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Houston Texans play the Detroit Lions in Detroit on Thanksgiving Day. Photo: Amy Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The NFL said it will prohibit all in-person team activities on Monday and Tuesday to help curb the spread of the coronavirus among teams.

Driving the news: The move comes "in response to the continuous increase in positivity rates throughout the country” and because “a number of players and staff celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday with out-of-town guests," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a memo late on Friday, per the NFL Network's Tom Pelissero.

  • The ban will not apply to the teams that are playing on Monday or Tuesday.
  • The league has been forced to postpone a Baltimore Ravens-Pittsburgh Steelers matchup originally scheduled for primetime on Thanksgiving day twice due to a COVID-19 outbreak.

What they're saying: “As we look forward to playing the remainder of the Week 12 schedule, we know that our protocols are designed to prevent the spread of the virus when an individual tests positive,” Goodell wrote.

  • “Limiting interactions with a potentially COVID-positive teammate or colleague will assist in preventing contagion within the club," he added.
  • "All activities must be conducted virtually, with the exception of essential medical treatment and rehabilitation under the supervision of a team physician or athletic trainer."
  • "Further, players and staff should be reminded that gatherings of any sort outside the facility are prohibited."

The bottom line: "Most teams don’t practice Mondays or Tuesdays, so players aren’t in the building as much anyway. Everyone is still tested every day. Based on the incubation period, keeping facilities closed those days could catch many new infections from the holiday," Pelissero noted on Twitter.

Go deeper

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Science helps New Zealand avoid another coronavirus lockdown

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (L) visits a lab at Auckland University in December. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand has avoided locking down for a second time over COVID-19 community cases because of a swift, science-led response.

Why it matters: The Health Ministry said in an email to Axios Friday there's "no evidence of community transmission" despite three people testing positive after leaving managed hotel isolation. That means Kiwis can continue to visit bars, restaurants and events as much of the world remains on lockdown.

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

Ex-CDC director Tom Frieden on the next COVID-19 vaccines

Americans fortunate enough to receive COVID vaccines now, outside of clinical trials, are getting shots made by either Pfizer or Moderna. But newly released data from Novavax and Johnson & Johnson suggests that more vaccines could be on the way, with J&J's requiring a single dose.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the news and why it matters with Tom Frieden, former head of the CDC, as COVID-19 variants spread globally.

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Germany to impose travel restrictions to curb spread of coronavirus variants

Border police officers check passports and COVID-19 tests at Frankfurt Airport. Photo: Thomas Lohnes via Getty Images

Germany announced Friday that it was imposing new travel restrictions in an effort to curb the spread of more contagious coronavirus variants.

Details: All non-German residents traveling from countries deemed "areas of variant concern," including the United Kingdom, South Africa, Portugal, Ireland, Brazil, Lesotho and Eswatini, will be banned from entering the country, even if they test negative for the coronavirus.