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Monday morning news briefing: Britain in 'last chance saloon'

Danny Boyle
·6 mins read
Blower cartoon - Blower
Blower cartoon - Blower

If you want to receive twice-daily briefings like this by email, sign up to the Front Page newsletter here. For two-minute audio updates, try The Briefing - on podcasts, smart speakers and WhatsApp.

Britain on final warning to avoid new lockdown

The UK is in "the last chance saloon" to avoid tougher lockdown measures. Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty warns today we are at a "critical point in the pandemic". He will give a live broadcast at 11am, warning the spread of coronavirus is "heading in the wrong direction" and that Britain faces a "very challenging winter period". Watch it here. Boris Johnson is tomorrow expected to give the nation one final chance to prove it can follow the rules and suppress a second wave. The Prime Minister is set to threaten curfews on pubs and bans on households socialising if the public does not follow strict self-isolation and social distancing rules. "This is the last chance saloon," said a Government source. Mixed messages from Mr Johnson have left people not knowing how to behave or behaving badly, says Global Health Security Editor Paul Nuki, as he argues Professor Whitty could still fix that. View the latest data on Covid-19 cases that is worrying experts.

Meanwhile, human trials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine are yet to resume in the US over concerns the jab may cause adverse reactions. Trials of the Oxford University vaccine have been paused twice after two participants, both British women, developed an inflammation of the spinal cord. Read everything we know about the Oxford vaccine and the effectiveness of other jabs around the world.

Millions of smart meters still at risk of going 'dumb'

More than a million smart meters have received a fix to stop them going "dumb", figures show - but millions more remain at risk. Around 20 million smart meters have been installed in the UK as part of a £13.5bn roll-out aimed at modernising the energy grid. But most are still first generation meters, which can lose their smart functions and "go dumb" if a customer switches supplier. It has resulted in frustration for those who changed energy companies. Meanwhile, Tom Welsh argues smart meters are the most egregious example of the war on personal space.

Tatler cuts 'snobby' claims about Middleton family

High society magazine Tatler has removed swathes of passages from a hotly disputed profile it published on the Duchess of Cambridge amid reports Kensington Palace took exception to "snobby" remarks aimed at the Middleton family. It was allegedly accused of publishing "lies" in an article which claimed the Duchess felt "exhausted and trapped" after the decision of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to step back from royal duties. Read more about the piece, entitled "Catherine the Great".

At a glance: More coronavirus headlines

Also in the news: Today's other headlines

Gauguin memoir | One of the "most important" manuscripts in the history of art, Paul Gauguin's Avant et Apres, is to go on public display for the first time next spring after London's Courtauld Gallery acquired it as a gift to the nation in lieu of a £6.5m inheritance tax bill. The original, handwritten painter's tract had been privately owned since before the Second World War. Craig Simpson reports that it contains fierce barbs about other artists and passages on his friend Vincent van Gogh.  

Around the world: Covid-friendly Christmas markets

Germany's Christmas markets could go ahead during the pandemic, Bavaria's state leader has said, despite rising numbers of coronavirus infections across the country and growing fears of a second wave. Read our report from Berlin and view more striking world pictures of the day.

A masked server carries mugs at a beer garden in Munich, Germany - Reuters
A masked server carries mugs at a beer garden in Munich, Germany - Reuters

Comment and analysis

In case you missed it: Highlights from the weekend

Editor's choice: Features and arts

  1. What every parent needs to know | The truth about children and Covid-19

  2. Property ladder | Five ways to help a child - without hurting your own savings

  3. Midlife Fitness Files | 'If you can stay afloat, you can be an outdoor swimmer'

Business and money briefing

EU climate plan | Commodity traders are betting that Europe's carbon futures will soon catapult higher as Brussels drains the glut of carbon allowances on the market. Prices are likely to smash the all-time record of €30 (£27.50) a tonne within months. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard says it would profoundly reshape the EU's energy architecture.  

Sport briefing

Fresh snub | Paris St-Germain are in talks to sign Dele Alli, with the midfielder having been left upset after being omitted from the Tottenham squad for a second game in a row. Jason Burt reports the likelihood is that Alli - who did not travel to Southampton for yesterday's 5-2 victory at St Mary’s - will leave Spurs on a season-long loan.  

Tonight's dinner

Languedoc pasta with mushrooms and fried egg | A thrifty recipe by Diana Henry for a tasty weeknight supper. Read on for the recipe.

And finally... for this morning's downtime

Midlife stroke | Paul McLean reached for his phone to show his wife something, but his hand would not move. The 40-year-old panicked and tried to convince Suzanne he was not joking. Within minutes, it became clear he was having a stroke. He explains the different methods he is using to regain literacy skills.