Denmark to impose hard lockdown over Christmas; record daily cases in the Netherlands

Denmark will impose a hard lockdown over Christmas and the New Year to limit the spread the virus, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen has confirmed.

Shopping malls will close starting tomorrow and other stores, with the exception of supermarkets and food shops, will close from 25 December. Students still in school will be sent home as of Monday.

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“Our healthcare system is under pressure,” Frederiksen said. “We have to act now.”

Danish authorities expect the coming months to be the worst of the pandemic, she said.

Denmark reported a record 3,692 new coronavirus infections during the past 24 hours on Wednesday.

A record of 54 people have been hospitalised with Covid in Denmark in the last 24 hours, bringing to 493 the number of people currently in hospital.

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29m ago17:34

Rhi Storer

Unicef has launched a domestic emergency response in the UK for the first time in its more than 70-year history to help feed children hit by the Covid-19 crisis.

The UN agency, which is responsible for providing humanitarian aid to children worldwide, said the coronavirus pandemic was the most urgent crisis affecting children since the second world war.

A YouGov poll in May commissioned by the charity Food Foundation found 2.4 million children (17%) were living in food insecure households. By October, an extra 900,000 children had been registered for free school meals.

Unicef has pledged a grant of £25,000 to the community project School Food Matters, which will use the money to supply 18,000 nutritious breakfasts to 25 schools over the two-week Christmas holidays and February half-term, feeding vulnerable children and families in Southwark, south London, who have been severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Read more here:

Unicef to feed hungry children in UK for first time in 70-year history

Read more

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29m ago17:34

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35m ago17:28

Summary

Here’s a roundup of the latest developments:

  • Officials in Italy and France have said they expect to begin vaccinations before the end of the year. The French prime minister, Jean Castex, announced that 200m doses have been ordered. The EU has suggested approval for the Pfizer vaccine could be given on 23 December. The president of the European commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said suggested vaccinations across Europe would “start at the same day”.

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