- Boris Johnson emphasises that England's third lockdown is different from the first, saying that this will be a "sprint" to the finish rather than a "marathon"
- But the prime minister cautions that the lockdown will not end with a "big bang" and there will instead be a "gradual unwrapping" of measures
- The lockdown legally came into force overnight, and MPs have been recalled to Parliament to vote retrospectively on it later today
- Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer says the government has been "repeatedly too slow to act" and that has left the NHS under an unprecedented strain
- Education Secretary Gavin Williamson will be updating the Commons at 13:00 GMT on what will happen with pupils whose exams have been cancelled this summer
- The UK government says it is considering requiring travellers to the UK from abroad to prove they have had a negative coronavirus test
- One in 50 people are currently testing positive for the virus in England, official statistics suggest
- The head of the World Health Organization says he is "very disappointed" China blocked the entry of its investigators
- The team had been due to investigate the origins of Covid-19 in the Chinese city of Wuhan
- The US had a record number of coronavirus deaths on Tuesday, recording almost 4,000 fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins University
- The Netherlands is set to begin offering coronavirus jabs today - but is the last country in the EU to start vaccinations
Latest headlines from around the globe:
- Members of a World Health Organization (WHO) team due to investigate the origins of the coronavirus in Wuhan have been denied entry to China. The WHO said it was "very disappointed" , and that two members had already set out on their journey when they were blocked. The probe had been agreed with Beijing after months of negotiations - but the team was denied entry due to a lack of visa clearances, the WHO added
- The US recorded a record number of Covid-19 deaths in the past 24 hours. Figures released by Johns Hopkins University show that 3,936 people died of Covid-19. There were also more than 250,000 new cases
- The European Medicines Agency will meet today to discuss approving a second vaccine. The body will consider giving the green light to the US-made Moderna vaccine. The Pfizer BioNTech vaccine was approved for use across the 27-member bloc two weeks ago
- The Netherlands will begin vaccinating its citizens today, 10 days after their European neighbours and a month after the UK. Experts have criticised the delay in beginning vaccinations
- North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un has praised party workers for “ensuring stable situations against the coronavirus from beginning to end” in a party congress meeting. The country claims it has had no confirmed Covid-19 cases but has reported a number of suspected cases to the WHO. Analysts say it is unlikely North Korea has zero coronavirus cases.
- In the US, ambulance workers in Los Angeles County, California, have been told not to transport hospital patients that have extremely low chances of survival
- Thousands of people in the Australian city of Melbourne are being urged to get tested after a confirmed coronavirus case. The man tested positive after attending a cricket match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and going shopping in the Boxing Day sales. Authorities say he was not infectious at the time, but may have caught the virus at the cricket or while shopping
Third lockdown becomes law in EnglandEngland's third national lockdown legally came into force at midnight.
The measures, which include a stay-at-home order and the closure of schools to most pupils, were announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday amid rising cases.
The number of patients in hospitals is 40% higher than during the first peak and the number of new daily confirmed coronavirus cases topped 60,000 for the first time on Tuesday.
One in 50 people in private households in England had coronavirus last week, with the rate in London one in 30. More than one million people in England had the virus between 27 December and 2 January, the Office for National Statistics suggested.
It means all of the UK is now under strict virus curbs - Wales, Northern Ireland and most of Scotland are also in lockdown.
MPs are due to vote retrospectively on the lockdown later today. It’s only the second time the House of Commons has been recalled from Christmas break, the other being for the post-Brexit trade deal with the EU.
WHO investigation team denied entry to ChinaMore now on one of the main stories this morning - members of a World Health Organization (WHO) team being denied entry to China.
The team had been due to investigate the origins of the coronavirus in Wuhan - something agreed upon by Beijing in December following many months of negotiations with the WHO.
Two people had already set out on their journey – one has now turned back and the other is in transit in a third country.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the issue was down to a lack of visa clearances, and he was "very disappointed" that China had not yet finalised the permissions for the team's arrivals "given that two members had already begun their journeys and others were not able to travel at the last minute".
He added that he had been in contact with senior Chinese officials to stress "that the mission is a priority for WHO and the international team".
Covid-19 was first detected in Wuhan in late 2019, with the initial outbreak linked to a market.
However, observers say China has now been seeking to distance itself from its early connections to the coronavirus, instead emphasising its successes in combatting the pandemic.
- WHO team investigating virus origins denied entry to China
- How Chinese state media and censorship took on coronavirus
China says WHO access denial was 'not just visa issue'An update on our main story this morning about World Health Organization investigators being denied entry to China. The WHO had said this was due to a lack of visa clearances.
However, the Chinese government now says the decision to deny the team entry is “not just limited to a visa issue but to the dates and some other details”.
Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told the BBC: "Chinese authorities are in close co-operation with WHO but there has been some minor outbreaks in multiple places around the world and many countries and regions are busy in their work preventing the virus and we are also working on this."
She added that China supports international co-operation and talks are continuing over “the specific date and specific arrangement of the expert group’s visit”.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said yesterday he was "very disappointed" that China had not yet finalised the permissions for the team's arrivals "given that two members had already begun their journeys and others were not able to travel at the last minute".
Ms Hua told the BBC there might have been "some misunderstanding" between the WHO and Beijing, but "there's no need to read too much into it... we hope the details can be determined as soon as possible".
The origins of the coronavirus remain deeply contested. The virus was first detected in humans in Wuhan in late 2019, with the initial outbreak linked to a market.
US records record daily deathsThe US has recorded a record number of daily deaths with 3,936 fatalities, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
More than 250,000 cases were also confirmed in the past 24 hours.
Some areas of the country are struggling to cope, particularly in the South and West.
California is one state struggling with the number of cases and hospitalisations following the Thanksgiving and holiday season.
On Tuesday, ambulance workers in Los Angeles County were told not to transport hospital patients that have extremely low chances of survival.
Officials say the region could soon hit over 1,000 Covid-related deaths per day, and hospitals are overrun with patients. Emergency workers have also been told to ration oxygen, which is in short supply.