Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham continues to hold out against Government demands to move the area into tier 3, the "very high" category, which has severe consequences for jobs, especially in the hospitality sector. The PM urged him to "engage constructively". He said the situation was worsening every day and "time is of the essence". Mr Burnham, who wants more financial aid for workers affected, said regional leaders will meet No 10 at "any time". Coronavirus infections are continuing to rise rapidly, with an estimated 27,900 new cases a day in England, the Office for National Statistics said. This figure is far higher than the number of confirmed cases announced by the government each day. The R number has risen slightly to 1.3-1.5, with growth of the epidemic still widespread across the country. Pubs, restaurants and cafes across NI closed their doors to sit-in customers at 1800 today under stricter Covid-19 restrictions. Hair and beauty salons also had to shut and gyms face additional measures for the next four weeks too. London is to go into Tier 2 coronavirus restrictions from midnight today, barring the capital’s 9 million residents from meeting other households in their homes or other indoor spaces. A ban on people travelling to Wales from coronavirus hot-spots elsewhere in the UK has come into effect. First Minister Mark Drakeford announced the rules on Wednesday after twice asking Boris Johnson to stop people from English hot-spots from travelling. Lancashire has agreed to move into tier three - the top level of England Covid restrictions - from tomorrow. The "very high" alert level measures include pub closures and bans on household mixing indoors, in private gardens and most outdoor venues. This is all more catastrophic news and I really cannot believe, that Orwellian-like, we continue to pursue economic ruin in the face of the evidence that lock-downs do not work. In far better news, the PM sent a letter to colleagues - on my website - saying, in effect, that negotiations with the EU are pointless and to prepare for an Australia-style arrangement from 1 January 2021. The EU's belligerence is to blame for this. Barnier, their chief negotiator, was instructed not to strike a deal as we had to be punished for daring to what our country back. The whole thing is absurd and the sooner we leave, the better, frankly. After an informative and helpful virtual meeting with Dorset Councils officials and fellow Dorset MPs, I headed to Winfrith to meet Lucy Grieve, who is leading the campaign against the proposed incinerator on Portland. She has always been courteous and well informed and it was a pleasure to sit down and listen to her concerns, which I share. The proposal is out to public consultation now and I recommend that everyone - whether for or against - takes part. After an interesting hour, I hopped back on to my motorbike and headed to Dorchester for a private catch-up with the outstanding CEO of DCH, Patricia Miller, and chairman Mark Addison. We had a good hour together, covering a number of topics, not least the virus. Then, back to the office, where I worked through to the evening. Sadly, a teacher was beheaded in a north-western suburb of Paris, with the attacker shot dead by police. The victim is said to have shown controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad to his students. Finally, and not surprisingly, credit ratings agency Moody’s has downgraded Britain’s credit status, citing a decline in economic strength in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and continued Brexit uncertainty. No surprises there!