Got a TV Licence?

You need one to watch live TV on any channel or device, and BBC programmes on iPlayer. It’s the law.

Find out more
I don’t have a TV Licence.

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

Get involved

  1. That's all for now

    It's time for us to wrap up today's live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic in the UK and around the world. Here's a reminder of the main coronavirus stories this afternoon:

    • The UK has reported the highest daily total of Covid cases since 9 January - there have been another 58,194 cases today
    • A further 448 cases of the Omicron variant have been confirmed, bringing the UK's total to 1,265
    • This year's 10 Downing Street Christmas party has been cancelled amid growing anger over a gathering that occurred last December when London was under strict Covid restrictions
    • Scotland is facing a "tsunami" of Omicron cases, with the variant likely to replace Delta as the dominant form of the virus within days, Nicola Sturgeon has warned
    • Face coverings are now compulsory in most indoor venues in England, under measures to tackle the Omicron variant

    Today's live page has been edited by Paul Gribben, with Jennifer Meierhans, Emma Harrison, Jo Couzens and Matt Murphy on writing duties.

  2. Brazilian Health Ministry hit in massive cyber attack

    A phone with shots of a cyber attack behind it

    Millions of Brazilians were left unable to access digital vaccine certificates after the country's health ministry was hit by a massive cyber attack on Friday.

    Hackers took several systems offline and posted a message on the health ministry's website saying that vaccine data had been copied and deleted.

    "Contact us if you want the data back," the message read, including what appeared to be the hackers' e-mail and Telegram contact information.

    The health ministry said it was working to restore the systems and minister Marcelo Queiroga told reporters that no data will be lost, claiming that the ministry still holds all the information that was stolen by the hackers.

    But the attack has seen the government delay the implantation of new Covid-19 regulations by a week. The rules are set to include a rule requiring unvaccinated travellers to quarantine upon arrival in the country.

    Brazil is widely viewed as being wildly under-prepared for a cyber attack and earlier this year a huge data leak saw tax numbers, facial images and addresses belonging to 223 million people posted for sale on the dark web.

  3. New York governor orders indoor mask mandate

    Kathy Hochul speaking to reporters

    New York's governor has announced that face coverings must be worn in all indoor venues starting next week, as the state battles a rapidly rising number of Covid-19 cases.

    Kathy Hochul said the measure will come into effect on Monday and will last until 15 January. Venues that have implemented a separate vaccine requirement will be exempt from the rule.

    "We shouldn't have reached the point where we are confronted with a winter surge, especially with the vaccine at our disposal, and I share many New Yorkers' frustration that we are not past this pandemic yet," Hochul said.

    While about 80% of New Yorkers are fully vaccinated, the state has seen a surge in cases in recent weeks.

    The state-wide seven-day average has seen cases rise by 43% since the Thanksgiving holidays last month and hospitalisations have increased by 29%.

  4. What’s the latest in China?

    Kerry Allen

    BBC Monitoring, Chinese Media Analyst

    Volunteers wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) arrange food supplies at a residential block where is under restrictions to halt the spread of the Covid-19 on December 10, 2021 in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province of China
    Image caption: Volunteers wearing PPE arrange food supplies at a residential block which is under Covid restrictions in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province of China

    There have only been 37 cases of Covid-19 confirmed today in China.

    However, there are reports on how China has taken steps to tighten its border with Vietnam amid fresh concerns that cases of the virus could spill over from the country.

    There have been reports in the last week about how two people illegally entered China’s Guangxi, and tested positive for Covid-19. This is the region that borders Vietnam.

    In recent months, China has already taken steps to tighten its borders with Myanmar, Mongolia and Russia, after spates of cases were confirmed at cities close to their borders.

    Even though two cases spilling over from Vietnam may sound like a small number to enforce tighter restrictions, China has a zero-Covid strategy, and locks down communities the moment a single case is identified. Top medical specialists project this strategy may be in force until the end of spring next year.

    However, China is already close to meeting its local threshold for herd immunity. There have been more than 2.5bn vaccinations in the country, and at least 78.5% of China’s 1.4bn population have been fully vaccinated. Children as young as three are eligible for vaccinations, and booster jabs are under way in major cities.

    Specialists have repeatedly said that herd immunity will equate to when 80% of the population is vaccinated.

  5. UK faces deeply concerning situation - Gove

    Michael Gove

    The UK faces "a deeply concerning situation", Michael Gove has said, after chairing an emergency Cobra meeting on the latest Covid data.

    The levelling-up secretary says he and the leaders of the UK's four nations were presented with some "very challenging new information".

    After the highest number of Covid infections across the UK since January were reported today, he said: "We know that the Omicron variant is doubling every two to three days in England - and possibly even faster in Scotland.

    "We know that 30% of reported cases in London are the Omicron variant."

    The cabinet minister emphasised he thought the UK government's current approach was "proportionate" and said it "absolutely" needed to keep everything under review.

    He acknowledged the importance of balancing people's ability to get on with their lives with the need to protect them against Covid, but he said "action is absolutely required".

    Quote Message: Action is absolutely required - and as new data comes in we will consider what action we do require to take in the face of that data." from Michael Gove Levelling-up secretary
    Michael GoveLevelling-up secretary
  6. Covid outbreaks hit Premier League teams

    Harry Kane
    Image caption: Smith does not believe Norwich's possible positive cases are linked to last week's defeat at Spurs, who have since been hit by an outbreak of the virus

    Norwich boss Dean Smith says the club are waiting anxiously on coronavirus test results before their Premier League game against Manchester United on Saturday.

    The Canaries' last game was a 3-0 defeat by Tottenham, who have since been hit by a coronavirus outbreak.

    "There's a couple of players who we are worried about, so we have tested and we will wait for the PCR results," Smith says.

    "They are just feeling a little bit unwell, but it is not likely to be linked to the game last week with Tottenham."

    Leicester also had a number of Covid-related absences for their Europa League defeat at Napoli on Thursday.

    Given the rising number of positive coronavirus cases driven by the Omicron variant, and the new measures in England, the Premier League has told its 20 clubs to return to the emergency measures brought in at the start of the season.

    Clubs with high vaccination rates had relaxed some of them, which include social distancing and wearing masks indoors, but must now tighten restrictions again to help limit the spread of the Omicron variant.

    Read more

  7. Inside the top secret UK lab analysing Omicron

    Video content

    Video caption: Inside Britain’s top secret research laboratory

    We reported earlier on the analysis of Omicron cases in the UK - which would have been carried out by the UK's top secret laboratory.

    So, what happens inside the Ministry of Defence's Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) - otherwise known as Porton Down?

    Based five miles (8km) outside Salisbury, in Wiltshire, it is highly secretive, under armed guard and is very hard to get into.

    And for good reason.

    The laboratories are where some of the country's top scientists carry out research into the world's most dangerous pathogens - diseases that can kill us.

    Ebola, plague and anthrax are among the life-threatening diseases under study at this secluded base.

    It's also where scientists analysed samples confirming that a Novichok nerve agent had been used to poison former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter.

    In 2019, BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner was given rare access to the facility.

  8. Covid statistics in charts

    As we've reported, the UK has reported the highest number of Covid cases today since 9 January.

    Meanwhile, more than 22 million people have now received a booster jab in the UK.

    Here are the numbers in charts:

    Covid case numbers graph
    Daily deaths graph
    Vaccine doses
  9. Third dose increases protection to around 75%

    UK scientists analysed data from 581 Omicron cases and thousands of Delta cases to calculate how effective the vaccines are against the new variant.

    It showed a dramatic drop in effectiveness for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and a significant drop-off for two doses of Pfizer.

    However, the third dose increased the protection against getting Covid symptoms to between 70 and 75%, according to the UK Health Security Agency.

    Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at the agency, said: "These early estimates should be treated with caution but they indicate that a few months after the second jab, there is a greater risk of catching the Omicron variant compared to Delta strain."

  10. Boosters are our best defence - Javid

    Today's data on Omicron shows how important booster jabs are, Health Secretary Sajid Javid says.

    “They are our best defence and we have turbocharged our roll-out programme, inviting seven million more people over the age of 40 to get their booster jab so even more people get protection from this disease," he says.

    "I urge you to come forward as soon as you’re eligible to help keep yourself and your loved ones safe.”

    So far in the UK more than 22 million people have had a booster.

    Read more: How can I get a booster jab?

  11. BreakingOmicron will become dominant by mid-December - UK Health Security Agency

    The UK Health Security Agency also says there is evidence showing that Omicron is growing much faster than Delta in England.

    The new variant is projected to become the dominant variant in the UK by mid-December, based on current trends, it says.

  12. BreakingVaccine protection against mild symptomatic disease from Omicron reduced - data

    Vaccine protection against mild symptomatic disease from Omicron may be substantially reduced, new data suggests.

    The UK Health Security Agency says there is evidence that boosters show good effectiveness, "although with some reduction compared to Delta".

  13. What are the Covid self-isolation rules now Omicron is circulating?

    A woman wearing a face mask looks out of a window

    The new Omicron Covid variant has meant the UK's rules for self-isolation have changed.

    Travellers to the UK and suspected contacts of people with Omicron are among those affected.

    And the rules for anyone in close contact with someone who tests positive for Covid have also changed.

    Here's a reminder of all the UK Covid self-isolation rules now.

  14. Where are the new Omicron cases in the UK?

    We've got some more information now on where the new Omicron cases have been confirmed in the UK.

    The UK Health Security Agency says 443 additional cases of that variant have been reported across England. The total found in England so far is 1,139.

    In Scotland, one new case has been reported, bringing the total to 110.

    In Wales, there are four new Omicron cases, bringing the total to 13.

    No additional cases have been reported in Northern Ireland, which has had three confirmed cases so far, up to 9 December.

  15. BreakingA further 448 UK Omicron cases confirmed

    Another 448 cases of Omicron have been confirmed in the UK, according to data from the UK Health Security Agency.

    This brings the total to 1,265 Omicron cases in the UK.

  16. BreakingAnother 58,194 Covid cases reported in UK

    A further 58,194 Covid cases have been reported in the UK, according to the latest government statistics. This is the highest number of cases reported since 9 January, when there were 59,937.

    Another 120 deaths within 28 days of a positive test have also been recorded.

  17. Your questions answered

    Do I need to wear a mask at a gig?

    Stock photo of a concert

    “Concert halls” are included in new rules for England which mean visitors to most public indoor venues must wear a face covering. So, audience members at a gig need to wear masks, as do staff.

    However, face coverings are not currently required in places such as pubs and bars as “they cannot be worn while eating or drinking”. So, you can remove your mask if you are eating or drinking in a separate bar area at the venue.

    However, if you want to buy a drink to take away from the bar - into an auditorium, for example - you must keep your mask on, except for when drinking.

    Separately, proof of your Covid status – via the NHS Covid Pass or proof of a negative Covid test - will be required at some venues from 15 December. Unseated indoor events with more than 500 people are included, but a gig for about 200 people would not be. You could double-check how many people will be going by asking the venue.

    We've answered more of your questions here

  18. Ghana: All adult arrivals must be vaccinated

    A woman being vaccinated

    All adults arriving in Ghana must show proof of full Covid vaccination from midnight on Sunday - authorities there are concerned about a surge of infections over the festive period.

    These measures appear to be some of the strictest in the world.

    Many other countries such as members of the European Union and the United States have avoided an outright blanket ban on unvaccinated arrivals by giving such travellers the option of self-isolating on arrival.

    Ghanaian citizens and residents abroad are exempt for up to two weeks, but will be required to get jabbed upon landing at the airport..

    Alongside the new measures, Ghanaian authorities will also still insist that all arrivals present a negative PCR test.

    All Ghanaians flying out of the country will also need to be fully vaccinated.

  19. South Africa to start booster jabs

    Vaccine being given in South Africa

    South Africa will next month start giving Pfizer booster jabs against coronavirus, a health official says, a day after the country reported a near-record high in daily cases.

    The more transmissible Omicron variant was first discovered by South African scientists. Pfizer says three doses of its vaccine provide a similar level of antibodies against Omicron to that of two doses against other variants.

    Dr Nicolas Crisp, director general at the health ministry, tells a weekly news conference the first people who will qualify for the booster dose in South Africa will be those over the age of 60.

    The daily number of new Covid infections in the country surged to a high of 22,391 on Thursday, when nearly 30 per cent of tests were positive.

    The highest daily tally so far was in early July, when the country hit more 26,000 new infections.

    South Africa is the worst-hit country in the continent for coronavirus, recording a cumulative 3.09 million cases, of which over 90,000 have been fatal.

    Read here for more details on where Covid cases are happening around the globe.

  20. Reality Check

    What gatherings are being investigated?

    Number 10 Downing Street

    As we've been reporting, top civil servant Simon Case is to investigate allegations of government gatherings last Christmas - including two in Downing Street - while the country was in lockdown.

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he has been "repeatedly assured that the rules were not broken".

    But what is being examined?

    The investigation, announced by the PM on Wednesday will examine:

    • An alleged gathering on 27 November
    • A Department for Education gathering on 10 December
    • And an alleged Downing Street party on 18 December

    Case will look at the purpose of the events, who attended and whether rules were followed.

    No date has been given on when his report will be published.

    Take a look at how the row started and what has happened since.