- South Yorkshire will move into tier three of England's coronavirus restrictions
- Sheffield, Rotherham, Doncaster and Barnsley will come under the strictest level of rules from 00:01 on Saturday
- UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock says the offer of £60m to support Greater Manchester when it goes into the highest level of coronavirus restrictions is "still on the table"
- Local leaders in the region say the government is not offering them enough cash to support low-paid workers in businesses which will have to shut due to the tier three lockdown
- Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham and other local leaders want £65m to help the region, but the government is offering £60m
- A scientific study suggests factors including age, weight and gender can increase the risk of "long Covid"
- Brazil plans to use a Chinese-made coronavirus vaccine as part of a national immunisation programme, officials say
- UK government borrowing hit £36.1bn in September as it continued spending to support the economy during the pandemic
Good morning. Here are the main stories coming from the UK today.
- The £60m offered to support Greater Manchester as it enters tier three restrictions "remains on the table" , says Health Secretary Matt Hancock. It comes after talks broke down between the region's leaders and the UK government over the size of the package to help businesses and employees
- An announcement is expected to be made later on South Yorkshire moving into tier three restrictions by Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis. Discussions have been ongoing with the government and leaders there about support measures - even though on Tuesday night, Jarvis said the right support had not been offered
- It's hoped a new study will help identify an early-warning system for who might develop "long Covid" - which sees symptoms continue for weeks. Researchers at King's College, London, have created a piece of computer code to predict, from the start of a coronavirus infection, who is at risk of the longer version of the condition
- Royal Mail will start collecting parcels and mail from people's homes from Wednesday as it tries to grab a bigger share of the parcel market, amid a rise in online shopping accelerated by the pandemic
- UK government borrowing hit £36.1bn in September as the UK continued heavy spending to support the economy during the coronavirus pandemic
- And the inflation rate climbed to 0.5% in September , from 0.2% in August. Prices started to rise more quickly in September after the Eat Out To Help Out scheme ended, pushing up restaurant and café prices
What's happening around the world?
- Brazil, one of the countries worst affected by coronavirus, plans to use a Chinese-made vaccine as part of a national immunisation programme, officials have announced. The government has agreed to buy 46 million doses of CoronaVac, with the immunisation programme starting as soon as January
- People who breach the Irish government's Covid-19 restrictions could face spot fines of up to €500 (£455) under new legislation
- Cathay Pacific has announced it is closing its subsidiary Cathay Dragon and cutting 8,500 jobs. Cathay Dragon was a full service regional carrier flying mainly to mainland China and other Asian destinations. Many other airlines are on the brink of survival as the Covid-19 pandemic batters travel and tourism.
- An Indian man who lost 10 loved ones to the virus has volunteered to take part in clinical trials for a vaccine
South Yorkshire awaits announcementAn announcement on whether South Yorkshire will face the toughest Covid restrictions is expected on Wednesday morning, the communities secretary has said .
Robert Jenrick said ministers have had "detailed conversations" with local leaders about moving into tier three.
He said he expects an announcement will be made by the Labour mayor for the Sheffield City Region "very shortly".
Jenrick told BBC Radio 4's Today programme there had been "intense discussions" over the past 48 hours. He said he was hopeful an agreement could be reached later today - but there are some further points to discuss, he added.
He's also been on BBC Breakfast, where he said the package for South Yorkshire would be "proportionate to what we've done in other parts of the country".
"I think we've got to be fair between different areas that are all going through similar challenges," he said.
He declined to say when the restrictions would come in.
South Yorkshire to go to 'very high' Covid alert statusSouth Yorkshire, including the districts of Sheffield, Rotherham, Doncaster and Barnsley are to be placed in the "very high" tier three level of coronavirus restrictions from 00:01 on Saturday, the region's mayor says.
Dan Jarvis, who leads the Sheffield City Region, says the government will provide a total of £41m to support local businesses and public health teams.
Sheffield mayor: 'Inaction was not an option'Mayor of the Sheffield City Region Dan Jarvis has issued a statement on South Yorkshire entering tier three restrictions.
He said: “We all recognise the gravity of the situation and have taken the responsible route to ensure we save lives and livelihoods, and protect our NHS.
"More older people are contracting the virus. The number of people with Covid in our hospitals has doubled over the last 10 days, with no signs this will relent over the coming weeks. Inaction was not an option.“
Local leaders have agreed a funding package of £41m - including £30m to support businesses and £11m for public health measures like test and trace.
Jarvis added: "We called on government to offer a local lockdown lifeline for our local authorities and economy, and the new restrictions will be introduced alongside resources which mean we are better equipped to control the virus and limit some of the damage on jobs and businesses.
"While infection rates vary across South Yorkshire, collective action was the only practical choice to keep everyone in our region safe. If restrictions are effective, individual local authorities will be able to move to lower alert levels as soon as it is safe to do so, in consultation with fellow local leaders, myself and national government.“
He urged people to "follow the new restrictions as soon as they are in place".
"The character and grit of people in South Yorkshire will be needed in abundance to help us get through what will be an incredibly challenging period," he added.
What will the new measures in South Yorkshire be?The tier three measures are the strictest in place in England.
It means that:
- You are not allowed to meet socially with anybody who is not part of your household, or support bubble, indoors
- You cannot meet in private or pub gardens, but can meet in parks, beaches, countryside or forests, as long as you are not in a group of more than six
- Pubs and bars must close unless they are serving substantial meals. Alcohol can only be served as part of a meal
- People are advised not to travel into or out of tier three areas, other than for work, education, youth services or because of caring responsibilities
- Casinos, bingo halls and betting shops, adult gaming centres and soft play areas have closed in all tier three areas
Extra measures can be introduced following discussions between central and local government.
'Enforcement for those who flout law' in South YorkshireSouth Yorkshire police and crime commissioner Dr Alan Billings says if going into tier three is necessary for his area, then the police will enforce the new rules "for all our sakes".
"Having spoken to the chief constable and senior officers, I have no doubt that they will continue to do this in a proportionate way, but we should be in no doubt that there will be enforcement activity if people wilfully flout the law.
"Of course, the police cannot be everywhere all the time. It is essential, therefore, that we all play our part."
But, he warned: "Equally, the government needs to understand that people will continue to observe the rules as long as they feel that what is being proposed is not just reactive, but part of a longer term strategy to defeat the virus.
"How the tier three restrictions fit into that strategy needs careful, constant and consistent explanation."
Greater Manchester: Hancock says 'door is open' for more talksOur top story this morning is that a £60m offer to support Greater Manchester through tougher Covid restrictions "remains on the table".
Health Secretary Matt Hancock says the "door is open" to more talks on the package to support businesses and employees. Local leaders had asked for at least £65m before talks broke down.
The 2.8 million people in Greater Manchester are the first to be forced into tier three, England's highest level of restrictions, despite the misgivings of local leaders. The area will get £22m to help enforce the rules that begin on Friday.
Under tier three, pubs and bars which do not serve substantial meals have to close, and there are further restrictions on households mixing. An announcement is expected this morning on whether South Yorkshire will be next to move into tier three.
What do the papers say?Perhaps unsurprisingly, they're dominated by Greater Manchester going into tier three measures .
"Tier and Loathing" is Metro's headline, while the Manchester Evening News has a full page picture of a joker playing card with Boris Johnson's head superimposed on it alongside the headline "Playing Poker With Our Lives".
The Daily Mirror also borrows a similar quote from Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham.
The Times lays the blame for the failure of negotiations to secure financial assistance for the region at Mr Burnham's feet, with unnamed government sources telling the paper his pride caused talks to fail.
The online-only Independent points out that the Treasury will only be providing £8 of support for every resident of Greater Manchester under the current plan.
Helping identify those at risk from 'long Covid'Scientists have been looking at what increases the risk of "long Covid" - the condition which sees coronavirus symptoms continue for weeks or even months.
One in 20 people is ill for at least eight weeks, according to the study. It says age, weight and being female are among the factors that increase the risk
The findings come from an analysis of people entering their symptoms and test results into the Covid Symptom Study app.
It's hoped the research from King's College London will help develop an early warning system that can identify patients who need extra care or who might benefit from early treatment.
The study estimates:
- One in seven people is ill for at least four weeks
- One in 20 people is ill for at least eight weeks
- One in 45 people is ill for at least 12 weeks
Researchers have created computer code to pick out from the start of a coronavirus infection who is at risk of the longer version of the illness.
UK 'didn't have exact measures in place' for CovidThe UK didn't have the "exact measures" in place to deal with a pandemic, the ex-head of the civil service has said.
Lord Sedwill, who left his job last month, told the BBC there is "a genuine question" about whether the UK could have been "better prepared" for the Covid pandemic.
He told political editor Laura Kuenssberg that "although we had exercised and prepared for pandemic threats, we didn't have in place the exact measures, and we hadn't rehearsed the exact measures" for the challenge Covid-19 presented.
"I think there is a genuine question about whether we could have been better prepared in the first place and that is obviously a very legitimate challenge," he said.
He said any future inquiry into the UK's handling of the pandemic would have to look at whether decisions were taken at the right time, if the lockdown was imposed fast enough and what capabilities the state had to deploy to tackle the virus.
And he said the PM's adviser Dominic Cummings' trip to Barnard Castle "clearly undermined the government's coherent narrative about following the rules" on coronavirus.