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Photo: Chistof Stache/AFP via Getty Images

German authorities announced it will ban most non-essential travel from the United Kingdom starting Sunday to prevent the spread of new coronavirus variants.

The state of play: Germany classified Britain as "an area of variant of concern," saying that outbreaks are reemerging and more infectious variants, including the one dominant in India, have been detected.

  • The ban will not apply to German citizens and residents who need to enter the country from Britain, but those exempt will be required to present a negative test before travel and must quarantine for two weeks upon arrival.

What they're saying: "Had a long discussion until late last night until this decision was taken. We looked at all available data and details. We did not take this step lightly," said Andreas Michaelis, Germany's ambassador to the United Kingdom.

  • "We had to move into this direction given the rules we have set ourselves in Germany."

The big picture: The World Health Organization this month declared the mutation of the virus first detected in India a "variant of concern," and its spread in Britain could "serve as an early warning for other European countries that have relaxed restrictions," the New York Times writes.

Go deeper

Murkowski slams comparisons of mask mandates to Nazism in Alaska

Photo: Kevin Dietsch via Getty Images

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) voiced alarm and frustration about the surge of COVID cases in her state on Friday, decrying comparisons of mask mandates to Nazism.

Why it matters: Alaska's number of weekly cases has steadily increased in recent months, jumping 10% from just last week, according to state health data. Meanwhile, anti-vaxxers continue to protest mask and vaccine mandates in increasingly hostile situations.

Updated 18 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: The end of the Omicron wave is in sight — Transplants rebound from COVID lull — Omicron hits American hospitals disproportionately hard
  2. Vaccines: WHO: No evidence that healthy children, teens need boosters — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies— Government website for free COVID tests launches early
  4. World: WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older
  5. Variant tracker
Oct 1, 2021 - Health

Before Merck backed COVID antiviral, Trump admin turned it down

Photo illustration: Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Trump administration officials fought over whether — and ultimately declined — to fund the same antiviral drug that Merck announced yesterday significantly reduces hospitalizations and deaths among coronavirus patients.

Why it matters: The Trump administration's decision almost certainly delayed the development of the drug. Having an effective antiviral pill during the Delta wave could have substantially reduced its death toll.