Sumary of Covid live: England and Israel ban flights from southern Africa:
- The agency quoted the Inter-ministerial Committee in charge of coordinating international travel during the pandemic as saying that the decision is aimed at facilitating the return of citizens and residents.
- Last Christmas, as ministers rashly promised five days of festive family gatherings while a new variant gathered pace, Boris Johnson held out until the final hours until he bowed to the inevitable and cancelled Christmas.
- Despite rising cases in Europe and new restrictions on the continent, ministers had been bullish about going ahead with Christmas gatherings this year.
- Cabinet ministers have already sent invites for the Christmas drinks dos.
- Some scientists have warned that people should put off making Christmas plans – but caution is not a word you hear very often on ministers’ lips.
- Action over variant shows government keen to avoid Christmas calamity of 2020 President Joe Biden on Thursday wished Americans a happy and closer-to-normal Thanksgiving, the second celebrated in the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic, in remarks welcoming the resumption of holiday traditions in many homes.
- ‘We pray for them’: Biden pays tribute to Covid victims in Thanksgiving message More from the UK’s Health Secretary Sajid Javid on that new variant from southern Africa.
- Photograph: Reuters The variant has not yet been given the title “variant of concern” in the UK, but one senior UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) expert said: “This is the worst variant we have seen so far.