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Live Reporting

Edited by Lauren Turner

All times stated are UK

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  1. Thanks for joining us

    Many thanks for joining us today. Our coverage was brought to you by Alex Kleiderman, Alexandra Fouche, Alice Evans, Becky Morton, Claire Heald, Joseph Lee, Joshua Nevett, Justin Parkinson, Lauren Turner and Laurence Peter.

    Join us again tomorrow.

  2. Tougher tiers and vulnerable vaccinated by Easter - UK summary

    Oxford vaccine trial
    Image caption: The prime minister said he believed the most vulnerable people could all be vaccinated by Easter

    We're wrapping up today's coverage shortly, but here are the main headlines from the UK:

    • Boris Johnson has set out a "tougher" regional tier system for the end of England's national lockdown, which will allow gyms and non-essential shops to reopen across the nation
    • Spectators will be allowed to return to some sporting events, and weddings and collective worship will resume - but regions will not find out which tier they are in until Thursday
    • The British Medical Association said the new tiers plan was "full of risks" and threatens to undo the progress made under lockdown
    • Johnson said that he expected all vulnerable people in the UK to be vaccinated by Easter, if all goes well
  3. Concern over access to vaccines, and other global headlines

    Students, keeping a social distance, protest against distance teaching, in front of Lombardy Region offices in Milan, Italy
    Image caption: Students were protesting about distance learning in the Italian city of Milan on Monday

    If you’re catching up with today’s news, here’s a summary of the headlines from around the world.

    • Italy said its Covid-19 death toll had passed 50,000, joining the US, Brazil, India, Mexico and the UK as the only countries to reach that grim milestone
    • Luxembourg’s government ordered bars, restaurants and gyms to be closed as part of tougher restrictions to curb the spread of coronavirus
    • Russian authorities said they would not impose a nationwide lockdown, as the country reported a daily record of 25,173 new confirmed Covid-19 cases
  4. Outdoor space made vulnerable child patient 'feel free after forever'

    BBC Radio 5 Live

    Video content

    Video caption: Jake tells Nicky Campbell about the moment he was able to leave his house after 6 months.

    Nine-year-old Jake was born with polycystic kidney disease and has been in and out of hospital his whole life.

    He didn’t leave his home for six months during the pandemic, until the Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice in London created a safe outdoor space for vulnerable children.

    Jake told BBC Radio 5 Live's Nicky Campbell about the moment he was able to leave his house and play with his mum.

    "It felt like I was free after forever!" he said.

    Listen to 5 Live on BBC Sounds

  5. Watch: Long queues for tests ahead of US Thanksgiving holiday

    Video content

    Video caption: Covid: Long testing queues ahead of US Thanksgiving holiday

    Huge queues have been seen across the US as people rush to get Covid-19 tests ahead of Thanksgiving on Thursday.

    Despite the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) warning against travel, it seems many Americans are still planning to do so.

    So how effective is getting a test before you go? We asked an expert.

  6. The film crews being directed from a continent away

    Richard Baimbridge

    Business reporter

    Aldi's 2020 Christmas advert
    Image caption: Aldi's 2020 Christmas advert was shot in London, with the two directors calling the shots from New York

    In a production studio in Kiev, Ukraine, a film director sits in front of a computer screen and yells, "action!"

    Some 7,500 km (4,660 miles) away in Shanghai, China, his assistant relays the message to the crew filming a TV advertisement for Mercedes-Benz.

    Meanwhile, in Germany, executives from the carmaker are watching on in real time.

    Coronavirus lockdowns have halted many film productions around the globe - be it for movies or adverts. Quarantine and social distancing rules, plus airlines grinding to a halt, also often made filming impossible.

    But thanks to an increased roll-out of technology, remote filming is now growing in popularity. Assorted software systems mean that only a skeleton team is required on the ground, while the director and other colleagues can be on a different continent.

    Read more here.

  7. Cheers and tears as Australian families reunite

    Video content

    Video caption: Cheers and tears as Sydney-Melbourne flights reopen

    Flights between the cities of Melbourne and Sydney resumed for the first time since July after the Australian state of New South Wales opened its border with neighbouring Victoria.

    Borders were shut to combat rising cases of coronavirus.

    But now they have reopened as Victoria has reported no new cases since the beginning of November.

    The airports on Monday saw people separated from their families eager to be reunited with them.

    The BBC's Shaimaa Khalil and Simon Atkinson spoke to some of them.

  8. 'No end in sight': One day inside a rural US hospital’s fight

    Video content

    Video caption: Covid in North Dakota: One day inside a rural US hospital’s fight

    Health workers at a 14-bed hospital in North Dakota are struggling to keep friends' family members alive, as rates of new Covid-19 infections soar in the US heartland's tight-knit communities.

    Small towns like Grafton - with a population of around 4,000 - are especially vulnerable to a surge in critically ill patients, as local hospitals have limited space and staff.

    Watch a day in the life of Unity Medical Center - told by the people who work there.

  9. Duke of Cambridge congratulates Oxford researchers

    Clockwise from top left: Prof Sarah Gilbert, Prof Louise Richardson, the Duke of Cambridge, Prof Andy Pollard

    The Duke of Cambridge has congratulated University of Oxford researchers after their vaccine was found to be highly effective.

    In a video call, he told them: "Well done, I'm so pleased for all of you, I really am.

    "I saw it in everyone's faces back in June how much time and effort was going into this, and I could see that there was a lot of pressure on everyone, so I'm so thrilled that you've cracked it - so really well done."

    William had visited the Oxford Vaccine Group over the summer to learn more about their work.

    Those on the call today included Prof Andy Pollard, professor of paediatric infection and immunity, Prof Sarah Gilbert, professor of vaccinology, and Prof Louise Richardson, Vice Chancellor of Oxford University.

  10. Watch: Christmas the season to be 'jolly careful', says PM

    Video content

    Video caption: Covid-19: PM gives warning about Christmas celebrations
  11. Reality Check

    Will deprived areas face the toughest restrictions?

    Very high alert sign in Liverpool
    Image caption: Places with high deprivation such as Liverpool were previously placed in the highest tier of restrictions

    A member of the public - David from London - asked at the Downing Street briefing whether under the new tier system, disadvantaged areas would end up “suffering the most”.

    Poorer areas have had higher case and death rates in recent months, so could face tougher restrictions.

    In the period to 31 July, coronavirus death rates in the most deprived areas in England were twice as high as in the wealthiest, according to the Office for National Statistics.

    This was driven by high death rates in urban areas of London, the north west and the north east of England.

    The virus can thrive in urban areas, and people living there can face major risk factors including inter-generational housing, public-facing jobs and health problems, including obesity.

  12. China will allow experts to probe virus origin, WHO says

    People wear protective face masks as they travel by boat sailing on Yangtze River in Wuhan, Hubei province
    Image caption: The first known cases of the virus were detected in Wuhan, China last December

    China has given assurances that it will allow international experts into the country to investigate the origins of the coronavirus, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said.

    The WHO’s emergencies director, Dr Michael Ryan, said Chinese government officials had promised to facilitate a field trip to the country “as soon as possible”.

    The first cases of the virus were detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of 2019.

    China has rejected calls for an international inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus, arguing that such demands were politically motivated.

    But China has been co-operating with the WHO, allowing it to send an advance team to Beijing in July to lay the groundwork for the international probe.

    Since then it has remained unclear when a larger team of scientists would be sent to China to begin more detailed studies of the virus and its origins.

    Dr Ryan said “we fully expect to have a team on the ground”, with phase one of the investigation expected “over the next couple of months”.

    “Clearly, we all need to understand the origin of the virus,” Dr Ryan told a virtual media briefing on Monday. “We all need to understand where it has come from, not least to understand where it may re-emerge in the future. I believe our Chinese colleagues are just as anxious to find those answers as we are.”

  13. Downing Street press conference: Key points

    Here are the main points made by the PM and scientific experts during this evening's press conference:

    • Most vulnerable people are expected to be vaccinated by Easter
    • Test-and-trace is still vital to fighting Covid
    • While rules are set to change for Christmas, people shouldn't "go wild" in their celebrations
    • Vaccines will not be compulsory and won't start to be administered until they've been thoroughly tested for safety
    • There are no plans to shut schools in England a week early to allow families to visit elderly or vulnerable relatives more safely at Christmas
  14. Analysis: A gradual and slow return to normal

    Nick Triggle

    Health Correspondent

    It is clear Easter is being seen as a key date on the horizon when it comes to a return to normal.

    If vaccine production goes smoothly – and that is not a given – the hope is that the vast majority at greatest risk will have been immunised.

    Over 90% of deaths have been among the over 65s, so vaccinating the 12m people in the UK in this age group over the next few months would have a significant impact.

    The other factor – noted by England’s chief medical officer Prof Chris Witty – is that the season will have changed by that stage.

    All the evidence on coronavirus points to much less spread in the spring and summer months.

    That would then provide a window to vaccinate others while restrictions are eased.

    But do not expect a return to normal overnight. It will be gradual and slow, but certainly a lot easier than it is now.

  15. Don't go wild at Christmas, warns Whitty

    Prof Chris Whitty urges people not to "go wild" over Christmas, having fun but not behaving irresponsibly and spreading coronavirus unnecessarily.

    The PM adds that he wants to work with devolved governments on measures and to ensure that people "don't ruin it by overdoing it".

    Prof Whitty says everyone must work together to ensure the "best outcomes".

    That ends the press conference.

  16. Can vaccines stop the spread of the virus?

    Prof Chris Whitty says all the data so far is about whether vaccines protect the individual - but we don't know yet if they can prevent transmission of the virus.

    Prof Andrew Pollard adds that the results show a mixture of "dramatic impact" against serious illness and a slightly lower impact against milder disease.

    The UK trials of the Oxford vaccine involved testing 8,000 volunteers every day and showed that in one of the groups it reduced asymptomatic transmission, he says.

    That could mean it stops the virus "in its tracks", but he says that is currently "only a hint in the data".

  17. 'No compulsory vaccination' says Johnson

    The prime minister says that vaccination will not be compulsory and that is "not the way we do things in this country".

    But he adds: "I totally reject the propaganda of the anti-vaxxers."

    Everyone should get the vaccine on the advice of medical experts, he says.

    "We should be very, very pro-vaccine," adds the PM.

  18. Boris Johnson: Testing still vital

    Asked about test-and-trace, the prime minister says a new operation on this scale will have "teething problems", but capacity is increasing.

    Collaboration with councils is "integral" to the programme, he adds. It's of "such importance and such value" in fighting Covid, the PM adds.

    With vaccines there is an "oasis" but there will be "hard months ahead", with testing "vital", Johnson predicts.

    Prof Chris Whitty says it's "pretty obvious" that relaxations over Christmas will come "at a risk". People must behave responsibly before, during and after the holidays, he warns.

  19. 'Vast majority' of vulnerable to be vaccinated by Easter

    Downing Street press conference

    Asked about the roll-out of the vaccine, Boris Johnson says: "With a favourable wind we should be able to inoculate the vast majority of the people who need the most protection by Easter."

    But he says he doesn't want to give "any more hostages to fortune than that".

    Prof Whitty says the change for society will come step by step. "The virus will not disappear - it will become less and less risky for society in stages," he says.

    Asked by ITV's Robert Peston about what would happen for the vaccines if the virus mutates, Prof Pollard says the scientific work to change the vaccines might only take a "matter of days".

    But he says regulators would need to decide if it needs full testing again.

  20. Vaccine development is 'not a competition'

    Prof Andrew Pollard at No 10 briefing - with Boris Johnson on TV screen

    Prof Andrew Pollard is asked if the Oxford vaccine is "better" than the others developed so far.

    The important thing is to get all working vaccines out as quickly as possible, he replies. It's "not a competition" to see which one is best, Prof Pollard adds.

    Boris Johnson says the government is working hard to get enough doses in place. The UK is "at the front, or near the front" in terms of provision, the PM adds.