Coronavirus: The 10 major developments that happened on Wednesday

Rebecca C. Taylor

Watch: Public react to Christmas coronavirus rules

Here’s what you need to know on 25 November. This article was updated at 5.50pm.

Deaths: Scotland recorded 44 more deaths, and there were 41 in Wales. Northern Ireland recorded seven. The UK as a whole recorded another 696 COVID-related deaths and a further 18,213 cases - the highest daily total for fatalities since 5 May. Read more here.

Politics: An “inadequate” stockpile of personal protective equipment (PPE) meant the UK government was forced to overpay by £10bn ($13.13bn) for items like masks and gowns as the COVID-19 pandemic hit. A scramble to secure PPE for frontline staff also led the government to waste hundreds of millions of pounds on equipment that was not up to standard. Read more here.

Christmas: The Christmas travel rules have been announced following agreement by the four nations of the United Kingdom. All travel must be done within a five day window, with an extra day for returns to and from Northern Ireland. Read more here.

More than half of people in the UK wouldn’t mind spending Christmas in lockdown, a new YouGov poll has revealed. In total 60% of Brits said they would be prepared to spend the festive season under restrictions following a backlash over the relaxation of rules for five days during that period. Read more here.

Science: None of the mutations observed in the coronavirus to date appear to be helping it spread from person to person, research suggests. Scientists from University College London (UCL) analysed the virus’ genetics in more than 46,000 people with a confirmed infection from 99 countries. Read more here.

The public should be warned that the pandemic may yet stretch into autumn next year, experts have said. The government has suggested that life may return to some normality by Easter 2021, but minutes from a meeting of Scotland’s COVID-19 Advisory Group paint a different picture. In the meeting, leading scientific advisers warned that the “pandemic could stretch till next autumn and there needs to be engagement with the public on this”. Read more here.

Watch: Rishi Sunak: UK economy will contract this year by 11.3%

Vaccines: Andy Murray has backed the idea of compulsory coronavirus vaccines for professional tennis players. It comes after Novak Djokovic said he wouldn’t want to be forced to have one to travel, but didn’t rule out one to play tennis. Read more here.

Economy: Restaurants offering discounts via the Eat Out to Help Out scheme offered by the government in August made claims of £849m ($1.1b) by 30 September, new data has shown. This far surpasses the £500m the government had budgeted for the programme. Read more here.

UK chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced the legal minimum wage will rise by 2.2% next year, marking a pay rise for around two million workers. But he confirmed on Wednesday pay will be frozen across the public sector, with the exception of both NHS workers and staff earning below the median average of £24,000 a year. Read more here.

Official figures from the government’s independent spending watchdog show the UK economy is on track for its worst year in three centuries. The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) on Wednesday forecast that UK GDP would shrink by 11.3% this year, its worst annual performance since “the Great Frost of 1709”. Read more here.

Coronavirus: what happened today

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