- UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will conduct Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs) with MPs via video link later, as he continues to self-isolate
- The National Audit Office has accused the government of a lack of transparency over its awarding of £18bn of Covid-related contracts
- The lifting of England's lockdown must be handled better this time round to avoid a surge in Covid cases that could overwhelm the NHS, doctors say
- Residents of level three or level four local authorities in Scotland will be breaking the law from Friday if they make non-essential trips outside their area
- The start of November saw Britain's highest levels of loneliness since the pandemic began, according to Office for National Statistics figures
- The state of South Australia will enter a snap six-day lockdown to curb the spread of a Covid outbreak found days ago, with 36 cases detected
- Tokyo sees record number of new cases with nearly 500 in one day, the biggest daily increase since the pandemic began
- A Covid-19 vaccine developed in China has shown success in mid-stage trials, researchers say
- Senior US Senator Chuck Grassley, who is third in the line of presidential succession, tests positive but says he is feeling well
Good morning, and welcome to our live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic in the UK and abroad.
If you're just joining us, here are the main headlines from the UK:
- Prime Minister Boris Johnson will become the first prime minister in history to conduct Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs) with MPs via a video link later, as he continues to self-isolate after coming into contact with fellow Conservative MP Lee Anderson, who later tested positive for coronavirus
- The lifting of England's lockdown must be handled better this time round to avoid a surge in coronavirus cases that could overwhelm the NHS, doctors union the British Medical Association (BMA) has said. Its blueprint for easing restrictions includes replacing the "rule of six" with a two-households restriction to reduce social mixing and banning travel between different local lockdown tiers
- Residents of level three or level four local authorities in Scotland will be breaking the law from Friday if they make non-essential trips outside their area. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told MSPs police will have the powers to enforce the new restrictions as 11 of Scotland's 32 local authorities prepare to go into level four lockdown
- The week after the clocks went back saw Britain's highest levels of loneliness since the pandemic began, according to Office for National Statistics figures . The start of November, with darker evenings, had 4.2 million adults always or often lonely, compared with 2.6 million before the pandemic. This was the peak in levels of acute loneliness since the lockdown in March
- The government was not transparent about suppliers and services when it scrambled to award £18bn worth of Covid-19 contracts, the public spending watchdog has said . The National Audit Office (NAO) found firms recommended by MPs, peers and ministers' offices were given priority. Meg Hillier, chairwoman of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, called for ministers to "come clean" and publish all information about the contracts awarded
Latest news from around the worldHere are the top stories from across the globe so far today:
- South Australia has announced a six-day lockdown following a new outbreak in the state. Thirty-six cases were found in the city of Adelaide on Sunday, the first community cases detected in six months
- A lockdown has also been announced in the Canadian territory of Nunavut - this time for two weeks. More than 60 infections have been confirmed across four communities, following months with no new cases
- The Japanese capital Tokyo has seen a record number of new cases, with almost 500 announced on Wednesday amid a nationwide rise in infections
- France, meanwhile, has become the first European country to pass two million coronavirus cases, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University
- In the US, major health organisations have urged President Donald Trump to share key information about the pandemic with President-elect Joe Biden
- Senior Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, who is 87 and third in the line of the US presidential succession, has become the latest politician to test positive for the virus. Over 11.3 million Americans have tested positive for the virus, while almost 250,000 people have died
- The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued emergency authorisation for a rapid self-testing kit to be used at home, although kits will only be available by prescription
- A vaccine developed in China has shown success in mid-stage trials, researchers say. The announcement comes after three vaccines, developed in the US, Germany and Russia, released data suggesting efficiency of more than 90%, after trials involving tens of thousands of people
- Globally, there have been more than 55 million infections and 1.3 million deaths since the first coronavirus case was identified a year ago
What’s happening with the quest to find a new vaccine?As we’ve already reported, a new study has shown positive results for a new vaccine developed in China , with a quick immune response seen during mid-stage trials of around 700 people.
There are several vaccines being developed in China, some of which are already being administered, but this latest announcement follows a string of promising vaccine news from around the world in recent days.
First, a German-US vaccine by Pfizer and BioNtech was reported to be more than 90% effective based on late-stage trials with more than 43,000 people.
Then, US company Moderna said its vaccine showed nearly 95% efficiency , also after large late-stage trials. In both cases the results are preliminary and both vaccines have not yet been approved.
And a Russian Covid vaccine was reported to be 92% effective after trials with 16,000 volunteers. It was already granted approval for emergency use within Russia in August.