Watch: UK COVID-19 infections ‘showing signs of levelling off’ - ONS
Here’s what you need to know on 26 November. This article was updated at 4.30pm.
Deaths: Scotland has recorded another 51 deaths, while there were 28 in Wales and eight in Northern Ireland. The UK as a whole recorded 498 deaths.
England: The lockdown in England is due to end on 2 December, with the country going into a new tier system. Only a few areas are in Tier 1, with several areas going into tougher Tier 2 restrictions and many ending up in tier 3. Read more here.
New regional lockdown rules will cost more than 150,000 English venues an estimated £7.8bn ($10.4bn) in lost trade if they are in place throughout December, business chiefs have warned. About 98% of England’s hospitality sector — from pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes to hotels and caterers — will fall under Tier 2 and 3 restrictions in December, analysis by the UKHospitality trade body suggests. Read more here.
Wales: Mark Drakeford, the Welsh First Minister, is mulling further restrictions in the nation before Christmas. He has not ruled out another lockdown. Read more here.
Scotland: Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish First Minister, has advised there be no more than eight people over the age of 11 in Christmas bubbles over the festive season. It comes as the four nations decided to agree that three households could meet over a five day period. Read more here.
Infection rate: The coronavirus infection rate across the UK appears to be levelling off but rates vary ‘substantially’ across different areas of the country, the latest figures show. The data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found the percentage of people testing positive for coronavirus in England had decreased slightly to just below 1.2% using the latest figures which cover the week 15-21 November. Read more here.
Vaccine: Multiple concerns have been raised over the accuracy of the latest trial results for the University of Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine candidate. Among other concerns, many are perplexed the 62% and 90% figures may have been combined to create an overall efficacy outcome of 70%, despite different doses being administered to achieve these percentages. Read more here.
Christmas: Warnings that there would need to be a January lockdown to make up for the temporary relaxing of coronavirus rules at Christmas were “made up without basis”, a government adviser has said. Professor Tim Spector, an epidemiologist from King’s College London, has now poured cold water over those warnings of five days of restrictions for every one day of freedom. Read more here.
Sport: The return of fans to sports grounds is on the horizon under the government’s new tier system in England. Sports teams within Tier 2 areas can welcome in up to 2,000 fans if they wish. Read more here.