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Live Reporting

Edited by Owen Amos

All times stated are UK

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  1. Thanks for reading

    That's all for our Covid live page today - we'll be back on Tuesday morning. The editors were Lauren Turner and Owen Amos, the writers were Adam Durbin, Mary O'Connor, Matt Murphy, Kelly-Leigh Cooper, and Jen Meierhans.

    Thanks for reading.

  2. Monday's headlines: Here's what you need to know

    Man wearing mask and Santa hat and his daughter ordering food in a cafe

    As we begin to wind down our live coverage, here are some of the key headlines:

  3. More restrictions could endanger hundreds of thousands of hospitality jobs - pub boss

    Stock image of bar

    The government is not imposing new rules in England for now - and Patrick Dardis, the boss of pub chain Young's, says hundreds of thousands of jobs and businesses might be at risk if they do.

    Citing rumours of a return to previous rules which meant venues could only serve groups of six outdoors, he says such a move would "devastate the entire hospitality brewing sector" that employs over 3m people.

    He also claims current rules - aside from potential further restrictions - appear to "protect the unvaccinated", pointing to comments made by London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Health Secretary Sajid Javid that the majority of people in hospital with Covid had not had their jabs.

    "We cannot continue to disrupt people's lives, livelihoods, causing unbelievable mental health issues [and] lost schools days," he says.

    Dardis also says that in the event of a circuit-breaker lockdown, the government should announce an end to business rates, cutting VAT to zero for at least six months, and a cash injection to protect jobs.

  4. Second year in a row Queen cancels Sandringham

    Queen attending a Christmas Day church service at Sandringham in 2019

    As we reported earlier, the Queen has cancelled her annual Christmas trip to Sandringham for the second year in a row over Covid.

    She also spent the festive period at Windsor last year, when she would normally have travelled with other royals to the Norfolk estate.

    Then, it was believed to be the first Christmas not spent at her Sandringham home since the mid 1980s.

    "Like everyone they hope things will get back to normal in 2021," a palace spokesman said at the time.

  5. Canadian provinces break Covid-19 records amid Omicron surge

    Holly Honderich

    BBC News, Oshawa, Ontario

    People wait for a covid-19 test in Toronto
    Image caption: People wait for a Covid-19 test in Toronto

    Canadians across the country are facing new Covid-19 restrictions ahead of the holidays, as the country scrambles to address an aggressive fifth wave.

    The provinces of Quebec and Nova Scotia both set new records for their daily case counts on Sunday while Ontario – the country’s most populous province – reported more than 4,100 new infections, a 24% increase over the day before.

    Provincial governments are responding to the surge with sweeping restrictions just days ahead of Christmas. Ontario has cut indoor capacity at most indoor settings including restaurants and stores to 50%, and all social gatherings must have a maximum of 10 people.

    Similar restrictions are expected in British Columbia and Quebec on Monday.

    Over the weekends, Canadians spent hours queuing for both testing kits and booster shots in hopes of keeping holiday plans.

  6. Government 'condemning businesses to Christmas of worry' - Reeves

    Labour's shadow chancellor says the government is "condemning many businesses and workers to a Christmas of worry and hardship" by not providing them financial support as customers stay at home.

    Writing on Twitter, the Leeds West MP describes the government's lack of support as "appalling" - arguing the hardest hit sectors have seen significant falls in business over the last week.

    She says: "Yet the government has behaved as though nothing has changed.

    "People deserve honesty, practical help and clarity so they can plan for the future."

    Reeves adds the government should:

    • Be giving businesses and workers worst affected targeted support
    • Urgently fix sick pay
    • Provide wider support to the economy next year by "easing the burden of business rates"
    View more on twitter
  7. Lib Dem leader criticises PM's 'chaos and confusion'

    The Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey - who tested positive for Covid last week - has criticised Boris Johnson's "indecision" after the PM said new Covid rules in England were not being ruled out.

    "Boris Johnson is weak, indecisive and incapable of providing the leadership our country needs," he says.

    "His credibility has been shot to pieces, he's no longer trusted by the public or supported by his party.

    "At a time when people urgently need clarity and reassurance, we have more chaos and confusion.

    "Families want to know urgently what Covid measures to expect, so they can plan for the days ahead.

    "The prime minister must recall Parliament now instead of yet again acting too late. Ducking the difficult decisions is not a plan."

  8. PM pushed back on 'scaremongering lockdown fanatics' - Tory MP

    A Conservative backbencher has said Boris Johnson and cabinet ministers have "for once pushed back on the scaremongering by the lockdown fanatics" by not introducing more Covid restrictions.

    Esther McVey says she is "pleased" the government is listening to Tory MPs and "recognising where majority opinion is in Parliamentary Party".

    The MP for Tatton and former cabinet minister writes: "It seems the 100 strong backbench rebellion last week has made a difference."

    Last week, Boris Johnson faced his largest ever revolt from Tory MPs, when large numbers voted against the government over the introduction of Covid passes.

    However, the measure was passed by a majority of 243 thanks to Labour support.

    There were also substantial but smaller rebellion on the other Plan B measures over mandatory jabs for health and social care workers, and mandatory mask use in most indoor settings.

    View more on twitter
  9. BreakingQueen not going to Sandringham for Christmas for 'precautionary' reasons

    The Queen has decided to celebrate Christmas at Windsor - and will not travel to Sandringham, where she usually spends the festive period.

    The decision was a personal one after careful consideration and reflects a precautionary approach, the Palace said.

    There will be family visiting Windsor over the Christmas period and all appropriate guidelines will be followed, it added.

    The Queen also spent last Christmas at Windsor.

  10. At-a-glance: UK Covid data

    As we reported earlier, the UK reported 91,743 cases on Monday - the second highest daily total since the pandemic began.

    The number of people in hospital with Covid is increasing slightly, while the number of people dying within 28 days of a positive test is falling.

    Here's the latest data in one graphic.

    Uk summary data
  11. Watch: No new measures in England - but PM does not rule them out

    The prime minister was speaking after a cabinet meeting this afternoon...

    Video content

    Video caption: Covid: We reserve the possibility of taking further action, says PM
  12. Washington DC to re-introduce mask mandate

    Mayor Muriel Bowser speaking at a press conference

    Washington DC will reinstate an indoor mask mandate beginning on 21 December and lasting until the morning of 31 January, the city's mayor said on Monday.

    Muriel Bowser declared a state of emergency in the US capital as new coronavirus infections started to rise again in the city.

    Residents will again legally require masks in most indoor public places, such as gyms, churches and grocery stores, beginning at 06:00 on Tuesday.

    Washington DC only recently lifted a mask mandate on 22 November that had been in place since July.

    Bowser also announced that all employees of the city's government will have to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and receive a booster shot. She added that workers will not have an option to take a coronavirus test instead, though she did not provide a deadline for the vaccination guidance.

    Around 88% of DC residents have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine.

  13. Teenagers getting vaccinated to protect their families

    Lesley Day

    BBC News

    Teen girl after her vaccination (file image)

    It would normally be the draw of Santa and his helpers that would cause a queue of children to snake out of the glass entrance to the Yorkshire Event Centre in Harrogate.

    But this afternoon. the line of is made up of eligible 12-17-year-olds, there to receive a first or second dose of Covid vaccine.

    When most children would be enjoying an afternoon watching television and cracking open a tin of chocolates, dozens of nervous-looking teenagers stood waiting to get jabbed trying to help move back to something closer to normal life.

    Tommy, 13, says he came because he wanted to protect himself and others, particularly over Christmas and also when school restarts next year.

    He says: “Being protected from Covid is really important for people of my age and my family, I’ve been in isolation and it’s not nice.

    "It’s been a lot more different in school than how a normal school should run."

  14. PM 'paralysed by weakness' in government - Labour

    Wes Streeting

    Meanwhile, Labour's shadow health secretary Wes Streeting says the British public know that "additional restrictions are inevitable", criticising the government for not giving people more certainty.

    He tells BBC Radio 4's PM programme that people will have been expecting Boris Johnson to "set out a roadmap today so that people can plan ahead".

    He says: "I think it's completely inexplicable that Boris Johnson has gone into cabinet for hours this afternoon and emerged with absolutely new to say, no plan whatsoever."

    The Ilford North MP adds the PM didn't even lay out measures to help those businesses being negatively impacted by the current Plan B restrictions in place.

    Streeting says Johnson is "paralysed by weakness because of fear of his own backbenchers", with cabinet ministers having "one eye on the Conservative leadership election to follow" if the PM were to stand down or be ousted.

    Quote Message: Who's got their eye on the public? And it's not just about families that need to plan beyond Christmas and into the new year. This is crucial for businesses, particularly that are already really feeling the heat like the hospitality industry. from Wes Streeting MP Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
    Wes Streeting MPShadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
  15. Analysis

    Two hours of deliberations - but little in the way of answers

    Damian Grammaticas

    Political correspondent

    The PM had been urged to give clarity. The nation was waiting to hear if there would be more restrictions coming - and if so, what and when?

    Boris Johnson and his cabinet had spent more than two hours deliberating. But what Johnson told us didn’t answer those questions.

    On how serious things are, he said there were still “uncertainties” and “we should keep the data under review”.

    On what possible action might come, he said: “We are looking at all kinds of things."

    Could it still happen before Christmas? “We will rule nothing out,” he replied.

    So this was a decision by the PM not to do more right now, despite the fact he said cases were “surging".

    Was that because of doubts around the cabinet table? Or because the PM - as he pointed out - believes people are already adapting their behaviour and he wants more time to see if that’s enough to control the spread of Omicron?

    Perhaps, but it perpetuates the uncertainty. And, as the scientists have said, delay has consequences in itself, because cases continue to rise.

  16. What did the PM say after today's cabinet meeting?

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson has just spoken to the media after cabinet ministers met virtually this afternoon to discuss how to slow the spread of the Omicron variant.

    In case you missed it, here's a quick recap of his main points:

    • The government will keep coronavirus data under "constant review", looking at it "hour by hour" as Omicron cases surge and hospital admissions rise "quite steeply" in London
    • As a result ministers have to "reserve the possibility of taking further action" to protect public health and the NHS - with a range of measures being considered and "nothing" ruled out
    • The PM acknowledged the impact of recent behavioural changes by some people - such as booking cancellations - on businesses including the hospitality industry - saying the economic impacts would be kept "under constant review"
    • He insisted a photo of a gathering in the Downing Street garden while the UK was under Covid restrictions last year, was of "people at work, talking about work"
  17. No 10 photo showed 'people at work, talking about work', says PM

    Boris Johnson

    The prime minister is asked about a photo that has emerged of a gathering in Downing Street while the UK was under strict Covid restrictions last year.

    That was a picture of "people at work, talking about work," he replies.

    "I really think it is vital that we focus on the messages we are trying to get across today," he says.

    He says the country faces "a serious spike" in Omicron but praises the public who have come forward to get the vaccine - as well as the vaccinators and volunteers helping with the rollout.

    He says Saturday was an "amazing day" for vaccinations with "record numbers" coming forward for their jab.

  18. PM: I regret that businesses are suffering

    We've just been hearing from the prime minister, who has given an interview in Downing Street after the cabinet meeting, which lasted for several hours.

    Boris Johnson says the British public are changing the way they go about their lives amid rising Omicron cases.

    He acknowledges that has consequences for some parts of the economy including hospitality.

    "I regret that," he says adding that there are financial packages for those businesses which are "suffering".

    He adds: "We will keep the economic side of this under constant review."

  19. BreakingNo new measures but situation under constant review - PM

    Boris Johnson

    Boris Johnson has just been speaking after this afternoon's cabinet meeting.

    He says ministers agree the current situation is "extremely difficult".

    "The arguments either way are finely balanced," he says noting that cases of Omicron are "surging and hospitalisations are rising quite steeply in London".

    He says that the government will keep data under "constant review" and that "we will have to reserve the possibility of taking further action to protect the public and our NHS".

    "We won't hesitate to take action," he says, urging the public to exercise caution and get vaccinated.

    "It could not be more urgent," he adds.

    Asked what kind of measures the government will take he replies: "We're looking at all kinds of things... we will rule nothing out."

  20. German leaders expected to limit private gatherings

    Getty Images
    Image caption: Chancellor Olaf Scholz is expected to agree new restrictions with regional leaders tomorrow

    German state leaders are expected to agree to fresh coronavirus restrictions, including limiting private gatherings to a maximum of 10 people who have all been vaccinated or recovered from Covid-19.

    New Chancellor Olaf Scholz will meet with the country's 16 regional leaders on Tuesday, when the proposals are set to be discussed. If agreed, the new restrictions are expected to come into force from 28 December.

    The curbs will be the same for outdoor and indoor gatherings, though children under 14 will be exempt from the limit, according to draft documents seen by the Reuters news agency.

    The documents also say that access to restaurants will remain limited to people who can provide proof of vaccination or recovery.

    Leaders are expected to announce renewed financial support to companies and organisations affected by the new pandemic-related restrictions.