Less than 48 hours before Northern Ireland’s four-week lockdown is due to end ministers still haven’t decided what happens next

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The executive is divided over whether to reopen certain sectors of the economy, such as cafes and hairdressers. Meanwhile, about 50 Conservative MPs have formed a new group to fight the imposition of any further blanket restrictions in England beyond the end of the current lockdown on 2 December.
They’re calling for the publication of a cost-benefit analysis and more scrutiny of government scientists.
Coronavirus has “exacerbated” regional inequalities in poverty, education, employment and mental health, according to a study from the Northern Health Science Alliance. Researchers also found the mortality rate, even after factoring in deprivation, ages and ethnicity, was worst in the north.
The report recommends a series of steps to “level up” – to use Boris Johnson’s own language – including prioritising deprived communities in the first phase of any vaccine rollout.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 18,487 to 705,687, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Wednesday.
The reported death toll rose by 261 to 11,767, the tally showed.