Covid news live: Lates updates as MPs to vote on Boris Johnson’s tier plan

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Boris Johnson is expected to face a damaging Tory rebellion today when MPs vote on a new toughened system of tiered coronavirus restrictions for England as the end of the second national lockdown nears.

Scores of Conservative MPs have expressed concerns about the extent of the restrictions, which will affect 99 per cent of the country and put some constituencies under tighter controls than before the lockdown.

However, the government is expected to win the vote after Labour said it would abstain.

Sir Keir Starmer said his party had “serious misgivings” about the plans but added that it would not be in the national interest to vote them down as restrictions were still necessary.

It came as Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove insisted that people would not be turned away from pubs or entertainment venues if they refused to get vaccinated for Covid-19.


Better data on testing and contract tracing needed, PHE official says

The London regional director for Public Health England has said there needs to be better data on testing and contract tracing for coronavirus.

Professor Kevin Fenton told the Health and Social Care Committee: “I think a lot of good work has taken place so far, but I think as you move into the second wave and perhaps subsequent waves, we do need to have the granularity of the data both for testing and contact tracing.”

Mr Fenton, who authored a report on Covid-19 deaths within the black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) population, added: “The good news is, certainly in London, we are not seeing the significant ethnic racial difference that we saw in the first wave of the pandemic, but I know this pattern varies across the country.

“And that really is an area we need to continue to make sure we have better data.”

Conrad Duncan1 December 2020 10:57


If you’re desperate to know more about the great “substantial meal” debate, our reporter, Vincent Wood, has the full story below:

Conrad Duncan1 December 2020 10:48


Pfizer request emergency use for Covid vaccine from European regulator

Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech have asked the European regulator to allow the emergency use of their coronavirus vaccine.

If a positive verdict is given as expected, supplies of the vaccine could be administered in Europe over the Christmas period.

Our reporter, Samuel Lovett, has more on the story below:

Conrad Duncan1 December 2020 10:42


People in supported living still not getting regular Covid tests, disability charity says

People in supported living are still not getting regular testing for coronavirus, according to the chief executive of the disability charity Dimensions UK.

Steve Scown told the Health and Social Care Committee: “We decided we’re going to buy our own tests to enable Christmas visits [for families] because that’s the only way we’re going to get them.”

He added that there had been a “consistent lag” through the pandemic between guidance for large registered care homes with elderly residents and guidance relating to supported living facilities.

Mr Scown said this lag had put many providers “in a very difficult position”.

Conrad Duncan1 December 2020 10:33


Newcastle FC’s trip to Aston Villa at risk due to Covid outbreak

Newcastle’s Premier League match against Aston Villa is at risk of postponement after the club’s training ground was closed on Monday due to a coronavirus outbreak.

It is unclear whether the first-team squad will be able to return to training at the club’s Benton headquarters following a number of positive test results for Covid-19 over the weekend.

Our northern football correspondent, Mark Critchley, has the full story below:

Conrad Duncan1 December 2020 10:18


For anyone who’s still confused, we now apparently have a definitive answer on the Scotch egg question…

Conrad Duncan1 December 2020 10:12


Pandemic’s effect on vulnerable children should be national concern, Ofsted says

The invisibility of vulnerable children as a result of the pandemic should be a matter of national concern, the Ofsted chief inspector is set to warn.

Amanda Spielman is expected to say on Tuesday that school closures during the first national lockdown had a “dramatic impact” on the number of child protection referrals made to local authorities.

The inspectorate’s annual report is set to highlight that, in normal times, around 20 per cent of referrals to local authorities come from schools and early years settings as staff spot signs of abuse or neglect.

Ms Spielman will say it is imperative that all agencies work together to prioritise the most urgent cases.

Her comments come after figures last month revealed that the number of babies in England that were seriously harmed between April and October rose by a fifth, compared to the same period last year.

64 of the babies suffered non-accidental injuries – and eight of them died as a result.

Conrad Duncan1 December 2020 10:07


Covid response shows world can end Aids as public health threat, experts say

The response to the coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated that the world has the resources, technology and political capital needed to tackle Aids, experts have said.

On World Aids Day, the World Health Organisation, UNAIDS and various charities have urged governments to not lose sight of ending the ongoing pandemic.

Our reporter, Samuel Lovett, has the full story below:

Conrad Duncan1 December 2020 10:02


England and Wales record highest number of weekly Covid deaths since May

England and Wales have recorded their highest number of weekly deaths involving Covid-19 since mid-May, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Official figures showed a total of 2,697 deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending 20 November which mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate.

This was up from 2,466 deaths in the week to 13 November – a jump of 9 per cent.

Just over a fifth (21.5 per cent) of all deaths registered in England and Wales in the week to 20 November mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate.

Conrad Duncan1 December 2020 09:54


The Covid Recovery Group of Tory MPs will apparently not be whipping its members to vote against the government’s tier system today, according to ITV’s Paul Brand.

Conrad Duncan1 December 2020 09:46

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