Your morning briefing: What you should know for Wednesday, November 25

Sean Morrison
·4-min read

Easing Covid restrictions at Christmas 'only throwing fuel on Covid fire’

The relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions over Christmas could lead to a third wave of the virus, a Government scientific advisor has warned.

The UK Government and devolved administrations have agreed a temporary easing of measures which will allow three households to mix in a bubble from December 23 to 27.

Professor Andrew Hayward said the planned move to ease measures over the festive period amounts to “throwing fuel on the Covid fire”.

“I think it will definitely lead to increased transmission,” he said. “It is likely to lead to a third wave of infection, with hospitals being overrun, and more unnecessary deaths.”

UK spent £10bn extra on PPE due to ‘inadequate’ stockpile and surge in demand, report finds

The UK spent £10 billion extra in inflated prices for personal protective equipment due to an "inadequate" stockpile and a surge in global demand, a report has concluded.

Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) procurement chiefs at the faced inflated prices for safety kit, paying 1,300 per cent more for some items compared with 2019 prices.

That’s according to a report from the National Audit Office (NAO), which said providers made a huge effort to boost PPE supplies after realising stockpiles were not sufficient.

However with the impact of the pandemic already starting to be felt across the world by early spring, officials paid "very high prices given the very unusual market conditions", its report said.

Two hurt in suspected terror attack at department store in Swiss city of Lugano

Two women have been injured in a suspected terror attack at a department store in Switzerland.

A suspect has been arrested, police said, after the victims were attacked in the city of Lugano and left with non-life threatening injuries.

Swiss federal police said that the incident was "presumably of terrorist motivation" and took place in in the Italian-speaking city on Tuesday afternoon.

Joe Biden: Irish border must remain open after Brexit

Joe Biden has again warned that Brexit must not jeopardise the Northern Ireland peace process, stressing the importance of keeping the Irish border open.

The US President-elect, speaking to reporters in Wilmington, Delaware, said a move to close the border “is just not right”.

It comes after Mr Biden discussed Brexit with Boris Johnson earlier in November during one of his first phone calls to other world leaders as president-elect.

Bake Off crowns its youngest ever winner

The Great British Bake Off has crowned its youngest ever winner.

University student Peter Sawkins, 20, from Edinburgh beat rivals Laura Adlington and Dave Friday to secure the top spot in last night’s final.

While Laura’s poor performance in the first two rounds saw her hopes crumble, judge Paul Hollywood said the competition was “as close to a draw that I’ve ever seen”.

He and co-judge Prue Leith agreed Peter was almost neck-and-neck with Dave, 30, a security guard from Hampshire.

Speaking after the season’s finale aired on Channel 4, Peter admitted that keeping his victory secret had proved particularly tricky.

On this day…

1748: Isaac Watts, who wrote the hymns When I Survey The Wondrous Cross and O God Our Help In Ages Past, died.

1823: The first pleasure pier, The Chain Pier at Brighton, opened. It closed in 1896 and was destroyed in a storm the same year.

1882: To beat copyright pirates, Iolanthe by Gilbert and Sullivan was premiered in London and America, the first show to open simultaneously in both countries.

1884: Evaporated milk was patented by John Meyenberg, of St Louis, USA.

1952: Agatha Christie's play The Mousetrap opened in London, at the Ambassadors Theatre. Richard Attenborough played the detective, and notices said the play had a 'fair degree of success'.

1969: John Lennon returned his MBE in protest against British involvement in Biafra and support of US action in Vietnam.

1984: Britain's top rock stars, responding to a call by Bob Geldof, gathered together under the name Band Aid to record Do They Know It's Christmas, in aid of the Ethiopian famine appeal.

2005: Soccer legend George Best, a former Manchester United, Fulham and Northern Ireland star, who was a long-term alcoholic, died after suffering multiple organ failure, aged 59.

2010: Bernard Matthews died at the age of 80. The farmer and businessman became a household name after he amassed a multimillion-pound fortune through his vast poultry empire and appeared in a memorable series of television commercials.