Live updates: Metro Centre owner Intu has collapsed into administration after revenue drops due to coronavirus lockdown

It’s Friday, June 26, and here are all the updates we brought you during today on the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

Friday, 26th June 2020, 3:31 pm

The company Intu Properties, which runs 17 shopping centres across the UK including the Metro Centre and Eldon Square, has confirmed that it will enter administration.

The company has confirmed that shopping centres will continue to trade throughout the administration process.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has warned the Government will take action if social distancing measures are ignored as thousands flocked to the coast on Thursday, the hottest day of the year.

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The Metro Centre, Gateshead.

In total, 1,417 people who had tested positive for coronavirus have died across the North East’s hospital trusts according to data released by NHS England on Thursday, June 25 - a rise of two since yesterday.

According to the latest figures released by Public Health England on Thursday, June 25, there are 10,539 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the North East - a rise of five.

Scroll down and refresh the page for the latest updates as they happened throughout the day.

Live North East updates on coronavirus on Friday, June 26

Last updated: Friday, 26 June, 2020, 13:50

  • Health Secretary Matt Hancock has warned the Government will take action if social distancing measures are ignored as thousands flocked to the south coast on the hottest day of the year.
  • Metro Centre owner Intu Properties has said talks with lenders have failed to reach agreement and warned that it is on the verge of calling in administrators.

7.00am: Good morning

Welcome to our live coronavirus blog on Friday, June 26. We will be bringing you updates from across the North East and UK throughout the day. 

7.10am: Health Secretary threatens to close beaches if social distancing measures are ignored

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has warned the Government will take action if social distancing measures are ignored as thousands flocked to the coast on the hottest day of the year.

Mr Hancock told TalkRadio on Thursday the Government had the power to close public areas such as beaches if people flout safety restrictions.

It comes as Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole council declared a major incident after services were "completely overstretched" as huge numbers of visitors crowded onto the beaches during the day.

Chief medical officer for England Professor Chris Whitty later urged people to follow social distancing rules in the hot weather or risk causing a spike in coronavirus.

7.20am: Tesco sales soar during coronavirus lockdown

Tesco sales have surged over the past three months after rapidly expanding its online business amid increased demand for grocery deliveries in the face of coronavirus.

The supermarket group said sales jumped by 8% to £13.4 billion in the three months to May.

It said this was particularly driven by a 48.5% jump in UK online sales for the quarter, with online sales soaring by more than 90% in the month of May.

7.50am: Intu on the verge of administration

Metro Centre owner Intu Properties has said talks with lenders have failed to reach agreement and warned that it is on the verge of calling in administrators.

In a statement, the group, which has until midnight on Friday to reach a deal, said "insufficient alignment and agreement has been achieved", adding: "The board is therefore considering the position of Intu with a view to protecting the interests of its stakeholders.

"This is likely to involve the appointment of administrators. A further announcement will be made as soon as possible."

The group, which also owns the Trafford Centre in Manchester, confirmed earlier this week that it had put KPMG on stand-by to act as administrators.

It is hoping to arrange a so-called standstill agreement with lenders and warned that if it cannot reach a deal "there is a risk that centres may have to close for a period".

The collapse of the heavily-indebted group, which has suffered a plunge in revenues due to the lockdown, would place thousands of jobs at risk.

8.40am: Environment secretary urges people to follow social distancing measures as lockdown eases

Environment Secretary George Eustice said there was a "quid pro quo" that any new easing of the lockdown comes with a responsibility to respect any social distancing and other virus mitigation measures.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Eustice said: "We do need people to work with us on this.

"The quid pro quo, if you like, for further easements, for further steps, to open pubs and restaurants, people have to observe those social distancing guidelines that go with it."

10.13am: TUI cancels all Florida holidays from UK

Tui has cancelled all holidays to Florida for its customers in the UK and Ireland up to the end of November "due to the ongoing uncertainty around international travel restrictions and the unprecedented impact of Covid-19".

The firm said in a statement: "The decision has been made following new health and safety measures implemented at Walt Disney World to ensure the safety of its guests.

"These changes would significantly impact the holiday experience for many Tui customers who plan their magical and often once in a lifetime Florida holiday."

10.15am: Public transport to be ramped up in England next month

Public transport services in England will be ramped up in early July, the Department for Transport has announced.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: "As more businesses across the country prepare to reopen, we are increasing rail and bus services to boost capacity and meet additional demand for travel, helping people to travel safely.

"Our guidance remains that people should avoid public transport if possible and to walk or cycle instead."

10.35am: Four in 10 feel some parts of life have changed for the better since lockdown

More than four in 10 adults in Britain feel some parts of their lives have changed for the better since the coronavirus outbreak, official figures suggest.

Of the 43% who reported positive lifestyle changes, more than half (56%) said they were able to spend more quality time with loved ones they live with, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Exactly half said they were enjoying a slower pace of life, while 47% said they were spending less time travelling.

The outbreak has also prompted 28% of adults to plan "big changes" in their lives once the nation has fully recovered.

The ONS analysed responses from 1,920 adults questioned between June 18 and 21 as part of its Opinions and Lifestyle Survey on the impact of Covid-19.

10.44am: Government must deliver 'comprehensive plan' for theatres, union says

The Government has been urged to deliver a "comprehensive plan" for theatre, with the industry "crying out for certainty".

Culture secretary Oliver Dowden set out a five-stage plan for the reopening of theatres - where live performances are currently banned.

But entertainment and media union Bectu said that this was not enough.

Its head Philippa Childs said: "This 'roadmap' provides no dates, no clarity, no support and no certainty. It provides none of the things the industry is crying out for.

"It demonstrates, once again, how little understanding there is in Government of what is happening in the industry right now and what is needed to help.

"Theatre workers are being made redundant now and theatres are going into administration now. We need a comprehensive plan and this announcement fails to address the key and pressing issues.

"A roadmap is fine - as long as you have enough fuel in the tank to get there. Many theatres don't, and this much-awaited announcement falls woefully short of what is needed."

10.50am: Washington community hub Mickey's place feeds over 150 people a day as it opens pay-as-you-feel cafe to support families during lockdown

A new pay-as-you-feel ‘cafe’ has been feeding around 160 vulnerable people every day as it supports the community through the coronavirus crisis.

Mickey’s Place, based at St Michael's Church in Sulgrave, opened at the beginning of May after seeing how many people were struggling during the coronavirus lockdown.

Since then, a group of volunteers have been feeding more than 150 people a day and offering support to people struggling in the community.

Running as a takeaway food service, the volunteers have been helping residents who needed more than just a food package, providing them with hot meals, advice and support.

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