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Busses pass a sign with a public health information message, amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), as new restrictions come into force, in London, Britain, December 20, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville - Sputnik International

Live Updates: France, Germany Join States Halting Transport Connection With UK Over New COVID Strain

New outbreaks hit have European and Asian countries, forcing them to return to harsh pandemic restrictions. At the same time, mass vaccination campaigns are being launched across the world, with Russia and the UK paving the way, providing vaccines for their citizens.

The number of those infected by COVID-19 continues to rise, reaching 76.2 million, while the death toll is over 1,680,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. The most affected countries are the US (over 17.6 million cases, 316,000 deaths), India (10 million infections, more than 145,000 fatalities), and Brazil (over 7.2 million cases, and a death toll of over 186,000).

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Table of contents
New firstOld first
02:00 GMT 21.12.2020
Canada PM Justin Trudeau Confirms Country Restricting Flights From UK
00:42 GMT 21.12.2020
Canada Reportedly Bans Flights From UK Over New COVID Strain Concerns

Canada joined multiple countries across the world in banning flights from the UK after a new mutation of coronavirus was discovered there, The Associated Press reported Sunday, citing sources.

21:38 GMT 20.12.2020
Qatar Reportedly Approves Pfizer BioNTech COVID Vaccine For Emergency Use
20:55 GMT 20.12.2020
Saudi Arabia Suspends All International Flights For a Week - SPA

The Saudi government has suspended all international flights for a week due to concerns over the newly-discovered COVID-19 strain, according to state-run news agency SPA.

The report also said, citing an official source at the Ministry of Interior, that entry into the kingdom through land and sea ports will be temporarily suspended for one week as well.

20:23 GMT 20.12.2020
Turkey Stops Flights From UK, Denmark, Netherlands Due to New COVID Strain
19:53 GMT 20.12.2020
Iran Halts Travel to UK Over Concerns Regarding New Coronavirus Mutation

Iran on Sunday announced that it will suspend flights to the United Kingdom for two weeks due to the new COVID-19 strain that had been discovered in the country.

"Due to the new circumstances in the spread of COVID-19 in the United Kingdom, flights between Tehran and destinations in the UK will be suspended for two weeks," IRNA quoted a deputy transport minister Shahram Adamnejad as saying.

19:31 GMT 20.12.2020
Czech Republic to Stop Flights From UK Amid Fears of New COVID Strain - Health Ministry

The Czech Republic's Health Ministry announced that the country, like many other European nations, would suspend flights from the United Kingdom, after a new mutation of COVID-19 was discovered there.

A tweet reads: "The Czech Republic, like many other European countries, will stop flights from Great Britain from Monday. The relevant measure will be issued tomorrow morning."

19:06 GMT 20.12.2020
New Strain of COVID-19 Registered in Italy - Health Ministry

The Italian Health Ministry on Sunday said that a patient infected with the new mutated strain of the coronavirus had been found in the country.

"The patient and their partner returned from the United Kingdom several days ago, landing in Rome's Fiumicino airport. They are now isolated and have observed, together with family and close contacts, all procedures proscribed by the health authorities," the ministry said in a press release.

According to the communication, the genome of the UK coronavirus strain has been established by experts of the Celio military hospital in Rome.

18:42 GMT 20.12.2020
Sweden to Reportedly Ban Travel From UK Amid Spread of Mutated COVID
18:41 GMT 20.12.2020
France Suspends Arrivals From UK for 48 Hours Over Coronavirus Mutation - Prime Minister

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - France has joined the rank of countries which have suspended the traffic with the United Kingdom in the wake of the discovery of a new, more infectious coronavirus strain there, French Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Sunday.
"Considering the new health risks and pending their assessment, all arrivals from the United Kingdom to France are suspended from midnight [23:00 GMT] for 48 hours for all transport means," Castex said on Twitter.

According to the French prime minister, Paris will use the 2-day pause to clarify the health situation in the UK and coordinate a common response strategy with EU member states.

17:48 GMT 20.12.2020
Russia's Aeroflot Says Unaware of Any Plans to Possibly Suspend Air Traffic With UK

MOSCOW, (Sputnik) - Russia's flagship carrier Aeroflot told Sputnik on Sunday it had no information on possible suspension of air traffic with the United Kingdom in the wake of the discovery of a new, more infectious coronavirus strain there.

Throughout the day, EU countries began unilaterally closing borders with the UK in a bid to prevent the import of the new strain, which is believed to transmit 70-percent faster than the original coronavirus.

"Decisions to suspend or resume the air traffic are in the remit of the government's COVID-19 response center. We have no information about any such decision at this point," Aeroflot spokesman Mikhail Demin said.

Earlier in the day, Russia's COVID-19 response center said it was monitoring the situation in the UK.

The Netherlands already banned flights from the UK, and Germany will do so starting at midnight. Belgium and Italy will reportedly shut down the border shortly, too, while the Austrian authorities are considering halting the flights to and from not only the UK but also South Africa, where the new strain was detected as well.

17:41 GMT 20.12.2020
Ireland to Impose Restrictions on Travel from UK Due to New COVID-19 Strain Starting from Midnight
17:34 GMT 20.12.2020
WHO Reports New COVID-19 Strain Detected in Australia, Denmark, and Netherlands
17:34 GMT 20.12.2020
Germany to Suspend Flights with UK Starting from Midnight

BERLIN, (Sputnik) - German Healthcare Minister Jens Spahn confirmed on Sunday that Germany was suspending the UK-bound flights starting from midnight, and introducing restrictions for South African flights on Monday due to the mutated COVID-19 strain discovered in both countries.

According to Spahn, the new coronavirus variant discovered in the United Kingdom and South Africa is an expected turn of events, however, "the rapid spread [of the virus], which is suspected of this mutation, changes a lot."

"Therefore, it is important to stop Germany's and continental Europe's air traffic [with the United Kingdom]," the minister said on air the ARD broadcaster.

Spahn added that so far there was little information and the authorities needed to be vigilant.

"Therefore, as a result of cooperation with the Department of Transport, all planes from the UK have been canceled starting from midnight. Tomorrow we will publish a federal government decree restricting entries from the UK and South Africa, where there is a similar mutation of the coronavirus," the minister noted.

17:33 GMT 20.12.2020
Bulgaria Suspends Air Links with UK until 31 January
16:33 GMT 20.12.2020
Spain Calls for Common EU Response to Mutated UK Coronavirus Strain Amid Border Closures

MADRID, (Sputnik) - The Spanish government has called on the European Union to agree a common strategy of response to the mutation of SARS-CoV-2, the discovery of which in the United Kingdom prompted many EU countries to shut the borders with the former fellow member state.

Madrid has sent the request to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel, according to a press release by the Spanish government.

"The goal is to protect the rights of EU citizens in a coordinated manner, avoiding unilateralism. The Spanish government expects a prompt reply from the European institutions, but warns that in the case of its absence we will be acting in the interest and for the protection of rights of Spanish citizens," the Spanish government said.

16:31 GMT 20.12.2020
Greece Introduces 7-Day Quarantine for Travelers From UK Amid Fears of New COVID-19 Strain

ATHENS, (Sputnik) - Greece has introduced a seven-day quarantine for all passengers arriving from the United Kingdom as a preventive measure against the fast-spreading COVID-19 variant recently discovered in parts of the UK, the Greek Secretary General for Civil Protection said on Sunday.

"With regard to all arrivals from the United Kingdom, it is announced that starting from 6 a. m. [04:00 GMT] on Monday, December 21, the requirement of seven-day home isolation comes into force instead of the three-day [isolation] that applies to arrivals from every other country," the authority said in a statement.

It added that all travelers were still required to have a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test submitted no more than 72 hours before arrival.

A number of European nations, including the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria and Italy, have already decided to introduce a ban on UK arrivals.

Earlier this week, the UK health authorities detected a new mutated strain of the coronavirus that transmits faster and accounts for over half of all recorded cases in southern England and other affected areas.

16:25 GMT 20.12.2020
UK Registers 35,928 New COVID-19 cases Over Past Day, 326 deaths
16:21 GMT 20.12.2020
EU Council Allegedly Convenes to Discuss New COVID Strain in Britain

BRUSSELS, (Sputnik) - The European Council on Sunday convened a meeting of representatives of the EU member states to discuss the situation with a mutated COVID-19 strain recently discovered in the United Kingdom and related measures, a source at the EU government institutions said.

The source told reporters that European Council President Charles Michel had convened the meeting to exchange information on the latest developments linked to the new rapidly-spreading COVID-19 variant.

16:21 GMT 20.12.2020
Italy Records 15,104 COVID-19 Cases in Past 24 Hours, Health Ministry Says
15:34 GMT 20.12.2020
No Decision Made on Suspension of Flights Between Russia and UK Yet, Situation Under Control, Russian COVID-19 Response Centre Says
15:17 GMT 20.12.2020
US House GOP Leader McCarthy Expects Coronavirus Relief Bill to Pass Congress on Sunday
15:17 GMT 20.12.2020
Kuwait Aviation Authority Puts UK on List of High-Risk Countries
14:20 GMT 20.12.2020
COVID-19 Sceptics Gather in Berlin for 'Silent March' Amid Introduction of Tougher Restrictions
Berlin aerial view - Sputnik International
COVID-19 Sceptics Gather in Berlin for 'Silent March' Amid Introduction of Tougher Restrictions
14:18 GMT 20.12.2020
New Cases in Netherlands Rise by More Than 13,000 Over Past 24 Hours
14:00 GMT 20.12.2020
Merkel Plans to Close Border With UK Amid New Virus Strain, Reports Suggest
13:51 GMT 20.12.2020
Cardi B Excited About John Hopkins' COVID-19 'WAP' Parody
Cardi B accepts the award for top 100 song for Girls Like You at the Billboard Music Awards on Wednesday, May 1, 2019, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas - Sputnik International
Cardi B Excited About Johns Hopkins' COVID-19 'WAP' Parody
13:47 GMT 20.12.2020
WHO Calls Europe to Act Against New Coronavirus Strain

Across Europe, where transmission is intense and widespread, countries need to redouble their control and prevention approaches", a spokeswoman for WHO Europe said.

13:31 GMT 20.12.2020
Vienna Joins EU Countries Suspending UK Flights
13:06 GMT 20.12.2020
Italy to Suspend Flights With Britain Due to New Coronavirus Strain Fears

"The UK has issued an alert on a new form of COVID-19, which could possibly be a virus mutation. As a government we have a duty to protect Italians, for this reason, after having warned the UK Government, the Italian Health Ministry is about to sign the decree suspending flights to the United Kingdom", Di Maio wrote on Facebook.

12:10 GMT 20.12.2020
France Mulls Ban on UK Flights and Trains Due to New Coronavirus Strain, Reports Say
11:45 GMT 20.12.2020
Sinopharm Conducting Assessment of Potential Effects of US Blacklisting
11:09 GMT 20.12.2020
'Mutant Virus' That Cancelled Christmas: What is Known About 'New Variant' of COVID Spreading in UK
A view of 10 Downing Street in London, Britain, December 19, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville - Sputnik International
'Mutant Virus' That Cancelled Christmas: What is Known About 'New Variant' of COVID Spreading in UK
11:04 GMT 20.12.2020
Belgium Suspends Air Connection With UK Due to New Coronavirus Strain

Belgian PM Alexander De Croo has announced a suspension order for 24 hours starting at midnight "out of precaution". "There are a great many questions about this new mutation and if it is not already on the mainland", he said.

10:52 GMT 20.12.2020
Berlin Might Suspend UK and South Africa Flights Due to COVID-19 Outbreaks
10:48 GMT 20.12.2020
UK Cabinet Looking at Compensation for Scrapped Travel Plans Due to New Travel Restrictions

Answering a question from Times radio whether the government would support people who cancelled their travel plans, Hancock said: "That is something that the Treasury (finance ministry) and the Department for Transport are looking at, because we understand the point that people are making".

10:47 GMT 20.12.2020
Kazakhstan to Tighten Pandemic Measures Starting From 25 December
10:42 GMT 20.12.2020
Israel Launches Vaccination Campaign
10:41 GMT 20.12.2020
Iran Confirms Over 6,300 New Coronavirus Cases
10:27 GMT 20.12.2020
New Lockdown is Not Inevitable, UK Health Secretary Hancock Says

When asked, whether a national lockdown was inevitable, Hancock told the BBC: "Not necessarily, one of the reasons we brought in the strict travel movements in Tier 4 ... is to try to stop this new variant from spreading".

09:50 GMT 20.12.2020
UK Health Secretary Hancock: Message for Tier 4 Areas is Clear - It is 'Stay at Home'
09:01 GMT 20.12.2020
UK Health Minister: New Coronavirus Strain 'Out of Control', Brits Need to Reduce Social Contacts
A person walks past a window display at Harvey Nichols in Leeds, Yorkshire, Britain December 19, 2020.  - Sputnik International
UK Health Secretary: New COVID Strain 'Was Out of Control', Brits Need to Reduce Social Contacts
08:39 GMT 20.12.2020
Sydney Quarantined From Rest of Australia Amid Pandemic Outbreak

"If you are not an [Australian Capital Territory ] ACT resident and have been in greater Sydney...our message is simple: do not travel to the ACT", an official statement read.

08:10 GMT 20.12.2020
Russia Registers 28,948 New Positive Tests for COVID-19 Over Past Day

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russia has registered 28,948 new positive tests for COVID-19 over the past 24 hours, a slight increase from the 28,209 new cases confirmed one day ago, the federal response centre said on Sunday, adding that the country's case total has topped 2.84 million.

"Over the past 24 hours, Russia has confirmed 28,948 COVID-19 cases in 85 regions, of which 5,336 (18.4 percent) were detected among people showing no clinical symptoms", the response centre said, adding that the case count has reached 2,848,377.

08:00 GMT 20.12.2020
US Confirms More Than 2,500 Deaths From Coronavirus Over Past 24 Hours
07:37 GMT 20.12.2020
Brexit Talks Allegedly 'Stuck' as New COVID Restrictions May Put 'Last-Minute' Pressure on Matter
Anti-Brexit protesters demonstrate outside the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain December 9, 2020 - Sputnik International
Brexit Talks Allegedly 'Stuck' as New COVID Restrictions May Put 'Last-Minute' Pressure on Matter
06:52 GMT 20.12.2020
Ukraine Registers Over 8,300 New COVID-19 Infections
06:21 GMT 20.12.2020
Britons Storm Out of London Amid Harsh Pandemic Restrictions - Photos, Videos
A huge crowd in London tube after new pandemic restrictions were announced by the UK government. - Sputnik International
Britons Storm Out of London Amid Harsh Pandemic Restrictions - Photos, Videos
06:03 GMT 20.12.2020
India Records 26,624 New Coronavirus Cases
05:53 GMT 20.12.2020
GOP, Democrats Reportedly Reach Agreement Clearing the Path for COVID Relief Package Vote
The US Capitol building is mirrored in the Reflecting Pool in Washington DC Dec. 28, 2018. - Sputnik International
GOP, Democrats Reportedly Reach Agreement Clearing the Path for COVID Relief Package Vote
05:51 GMT 20.12.2020
Apple Reportedly Plans to Close All Stores in California Due to COVID-19 Outbreak

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - US tech giant Apple has temporarily closed all of its 53 stores in the state of California and more than a dozen of its outlets in the UK capital, London, amid a continued surge in new coronavirus disease cases in both areas, according to US media outlets.

"Due to current Covid-19 conditions in some of the communities we serve, we are temporarily closing stores in these areas", an Apple representative told the CNBC broadcaster on Saturday.

05:19 GMT 20.12.2020
Thailand Confirms 576 New COVID-19 Infections
04:52 GMT 20.12.2020
South Korea Reports New Daily Record of 1,097 Coronavirus Cases

SEOUL (Sputnik) - South Korea has registered a record-high number of new coronavirus cases confirmed in the past 24 hours, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

The number of reported new cases stands at 1,097, with 1,072 being local, KDCA said. The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in South Korea stands at 49,665.

04:52 GMT 20.12.2020
Netherlands Bans Flights From UK After New Mutant Coronavirus Strain Identified
The main entrance of Schiphol airport in Amsterdam, Thursday, July 17, 2014 - Sputnik International
Netherlands Bans Flights From UK After New Mutant Coronavirus Strain Identified
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