- Coronavirus restrictions should be the same across all four UK nations this Christmas, say the Lib Dems and Alliance Party of Northern Ireland
- Lib Dem leader Ed Davey says the UK government should take action now "so Christmas isn't cancelled"
- Environment Secretary George Eustice says the government wants Christmas to be "as close to normal as possible" but it's "too early to say" what rules will be in place then
- Young and ethnic minority workers were more likely to be made unemployed post-furlough, according to new report
- Police in Scotland are breaking up hundreds of house parties every week despite the ongoing ban on home visits, data obtained by the BBC shows
- The UK government announced 22,885 confirmed cases on Tuesday, and a further 367 deaths, bringing the total death toll to 45,365
- Across the globe there have been more than 44 million coronavirus cases and more than 1.1 million deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data
Welcome to our live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic in the UK and around the world.
Here is a quick roundup of some of the main headlines in the UK this Wednesday morning:
- Coronavirus restrictions should be the same across all four UK nations this Christmas , the Lib Dems and Alliance Party of Northern Ireland have said. In a letter, the parties said travel between the nations was "inevitable" during the festive season and anti-Covid policies should acknowledge this. Different restrictions are in place across the UK, which, it is argued, could cause confusion when people move between the different nations during the holidays
- Stores refusing to accept cash have left consumers unable to buy basic ssuch as groceries and medicine , according to Which? Some shops have refused payments with banknotes and coins during the coronavirus crisis due to social distancing concerns but the consumer group warns this approach risks excluding vulnerable people and called on businesses to show greater understanding and flexibility to customers who may only be able to pay with cash
- Research suggests around one in five young people who were on the furlough scheme have since lost their jobs . The Resolution Foundation said a similar proportion of people from ethnic minority backgrounds have also been made unemployed, compared with 9% for the general population. The think tank says the "true nature" of Britain's jobs crisis is now "starting to reveal itself"
Germany and France to decide on limited lockdownsChancellor Angela Merkel will hold a lunchtime video call with Germany’s 16 state premiers to decide on a "lockdown light" from next Wednesday throughout November. Under the reported draft plan, hotels, cinemas, leisure centres and bars would shut and restaurants would be limited to takeaways. Schools and shops would stay open and social contact would be limited to two households. Germany has recorded a new high of 14,964 infections in the past 24 hours.
President Emmanuel Macron will announce in a TV address tonight whether France is to move to a similar four-week lockdown as early as tomorrow night. The defence council and cabinet meet today - but schools are expected to stay open, online study will be encouraged for older children and universities, and there’ll be a further push towards working from home. France recorded 523 deaths on Tuesday, including 235 in residential homes.
Police in Rome used water cannon to disperse protesters last night. There were 16 arrests among the protesters, and police say they were mainly from the far right. Italy has seen a sharp 24-hour rise of 221 deaths, with 127 more patients in intensive care.
In other developments:
- Night curfews start at 21:00 in the Czech Republic - except for working, walking the dog or urgent medical needs. Shops shut at 20:00
- Belgium now has 5,554 Covid patients in hospital - that’s almost as many as it had during the peak in early April. The number of deaths has now surpassed 11,000
- Spain has recorded 267 more deaths - the highest number since 1 May
- Russians now have to wear masks in crowded public places and regional authorities are being advised to impose a 23:00 curfew on catering and entertainment.
South African president in quarantine after dinner guest tests positiveSouth African President Cyril Ramaphosa has gone into quarantine after a guest at a dinner he attended tested positive for Covid-19, a statement from his office says .
The fundraising event, hosted by the Adopt-a-School Foundation, was attended by 35 guests at a Johannesburg hotel on Saturday.
The event "adhered stringently to Covid-19 protocols", according to Ramaphosa's office.
"The president is showing no symptoms at this time and will, in line with Covid-19 health advice, be tested should symptoms manifest," the statement added.
"The president will perform his duties remotely and will observe the guidelines that apply to self-quarantine."
You can read live updates from our colleagues in Africa, here.
Scotland police break up hundreds of parties every weekPolice in Scotland are breaking up hundreds of house parties every week despite the ban on large gatherings at home because of Covid-19.
Data obtained by BBC Scotland through a freedom of information request reveals officers were called out to 3,052 illegal gatherings since 28 August, when police were [url=https://www.gov.scot/news/new-powers-to-protect-from-community-transmission/#:~:text=Police Scotland granted powers to,a large house party indoor]granted powers by the government[/url] to break up large social gatherings.
More than 420 fines have been issued and 83 arrests have been made.
A third of the reports on illegal gatherings occurred after nationwide restrictions were implemented on 23 September.
Two of the largest spikes since these measures took affect have occurred in Dundee and Lanarkshire - areas now being touted for harsher restrictions .
You can read more here .
'Shops refusing cash left me unable to buy basics'Simon Read - Personal finance reporter
Stores refusing to accept cash have left consumers unable to buy basics such as groceries and medicine, according to consumer group Which?.
Which? warned the cash system is being threatened as shops have declined payments using banknotes and coins during the coronavirus crisis.
Thousands of people have been prevented from paying with cash in recent months - with vulnerable people at risk, the campaign group said.
Thomas Scobie of Stirling, who claims Universal Credit, said: "When shops started to accept only card payment it meant I couldn't buy the essentials I needed to feed myself."
Thomas has a chronic health condition and a mental health disorder, and found the process of finding places to shop that would accept his cash "a real struggle and depressing".
"The reason I don't use a card is because I worry about the people that are able to clone cards and scam people and being on a fixed income, I simply couldn't survive if I lost any of that money," he said.
Read the full story from Simon here.
What are European governments doing to tackle the virus?
In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel is set to decide with state leaders whether to shut bars, leisure centres and hotels next month - in a potential move being dubbed as "lockdown light".
A draft proposal of the measures seen by German media suggests a broad but limited lockdown from 4 November, which would allow schools to remain open but require cinemas, theatres, bars and leisure centres to shut.
In France, President Emmanuel Macron is to give further details later today of a planned four-week lockdown, with reports suggesting schools will stay open and online study will be encouraged for older children and universities.
Other countries have also taken measures to stem the spread of infection:
- Ireland last week moved to its highest level of coronavirus restrictions - which include a ban on social gatherings indoors or in gardens - with the aim of reopening before Christmas
- Italy shut cinemas, restaurants, bars and gyms this week, with protests following in some cities
- In the Czech Republic, night curfews start at 21:00 - except for working, walking the dog or urgent medical needs
- In Russia, people have to wear masks in crowded public places and regional authorities are being advised to impose a 23:00 curfew on catering and entertainment
Protests in Rome over new Covid restrictionsPolice in Rome used water cannon last night to disperse demonstrators protesting against new coronavirus restrictions for a second night running.
Police say the protesters were mainly from the far right or were so-called "ultra" football fans, and that there were 16 arrests.
Tighter coronavirus restrictions have come into force in Italy amid a sharp rise in Covid-19 infections. The latest official figures show cases surged to almost 22,000 in a 24-hour period, while 221 deaths were recorded on Tuesday.
Heathrow overtaken as Europe's busiest airport amid pandemicHeathrow says it has been overtaken as Europe's busiest airport for the first time by Paris Charles de Gaulle because of a slump in demand for air travel during the coronavirus outbreak.
Heathrow said its passenger numbers were 84% down in the three months to September as the pandemic continued to ravage its business.
It expects 22.6 million passengers next year, a quarter of 2019 levels.
Heathrow boss John Holland-Kaye said Britain had been too slow to embrace passenger testing and was "falling behind".
He said Paris Charles De Gaulle and other rivals such as Amsterdam Schiphol had reopened faster because they had implemented testing regimes.
"European leaders acted quicker and now their economies are reaping the benefits," Holland-Kaye said.
He called for pre-departure Covid tests and a "pilot air bridge" with the US to "kickstart our economic recovery".
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said he wants to have post-arrivals testing up and running in the UK by 1 December.
This would reduce the amount of time arrivals had to spend in quarantine from 14 days - seen as a big deterrent to air travel - to a week.
But Holland-Kaye told the BBC the industry still needed a "commitment" it would happen.