Hello and welcome to today’s live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic with me, Helen Sullivan.
I’ll be bringing you the latest coronavirus news from around the world for the next few hours.
As always, it would be great to hear from you on Twitter @helenrsullivan.
Britain could give regulatory approval to Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine this week, even before the United States authorises it, the Telegraph news site reported on Sunday.
Citing government sources, it said British regulators were about to start a formal appraisal of the vaccine, made by Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE, and that the National Health Service had been told to be ready to administer it by 1 December.
The US, meanwhile, may administer it to the first Americans by 11 December, while Germany, too, could start administering shots of the vaccine as soon as next month, Health Minister Jens Spahn was quoted as saying.
More on this shortly – but in the meantime here are the other key developments from the last few hours.
- Experts have urged Americans against travelling for family gatherings at Thanksgiving this week even though millions were set to defy the advice, as the US crossed the threshold of more than 12m cases of coronavirus.Ominous warnings came as Donald Trump appeared to admit that coronavirus is “running wild” across the US, in contrast with his statements throughout the election campaign that the virus would simply “go away” or “disappear” and, more recently, that the country was “rounding the turn” on the pandemic.
- Lab-confirmed UK coronavirus cases pass 1.5m. The number of coronavirus cases in the UK confirmed in laboratories has passed 1.5m after a further 18,662 cases were announced by the government.It brings the total number of cases in the UK over the course of the pandemic to 1,512,045, though it is widely thought the true figure is far higher.
- Ministers from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have endorsed a shared UK objective of allowing “some limited additional household bubbling for a small number of days” over Christmas, the Cabinet Office said on Sunday. However, they “reiterated the importance of allowing families and friends to meet in a careful and limited way, while recognising that this will not be a normal festive period and the risks of transmission remain very real”. It was unclear how many households would be permitted to mix over Christmas and for how many days restrictions will be relaxed.
- The Covid-19 pandemic has created a potential “existential threat” to central London because many people may in future choose to work in the suburbs rather than in the heart of the capital, the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said on Sunday.
- Rishi Sunak, the UK chancellor, has effectively confirmed that this week’s spending review is likely to feature a pay freeze for many public sector workers in England, saying it was “entirely reasonable” to consider pay policy in the context of the Covid-hit economy.
- A sharp rise in coronavirus infections in the Gaza Strip could overwhelm the Palestinian enclave’s meagre medical system by next week, public health advisers said on Sunday.
- Iran has recorded 13,053 new cases of coronavirus and 475 related deaths over the past 24 hours, after tougher coronavirus restrictions came into force in the country.