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UK cut off over fears about new COVID strain.

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Accessed on 21 December 2020, 1333 UTC, Post 831.

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DECEMBER 21, 2020

Reuters News Now

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS TODAY

UK cut off over fears about new COVID strain
The United Kingdom stood shut off from the rest of Europe on Monday after allies cut transport ties over fears of a new coronavirus strain, sowing chaos for families, truckers and supermarkets just days before the Brexit cliff edge.

France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Ireland, Belgium, Israel and Canada were among those that shut off travel ties after Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned that a highly infectious new strain of the virus was a danger to the country.

Johnson will chair an emergency response meeting on Monday to discuss international travel, in particular the flow of freight in and out of Britain. EU officials are due to hold a meeting on coordinating their response.
France shut its border to arrivals of people and trucks from the United Kingdom, closing off one of the most important trade arteries with mainland Europe, a step Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said was surprising.

Australia detects new UK strain; HK, India cancel Britain flights
Australia said it had detected cases of the new fast-spreading coronavirus strain identified in the United Kingdom, while Hong Kong and India said they would suspend flights from Britain. Two travelers from the United Kingdom to Australia’s New South Wales state were found carrying the mutated variant of the virus that Britain has said could be up to 70% more infectious. Both are in hotel quarantine, and the recent spike in infections in Sydney is not linked to this, authorities said. The new strain has prompted Britain’s European neighbors and several others including Canada and Iran to close their doors to travelers from the country.

U.S. Congress reaches deal on COVID-19 aid package
U.S. congressional leaders reached agreement on Sunday on a $900 billion package to provide the first new aid in months to an economy and individuals battered by the surging coronavirus pandemic, with votes likely on Monday. The package would be the second-largest economic stimulus in U.S. history, following a $2.3 trillion aid bill passed in March. It comes as the pandemic accelerates, infecting more than 214,000 people in the country each day. More than 317,000 Americans have already died.

Biden to receive coronavirus vaccine on Monday as U.S. inoculation effort mounts
U.S. President-elect Joe Biden plans to publicly receive a COVID-19 vaccine injection on Monday in an effort to boost confidence in its safety ahead of its wide distribution next year. At age 78, he is in the high-risk group for the highly contagious respiratory disease. Republican President Donald Trump, who lost the Nov. 3 election to his Democratic rival, frequently downplayed the severity of the pandemic and oversaw a response health experts say was disorganized and cavalier and sometimes ignored the science behind disease transmission.

EU agreed $18.90 per dose for Pfizer vaccine
The European Union has agreed to pay $18.90 per dose for the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, an internal EU document reviewed by Reuters shows. The price, which is confidential and was negotiated for a total of 300 million doses, is slightly lower than the $19.50per shot the United States agreed to pay for a first shipment of100 million doses of the same vaccine, in line with what Reuters reported in November. The EU document dated Nov. 18 was circulated internally after the EU announced its supply deal with Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech on Nov. 11.

South Korea’s capital to ban gatherings larger than four as coronavirus deaths rise
South Korea’s capital Seoul and surrounding areas banned gatherings of more than four people over the Christmas and New Year holidays as the country recorded its highest daily death toll from the coronavirus on Monday. The national government has resisted calls to impose a strict national lockdown but the governments of Seoul, Gyeonggi Province and Incheon city ordered unprecedented restrictions on gatherings from Dec. 23 to Jan. 3.

Track the daily COVID-19 infections and deaths data for 240 countries and territories around the world, updated regularly throughout each day.

From Breakingviews - Corona Capital: Zoom, Royal Dutch Shell.
For Zoom Video Communications its China conundrum is generating fresh headlines and Royal Dutch Shell faces another write-down with a $18 billion hit. Catch up with the latest financial insights.

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.

U.S.

‘Powerful tradecraft’: The huge cyber-infiltration of U.S. government systems reflects a new level of sophistication and scale in its methods, and threatens to inflict more damage to trust in America’s cybersecurity infrastructure than previous acts of digital espionage. Here is how the hackers did it.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said the foreign intelligence service was exceptionally important for protecting the country, in comments made soon after it was accused by some of being behind a major hack on U.S. government departments. The Kremlin has always denied Moscow’s involvement in cyber attacks against the West. It has said that Russia had nothing to do with this latest assault. Here is some information about Russia’s possible motives for such an attack, and details about Russian cyber offensive and information warfare capabilities.

President Donald Trump’s campaign said it would again ask the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn results from the election, its latest long-shot effort to subvert the electoral process and sow doubt over the legitimacy of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. In a statement issued by the campaign, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani said the campaign had filed a petition asking the high court to reverse three rulings by a Pennsylvania state court interpreting the state’s rules for mail-in ballots.

SPECIAL REPORT

The Lais are a typical middle-class, politically moderate Hong Kong family who made the decision to uproot their family. They are among hundreds of thousands of Hong Kongers who are expected to emigrate as Beijing tightens its grip over the city. The Lais are leaving the city to give their daughters a chance at the freedoms they felt they had grown up with. It's a glimpse of the deep wounds that mass emigration could inflict on Hong Kong separating communities as people move elsewhere.

BUSINESS

Trump's final trade jab may be tariffs on Vietnamese goods

President Donald Trump is likely to unveil proposed tariffs on Vietnamese goods before he leaves office in January, currency and trade experts say, after the U.S. Treasury branded the growing U.S. trade partner a “currency manipulator” last week.

6 MIN READ

Big Tech's stealth push to influence the Biden administration

Silicon Valley is working behind the scenes to secure senior roles for tech allies in lesser-known but still vital parts of president-elect Joe Biden’s administration, even as the pushback against Big Tech from progressive groups and regulators grows.

8 MIN READ

Tesla's rise made 2020 the year the U.S. auto industry went electric

Tesla and Wall Street made 2020 the year that the U.S. auto industry decided to go electric. Tesla’s market capitalization surged above $600 billion, making the once wobbly startup founded by billionaire Elon Musk worth more than the five top-selling global vehicle making groups combined. Tesla will on Monday make its much anticipated debut into the benchmark S&P 500 index, after rising to a record high on Friday in a frantic day of trading.

10 MIN READ

Sacklers cited fear of OxyContin lawsuits before transferring $10 billion from their company, documents show

Members of the wealthy Sackler family, owners of OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP, have long denied that the $10 billion they transferred from their company over the course of a decade was an unlawful attempt to shield assets in anticipation of litigation over their role in the opioid crisis.

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