Watch: Number of coronavirus infections in England has ‘levelled off’
Here’s what you need to know on 20 November. This article was updated at 4pm.
Deaths: Public Health Wales reported another 31 deaths. There were 12 in Northern Ireland and 32 in Scotland.
Lockdown: England’s nationwide lockdown is “clearly not working” in five regions, a panel of experts has said. Experts at the ZOE Covid Symptom Study app found that in five areas of England, positive tests were still increasing this week. Read more here.
Scotland: Tougher coronavirus restrictions coming into effect on Friday in Scotland will “lower the risk” of people getting Covid-19 at Christmas, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said. The most populated parts of Scotland, including Glasgow, Stirling and Lanarkshire, will move from Level 3 to Level 4 of the Scottish Government’s five-tier system at 6pm. Read more here.
Wales: There is “no room” for further relaxation of coronavirus rules in Wales despite the success of the country’s firebreak lockdown, the First Minister has said. Mark Drakeford warned it was “not universally the case” that people were sticking with regulations despite a reduction in the number of new cases. Read more here.
Vaccines: The free flu jab has been extended to over-50s this winter as the NHS battles the twin threat of flu season and the coronavirus pandemic. This latest age group can be vaccinated by their GP or pharmacist in England from 1 December. Read more here.
The NHS coronavirus vaccination programme could see everyone who wants it receiving their first dose by the Spring. The NHS’ current plan for the COVID vaccine rollout — dependent on the arrival of supplies — would see the whole adult population able to begin receiving it before the end of January, according to leaked documents seen by the Healthcare Service Journal. Read more here.
A group of scientists is using TikTok to try to reassure people about the safety of new COVID-19 vaccines. The group, Team Halo, is made up of clinicians and researchers from institutes across the world, and aims to educate and build confidence in the potential vaccines, which are hoped to hold the key for a return to normal life. Read more here.
Watch: Welsh First Minister says Christmas lockdown is not inevitable
Infections: The number of infections in England is levelling off according to the Office of National Statistics. Daily COVID-19 infections rose by an estimated 38,900 in the most recent week to 14 November, down from around 50,000 the week before. Read more here.
R rate: The UK’s coronavirus R number has fallen to between 1 and 1.1, according to new government data, amid signs England’s lockdown is working. The data, released on Friday, shows that on average every 10 people infected with the virus in the country will pass it on to another 10 or 11 people. Read more here.
Christmas: Experts have warned a “normal Christmas” is “not a good idea” as officials work to get a handle on the coronavirus outbreak. There have been warnings that five days of lockdown would be needed for every single day of normality. Read more here.
Half of Brits say they won’t mind if COVID restrictions remain in place over the Christmas period. According to a YouGov poll, 50% of Britons said they wouldn’t be too bothered if restrictions like the ‘rule of six’ or a ban on households mixing are in force over the festive season. Read more here.