Covid: MPs expected to rebel over stricter rules, and call for booster volunteers

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Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Tuesday morning. We'll have another update for you this evening.

1. PM expected to face rebellion in Commons Covid vote

Stricter rules announced for England last week, aimed at slowing the spread of the Omicron variant, are likely to be passed by Parliament later, despite a rebellion from as many as 70 Conservatives. Many Tory backbenchers think a requirement for a Covid pass - proving vaccination or a negative test result - to enter large venues is intrusive. However, the measures have Labour's backing.

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2. Volunteer call as 500,000 book boosters in a day

Boris Johnson is appealing for volunteers to help deliver coronavirus booster vaccinations, after high demand saw five-hour queues form at walk-in centres and the NHS website crash. The prime minister says more than half a million people booked jabs on Monday, calling it an "incredible feat", although senior health sources say they might struggle to meet a government target to offer boosters to all over-18s by 31 December.

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3. Why boosters work when two doses struggle

Two doses of some vaccines offer almost no protection from infection by the Omicron variant, although they do still greatly reduce the risk of becoming so ill you need hospital care. Our health and science correspondent James Gallagher analyses why a booster jab can make a huge difference to your risk catching coronavirus.

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4. Job vacancies at new high as employment goes up

UK employers added 257,000 staff to their payrolls in November, with official figures showing more people are in jobs than before the pandemic, despite the end of the furlough scheme. However, Darren Morgan from the Office for National Statistics, says the data may not reveal those still serving a notice period after being made redundant. Meanwhile, the number of job vacancies hit another record at 1.22 million between September and November - 434,500 above pre-Covid levels.

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Image caption,
Unemployment was down among younger workers and there were more part-time jobs

5. Man Utd game off amid outbreak

A coronavirus outbreak among Manchester United footballers has caused this evening's match at Brentford to be called off, with the Premier League saying the decision was taken following guidance from medical advisers. It comes after it emerged 42 Premier League players and staff had tested positive in the last week.

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And don't forget...

You can find more information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page.

Confused about whether you should isolate if you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive? Remind yourself of the rules.

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