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Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, with me, Helen Sullivan.
The new coronavirus strain to emerge in the UK is causing travel havoc. France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Ireland and Bulgaria all announced restrictions on UK travel following the disclosure that the highly infectious new strain is widespread across south-east England.
People have been rushing to leave the UK before deadline come into force. The UK’s health secretary, Matt Hancock, had earlier admitted the new variant was “out of control” and that tough new restrictions announced in the UK on Saturday may remain in place for months.
We’ll be bringing you the latest on that and more – and please get in touch on Twitter @helenrsullvan with any news, tips, comments or questions.
Here’s a summary of events so far:
- France has announced a 48-hour travel suspension from the UK from midnight on Sunday because of the new strain of Covid-19. The UK transport secretary said it was expected to cause “significant disruption”.
- Ireland will suspend flights from Britain from midnight on Sunday until Tuesday, following a cabinet review.
- Germany has also announced a travel suspension until December 31 from the UK. Exemptions to the ban are the repatriation of aeroplanes and their crews, alongside, flights with medical personnel.
- Italy has reported 352 coronavirus-related deaths on Sunday, down from yesterdays 553, the health ministry has said.
- Israel is barring entry to non-citizens arriving from the UK, Denmark, and South Africa to avoid importing the new virus mutation. Israeli citizens arriving from those countries will need to isolate for 14-days.
- Bulgaria will suspend all flights to and from the UK from midnight tonight until January 31, reports Reuters. The government had initially decided on a 10-day quarantine but has now opted for the temporary suspension.
- US congressional leaders have reached agreement on a $900 billion package to provide the first new aid in months to an economy hammered by the coronavirus pandemic, the Senate’s top Republican and Democrat said on Sunday, but it remained unclear when Congress would vote to seal the deal.
“At long last, we have the bipartisan breakthrough the country has needed,” Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor.
- In Australia, Christmas travel plans have been hit hard by a new outbreak in the country’s biggest city, Sydney. Authorities in New South Wales, the country’s most populous state, of which Sydney is the capital, are concerned over the possible scale of infections after a new outbreak on the city’s northern beaches was discovered last week.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Coronavirus live news: European countries ban UK travellers, Congress leaders agree $900bn aid deal | World news