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Live Reporting

Edited by Claire Heald

All times stated are UK

  1. What happened today?

    We're going to be wrapping up the live page shortly so here's a reminder of some of the stories we've covered today:

    • Every adult will be offered a coronavirus vaccine by autumn, Matt Hancock says
    • Regular, rapid tests for people without symptoms of Covid-19 will be made available across England from this week
    • As India prepares vaccinate 300 million of its citizens by July, as well as contributing to the global supply of vaccines, we ask can it meet the demand?
    • And in happier news, a nurse who lived in a caravan for nine months to protect her mother from Covid has moved back home

    Many thanks for joining us today. Updates were brought to you by Becky Morton, Claire Heald, Jennifer Meierhans, Julian Joyce and Penny Spiller.

  2. NHS jab letters 'confusing the over-80s'

    Kay and Kenneth
    Image caption: Kay and Kenneth Hayward said they felt the journey asked of them was too unsafe

    People waiting to receive the Covid-19 vaccine say they are confused by NHS letters inviting them to travel to centres miles away from their homes.

    The first 130,000 letters have been sent to people aged 80 or older who live between a 30 to 45-minute drive from one of seven new regional centres.

    But patients, many of whom are shielding, questioned why they had to travel so far in a pandemic.

    Local jabs are available to people if they wait, the NHS said.

    Read more here.

  3. 'I felt let down by government over lack of financial support'

    The government's Self Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) was set up to provide financial support to self-employed people who have lost income because of the pandemic.

    But campaigners say as many as three million self-employed people are not eligible for support.

    One of those is Cheryl Jones, who served in the Army before retiring to set up her own pet-sitting business.

    She told BBC Radio 4's The World This Weekend that she had not received any financial support from the government since the start of the pandemic when her business closed down.

    She receives a pension of just over £10,000 from the Army and the income from her business was just under £10,000. But to be eligible for the SEISS an individual must earn at least 50% of their total income from self-employment.

    Cheryl said she felt "let down" by the government, after being excluded from the scheme.

    “I am really proud that I served my country and I have felt disillusioned, depressed… let down by the government, the country that I served," she said.

    “I can’t even sleep at night, I cry all the time and I’m not like that. I am a proud person but this has completely floored me.”

  4. Why divorce may not be the answer to lockdown tension

    Man and woman handcuffed together

    The first few weeks of the new year are often when beleaguered couples decide enough is enough and start divorce proceedings.

    But relationship expert Emma Kenny has warned that this may not be the year to follow that pattern - it could be that we’re projecting our anxieties and frustrations around the coronavirus pandemic on to our partners.

    Speaking on Mornings, she says: “We all [project] when we’re in a bad mood; we see our partner and we think that the reason we’re in a bad mood is because of everything they do, as opposed to the way that we feel.”

    Emma believes we should be wary of contemplating divorce at this moment in time and should view the pandemic as a "trauma".

    “If we’re doing trauma therapy with anybody, say you’ve been burgled or someone has died in your family, we say don’t make any big decisions for 6-12 months," she says.

    "We say that because you need 6-12 months between your trauma ending and you being able to assert where you are and how you feel during that time.

    “If you’re divorcing someone because you’re actually unhappy with the world, not your relationship...you might end up feeling even worse in a year’s time.”

  5. Seychelles begins mass vaccinations

    President of Seychelles Wavel Ramkalawan receives the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine at the Seychelles Hospital in Victoria on January 10, 2021
    Image caption: President Wavel Ramkalawan was the first to receive the vaccine

    The Indian Ocean nation of the Seychelles has begun vaccinating its population, with President Wavel Ramkalawan the first to receive the jab.

    Mr Ramkalawan was filmed live on television receiving the vaccine at a hospital in the capital Victoria, alongside a number of other public figures. “It’s exactly as if I was getting any vaccine,” he said, encouraging other citizens to do the same.

    The archipelago says it is rolling out some 50,000 doses of the Chinese-developed Sinopharm vaccine, donated by the United Arab Emirates.

    Health workers will receive it first, then citizens over 65, before the rest of the 98,000 population. A further 50,000 doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine, donated by India, are expected at the end of January.

    The Seychelles has had around 500 recorded cases of the virus, with one death.

  6. BreakingUK records 563 daily coronavirus deaths

    A further 563 people died in the UK within 28 days of a positive Covid test, according to data from the UK government.

    A total of 54,940 people have tested positive for Covid in the past 24 hours.

    Today's figures are lower than yesterday's totals for deaths and cases - 1,035 and 59,937 respectively. But figures can be lower than the general trend during the weekend.

    Daily deaths, cases and vaccinations figures
  7. Teenager arrested over suspected illegal rave plan

    Oldbury Court
    Image caption: Officers descended on Oldbury Court in Bristol at about 20:30 GMT on Saturday

    A teenager has been arrested and 38 fines issued over suspected plans to hold an illegal rave in Bristol.

    "Bristol Freerave" was promoted at an undisclosed location on social media but "following intelligence" officers descended on Oldbury Court in Fishponds at about 20:30 GMT on Saturday.

    The force said a "significant number of people" were in the area and 38 fixed penalty notices for breaches of Covid regulations were issued.

    A man, 19, was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to cause a public nuisance. He has since been released under investigation.

    Read more.

  8. Seal pups born as police beach patrols deter other new arrivals

    A seal and pup on Horsey Gap beach

    More than 2,000 grey seals have been born at Horsey Gap in Norfolk during its annual pupping season.

    The new arrivals come as police patrol the area to deter visitors during the national lockdown.

    Seal protection charity, Friends of Horsey Seals, say they have recorded "well over 2,000" new seal pups but do not have a complete figure for the season which stretches from November to January.

    "We suspended counting when the Covid restrictions made it impossible for our counters, so we don't have a complete figure this year," Jane Bowden, a warden and trustee for the charity, told the PA news agency.

    The charity has hundreds of volunteers from around the country but only local volunteers can help patrol the beach during lockdown, she says.

    Norfolk Police said it had fined a man and a woman in their 50s who admitted driving more than 120 miles from their home in Wellingborough in Northamptonshire to Horsey to look at the seal colony on Thursday.

  9. Round-up of coronavirus news in Europe

    Here are some of the coronavirus stories making the headlines in Europe:

    • Germany’s death toll from Covid-19 has reached 40,000, the centre for disease control has announced. Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned that the coming weeks will be the “hardest phase of the pandemic” so far
    • In Belgium, health officials say coronavirus deaths have passed 20,000, with more than half the victims from elderly care homes. Belgium has one of the world’s highest death rates in proportion to its overall population
    • In the French city of Marseille, seven people have tested positive for the fast-spreading new UK variant of Covid-19
    • The Spanish government has said it plans to send supplies of the Covid-19 vaccine and food to areas cut off by the heavy snowfall brought by Storm Filomena
    • Russia has recorded 22,851 new Covid-19 cases and 456 deaths in the past 24 hours. The numbers are down slightly from the previous day. The overall death toll stands at 61,837
  10. How world's scientists collaborated to fight virus

    Scientist holds up model of virus

    When the coronavirus emerged a year ago, two scientists – Prof Yong-Zhen Zhang in China and Prof Eddie Holmes in Australia - decided to publish the virus's entire genetic code online for anyone to download.

    This set off 12 months of break-neck scientific endeavour.

    Two US pharmaceutical companies – Moderna and Pfizer - began work on an experimental approach to swifter, simpler vaccine production. Chinese and American scientists collaborated on more than 120 studies. Research centres in Europe, Asia and North America shared data on what role genetics might play in how sick people get. And trials were carried out to see whether existing treatments could help.

    Many scientists agree that, over the long term, we face a world where the coronavirus is always present in the global population at some level.

    That is why, Dr Holmes told the BBC, it is important that channels of communication between scientists in every country remain open.

    Politics can't come into it," he says. "Otherwise the world will be a far less safe place. I think preventing the next pandemic will be partly about fantastic, whizz-bang technology like genome sequencing and mRNA."

    You can read the full report by BBC's Science Correspondent Victoria Gill here.

  11. BreakingLatest coronavirus figures from across the UK

    A further 508 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospital in England, bringing the total number of confirmed deaths reported in hospitals to 55,580, NHS England has said.

    Meanwhile, Scotland has recorded three deaths of coronavirus patients and 1,877 new cases in the past 24 hours, according to official figures.

    Scottish Government statistics indicate the daily test positivity rate is 10%, up from 8.7% on Saturday, when 1,865 positive cases were recorded.

    And Public Health Wales have reported another 45 deaths and 1,660 cases.

    In Northern Ireland, 17 more deaths have been reported in the past 24 hours, along with 1,112 new cases.

  12. Rapid testing 'not a solution in itself'

    Regular rapid testing for people without coronavirus symptoms will be made available across England this week, the government has announced.

    The London borough of Bexley sits on the border of London and Kent - which have both been hard hit by the new variant - and is one of the areas which will be involved in the programme.

    The borough's director of public health, Dr Anjan Ghosh, said the use of rapid tests was a useful tool to enable quick detection of cases in order to break the chain of transmission.

    However, he said it was "not a solution in itself" and had to be combined with other measures such as social distancing and wearing face coverings.

    Dr Ghosh told BBC Radio 4's The World This Weekend Programme there had been strong demand for asymptomatic testing in Bexley, with all the slots available this week already booked up.

  13. Sweden introduces new pandemic law

    Maddy Savage

    BBC News, Stockholm

    Passengers wearing protective masks walk on a platform at Malmo Central Station on January 7, 2021. Photo by TT News Agency/Johan Nilsson

    In Sweden a new law has come into force, giving ministers the power to close venues including shops, gyms and cinemas for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

    The measures were voted through parliament in Stockholm on Friday, after politicians were called back early from their Christmas break.

    From the start of the pandemic, Sweden took a different approach to the rest of Europe with a focus on voluntary guidelines designed to last months rather than weeks; instead of going in and out of lockdown.

    But this new law allows the government to introduce much stricter measures as the country battles with some of the highest coronavirus infection rates in the EU.

    Ministers have already announced a ban of more than eight people at bookable private party venues - from dining halls to common rooms in apartment blocks.

    And they have said numbers should be limited in gyms, swimming pools and shops in relation to how big they are - making sure there is at least 10 sq m (107 sq ft) available per person.

    Local authorities will have the power to fine businesses that do not follow the rules, or force them to close.

  14. What are the rules for places of worship?

    Coronavirus sign in a church

    Places of worship are allowed to stay open for communal services in some parts of the UK, despite the latest lockdowns.

    Unlike in November's lockdown, the government has allowed acts of communal worship to continue in England's churches, synagogues, mosques, gurdwaras, temples and meeting rooms.

    Places of worship are open for communal service in Wales, but the Welsh government guidance asks religious bodies to think about alternative ways of holding services - for example broadcasting services without a congregation.

    Where communal worship is allowed, measures are in place to reduce the risk of the virus spreading. For example worshippers should keep 2m (6ft) from anyone outside their own household and communal singing should be avoided.

    Places of worship in mainland Scotland (and the isles of Skye, Arran, Bute and Gigha) are currently closed for either communal services or private prayer.

    And Northern Ireland's main Christian denominations are to cease public worship until early February.

    You can read more about the rules for places of worship here.

  15. Can India meets its ambitious vaccine production targets?

    A health worker is seen inside a room during a dry run of Covid-19 vaccination at a centre in Delek Hospital, Dharamsala, India, on 8 January 2021

    From next weekend, India plans to begin rolling out one of the world’s most ambitious vaccination programmes.

    It aims to vaccinate 300 million people on its priority list by July. That would mean administering 600 million doses overall - around 85 million doses a month.

    India - which has the second largest number of coronavirus cases globally after the US - also produces 60% of the world's vaccines.

    The country has pledged to meet its commitments to produce a share of the global supply in the fight against Covid-19, but this could mean its pharmaceutical companies having to produce more than a billion more doses.

    The BBC’s Reality Check looks at whether India can meet that demand.

  16. UK needs ‘long term plan’ to avoid future lockdowns

    Dr Deepti Gurdasani

    The UK government needs a long term plan focused on reducing transmission to avoid future lockdowns, a scientist has said.

    Dr Deepti Gurdasani, an epidemiologist from Queen Mary University, said although vaccines were “critical”, even once the top four priority groups are vaccinated there will still be many more vulnerable groups who will not have received a vaccine by mid-February.

    “It’s really worrying this rhetoric that vaccines are this end point that will allow us to open up society when the majority of people will not be protected from infection,” she told the BBC.

    “We need a long term plan so that once restrictions are eased we don’t end up exactly in the situation [of] needing yet another lockdown.”

    She added that this included an effective test-and-trace system and quarantine measures at borders.

  17. 'Scotland cannot rule out tougher restrictions'

    John Swinney

    Coronavirus does not show much sign of "abating" in Scotland, says the deputy first minister as he refused to rule out tougher restrictions.

    Scotland is facing "a very alarming situation" with the virus, according to John Swinney, whose comments come as the country records its highest death toll so far in the pandemic in the last two days, where 93 Scots died from the virus.

    Swinney tells Politics Scotland: "I don't think I'm revealing a state secret when I say that the debate within cabinet [on Monday] was not whether we were going too far but whether we were going far enough."

    Mr Swinney says Scotland recorded around 130 cases per 100,000 people on Boxing Day, but the figure shot up to 300 just 10 days later.

    Despite the new measures put in place, Mr Swinney said: "It doesn't show much sign of abating to any extent.

    "We're seeing case numbers which are hovering around 2,000 per day... so we've got an accelerating situation on our hands and we have to constantly review whether more restrictions are required."

    He added: "We remain open to considering further restrictions if they are necessary."

  18. Arrests at anti-lockdown protest in Bournemouth

    Police patrolling following Bournemouth protest

    Three people have been arrested on suspicion of breaching Covid-19 regulations at an anti-lockdown protest in Bournemouth.

    The protest saw dozens of people "try to march" through the town centre on Saturday, Dorset Police said.

    The force's chief constable James Vaughan says: "I condemn the actions of these selfish individuals who knowingly flouted the lockdown restrictions."

    At least seven fixed penalty notices were also issued during the event.

    There were "repeated attempts" to engage with the organisers to stop the planned protest, the force says.

    Mr Vaughan added: "Our county is gripped with infections and yet these irresponsible individuals have ignored what is being asked of them and have left their homes to protest. Shame on them."

    More on this story.

  19. Latest developments from around the world

    Here are some of the coronavirus stories making headlines around the world:

    • Pope Francis has urged people to get vaccinated against Covid-19, saying opposition to having it is “suicidal denial”. He told Italian TV he would receive the vaccination next week when inoculations start at the Vatican
    • A new law has taken effect in Sweden, giving the government power to close venues such as shops, cinemas and gyms for the first time since the pandemic began
    • A second nationwide lockdown has come into force in Cyprus and will last at least until the end of January. Citizens have been told to stay at home and schools and non-essential shops will close
    • As India prepares to begin vaccinating 300 million of its citizens by July, as well as contributing to the global supply of vaccines, we ask can it meet the demand?
    • The total number of global deaths from Covid-19 now stands at 1,928,136, and total cases have reached 89,718,548, according to Johns Hopkins University
  20. Analysis: Situation will likely worsen before lockdown takes effect

    Jim Reed

    BBC News

    The number of infections recorded in the UK has now been above the 50,000 mark for 12 consecutive days.

    Higher cases inevitably mean more hospitalisations and more deaths.

    The most recent figures show that, on average, 894 people per day are now dying within 28 days of a positive Covid test, up from 438 at the start of December.

    The spike in cases since Christmas means that figure is almost certain to get worse before the most recent lockdown measures can start to have any effect.

    Scientists think the new variant of the disease is more “transmissible”, possibly because each infected individual produces more of the actual virus – sometimes referred to as the viral load.

    Vaccination should help to protect the most vulnerable from serious symptoms but we don’t yet know if receiving the jab stops an individual contracting the virus and passing it on to others.

    Scientists say that may mean even tougher restrictions will be needed to bring down the reinfection rate and start to reduce the overall size of the pandemic.