Germany, Italy and the Netherlands announced on Sunday the suspension of flights from the UK while Belgium banned air and rail travel. France said it was halting the entry of all passengers from the UK and suspending the movement of goods from the UK for 48 hours. The first patient in Italy tested positive for the new variant on Sunday night.
The pound fell 1.2 per cent to $1.3360 on Monday morning in Asia following the developments.
Germany, which holds the EU presidency until the end of this month, has called an emergency meeting of the bloc’s representatives for Monday to discuss a co-ordinated response to the new strain. Boris Johnson has also summoned an urgent Cobra meeting the same day to discuss the flow of freight into the UK.
The crisis has capped a bad year for Britain’s prime minister after he announced tough restrictions to stop households in much of south-east England from mixing over Christmas. Britain’s government is badly behind the curve, writes our editorial board.
Trade bodies, meanwhile, issued pleas for further financial relief to help non-essential retail, leisure and entertainment businesses to cope with a shutdown. (FT)
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In the news
Fish stuck in Brexit net as talks near deadline The fate of the future trading relationship between Britain and the EU hinged on several hundred million euros of fishing rights, with talks set to continue on Monday. The EU parliament committed to vote on a deal before January 1 only if it was reached by the end of Sunday. DHL attempted to suspend all deliveries of food and plants between the UK and the EU amid Brexit concerns. (FT)
US lawmakers reach stimulus deal Congress members were reported to have reached an agreement Sunday night on a $900bn economic relief package before a midnight deadline. Earlier in the weekend they struck a deal over Republican demands to curb the Federal Reserve’s crisis lending powers. (Politico, FT)
SoftBank to file for Spac on Monday SoftBank will file to raise between $500m and $600m via an IPO of its first Spac on Monday, Axios has reported, citing multiple sources. (Axios)
Banks choose Singapore over Hong Kong Global banks are looking to hire up to eight times as many employees in Singapore instead of Hong Kong, according to a Financial Times survey of LinkedIn data, as concerns over Beijing’s sweeping national security law in the…
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