UK

New lockdown for England amid 'hardest weeks'

All schools and colleges will close to most pupils and switch to remote learning from Tuesday.

Boris Johnson urged people to follow the rules immediately amid surging cases and patient numbers.

He said those in the top four priority groups would receive a first vaccine dose by the middle of next month.

All care home residents and their carers, everyone aged 70 and over, all frontline health and social care workers, and the clinically extremely vulnerable will be offered one dose of a vaccine by mid-February.

UK regional rules 'probably going to get tougher', says Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson told the BBC stronger measures may be required in parts of the country in the coming weeks.

He said this included the possibility of keeping schools closed, although this is not "something we want to do".

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has called for new England-wide restrictions within 24 hours.

Sir Keir said coronavirus was "clearly out of control" and it was "inevitable more schools are going to have to close".

It comes as the UK recorded more than 50,000 new confirmed Covid cases for the sixth day in a row, with 54,990 announced on Sunday.

New era for UK as it completes separation from European Union

The UK stopped following EU rules at 23:00GMT (midday NZ time), as replacement arrangements for travel, trade, immigration and security co-operation came into force.

Boris Johnson said the UK had "freedom in our hands" and the ability to do things "differently and better" now the long Brexit process was over.

French President Emmanuel Macron said the UK remained a "friend and ally".

UK ministers have warned there will be some disruption in the coming days and weeks, as new rules bed in and British firms trading with the continent come to terms with the changes.

Nations impose UK travel bans over new variant

Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium are all halting flights and travel. The measures vary and are initially generally short-term.

An EU meeting will be held on Monday morning to discuss a more co-ordinated response.

The new variant has spread quickly in London and south-east England.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday introduced a new tier four level of restrictions for those areas, scrapping a planned relaxation of rules over the Christmas period for millions of people.

Christmas safety advice 'set to be strengthened'

People are likely to be urged to think carefully about travelling and to stay local where possible.

However, it is unlikely the agreed rules - allowing up to three households to mix for five days - will change.

Officials from all four nations held talks on Tuesday - and more are scheduled to take place on Wednesday.

It comes amid concern that relaxing the restrictions will fuel a further surge in Covid-19 case numbers.

Two leading medical journals described the current rules as "rash".

First batch of Covid vaccines arrives in the UK

It has been taken to a central hub at an undisclosed location, and will now be distributed to hospital vaccination centres around the UK.

The UK has ordered 40 million doses - enough to vaccinate 20 million people.

England's deputy chief medical officer said the first wave of vaccinations could prevent up to 99% of Covid-19 hospital admissions and deaths.

Speaking to BBC News, Prof Jonathan Van-Tam said that would be possible if everyone on the first priority list took the vaccine and it was highly effective.

UK partners with UNDP to make Samoa’s glass waste recovery project a reality

Their assistance is worth £37,000 and forms part of the Samoa Multi-Country Office’s project under UNDP’s COVID-19 Rapid Financing Facility, targeting the glass waste stream in particular.

The need for investment in glass waste management was highlighted following Samoa’s COVID-19 Socio-Economic Impact Assessment, which recommended the creation of public-private partnerships to accelerate value chain development in the waste management sector through job creation.

Sri Lanka returns 'hazardous waste' to UK

Customs officials said hospital waste was discovered in many of the 263 containers imported by a private firm.

The shipment was meant to be made up of used mattresses, carpets and rugs for potential recycling.

Most of the containers have been stored in warehouses, with only a small amount of material having been re-exported.

Legal action was taken after the Sri Lanka authorities impounded the material in 2018.

Officials said the 21 containers had left Sri Lanka on Saturday.

UK imposes 6-month curbs against virus

After scientific warnings that deaths could soar without urgent action, Johnson stopped short of another full lockdown as he did in March but warned that further measures could come if the disease was not suppressed.

"We reserve the right to deploy greater firepower, with significantly greater restrictions," he told parliament following emergency meetings with ministers and leaders of the United Kingdom's devolved governments.

Just weeks after urging people to start returning to workplaces, Johnson advised office workers to stay at home if they could.

Britain's newly discovered ancient sites

Today, Bodmin Moor in north-eastern Cornwall is one of Britain's most breath-taking wildernesses, where heather-covered high moors pocked by granite outcrops are cut with sharp river gorges and lonely woodlands. It's not a place you would associate with much human activity: the residents that seem most at home here are the area's wild horses. Only a clutch of stone circles and strange rocky formations - their mysterious origins and purposes lost in the mists of time - hint at past human presence.

At a glance you can see the whole history of the human race in this area