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Live Reporting

Edited by Sarah Collerton

All times stated are UK

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  1. Bye for now

    We're closing our live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic for the day.

    The news story that has dominated 2020 shows no sign of winding down as we move towards 2021.

    In today's main developments:

    • Finland became the latest country to confirm a case of the new Covid-19 variant that was first identified in the UK
    • South Korea also confirmed cases of the new variant as a family tested positive after returning from the UK
    • In the UK, a further 41,385 Covid cases and 357 deaths were reported
    • England's "very high" Covid infection level is a "growing concern" as hospitals struggle to cope with rising demand, a health official has said
    • Russia extended its suspension of flights to and from the UK until 12 January, Russian news agencies report
    • A Chinese citizen journalist who covered Wuhan's coronavirus outbreak was jailed for four years for "picking quarrels and provoking trouble"
    • The English Premier League football match between Everton and Manchester City has been postponed amid positive tests among the City squad
    • More than 200 British skiers reportedly fled coronavirus quarantine in the Swiss resort of Verbier.

    Today's live page was brought to you by Sarah Collerton, Victoria Bisset, Adrian Dalingwater, Vanessa Buschschluter and Laurence Peter.

    Thanks for joining us.

  2. Nigeria variant 'should not be compared' to UK and S Africa variants

    A leading scientist who identified a new coronavirus variant in Nigeria has cautioned against comparisons with new variants found in South Africa and the UK.

    Christian Happi, head of the African Centre of Excellence for Genomics and Infectious Diseases in Nigeria, said more studies were needed to see whether the country's new variant was linked to a recent spike in infections.

    Nigeria's new variant was found in two out of 200 samples collected between August and October.

    South Africa said its new variant, which appears to be separate to a new variant found in the UK, could explain a recent increase especially affecting younger people. It has become the first country in Africa to register more than one million coronavirus cases.

    Nigeria saw a 52% increase in cases last week, Reuters news agency reports. It has recorded more than 82,000 cases and 1,200 deaths since the pandemic began.

    A family wearing face masks walks past a shop in Abuja, Nigeria on 24 December
  3. Northern Ireland's new lockdown explained

    A no entry sign in the window of a shop in Belfast city centre as Northern Ireland entered a new extended lockdown

    When lockdown was first introduced in Northern Ireland at the end of March, it saw a raft of new restrictions introduced on everyday life.

    While many of those measures were relaxed, a number have since been tightened again.

    A new six-week lockdown took effect in Northern Ireland on 26 December, which will be reviewed after four weeks.

    Find out what you can and can't do under the new guidelines here.

  4. Eight get too much vaccine by mistake in Germany

    Covid vaccination - file pic, 28 Dec 20
    Image caption: Mass vaccinations began in the EU on Sunday

    In Germany's mass vaccination campaign eight care home workers were accidentally each given five times the normal dose of vaccine.

    The seven women and one man, aged between 38 and 54, work at a retirement home in the town of Stralsund in north-eastern Germany.

    Four are now reported to have mild flu-like symptoms and have been admitted to hospital for observation. But so far none of the eight has any serious ill-effects.

    More than 18,000 people have been inoculated with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against Covid-19 since Germany's mass vaccination began on Sunday, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) says.

    The priority groups are those aged 80 and above and those who look after them in care homes and hospitals.

    BioNTech, quoted by German NTV news, says that in its early vaccine trials some volunteers received up to 100 micrograms (mcg), whereas 30mcg is a normal dose. The bigger doses did not make the volunteers ill, it said.

  5. 'Growing concern' over UK Covid cases

    After it emerged a short time ago that a further 41,385 people across the UK had tested positive for Covid-19, the medical director of the government agency Public Health England has urged people to co-operate to fight the virus.

    Dr Yvonne Doyle said: "This very high level of infection is of growing concern at a time when our hospitals are at their most vulnerable, with new admissions rising in many regions.

    "We have all made huge sacrifices this year but we must all continue to play our part in stopping the spread of the virus, which is still replicating fast."

    She said the "basics" of hand washing, mask wearing, social distancing and abiding by the restrictions in place in your area remained essential.

    But she also said there was "hope on the horizon".

    "We can tackle this virus by working together as the vaccine continues to reach the most vulnerable first, and then many more over the weeks and months ahead," she said.

    Signs in the window of a closed shop on Princes Street in Edinburgh, Scotland
  6. Mexican singer-songwriter Armando Manzanero dies

    Mexican singer-songwriter Armando Manzanero poses for photos during an interview with Efe in Mexico City, Mexico, 31 August 2016

    Mexican composer and singer Armando Manzanero has died of Covid-19. He was 85.

    Dubbed "the king of romanticism", he had received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Latin Billboard Awards in the United States only two months ago.

    Manzanero had been diagnosed with Covid on 17 December and was put on a ventilator five days later.

    During his career he wrote more than 400 songs, many of which became immensely popular in the Spanish-speaking world.

    Among his most famous songs in Spanish are Adoro (I adore) and Cuando estoy contigo (When I'm with you).

    Some - such as Yesterday I Heard the Rain and It's Impossible - were translated into English and performed by famous US singers such as Elvis, Tony Bennett and Perry Como.

  7. Everton v Man City off amid positive tests

    Turning to English Premier League football, Manchester City's Monday night trip to Everton has been postponed.

    Two City players had already tested positive for coronavirus, and it is now believed that the 2019 league champions have found more positive results in the latest round of testing.

    More on this developing story from our colleagues at BBC Sport can be found here.

    Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus
    Image caption: Gabriel Jesus (pictured) and team-mate Kyle Walker had already tested positive
  8. More than 40,000 new cases found in the UK

    Meanwhile, the latest figures for the whole of the UK have also been released.

    A further 41,385 people across the UK have tested positive for Covid-19, and 357 more people have died, the latest government figures show.

    An additional 2,143 people have been admitted to hospital.

  9. Cases in Scotland top 120,000

    The latest Scottish government figures show there have been 120,891 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the country, and 4,416 people have died following a positive test for the virus.

    Our analysis of the key figures for the coronavirus outbreak in Scotland can be found here.

  10. Russia extends UK flight suspension

    A Russian Airlines aircraft flight is seen behind the control tower at Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow

    Russia has extended its suspension of flights to and from the UK until 12 January, Russian news agencies report.

    "For the benefit of ensuring the safeguarding of the population's health the duration of the restrictions has been extended until 2359 hours on 12 January 2021," the Moscow-based headquarters for combating Covid-19 said in a statement cited by Interfax news agency.

    Russia introduced a week-long UK flights ban on 22 December after scientists identified a new variant of coronavirus in the UK.

    Other governments also announced restrictions on UK travel. Cases of the variant have since been reported in countries including South Korea and Finland.

  11. Spending lockdown on board a narrowboat

    A couple who began living on a narrowboat during the first lockdown have decided to make the canal network their permanent home.

    Adam Lind, 27, from Essex, and Lauren Coley, 28, from Hinckley in Leicestershire, lived on a friend's boat after returning from five years of travelling the world, including hitchhiking across Europe.

    They liked it so much they bought their own vessel in mid-September and spent lockdown renovating it.

    The pair, who document their experiences on Instagram, have said they are planning to launch a podcast.

    Video content

    Video caption: Coronavirus: Spending lockdown on board a narrowboat
  12. Philippine president's security team given unauthorised vaccine

    Rodrigo Duterte

    The Philippines' Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned against the use of unauthorised vaccines after members of President Rodrigo Duterte's security team received a Chinese-made vaccine that has not yet been approved.

    "Vaccines will only be approved if there is reasonable scientific evidence to show that benefit outweighs risk,” the FDA's director general said in a statement.

    No coronavirus vaccine has yet been given the green light by the FDA.

    The head of the country's presidential security team said on Monday that workers in close contact with Duterte had been immunised with the Sinopharm jab, but added that the president was still waiting "for the perfect or appropriate vaccine", according to the AFP news agency.

    The Philippines has reported more than 470,000 coronavirus cases and 9,124 deaths since the pandemic began, figures from Johns Hopkins University show.

  13. New coronavirus variant: What do we know?

    As Finland becomes the latest country to confirm a case of the new Covid-19 variant, here's our explainer on what we known so far about this mutation of Covid-19, and why it's causing concern.

    Magnified coronavirus
  14. Merkel's chief of staff vaccinates health workers

    With Germany's vaccination campaign under way, Chancellor Angela Merkel's chief of staff personally got involved on Monday.

    Helge Braun, who is a trained doctor, administered vaccines to members of staff at the intensive care unit of the University Hospital in Giessen.

    "I came to the clinic because I wanted to show support - not just here at this location, but rather across Germany, for all those who were busy in intensive care over Christmas," he was quoted as saying by local media.

    View more on twitter

    Germany began its vaccination campaign on Saturday.

    The country has recorded more than 30,000 deaths since the pandemic began.

  15. How Covid conspiracies, 'fake news' and misinformation spread in 2020

    From the coronavirus pandemic to the divisive US election and new conflicts flaring up in some parts of the world, 2020 has provided fertile ground for viral misinformation.

    Conspiracy theories and false claims spread rapidly, prompting some people to take action in real life.

    BBC Monitoring's Olga Robinson breaks down some of the key misinformation stories and trends of the past 12 months.

    Video content

    Video caption: How Covid conspiracies, 'fake news' and misinformation spread in 2020
  16. Ex-minister dies of Covid-19 in Japan

    Yuichiro Hata pictured in 2012

    A former Japanese transport minister has died of Covid-19, his party has confirmed.

    Yuichiro Hata, who was 53 and the son of former Prime Minister Tsutomu Hata, died on Sunday, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan said.

    The news comes as Japan announced a ban on non-resident foreign nationals from entering the country, following the emergence of a new strain of coronavirus in the UK.

    The new variant has since been detected in a number of other countries, including South Korea and Finland.

    Japan has recorded almost a quarter of a million cases and 3,152 deaths during the pandemic, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.

  17. How Covid-19 altered world events in 2020

    Helier Cheung

    BBC News

    Illustration showing two people with thought bubbles

    The year 2020 has been like no other. The coronavirus infected tens of millions of people, impacted 80% of jobs, and placed billions in lockdown.

    It's tempting to imagine how 2020 would have turned out differently without a pandemic. What extra time would we have had with loved ones? What birthdays, weddings and milestones did we miss?

    And while the crisis affected all of us personally, it also shaped news events around the world, with knock-on effects for millions.

    From the US election and Hong Kong protests, to fighting in Ethiopia's Tigray and a political crisis in Israel, find out how world events were affected here.

  18. Finland reports first case of UK variant

    Passengers at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport in Helsinki, Finland, 21 December 2020
    Image caption: Finland cancelled all direct flights from the UK after the new strain was idenitifed

    Finland has become the latest country to confirm a case of the new Covid-19 variant that was first identified in the UK.

    On Monday, officials confirmed that at least one Finnish citizen who had recently returned from the UK tested positive at the weekend. According to the AP news agency, the individual and their family are in isolation.

    Reuters news agency, meanwhile, reported that there were two cases of the new variant in Finland.

    The news comes after South Korea announced that three of its citizens who had returned from London had the new strain.

    Cases of the more contagious variant have also been confirmed in several European countries, as well as Canada and Japan.

    Find out more about the new variant here.

  19. Lorry queue in Kent shrinks

    Lorries queuing at Dover port on 27 December

    At one point there were thousands of lorries and their drivers stranded in Kent after France closed the border on 20 December due to fears over the new Covid-19 variant in the UK.

    Now the Department for Transport says fewer than 60 are waiting to cross.

    Transport Minister Robert Courts said there was more to do, but progress had been made.

    Amid concerns about the new variant, France is refusing to allow lorry drivers in without a negative test result.

    Of the 21,849 coronavirus tests on hauliers that have now been carried out in Kent, only 66 (0.3%) were positive results.

  20. What has Covid done for climate crisis?

    When Covid-19 sparked lockdowns around the world, emissions of one of the greenhouse gases responsible for climate change, atmospheric carbon dioxide, plummeted.

    But is this record drop a short-term effect of the 2020 pandemic or a 'new normal'?

    BBC Weather's Ben Rich explores the impact of coronavirus on the global climate.

    Video content

    Video caption: Coronavirus: What has Covid done for climate crisis?