- The UK's aviation sector "urgently" needs more government support to survive virus restrictions, industry groups say
- UK to close all travel corridors from 04:00 GMT on Monday, PM Boris Johnson said at Downing Street press conference
- The travel corridors have been in place to allow arrivals from some countries to forgo quarantine
- From Monday all people arriving in the UK will need to isolate for up to ten days, though a negative test after five days can cut it short
- Travellers must have proof of a negative Covid-19 test in previous 72 hours - with new rules in place until at least 15 February
- Several EU countries are receiving significantly fewer doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine than expected
- The highly contagious coronavirus variant first detected in the UK could become the dominant strain in the US by March, health officials say
- More than 2 million people have now died of Covid-19 since the pandemic began, according to Johns Hopkins University
Good morning and welcome to today’s live page. Here is a summary of the main coronavirus stories this morning.
- The UK's aviation sector "urgently" needs more government support if it is to survive, industry groups say. It comes after the Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced all travel corridors to the UK would close from 0400 GMT on Monday.
- Several EU countries are receiving significantly fewer doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine than expected , after the US firm slowed shipments. Sweden and Denmark are among six nations to brand the situation "unacceptable”. Pfizer says the reduced deliveries are a temporary issue and will ultimately lead to an increase in available doses next month.
- Tighter Covid restrictions have come into force in Scotland . Customers buying takeaway food are no longer allowed inside premises, and ‘click and collect’ has been limited to “essential items” only. Tradespeople will only be allowed in homes for essential repairs.
- A highly contagious coronavirus variant first detected in the UK could become the dominant strain in the US by March.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warn of "rapid growth" of the variant in coming weeks as President-elect Joe Biden unveils an ambitious plan to ramp up vaccinations.
- The sight of international tennis players flying in to Australia for the annual Australian Open has drawn criticism from some of the 37,000 stranded nationals who are still waiting to be allowed home. The Australian government has imposed a weekly cap on the number of overseas arrivals during the pandemic.
- The number of people who have lost their life after having Covid now exceeds 2 million as another grim pandemic milestone was passed. Johns Hopkins University data shows that the US remains the worst affected country by the virus – followed by Brazil, India, Mexico and the UK – across the world in which more than 7.5 billion people reside.
- Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, said a plane would be sent to India to pick up Covid-19 vaccines in two or three days at most, after the government had announced the flight would leave on Friday. Bolsonaro added there was little he could do about the pandemic in Brazil as a second wave tears through the country and that he “should be at the beach”.
- US president-elect Joe Biden’s incoming chief of staff, Ron Klain, has said he expects the country to hit 500,000 Covid deaths next month. In an online interview with the Washington Post, Klain added that he was confident that law enforcement would ensure a safe inauguration for Biden on 20 January.
- Spain has logged a record 40,197 new Covid cases over the past 24 hours, bringing its total number of confirmed cases to 2,252,164. The health ministry said 235 people had died between Thursday and Friday, taking the country’s death toll to 53,314.
- Tunisia said on Friday it recorded 4,170 new confirmed coronavirus cases, a record since the start of the pandemic. Tunisia on Thursday imposed a four-day national lockdown and closed schools until 24 January to combat a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases.
China to donate one million vaccine doses to CambodiaChina will donate one million doses of its Sinovac coronavirus vaccine to Cambodia, the kingdom’s premier, Hun Sen, has said, thanking “friend” Beijing for its generosity, AFP reports.
Cambodia has long been a staunch ally of Beijing, receiving billions of dollars in soft loans and investment from China.
While many countries reacted early in the pandemic by closing their borders to Chinese travellers, Hun Sen refused, and even travelled to Beijing to meet with leader Xi Jinping in a show of solidarity.
The premier announced late Friday that China has offered to donate shots made by the firm Sinovac.
“Friend China is helping us with one million doses,” Hun Sun said in an audio message on his official Facebook page, adding that the doses will vaccinate 500,000 people.
All 66 passengers on Australian Open flight from US ordered to quarantine for two weeksThe Victorian government has confirmed two people tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Melbourne on an Australian Open charter flight from Los Angeles on Friday morning.
In a statement, a spokesman for Covid-19 Quarantine Victoria said a member of the flight crew and a non-playing Open participant had both returned positive tests. The passenger had returned a negative test before departing from the US.
The spokesman said all remaining 66 passengers on the flight have been classed as close contacts and will not be able to leave quarantine to attend training. They said that there were currently “no other known positive tests from this flight, but routine testing will continue for passengers”.
India begins effort to vaccinate 1.3bn peopleHannah Ellis-Petersen - The Guardian
India today began one of the world’s biggest Covid-19 vaccination programmes, the first major developing country to roll out the vaccine and marking the beginning of an effort to immunise over 1.3bn people.
The first dose was administered to a health worker at All Indian Institute of Medical Sciences in the capital New Delhi, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi kickstarted the campaign with a nationally televised speech.
“We are launching the world’s biggest vaccination drive and it shows the world our capability,” Modi said.
India has registered over 10.5 million cases, the second highest in the world and 151,000 deaths. The government has been preparing for the vaccine rollout for weeks and over the past few days vaccine shipments were sent to over 3,000 sites set up for injections.