Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Monday 30 Nov 2020

1. Hancock cautious as Covid infections in England drop by 30%

Covid-19 infections in England have fallen by nearly a third during lockdown, according to a new study. The findings by Imperial College London were based on swabbing more than 100,000 people between 13 and 24 November. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the results showed the country could not “take our foot off the pedal just yet”. The R number, which shows the level of transmission, is now 0.88.

Today’s newspapers: ‘Bullish Boris ready to walk away’

2. ‘Very sensible’ celebs to front vaccine campaign

NHS chiefs plan to sign-up celebrities and “influencers” to persuade people to accept the Covid vaccine. The Guardian reports that ministers and NHS England are drawing up a list of “very sensible” famous faces amid fears of a low take-up of the jab. Sources say that the footballer and campaigner Marcus Rashford and members of the royal family are the sort of figures being considered.

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Experts split over plans for post-vaccine ‘Covid passports’

3. Arcadia ‘hours from collapse’ despite Ashley offer

Sir Philip Green’s retail empire Arcadia could collapse within hours, the BBC reports this morning. The company, which includes Topshop, Burton and Dorothy Perkins, is likely to enter administration, putting 13,000 jobs at risk. Senior sources say they do not expect a last-minute rescue deal, even though Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group wrote to Arcadia to offer an emergency loan of up to £50m.

4. Brutal attack leaves 110 civilians dead in Nigeria

The UN says at least 110 civilians have been killed and many others wounded in an attack on farmers in northeast Nigeria. Armed men on motorcycles led a brutal attack on farmers harvesting rice in Koshobe, Borno state. Nobody has taken responsibility for the killings but the Islamist groups Boko Haram and the Islamic State West Africa are both active in the region.

5. Labour asks regulator to investigate Sunak shares

The ethics watchdog has been asked to assess whether Rishi Sunak broke the ministerial code by not declaring in the register of ministerial interests a multimillion-pound portfolio of shares held by his wife and her family. Labour has written to the chair of the committee on standards in public life, to ask him to look into the “serious questions” they say the report raises “as a matter of urgency”.

Experts give their verdict on Rishi Sunak’s spending review

6. Fauci expects ‘surge upon surge’ of Covid-19 cases

Infectious disease expert and White House adviser Anthony Fauci has warned that the US could suffer “surge upon surge” of coronavirus cases in the next few weeks as millions of people return home following the Thanksgiving holiday. Data from the travel industry suggested many Americans didn’t heed calls to stay at home. The US has recorded more than 13 million coronavirus cases and more than 266,000 people have died.

What is the science behind the Christmas Covid break - and will the let-up cost lives?

7. Avian flu outbreak sparks mass turkey cull in Yorkshire

More than 10,000 turkeys will be culled at a site in North Yorkshire due to an outbreak of bird flu. The discovery of the avian flu was made at a turkey-fattening site near Northallerton. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said the cull should not have an impact on supplies of turkey over Christmas. Around 13,500 birds were culled weeks ago after an avian flu outbreak in Cheshire.

8. PM ‘to offer more’ to struggling pubs and restaurants

Boris Johnson is set to announce that pubs and restaurants hit by new restrictions will be given extra cash to help get them through Christmas. The tier system requires all premises in Tier 3 to offer only takeaway service, while those in Tier 2 can only serve alcohol with “substantial meals”. A government source said: “There are already grants of £2,000 and £3,000 but we recognise that we need to do more.”

Last orders: 72% of hospitality and pub businesses could close in 2021

9. Biden fractures foot while playing with his dog

Joe Biden has suffered a foot fracture after slipping while playing with his dog Major. The injury, which was discovered in a scan on Sunday, is expected to require the US president-elect to wear a boot for several weeks, says his doctor. Reports say that when he left the doctor’s office, Biden was visibly limping, though he walked without a crutch or other aid.

US election: what is top of Joe Biden’s agenda as he prepares his transition team?

10. Lord Spencer may sue BBC as Panorama row rolls on

Earl Spencer is reportedly considering legal action against the BBC over claims that he was the source of fake bank statements allegedly used by Martin Bashir to lure Princess Diana into an interview with Panorama. Lord Spencer is said to be incensed at the suggestion in a forthcoming documentary that he had given Bashir a bank statement to copy.

BBC to investigate Princess Diana 1995 tell-all interview

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