Boris Johnson self-isolating after MP he met last week tests positive

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·51 min read
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Boris Johnson is in self-isolation after being notified by NHS Test and Trace that he came into contact with a person who tested positive for Covid-19 - Molly Darlington/Pool/AP
Boris Johnson is in self-isolation after being notified by NHS Test and Trace that he came into contact with a person who tested positive for Covid-19 - Molly Darlington/Pool/AP

Boris Johnson is in self-isolation after being notified by NHS Test and Trace that he came into contact with a person who tested positive for Covid-19.

Mr Johnson, who himself had coronavirus in March, is understood to have met with a group of MPs for 35 minutes on Thursday morning including Lee Anderson, the MP for Ashfield who has since tested positive for the virus. 

Mr Johnson was subsequently instructed to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace. He is expected to continue speaking to the country during his self-isolation period.

The Prime Minister has not developed any symptoms according to his spokesperson.

A No10 spokesperson said: "The Prime Minister will follow the rules and is self-isolating.

"He will carry on working from Downing Street, including on leading the Government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

"The PM is well and does not have any symptoms of Covid-19."

Follow the latest updates in Monday's live blog.

11:35 PM

Starmer calls for 'national action plan'

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has called on the Prime Minister to publish a "comprehensive national action plan" for rolling out a coronavirus vaccine.

Sir Keir said the talents of British people should be harnessed to create a new national Covid-19 vaccine programme.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Sir Keir states:

"The challenge facing the country now is not just how we get control of the virus, but how we get ready for the vaccine."We are world leaders in vaccines, and I believe we should be aiming for a world class programme for rolling it out."However, this will be a mammoth logistical operation, probably larger than we have seen since the Second World War."If we are to get it right, then we must have a clear plan in place now."It should be a plan that harnesses all of the talents of the British people: our businesses, nurses, doctors, scientists and public servants."

10:45 PM

Johnson: I feel fine but the rules are the rules

Mr Johnson has sent a message to Tory MPs, saying: 

"Evening folks - the good news is that NHS test and trace continues to improve. The bad news is that I have been pinged! "I must now self isolate for 14 days, and I will! It doesn’t matter that we were all following the guidance and socially distancing."It doesn’t matter that I feel fine - better than ever - or that my body is bursting with antibodies because I have already had the damn thing.  The rules are the rules and they are there to stop the spread of the disease."

He said it would not "slow me down" and was "more confident than ever that we will end these exceptional measures on Dec 2 and continue to pummel covid into submission".

He also thanked Mr Anderson "for being so punctilious and effective in identifying his contacts even if it means my temporary incarceration". 

10:18 PM

Boris Johnson could still take part in PMQs, says Downing Street

Boris Johnson could still take part in the Prime Minister's Questions session on Wednesday despite his self-isolation, Downing Street has said.

Number 10 said officials were trying to work through details of how the key Parliamentary occasion would play out.

Asked if Mr Johnson would be able to take part remotely in Commons events, such as Prime Minister's Question Time, a Number 10 spokesperson told the PA news agency: "I think that's what they are trying to work through."

Mr Johnson is still going to be able to take part in key Parliamentary events virtually, it is understood, as the number of MPs in the chamber at any one time is limited owing to the coronavirus crisis.

Throughout the pandemic, MPs have taken part in regular parliamentary question and answer sessions by virtual appearances, while others have appeared through video technology to ask questions themselves at PMQs.

10:09 PM

Boris Johnson isolating: 'I am following the rules', tweets PM

The Prime Minister has confirmed his self-isolation through the below tweet:

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Mr Johnson reiterated that he currently has no symptoms of Covid-19.

"[I] will be working from No 10 as I continue to lead the government's pandemic response," he wrote.

10:04 PM

Downing Street insists that Number 10 is Covid-safe

In the picture posted by Mr Anderson on Thursday morning, both the Ashfield MP and the Prime Minister can be seen not wearing face coverings, and seemingly less than two metres apart from each other.

Downing Street has now insisted that Number 10 is a Covid-secure workplace and said that every step is taken to minimise infection.

It added that Mr Johnson was advised to self-isolate as a result of the length of the breakfast meeting, which centred on policy after the pandemic with particular regard to "levelling up".

10:00 PM

Jacob Rees-Mogg to 'urgently' look at virtual Parliament participation

Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg has said that he is "urgently exploring" how to get more MPs to participate in the chamber virtually.

Mr Rees-Mogg's social media post (see below) came after the news of Boris Johnson's self-isolation, which means the Prime Minister will not be able to attend the Commons in person next week, including for PMQs on Wednesday.

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His tweets followed a plea from ex-minister Tracey Crouch, who has cancer, to be able to take part in debates.

Mr Rees-Mogg has previously suggested that virtual working is an inadequate substitute for the "cut and thrust" of live debate, although attributed Ms Crouch's situation to a current lack of broadcasting equipment.

Ms Crouch wrote tonight: "[Mr Rees-Mogg] rang me yesterday morning to advise he would change rules for clinically extremely vulnerable to participate in debates in the Commons but in true Jacob Rees-Mogg style, wanted to announce to House not press.

"This was very much pre-PM self isolation news."

09:53 PM

Boris Johnson pictured with Lee Anderson on Thursday

Prime Minister Boris Johnson pictured below with Tory MP Lee Anderson, who has since tested positive for Covid-19, at breakfast on Thursday morning:

Boris Johnson meeting Lee Anderson on Thursday - News Scans
Boris Johnson meeting Lee Anderson on Thursday - News Scans

 

09:46 PM

Long Covid clinics will be set up by the NHS

In other Covid news this evening the NHS will set up 43 'long Covid' clinics, amid concern hundreds of thousands of people may suffer long-lasting effects. 

The centres are being set up after research found that one in 10 Covid patients under the age of 50 might endure symptoms that persist for months.

Sir Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England, said: “Long Covid is already having a very serious impact on many people’s lives and could well go on to affect hundreds of thousands. That is why, while treating rising numbers of patients who are sick with the virus and many more who do not have it, the NHS is taking action to address those suffering ongoing health issues.”

The centres will offer care to those displaying persistent symptoms such as fatigue, breathlessness, “brain fog”, anxiety and stress. 

Laura Donnelly has more on this story.

09:38 PM

Catching Covid-19 twice remains rare despite handful of examples

While hard proof exists that people can pick up Covid-19 twice, most scientists believe reinfection is rare.

The first “proven” case of a person becoming reinfected with the coronavirus was reported in late August.

The 33-year-old man from Hong Kong first fell ill with Covid-19 at the end of March and then four and a half months later was found to have been reinfected with the disease, although displayed no symptoms on the second occasion.

Researchers writing for the Clinical Infectious Disease said that while being exposed to the virus once may not give you absolute protection, it may mean “subsequent infections may be milder than the first infection, as for [the Hong Kong] patient”.

Previous cases of reinfection before August were thought to have been either the virus lingering in the body for a long time, or false negative tests. 

09:32 PM

Boris Johnson self-isolating: What he will miss this week

Although Boris Johnson will continue to work from home (in his case Number 10), he was expected to lead a televised Downing Street press briefing this week, as the Government considers its next steps after the current Covid lockdown.

The Prime Minister was tomorrow expected to meet Tory MPs from the newly formed Northern Research Group (NRG).

The NRG has been established by backbencher Jake Berry to hold the Government to account on its promise to "level up the country" beyond Brexit.

Mr Johnson's time in self-isolation means that he will also miss facing Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer at Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs) on Wednesday.

It is unknown who will currently deputise on either side of the Commons benches at PMQs.

09:25 PM

'Breakfast With The PM': Lee Anderson met Boris Johnson early on Thursday

Lee Anderson had a breakfast meeting with Boris Johnson in Downing Street on Thursday (November 12), the Ashfield MP wrote on Facebook afterwards.

His post, titled 'Breakfast With The PM', read as follows:

"This morning I met with the PM at Number 10.

"I was there with my wish list for Ashfield and Eastwood.

"Investment is coming, you have my word on that."

Lee Anderson MP  - David Woolfall/London Portrait Photographer
Lee Anderson MP - David Woolfall/London Portrait Photographer

Conservative MPs from various northern and former 'red wall' constituencies formed a new group last month to put pressure on the Government to stick to their promise to “level up” the country.

09:19 PM

Boris Johnson to carry on his work from inside number 10

Boris Johnson will continue to work from Downing Street during his period in self-isolation as he seeks to move forward from a politically taxing week.

Friday night saw Dominic Cummings, who was previously regarded as Mr Johnson's most trusted adviser, ordered out of Number 10 for good after he was accused of briefing against the Prime Minister.

It came as Lee Cain resigned as director of communications earlier in a week which also saw the UK become the first country in Europe to surpass 50,000 deaths linked to Covid-19.

On Wednesday, Mr Johnson said "every death is a tragedy" and "we mourn everybody who's gone".

More than a million people in the UK have now tested positive for the virus.

09:12 PM

Boris Johnson and coronavirus: How the PM's own recovery played out

Mr Johnson contracted Covid-19 himself at the end of March, which led to him spending three nights in intensive care.

The Prime Minister was admitted to St Thomas’ Hospital on April 5, and was discharged a week later and permitted to travel to his countryside residence with fiancee Carrie Symonds.

On April 9, Mr Johnson was moved out of intensive care and back to a ward in "phase one" of his recovery. Downing Street said the Prime Minister was "in extremely good spirits".

Weeks later, Mr Johnson chaired the first meeting of his Covid-19 'war cabinet' since he was hospitalised, and resumed his role hosting televised Downing Street press conferences.

Read more: Boris' battle with the virus and return to work

09:04 PM

Lee Anderson confirms he has coronavirus

Ashfield MP Lee Anderson, who met the Prime Minister on Thursday, said in a Facebook post:

Isolating.

On Friday I lost my sense of taste at the same time my wife had a bad headache. I had no cough, no fever and felt well.

We both had a test on Saturday and the result came in Sunday morning.

My wife and I both tested positive.

I feel absolutely fine and my biggest concern is my wife who is in the shielded group. But we are both feeling good.

09:02 PM

BREAKING: Boris Johnson in self-isolation

Boris Johnson is in self-isolation after being notified by NHS Test and Trace that he came into contact with a person who tested positive for Covid-19.

Mr Johnson, who himself had coronavirus in March, is understood to have met with a group of MPs for 35 minutes on Thursday morning including Lee Anderson, the MP for Ashfield who has since tested positive for the virus. 

Mr Johnson was subsequently instructed to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace. He is expected to continue speaking to the country during his self-isolation period.

The Prime Minister has not developed any symptoms according to his spokesperson.

A No10 spokesperson said: "The Prime Minister will follow the rules and is self-isolating.

"He will carry on working from Downing Street, including on leading the Government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

"The PM is well and does not have any symptoms of Covid-19."

05:23 PM

Is the Covid vaccine safe and will it work? Three experts answer your questions

At first glance, there seems to be cause for celebration when it comes to Pfizer and BioNTech’s new Covid-19 vaccine which, it was reported last week, offers more than 90 per cent protection in early data.

The vaccine trial has found “no serious safety concerns” thus far and is in the final stage of testing, known as a phase 3 trial. It may be available for a limited number of people by the end of the year.

Biological samples are placed into a nitrogen freeze chamber in the cryogenic cold storage laboratory at the Ambroise Pare Clinic in Paris, France - Nathan Laine/Bloomberg
Biological samples are placed into a nitrogen freeze chamber in the cryogenic cold storage laboratory at the Ambroise Pare Clinic in Paris, France - Nathan Laine/Bloomberg

The news of its success rate was received with worldwide jubilation, and hailed as “a victory for innovation and a global collaborative effort” by Prof Ugur Sahin, BioNTech co-founder and CEO.   

But for vaccines to work, people must be willing to take them – (a take-up of at least 55 per cent, and probably higher, is thought to be needed to achieve herd immunity) – and after a tumultuous year, there are signs that some are hesitant. 

Here, three medical experts answer some common questions surrounding the vaccine.

05:14 PM

Mitchells & Butlers to close 20 sites

The owner of All Bar One and Harvester is axing up to 20 pubs and restaurants, putting scores of jobs at risk as the industry battles tighter hospitality restrictions, write Ben Woods and Hannah Uttley.

Mitchells & Butlers is working with advisors CBRE to offload a string of leasehold sites that will face permanent closure if suitors cannot be found.

The company employs about 44,000 people, but declined to reveal how many staff would be affected by the decision. M&B, which owns restaurant chains Toby Carvery and Browns, controls about 1,700 pubs, bars and restaurants.

Closed pubs and restaurants in Shoreditch, east London, at the end of the first full week of the four week national lockdown in England - Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
Closed pubs and restaurants in Shoreditch, east London, at the end of the first full week of the four week national lockdown in England - Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Rivals including Marston’s, Fuller’s, Young’s and Greene King have swung the axe on thousands of roles in recent weeks as restrictions such as the 10pm curfew and limits on group sizes hammers the pub sector.

04:57 PM

Paris police step up controls as French compliance begins to fray

French police have this weekend stepped up controls in Paris to ensure compliance with stringent lockdown rules amid some signs of breaches taking place.

Police intervened to break up an illegal party that hosted up to 400 people at Joinville-Le-Pont near Paris in the early hours of yesterday morning, according to Reuters.

French police officers conduct a control to check exemption certificates and identity during the nationwide lockdown aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus disease - Christian Hartmann/Reuters
French police officers conduct a control to check exemption certificates and identity during the nationwide lockdown aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus disease - Christian Hartmann/Reuters

Prime Minister Jean Castex has said people are not abiding by the rules as strictly as during the first lockdown back in the spring.

Under the current lockdown strictures, people must stay indoors apart from trips to buy food or other essential goods, or for exercise of up to an hour. They must also carry signed documents in order to justify why they are outside.

04:46 PM

Gordon Brown: Scotland must 'heal' from Covid before independence referendum

Scotland needs to "heal" the devastation wrought by coronavirus before another independence referendum is staged, Gordon Brown has said after the SNP's Westminster leader said it must be held in 2021.

The former Prime Minister argued this was "not the right time at all" as Scotland is in the middle of a pandemic and a deep recession, which could have a long-lasting economic impact.

Amid intense controversy over whether Boris Johnson will allow Nicola Sturgeon to have another vote, Mr Brown argued the real question was whether one "should" happen at the current time.

His intervention came after Ian Blackford, the SNP’s Westminster leader, said his party “must” plan for a second independence referendum in 2021.

Simon Johnson has the story.

04:36 PM

UK coronavirus deaths rise by 168

A further 168 deaths with coronavirus across all settings, within 28 days of a positive test, have been confirmed by the Department of Health.

This takes the official death toll to 51,934, with deaths this week having risen by 24.2 per cent week-on-week.

The Department of Health has also announced that 24,962 more people have tested positive for Covid-19, and 1,922 patients were hospitalised with the virus on November 11, the most recent date for which complete data is available.

The Government estimates that there is a current positivity rate of 250.2 per 100,000 residents.

04:23 PM

Scarborough local authorities tell visitors to stay away as case rates rise

The leader of Scarborough Council is among local authority figures to have urged visitors to stay away as cases continue to rise in the north Yorkshire town.

Cases now stand at 560 per 100,000 people in Scarborough, double the tally of the previous week.

In a statement, council leader Cllr Steve Siddon and chief executive Mike Greene said:

It is a massive increase compared to just two weeks ago and is a stark warning that we are facing challenging times ahead which is why we are asking for positive action from everyone.

It seems the virus is spreading in the community with no single cause or pattern. Do not mix with people you don’t live with, as tempting as it might be, stay away from social gatherings and don’t pop in to see any relatives even if you think the risk is low.

While we are seeing issues throughout the borough, we - along with our partner organisations - are focussing our resources on the areas seeing the highest rates. We are asking visitors not to come to the borough at the moment.

They must follow the government guidance, stay at home and exercise locally. We will work closely with local businesses to welcome them back when it is safe to do so.

04:07 PM

Airport testing: 'In Italy, they're managing this pandemic much more efficiently'

A Sunday afternoon read from our destination expert Jane Foster on her experiences at Rome Fiumicino Airport of a country "taking Covid very seriously":

Arrivals in Italy from countries with high infection rates, including the UK, need to either have documents proving they've tested negative for Covid-19 within the last 72 hours, or undertake a test immediately at the airport, or within 48 hours of entering the country at a local hospital or clinic.

It's too late to use the Terminal 3 Covid-19 testing station (open daily 9am–6pm), so I venture outside to look for the shuttle bus to the airport's 24-hour testing station. 

The Croce Rossa Italiana (Italian Red Cross) are in charge. Doctors and nurses are dressed in red-and-white, and wearing masks and face-shields. Again, there are forms to be filled in, with names and contact details.

My name's called and it's my turn. In the tent, I sit down and have a narrow tampon pushed up each nostril, first left, then right. No, it doesn't hurt. I join the others outside waiting for results - after 30 minutes, I'm told I'm negative and given a certificate to prove it.

03:52 PM

Comment: 'Climate gives PM chance to recover from Covid wreck'

Boris Johnson's climate plan will be no mere political rebrand or Cameronian photo opportunity, writes Sunday Telegraph business editor Christopher Williams.

Some of the ideas on the Prime Minister’s agenda are heavy-duty industrial policy that will have significant effects on businesses and consumers in the decades to come as Britain seeks to deliver its legally binding net-zero commitment by 2050.

Nuclear power has a poor record of delivering its budgets too. Yet the prize is worth pursuing, especially in the Covid economy.

The Government’s task is not only to set a deadline but to lay out a roadmap for the next decade that will create an energy system and industrial infrastructure capable of sustaining all-electric motoring.

The post-Brexit, post-Trump, post-pandemic world of 2021 is racing towards Johnson. As he seeks to make tackling climate change the keystone of bridges with the Biden administration, this ought to be a big and serious moment to reset.

03:36 PM

Biden aide urges Congress to pass relief pandemic package

Ron Klain, President-Elect Joe Biden's incoming chief of staff, has urged the Congress to pass a bipartisan financial aid package amid rising cases throughout the United States which has left some states' health systems struggling to cope.

Ron Klain told NBC News that a joint bill was needed as a matter of urgency, and voiced his optimism that a relief package could pass before the inauguration of the next administration on January 20.

Klain added that Biden's team planned to formally meet with Pfizer Inc and other pharmaceutical giants this week.

However, he is still awaiting clearance from federal government to formally commence a transition between his pandemic advisers and the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

On Friday, the US set a new single-day case record, with 184,514 Americans tested positive for Covid-19 in the space of a single day.

03:16 PM

Romania fire: Injured doctor who tried to help Covid patients hailed as a hero

A doctor who was left badly burned in the Romanian hospital fire which left 10 people dead has been hailed as a hero after trying to help coronavirus patients to safety.

The doctor, who was named in local media as Catalin Denciu, was transferred from the northeastern town of Piatra Neamt to a specialised military hospital in Belgium after suffering second and third-degree burns to 40 per cent of his body.

"I express my respect for the heroic doctor who showed particular courage and spirit of sacrifice in trying to save the patients," said Prime Minister Ludovic Orban.

The Romanian health ministry has suggested that the fire - the deadliest in the country since a disaster at a nightclub in October 2015 - could have been caused by an electrical short circuit.

President Klaus Iohannis said he was "profoundly saddened" by the tragedy, which he said had "touched the whole country".

Romania yesterday reported 129 new Covid-19 deaths as the virus continues to apply pressure to its struggling health infrastructure, bringing the total death toll to 8,813.

03:01 PM

Is a vaccine close, and who will get to it first?

Since coronavirus emerged in January almost 200 vaccine candidates have been put into development, with at least 15 in human trials. 

Vaccines being developed by Oxford University and in Germany could be ready this year, experts have said, but there are also candidates being tested in the US, Russia and China. There were also some signs that China was pulling ahead in the race. 

But millions of doses of coronavirus vaccine could be heading to the UK before Christmas after Pfizer and BioNTech this week revealed that their coronavirus vaccine was more than 90 per cent effective in preventing Covid-19 among those without evidence of prior infection.

The value of finding a reliable vaccine cannot be overestimated. While companies including AstraZeneca have agreed to a “no-profit” pledge up until at least the middle of next year, the prize on offer remains significant.

Pharma companies could be raking in more than $10bn (£7.6bn) in annual revenues for Covid vaccines in the coming years, experts suggest.

Read more from our reporters here.

02:36 PM

Total coronavirus deaths in English hospitals up by 132

NHS England has confirmed a further 132 deaths with coronavirus in its hospitals.

Meanwhile 16 hospital deaths have been recorded in Wales and nine in Northern Ireland, with no new deaths logged in Scotland.

The updated death toll across all settings, in addition to the UK's caseload, is expected to be confirmed later today.

02:18 PM

Sweden Covid news: Tegnell's predecessor blames 'wishful thinking' for soaring caseload

The predecessor of Sweden's state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell has accused him and his team of failing to adequately prepare Sweden for the second wave of coronavirus infections, because "wishful thinking" led them wrongly to believe that immunity would leave the country protected.

Annika Linde, who served as state epidemiologist from 2005 until Tegnell took over in 2013, told The Telegraph that the Public Health Agency of Sweden had throughout the pandemic shown a reluctance to plan for the worst.

State epidemiologist Anders Tegnell of the Public Health Agency of Sweden speaks during a news conference  - Henrik Montgomery/TT News Agency via Reuters
State epidemiologist Anders Tegnell of the Public Health Agency of Sweden speaks during a news conference - Henrik Montgomery/TT News Agency via Reuters

"Wishful thinking - when you don't believe in the worst scenario - has been guiding Swedish decisions too much," she said.  "The Swedish authorities have been slow all the time. Instead of being proactive, they've run after the virus, and the virus has been able to spread too much before they take action."

The country is now seeing the number of new cases rise by as much as 50 per cent a week, with a record 5,990 new coronavirus cases and 42 deaths reported on Friday - dramatically higher rates than reported in Norway, Denmark and Finland.

Read more: Tegnell's predecessor says he should have foreseen second wave

02:05 PM

Comment: 'Paying for the vaccine should be a viable option'

When it comes to rollout, the painfully overburdened NHS should be trying to get the private sector to shoulder as much demand as possible, writes Zoe Strimpel.

No sooner had the dust settled last week on the thrilling news of a 90 per cent effective vaccine against Covid than the sobering reality of how and when it might be delivered muscled to the front.

The scant availability of the vaccine before Christmas presages a slow rollout and a strict hierarchy of need. Those over 80 and in care homes, plus care home staff, come first, followed by other health workers, and age groups that inch lower in painfully slow five-year increments. By the time under-45s get in on the action, we could be heading towards 2022.

Naturally those at greatest risk should be inoculated first. But people of all age can be killed by Covid, or, more likely, made to suffer long-term consequences. The median age of long Covid sufferers is 45, mostly women. The solution to the agonising wait for young and middle aged adults? Go private.

We should be able to access a vaccine sooner if we’re willing to pay, just as those who want Covid tests to travel or for peace of mind can have them if they pay. But that’s not going to be allowed for the usual reason: all things must kneel before NHS morality.

Read Zoe's full column here.

01:56 PM

Baptism broken up by Met Police after 30 worshippers gather

An evangelical church was today stopped from holding a baptism service which was in breach of the national coronavirus restrictions.

Approximately 30 worshippers had gathered at the Angel Church in north London, where the ceremony was halted by Metropolitan Police officers.

Regan King, 28, the lead pastor of the church, said that he "served a greater good' and wished to hold the baptism in spite of the current nationwide lockdown, which prohibits group gatherings in places of worship.

Pastor Regan King speaking to police officers at the Angel Church - Aaron Chown/PA Wire
Pastor Regan King speaking to police officers at the Angel Church - Aaron Chown/PA Wire

Mr King told the PA news agency: "We were told not to have a baptism and police began to block people from entering the church, so we decided to make other arrangements.

"There were 20 people here initially and it built up to about 30."

Pastor Regan King holds a church service outside the Angel Church in Clerkenwell, London, after police officers stopped the evangelical church from holding a baptism service - Aaron Chown/PA Wire
Pastor Regan King holds a church service outside the Angel Church in Clerkenwell, London, after police officers stopped the evangelical church from holding a baptism service - Aaron Chown/PA Wire

Police eventually allowed 15 people to stay inside the church, whilst another 15 took part in a socially distanced outdoor service nearby.

01:45 PM

Second lockdown: Arcadia denies it is on brink of administration

Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia Group has hit back at claims it is on the brink of appointing Deloitte as administrators, writes Matthew Field.

The owner of Topshop, Topman, Burton and Miss Selfridge pushed back on reports that it was about to enter a form of administration that would allow it keep trading while trying to sell its assets.

A spokesman said: “It is not true that administrators are about to be appointed. Clearly, the second UK lockdown presents a further challenge for all retailers and we are taking appropriate steps to protect our stakeholders from its consequences. 

“All our stores in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have now reopened, and we are continuing to trade online through our own channels as well as those of our partners.”

The denial followed a Sunday Times report that claimed Arcadia was drawing up plans for the administration and a break-up of Sir Philip’s retail empire.

Read more: Arcadia taking steps to protect chains as second lockdown bites

01:30 PM

Coronavirus updates from around the world: In pictures

Romanian medical staff in biosecure suits handle the transfer of a doctor from a military plane to an ambulance after a fire at an intensive care unit treating Covid patients. - Inquam Photos
Romanian medical staff in biosecure suits handle the transfer of a doctor from a military plane to an ambulance after a fire at an intensive care unit treating Covid patients. - Inquam Photos
People sit outside during the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic on November 15, 2020 in Berlin, Germany. - Maja Hitijj/Getty Images
People sit outside during the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic on November 15, 2020 in Berlin, Germany. - Maja Hitijj/Getty Images
An empty Corniche of Beirut during the new lockdown in Beirut, Lebanon, - Nabil Mounzer/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
An empty Corniche of Beirut during the new lockdown in Beirut, Lebanon, - Nabil Mounzer/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

 

01:13 PM

Northern Ireland Covid restrictions 'don't go far enough', says minister

Robin Swann, the Ulster Unionist Party politician and Stormont's health minister, has suggested he will demand more stringent restrictions on hospitality before the planned reopening of the sector in Northern Ireland.

Hospitality businesses will reopen their doors on a staggered basis after the end of the 'fire-break' lockdown in Northern Ireland, which ministers voted to extend by a further week after four days of deadlocked negotiations.

Mr Swann said that he was "disappointed, embarrassed and ashamed" that a compromise agreement was only reached on Thursday, and added: "[It] doesn't go, in my opinion, far enough".

He has stressed that he will ask for changes to the current plans before they are fully rolled out.

The whole of the hospitality sector is currently slated to reopen from November 27, although coffee shops and cafes will open a week earlier, on November 20.

12:54 PM

Romania will check all intensive care units after fatal fire

Officials in Romania will carry out checks of all of the country's intensive care units after a fire that broke out at a hospital treating Covid patients killed 10 people yesterday.

The fire took hold of the intensive care unit at the Piatra Neamt county hospital in northeastern Romania. Prosecutors have said that an investigation is underway as to the cause of the fire.

Meanwhile the government has said that public health inspectors and the agency for emergency situations would check the conditions in which medical equipment is operating from tomorrow onward.

Nearly 13,000 patients with Covid-19 are currently in hospital across Romania, 1,169 of whom are in intensive care units.

The country has reported 360,281 coronavirus cases since February and 8,926 deaths. Pre-pandemic, its healthcare system - one of the least developed in Europe - was under strain from inefficient bureaucratic structures, corruption, and high levels of politicisation.

Firefighter ladders lean on the walls of a hospital in Piatra Neamt, where a fire killed 10 at a coronavirus intensive care unit in Piatra Neamt - Inquam Photos/Reuters
Firefighter ladders lean on the walls of a hospital in Piatra Neamt, where a fire killed 10 at a coronavirus intensive care unit in Piatra Neamt - Inquam Photos/Reuters

12:39 PM

Watch: Duchess of Cambridge marks end of pandemic photography exhibition

 

12:28 PM

Travel news: Pilot scheme raises hopes of London-New York corridor

The first Covid-free Transatlantic flight is scheduled to touch down at Heathrow at breakfast time on Tuesday, reports Oliver Gill, raising hopes that ministers will give the green light to a crucial travel corridor between London and New York.

United Airlines will run a pilot scheme over the next four weeks that guarantees all passengers do not have the virus. Findings will be shared with officials on both sides of the Atlantic.

Boris Johnson and Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, are under growing pressure to reopen the skies over the Atlantic from business leaders and the aviation sector.

London to New York is one of the world’s busiest routes. Services provide a key link for executives and dealmakers and rank among the most profitable routes for the likes of British Airways and Virgin Atlantic.

The US is currently considered a “red” country by the Government, meaning visitors currently must quarantine for 14 days when they land in the UK.

12:05 PM

Oxford seeks to keep pace in hunt for game-changing vaccine

For Pfizer's rivals there has been little time to reflect this week, writes Hannah Boland. AstraZeneca is collaborating with Oxford University to develop a separate vaccine, and work has continued apace.

The value of finding a reliable vaccine cannot be underestimated. While companies including AstraZeneca have agreed to a “no-profit” pledge up until at least the middle of next year, the prize on offer remains significant.

Pharma companies could be raking in more than $10bn (£7.6bn) in annual revenues for Covid vaccines in the coming years, experts suggest. It is a prospect which has cheered investors, with AstraZeneca’s shares up by almost 40pc since March.

On Monday, such optimism dipped, with shares nudging down as Pfizer’s findings appeared to put the US firm in the lead in a global race to release an effective vaccine. But researchers caution against assuming it will be first to begin mass inoculations.

Read more: The race for a jab is far from over

11:51 AM

'Normal winter next year' if high vaccine uptake, says Ugur Sahin

Watch as Ugur Sahin, chief executive of BioNTech, tells the BBC's Andrew Marr Show "we can have a normal winter next year" if a high vaccination rate is achieved:

 

11:35 AM

What England's Covid lockdown rules mean for you - and when they could end

England is now in the second week of its nationwide lockdown, which has enforced strict restrictions on people across the country. 

The lockdown came into effect on November 5 at 12.01 am and will remain until December 2, but Cabinet Minister Michael Gove warned it may last longer.

Pubs, restaurants and non-essential shops have closed their doors, and members of the public have been told to stay at home for the remainder of November in a bid to reverse the spread of Covid-19.

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said law enforcement will continue the approach of "policing by consent" to try to get the public to comply with the new lockdown.

Read more on the latest virus rules

11:16 AM

People who spread fake news about vaccine should be prosecuted, majority believe

Four in five people think those who spread fake vaccine news should face prosecution, a poll has found.

The research by ORB International of 2,000 people, carried out exclusively for the Sunday Telegraph, also found that just over half of people believe a vaccine produced in record time can be safe.

The news comes after medical company Pfizer announced last week that its vaccine is 90 per cent effective and could be rolled out in weeks.

The Government said its Counter Disinformation Unit has been working with online platforms to track and act on disinformation throughout the pandemic.

However, the Labour Party has claimed that anti-vax groups with hundreds of thousands of members are still “churning out disinformation”.

Sam Meadows has the scoop.

10:59 AM

Second wave may have passed its peak across the Continent

The coronavirus pandemic recorded several grim milestones in Europe this week, but there are signs of hope on the horizon, Justin Huggler writes from Berlin.

Italy became the latest European country to record one million cases this week, while in France there are now more people hospitalised with the virus than at the height of the first wave.

A man seen riding his bicycle on an empty street near Monastiraki square in Athens, Greece - Nikolas Kokovlis/NurPhoto
A man seen riding his bicycle on an empty street near Monastiraki square in Athens, Greece - Nikolas Kokovlis/NurPhoto

But the news the first vaccine is effective and will be ready for distribution soon was not the only cause for cautious optimism.

In Germany, France and Spain the rate of infection has begun to slow, while hard-hit countries such as Belgium and the Czech Republic have seen a dramatic fall in cases.

However Continental leaders have warned it is too soon to talk of relaxing lockdown restrictions amid grim developments in Italian and French hospitals.

10:49 AM

French Catholics protest against ban on Mass during Covid-19 lockdown

French Catholic groups have planned protests across a number of cities on Sunday to call for lockdown rules to be eased to allow churches to hold Mass, Anna Pujol-Mazzini reports from Paris.

Police have banned some of the protests after 400 believers gathered in front of the Paris' Saint-Sulpice church on Friday evening for a street prayer and chanted "Give us Mass back!".

Authorities say social distancing measures were not followed, which the organisers deny. Interior minister Gerald Darmanin said protesters would be fined if they went out again on Sunday.

Catholics gathered outside Saint Sulpice Church to protest by singing and praying against the closure of Sunday Mass - Julien Mattia/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Catholics gathered outside Saint Sulpice Church to protest by singing and praying against the closure of Sunday Mass - Julien Mattia/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

"I don't want to send the police to fine believers in front of a church, of course. But if this is a repeated act and is clearly against the laws of the Republic, I will do it," he said.

France has been under lockdown since October 30 to stop the rapid spread of Covid-19, which has infected nearly two million and killed 44,000. Churches are open for individual prayer, but a ban on group gatherings prevents in-person services.

Gatherings are planned today in dozens of French cities, including Lyon, Toulouse and Nice, where three people were stabbed to death in a church in late October.

10:35 AM

Most other vaccines 'will also work', says BioNTech founder

Ugur Sahin, chief executive of BioNTech, said that the moment he learned of the efficacy of the vaccine his firm has developed with Pfizer was "extremely relieving".

He told The Andrew Marr Show:

As a scientist, you of course expect certain likelihood that the card could be positive based on the data that we had so far, but there is always unknown factors.

And it could be that there is a scientific, biological or medical reason why the vaccine does not work.

We now know that our vaccine works, and most likely other vaccines will also work.

10:31 AM

Trademark filings offer tantalising glimpse of vaccine's name

As the vaccine hailed the greatest scientific breakthrough in 100 years, there is no doubt the solution to the coronavirus pandemic will become a household name, just like Aspirin and even Viagra, writes Steve Bird.

Although the pharmaceutical giants manufacturing it are determined to keep its name a closely guarded secret, the The Telegraph can reveal the likely contenders after in-depth analysis of European and US trademark applications filed by BioNTech, the Germany-based company behind the vaccine.

In May – exactly one month after its human trials which have proven so successful began – there was a flurry of activity from lawyers hired by BioNTech, who specialise in protecting intellectual property and brands.

They began filing numerous applications to secure the names Covuity and Rnaxcovi worldwide. Both words refer to Covid 19, with the latter giving a nod to the unique scientific process which helps obtain immunity from the virus.

Read more: 'Covuity' looking like favourite for vaccine name

10:02 AM

Fraudsters will exploit vaccine to con vulnerable, warns National Crime Agency

An alert over Covid vaccine fraud has been issued by the National Crime Agency (NCA) as criminals seek to exploit a breakthrough that could see millions of doses being issued for vulnerable people in the next six months, reports Charles Hymas.

Just as fraudsters targeted people by selling fake testing kits and with PPE scams, Graeme Biggar, director-general of the National Economic Crime Centre, part of the NCA, said vaccine fraud was a “new, emerging threat.”

His warning followed news that distribution of the world’s first effective coronavirus vaccine produced by drugs giant Pfizer could start within weeks.

“We need to get ahead of the game on that - and stamp on it,” Biggar said. There have already been reports in the US of fraudsters sending out text messages promising £1,000 if people participate in a vaccine clinical trial. 

Read more: Police chiefs warn over fake vaccine supplies

09:51 AM

Vaccines may not 'work as well as hoped' due to mutations, says Sage member

Following a mutation of coronavirus in Denmark linked to mink, Professor Wendy Barkley - an Imperial virology scientist who sits on the Government's Sage committee - has expressed her concerns about the effect this could have.

"If mutations affecting the way antibodies can see the virus, maybe the vaccines we're generating now won't work quite as well as we'd hoped," she told The Andrew Marr Show.

"But this might turn out to be a rather one-off situation. It doesn't mean vaccines won't work at all. If we think this might be the case, then a vaccine platform which is very adaptable and fast-responding could be the best of the different platforms.

"We really do need to understand whether these mutations are going to significantly effect the way these antibodies can work."

09:39 AM

Professor Uğur Şahin: Vaccine will not drive down winter infections

"This winter will be hard, so this will not have a big impact on the infection numbers," Professor Uğur Şahin told the BBC.

We will start to deliver the vaccine at the end of this year, the beginning of next year. It could allow us to already start to make an impact.

The bigger impact won't happen until summer. The summer will help us anyway because the infection rate will go down in summer, and what is absolutely essential is that we get a high vaccination rate before autumn and winter.

All the processes must be accomplished by next autumn and I'm confident that this will happen so that we can have a normal winter.

09:34 AM

Pfizer vaccine 'absolutely benign' and safe, says BioNTech founder

Professor Uğur Şahin, the immunologist who founded BioNTech - which has worked with Pfizer on the development of its Covid-19 vaccine - has said that the safety profile appears to be "absolutely benign".

He told the BBC that "a proportion of participants" in the Pfizer vaccine trial had a mild to moderate fever for one or two days after they were innoculated, but there were no other serious side-effects.

A file photo shows Ugur Sahin, 55, CEO of German biotech firm BioNTech, 2020 - BioNTech/Handout/Anadolu Agency
A file photo shows Ugur Sahin, 55, CEO of German biotech firm BioNTech, 2020 - BioNTech/Handout/Anadolu Agency

Prof Şahin admitted it is not yet known how long immunity lasts and that he expects the antibody response "will decline over time", which could lead to the need for booster immunisation jabs.

He said that final efficacy results are expected in the coming weeks. With regards to the question of whether the Pfizer vaccine will stop the spread of coronavirus or merely mitigate its symptoms, he said this can only be answered "in a few months".

09:21 AM

Fine social media giants that host anti-vaccine content, urges Labour

Jonathan Ashworth, the Labour MP and shadow health secretary, has said he believes curbs on anti-vaccine content and strong public health messaging will pacify "legitimate questions" about vaccines.

"We need to mobilise our NHS and public health structure, and deal with some of the dangerous nonsensical anti-vaxx stuff that we've seen spreading on social media which erodes trust in the vaccine," he told Sky.

Mr Ashworth called for financial penalties for platforms that host "anti-vaccine campaigns [that] erode trust and play on distrust in public institutions".

He said that vaccines should not be made compulsory, calling for a voluntary approach based on "allaying people's fears and answering legitimate questions", while predicting current social distancing guidance will last "for a good part of next year".

Jo Stevens, the Labour shadow culture secretary, told The Andrew Marr Show that there should be "personal liability" for senior social media directors who allow vaccine disinformation to appear on their sites.

09:13 AM

'One vaccine isn't going to be enough', says Imperial professor

Professor Robin Shattock, the head of the Imperial College vaccine programme, has told Sky that "one vaccine isn't going to be enough" to tackle Covid-19.

"We need as many vaccine candidates as possible for a number of reasons," he said.

"We don't know if [the Pfizer vaccine] will be effective in all different groups, so the more vaccine candidates we have, the better the toolbox is."

Prof Shattock described it as an "incredibly complex operation" to distribute a vaccine to the most vulnerable groups, while convincing the population that a vaccine is safe.

"I think the biggest danger now that we've got a vaccine is that people may stop taking it seriously," he added. "We need to remind people that it's not all over until enough people have received the vaccine, and that we really know it works."

09:07 AM

Boris Johnson facing growing lockdown revolt among Tory MPs

Boris Johnson is facing a growing revolt against lockdown restrictions, as more than 30 MPs who voted for the current measures joined a parliamentary group opposed to any extension of restrictions. 

The Covid Recovery Group, which launched on Wednesday to fight the imposition of a third national lockdown at the beginning of next month, has grown substantially and now numbers around 70 MPs.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson returns to Downing Street, London, following a Cabinet meeting at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office - Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
Prime Minister Boris Johnson returns to Downing Street, London, following a Cabinet meeting at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office - Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

The Telegraph can disclose that recruits include more than 30 lawmakers who supported the current lockdown, among them Damian Green, the former deputy prime minister, Tom Tugendhat, the senior backbencher, and many members of the Conservative Party's 2019 intake of MPs.

The group will oppose any return to a national shutdown of the economy when lockdown is lifted on December 2. 

Danielle Sheridan has the story.

08:46 AM

Second lockdown decision defended by statistics chief

Asked by Sophy Ridge about whether lockdown was needed in light of suggestions that the virus was already slowing, Sir Ian Diamond insisted the R rate is still above 1.

"In different parts of the country, the rates were pretty high already," he said. "They're still continuing to increase, albeit at a lower level.

"So I don't think there was too much debate that the Government had it difficult, but made the right call. A commitment to transparency remains at the heart of Government."

On what he described as a "mixed" picture on the economy, Sir Ian said 700,000 less people are on payrolls than in February although he said vacancies rose before a recent plateau.

"Key to getting the economy back flowing is getting on top of the pandemic," he said.

08:41 AM

UK coronavirus cases: 'We are seeing a slowdown', says senior statistics adviser

Sir Ian Diamond, the UK's National Statistician, has said "we are seeing a slowdown" in the rate of growth of Covid-19 across the UK.

"We're still increasing, and in England one in 85 people we believe have the virus," he told Sky News. "But we believe the rate of growth is slowing."

Sir Ian said that while the second wave has now "moved into all age groups", lower rates are now being recorded among younger Britons amid "huge" regional variations.

Asked about the prospect of England leaving lockdown on December 2, he said: "That's the $64,000 question, and I would love to give you an answer.

"We moved into this new period of restrictions just a short while ago.

"We will be working tirelessly over the next couple of weeks to monitor how the restrictions are working, and towards the end of the restrictions to provide all the very best data we can to help ministers with what will be a very difficult decision."

08:34 AM

Coronavirus vaccine news: How costs and logistics could still see Oxford win out

Pfizer’s vaccine announcement is undoubtedly a shot in the arm for ending the coronavirus pandemic, writes our Science Editor Sarah Knapton.

But behind the scenes at Whitehall, ministers will be secretly praying that Oxford University will soon catch up.

The cost of rolling-out the US/German jab is likely to be at least ten times higher than our home-grown version, and the logistics of distributing a vaccine which needs to be kept in dry ice is staggering. 

Biological samples are placed into a nitrogen freeze chamber in the cryogenic cold storage laboratory at the Ambroise Pare Clinic in Paris, Franc - Nathan Laine/Bloomberg
Biological samples are placed into a nitrogen freeze chamber in the cryogenic cold storage laboratory at the Ambroise Pare Clinic in Paris, Franc - Nathan Laine/Bloomberg

It is like backing the winning horse only to realise you’ve been hit with an eye-watering bill for veterinary fees and stabling.

Matt Hancock has warned the mass distribution would be a "colossal exercise" involving not just the NHS but the Armed Forces. 

07:47 AM

Expert urges against 'flip-flopping' between economy and pandemic

Encouraging the public to visit bars and restaurants and then closing hospitality due to a spike in cases is not a "sensible way to run the epidemic", a Government scientific adviser has said.

Professor John Edmunds, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), urged a long-term strategy when it comes to balancing the economy and the pandemic.

Prof Edmunds raised concerns about "flip-flopping" between incentives, such as Eat Out To Help Out, and closures.

"We need to take a long-term view and be sensible and realise that we're going to have to have restrictions in place for some time," he told the PA news agency."Yes, we can lift them when it's safe to do so, which will be primarily when large numbers of people have been vaccinated."But flip-flopping between encouraging people to mix socially, which is what you're doing by encouraging people to go to restaurants and bars, versus then immediately closing them again, isn't a very sensible way to run the epidemic."

Read more: How to buy your local pub and save it from the pandemic 

07:16 AM

Care home visitor tests are '99pc accurate', promptings calls for roll-out

Care home visitors can receive a 99 per cent accurate covid test, a pilot study has revealed, amid calls for it to be rolled out nationwide.

The results of a landmark pilot study - first reported by The Telegraph in September and carried out in care homes across the country - have revealed that an 85-minute test for the highly infectious disease is “highly accurate”.

The revelation has sparked calls for it to be rolled out nationwide so that families can once again hug their relatives. 

It comes in addition to a new pilot testing scheme being launched by the Department for Health that will see several homes in Hampshire, Cornwall and Devon offered rapid flow tests to allow visits from this week.

Read the full story

Read more: Covid-19 tests - What you need to know about booking and waiting for results

06:30 AM

Frozen Ebola vaccine reached 400,000 people and holds hope for Covid

A so-called "super thermos", helicopters, boats and motorbikes, and a team willing to be woken up in the middle of the night by a bleep on their mobile phones alerting them to the slightest temperature change.

That is what it took to bring an Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) under control this year, with a vaccine that has to be stored at -60 to -80C.

Now, in the wake of the news this week that the most promising coronavirus vaccine candidate so far requires similar conditions, the eyes of the world have turned to how they did it.

It was no small feat, according to the WHO team leader in DRC, Dr Touré Alhassane, requiring a dedicated unit operating in dangerous, sometimes deadly conditions, with a frightened and sceptical public.

Read the full story

05:26 AM

India's toxic air sparks respiratory illness concerns

Hundreds of millions of Indians in north India woke up on Sunday to toxic air following Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, after many revellers defied bans on using firecrackers to celebrate.

The capital New Delhi was blanked with a thick haze, with the average pollution level in the capital over 9 times what is considered safe by the World Health Organisation.

Delhi's Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had banned use and sale of firecrackers ahead of Diwali, but residents in the capital let off huge amounts of fireworks well into the early hours of Sunday morning.

The raging coronavirus epidemic, with more than 400,000 confirmed cases in the city of 20 million, has also heightened alarm over the health hazard posed by the choking smog, with doctors warning of a sharp increase in respiratory illnesses.

Read more: Record number of Covid-19 deaths in Delhi

Students from the government girls hostel prepare to burn a Covid-19 coronavirus modes during Diwali in Hyderabad - AFP
Students from the government girls hostel prepare to burn a Covid-19 coronavirus modes during Diwali in Hyderabad - AFP

05:09 AM

Mexico surpasses 1 million infections

Mexico surpassed one million Covid-19 cases on Saturday, registering 5,860 new infections over the previous day in a country with one of the world's highest death tolls from the virus, the government said.

A total of 1,003,253 people have now tested positive for the virus in Mexico, said health ministry official Ricardo Cortes.

The death toll meanwhile reached 98,259, including 635 registered over the past day, he added.

Cases have been spiking in a number of areas of the country.

"We probably still need to see the worst," Alejandro Macias, former national commissioner against the AH1N1 influenza pandemic in Mexico City in 2009, said.

Ambulance attendants transport a patient with suspected symptoms of Covid-19 infection to an ambulance to be transferred to another hospital in Mexico City - Reuters
Ambulance attendants transport a patient with suspected symptoms of Covid-19 infection to an ambulance to be transferred to another hospital in Mexico City - Reuters

02:07 AM

Australia 'victim' of own Covid-19 success

Australia's triumph in reining in Covid-19 while infections spiral up in many parts of the world is making the country a "victim of our own success," as Australians overseas want to come home, a cabinet minister said on Sunday.

Australia closed its borders in March to all but citizens and residents, and the government has kept entries capped and put those allowed into the country in a two-week mandatory quarantine.

Over the weekend, Australia saw its first week of no locally acquired  infections and no related deaths since the start of the pandemic. 

"With what's happening with Covid-19 in other parts of the world, we're almost becoming a victim of our own success here in Australia, with more people wanting to come back," Education Minister Dan Tehan told Sky News television on Sunday.

Passengers from Brisbane arrive at Perth domestic Airport after the state's hard borders come down - RICHARD WAINWRIGHT/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Passengers from Brisbane arrive at Perth domestic Airport after the state's hard borders come down - RICHARD WAINWRIGHT/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

02:02 AM

Labour calls for anti-vaccination content to be 'stamped-out'

Anti-vaccination content should be "stamped-out" on social media, Labour has said.

With hopes rising of a Covid-19 jab being rolled out by the end of the year, the opposition has called for emergency legislation to "stamp out dangerous anti-vax content".

Labour pressed the Government to bring forward legislation that would include financial and criminal penalties for companies that fail to act against such content.

The party claimed that dedicated anti-vaccination groups with hundreds of thousands of members on social media are "churning out disinformation" on the issue.

Labour said the Government should "urgently bring forward legislation that would include financial and criminal penalties for companies that fail to act to stamp out dangerous anti-vaccine content".

Read more: Janet Daley - Why won’t No 10 say that a vaccine will end this dystopian lockdown?

Read more: People who spread fake news about vaccine should be prosecuted, majority believe

01:49 AM

South Korea reports 8th day of triple-digit rise in cases

South Korea reported 208 new cases as of Saturday midnight, marking the eight straight day of triple-digit increases, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said on Sunday.

That was slightly higher than the previous day's 205 new infections and the highest since early September.

Of the cases, 176 were domestically transmitted and 32 imported. Nearly 70 per cent of the locally transmitted cases were from Seoul and Gyeonggi province, a densely populated area near the capital.

The latest tally takes the country's total infections to 28,546, with 493 deaths, according to the KDCA. 

Workers wearing face masks and shields to help protect against the spread of the coronavirus attend a rally to demand better working conditions in Seoul - AP
Workers wearing face masks and shields to help protect against the spread of the coronavirus attend a rally to demand better working conditions in Seoul - AP

01:32 AM

Elon Musk says 'most likely' has a moderate case of virus

Tesla Inc Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk said on Saturday he "most likely" has a moderate case of COVID-19, as he continued to question the accuracy of the tests.

He did not mention whether the results were from polymerase chain reaction tests, which are more accurate than rapid tests.

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01:30 AM

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