This week whilst travel bans cause chaos for lorry drivers in Kent, the UK agrees a trade deal with the EU, and a couple in Malaysia hold a 10,000 guest drive-through wedding.
27 EU nations begin mass coronavirus vaccination programme in a ‘moment of unity’. Care home residents and health staff are first to get the jabs.
Cases of a new Covid variant appear worldwide. Several European nations as well as Canada and Japan detect the variant first reported in the UK.
Nations have begun to impose travel bans on the UK after it reported a more-infectious and ‘out of control’ coronavirus variant. France, Germany and Ireland are among those suspending flights. Dozens of travellers who flew in to Germany from the UK were forced to spend the night at the Hanover and Frankfurt/Main airports, after Germany imposed the new restrictions. Health officials and nurses at Hanover airport, some dressed in full PPE protection suits, administered immediate Covid-19 tests.
After over 3000 lorries are stuck in Kent, France agrees to ease the coronavirus travel ban. EU nationals and those transporting goods internationally can return if they have a recent negative test. Soldiers joined the NHS Test and Trace staff in Kent to carry out rapid tests on the thousands of stranded lorry drivers. However the backlog has meant over 1,500 lorries are still waiting to cross the channel, forcing thousands of lorry drivers to spend Christmas in their cabs.
UK and EU agree post-Brexit trade deal. ‘We have taken back control’ Boris Johnson says while EU chief negotiator calls it ‘a day of relief, but tinged by some sadness’.
Three police offers were killed and a fourth wounded by a gunman in central France. Police were investigating domestic violence in a village, and the suspect has now been found dead.
Portuguese officials have expressed outrage at the slaughter of more than 500 deer and wild boar by 16 Spanish hunters in a hunting zone in the centre of the country. Pictures of the massacre were shared on social media.
Central African Republic:
After rebels seized the town of Bambari in the Central African Republic on Tuesday, it has since been retaken by UN peacekeepers and national security forces. The government has accused the former president, Francois Bozize, of joining up with armed groups in an attempt to stage a coup, which he has denied.
Unknown assailants have killed at least 90 people in a village in Ethiopia’s western Benishangul-Gumuz state. Dozens of civilians have been killed in the state in at least four attacks since September.
Boko Haram kill villagers in an attack on Christmas Eve. The Islamist group also burnt down the church in the Christian village in northeast Nigeria.
South African scientists have said they are working with the World Health Organization to investigate a new variant of coronavirus, currently surging in many parts of the country. Local Scientists say that South Africa’s new variant appears to be unrelated to the one found in the UK.
At least 20 migrants drown after a boat sinks off Tunisia. A search continues for survivors after the boat heading to Italy capsized near the city of Sfax.
Israel makes historic direct commercial flight to Morocco. This follows the two countries’ recent agreement to upgrade their diplomatic relationship. It carried a high-level Israeli delegation for further diplomatic talks.
Asia and Oceania
Australian states and territories have begun enforcing entry bans on Sydney residents amid the growing coronavirus outbreak.
An Australian has been saved in a five-day rescue in Antarctica: Australia, China and the US worked together to medically evacuate the expeditioner.
Tokyo Olympic Games sees budget increase: the organisers will spend $900m on coronavirus measures at next year’s event.
Couple holds ’10,000 guest’ drive-through wedding. It took three hours for all guests to exchange a wave and smile with the newly weds.
Mass vaccinations begin in Latin America: Mexico, Chile and Costs Rica become the first countries in Latin America to begin vaccination campaigns.
A Pakistani rights activist has been found dead in Toronto. Karima Baloch, who was living in exile, was named in the BBC’s annual list of 100 inspirational women.
US blacklists a list of Chinese and Russian companies with alleged military ties that restrict them from buying a wide range of US goods and technology. The move is part of a wider push to increase pressure on China before Donald Trump leaves office.
Trump denounces ‘wasteful’ coronavirus aid bill. He asks lawmakers to ‘remove wasteful and unnecessary items’, calling the package ‘a disgrace’. Millions of Americans temporarily lose their unemployment benefits after the deadline for signing passes.
Nashville camper van explodes in ‘intentional act’. Three people were injured in the blast and possible human remains have been found near the site.
An Antarctic research station has reported coronavirus cases, meaning the virus has now reached every continent on the planet.