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UK Christmas plans "will cost many lives."

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Accessed on 14 December 2020, 1408 UTC, Post 815.

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DECEMBER 15, 2020

Reuters News Now

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS TODAY

UK’s Christmas plans ‘will cost many lives’
Two of Britain’s most influential journals for healthcare and medical professionals jointly called on the government to scrap plans to relax restrictions for five days around Christmas or risk overwhelming the health service.

The British Medical Journal and the Health Service Journal said the government should be tightening the rules rather than allowing three households to mix over five days.

British scientists are also trying to establish whether the rapid spread in southern England of a new variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 is linked to key mutations they have detected in the strain.

Christmas crowds in Italy raise alarm
Italy is considering more stringent nationwide restrictions during the Christmas holidays after scenes of big gatherings in many cities over the weekend raised worries.

Italy has passed Britain as the European nation with the worst official death toll, with more than 65,000 dying since the start of the outbreak in February.

With pressure on hospitals easing and daily cases falling, the government relaxed some restrictions put in place last month. But scenes of crowded shopping districts in cities such as Milan and Rome have caused concern.

First Americans vaccinated
A New York City intensive care unit nurse became the first person in the United States to receive a coronavirus vaccine, saying she felt “healing is coming” as the nation’s COVID-19 death toll crossed 300,000.

Sandra Lindsay, who has treated some of the sickest COVID-19 patients for months, was inoculated at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in the New York City borough of Queens, an early epicenter of the country’s coronavirus outbreak.

“It didn’t feel any different from taking any other vaccine,” Lindsay said. “I feel hopeful today, relieved.”

Netherlands closing down
The Netherlands will go into a tough second lockdown, with the closure of all schools and shops for at least five weeks, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said.

“The Netherlands is closing down,” he said to the sound of protesters banging pots and pans outside his office in The Hague. “We realize the gravity of our decisions, right before Christmas.”

The measures include limiting gatherings to no more than two people, also at home. An exception will be made for three days around Christmas, when three adult visitors will be permitted.

Singapore to open travel bubble
Singapore is to allow a limited number of business, official and other “high economic value” travelers from abroad under a “bubble” arrangement that offers a glimpse into what visitors for this year’s relocated Davos conference might expect.

The annual World Economic Forum will make its debut in Asia in May after being moved from its usual home in the Swiss ski resort of Davos over coronavirus safety concerns.

Singapore’s borders have been effectively shut for months, and it faces challenges hosting an event that usually attracts thousands just five months from now.

Track the global spread with our live interactive graphic here.

Breakingviews - Corona Capital: Japan, Retail, Insolvency. Catch up on the latest pandemic-related financial insights, from online retail to corporate debt.

Reuters reporters and editors around the world are investigating the response to the coronavirus pandemic.

We need your help to tell these stories. Our news organization wants to capture the full scope of what’s happening and how we got here by drawing on a wide variety of sources.

Are you a government employee or contractor involved in coronavirus testing or the wider public health response? Are you a doctor, nurse or health worker caring for patients? Have you worked on similar outbreaks in the past? Has the disease known as COVID-19 personally affected you or your family? Are you aware of new problems that are about to emerge, such as critical supply shortages?

We need your tips, firsthand accounts, relevant documents or expert knowledge. Please contact us at coronavirus@reuters.com.

We prefer tips from named sources, but if you’d rather remain anonymous, you can submit a confidential news tip. Here’s how.

TOP STORIES

President-elect Joe Biden delivered a forceful rebuke to President Donald Trump’s attacks on the legitimacy of his victory, hours after winning the state-by-state Electoral College vote that officially determines the U.S. presidency. “In this battle for the soul of America, democracy prevailed,” Biden said in a prime-time speech from his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware. “Now it’s time to turn the page, as we’ve done throughout our history – to unite, to heal.”

U.S. Attorney General William Barr will step down next week, he said, shortly after the Electoral College confirmed President Donald Trump’s loss to Democratic President-elect Joe Biden. Barr, who had angered Trump by not supporting his incorrect claims that the Nov. 3 election result had been tainted by widespread fraud, said he would leave office on Dec. 23, a little less than a month before Biden is sworn in on Jan. 20.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and thousands of businesses scrambled to investigate and respond to a sweeping hacking campaign that officials suspect was directed by the Russian government. Emails sent by officials at DHS, which oversees border security and defense against hacking, were monitored by the hackers as part of the sophisticated series of breaches, three people familiar with the matter told Reuters Monday.

Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Alphabet unit Google may have to change their business practices in Europe or face hefty fines between 6-10% under new draft EU rules to be announced. The rules are the most serious attempt by the 27-country bloc to rein in the power of the U.S. tech giants which control troves of data and online platforms on which thousands of companies and millions of Europeans rely on.

COVID SCIENCE

Immune system can self-attack broadly in COVID-19
Antibodies are supposed to attack invading germs, but severely ill COVID-19 patients have so-called autoantibodies that mistakenly attack not just their own tissues and organs but even virus-fighting proteins produced by the immune system, new research shows.

Dogs can sniff out COVID-19
Trained dogs can identify people with COVID-19, even those with no symptoms, according to researchers. In the preliminary study published in PLoS One, dogs who sniffed swab samples of armpit sweat could tell which samples came from COVID-19 patients and which were from people who tested negative for the new coronavirus.

BUSINESS

Apple plans 30% increase in iPhone production for first half of 2021 - Nikkei

Apple plans to manufacture up to 96 million iPhones in the first half of 2021, a nearly 30% year-on-year increase, Nikkei reported.

1 MIN READ

Fed will be tested in 2021 as vaccines boost U.S. economic outlook

If 2020 was the year the Federal Reserve overhauled its game plan for supporting the U.S. economy, 2021 will be the year its new approach gets tested should a coronavirus vaccine deliver the lift that many analysts expect.

4 MIN READ

New financial instruments could fill $28 billion COVID funding gap: WHO

A senior World Health Organization official said that the body was looking at new financial instruments to help fill a $28 billion finance gap for COVID tools, saying financing was proving a “real challenge”.

1 MIN READ

Natural disasters cost insurance industry $76 billion in 2020 - Swiss Re

Natural disasters like wildfires which devastated parts of the United States and a record number of hurricanes in the Atlantic caused $76 billion in insured losses during 2020, Swiss Re said.

2 MIN READ

TOP STORIES ON REUTERS TV

Early in-person voting begins in Georgia Senate runoff

POLITICS   1:56

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U.S NEWS   1:32

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