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‘Tis the season to be jolly careful’

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PM warns of no festive ‘truce’ from coronavirus

Britain is entering “the season to be jolly careful”, Boris Johnson warned. As he announced new coronavirus restrictions that will last until the end of March, the Prime Minister confirmed there would be a relaxation of the rules over Christmas – but no festive “truce” from the virus. Talks continue between devolved leaders about how people across the UK will be able to spend the festive period. More than half of England is set to be placed in the highest tiers of the revised regional system that will come into force on December 2. This is how rules will differ at each level. While details of which areas will be in which tiers will not be announced until Thursday, use our tool to check the Covid rate in your area. This is what the restrictions mean for each sector of the economy. And Matt finds humour in the hard Christmas choices for today’s cartoon.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that a dosing error during clinical trials led to the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine reaching 90 per cent efficacy by accident. Trial results show the “correct” dose achieved just 62 per cent efficacy, while the “accidental” level was significantly higher. Six years ago, AstraZeneca rejected a £65bn bid from Pfizer. Now it is worth more than £100bn. Read how it went from takeover target to FTSE winner.

Trump agrees transition to Biden presidency

Donald Trump has directed his team to cooperate with an incoming President-elect Joe Biden administration after the General Services Administration declared the Democrat the “apparent election winner”. The US president made his closest statement yet to conceding he lost. It clears the way for the start of an official transition and allows Mr Biden to coordinate with federal agencies on plans for taking over on January 20. Washington Correspondent Nick Allen says this is a watershed moment – and a clear sign that Mr Trump has finally accepted his electoral fate. Read what to expect from Mr Biden’s first 100 days in office.

Queen to build huge adventure playground

It will be a place where children truly can be king (or queen) of the castle. The Queen’s Sandringham estate is to play host to a sprawling adventure playground, featuring tree houses modelled on famous royal buildings. The playground – at the heart of the 20,000-acre Norfolk estate, which welcomes 500,000 visitors a year – will include swings, slides, a zip wire and raised walkways. View designs for the play area.

At a glance: More coronavirus headlines

Also in the news: Today’s other headlines

Pension reforms | The Chancellor is set to squeeze millions of retirees’ incomes in his spending review tomorrow by pressing ahead with a shake-up that will cost investors more than £100billion. It is believed Rishi Sunak will switch the measure of inflation for pension increases. It will cut increases in incomes from about 10 million pension pots. Meanwhile, Boris Johnson suggested MPs should not receive a pay rise amid mounting speculation the Chancellor will freeze public sector pay.  

Around the world: After the bombs, the knives

Experts say the civil war in Ethiopia could tear the country apart, cause catastrophic ethnic bloodshed and destabilise the Horn of Africa. Read Will Brown‘s dispatch from a refugee camp in neighbouring Sudan.

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