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Live Reporting

Edited by Claudia Allen and Owen Amos

All times stated are UK

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  1. Thanks for reading

    That's all from the Covid-19 live page today - we'll be back tomorrow morning.

    The writers were Alexandra Fouche, Cherry Wilson, Lauren Turner, Katie Wright, and Sophie Williams. The editors were Claudia Allen and Owen Amos.

  2. Round-up of UK headlines

    We'll be pausing our live coverage shortly so here's a quick recap of the main coronavirus stories in the UK today:

  3. Headlines from around the world today

    A graph showing the global number of cases

    Thanks for tuning in to our coverage today - the live page will end soon. Here are the headlines from around the world today:

    • There have now been more than 55 million coronavirus cases and 1.3 million deaths across the world, according to data collated by Johns Hopkins University
    • Pfizer has launched a pilot delivery programme for its Covid-19 vaccine in four US states. During trials, the vaccine was 90% effective in preventing the illness. However it must be shipped and stored at -70C (-94F) to remain effective, posing a significant challenge for its distribution
    • The boss of Moderna, the company behind one of the Covid vaccines whose initial results have recently been announced, has warned that long negotiations over purchasing the new vaccine will slow down deliveries to European countries
    • US Country singer Dolly Parton has been credited with helping fund the successful Moderna vaccine announced on Monday. Earlier this year she donated $1m (£800,000) to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, for coronavirus research
    • Head of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, has said athletes will not need to be vaccinated against Covid-19 in order to take part in the Tokyo Olympics next year. The Olympics were pushed back a year due to the pandemic
    • A second national lockdown has come into effect in Austria, after earlier measures failed to contain rising infections. It will last until at least 6 December. Schools and all non-essential shops have closed, and people are only allowed out for specific purposes – such as shopping for essential supplies, exercise, and if they have to travel for work
  4. Three or four family bubbles at Christmas?

    Radio 4 PM

    A Christmas dinner

    A former UK government adviser, Prof Neil Ferguson, says numerous families could become a "bubble" for a week to be able to spend Christmas together.

    A so-called "bubble" allows people who live in different households to be treated as one, in order to meet virus rules. For example, an adult living on their own in England can form a bubble with another household of any size.

    Prof Ferguson told BBC Radio 4's PM programme: "You could think of allowing three or four households to bubble together for a week but not contact anybody else, which would give more opportunity to see loved ones but not a free for all.

    "And that, I mean modelling, would suggest increases risk somewhat but in a controllable way.”

    Ferguson's modelling was used by the government before the lockdown in March.

    The governments from the four nations have held talks about taking a joint approach to Covid rules over Christmas.

  5. WHO's symptoms checklist

    WHO graph

    According to our audience research, this graphic produced by the World Health Organization showing coronavirus symptoms was one of the most shared posts on Facebook on Monday.

    It's a good reminder of what the more serious symptoms are, as well as the less common ones, as new Covid cases are on the rise in many parts of the world.

    We have more here on what coronavirus symptoms are and how to protect yourself.

    Video content

    Video caption: Coronavirus symptoms: What are they and how long should I self-isolate?
  6. US senators clash over wearing masks in chamber

    Video content

    Video caption: US senators Sherrod Brown and Dan Sullivan clash over face masks in chamber
  7. 'Disco polo' row hits Polish hardship fund

    Polish wedding celebration - archive pic

    A Polish brand of dance music – disco polo – is at the centre of a row about government aid for Polish performers hit by the pandemic.

    The fund worth 400m zloty (£80m) has now been frozen, after complaints that the right-wing nationalist government was favouring disco polo stars who are already well off.

    Culture Minister Piotr Glinski said the aid issue had become politicised. Defending the Cultural Support Fund (FWK), he tweeted that “the recipients of support were not determined by sympathies, but by an algorithm showing who had lost income as a result of the pandemic”.

    But the funding – desperately needed by many artists whose income has dried up – is now under review.

    The website Notes from Poland names several disco polo stars who each got more than 500,000 zloty (£100,000).

    Disco polo - heavy on drum machines and synthesisers - is popular at Polish weddings, with its simple tunes and lyrics.

    Composer Piotr Rubik was among the critics, mocking the fund by singing: “I’ll form a disco polo band and get two million.”

  8. Football fans missing their 'happy place'

    Adam Murray at Bramall Lane
    Image caption: Adam Murray has been reminiscing about times he's had at Bramall Lane

    Radio 1 DJ Jordan North faced his fear of snakes on I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here by chanting about his "happy place" - Burnley FC's Turf Moor stadium.

    While there were plenty of jokes to be had (including whether it was a happier place for Burnley fans or away teams) it also got fans thinking about their own home grounds, which they're missing during the pandemic.

    We've been talking to some of them about their memories.

    They include Adam Murray, who says being held up by his dad at Bramall Lane, Sheffield United's ground, is one of his first memories.

    "When it's something you've had around you all your life, it's generally a happy place - win, lose or draw, it's about the family time and the time with your friends," he says.

    Read more fans' stories here.

  9. Couple who died with Covid 12 hours apart

    Owen and Bredge Ward

    Northern Irish couple Owen and Bredge Ward, both 69, from County Tyrone, died just 12 hours apart after contracting Covid-19.

    Martin, one of their six children, held his father's hand as he died and said he was in "complete shock". He said his parents "were always together" and "doted" on their nine grandchildren.

    He said his mother's condition started to improve last week, but then his father "went downhill" and was put into a coma.

    "Fast forward a week and my father was improving and my mother was getting worse.

    "She passed away yesterday, then my father, from a position where he was getting better, just completely collapsed and within a couple of hours of my mother dying, he passed away too."

  10. Zoo animals 'miss attention from visitors'

    Video content

    Video caption: Covid: London Zoo animals suffering lockdown loneliness

    Many of us are missing seeing other people right now - and it appears that animals at the ZSL London zoo are no different.

    According to their keepers, the animals have noticed the lack of visitors and are beginning to miss the attention they would normally get from humans.

    London Zoo had to close its doors to the public for the second time during England's four-week November lockdown.

  11. Pfizer launches pilot vaccine delivery programme in US

    Pfizer vaccine

    Pfizer has launched a pilot delivery programme for its Covid-19 vaccine in four US states.

    Last week Pfizer announced its vaccine had been 90% effective in preventing the illness during trials.

    However the vaccine must be shipped and stored at -70C (-94F) to remain effective, posing a significant logistical challenge for its distribution.

    Pfizer will run the pilot delivery programme in Rhode Island, Texas, New Mexico and Tennessee. The varied size of the states will allow the company to see how the vaccine can reach everyone in those areas.

    “We are hopeful that results from this vaccine delivery pilot will serve as the model for other US states and international governments, as they prepare to implement effective Covid-19 vaccine programmes,” the company said in a statement.

    Pfizer says it hopes to have enough safety data from the trials by next week to apply for emergency use authorisation.

  12. 'Technical difficulties' cause UK data delay

    We usually bring you the latest coronavirus figures from the UK around this time.

    But today, the government figures aren't going to be available until after 18:00 due to "technical difficulties", according to a message on the site.

    We will update our own data page when we have those figures.

  13. Thousands of cases relocated in England

    Parts of England have recorded thousands of additional coronavirus cases after the government changed its recording methods.

    Cases were assigned to the address in a patient's NHS records, but this did not account for those who have recently moved, such as students relocating for university.

    Officials say the change had not affected decisions about local or national lockdown restrictions.

    Newcastle saw cases rise by more than a quarter, followed by York and Lincoln.

    Richmondshire, in North Yorkshire, had the highest proportion of cases re-allocated away from the area.

    Of the area's 677 cases between 1 September and 15 November, 124 were placed elsewhere.

    BBC graph showing cases relocated
  14. New Zealand responds to Chinese concerns over imported goods

    Kerry Allen

    BBC Monitoring, Chinese Media Analyst

    China, where the virus started, is one of the few countries where life is back to a version of normal, post-coronavirus.

    No new domestic symptomatic or asymptomatic cases have been detected in the last 24 hours. But there are growing concerns in the country that Covid-19 may enter China via imported frozen goods.

    A number of localised outbreaks earlier in the year in cities like Beijing and Qingdao were linked to handlers of imported frozen products, and China has been increasingly warning that cold-chain goods (those perishable goods transported at low temperatures) pose a serious threat to communities.

    On Monday, China’s customs agency said it had “stepped up efforts” to prevent the virus from entering China by contacting all of the 109 countries that export cold-chain goods to the country. It also said it had suspended receiving goods from some 99 companies in 20 countries that export to China.

    However, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has questioned claims that the coronavirus was found on beef exports from New Zealand, given the country has also returned to a version of normal.

    She said she had been advised New Zealand exports were stored with products from Argentina that had tested positive, following reports New Zealand goods had tested positive in the Chinese city of Jinan.

    “We are confident our products are not exported with Covid on them, given our status as being essentially Covid-19 free,” she told a press conference on Monday.

    A spokesperson from the NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs added: “New Zealand has not been informed of this officially by the Chinese authorities.

    “New Zealand officials are working now to ascertain the origin and veracity of these reports.”

  15. How Scotland's rules were tightened, relaxed, then tightened again

    Some of the major dates in Scotland's virus response:

    • On 19 March, it is announced schools and nurseries will shut by the end of the week
    • On 20 March, Nicola Sturgeon announced that all restaurants, cafes, pubs and cinemas were to close in Scotland
    • A UK-wide lockdown is announced on 23 March
    • On 28 May, Nicola Sturgeon announces the move to Phase 1 of the route map out of lockdown, to start the next day
    • She announces the next stage of easing measures on 18 June
    • On 7 September, after a rise in cases, Nicola Sturgeon says it might be necessary to "put the brakes" on the further easing of lockdown measures
    • On 22 September, Nicola Sturgeon announces that a nationwide ban on visiting other households will be in place from the following day, with a 22:00 curfew on pubs and restaurants from 25 September
    • It is announced on 7 October that all pubs and restaurants across central Scotland are to be closed. Pubs and restaurants will be able to open in other parts of Scotland but can only serve alcohol outdoors
    • On 23 October, the government unveils the five different levels of rules that might be needed in different areas of Scotland, to come into place on 2 November
    • On 17 November, Nicola Sturgeon announces 11 areas are moving from level three to level four restrictions
  16. Police suspend £10k fines for large gatherings

    Police

    Police chiefs have suspended the use of £10,000 fines for those who breach coronavirus rules on large gatherings.

    It comes amid concerns over potential disparity between the amount being paid by some upfront, compared to those who challenge the fees in court.

    When fines go to court they are means-tested, meaning the recipient's ability to pay is taken into account.

    The National Police Chief's Council (NPCC) said it was working "urgently" with the government over the issue.

    Read more here

  17. No self-respecting Swiss wants a winter without a fondue - but is it safe?

    Imogen Foulkes

    BBC News, Geneva

    People in Switzerland eat a cheese fondue

    The days are growing cold, the first snow is falling on the ski slopes, and Swiss minds are turning to their favourite dish. Nothing is more comforting than sitting round the table with good friends, sharing a cheese fondue.

    But in these troubled Covid times, some are questioning the fondue ritual: spearing a piece of bread, dipping it in that communal pot of bubbling cheese, and transferring it straight to your mouth. No self-respecting Swiss wants to endure a winter without fondue – but is it safe?

    Arnaud Favre, who organizes the annual fondue festival, is sure it is.

    “Lots of people have been worrying about whether it’s OK to eat fondue, with your friends, or even with people you don’t know – the answer is, there’s really nothing to fear. The Covid virus dies above 50 degrees Centigrade - fondue is cooked at 80 degrees."

    Unfortunately for Arnaud, his fondue festival has been cancelled this year – big crowds of cheese-hungry people are too much of a risk. Restaurants in many parts of Switzerland are closed too – but a fondue at home with friends is still allowed, although the ritual is becoming more flexible.

    Instead of one fork, fondue fans suggest, have two, one for dipping, and the other for eating. The advice seems to be working – as the Swiss brace themselves for this Covid winter, fondue sales are rising.

  18. Vaccine company warns lengthy negotiations will slow down delivery

    A Moderna scientist at work

    The boss of Moderna, the company behind one of the Covid vaccines whose initial trial results have recently been announced, has warned that long negotiations over purchasing the new vaccine will slow down deliveries to European countries.

    Stephane Bancel told AFP news agency that other nations who have signed deals will get priority. The UK has already signed a deal with Moderna to supply five million doses from next spring.

    “It is clear that with a delay this is not going to limit the total amount but it is going to slow down delivery,” he said.

    Earlier this week, Moderna announced its vaccine was nearly 95% effective, according to early data.

    Moderna is planning to apply for approval to use the vaccine in the US in the next few weeks.

  19. Scotland's five levels explained

    Levels graphic
  20. Dolly Parton contributed to Moderna vaccine success

    US country singer Dolly Parton has been credited with helping fund the successful Moderna vaccine announced on Monday, thanks to a large financial donation she made earlier this year.

    Back in April, the country singer announced she was donating $1m (£800,000) to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, for coronavirus research.

    View more on twitter

    Published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the report states that the researchers' work was supported by the Dolly Parton Covid-19 Research Fund (Vanderbilt University Medical Center) among other groups.

    Fans applauded her gesture in a number of ways, including this one who recorded a cover of Parton's hit single Jolene, replacing the core lyric with the word vaccine:

    View more on twitter

    The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged over $150m for coronavirus vaccines to Gavi, a global alliance of public and private sector organisations promoting vaccination among the world's poorest communities.