Thursday morning news briefing: Vaccine trial breakthrough

Oxford vaccine
Oxford vaccine

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Vaccine hopes rise after strong Oxford trial results

Oxford scientists believe they have made a breakthrough in their quest for a Covid-19 vaccine. They have discovered that the jab triggers a response that may offer a “double defence” against the virus. The Telegraph has learnt that phase one human trials of the world-leading Oxford vaccine have shown that it generates an immune response against the disease. A senior source said that blood samples taken from a group of UK volunteers given a dose of the vaccine showed that it stimulated the body to produce both antibodies and “killer T-cells”. Bill Gardner has full details of the promising discovery. Read all we know about the Oxford vaccine and the effectiveness of other world jabs.

Meanwhile, new rules on face coverings have descended into chaos. Downing Street suggested masks would not be mandatory in food shops just hours after Health Secretary Matt Hancock said they would be. MPs urged the Government to clarify exactly where people would be required to cover their faces following a series of conflicting statements and Cabinet ministers adopting different approaches in-store. That latest episode of our coronavirus podcast examines why Tory voters are most likely to oppose masks. And our etiquette guide explains how and when to have that tricky conversation with an indoor mask refusenik.

PM to call for commuters to return to workplaces

Boris Johnson will tell the nation it is time to get back to work after the Governor of the Bank of England said people’s “fear” of commuting was “holding back the recovery”. The Prime Minister is concerned the economy is recovering more slowly than had been hoped after most lockdown restrictions were lifted – and wants people to return to their workplaces wherever it is safe to do so. Political Editor Gordon Rayner reports that Mr Johnson will set out a “road map” for the coming months at a Downing Street press conference tomorrow, where he is expected to change the Government’s official guidance on working from home. Will face coverings become commonplace in the office? Luke Mintz examines the potential future of office life for white collar workers.

High-profile figures hit by major Twitter hack

A mass hack of Twitter accounts hit entrepreneurs Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates – as well as Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, Apple, Uber and half a dozen finance companies. Barack Obama, Elon Musk and Kanye West were also affected by the attack last night. The accounts posted scam links directing people to send bitcoin to particular wallets, with the promise that donations would be matched. US Technology Reporter Olivia Rudgard reports on the scam from San Francisco.

At a glance: More coronavirus headlines

Also in the news: Today’s other headlines

Dawn removal | The sculpture of a Black Lives Matter protester that replaced the statue of slave trader Edward Colston was removed early today. Pictures from the scene showed the statue in a skip after workers arrived at around 5am. Bristol City Council said the statue by artist Marc Quinn was removed at their request. The lifesize black resin and steel piece of Jen Reid was described by Chief Art Critic Alastair Sooke as a vainglorious stunt.  

Around the world: Dizzying change in Paris

Visitors enjoy the Mad Hatter’s Tea Cups at Disneyland Paris as the theme park reopened its doors after four months of closure. The resort has followed guidance from the French government to implement a range of safety measures. View more of today’s striking global pictures.

Masks did not ruin the Disney fun for these two visitors - REUTERS/CHARLES PLATIAU
Masks did not ruin the Disney fun for these two visitors – REUTERS/CHARLES PLATIAU

Comment and analysis

Editor’s choice: Features and arts

  1. Hitting the (virtual) shops | Could this new service save John Lewis?

  2. Alcohol addictions | ‘My husband’s drinking problem struck in lockdown’

  3. Island escape | How to buy a private island for the price of a London flat

Business and money briefing

Retail woes | Only half of shops have reopened since the lockdown restrictions were eased as some customers are still avoiding stores. Of the 20,351 sites that were allowed to reopen – including restaurants, takeaway shops and travel agents – 52pc had done so, according to a survey from the Local Data Company. Laura Onita examines the details.  

Sport briefing

Arsenal 2 Liverpool 1 | Arsenal took advantage of two Liverpool errors to end the new Premier League champions’ quest for 100 points and maintain their slim hopes of qualifying for Europe next season. Read Jason Burt‘s match report from the Emirates.  

And finally… for this morning’s downtime

Inside the Free Britney movement | Is Britney Spears trapped by her family or her fans? The 38-year-old pop star is still not legally considered an adult. How did her tumultuous career bring her to this point? Read on for Alim Kheraj‘s report


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