Great Britain

Coronavirus UK news – Strict Covid measures will ease by Easter and big events like weddings back by summer, says PM

HUSBAND-to-be Boris Johnson welcomed a summer of weddings after the ease of strict Covid restrictions by Easter.

The PM said Britain next year will be "a different world" and that people should have "confidence" that couples will be able to "hitched in the normal way".

He was grilled this evening during his People's PMQs session by wedding planner Lara - but he swerved questions on his own engagement to girlfriend, Carrie Symonds.

He said: "If you're thinking about the summer, I think you'll be alright.By summer, one way or another, we'll be in a different world.

"Plan for a much more active summer and lots of happy nuptial events all over the UK".

And he added: "The New year brings with it new hope. We have to stick at it."

The PM also hinted at tax cuts and dashing red tape to get Britain booming again.

Follow our coronavirus live blog below for the very latest news, reaction and updates on the lockdown plans...

  • CHEF MAKES A 'SUBSTANTIAL MEAL' FROM SCOTCH EGG

    Chef Jon Fell made the world’s biggest Scotch egg, weighing 21lbs and 18 inches across.

    He used an ostrich egg, 7lbs of sausage meat, four pints of milk and five loaves of bread.

    Ministers including Michael Gove have been accused of mixed messages over whether Scotch eggs count as substantial for tiered pub drinkers.

    Asked if they count, Jon, 48, of Egremont, Cumbria, said: “It’s no secret that I love a good scotch egg, as to whether I think they can be classified as a substantial meal?

    "If they’re as big as our 11.2kg Goliath, then yes. But, I don’t think so really.

    "If I’m being honest, I’m really feeling for many in the industry at this moment in time."

  • US DEATH TOLL TOPS 3,100 IN SINGLE DAY

    The US recorded over 3,100 Covid-19 deaths in a single day, obliterating the record set last spring.

    The shocking surge has swamped hospitals and left nurses and other health care workers shorthanded and burned out.

    “The reality is December and January and February are going to be rough times.

    "I actually believe they are going to be the most difficult time in the public health history of this nation,” says Dr Robert Redfield, head of the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • MASK THE ISSUE

    Premier League fans MUST wear masks in their seats when top flight turnstiles reopen tomorrow - in a bid to get up to 20,000 supporters in grounds by the end of the season.

    The 20 Prem clubs agreed new Covid regulations to cover the first crowd attendances in the League since March.

    While Government guidelines indicated fans would only have to wear masks on entry and in concourses, the club chiefs agreed to enforce the tougher measures.

    By mandating mask wearing except when fans are eating or drinking, clubs would be able to seat supporters at 1m distance in the most modern grounds.

    And that could allow up to one third of total capacities - 20,000 or more for the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Newcastle, Spurs, Arsenal and West Ham - before the campaign finishes.

    Read more HERE.

  • 'SANTA TO GET FIRST VACCIINE'

    Santa will get the coronavirus vaccine first and will have an air corridor with the UK to deliver Christmas presents, politicians and experts said today.

    Jonathan Van Tam today promised Father Christmas would be “right at the top of the list” for a vaccine – and Jacob Rees Mogg stressed there would be no travel disruption as he’d have an air corridor.

    The deputy chief medical officer told BBC 5 Live that Santa is “right at the top of the list” for getting his jab.

    “The JCVI made a very special case for Father Christmas,” he added.

    Meanwhile Jacob Rees-Mogg told MPs in the Commons today that Santa wouldn’t need the vaccine to come into the UK.

    Click HERE to read more

  • 2021: THE SUMMER OF WEDDINGS

    Boris Johnson vowed tonight that by next summer Britain will be in a "different world" as he hinted at tax cuts to help bounce back from coronavirus.

    The PM insisted that it's his "strong hope and belief" that by next summer a combination of the vaccine and mass testing means the country will be returning to their lives and people will be "getting hitched as normal".

    When he was grilled this evening during his People's PMQs session by wedding planner Lara, he said: "If you're thinking about the summer, I think you'll be alright.

    "By summer, one way or another, we'll be in a different world.

    "Plan for a much more active summer and lots of happy nuptial events all over the UK".

    And he added: "The New year brings with it new hope. We have to stick at it."

  • BIG BROTHER STAR THROWS PARTY IN LOCKDOWN

    A Big Brother star has been slammed for flaunting her Covid lockdown birthday bash with 30 pals in Italy’s worst hit region - where the bug has killed 22,000.

    Italian influencer Elisa de Panicis has followed in the controversial footsteps of Rita Ora by hosting a party, with guests not wearing masks.

    Elisa, 28, shared pics of the mask-free party at an exclusive luxury hotel in the centre of Milan on December 1.

    The big bash came despite strict lockdown measures currently in place across the region of Lombardy.

    TGCom2 says that despite anti-Covid rules banning parties and gatherings there was "champagne flowing, [guests at] one long table and no masks: the images she posted on social media sparked controversy".

  • PUBLIC URGED TO IGNORE COVID CONSPIRACIES

    The public has been warned to ignore dangerous myths about the Covid jab spread by anti-vaxxers.

    It comes as the UK became the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid vaccine yesterday.

    For months theories have circulated questioning how scientists could produce a vaccine in such a short period of time, with some accusing experts of "cutting corners".

    One expert has blasted these dangerous myths, which include sceptics claiming that the jab is the "next Thalidomide".

    The editor of independent fact-checking charity Full Fact, Tom Phillips said the authorities and vaccine makers need to garner the trust of the public.

  • HOW COVID'S SECOND WAVE HIT THE NORTH HARDER

    England has now re-entered a tier system after a second national lockdown, with most Northern areas in the toughest Tier 3 restrictions.

    Experts have now revealed that the North may have been hit harder by the pandemic due to factors such as seasonality, employment and age.

    Just a handful of areas escaped Tier 3 restrictions after driving infection rates down.

    Liverpool, Cumbria, as well as Warrington and Cheshire are in Tier 2 along with the City of York and North Yorkshire.

    The rest of the North is in Tier 3 restrictions and this includes areas such as Blackburn with Darwen as well as the whole of the North East.

  • TRAVEL CORRIDOR UPDATE

  • REES-MOGG ACCUSED OF PEDDLING ‘FAKE NEWS’ OVER VACCINE BREXIT CLAIMS

    Jacob Rees-Mogg has been accused of peddling “fake news” after he claimed the Pfizer vaccine was approved quickly because of Brexit.

    UK health regulators approved the Pfizer vaccine yesterday, and a mass rollout will begin next week.

    Mr Rees-Mogg said that “we could approve this vaccine so quickly because we have left the EU”.

    Shadow leader of the Commons Valerie Vaz branded this as “fake news” and claimed it had “nothing to do with Brexit”.

    MHRA chief June Raine confirmed that the approval of the vaccine was made under the provisions of EU law.

  • BOOZE CRUISE PLANS TO TIER 1 ISLE OF WIGHT SLAMMED

    Council bosses have criticised suggestions of revellers embarking on "booze cruise" trips to the Isle of Wight to take advantage of its Tier 1 freedoms.

    Dave Stewart, the Conservative leader of the Isle of Wight Council, has branded the idea as "irresponsible" and said council officers would be ensuring venues stick to Covid-secure measures during the coming weekend.

    The Isle of Wight and Cornwall, along with the Isles of Scilly, are the only areas within England's Tier 1 which allows pubs to open without the Tier 2 requirement of acting as a restaurant by serving a "substantial meal" or being closed altogether in Tier 3.

    He said: "Suggestions of so-called 'booze cruises' visiting the island are completely irresponsible and, I hope, ill-founded.

    "We are working hard with the police and the ferry companies to put out messages that such behaviour is totally irresponsible and we will be supporting local businesses in managing any groups in a Covid-secure way that arrive with this intent."

  • PREMIER LEAGUE AND EFL AGREE NEW CORONAVIRUS RESCUE PACKAGE

    The Premier League and English Football League have agreed a £250million rescue package, ending months of uncertainty for lower-league clubs struggling to survive during the coronavirus pandemic.

    Most football has been played without fans, depriving lower league clubs of vital matchday revenue.

    The agreement follows months of tough negotiations between the bodies, who had been criticised for not reaching a deal sooner.

    Clubs in League One and Two will receive grants worth £50million.

    "Our over-arching aim throughout this process has been to ensure that all EFL clubs survive the financial impact of the pandemic," said EFL chairman Rick Parry.

  • ST MIRREN PUNISHED FOR COVID BREACHES

    Scottish club St Mirren have been handed two 3-0 defeats for matches that were postponed due to coronavirus breaches.

    The outfit were unable to fulfil games against Motherwell and Hamilton in October.

    The club have also been hit with a £40,000 fine that will be suspended until June 2021, pending any further breaches of the Scottish Professional Football League Covid-19 regulations.

    In a statement, St Mirren said they were "disappointed" with the outcome of the SPFL hearing.

    "The club operated honestly throughout the whole process and will review its position before issuing a further response."

  • HULL SET TO MISS OUT ON FIRST VACCINE ROLLOUT

    Hull and the East Riding of Yorkshire is set out to miss out on the first phase of the coronavirus vaccine rollout.

    The vaccine will be dispensed from 53 hubs nationwide and does include a single Yorkshire trust despite large swathes of the region entering Tier 3 restrictions

    Labour's Karl Turner, MP for Hull East, blasted the decision: "Just two weeks ago Hull was the epicentre of the virus in the UK so to see our hospitals being left out of the first rollout of the new Covid vaccine is disgusting.

    "The government need Hull pointing out on a map as they have treated us as the forgotten city yet again."

  • COVID DEATHS PASS 60K

    Another 14,879 cases of coronavirus have been recorded in the past 24 hours.

    This brings the total number of Covid-19 cases to 1,674,134, while 414 deaths have been recorded.

    The total number of deaths now stands at 60,113, according to the Government's figures.

  • R-IGHT DIRECTION

    Cases of the coronavirus are back at levels seen before the second wave, app data has revealed.

    Rates in older people have continued to fall and the R rate is currently at 0.8, as the country continues to push infection rates down.

    Data from the ZOE Symptom Tracker App shows that 384,408 people have symptomatic Covid-19 in the UK.

    Prof Tim Spector, who leads the research tweeted: "New Cases on ZOE CSS app continue to fall across England back to late September levels in line with hospital admissions.

    "Rates in older people also falling. R value still 0.8 but not so good for Wales and Scotland."

    Further data from the Zoe app shows that there are 20,496 new cases of the virus every day.

    Read more HERE.

  • VACCINE NOT A PREREQUISITE FOR RECREATIONAL OR RETAIL ACTIVITY IN NORTHERN IRELAND, HEALTH MINISTER SAYS

    A coronavirus jab will not be a prerequisite for participating in any retail activity in Northern Ireland, the Health Minister has insisted.

    This comes after airline Qantas warned potential passengers that they needed to show proof they have received a Covid vaccine before boarding a flight.

    He said the Northern Ireland Executive has no plans to introduce similar actions in the province, Belfast Live reports.

    He told the Northern Irish Assembly's health committee that UK regulators could approve a second vaccine within days.

    "In regard to linking the uptake of the vaccine to some sort of access to recreation or even getting into economic or retail settings and things like that, it is not the intention nor will be it be the policy intention of either my department or the Executive," Mr Swann confirmed.

  • DISCOUNTS COULD BE OFFERED TO LIVERPOOL RESIDENTS WITH NEGATIVE COVID TESTS

    Businesses in Liverpool could offer discounts to shoppers who show negative coronavirus test results as part of a new initiative.

    Rates of the virus have fallen dramatically in the city since a pilot scheme offering tests to people without symptoms got under way in November.

    Firms in Liverpool, which is in Tier 2, are being asked to put forward discounts or offers to anyone who can show they have had tested negatively in the past 24 hours.

    It is hoped the incentive will encourage people to get regular tests and allow people to enjoy shops and restaurants safely during December.

    As part of the scheme, a partnership between Marketing Liverpool, the city region's destination marketing organisation, Liverpool BID Company and shopping centre Liverpool ONE, venues and customers would still need to follow restrictions and guidelines on social distancing.

    Chris Brown, director of Marketing Liverpool, said: "An incentive scheme such as this benefits everyone, it allows those with a negative lateral flow test result to safely enjoy our shops, restaurants and visitor attractions during December whilst bringing much-needed footfall back into our venues."

  • SPECIAL DELIVERY

    Santa will get the coronavirus vaccine first and will have an air corridor with the UK to deliver Christmas presents, politicians and experts said today.

    Jonathan Van Tam today promised Father Christmas would be "right at the top of the list" for a vaccine - and Jacob Rees Mogg stressed there would be no travel disruption as he'd have an air corridor.

    The deputy chief medical officer told BBC 5 Live that Santa is "right at the top of the list" for getting his jab.

    "The JCVI made a very special case for Father Christmas," he added.

    Meanwhile Jacob Rees-Mogg told MPs in the Commons today that Santa wouldn't need the vaccine to come into the UK.

    Click HERE to read more

  • CASES DOWN IN ENGLAND

    Coronavirus cases rates are also falling in every region of England, Public Health England said.

    The biggest drop was in north-east England, where the rate stood at 181.7 per 100,000 people in the week to November 29, down from 286.6 in the previous week.

    In Yorkshire and the Humber, the rate dropped from 284.2 to 181.2.

    West Midlands recorded the highest rate of any region in England: 192.4, down from 282.3.

    South-west England had the lowest rate: 88.8, down from 130.8.

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