will cost Britain’s tourism sector as much as £15billion if it is maintained throughout the summer.

Under the plans, people arriving in the UK from Britain, including citizens returning from abroad, will have to self-isolate for two weeks. 

There are exemptions for groups including lorry drivers, health workers and scientists. 

Spot checks will be carried out on addresses and fines of £1,000 could be imposed on people breaking the rules.

But according to the Guardian, only a fifth of arrivals will be subject to spot checks. 

People will be able to give more than one address where they will be self-isolating – and will also be allowed to go out to buy food – including for pets – or medicine.

‘To get caught, you will either have to be unlucky or stupid,’ one source said.  

Like the wider lockdown measures, the plans will be reviewed every three weeks.

Former transport minister Stephen Hammond asked what the point of the quarantine was when it could be dodged relatively easily.

The Tory MP told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that air bridges would be a ‘sensible, targeted response’ between low-risk countries.

‘I think the idea of air bridges are the right way forward,’ he added.

‘I think, as we’ve seen across the world, people are taking measures out of the lockdown and this targeted approach would be a much more sensible way to behave.’

The air bridges idea was first floated by Mr Shapps last month, before being played down by No10 sources.

However, sources told the Telegraph that Mr Johnson is now ‘personally in favour’ of the plan. 

Priti Patel, the home secretary, is thought to remain sceptical. 

Travel companies are offering up to 65 per cent off summer holidays – but tourism experts are warning Britons the trips may not end up going ahead.

The bargain packages are being advertised on booking sites for as early as July in a bid to salvage the season.

It came as last night the holiday dreams of millions of Britons were given a boost after Portugal and Greece said they were ready to welcome back UK tourists within days.

Tui, Britain’s biggest tour operator, is cutting three nights all-inclusive at the TUI SUNEO Odessos in Bulgaria on July 10 from £543 per person to £296. And a seven-night trip to Gran Canaria on July 6 has been slashed from £606 to £394.

Travel Zoo is offering two nights in Paris in September for £79 – up to 64 per cent cheaper than usual.

And easyJet Holidays is selling a week-long stay at Anseli Hotel in Rhodes from July 8 for £195 with flights and transfers.

But experts have warned desperate Britons to hold off booking for now.

The Foreign Office still advises against all but essential travel and there will be a two-week quarantine for returning holidaymakers from June 8.

Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel, said: ‘If consumers are keen to book something now they should go into it with their eyes open.

‘If the FCO advice is still in place when their holiday is due to take place, they will get a refund, but there’s a good chance they will be waiting a long time.

‘Holiday providers need to make it clear to their customers that these holidays may not take place.’

The UK quarantine will be reviewed every three weeks. TUI spokesman Liz Edwards said they hope it will be lifted on June 29 in time for summer trips.

She added: ‘We believe we will be having summer holidays this year, hopefully from July. We hope the quarantine will be lifted, but air bridges are certainly a possibility.

‘Bookings have been really picking up. Spain, Greece, Cyprus are likely to open up first. The Canaries and Balearics are keen to welcome back tourists.’

Airlines are also heavily discounting flights. A Heathrow to Cancun return with Air France in September, which usually sells for around £800, is being advertised for £312.

And return flights from Manchester to Reykjavik with easyJet in November are being sold for £41 (usually £150 plus), and Manchester to Dubrovnik with Jet2 from £30 one-way in late June (usually around £120).

Emma Coulthurst, from TravelSupermarket, said: ‘The 14-day quarantine measure makes holidays pretty impractical, although I have heard of some people willing to do it to get a holiday. There is a risk booking now as there is no guarantee the holiday will go ahead.’

Research by TUI revealed the most popular destinations for trips this year are Spain, Greece and Italy followed by Florida and the Caribbean.

AREAS WITH THE MOST AND LEAST COVID-19 DEATHS

According to ONS data for England and Wales up to May 22, these are the areas that had recorded the most and least deaths from the coronavirus: 

MOST DEATHS

  1. Birmingham (1,082) 
  2. Leeds (605)
  3. County Durham (567)
  4. Liverpool (529)
  5. Sheffield (498)
  6. Brent (465)
  7. Croydon (458)
  8. Barnet (442)
  9. Cheshire East (417)
  10. Bradford (416)

FEWEST DEATHS

  1. Isles of Scilly (0)
  2. City of London (5)  
  3. Ceredigion (7)
  4. Hastings (8)
  5. South Hams (12)
  6. Rutland (15)
  7. Mid Devon (15)
  8. West Devon (15)
  9. Norwich (17)
  10. Mendip (18)

And those hoping to go to Greece or Portugal this summer could still get the chance.

Officials in Lisbon believe Britain has coronavirus ‘under control’ and want quarantine-free travel between the two countries to restart from this Saturday.

Greece’s tourism minister Harry Theocharis told the Mail the epidemic was moving ‘in the right direction’ in the UK and restrictions could be dropped for Britons from June 15.

The interventions increased pressure on Downing Street to re-think its plan for a ‘blanket’ 14-day quarantine amid a growing backlash from MPs at being denied a vote on the measures.

Ms Patel will now introduce the regulations in Parliament to come into effect from next Monday.

But they will be brought as a statutory instrument, which does not automatically go to a vote. Tory MPs are expecting the government to give a strong signal on air bridges to head off an outright rebellion.

Under the plans, anyone entering the country by plane, train or boat will have to go into quarantine for two weeks.

This will apply to foreign tourists as well as Britons returning from abroad.

However, some people, including medical professionals and lorry drivers, will be exempt.

MPs among a cross-party group of at least 40 who are critical of the plans last night voiced their fury.

They want the Government to leave open the option of creating ‘air bridges’ – which would allow tourists between two countries to visit without needing to quarantine – to salvage as much of the summer holiday season as possible and help keep the hard-hit tourism industry afloat.

They say, instead of quarantine, arrivals to the UK could be subject to health checks or testing.

Industry chiefs say millions of Britons are desperate for a foreign getaway, but the blanket quarantine policy has all but cancelled summer holidays.

Former Cabinet minister David Davis said: ‘Parliament should be properly involved and quite plainly it is not. In this particular case, its very blanket policy could reasonably be amended in a number of ways. 

‘For example, our death rate is many, many times than that in Greece. So the idea of quarantining someone coming from Greece who would have a much lower risk of suffering from the disease than someone anywhere else in Britain is plainly not supported by any sort of science.

‘The idea of putting in air bridges might be a sensible amendment.’

Former environment secretary Theresa Villiers said: ‘I would very much prefer the quarantine rules be targeted on flights from Covid hotspots.

‘I appreciate why the Government is bringing in quarantine but I do think that applying it in a blanket way across the board is an over-reaction.’

Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the influential 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers, said: ‘I hope the Government will move swiftly to introduce air bridges and also to introduce a testing regime at airports as quickly as possible.’

Downing Street last night insisted it still intended to push ahead with the policy.

It has stressed quarantine will be reviewed every three weeks and has left open the possibility of striking air bridge deals in future.

But the first review period would not be until June 29. 

It comes as a leading expert predicted today that Britain is on track to have zero Covid-19 deaths by July – as health chiefs announced 324 more coronavirus fatalities. 

Professor Carl Heneghan, an Oxford University epidemiologist, expects no ‘excess deaths’ when weekly data taking into account suspected and confirmed deaths is published next Tuesday.  

The week ending May 22 had the fewest coronavirus deaths of any seven-day period since Britain's lockdown began in March. The Office for National Statistics showed that 1,983 people died in England and Wales in the week ending May 22, down from 2,766 a week earlier

The week ending May 22 had the fewest coronavirus deaths of any seven-day period since Britain’s lockdown began in March. The Office for National Statistics showed that 1,983 people died in England and Wales in the week ending May 22, down from 2,766 a week earlier

The weekly death toll in England and Wales dropped to its lowest levels since the lockdown began, an Office for National Statistics (ONS) report said today. A total of 1,983 people in England and Wales died with Covid-19 in the week ending May 22, down almost 30 per cent in a week and the lowest figure for two months.  

Both England and Wales – which suffered 16,000 deaths during the darkest fortnight of the crisis in April – are now en route to the way they were before the unprecedented lockdown was imposed on March 23.  

But sobering statistics also show that there have now been nearly 50,000 people killed by Covid-19 across the UK this year, cementing Britain’s position as one of the worst-hit countries in the world. And other estimates looking at ‘excess deaths’ – deemed the most reliable measure to work out the true scale of an infectious disease outbreak – show 62,000 more fatalities were recorded during the pandemic than expected.

It comes as the UK Government this week starts to move the nation out of lockdown and back to work and school as the number of new deaths and cases continue to tumble. 

Department of Health figures today revealed the official death toll has jumped to 39,369 – an increase of 324 on yesterday. For comparison, 111 fatalities were registered yesterday, as well as 134 last Tuesday – a figure much lower than expected due to a recording lag on the bank holiday Monday.  

At this evening’s press Downing Street press conference, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the trend for daily infections is ‘broadly down but there is still some way to go’, as the total number of positive tests neared 278,000. 

Mr Hancock said the number of new admissions for Covid-19 in England has fallen to the lowest since March 20, and demonstrates progress against the disease. Daily admissions are down seven per cent since last Tuesday.  

The Department of Health revealed 324 more people had died across all settings. 

Each nation’s health agency reported their own figures earlier today – including 12 in Scotland, seven in Wales and two in Northern Ireland. These figures do not always match with the DH count because of a difference in how they are recorded.

Today’s official Government figure, which brings the total closer to 40,000, is 68 per cent lower than the Tuesday a fortnight ago, when 545 deaths were recorded following a lag in reporting over the bank holiday. 

Processes for recording people’s deaths are known for slowing down and even stopping at the weekends and on bank holidays, meaning there is a dip every Monday, followed by surges on Tuesdays.   

The weekly report from ONS said there were 12,288 deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending May 22, known as ‘Week 21’.

This was 2,285 less than the previous week – but still 2,348 more than usual for this time of year.

Professor Heneghan, director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, University of Oxford said he expects deaths to be back to normal by next week. 

Asked during a Science Media Centre briefing whether he expects deaths from Covid-19 to stop or plateau, Professor Heneghan said: ‘If the trends continue, the deaths look like they will be back to where they should be normally by next week.

‘There’s been a continued reduction in hospital deaths, care home outbreaks are coming down so the ‘all deaths’ by (week) 22 I’m expecting will be back to where we should be.’

Professor Heneghan said there may be no Covid-19 deaths by the end of June – which would follow Spain yesterday. Italy is still reporting between 50 and 100 deaths per day, and France around 30.

‘But it also depends on what happens next, within sporadic outbreaks,’ Professor Heneghan said.

He warned that there will be spikes in deaths with further outbreaks in care homes, and said information on how many people are catching the virus in hospital would ‘give us a really good understanding of the spreading of this disease’.

Professor Kevin McConway, emeritus professor of applied statistics at The Open University, said: ‘I certainly don’t want to be a prophet of gloom, but I would urge some caution about these positive trends. 

‘The new week’s data would not yet have been affected by the loosening of the lockdown. That began to happen in the previous week (ending 15 May), though most changes occurred much more recently.

‘If any of the changes turn out to have increased infections, that won’t show up in death statistics yet anyway, because obviously there is a time gap between infection and death. But we’ll see eventually.’ 

TV reporter screams on air as she is attacked by man yelling ‘Allahu Akbar’ during protest in London


TV reporter screams live on air as she is attacked by screwdriver-wielding man yelling ‘Allahu Akbar’ while covering Black Lives Matter protest in London

  • Correspondent Sophie Walsh was assaulted while broadcasting this morning
  • Footage was not captured of attack but the reporter can be heard screaming
  • She later tweeted ‘I’m shaken but okay’ and thanked her ‘incredible cameraman’

A reporter screamed live on air as she was attacked by a screwdriver-wielding man yelling ‘Allahu Akbar’ while covering the Black Lives Matter protest in London.

Nine News’ Europe correspondent Sophie Walsh was assaulted while broadcasting at 9am this morning, according to the Australian network.

Footage was not captured of the attack but Ms Walsh can be heard screaming and seen clearly shaken afterwards while relaying the incident to one of her colleagues.

Nine News’ Europe correspondent Sophie Walsh, above, was seen clearly shaken after the attack while covering the Black Lives Matter protests in London this morning

She said: ‘Sorry, I just had someone come up and try and… yeah. 

‘A man just came up and grabbed me. He’s not armed. A man just came up and grabbed me though.’

A fellow presenter reported the attacker ‘made motions to stab her’ with the cameraman operator and bystanders chasing him down.

Footage later shows a man being detained by two police officers and held against a car bonnet.

The network said it is unclear whether the man ‘had a screwdriver in his hand or in his pocket’, reporting he was arrested for threats to kill and possessing an offensive weapon.

Ms Walsh later wrote on Twitter: ‘Thank you for your messages. The man has been arrested for threats to kill and carrying a weapon. I’m shaken but okay. 

‘Big thanks to my incredible cameraman Jason Conduit who chased him down armed with a light stand and got him arrested.’

Thousands of Black Lives Matter protesters including singer Liam Payne and actor John Boyega gathered in the capital city today as a show of force against the death of George Floyd in the US.

Footage showed a man being detained by two police officers, above, and held against a car bonnet. Ms Walsh later wrote on Twitter she is 'shaken but okay'

Footage showed a man being detained by two police officers, above, and held against a car bonnet. Ms Walsh later wrote on Twitter she is ‘shaken but okay’

Huge crowds came together in Hyde Park this afternoon despite ongoing social distancing rules as many campaigners wore face coverings and held signs with messages reading ‘Please, I can’t breathe’, ‘BLM’ and ‘Colour ≠ Crime’.

The rally comes as global demonstrations gather pace following the death of 46-year-old black man Mr Floyd who died after white police officer Derek Chauvin put his knee on his neck for nine minutes in Minneapolis on May 25.

Today, Star Wars star Boyega told the crowd: ‘Black lives have always mattered. We have always been important. We have always meant something. We have always succeeded regardless. And now is the time. I ain’t waiting.’  

One protester wore a Colin Kaepernick shirt after the black American footballer who started the knee protest in the US. Thousands of demonstrators at times went down on one knee chanting ‘George Floyd, George Floyd.’

Police were generally keeping in the background of the protest while helicopters circled above. Banners included ‘Enough is Enough’, ‘Remember Smiley Culture’, ‘Remember Cherry Groce’, and ‘UK is not innocent’. 

Wife stood by American husband who the Venezuelan government falsely accused of being a spy


Thamy Caleno knew that her new husband, Josh Holt, was the answer to her prayer.

So when Venezuelan authorities took him away in the middle of the night, she was determined not to lose him, searching her neighborhood and asking anyone she could where the gringo was.

She found him once, and then again as the police were driving him down the hill away from their apartment complex outside of Caracas.

‘And my wife got into the middle of the road and just stopped them,’ Josh recalled.

Thamy added: ‘I don’t let the car go.’  

Thrown into a separate car, she was eventually placed under arrest after the police ‘found’ a grenade in their apartment. The newlyweds had no idea then that they would spend the next 23 months in a Caracas prison and have to withstand torture as well as heinous and unsanitary conditions: cramped and cockroach-infested cells with no toilet, a riot, and experiencing weight loss as well as contracting diseases such as scabies with scant medical attention.  

‘She endured torture on his behalf,’ Becky Bruce, the host of a new 12-part podcast called Hope In Darkness: The Josh Holt Story, told DailyMail.com.

The series is an in-depth examination of how Josh, a Mormon from Utah who went to Venezuela to marry Thamy in June 2016, got caught up in a narrative that painted him as some sort of spy ‘sent’ from President Barack Obama ‘to destroy the government’ of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro,’ he told DailyMail.com.

It took his mom, Laurie Holt, and several elected officials to free Josh and Thamy from prison and get them to Utah in May 2018. The family recently welcomed a baby daughter named Oakley.

The Holts imprisonment came amid the backdrop of a country contending with the lingering legacy of its longtime President Hugo Chavez, who nationalized industries and used some oil wealth to subsidize social programs, and his chosen predecessor Maduro. According to news reports, 90 percent of the country currently lives below the poverty line, and there have been food and other basic necessities shortages – as well as protests – for years.

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Thamy Caleno met her future husband, Josh Holt, virtually: she sent him a Facebook friend request. Both are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Thamy, who was looking to improve her English, found Josh, who was serving on his first Mormon mission in Washington state, online. When he returned to Utah, Josh thought he had met Thamy during his mission and accepted her request. Above, the Holt family today: Thamy, Josh, who is holding their daughter, Oakley, born on August 3 last year, and their daughters Nathalia and Marian

Josh was the only one who accepted Thamy's friend request. They started chatting via Facebook and video: Josh wanted to improve his Spanish; Thamy, her English. Soon, the pair decided to met in person in the Dominican Republic. 'It was like Fourth of July. Fireworks were going off. I was actually hugging her. I had her in my arms. I had thought about that moment for six months,' he said on a new podcast called Hope In Darkness: The Josh Holt Story. 'After three days, I just knew. I know this is the girl.' Above, Thamy and Josh on their wedding day

Josh was the only one who accepted Thamy’s friend request. They started chatting via Facebook and video: Josh wanted to improve his Spanish; Thamy, her English. Soon, the pair decided to met in person in the Dominican Republic. ‘It was like Fourth of July. Fireworks were going off. I was actually hugging her. I had her in my arms. I had thought about that moment for six months,’ he said on a new podcast called Hope In Darkness: The Josh Holt Story. ‘After three days, I just knew. I know this is the girl.’ Above, Thamy and Josh on their wedding day

Josh proposed to Thamy at a temple in the Dominican Republic. 'I feel so comfortable and I feel like peace inside me,' Thamy recalled on the podcast. 'I feel he's my answer to my prayer.' Josh arrived in Venezuela on June 11, 2016. The couple decided to have a civil ceremony in Venezuela and later have a formal wedding at the temple in Utah. Above, the Holt family in 2018. In front, Marian, Nathalia, Josh and Thamy. In back, Josh's brother, Derek, his father, Jason, his mother, Laurie, and his sister, Jenna

Josh proposed to Thamy at a temple in the Dominican Republic. ‘I feel so comfortable and I feel like peace inside me,’ Thamy recalled on the podcast. ‘I feel he’s my answer to my prayer.’ Josh arrived in Venezuela on June 11, 2016. The couple decided to have a civil ceremony in Venezuela and later have a formal wedding at the temple in Utah. Above, the Holt family in 2018. In front, Marian, Nathalia, Josh and Thamy. In back, Josh’s brother, Derek, his father, Jason, his mother, Laurie, and his sister, Jenna 

It all started with a Facebook friend request.

Josh grew up in Riverton, a suburb outside of Salt Lake City. On the podcast, his father, Jason, and his older brother, Derek, described him as a ‘funny kid’ who somehow managed to hurt himself in mishaps but was able to shake it off.

‘He’s a good kid. Then he grew up,’ Jason quipped on the series.

Raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Josh was excited when he got his assignment for his first mission outside of Seattle in Everett, Washington. While he trained, Josh also began learning Spanish. 

Meanwhile, his future wife, Thamy, was looking to learn English. Born in Ecuador, she moved to Venezuela when she was five, according to the podcast. Like Josh, she was raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but when she became pregnant with her daughter Marian at the age of 17, she stopped attending.

‘That year was so so hard for me,’ she recalled.

Nonetheless, as a single mother, Thamy finished school to be an instrument technician and got a job at a hospital. She then met her first husband, Jose, at work, and together they had a daughter Nathalia. She went to church again.

‘But it was far from happily ever after. Jose had a drinking problem,’ said Becky Bruce, the podcast’s host.

Thamy said Jose was abusive. They stayed together for five years until he died in an accident in 2015. Now a widow with two daughters, Thamy went to temple and prayed to God to bring a good man into her life, according to the podcast.

Bruce told DailyMail.com that Thamy was looking to improve her English to get a better job with Josh wanting to better his Spanish. Thamy went to a church site that had profiles of its missionaries, including Josh, so she sent him and others Facebook friend requests. When Josh returned to Utah from Washington, he thought he had met Thamy during his mission and accepted the request.

‘I wrote several people and only Josh answered me,’ Thamy explained.

Soon, the pair were constantly chatting via Facebook and video.

‘Language lessons turn into something else,’ Bruce said.

The couple were newlyweds when the Venezuelan police knocked on their door at an apartment complex west of Caracas that June in 2016. The first time, they asked why Josh was in the country, how long he was staying and what kind of work he did. They checked his visa and then left. The couple were relieved. But not so long after, there was another pound on the door. Josh was taken into custody and then to prison. Thamy, after stopping the car he was in and saying that she wanted to be her husband, was also arrested after police 'found' a grenade at their apartment. Above, the couple in Utah in 2018

The couple were newlyweds when the Venezuelan police knocked on their door at an apartment complex west of Caracas that June in 2016. The first time, they asked why Josh was in the country, how long he was staying and what kind of work he did. They checked his visa and then left. The couple were relieved. But not so long after, there was another pound on the door. Josh was taken into custody and then to prison. Thamy, after stopping the car he was in and saying that she wanted to be her husband, was also arrested after police ‘found’ a grenade at their apartment. Above, the couple in Utah in 2018

Both Josh Holt and Becky Bruce, the host of a new podcast Hope in Darkness, told DailyMail.com that it is still unclear why he was arrested that summer in 2016. A few months before Josh arrived in the country, there were 1,000 protests due to food shortages as well as people marching in the street that opposed President Nicolas Maduro. 'They score kind of a coup: here's an American,' Bruce told DailyMail.com about the raid that night. 'It was sort of convenient to arrest this guy and exploit him.' Above, Thamy, Josh and his parents, Laurie and Jason, with their daughter Marian at the airport in Utah on May 28, 2018

Both Josh Holt and Becky Bruce, the host of a new podcast Hope in Darkness, told DailyMail.com that it is still unclear why he was arrested that summer in 2016. A few months before Josh arrived in the country, there were 1,000 protests due to food shortages as well as people marching in the street that opposed President Nicolas Maduro. ‘They score kind of a coup: here’s an American,’ Bruce told DailyMail.com about the raid that night. ‘It was sort of convenient to arrest this guy and exploit him.’ Above, Thamy, Josh and his parents, Laurie and Jason, with their daughter Marian at the airport in Utah on May 28, 2018

Thamy and Josh decided they wanted to meet in person and chose the Dominican Republic. ‘It was like Fourth of July. Fireworks were going off. I was actually hugging her. I had her in my arms. I had thought about that moment for six months,’ Josh said on the podcast.

‘After three days, I just knew. I know this is the girl.’

Josh brought a ring with him and proposed to Thamy at a temple in the Dominican Republic.

‘I feel so comfortable and I feel like peace inside me,’ Thamy recalled. ‘I feel he’s my answer to my prayer.’

The couple decided to have a civil ceremony in Venezuela and Thamy found Josh a ticket for early June in 2016. Later, they would have a formal wedding at a temple in Utah.

That summer in Venezuela, there were food shortages and protests in the street.

‘I really don’t think he was naive,’ Becky Bruce, the podcast host, said. ‘I do think he missed some of the signs of what was going on in Venezuela.

‘There was definitely unrest at the time.’

Venezuela was once considered the ‘crown jewel of South America,’ Bruce, a longtime radio journalist, told DailyMail.com. 

Hugo Chavez rose to national prominence during a failed coup in 1992 when the then lieutenant army colonel said that they had stop ‘for now.’ Elected in 1998, Chavez was president from 1999 until his death from cancer in 2013. During his tenure, Chavez spent some oil revenues subsidizing programs for the poor, such as housing, while nationalizing other industries.

When Chavez took office, oil was $100 a barrel but by the time Nicolas Maduro, his vice president who was then elected president, came to power it was $40 a barrel, according to an article in The Conversation. The country is currently dealing with an economic crisis and hyperinflation.

Months before June 2016, there more than 1,000 protests because of food shortages, according to the podcast. People were also marching in the street due to their opposition to Maduro. (There was also opposition to Chavez as well.)

‘But in Utah, Josh wasn’t aware of the turmoil and he was determined to marry Thamy,’ Bruce said on the series, which is a Wondery and KSL podcast production.

He arrived on June 11, 2016 and the pair was soon married. ‘It was just a humble little wedding. We just made everything ourselves,’ Josh said.

After their honeymoon, the couple was back at Thamy’s apartment complex called Ciudad Caribia, which is west of Caracas. While they waited on the paperwork to bring his family to the United States, Josh said they spent time with Thamy and her family. ‘The day before we got taken we had this awesome day with her family,’ he recalled. ‘We went bowling, we went out to eat.’

Thamy said during the podcast that after they arrested her, they took her to the same prison as Josh. They interrogated her and asked her to sign a piece of paper that would bolster their untrue claims that Josh was a spy. Venezuelan authorities also interrogated Josh and pointed to photos he had posted on his Instagram account of ammunition that he had bought at a gun show and a video of him shooting at a range in Utah. When Thamy refused to sign the paper, they tortured her. The couple spent 23 months in a Caracas prison. Above, a sign for the couple after they were released and arrived in Utah in May 2018

Thamy said during the podcast that after they arrested her, they took her to the same prison as Josh. They interrogated her and asked her to sign a piece of paper that would bolster their untrue claims that Josh was a spy. Venezuelan authorities also interrogated Josh and pointed to photos he had posted on his Instagram account of ammunition that he had bought at a gun show and a video of him shooting at a range in Utah. When Thamy refused to sign the paper, they tortured her. The couple spent 23 months in a Caracas prison. Above, a sign for the couple after they were released and arrived in Utah in May 2018

Josh's mother, Laurie Holt, above in a photo posted on Facebook. Becky Bruce, the host of new podcast, Hope In Darkness, said Laurie was 'relentless' and the 'driving force' behind their release. She told DailyMail.com: 'His mom was absolutely fierce to get his story out there.' Bruce said it took 'a small village' to get them free. Laurie Holt died at age 50 in February last year and Josh said her death has greatly affected their lives

Josh’s mother, Laurie Holt, above in a photo posted on Facebook. Becky Bruce, the host of new podcast, Hope In Darkness, said Laurie was ‘relentless’ and the ‘driving force’ behind their release. She told DailyMail.com: ‘His mom was absolutely fierce to get his story out there.’ Bruce said it took ‘a small village’ to get them free. Laurie Holt died at age 50 in February last year and Josh said her death has greatly affected their lives

The first knock from the police came at five in the morning.

‘I wake up to just a gun being shoved onto my foot. I look up and there was an AK-47 pointed right at my face,’ Josh recalled.

The police officers wanted to know why Josh, an American, was in Venezuela and when he was leaving, as well as what he did for work. They asked for his visa, checked it out and then left.

The couple thought the ordeal was over, but soon there was another pound on their door: ten police officers stepped into the apartment. Josh said: ‘They come straight to me, right around me circled up. They have their guns pointed at me.’

Eventually, they threw him in the back of a pickup truck and drove to a construction site. The officers took him out of the vehicle and made him stand against the wall. ‘Then all of sudden they all lined up looking at me,’ he said. ‘They pointed their guns at me and they all started just dry firing their weapons.

‘And this is the point where I thought I’m going to die today.’

Thamy, meanwhile, was trying to find Josh. The second time, she found him, she stopped in the middle of the road and when officers asked if she wanted to be with her husband, she said yes. Put in another car, she was taken back to her apartment where officers searched it. 

They asked her for Josh’s suitcase and after she shook out its content, the police asked to search it by themselves. They ‘found’ a grenade that wasn’t theirs, according to the podcast.

‘They aimed their guns at her, pulled her hair and threw her on the ground, demanding to know why she had a grenade in her home,’ Bruce said.

Thamy was arrested.

She was taken to where Josh was being held. While they interrogated Josh, they also questioned her. The officers told her that Josh had guns and was a spy.

‘And I say, no, he’s not,’ Thamy said.

They asked her to sign a paper stating these things but she refused. ‘They start to torture me,’ Thamy said. ‘They take a pencil sharpener and try to put all my fingers inside.’

Josh recalled: ‘My wife literally had my life in her hands. I’d known this woman for just over six months, seven months and she literally could have put me away for the rest of my life just by signing that one paper.’

It took almost two years to free the couple from prison, and they arrived back in Josh’s home state in May 2018. 

‘Our adjustment was pretty difficult,’ Josh, now 28, told DailyMail.com. 

But after a period of about nine months, he said his family has since found its feet. They moved into their own home and Josh works as an inspector for an engineering firm. ‘I’ve been able to look on the positive side what happened to me and my wife.’

'The story I have to admit fell into my lap,' Becky Bruce, host of the new podcast Hope in Darkness, told DailyMail.com.  'Josh Holt came to KSL, which is the station where I work, and pitched us this story.' KSL is in Salt Lake City, Utah. A radio journalist for 20 years, Bruce said she and Josh spent anywhere from 15 to 20 hours in recording sessions. 'I let him tell me the story.' The 12-part series is a Wondery and KSL podcast production

‘The story I have to admit fell into my lap,’ Becky Bruce, host of the new podcast Hope in Darkness, told DailyMail.com.  ‘Josh Holt came to KSL, which is the station where I work, and pitched us this story.’ KSL is in Salt Lake City, Utah. A radio journalist for 20 years, Bruce said she and Josh spent anywhere from 15 to 20 hours in recording sessions. ‘I let him tell me the story.’ The 12-part series is a Wondery and KSL podcast production

Two former senior police officers ‘sent offensive WhatsApp messages about women they met at work’


Two senior police officers ‘sent each other grossly offensive WhatsApp messages about women they met in their jobs’

  • Ex-inspector Scott Snowden denied the charges at Grimsby Magistrates’ Court
  • Co-defendant former Superintendent Ed Cook was not present for the hearing
  • Humberside Police declined to comment until court proceedings are concluded

Two former senior police officers are accused of sending each other grossly offensive and sexually-charged WhatsApp messages about women they met at work.

Scott Snowden, a former Grimsby police inspector and the recently named new resort manager for Cleethorpes, appeared before magistrates yesterday to deny the charges. 

His co-defendant was named in court as Edward Cook, better known as former Superintendent Ed Cook, but he was not present for the hearing.   

Snowden, 48, of New Waltham, denied sending a message by a public electronics communications network that was grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing nature at Scunthorpe between January 21, 2017 and October 12, 2018.

Former Superintendent Ed Cook, pictured, was not present for the hearing

Scott Snowden, pictured left, a former Grimsby police inspector appeared before magistrates yesterday to deny the charges but co-defendant, former Superintendent Ed Cook, pictured right, was not present for the hearing

He was previously accused of misconduct in public office but that summons was said to have been issued ‘in error’ and was replaced by the new one.

Wearing a dark suit, light shirt and yellow patterned tie, Snowden appeared via a video link at Grimsby Magistrates’ Court, sitting at a distance behind his solicitor. 

He spoke to confirm his details, address and to enter his Not Guilty plea.

Prosecutor Geraldine Kelly told the court: ‘There is another defendant called Edward Cook, who is charged with the same offence.’

The charge related to conversations or messages being sent between the two of them or from one to the other on WhatsApp. 

Snowden was previously a Humberside Police officer, she said.

Cook was due to be represented in the future by leading barrister Jason Pitter QC, said Miss Kelly.

She added that it had been hoped that both Snowden and Cook would appear in court together so that a pre-trial hearing could be held.

District judge Daniel Curtis expressed surprise that this had not happened and added that he was ‘in the dark’ about the reason.

Snowden’s solicitor, Julian Gaskin, said that it was likely that legal arguments would be put forward at a future hearing.

Details of the case were heard yesterday at Grimsby Magistrates' Court, pictured

Details of the case were heard yesterday at Grimsby Magistrates’ Court, pictured

The case was adjourned to link up with that of Cook.

A decision is likely to be made on where any trial is held and who it will be heard before.

Snowden, who is on summons rather than bail, had the matter against him adjourned.

Humberside Police has declined to comment until court proceedings are concluded.

When Snowden was appointed to the Cleethorpes resort manager job, it was announced that he would take charge of beach safety and tourist information in the resort.

He would also be a focal point for local businesses and residents so they could raise things that needed dealing with and be the main link to council services.

He said at the time: ‘I’m keen to get businesses large and small to work together for the benefit of the resort – that’s going to be the main focus of my work for the next year.

‘We’re all here trying to do one thing – to make sure that Cleethorpes is a fun and safe place to visit, where people come and want to return.

‘If, in a year’s time, I can look back and say that I’ve done my best to bring things together in the resort and we’re all working better together, I’ll be a happy man!’

Defense Secretary Mark Esper says he had NO IDEA he would be in Trump’s infamous photo-op


Defense Secretary Mark Esper called a press conference Wednesday to defend his participation in President Trump’s photo-op at St. John’s church – saying he had no clue what the president was planning until it happened.

‘I did know that following the president’s remarks on Monday evening that many of us were going to join President Trump,’ Esper told reporters at the Pentagon after senior former military officials came down on him for the move.

He ssaid he did not know ‘exactly where we were going’ or ‘what the plans were once we got there.’

Esper’s lack of knowledge also extended to the movements of military assets under DOD control, he admitted. He said it wasn’t until Tuesday afternoon that ‘we determined’ it was a National Guard helicopter that was flying low over protesters in an apparent effort to disperse them. He called for an investigation.

He also said he didn’t know about the plan for federal police forces to clear Lafayette park to make way for the president’s photo-op.

‘I was not aware of law enforcement’s plans for the park,’ he said. He said Guard forces were there in a support role and that he had not yet arrived at a command post when plans for the maneuver apparently were discussed.

‘I work very hard to keep the department out of politics,’ Esper said, as he takes fire for his decisions. He also backed off his use of the term ‘battle-space’ to describe how governors should use Guard to take control of cities, though he explained he was just using military jargon.

‘In retrospect I would use different wording’ he said of his conference call with Trump and governors.

Esper has told his subordinates to remain ‘apolitical’ amid social upheaval and street clashes coursing through the nation – even as he is being accused of violating his oath by joining in a photo-op with President Trump.

Esper penned the memo amid public statements by some military members that they stand with those protesting the death of George Floyd at hands of police in Minneapolis. 

He told service chiefs: ‘I, like you, am steadfast in my belief that Americans who are frustrated, angry, and seeking to be heard must be ensured that opportunity.

‘And like you, I am committed to upholding the rule of law and protecting life and liberty, so the violent actions of a few do not undermine the rights and freedoms of law-abiding citizens.’

He also told them to “stay apolitical in these turbulent days,” according to the memo, released Wednesday.

‘As I reminded you in February, I ask that you remember at all times our commitment as a Department and as public servants to stay apolitical in these turbulent days. For well over two centuries, the U.S. military has earned the respect of the American people by being there to protect and serve all Americans,’ Esper wrote.   

His admonition came as some military members, such as the top enlisted member in the Air Force, Kaleth O. Wright, who wrote: ‘I am outraged at watching another Black man die on television before our very eyes,’ the Washington Post reported.

Esper wrote subordinates Tuesday and reminded them to stay 'apolitical'

Esper wrote subordinates Tuesday and reminded them to stay ‘apolitical’

He posed along with President Trump in front of St. John's church. Part of the church was set on fire during protests on Sunday night. Standing with Trump are Esper, from left, Attorney General William Barr, White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows

He posed along with President Trump in front of St. John’s church. Part of the church was set on fire during protests on Sunday night. Standing with Trump are Esper, from left, Attorney General William Barr, White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows

U.S. President Donald Trump walks with U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper, U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr and National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien during a photo opportunity in front of St. John's Episcopal Church after National Guard forces helped clear out Lafayette Park

U.S. President Donald Trump walks with U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper, U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr and National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien during a photo opportunity in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church after National Guard forces helped clear out Lafayette Park

Riot police chase a man as they rush protestors to clear Lafayette Park and the area around it across from the White House for President Donald Trump to be able to walk through for a photo opportunity in front of St. John's Episcopal Church, during a rally against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, near the White House, in Washington, U.S. June 1, 2020

Riot police chase a man as they rush protestors to clear Lafayette Park and the area around it across from the White House for President Donald Trump to be able to walk through for a photo opportunity in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church, during a rally against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, near the White House, in Washington, U.S. June 1, 2020

Tear gas floats in the air as a line of police move demonstrators away from St. John's Church across Lafayette Park from the White House, as they gather to protest the death of George Floyd, Monday, June 1, 2020, in Washington

Tear gas floats in the air as a line of police move demonstrators away from St. John’s Church across Lafayette Park from the White House, as they gather to protest the death of George Floyd, Monday, June 1, 2020, in Washington

James N. Miller Jr., the former Pentagon undersecretary for policy, penned a stunning letter blasting Esper's participation in a Trump photo-op. Esper says he didn't know they would be going to St. John's church

James N. Miller Jr., the former Pentagon undersecretary for policy, penned a stunning letter blasting Esper’s participation in a Trump photo-op. Esper says he didn’t know they would be going to St. John’s church

Esper himself has been accused of politicizing his role and enabling President Trump’s show of military might to make political statements.

Esper accompanied Trump on his walk across Lafayette Park to visit St. John’s church Monday, after National Guard and other forces used tear gas and rubber bullets to clear out protesters.

He was accompanied by Jt. Chiefs chair Milley, who wore battle fatigues during the walk.

Esper has dispatched an infantry battalion designated Task Force 504 from Fort Bragg, North Carolina to Washington D.C. after President Trump vowed to use the military to gain control of Washington, D.C.

The National Guard in D.C. is investigating the use of a guard medical helicopter with a red cross painted on it using the wind wash from its rotors to try to disperse protesters below. 

Esper told NBC News Tuesday night he didn’t know Trump was going to hold a bible in front of the church, and had thought he was going to review troops. 

‘I thought I was going to do two things: to see some damage and to talk to the troops,’ Esper said. 

He added: ‘I didn’t know where I was going. I wanted to see how much damage actually happened.’

A Pentagon spokesman later clarified that Esper was aware that he would visit the church but didn’t know the president would use it as a photo opportunity, NBC reports. 

The loud explosions of flash-bangs and tear gas could be heard inside the White House Rose Garden while Trump spoke about being a ‘law and order’ president.

Military and police forces also served as the backdrop of dramatic images that the the Trump campaign immediately set to music in a dramatic video. 

On Tuesday, James N. Miller, who formerly served as under secretary of defense for policy, resigned his seat on a Pentagon board with extraordinary letter to Esper. ‘I believe that you violated that oath’ to defend the Constitution, he told Esper. 

‘You must have thought long and hard about where that line should be drawn. I must now ask: If last night’s blatant violations do not cross the line for you, what will?’ he asked the top civilian Pentagon official.  

George Floyd’s roommate says he would NEVER use fake cash, take drugs and barely drank alcohol


The $20 bill that instigated the arrest of George Floyd and its tragic consequences may not have been a fake – and if it was, Floyd would have never intentionally used counterfeit cash, his roommate claims.  

Floyd’s roommate of four years, Alvin Manago, 55, exclusively told DailyMail.com that Floyd was a stand-up guy and if he did use a counterfiet bill at the store before his death, it was ‘unintentional’.  

‘I’ve never known Floyd to use any counterfeit money. If he tried to pass along a counterfeit $20 bill it was unintentional,’ Manago said. ‘He probably didn’t know the money was fake. 

‘I’m just not sure why the store employees didn’t just tell him it was a fake $20. They all knew him them. He was a regular customer.’

Manago met George Floyd, 46, when they worked together at the Conga Bistro Bar and Grill. Floyd worked security and Manago worked as a bar back. Manago says they had been roommates for almost four years and considers him one of his best friends.

Floyd died last Monday after being killed during an arrest in Minneapolis, Minnesota, for allegedly trying to use a counterfeit $20 at a local market.  

George Floyd's roommate of four years Alvin Manago, 55, tells DailyMail.com that Floyd would never use counterfeit money intentionally

George Floyd’s (right)  roommate of four years Alvin Manago, 55, (left) tells DailyMail.com that Floyd would never use counterfeit money intentionally 

Floyd lived with housemate Alvin Manago at this apartment in Minneapolis, Minneapolis. The property is owned by Floyds former employer Jovanni Thunstrom

Floyd lived with housemate Alvin Manago at this apartment in Minneapolis, Minneapolis. The property is owned by Floyds former employer Jovanni Thunstrom

Cell phone video captured former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for several minutes after he was handcuffed. Floyd died hours later at a local hospital.  

Former police officer Derek Chauvin was arrested last week on a third degree murder and manslaughter charges, but Manago believes this is just the beginning.

‘I want to see all of the officers arrested,’ he said. ‘The other officers protected the situation even after George was unconscious.’

Manago also has issues with the probable cause statement. 

Manago said he wasn’t aware of any pre-existing medical conditions listed in the probable cause statement for Floyd.

The arrest warrant states that ‘the autopsy revealed no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation. Mr. Floyd had underlying health conditions including coronary artery disease and hypertensive heart disease. The combined effects of Mr. Floyd being restrained by the police, his underlying health conditions and any potential intoxicants in his system likely contributed to his death.’

‘I’ve never known Floyd to take any prescription medication apart from some pain pills on one occasion after he was recently released from the hospital. He never mentioned to me about having any medical problems or high blood pressure,’ said Manago.

Manago also said that Floyd barely drank alcohol.

‘He maybe had a shot or a beer. I’ve never seen him drunk or use drugs,’ he added. 

Choking up, Manago said Floyd was a good guy who had turned his life around. ‘He didn’t deserve to die this way. Floyd needs justice,’ he said. 

Manago said he never knew Floyd to use counterfeit money and the transaction must have been unintentional

Manago said he never knew Floyd to use counterfeit money and the transaction must have been unintentional

George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died on Memorial Day as he was arrested by four police officers over allegedly trying to buy cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill

He was seen in a video pleading that he couldn't breathe as white officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee against his neck

Floyd died on Memorial Day as he was arrested by four police officers over allegedly trying to buy cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill. He was seen in a video pleading that he couldn’t breathe as white officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee against his neck

‘Floyd would be against the violence and looting. He wouldn’t want people looting and burning buildings in his name. He didn’t promote violence,’ said Manago.

‘He’d be disgusted with what’s going on in the country. I don’t want the looting and rioting attached to his name, he wouldn’t want that.

‘Floyd needs justice. Floyd didn’t deserve to die that way he did.’

Manago also says that Floyd had been exposed to someone who lived with them who had tested positive two months ago for COVID-19. However, he does not believe it had anything to do with his death. 

‘He went to the hospital a few months ago, he was sluggish, throwing up and had diarrhea and complaining of stomach pain. He spent a few days in the hospital and then came back home,’ said Manago.

At about the same time, Manago’s fiancée tested positive for COVID-19. Manago says that he was also tested but the results came back inconclusive. He wasn’t sure if Floyd was ever tested for the virus but said he displayed all of the symptoms of having it.

Derek Chauvin, 44, was arrested Friday on charges of third-degree murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd, which has sparked violent protests

Derek Chauvin, 44, was arrested Friday on charges of third-degree murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd, which has sparked violent protests

Manago said, ‘The health care workers told me that there was no reason to come back for another test since we lived with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus and have been exposed to it. So we should just treat it like we have it and self-quarantine.’ 

After Floyd was discharged from the hospital he came home and rested. Manago said he never found out exactly why Floyd spent time in the hospital, but is convinced they both had coronavirus.

As DailyMail.com exclusively revealed, Chauvin has been moved to one of the nation’s most secure prison to ‘ensure he’s not murdered behind bars’ according to law enforcement sources.

Chauvin was arrested last Friday and housed in the Ramsey County Jail in nearby St. Paul, Minnesota. On Sunday afternoon, he was transferred to the Hennepin County Jail in Minneapolis, then hours later transferred yet again to a correctional facility in Oak Heights, Minnesota –  the state’s only Level 5 maximum security prison.

Commissioner of Corrections Paul Schnell said Chauvin was moved to prison because of concerns about coronavirus and the huge influx of people being booked into Twin Cities jails on public order offenses.

‘First and foremost, we have a COVID situation. Second of all, a large number of people could be booked into Hennepin County Jail,’ Schnell said.

It’s highly unusual to lock defendants up in prison before they have been convicted, however officials did something similar in the case of disgraced Minneapolis officer Mohamed Noor who shot dead a woman in 2017 while responding to her 911 call.

‘The move to DOC custody was made out of an abundance of caution to ensure he is safely held and after concern about space in the jail due to large numbers of arrests related to the unrest over the last few nights,’ a spokesman said.

‘The DOC also took custody of former officer Mohamed Noor during the time he was in custody before being officially committed to our custody at sentencing, after a similar request in that case.

‘The processing of his [Chauvin’s] transfer to OPH, including the taking of photos, in being completed this morning. He will appear, with official photos, on the public database of inmates after that process is completed.

‘He is being held in administrative segregation outside the general population of the facility.’

Derek Chauvin has been moved to Oak Park Heights Prison in Minnesota (pictured), a maximum security prison

Derek Chauvin has been moved to Oak Park Heights Prison in Minnesota (pictured), a maximum security prison 

Administrative segregation, a form of solitary confinement known as ‘in the hole’, is employed when inmates are deemed to be at grave risk of being attacked by other prisoners or because they pose a significant danger to others.

According to recent data released by the Minnesota Department of Corrections, the Oak Park Heights Prison currently houses 297 murderers, 69 sexual predators and eight kidnappers.

Some 46 percent of the prison population is black.

The 160-acre, rural prison is carved into the side of a hill and has been featured on the National Geographic show America’s Hardest Prisons.

Cells are 7 by 10 feet with cement slab bed and toilets and sink made of steel so they can’t be broken off to use as weapons.

The reinforced windows are said to be so secure that it would take 12,000 hacksaw blades to cut though the steel bars.

Chauvin will be held at the prison until next Monday, June 8th where he is scheduled to appear in a downtown Minneapolis courtroom for the first time since his arrest.

Thousands of Black Lives Matter protestors head for London’s Hyde Park


Thousands of Black Lives Matter protesters including singer Liam Payne and actor John Boyega gathered in London today as a show of force against the death of George Floyd in the US.

Huge crowds gathered in Hyde Park this afternoon despite ongoing social distancing rules as many campaigners wore face coverings and held signs with messages such as ‘Please, I can’t breathe’, ‘BLM’ and ‘Colour ≠ Crime’.

The rally comes as global demonstrations gather pace following the death of 46-year-old black man Mr Floyd who died after white police officer Derek Chauvin put his knee on his neck for nine minutes in Minneapolis on May 25. 

Today, Star Wars star Boyega told the crowd: ‘Black lives have always mattered. We have always been important. We have always meant something. We have always succeeded regardless. And now is the time. I ain’t waiting.’

Police were generally keeping in the background of the protest while their helicopters circled above. Banners included ‘Enough is Enough’, ‘Remember Smiley Culture’, ‘Remember Cherry Groce’, and ‘UK is not innocent’.

One protester wore a Colin Kaepernick shirt after the black American footballer who started the knee protest in the US. Thousands of demonstrators at times went down on one knee chanting ‘George Floyd, George Floyd.’

It comes after UK chief constables joined forces to say they were ‘appalled and horrified’ by the death and called for ‘justice and accountability’, while warning those attending protests to do so while maintaining a safe distance.  

Separately, anti-racism campaign group Stand Up to Racism is urging Britons to ‘take the knee’ on their doorsteps at 6pm tonight for a protest against discrimination which is also backing the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Protesters shout during a Black Lives Matter demonstration at Hyde Park in London this afternoon

Demonstrators observe social distancing as they meet in London's Hyde Park today to protest against George Floyd's death

Demonstrators observe social distancing as they meet in London’s Hyde Park today to protest against George Floyd’s death

Supporters at the protest in London this afternoon wear face coverings and hold up signs with messages including: 'We will remember the silence of our friends' and 'If you're not angry you're not paying attention'

Supporters at the protest in London this afternoon wear face coverings and hold up signs with messages including: ‘We will remember the silence of our friends’ and ‘If you’re not angry you’re not paying attention’

An aerial photograph of Black Lives Matter protesters at Hyde Park in London this afternoon

An aerial photograph of Black Lives Matter protesters at Hyde Park in London this afternoon

John Boyega, pictured with a megaphone, attended the rally

Musician Liam Payne, pictured with girlfriend Maya Henry, attended the rally

Actor John Boyega, pictured left with a megaphone, and musician Liam Payne, pictured right with girlfriend Maya Henry, were among the celebrities to attend today’s rally in London

Star Wars star Boyega tells the crowd in London today: 'Black lives have always mattered. We have always been important'

Star Wars star Boyega tells the crowd in London today: ‘Black lives have always mattered. We have always been important’ 

Boyega said of black people in London today: 'We have always meant something. We have always succeeded regardless'

Boyega during the protest in London today

Boyega said of black people in London today: ‘We have always meant something. We have always succeeded regardless’

The demonstrators are pictured in this aerial view during the Black Lives Matter protest in London this afternoon

The demonstrators are pictured in this aerial view during the Black Lives Matter protest in London this afternoon

Protesters hold up a number of different signs during the event, at Hyde Park in London today, including one which read: 'Use your white privilege, save lives'

Protesters hold up a number of different signs during the event, at Hyde Park in London today, including one which read: ‘Use your white privilege, save lives’

A woman is seen with the phrase 'I can't Breathe', uttered by George Floyd before his death, painted on her face at Hyde Park

A woman is seen with the phrase ‘I can’t Breathe’, uttered by George Floyd before his death, painted on her face at Hyde Park

A protester wearing a face mask 'takes the knee', as many others are expected to this evening, at Hyde Park in London today

A protester wearing a face mask ‘takes the knee’, as many others are expected to this evening, at Hyde Park in London today

Demonstrators hold banners during the Black Lives Matter protest at Hyde Park in London this afternoon

Demonstrators hold banners during the Black Lives Matter protest at Hyde Park in London this afternoon 

Protesters march away from Hyde Park during the Black Lives Matter rally in London this afternoon

Protesters march away from Hyde Park during the Black Lives Matter rally in London this afternoon

A joint statement from UK chief constables said today: ‘We stand alongside all those across the globe who are appalled and horrified by the way George Floyd lost his life.

‘Justice and accountability should follow. We are also appalled to see the violence and damage that has happened in so many US cities since then.

‘We are are appalled and horrified’: Full statement from UK chief constables on George Floyd protests 

‘We stand alongside all those across the globe who are appalled and horrified by the way George Floyd lost his life. Justice and accountability should follow.

‘We are also appalled to see the violence and damage that has happened in so many US cities since then. Our hearts go out to all those affected by these terrible events and hope that peace and order will soon be restored.

‘In the UK we have a long established tradition of policing by consent, working in communities to prevent crime and solve problems. Officers are trained to use force proportionately, lawfully and only when absolutely necessary. We strive to continuously learn and improve. We will tackle bias, racism or discrimination wherever we find it.

‘Policing is complex and challenging and sometimes we fall short. When we do, we are not afraid to shine a light on injustices or to be held to account.

‘The relationship between the police and the public in the UK is strong but there is always more to do. Every day, up and down the country, officers and staff are working to strengthen those relationships and address concerns. Only by working closely with our communities do we build trust and help keep people safe.

‘We know people want to make their voices heard. The right to lawful protest is key part of any democracy, which UK police uphold and facilitate. But coronavirus remains a deadly disease and there are still restrictions in place to prevent its spread, which include not gathering outside in groups of more than six people. So for whatever reason people want to come together, we ask that people continue to work with officers at this challenging time.’ 

‘Our hearts go out to all those affected by these terrible events and hope that peace and order will soon be restored.’

It added that officers in Britain have a ‘long established tradition of policing by consent, working in communities to prevent crime and solve problems’.

The statement added that forces will ‘tackle bias, racism or discrimination wherever we find it’ but acknowledged that ‘sometimes we fall short’.

It added that police would ‘uphold and facilitate’ the right to lawful protest, but warned demonstrators that the coronavirus lockdown is still in place.

They said: ‘Coronavirus remains a deadly disease and there are still restrictions in place to prevent its spread, which include not gathering outside in groups of more than six people.

‘So for whatever reason people want to come together, we ask that people continue to work with officers at this challenging time.’

Today, Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the Commons that he can understand the anger and the grief felt following the death of Mr Floyd.

SNP Westminster Leader Ian Blackford said: ‘In the seven days since George Floyd was murdered, the UK Government has not even offered words, it has not expressed that pain, it has shuttered itself in the hope no-one would notice.’

He added: ‘Can I ask the Prime Minister what representations has he made to his ally Donald Trump? And at the very least Prime Minister, say it now – black lives matter.’

The Prime Minister responded: ‘Of course black lives matter and I totally understand the anger, the grief that is felt, not just in America but around the world and in our country as well.

‘I totally understand that and I get that and I also support, as I’ve said, the right to protest.

‘The only point I would make to the House is that protests should be carried out lawfully and in this country, protests should be carried out in accordance with our rules on social distancing.’

Also today, Stand Up to Racism has organised a ‘take the knee’ protest for 6pm as part of a day of action against discrimination in response to the death of Mr Floyd.

SUTR said the campaign was inspired by the kneeling protest staged by American football star Colin Kaepernick in 2016 that has become synonymous with the Black Lives Matter movement. 

People participate in a Black Lives Matter protest rally at Hyde Park in London this afternoon

People participate in a Black Lives Matter protest rally at Hyde Park in London this afternoon

People participate in a Black Lives Matter protest rally at Hyde Park in London this afternoon

People participate in a Black Lives Matter protest rally at Hyde Park in London this afternoon

A woman wearing a face mask stands up at Hyde Park in London today, holding a sign saying 'Black Lives Matter'

A woman wearing a face mask stands up at Hyde Park in London today, holding a sign saying ‘Black Lives Matter’

A black man and a white woman hold their hands aloft in a show of defiance during today's protest, attended by thousands

A black man and a white woman hold their hands aloft in a show of defiance during today’s protest, attended by thousands

Protesters take part in a demonstration at Hyde Park in London today over the death of black man George Floyd

Protesters take part in a demonstration at Hyde Park in London today over the death of black man George Floyd

Participants in a Black Lives Matter protest rally at Hyde Park in London today in memory of black man George Floyd

Participants in a Black Lives Matter protest rally at Hyde Park in London today in memory of black man George Floyd

Protesters, some wearing face masks, raise clenched fists during the Black Lives Matter protest in London this afternoon

Protesters, some wearing face masks, raise clenched fists during the Black Lives Matter protest in London this afternoon

People take part in a demonstration today at Hyde Park in London today over the death of George Floyd

People take part in a demonstration today at Hyde Park in London today over the death of George Floyd

A woman holding a megaphone raises her arm in the air as dozens of other protesters, many wearing masks, surround her and applaud

A woman holding a megaphone raises her arm in the air as dozens of other protesters, many wearing masks, surround her and applaud

Campaigners wearing face masks hold up placards and raise clenched fists during the well-attended event at Hyde Park

Campaigners wearing face masks hold up placards and raise clenched fists during the well-attended event at Hyde Park

Protesters take part in a demonstration at Hyde Park in London today over the death of black man George Floyd

Protesters take part in a demonstration at Hyde Park in London today over the death of black man George Floyd

CALIFORNIA: Musician Harry Styles, with a face mask, attended a similar rally yesterday across the Atlantic in Los Angeles

CALIFORNIA: Musician Harry Styles, with a face mask, attended a similar rally yesterday across the Atlantic in Los Angeles

A further demonstration by Black Lives Matter is scheduled for 1pm on Saturday in Parliament Square.

Yesterday, hundreds of people gathered outside St George’s Hall in Liverpool as part of a separate Black Lives Matter protest.

Merseyside Police said in a tweet that while it recognised people’s right to demonstrate peacefully they should still adhere to social distancing guidelines.

It comes as a review by Public Health England found black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people are at significantly higher risk of dying from Covid-19. 

Four protesters kneel on the ground and hold hands as they came together to demand action over the death of George Floyd

Four protesters kneel on the ground and hold hands as they came together to demand action over the death of George Floyd

People hold banners at Hyde Park in London during the Black Lives Matter protest today

People hold banners at Hyde Park in London during the Black Lives Matter protest today

Protesters wearing face masks hold up signs during a Black Lives Matter protest at Hyde Park in London today

Protesters wearing face masks hold up signs during a Black Lives Matter protest at Hyde Park in London today

Protesters hold up signs during a Black Lives Matter protest in Hyde Park in London today

Protesters hold up signs during a Black Lives Matter protest in Hyde Park in London today

People wearing face masks hold signs at Hyde Park during today's Black Lives Matter" protest

People wearing face masks hold signs at Hyde Park during today’s Black Lives Matter’ protest

People observe social distancing during the Black Lives Matter rally in London this afternoon

People observe social distancing during the Black Lives Matter rally in London this afternoon

A man holds a banner saying 'white silence is violence' during the protest in London today

A man holds a banner saying ‘white silence is violence’ during the protest in London today

People wearing face masks hold banners in Hyde Park during the protest this afternoon

People wearing face masks hold banners in Hyde Park during the protest this afternoon

The protests in London today come after violent demonstations across the United States

The protests in London today come after violent demonstations across the United States

Campaigners are now calling for a public inquiry into the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on BAME communities.

Weyman Bennett of SUTR said: ‘Racism is the underlying condition that continues to kill black and BAME communities.

‘Take the knee at 6pm because there is a boot on the neck of millions of people in the BAME community.

‘Part of the cure for the virus of racism is to embrace anti-racism and anti-fascism.’ 

Protesters hold up placards as people gather for a demonstration at Hyde Park today over the death of George Floyd

Protesters hold up placards as people gather for a demonstration at Hyde Park today over the death of George Floyd

A protester wearing a face mask holds a sign saying 'I can't breathe' in London this afternoon

A protester wearing a face mask holds a sign saying ‘I can’t breathe’ in London this afternoon

People wearing face masks hold signs in Hyde Park during today's Black Lives Matter protest

People wearing face masks hold signs in Hyde Park during today’s Black Lives Matter protest

A woman wears a face mask saying 'silence is violence' during the protest in London today

A woman wears a face mask saying ‘silence is violence’ during the protest in London today

Four women walk while wearing face masks and holding banners at London's Hyde Park today

Four women walk while wearing face masks and holding banners at London’s Hyde Park today

People participate in a Black Lives Matter protest rally at Hyde Park in London this afternoon

People participate in a Black Lives Matter protest rally at Hyde Park in London this afternoon

People wearing face masks hold banners in Hyde Park during this afternoon's demonstration

People wearing face masks hold banners in Hyde Park during this afternoon’s demonstration

Protesters wearing face masks hold up signs at today's Black Lives Matter protest in London

Protesters wearing face masks hold up signs at today’s Black Lives Matter protest in London

Protesters take part in a demonstration at Hyde Park today over the death of George Floyd in the US

Protesters take part in a demonstration at Hyde Park today over the death of George Floyd in the US

SUTR’s Sabby Dhalu said: ‘BAME communities are suffering disproportionately from Covid-19, economic decline and police brutality.

‘We call on people to ‘take the knee’ on their doorstep in solidarity with George Floyd, at 6pm, Wednesday 3 June. We stand for justice for George Floyd and say Black Lives Matter.’

Large gatherings are still banned under shutdown rules, and yesterday Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon asked protesters to find an alternative to physical demonstrations.

Speaking at her daily briefing in Edinburgh, she said: ‘Right now, it is the case, unfortunately and regrettably, that large gatherings of people could pose a risk to health and indeed to life. 

Protesters wearing face masks gather for the demonstration at Hyde Park this afternoon

Protesters wearing face masks gather for the demonstration at Hyde Park this afternoon

Demonstrators socially distance while gathering for the protest at London's Hyde Park today

Demonstrators socially distance while gathering for the protest at London’s Hyde Park today

People participate in the Black Lives Matter protest rally at Hyde Park in London this afternoon

People participate in the Black Lives Matter protest rally at Hyde Park in London this afternoon

A woman wearing a face mask holds a banner in Hyde Park during the protest this afternoon

A woman wearing a face mask holds a banner in Hyde Park during the protest this afternoon

People wearing face masks hold signs at Hyde Park during today's Black Lives Matter protest

People wearing face masks hold signs at Hyde Park during today’s Black Lives Matter protest

People sit at Hyde Park and hold banners at the Black Lives Matter protest in London today

People sit at Hyde Park and hold banners at the Black Lives Matter protest in London today

People hold banners in Hyde Park during the Black Lives Matter protest in London today

People hold banners in Hyde Park during the Black Lives Matter protest in London today

People hold banners in Hyde Park in London today during a Black Lives Matter protest following the death of George Floyd

People hold banners in Hyde Park in London today during a Black Lives Matter protest following the death of George Floyd

People participate in a Black Lives Matter protest rally in Hyde Park in London this afternoon

People participate in a Black Lives Matter protest rally in Hyde Park in London this afternoon

Activists wear face masks as they hold up signs during today's demonstration at Hyde Park

Activists wear face masks as they hold up signs during today’s demonstration at Hyde Park 

‘We need to find ways of allowing people to make their voices heard and to make the points that many of us want to be made and to be heard right now, but to do so in a way that is safe and is not putting people protesting or wider communities at risk.’

The Met Police said its approach was to engage with protesters and encourage them to follow social distancing rules.

Last Sunday, thousands of people took part in Black Lives Matter protests in London’s Trafalgar Square and outside the US embassy, while demonstrations were also staged in Cardiff and Manchester.

Thousands of people in Dublin protested outside the US embassy on Monday. There were 23 arrests in London on Sunday, at least three of which were for breach of Covid-19 legislation. 

Two people hold up banners during the demonstration at Hyde Park in London this afternoon

Two people hold up banners during the demonstration at Hyde Park in London this afternoon

Protesters wearing face masks hold up signs at today's Black Lives Matter protest in Hyde Park

Protesters wearing face masks hold up signs at today’s Black Lives Matter protest in Hyde Park

Protesters wear face masks and observe social distancing during the protest in London today

Protesters wear face masks and observe social distancing during the protest in London today

People wearing face masks as they sit at Hyde Park during today's Black Lives Matter protest

People wearing face masks as they sit at Hyde Park during today’s Black Lives Matter protest

A woman hands out a Socialist Worker poster with the phrase 'Black Lives Matter' today

A woman hands out a Socialist Worker poster with the phrase ‘Black Lives Matter’ today

A woman wearing a face mask with the message 'I Can't Breathe' is seen in Hyde Park today

A woman wearing a face mask with the message ‘I Can’t Breathe’ is seen in Hyde Park today

A protester wears a mask displaying the words "I can't breathe" at today's protest in London

A protester wears a mask displaying the words ‘I can’t breathe’ at today’s protest in London

A protester holds a sign and face mask during the Black Lives Matter protest in London today

A protester holds a sign and face mask during the Black Lives Matter protest in London today

One person holds up a sign saying 'Isolate for 2 weeks after protest' in London this afternoon

One person holds up a sign saying ‘Isolate for 2 weeks after protest’ in London this afternoon

George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died last week

White police officer Derek Chauvin put his knee on Mr Floyd's neck in Minneapolis on May 25 for nine minutes

George Floyd (left), a 46-year-old black man, died last week after white police officer Derek Chauvin (right) put his knee on his neck in Minneapolis on May 25 for nine minutes

US President Donald Trump has declared that ‘the National Guard is ready’ as he repeated his threat to send troops to New York City to ‘put down’ the Floyd protests – but the violence in the city was less severe last night.

Thousands ignored mayor Bill de Blasio’s 8pm curfew to continue their demonstrations, but police arrested more than 200 people as night fell and some of the rampant destruction of the previous few days was quelled.

The calmer scenes were echoed across much of America where protesters once again turned out in force but the confrontations with police were subdued and widespread rioting was limited.

It followed a day of anger from President Trump’s critics over the way he threatened to deploy the military to quell riots across the US and cleared protesters in Washington DC so he could visit damaged St John’s Episcopal Church.

Thousands of Black Lives Matter protestors head for London’s Hyde Park


Thousands of Black Lives Matter protesters including singer Liam Payne and actor John Boyega gathered in London today as a show of force against the death of George Floyd in the US.

Huge crowds gathered in Hyde Park this afternoon despite ongoing social distancing rules as many campaigners wore face coverings and held signs with messages such as ‘Please, I can’t breathe’, ‘BLM’ and ‘Colour ≠ Crime’.

The rally comes as global demonstrations gather pace following the death of 46-year-old black man Mr Floyd who died after white police officer Derek Chauvin put his knee on his neck for nine minutes in Minneapolis on May 25. 

Today, Star Wars star Boyega told the crowd: ‘Black lives have always mattered. We have always been important. We have always meant something. We have always succeeded regardless. And now is the time. I ain’t waiting.’

Police were generally keeping in the background of the protest while their helicopters circled above. Banners included ‘Enough is Enough’, ‘Remember Smiley Culture’, ‘Remember Cherry Groce’, and ‘UK is not innocent’.

One protester wore a Colin Kaepernick shirt after the black American footballer who started the knee protest in the US. Thousands of demonstrators at times went down on one knee chanting ‘George Floyd, George Floyd.’

It comes after UK chief constables joined forces to say they were ‘appalled and horrified’ by the death and called for ‘justice and accountability’, while warning those attending protests to do so while maintaining a safe distance.  

Separately, anti-racism campaign group Stand Up to Racism is urging Britons to ‘take the knee’ on their doorsteps at 6pm tonight for a protest against discrimination which is also backing the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Demonstrators observe social distancing as they meet in London’s Hyde Park today to protest against George Floyd’s death

Supporters at the protest in London this afternoon wear face coverings and hold up signs with messages including: 'We will remember the silence of our friends' and 'If you're not angry you're not paying attention'

Supporters at the protest in London this afternoon wear face coverings and hold up signs with messages including: ‘We will remember the silence of our friends’ and ‘If you’re not angry you’re not paying attention’

An aerial photograph of Black Lives Matter protesters at Hyde Park in London this afternoon

An aerial photograph of Black Lives Matter protesters at Hyde Park in London this afternoon

John Boyega, pictured with a megaphone, attended the rally

Musician Liam Payne, pictured with girlfriend Maya Henry, attended the rally

Actor John Boyega, pictured left with a megaphone, and musician Liam Payne, pictured right with girlfriend Maya Henry, were among the celebrities to attend today’s rally in London

Star Wars star Boyega tells the crowd in London today: 'Black lives have always mattered. We have always been important'

Star Wars star Boyega tells the crowd in London today: ‘Black lives have always mattered. We have always been important’ 

Boyega said of black people in London today: 'We have always meant something. We have always succeeded regardless'

Boyega during the protest in London today

Boyega said of black people in London today: ‘We have always meant something. We have always succeeded regardless’

Protesters hold up a number of different signs during the event, at Hyde Park in London today, including one which read: 'Use your white privilege, save lives'

Protesters hold up a number of different signs during the event, at Hyde Park in London today, including one which read: ‘Use your white privilege, save lives’

A woman is seen with the phrase 'I can't Breathe', uttered by George Floyd before his death, painted on her face at Hyde Park

A woman is seen with the phrase ‘I can’t Breathe’, uttered by George Floyd before his death, painted on her face at Hyde Park

A black man and a white woman hold their hands aloft in a show of defiance during today's protest, attended by thousands

A black man and a white woman hold their hands aloft in a show of defiance during today’s protest, attended by thousands

A protester wearing a face mask 'takes the knee', as many others are expected to this evening, at Hyde Park in London today

A protester wearing a face mask ‘takes the knee’, as many others are expected to this evening, at Hyde Park in London today

Demonstrators hold banners during the Black Lives Matter protest at Hyde Park in London this afternoon

Demonstrators hold banners during the Black Lives Matter protest at Hyde Park in London this afternoon 

A joint statement from UK chief constables said today: ‘We stand alongside all those across the globe who are appalled and horrified by the way George Floyd lost his life.

‘Justice and accountability should follow. We are also appalled to see the violence and damage that has happened in so many US cities since then.

‘We are are appalled and horrified’: Full statement from UK chief constables on George Floyd protests 

‘We stand alongside all those across the globe who are appalled and horrified by the way George Floyd lost his life. Justice and accountability should follow.

‘We are also appalled to see the violence and damage that has happened in so many US cities since then. Our hearts go out to all those affected by these terrible events and hope that peace and order will soon be restored.

‘In the UK we have a long established tradition of policing by consent, working in communities to prevent crime and solve problems. Officers are trained to use force proportionately, lawfully and only when absolutely necessary. We strive to continuously learn and improve. We will tackle bias, racism or discrimination wherever we find it.

‘Policing is complex and challenging and sometimes we fall short. When we do, we are not afraid to shine a light on injustices or to be held to account.

‘The relationship between the police and the public in the UK is strong but there is always more to do. Every day, up and down the country, officers and staff are working to strengthen those relationships and address concerns. Only by working closely with our communities do we build trust and help keep people safe.

‘We know people want to make their voices heard. The right to lawful protest is key part of any democracy, which UK police uphold and facilitate. But coronavirus remains a deadly disease and there are still restrictions in place to prevent its spread, which include not gathering outside in groups of more than six people. So for whatever reason people want to come together, we ask that people continue to work with officers at this challenging time.’ 

‘Our hearts go out to all those affected by these terrible events and hope that peace and order will soon be restored.’

It added that officers in Britain have a ‘long established tradition of policing by consent, working in communities to prevent crime and solve problems’.

The statement added that forces will ‘tackle bias, racism or discrimination wherever we find it’ but acknowledged that ‘sometimes we fall short’.

It added that police would ‘uphold and facilitate’ the right to lawful protest, but warned demonstrators that the coronavirus lockdown is still in place.

They said: ‘Coronavirus remains a deadly disease and there are still restrictions in place to prevent its spread, which include not gathering outside in groups of more than six people.

‘So for whatever reason people want to come together, we ask that people continue to work with officers at this challenging time.’

Today, Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the Commons that he can understand the anger and the grief felt following the death of Mr Floyd.

SNP Westminster Leader Ian Blackford said: ‘In the seven days since George Floyd was murdered, the UK Government has not even offered words, it has not expressed that pain, it has shuttered itself in the hope no-one would notice.’

He added: ‘Can I ask the Prime Minister what representations has he made to his ally Donald Trump? And at the very least Prime Minister, say it now – black lives matter.’

The Prime Minister responded: ‘Of course black lives matter and I totally understand the anger, the grief that is felt, not just in America but around the world and in our country as well.

‘I totally understand that and I get that and I also support, as I’ve said, the right to protest.

‘The only point I would make to the House is that protests should be carried out lawfully and in this country, protests should be carried out in accordance with our rules on social distancing.’

Also today, Stand Up to Racism has organised a ‘take the knee’ protest for 6pm as part of a day of action against discrimination in response to the death of Mr Floyd.

SUTR said the campaign was inspired by the kneeling protest staged by American football star Colin Kaepernick in 2016 that has become synonymous with the Black Lives Matter movement. 

People participate in a Black Lives Matter protest rally at Hyde Park in London this afternoon

People participate in a Black Lives Matter protest rally at Hyde Park in London this afternoon

A woman wearing a face mask stands up at Hyde Park in London today, holding a sign saying 'Black Lives Matter'

A woman wearing a face mask stands up at Hyde Park in London today, holding a sign saying ‘Black Lives Matter’

Protesters take part in a demonstration at Hyde Park in London today over the death of black man George Floyd

Protesters take part in a demonstration at Hyde Park in London today over the death of black man George Floyd

Participants in a Black Lives Matter protest rally at Hyde Park in London today in memory of black man George Floyd

Participants in a Black Lives Matter protest rally at Hyde Park in London today in memory of black man George Floyd

Protesters, some wearing face masks, raise clenched fists during the Black Lives Matter protest in London this afternoon

Protesters, some wearing face masks, raise clenched fists during the Black Lives Matter protest in London this afternoon

People take part in a demonstration today at Hyde Park in London today over the death of George Floyd

People take part in a demonstration today at Hyde Park in London today over the death of George Floyd

A woman holding a megaphone raises her arm in the air as dozens of other protesters, many wearing masks, surround her and applaud

A woman holding a megaphone raises her arm in the air as dozens of other protesters, many wearing masks, surround her and applaud

Campaigners wearing face masks hold up placards and raise clenched fists during the well-attended event at Hyde Park

Campaigners wearing face masks hold up placards and raise clenched fists during the well-attended event at Hyde Park

Protesters take part in a demonstration at Hyde Park in London today over the death of black man George Floyd

Protesters take part in a demonstration at Hyde Park in London today over the death of black man George Floyd

CALIFORNIA: Musician Harry Styles, with a face mask, attended a similar rally yesterday across the Atlantic in Los Angeles

CALIFORNIA: Musician Harry Styles, with a face mask, attended a similar rally yesterday across the Atlantic in Los Angeles

A further demonstration by Black Lives Matter is scheduled for 1pm on Saturday in Parliament Square.

Yesterday, hundreds of people gathered outside St George’s Hall in Liverpool as part of a separate Black Lives Matter protest.

Merseyside Police said in a tweet that while it recognised people’s right to demonstrate peacefully they should still adhere to social distancing guidelines.

It comes as a review by Public Health England found black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people are at significantly higher risk of dying from Covid-19. 

Four protesters kneel on the ground and hold hands as they came together to demand action over the death of George Floyd

Four protesters kneel on the ground and hold hands as they came together to demand action over the death of George Floyd

People hold banners at Hyde Park in London during the Black Lives Matter protest today

People hold banners at Hyde Park in London during the Black Lives Matter protest today

Protesters wearing face masks hold up signs during a Black Lives Matter protest at Hyde Park in London today

Protesters wearing face masks hold up signs during a Black Lives Matter protest at Hyde Park in London today

Protesters hold up signs during a Black Lives Matter protest in Hyde Park in London today

Protesters hold up signs during a Black Lives Matter protest in Hyde Park in London today

People wearing face masks hold signs at Hyde Park during today's Black Lives Matter" protest

People wearing face masks hold signs at Hyde Park during today’s Black Lives Matter’ protest

People observe social distancing during the Black Lives Matter rally in London this afternoon

People observe social distancing during the Black Lives Matter rally in London this afternoon

A man holds a banner saying 'white silence is violence' during the protest in London today

A man holds a banner saying ‘white silence is violence’ during the protest in London today

People wearing face masks hold banners in Hyde Park during the protest this afternoon

People wearing face masks hold banners in Hyde Park during the protest this afternoon

The protests in London today come after violent demonstations across the United States

The protests in London today come after violent demonstations across the United States

Campaigners are now calling for a public inquiry into the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on BAME communities.

Weyman Bennett of SUTR said: ‘Racism is the underlying condition that continues to kill black and BAME communities.

‘Take the knee at 6pm because there is a boot on the neck of millions of people in the BAME community.

‘Part of the cure for the virus of racism is to embrace anti-racism and anti-fascism.’ 

Protesters hold up placards as people gather for a demonstration at Hyde Park today over the death of George Floyd

Protesters hold up placards as people gather for a demonstration at Hyde Park today over the death of George Floyd

A protester wearing a face mask holds a sign saying 'I can't breathe' in London this afternoon

A protester wearing a face mask holds a sign saying ‘I can’t breathe’ in London this afternoon

People wearing face masks hold signs in Hyde Park during today's Black Lives Matter protest

People wearing face masks hold signs in Hyde Park during today’s Black Lives Matter protest

A woman wears a face mask saying 'silence is violence' during the protest in London today

A woman wears a face mask saying ‘silence is violence’ during the protest in London today

Four women walk while wearing face masks and holding banners at London's Hyde Park today

Four women walk while wearing face masks and holding banners at London’s Hyde Park today

People participate in a Black Lives Matter protest rally at Hyde Park in London this afternoon

People participate in a Black Lives Matter protest rally at Hyde Park in London this afternoon

People wearing face masks hold banners in Hyde Park during this afternoon's demonstration

People wearing face masks hold banners in Hyde Park during this afternoon’s demonstration

Protesters wearing face masks hold up signs at today's Black Lives Matter protest in London

Protesters wearing face masks hold up signs at today’s Black Lives Matter protest in London

Protesters take part in a demonstration at Hyde Park today over the death of George Floyd in the US

Protesters take part in a demonstration at Hyde Park today over the death of George Floyd in the US

SUTR’s Sabby Dhalu said: ‘BAME communities are suffering disproportionately from Covid-19, economic decline and police brutality.

‘We call on people to ‘take the knee’ on their doorstep in solidarity with George Floyd, at 6pm, Wednesday 3 June. We stand for justice for George Floyd and say Black Lives Matter.’

Large gatherings are still banned under shutdown rules, and yesterday Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon asked protesters to find an alternative to physical demonstrations.

Speaking at her daily briefing in Edinburgh, she said: ‘Right now, it is the case, unfortunately and regrettably, that large gatherings of people could pose a risk to health and indeed to life. 

Protesters wearing face masks gather for the demonstration at Hyde Park this afternoon

Protesters wearing face masks gather for the demonstration at Hyde Park this afternoon

Demonstrators socially distance while gathering for the protest at London's Hyde Park today

Demonstrators socially distance while gathering for the protest at London’s Hyde Park today

People participate in the Black Lives Matter protest rally at Hyde Park in London this afternoon

People participate in the Black Lives Matter protest rally at Hyde Park in London this afternoon

A woman wearing a face mask holds a banner in Hyde Park during the protest this afternoon

A woman wearing a face mask holds a banner in Hyde Park during the protest this afternoon

People wearing face masks hold signs at Hyde Park during today's Black Lives Matter protest

People wearing face masks hold signs at Hyde Park during today’s Black Lives Matter protest

People sit at Hyde Park and hold banners at the Black Lives Matter protest in London today

People sit at Hyde Park and hold banners at the Black Lives Matter protest in London today

People hold banners in Hyde Park during the Black Lives Matter protest in London today

People hold banners in Hyde Park during the Black Lives Matter protest in London today

People hold banners in Hyde Park in London today during a Black Lives Matter protest following the death of George Floyd

People hold banners in Hyde Park in London today during a Black Lives Matter protest following the death of George Floyd

People participate in a Black Lives Matter protest rally in Hyde Park in London this afternoon

People participate in a Black Lives Matter protest rally in Hyde Park in London this afternoon

Activists wear face masks as they hold up signs during today's demonstration at Hyde Park

Activists wear face masks as they hold up signs during today’s demonstration at Hyde Park 

‘We need to find ways of allowing people to make their voices heard and to make the points that many of us want to be made and to be heard right now, but to do so in a way that is safe and is not putting people protesting or wider communities at risk.’

The Met Police said its approach was to engage with protesters and encourage them to follow social distancing rules.

Last Sunday, thousands of people took part in Black Lives Matter protests in London’s Trafalgar Square and outside the US embassy, while demonstrations were also staged in Cardiff and Manchester.

Thousands of people in Dublin protested outside the US embassy on Monday. There were 23 arrests in London on Sunday, at least three of which were for breach of Covid-19 legislation. 

Two people hold up banners during the demonstration at Hyde Park in London this afternoon

Two people hold up banners during the demonstration at Hyde Park in London this afternoon

Protesters wearing face masks hold up signs at today's Black Lives Matter protest in Hyde Park

Protesters wearing face masks hold up signs at today’s Black Lives Matter protest in Hyde Park

Protesters wear face masks and observe social distancing during the protest in London today

Protesters wear face masks and observe social distancing during the protest in London today

People wearing face masks as they sit at Hyde Park during today's Black Lives Matter protest

People wearing face masks as they sit at Hyde Park during today’s Black Lives Matter protest

A woman hands out a Socialist Worker poster with the phrase 'Black Lives Matter' today

A woman hands out a Socialist Worker poster with the phrase ‘Black Lives Matter’ today

A woman wearing a face mask with the message 'I Can't Breathe' is seen in Hyde Park today

A woman wearing a face mask with the message ‘I Can’t Breathe’ is seen in Hyde Park today

A protester wears a mask displaying the words "I can't breathe" at today's protest in London

A protester wears a mask displaying the words ‘I can’t breathe’ at today’s protest in London

A protester holds a sign and face mask during the Black Lives Matter protest in London today

A protester holds a sign and face mask during the Black Lives Matter protest in London today

One person holds up a sign saying 'Isolate for 2 weeks after protest' in London this afternoon

One person holds up a sign saying ‘Isolate for 2 weeks after protest’ in London this afternoon

George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died last week

White police officer Derek Chauvin put his knee on Mr Floyd's neck in Minneapolis on May 25 for nine minutes

George Floyd (left), a 46-year-old black man, died last week after white police officer Derek Chauvin (right) put his knee on his neck in Minneapolis on May 25 for nine minutes

US President Donald Trump has declared that ‘the National Guard is ready’ as he repeated his threat to send troops to New York City to ‘put down’ the Floyd protests – but the violence in the city was less severe last night.

Thousands ignored mayor Bill de Blasio’s 8pm curfew to continue their demonstrations, but police arrested more than 200 people as night fell and some of the rampant destruction of the previous few days was quelled.

The calmer scenes were echoed across much of America where protesters once again turned out in force but the confrontations with police were subdued and widespread rioting was limited.

It followed a day of anger from President Trump’s critics over the way he threatened to deploy the military to quell riots across the US and cleared protesters in Washington DC so he could visit damaged St John’s Episcopal Church.

‘Daddy changed the world’: George Floyd’s six-year-old daughter Gianna says she misses him


George Floyd’s six-year-old daughter Gianna has been told her ‘daddy changed the world’ but still does not know he was killed by cops. 

The six-year-old and her mother Roxie Washington appeared on Good Morning America on Wednesday morning where Gianna, bright-eyed and smiling, said she misses playing with her father. 

She said she wants to grow up to become a doctor and wants to ‘take care of people.’ 

‘I miss him… he played with me,’ Gianna said. 

Roxie, who took part in a press conference with her daughter on Tuesday night, said George ‘loved’ his daughter, one of his two children. 

Scroll down for video 

Gianan Floyd, six, appears on Good Morning America on Wednesday. She said she misses playing with her father who died last Monday after having his neck knelt on by a cop for eight minutes 

She also said she has only seen some parts of the infamous video of Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds, and that she wishes she’d been there to help him.  

‘I couldn’t believe somebody was doing him like that I wish somebody would have been there to help him,’ she said. 

George Floyd was killed on Monday by a cop who knelt on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds

George Floyd was killed on Monday by a cop who knelt on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds 

Roxie also revealed Gianna does not know the full story behind her father’s death. 

‘I told her her dad died because he couldn’t breathe,’ she said. 

In another video which emerged on social media on Tuesday, Gianna is seen on her uncle’s shoulders watching peaceful protests in Minneapolis and saying: ‘Daddy changed the world!’ 

The family turned out to join peaceful protests in Minneapolis on Tuesday as others took place around the country in Floyd’s name. 

They urged people to protest peacefully against police brutality and rebuked violent looters and rioters giving the cause a bad name. 

Unrest has unfolded across America since Floyd’s death last Monday.  

There are mounting calls for the three other officers who witnessed his death but did nothing to prevent it to face murder charges. 

Chauvin has been charged with murder and manslaughter. 

At a press conference on Tuesday night, Roxie said: ‘I don’t have a lot to say, I can’t get the words together right now. 

‘I want everyone to know that this is what those officers took from me,’ she said, referencing the small girl standing next to her.

‘At the end of the day, they get to go home and be with their families. Gianna does not have a father. 

‘He will never see her grow up, graduate, he will never walk her down the aisle. If there’s a problem and she needs her dad, she does not have that anymore.

George Floyd's six-year-old daughter Gianna and her mother Roxie Washington shared their anguish over his brutal and sudden death at a press conference on Tuesday in Minneapolis

George Floyd’s six-year-old daughter Gianna and her mother Roxie Washington shared their anguish over his brutal and sudden death at a press conference on Tuesday in Minneapolis

George Floyd's brother Terrence called for an end to the violence as he delivered emotional speech on the spot where his sibling was 'murdered' by white cop Derek Chauvin a week ago. Terrence is pictured at the scene, center

George Floyd’s brother Terrence called for an end to the violence as he delivered emotional speech on the spot where his sibling was ‘murdered’ by white cop Derek Chauvin a week ago. Terrence is pictured at the scene, center

Terrence broke down at the spot where his brother was taken into custody, telling the crowds: 'I understand you are all are upset. But I doubt you are half as upset as I am'

Terrence broke down at the spot where his brother was taken into custody, telling the crowds: ‘I understand you are all are upset. But I doubt you are half as upset as I am’

It is unclear when Floyd and Washington parted ways but he moved from Houston, where she still lives with Gianna, to Minneapolis in 2018 to find work as a truck driver. He has one other daughter from a different relationship but that neither that child nor her mother has been identified

It is unclear when Floyd and Washington parted ways but he moved from Houston, where she still lives with Gianna, to Minneapolis in 2018 to find work as a truck driver. He has one other daughter from a different relationship but that neither that child nor her mother has been identified 

‘I’m here for my baby and I’m here for George because I want justice for him.

‘He was good, no matter what anybody thinks, he was good. This is the proof.’

Washington recalled how excited Floyd was when his daughter was born, saying: ‘He was so happy to have her.’

‘He slept the whole time I was in labor, but when he heard her cry, he woke up,’ she said.

‘I still have a picture of him waking up and getting his baby. He loved her. He loved her so much.’

As Washington and Gianna stepped back from the microphone, Floyd’s longtime friend Stephen Jackson approached and placed his hands on the podium.

The former NBA player stared at the floor for several seconds in silence before saying: ‘It really don’t make no sense. We all seen it plain as day.

He then motioned toward the media and said: ‘Y’all in here with cameras to record what’s in here so you can have it for later. So you can have proof of what happened today. Right?

‘When you post that footage on your news station, you expect people to believe what you’re posting and what you videoed is real, right?

‘Why is it not that simple when someone is getting videoed and getting murdered? Why is it not that simple?’