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Coronavirus live news: Anthony Fauci gets Covid vaccine in US; UK reports another 691 deaths

Latest updates: Anthony Fauci ‘extremely confident’ in vaccine; BioNTech’s CEO says tests being run on mutant strain; Ireland to tighten restrictions from Christmas Eve

  • US Congress passes $900bn Covid-19 aid bill
  • Covid cases recorded in Antarctica – reports
  • Taiwan confirms first local case in more than 250 days
  • Biden receives vaccine live on TV

The US government does not intend to impose screenings for passengers traveling from Britain after the emergence of a highly infectious new coronavirus variant there, Reuters reports citing people briefed on the decision.

A White House coronavirus task force discussed requiring negative pre-flight tests after a meeting on Monday, but the government has decided not to take any action for the time being, the people said.

Lorry drivers stranded at Manston airport in Kent have been sounding their horns in apparent protest at the delays and conditions.

Sound on! Hundreds of drivers stuck in giant lorry park that was once Manston Airport hoot their horns in frustration #LorryDrivers #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/46ZHP6Y62L

They are clearly unhappy. #LetThemOut #Manston pic.twitter.com/jK3USESq01

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Coronavirus live news: ‘Highly likely’ BioNTech vaccine works against new variant; Ireland to close restaurants and some shops

BioNTech’s CEO says tests being run on mutant strain; Ireland to tighten restrictions from Christmas Eve; US could require negative Covid-19 tests for passengers from Britain

  • US Congress passes $900bn Covid-19 aid bill
  • Covid cases recorded in Antarctica – reports
  • Taiwan confirms first local case in more than 250 days
  • Biden receives vaccine live on TV

Ian Wright, chief executive of the Food and Drink Federation, has told MPs that he believes at least 4,000 trucks could be impacted by the French travel ban, PA reports.

I don’t think the number of trucks in the queue or other areas is the relevant number,” he told the

We reckon about 4,000 on their way to Dover at various points. Anyone seeing this all happening in the run-up would have parked somewhere else, somewhere more congenial and in a better state. I think the number of trucks that needs to be clearer as this unwinds will be more than 4,000.

There are dozens of lorries there with product that is going off. There is a huge hit here to Scottish seafood.

The government was well aware of the power of the announcement it made on Saturday and Chris Whitty went out of his way to rightly scare people over the impact.

Anthony Fauci, the US’s top infectious disease expert, has confirmed that the US is considering testing UK travellers before they are allowed to enter the US.

But he dismissed an outright ban on travel from the UK as an “over reaction”. Asked by BBC News if the US planned to follow more than 40 countries in banning travellers from the UK, Fauci said:

At this point I am not recommending that, I think that might be a bit of an overreaction. However, I certainly respect the other countries in their decisions of what they’re going to do.

I think we should seriously consider the possibility of requiring pre-flight testing before people leave from the UK to the United States. That’s something that’s on the table that I believe needs to be seriously considered rather than an out-and-out now ban on all travel from the UK to the United States.

I want this to be a symbol for the people in the United States to encourage them about the safety and the efficacy of this vaccine, and to get them to be enthusiastic when their time comes to get vaccinated.

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Africa Asia Pacific Australia news Coronavirus Europe Infectious diseases News Science South Africa UK news US news World news

Coronavirus live news: ‘Highly likely’ BioNTech vaccine works against new variant; Taiwan confirms first local case since April

BioNTech’s CEO says tests being run on mutant strain; US could require negative Covid-19 tests for passengers from Britain

  • US Congress passes $900bn Covid-19 aid bill
  • Covid cases recorded in Antarctica – reports
  • Taiwan confirms first local case in more than 250 days
  • Biden receives vaccine live on TV

More than 84,000 deaths involving Covid-19 have now occurred in the UK, new figures show.

A total of 81,416 deaths have so far been registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate, according to the latest reports from the UK’s statistics agencies.

Our colleague Kate Connolly in Berlin is listening to a bioNTech press conference as we speak and brings us more detail. This is the latest from her:

Uğur Şahin told a press conference that his team had been working on trying to find out whether the company’s vaccine works on the UK variant, to establish whether it was even necessary to adapt the vaccine. Results would be known within two weeks, he said.”

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Coronavirus live news: US Congress passes aid bill as Taiwan confirms first local case since April

US could require negative Covid-19 tests for passengers from Britain; Denmark bans mink breeding

  • US Congress passes $900bn Covid-19 aid bill after months of gridlock
  • European states ban travel from UK as new Covid strain takes hold
  • What do we know about the fast-spreading Covid variant in UK?
  • Pfizer/BioNTech Covid vaccine approved by European regulator
  • ‘I’m ready’: Joe Biden receives coronavirus vaccine live on TV

More now on the new case in Taiwan:

Taiwan’s government on Tuesday reported its first locally transmitted case of Covid-19 since April 12.

The individual who tested positive for Covid-19 was a friend of a person who had already been confirmed to have been infected with the virus, Health Minister Chen Shih-chung told a news conference.

More now on the freight plans, via PA media.

Talks with France on reopening full trade and transport across the Channel are ongoing as the Government’s chief scientific adviser said more restrictions may be needed at home because cases of a mutant strain of Covid were now appearing “everywhere”.

Sir Patrick Vallance gave the grim warning after more than 40 countries banned UK flights because of fears regarding the spread of the coronavirus variant.

The chief scientific adviser’s remarks followed London and parts of southern and eastern England being rushed into the new Tier 4 lockdown regime at the weekend after existing Tier 3 measures proved inadequate to control the spread of the more infectious variant.

Sir Patrick indicated a lockdown may be needed in wider areas of England, particularly as Christmas mixing may result in an increased spread of cases.

Scotland and Northern Ireland have already announced new lockdowns from Boxing Day while Wales’ tough restrictions will only be eased for Christmas Day before being reimposed.

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Coronavirus live news: Biden receives vaccine as Congress passes US aid bill

UK warned to expect further restrictions; intensive care beds full in southern California; Denmark bans mink farms for a year

  • European states ban travel from UK as new Covid strain takes hold
  • What do we know about the fast-spreading Covid variant in UK?
  • Pfizer/BioNTech Covid vaccine approved by European regulator
  • ‘I’m ready’: Joe Biden receives coronavirus vaccine live on TV

More on the US aid bill now, from Reuters:

At 5,593 pages, the wide-ranging bill that also spends $1.4tn on an array of federal programs through next September, is likely to be the final major piece of legislation for the 116th Congress that expires on 3 January.

The US Congress on Monday approved an $892 billion coronavirus aid package, throwing a lifeline to the nation’s pandemic-battered economy after months of inaction, while also keeping the federal government funded for another year.

President Donald Trump is soon expected to sign the package into law.

After days of furious negotiation, both legislative chambers worked deep into the night to pass the massive bill, with the House of Representatives first approving it and the Senate following suit several hours later in bipartisan votes.

The virus relief bill includes $600 payments to most Americans as well as additional payments to the millions of people thrown out of work during the COVID-19 pandemic, just as a larger round of benefits is due to expire on Saturday.

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Africa Asia Pacific Australia news Coronavirus Europe Infectious diseases News Science South Africa UK news US news World news

Coronavirus live news: Biden receives vaccine as global death toll passes 1.7m

UK warned to expect further restrictions; intensive care beds full in southern California; Denmark bans mink farms for a year

  • European states ban travel from UK as new Covid strain takes hold
  • What do we know about the fast-spreading Covid variant in UK?
  • Pfizer/BioNTech Covid vaccine approved by European regulator
  • Joe Biden to receive coronavirus vaccine live on TV on Monday

To our US readers, here is how to escape all thoughts of the pandemic and watch tonight’s interplanetary kiss – or the best great conjunction between Saturn and Jupiter in 800 years:

On 21 December, why not kiss beneath interplanetary mistletoe that is the great conjunction:https://t.co/CsCHoyLU1e

Hello, my name is Helen Sullivan and welcome to today’s live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and my last blog for the year after nearly ten months of doing this eight hours a day, every day.

It has been an honour and a privilege.

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Coronavirus live updates: France and Germany ban travel from UK; Ireland bringing in restrictions

Ireland restricts travel from Britain as Italy, Belgium and Netherlands stop UK travel; Cases of new strain reported outside UK, says WHO

  • Belgium, Italy and Netherlands ban flights from UK over new Covid strain
  • New restrictions in place for greater Sydney

As France sets to close their border at 11 pm tonight as part of their coronavirus safety measures, many businesses are panicking, as the ban includes freight vehicles.

Since the announcement, Eurotunnel has suspended services for passenger and freight traffic for the outlined 48hours. The Port of Dover has closed its ferry terminal for the UK to France and Eurostar is cancelling trains between London, Brussels, and Amsterdam.

URGENT: UK-France border closes 23:00 GMT tonight. Last shuttle UK-FR is 21:34 GMT, please check in on time. Access to UK site prohibited from 22:00 GMT.

Amend most bookings using MyEurotunnel: https://t.co/J4wvRBWE64

Request a cancellation/refund: https://t.co/yYTXGiCH4s pic.twitter.com/7qzqEgfQ2A

There will be Vivier trucks from all over Scotland heading in that direction, millions of pounds worth of seafood at the time of the most important market of the year the last one before Xmas, Jesus if BREXIT wasn’t going to put us out of business by Tuesday this week we will be

.@Foodanddrinkfed “Tonight’s suspension of accompanied freight traffic from UK to France has potential to cause serious disruption to UK Christmas fresh food supplies – and exports of UK food and drink…” putting off inbound truckers, concerned about being stuck in GB.

At Gatwick Airport on Sunday evening, flights to destinations across central and eastern Europe were packed with last-minute travellers trying to get home before bans on travel from the UK came into force.

Flights to Budapest, Sofia, Bucharest and Gdansk were departing shortly before 10 pm and were all busy, with many travellers rushing to the airport to catch the final flights as it became clear during the day that borders were closing.

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