Coronavirus live news: US passes 280,000 deaths, Australian state of Victoria eases restrictions

By Rebecca Ratcliffe


South Korea imposes new restrictions


In the UK, twice the number of people as normal are expecting to spend Christmas alone this year as a result of the pandemic, according to figures that have prompted new concerns about a “silent epidemic of loneliness”.

The issue is particularly acute among those aged 65 and over, with as many as 1.7 million people saying they expected to be alone on Christmas Day. The figures, revealed in a new Opinium poll for the Observer, confirm the extent of the continued disruption that the pandemic has wrought on family get-togethers.

The polling reveals that overall people expecting to spend Christmas on their own has gone up from 4% in a normal year to 8% this year. Among the over-64s, the figure has risen from 7% to 14% – or 1.7 million people. Just 23% of adults say they will spend Christmas with their parents this year, down from 35% in normal times. Fewer than one in six (15%) plan to spend Christmas with siblings, nearly half the 27% who said they normally would.


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In Australia, the opposition Labor party says Australians who are stranded overseas due to Covid and want to come home are being quietly reclassified in an attempt to avoid “bad headlines” over Scott Morrison’s failure to return them by Christmas.

Australia has struggled with the number of returning citizens and permanent residents since its national cabinet capped arrivals in July in response to the second coronavirus wave in Victoria and suspension of hotel quarantine in Melbourne.

The Australian Human Rights Commission has warned Australia’s travel cap may breach international law obligations regarding reunifying children with their families and allowing citizens to travel home.




Victoria relaxes virus restrictions




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