Published:

Special relationship maintained as Johnson is first on Biden’s call list

“Joe Biden showed his appreciation of British political sensitivities yesterday as he apparently made Boris Johnson the first European leader he called as president-elect. Despite speculation that he would signal his displeasure with Mr Johnson by relegating the prime minister down his international call list, the “special relationship” was maintained. The two men spoke at 4pm for about 25 minutes. Their conversation was believed to be before calls to Angela Merkel, President Macron and Micheal Martin, the Irish prime minister.” – The Times

  • Downing Street blames “technical error” for Joe Biden tweet blunder – Daily Telegraph
>Today:

Coronavirus 1) NHS told to prepare for Covid mass vaccinations from December 1

“The NHS has been instructed to prepare for mass Covid-19 vaccination of the public from December 1, in one of the biggest immunisation drives in British history. The plans will see up to 1,500 GP practices and drive-through centres ordered to open every day from 8am to 8pm, each dispensing at least 1,000 jabs a week – meaning there will be capacity for at least one million doses to be administered weekly. Health officials said on Tuesday that the NHS would be ready to deliver the jabs as quickly as they can be supplied, with medical and nursing students, and retired medics, being drafted in to help.” – Daily Telegraph

  • German couple behind vaccine are immigrant success story – Daily Telegraph
  • GPs in England will scale back care to deliver Covid vaccines – The Guardian
Explainers:
  • Oxford v Pfizer: how costs and logistics could still see Oxford’s vaccine win out – Daily Telegraph
  • How will Covid-19 vaccine be rolled out and who will get it first? – The Times
  • What the vaccine means for the global economy – Daily Telegraph
>Yesterday:

Coronavirus 2) Headache for PM as dozens of Conservative MPs set up Covid Recovery Group to fight lockdowns

“Dozens of Conservative MPs have formed a new backbench group to fight the imposition of a third national lockdown at the beginning of next month, The Telegraph can disclose. Former Government Chief Whip Mark Harper and former Brexit Minister Steve Baker are the chairman and deputy chairman of the new Covid Recovery Group, which launches on Tuesday. Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, has pledged that MPs will be given a vote on the next set of restrictions in England which will replace the national lockdown when it ends on Dec 2.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Government ponders simplified regional lockdown system – Daily Telegraph
  • Brits who test positive for Covid may get three-month ‘freedom pass’, suggests government advisor –  The Sun
>Today:

Coronavirus 3) Mark Harper: Lockdowns cost lives – we need a different strategy to fight Covid-19

“On Monday, we got the first glimmer of hope about a possible Covid vaccine. But as the Prime Minister cautioned, there is a long way to go before we know whether it is safe and how effective it is, let alone roll it out to the population.  So we’ve got to start bringing some balance to the debate about how we live with the virus. Lockdowns and restrictions cost lives, whether in undiagnosed cancer treatments, deteriorating mental health and missed A&E appointments – not to mention the impact they have on young people’s education, job prospects and our soaring debts.” – Daily Telegraph

Coronavirus 4) Moonshot pledge for mass coronavirus testing to cost over £40bn

“The government is preparing to spend £40 billion to help deliver on Boris Johnson’s “moonshot” pledge for mass coronavirus testing and to expand the UK’s laboratory capacity. Public Health England has issued a £22 billion contract for the manufacture and development of tests and the supply of clinical laboratory testing services over the next four years. The NHS has issued another tender of £20 billion that includes on-the-spot tests and diagnostics equipment. It said that the value of the contract had increased from £5 billion to £20 billion because of the pandemic and “immediate overall increased spend in support of [the] Covid-19 testing programme”.” – The Times

Coronavirus 5) Head of vaccine taskforce felt ‘hung out to dry’ by Number 10 after a ‘smear campaign’ against her

“Boris Johnson thanked the head of the UK’s vaccine taskforce on Tuesday after sources close to Kate Bingham revealed she had felt “hung out to dry” by Downing Street amid a slew of negative publicity. The biochemist and venture capitalist, aged 55, who volunteered to lead the taskforce on a pro-bono basis six months ago, has faced criticism after it spent more than £600,000 on PR consultants under her watch. It followed a report that she showed financiers a detailed list of vaccines which the UK Government was closely monitoring and could later invest in.” – Daily Telegraph

Coronavirus 6) Plunge in foreign-born workers as Covid destroys jobs

“The number of foreign-born workers employed in the UK fell by almost 600,000 in the past year as Covid laid waste to the jobs market and sparked an exodus of migrants. There are now 765,000 fewer people of working age born abroad in Britain than there were a year ago, with a bigger fall in those from the EU than those from the rest of the world. It comes as the unemployment rate rose to 4.8pc in September, its highest level in four years according to the Office for National Statistics. Redundancies hit a record high as the pandemic wiped out jobs.” – Daily Telegraph

Coronavirus 7) Covid test service will give students all-clear for Christmas return

“University students in England are to be offered a Covid “test and release” service so they can go home safely to their families for Christmas. Ministers will announce today that universities will be told to shorten the academic term and end all face-to-face teaching by December 9. Students will be encouraged to leave in “staggered stages” between the end of the national lockdown on December 2 and the closure of universities a week later. At the same time the government is offering hundreds of thousands of 15-minute Covid tests that students can take before they go home to reduce increased infection risks.” – The Times

  • One million students will travel across the UK in the same week lockdown ends – Daily Mail

Coronavirus 8) NHS test and trace: Harding says scheme failed to predict demand

“The head of the NHS’s test and trace programme has acknowledged it failed to predict the scale of demand for coronavirus testing as schools and universities returned this autumn. Appearing at a joint meeting of the health and social care committee and science and technology committee, Dido Harding said that the demand for testing in September took the service by surprise. “As schools came back we saw demand significantly outstrip [the] planned capacity delivery,” she said, adding a similar surge in demand was seen in Scotland. “None of us were able to predict that in advance,” she said.” – The Guardian

Coronavirus 9) Government’s 14-day quarantine policy is ‘fundamentally flawed’, groundbreaking report finds

“The 14-day quarantine introduced by the Government is the least effective of all strategies to prevent the spread of Covid into the community, a groundbreaking study has found. The research showed the longer the quarantine, the higher the rates of people not complying and so the greater the risk of an infected person spreading the virus into the community, according to the research by Oxera and Edge Health, scientists who have worked for the NHS and Government.” – Daily Telegraph

Johnson may give Vote Leave ally key No 10 role in shake-up

“The prime minister is poised to appoint his director of communications as chief of staff in a shake-up of his Downing Street operation. Boris Johnson’s decision to promote Lee Cain will entrench the influence of No 10’s Vote Leave faction in an apparent riposte to those urging him to reset his premiership. Mr Cain served under Dominic Cummings at the pro-Brexit campaign group fronted by Mr Johnson during the 2016 referendum. The former tabloid journalist then served as Mr Johnson’s press aide when he was foreign secretary and helped to organise his campaign to replace Theresa May as Tory leader last year.” – The Times

>Today:

News in brief:

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