1.28am GMT

In more Australian economy news:

Australia’s housing market could potentially surpass pre-Covid levels by early 2021 as housing prices continue to rise across the country.

Experts now believe that if the virus remains under control in Australia, prices will no longer decline by 10% to 20%, as initially forecast.

Building on gains made in October, CoreLogic has now recorded a 0.8% rise in dwelling values in November. The recovery comes after a pandemic-influenced 2.1% drop in housing prices between April and September.

If the growth trend persists, Tim Lawless, CoreLogic’s head of research, thinks the national home value index will surpass pre-Covid levels in early 2021:

12.52am GMT

Australian economy grows 3.3% in September quarter

The Australian economy rose 3.3% in the September quarter, the latest national accounts reveal.

The national accounts, released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics just now, shows that rise in seasonally adjusted chain volume measures, after a 7% fall in the June quarter.

That 7% fall was the biggest fall ever seen since records began in 1959 in Australia.

Through the year, the ABS said, GDP fell 3.8%.

It also said terms of trade rose 0.7%, and the household saving ratio decreased slightly.

at 1.27am GMT

12.34am GMT

In the US, a government panel on Tuesday formally recommended early doses of Covid-19 vaccines be given first to healthcare workers and long-term care facility residents in the US, generally seen as people who live in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Together, that group would represent roughly 23 million Americans, disproportionately including women, people of color and low-wage workers who makeup the healthcare labor force.

The recommendation from the panel at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) hinges on a vaccine being approved for emergency use by the US Food and Drug Administration and later recommended by the advisory panel:

12.08am GMT

In England, the government has announced details of the new three tier system that will come into effect in when the four-week national lockdown across the country ends on 2 December.

Non-essential shops in all areas can reopen, as can gyms, hairdressers and other personal care businesses, with the formal instruction to stay at home coming to an end. The “rule of six” will again apply for outdoor gatherings in all areas.

Places of worship will be able to open and weddings will be allowed within local restrictions.

The system has been criticised in parliament by Labour leader Keir Starmer, saying that introducing a three-tier system without an effective test and trace system is a “major risk”.

The hospitality industry has also warned the stricter system of tiers will “ruin Christmas” for struggling restaurants, hotels and pubs:

11.57pm GMT


Hello, my name is Helen Sullivan and I’ll be bringing you the latest pandemic news for the next few hours.

You can get in touch with me on Twitter @helenrsullivan or via email: helen.sullivan@theguardian.com.

The US reported more than 100,000 cases a day every day of November, Johns Hopkins data shows, as it heads into a festive season marked by surging hospitalisations. Meanwhile a US government panel on Tuesday formally recommended early doses of Covid-19 vaccines be given first to healthcare workers and long-term care facility residents in the US, generally seen as people who live in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

In the UK, Boris Johnson suffered his worst-ever Commons rebellion on Tuesday night, as 55 Conservative MPs opposed the government’s new coronavirus tier system. The UK’s month-long lockdown ends on Wednesday, 2 December.

BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna file for EU approval of Covid-19 vaccine. Germany’s BioNTech and its US partner, Pfizer, have applied for EU regulatory approval for their Covid-19 vaccine, raising hopes that the first jabs could be administered in December. If approved, the vaccine could potentially be rolled out “in Europe before the end of 2020”, the companies said in a statement. US biotech company Moderna said it had also sought regulatory approval for its Covid-19 shot in both the US and Europe.
Belgian police arrest 25 men including MEP as ‘sex party’ breaks curfew. A Hungarian MEP in Viktor Orbán’s rightwing party, spotted fleeing along a gutter to escape police raiding a “sex party” above a Brussels bar, has apologised for breaching Belgium’s lockdown rules. József Szájer was one of about 20 people, mainly men and including at least two EU diplomats, who attended a party held near the Grand Place on Friday evening.
Lewis Hamilton tests positive for Covid-19 and will miss F1 Sakhir GP. The driver9is “devastated” to miss Sunday’s Sakhir Grand Prix after contracting coronavirus. Hamilton tested positive the day after winning the Bahrain GP and is in isolation. His participation in the final race of the season at Abu Dhabi remains in the balance.
Lastminute.com to pay £7m in refunds for cancelled holidays. The flight and hotel booking site has agreed to pay £7m in refunds to more than 9,000 customers whose holidays were cancelled because of coronavirus. After an investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority, lastminute.com has given undertakings that it will pay refunds as soon as possible, and by 31 January at the latest.
Turkey’s coronavirus death toll hits record for ninth consecutive day. Turkey’s daily Covid-19 death toll hit a record high for a ninth consecutive day on Tuesday, with 190 fatalities in the last 24 hours, as Turks braced for new restrictive measures to curb the spread of the pandemic.
Concerns in Ireland as shopping sprees follow Covid lockdown. Ireland emerged from maximum Covid-19 restrictions on Tuesday, prompting pre-dawn shopping sprees and appeals to the public to stay vigilant against infection.
Austria set to bow to pressure on Covid risk with ski holiday ban. Austria’s government appears to have bowed to pressure from Germany, France and Italy and10will ban skiing holidays over the Christmas break in an attempt to control the coronavirus pandemic. The decision, expected to be officially announced on Wednesday, follows heated disagreements between Berlin and Vienna.

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