Coronavirus: Latest global developments

Publish: 6:44 PM, December 26, 2020 | Update: 6:44:PM, December 26, 2020

PARIS,  – Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:

– Lockdown Christmas –

The world prepares for an unprecedented Christmas, with millions from Australia, the Philippines and Bethlehem in the West Bank to Europe forced to cancel plans or limit festivities under fresh virus lockdowns.

– China, Brazil suspend UK flights –

China suspends flights to and from Britain, while Brazil suspends flights from Britain, adding to the list of some 50 countries imposing travel bans or restrictions on the country after it reported a new more infectious strain of the virus.

– UK-France border backlog –

Rail and sea links between the UK and France will stay open over Christmas to clear the backlog of thousands of trucks stranded by a French ban, with the French sending 10,000 kits to test lorry drivers in the English port of Dover.

However, the French interior ministry says that limits on travel from the UK will continue “until at least January 6”.

– German new strain case –

Germany records its first case of the mutant coronavirus variant sweeping Britain, after a woman who flew in from London tests positive for the strain.

– Vaccines roll out –

Hard-hit Mexico starts a mass coronavirus vaccination programme, with a nurse first to be shown receiving the jab. Serbia, Chile, Costa Rica and Kuwait also start giving shots.

– More deaths from strain –

The new variant is likely to boost hospitalisations and deaths from Covid next year, according to a study by the Centre for Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

– Macron no symptoms –

French President Emmanuel Macron is free of symptoms, his office says, a week after he tested positive and went into self-isolation.

– Austria slopes open –

Austria allows its more than 400 ski stations to open, just two days before the country enters its third nationwide lockdown. As an outdoor sport, the government says skiing is safe if sufficient precautions are taken.

– Israel lockdown looms –

Israel says it will announce a third national lockdown from 5 pm (1500 GMT) on Sunday for two weeks. Israelis will be barred from travelling more than one kilometre from their homes and businesses will be closed except for deliveries.

– Cuban doctors for Panama –

A group of 220 Cuban health care professionals arrives in Panama, the worst affected country in Central America, despite objections from the United States.

– 1.73 million dead –

At least 1,731,936 people have died since the outbreak emerged in China last December, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP. The United States is the worst-affected country with 326,232 deaths, followed by Brazil with 189,220, India with 146,756, Mexico with 120,311, and Italy with 70,395.