Friday morning UK news briefing: Today’s top headlines from The Telegraph

Welcome to your early morning news briefing from The Telegraph – a round-up of the top stories we are covering on DAY. To receive twice-daily briefings by email, sign up to our Front Page newsletter for free.

1. New Year’s Eve likely to escape new Covid curbs

New Year’s Eve restrictions are increasingly unlikely, Government sources have said – after an official report confirmed omicron is likely to be a far milder variant of Covid.

A new analysis by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) found that the risk of admission to accident and emergency was 31 to 45 per cent lower when a person develops omicron rather than delta, while the risk of hospitalisation was 50 to 70 per cent lower. Read the full story.

2. Fourth Covid vaccinations likely after warnings of waning immunity

The prospect of a fourth Covid vaccine has become more likely after officials revealed that boosters are less protective against omicron than delta.

Analysis by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) showed that although the booster dose gives “significant protection” against symptomatic disease compared to two doses alone, immunity starts to wane after 10 weeks. Read the full story.

3. Seven thoughts that shoot through your mind when you see the Sussexes’ Christmas card

The wait is over. Almost two full weeks after the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge released their knee-heavy Middle Eastern-themed Christmas card, the Sussexes have finally settled on their stoop and published their own end-of-year tableau of domestic bliss. And it’s truly very nice, if you like that sort of thing.

What a year it’s been for Britain’s unofficial ambassadors to Santa Barbara. An annus dramaticus, if that’s a word, which it is not. The Sussexes’ 2021 started with a declaration that they will not be returning as working royals and would instead prefer a quiet life in California – a pledge they instantly underscored by conducting an exclusive, marmalade-dropping interview with the most famous television host on the planet. Read the full story.

4. Prisoner kicked custody officer so hard he killed her, court hears

A convicted criminal has admitted killing a prison security officer by kicking her in the head as she was escorting him from his cell following a court appearance.

Humphrey Burke, 28, who was described as “unpredictable and dangerous”, left Lorraine Barwell, 54, with catastrophic brain injuries when he attacked her at Blackfriars Crown Court in 2015. Read the full story.

5. Revealed: Ghislaine Maxwell’s Christmas dinner menu in New York cell

Ghislaine Maxwell will mark her Christmas Day birthday in a cramped New York prison cell with meatloaf and mashed potatoes, after the jury in her sex trafficking trial asked for more time to deliberate their verdict.

The jurors will not resume deliberations until Dec 27, meaning Ms Maxwell will spend her 60th birthday – which falls on Saturday – alone and in legal limbo behind bars. Read the full story.

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