The Spectator

Portrait of the week: Christmas is on, Trump is off and Piglet stars on a 50p piece

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The AstraZeneca vaccine developed by the University of Oxford was found to be 70 per cent effective — 90 per cent among those given a half-sized first dose and a full-sized second dose. It does not require supercooling. The United Kingdom had ordered 100 million doses. At the beginning of the week, Sunday 22 November, total deaths (within 28 days of testing positive for the coronavirus) had stood at 54,626 including 2,860 in the past week, compared with 2,878 the week before. The proportion of secondary school pupils absent for reasons connected to Covid-19 rose to 22 per cent. Travellers from abroad would from 15 December be allowed to pay for a coronavirus test after five days’ quarantine and be let out if it proved negative. Thousands of tons of peat slid into the Mourne Beg and Derg rivers on the border between Tyrone and Donegal where 19 wind turbines were being built.

The four nations of the United Kingdom agreed that three households could meet indoors during a five-day Christmas period of 23-27 December. There was no relaxation for Hogmanay. ‘’Tis the season to be jolly careful,’ joked Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister. In England, a system of three tiers would come in after 2 December, harsher than the law before the latest lockdown, and would last until March, or until Easter on 4 April. In Tier 2, pubs would have to act as restaurants; publicans complained that they would go out of business. People could go to church, with limitations. A maximum of 4,000 fans would be allowed at outdoor events in Tier 1, the lowest-risk areas. A hairdresser in Oakenshaw, Bradford, had £27,000 in penalties imposed for repeatedly opening in breach of restrictions; the owner said: ‘I don’t consent to any fines.’

In his Spending Review, Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, earmarked £4.6

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