Monday evening news briefing: Vaccine ‘may be compulsory’ as Matt Hancock does not rule out move

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Hancock refuses to rule out mandatory vaccination

Matt Hancock has refused to rule out making a coronavirus vaccine mandatory, suggesting ministers could make it a requirement if initial take-up is lower than expected. The Health Secretary said the Government was not "proposing" a legal requirement for people to be vaccinated because some would be unable to have a jab due to medical reasons – but he added he has "learnt not to rule things out". His comments come on the day details of a third Covid-19 vaccine emerged, that is potentially more effective than either the Pfizer/BioNTech or Russian jab. Just a week after pharma giant Pfizer announced it has created a vaccine which protects 90pc of users, the US biotech company Moderna said its version was successful in 94.5pc of trial participants. Here is the latest on the hunt for vaccines around the world.

In a Downing Street press conference this evening, Mr Hancock revealed the Government has secured an initial agreement for five million of the vaccines. He also announced two new "mega labs" will open in the new year, doubling the UK’s testing capacity. He also revealed a network 40 Long Covid clinics will be in place by end of the month. It comes as another 168 people were recorded to have died in the UK in the last 24 hours, taking the average daily death rate to 413, up from 332 a week ago. As you might expect, shares in Moderna soared after its announcement.

Up to 15 MPs could be required to self-isolate with PM

Several more MPs may have to join the Prime Minister in self-isolating after coming into contact with the politician who tested positive for coronavirus, The Telegraph understands. Lee Anderson, MP for Ashfield, tested positive for Covid-19 on Sunday, forcing Boris Johnson and another nine MPs to self-isolate. Several more are thought to have been contacted by NHS Test and Trace, with Mr Anderson also having sat in the Chamber for a debate on Wednesday, during a period he is thought to have been infectious, and met the PM on Thursday. Matt Hancock insisted this morning that the Prime Minister will still be able to "drive the agenda forward" in a key week for Brexit negotiations. Nigel Farage has said he believes Brexit is ‘in peril’ after the departure of Dominic Cummings and Lee Cain from Downing Street. Camilla Tominey analyses the factors making life so difficult for Mr Johnson.

Diplomat hailed as hero after saving woman from river

A British diplomat has been hailed as a hero in China after he jumped into a fast flowing river and saved the life of a young woman who was unconscious in the water. Stephen Ellison, the newly appointed British Consul General in Chongqing, was visiting the ancient town of Zhongshan on Saturday when a 24-year-old woman is understood to have slipped while taking photographs. The 61-year-old, who is also a champion triathlete, quickly removed his shoes before entering the water and rescuing the tourist. Watch the drama filmed by onlookers.

At a glance: Latest coronavirus headlines

  • Care homes | All could reopen to visitors by Christmas, Hancock says
  • Religious gatherings | Police write to faith leaders to warg of dangers
  • Travel latest | Pressure on Government to scrap travel quarantine
  • Holiday plans | 22 countries you can (feasibly) visit post-lockdown
  • Social-distancing robot | Trials to replace staff during pandemic

Also in the news: Today’s other headlines

Trump challenge dropped | Donald Trump has dropped a major part of his lawsuit to challenge his electoral loss in Pennsylvania, even as he continues to refuse to concede to President-elect Joe Biden. Read on for details of the amended complaint filed in federal court.

  • Social media fears | 20% of children bullied online, experts warn
  • Scrap tyre fire | Schools closed as 100 firefighters tackle blaze
  • Boy racers | Nearly third of male motorists admit driving over 100mph
  • House prices | Sellers scramble to beat stamp duty deadline
  • Daredevil survives | 91-year-old in paragliding crash in Australia

Around the world: Mafia mobsters pounce in crisis

As Italy edges towards a second national lockdown, the country’s mafia mobsters have never had it so good, one of the country’s leading prosecutors says. With tens of thousands of businesses in trouble as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, Italy’s powerful mafia organisations are moving in, snapping up ailing enterprises or offering credit to businesses that struggle to secure loans from banks. Read on for details.

Monday interview

‘I love Christmas. I’m not a Grinch’



Celeste, the singer-songwriter behind this year’s John Lewis Christmas advert, tells Neil McCormick about her path to fame, her black musical influences and how the pandemic disrupted her breakout year

Read the full interview

Comment and analysis

  • Tim Stanley | Fear, not data, shapes the public’s view of Covid
  • Rosa Prince | What is it about PMs and their maverick advisers?
  • Jane Shilling | Beware the subtle charms of pottering in lockdown
  • Chris Bennion | Away from Australia, I’m A Celebrity has lost its USP
  • Daniel Zeqiri | Is golf the toughest individual sport in the world?

You Are Not Alone: Getting you through lockdown

  • Don’t downsize, upgrade! | The empty-nesters who finally got the home they always wanted
  • Don’t rush | Vaccine news raises holiday hopes – but follow this checklist before you book
  • ‘Travesty of history’ | Royals are right to be furious – this series of The Crown is a disgrace
  • Business and money briefing

    Northern ‘revolt’ | Britain is being torn apart by a wave of poverty that can only be assuaged by a huge injection of government spending, Gordon Brown has warned. Rising unemployment and a spike in the number of small businesses facing collapse will increase poverty, said the former prime minister as he urged Rishi Sunak to make permanent the temporary £20 a week rise in universal credit. Read on for details.

    • Mitchells & Butlers | All Bar One owner to close 20 sites
    • Jobs fears | Helicopter maker Leonardo lobbies for UK order
    • On top of markets | Live stocks and shares updates 24 hours a day

    Sport briefing

    UK sportspeople of the decade | Lewis Hamilton completed a record-equalling seventh Formula 1 world title on Sunday, matching the great Michael Schumacher, and cementing his place as one of the sporting greats. With that in mind, Telegraph reporters have named their UK sportsperson of the decade and given their reasons why.

    • Inside Line | How Argentina shocked us all and beat the All Blacks
    • Autumn Nations Cup | Burns ‘won’t feel conflicted’ against England
    • John Percy | Grealish is good but don’t start comparing him to Gazza

    Tonight’s TV  

    The Night Notre-Dame Burned: Storyville, BBC Four, 9pm | Jules and Gédéon Naudet’s documentary begins like a disaster movie before moments of high tension and tremendous bravery. Read on for more.

    And finally… for this evening’s downtime

    Marriage Diaries | This week’s anonymous author tells how she resents her ex-husband’s successful life since they split up. Click here to read why she does not feel lucky since remarrying.

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