Countries across the globe shut their borders to Britain on Dec. 21 due to fears about a highly infectious new coronavirus strain, causing travel chaos and raising the prospect of food shortages days before Britain is set to leave the European Union.

The European Union is on course to approve its first Covid-19 vaccine before Christmas after the EU drug regulator brought forward a deadline for review following the start of immunization campaigns in the United States and Britain.

The United States’ daily death toll from Covid-19 surpassed 3,000 for the first time, prompting pleas for Americans to scale back Christmas plans even with vaccines on the cusp of winning regulatory approval.

After a Thanksgiving weekend when the number of people traveling through U.S. airports reached the highest total since mid-March, a top government official said some Americans could begin receiving coronavirus vaccinations before Christmas.

Record hospitalizations and a surging death toll failed to keep Americans from traveling a day before the Thanksgiving holiday, raising fears that the unchecked spread under way is a prelude to further contagion at Christmastime.