Parts of England could face tougher restrictions in the coming weeks, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said as the UK faces a surge in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations related to a new, more transmissible variant of the virus.

With classes scheduled to resume in many elementary schools in England today, Mr Johnson added that parents should “absolutely” send their children to school whenever possible. “Schools are safe,” he said in a BBC interview.

The UK has the highest number of Covid-19 deaths in Europe.

In other virus developments:

  • Pope Francis criticized people who traveled abroad during the pandemic and ignored those who suffer. “Didn’t they think of those who stayed home, of the economic troubles of many people who have been hit by the pandemic, of those who are sick?” Said Francis in a message from the Vatican.

  • American airports had their busiest day of the pandemic on Saturday. 1,192,881 passengers passed security checks, the government said. Public health officials say any post-Christmas spike may not become noticeable until the second week of January.

  • According to Reuters, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg announced new rules, including a ban on serving alcohol in restaurants and bars and inviting visitors, amid a growing wave of infections.

  • The New Zealand Department of Health said UK and US travelers will be required to show evidence of testing negative for the coronavirus prior to departure from Jan. 15.

In an hour-long phone call on Saturday, President Trump urged Georgia’s top election officials to “find” enough votes for him to topple the presidential election and vaguely threatened him with “a crime”, according to an audio recording of the conversation.

He told the state’s Republican Secretary of State to recalculate the number of votes so that Mr Trump, not Joe Biden, would win the state’s 16 electoral votes.

The effort to persuade and harass elected officials in his own party was a remarkable move by a defeated president looking to stay in power after January 20. The appeal raised questions about whether it violated the electoral fraud law, lawyers said, although charges are unlikely to be brought.

Congress returns: The House Democrats gave California Representative Nancy Pelosi another term as spokeswoman when the 117th Congress was first convened. With her party controlling 222 out of 435 seats, Ms. Pelosi can afford to lose only a handful of Democrats in each vote.

President-elect Joe Biden’s new national security adviser Jake Sullivan said the new administration would act quickly to renew the last major nuclear weapons treaty with Russia.

However, the renewal of the fresh start is getting more complex due to Mr Biden’s promise to make sure Moscow pays for what appears to be what appears to be the biggest hack of US government networks.

In an interview on CNN, Sullivan also said that once Iran resumes compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal – which it negotiated under President Barack Obama – there will be a “renegotiation” of its missile capabilities.

China relations: The recent investment deal between China’s leader Xi Jinping and the European Union could also hamper Mr Biden’s efforts to forge a united front with allies against China’s authoritarian policies and trade practices.

His publication of a book by the Victim of a Pedophile Writer in January last year sparked a national reckoning on sexism, age and consent. It has also helped uncover what critics of the French publishing industry consider to be an isolated, non-contact literary elite, long accustomed to operating above the usual rules.

Massacre in Niger: One hundred civilians were reported dead in two villages in a region besieged by militants. Armed men were reported to have singled out men and boys in an alleged revenge attack just one week after Niger’s presidential election.

Pakistan attack: Armed men kidnapped and killed at least 11 miners in the southwest of the country. All victims were ethnic Hazaras, a Shiite minority group that was often the target of Sunni extremists.

Assange case: A judge in London plans today to decide whether the UK should extradite Julian Assange to the US, where the WikiLeaks founder is accused of conspiring in 2010 and 2011 to hack government computers and break espionage law.

Italy mourns: The murder of 42-year-old Agitu Ideo Gudeta, an Ethiopian-born immigrant who raised goats and made cheese in a remote part of Italy, has met with a wide resonance across the country. The Italian news media praised it as a model of integration.

Snapshot: Above, Kai Jones jumps off a cliff in Jackson Hole, Wyo. The 14-year-old ski daredevil is already a professional who takes off from mammoth edges and does double backflips. He admits: “I always say to myself: how far can I push it and not frighten my mother?”

In remembrance: Brian Urquhart, a British diplomat who joined the United Nations when he was born in 1945 and who served as chief assistant for five of its secretaries-general led peacekeeping operations around the world, died on Saturday at his Massachusetts home. He was 101 years old.

The final frontier: Our science desk has a calendar and guide to the astronomical events of 2021.

What we read: MIT Technology Review’s article on 2020’s Worst Tech Flops. It’s a simple reminder that more doesn’t necessarily mean better.

Cook: This flaming baba au rhum is an afternoon project with delicious, refined results. In the video that comes with the recipe, Melissa Clark walks you through each step of making the rich, fluffy yeast dough, baking it, and then setting it on fire.

Clock: The BBC television film “Elizabeth Is Missing” shows Glenda Jackson’s first film screening since 1992. The well-known actress plays a woman who fights off dementia while looking for a lost friend.

To do: For many people, 2020 wasn’t a year to save money. Here’s how to use a few tricks to get your finances under control in the New Year to keep your expenses down.

We will try to help you keep the New Year’s intentions at home with our collection of ideas for what to read, cook, see and do while you stay home safe.

The global launch of vaccines signals the beginning of a hopeful chapter after nearly a year of lockdowns, restrictions, and social distancing. Now that it seems possible to envision an “after time”, we asked readers to share the first things they plan to do when the world goes back to normal. Here are some of their answers.

Hug you tight

“Hug my grandmother very tightly. I visited her once, but I just waved to her outside her room and then she replied by asking who I was. I lowered my mask to show my face to her and she asked me to come closer. I said I couldn’t. “

Mika Amador, Manila

See family …

“I want to go to my native Peru to see the ashes of my mother and father. He died in November and I couldn’t hug him goodbye because I was scared of going there during the pandemic. “

Karina Bekemeier, San Francisco

… And get away from them

“I’ll hire a babysitter and go dancing.”

Amanda Vaught, Brooklyn, NY

To travel around the world

“I am 85 years old. I was 84 years old when the pandemic started, and when it ends I will probably be 86 years old. Two years at the end of life are pretty valuable. I would love to fly to Boston and do the Freedom Trail. Go to Maine and find a lobster hut. and visit Egypt to sail down the Nile. “

Jo Procter, Chevy Chase, Md.

That’s it for this briefing. Until next time.

– Victoria

Many Thanks
To Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the break from the news. You can reach the team at briefing@nytimes.com.

PS
• We listen to “The Daily”. Our last episode is about the 1964 earthquake in Alaska.
• Here’s today’s mini crossword and clue: parts of a six-pack (five letters). You can find all of our puzzles here.
• Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr. retired as chairman of the New York Times Company on December 31, handing the reins to his son, AG Sulzberger, the Times editor.