Holiday travel plans around the world continue to be disrupted with thousands of flights cancelled for the Christmas weekend as Covid infections surge. Airlines have blamed shortages of healthy staff for the cancellations of nearly 2,400 flights on Friday and more than 2,300 on Saturday.

More than 800 of those cancelled on Saturday were to or from US airports. In Europe, travel restrictions are among measures aimed at reducing cases, largely driven by the Omicron variant. Despite early findings that Omicron is milder than other variants, scientists are concerned by the sheer number of infections being recorded.

Many of the flight cancellations are the result of airline crews testing positive, or being forced to self-isolate to stem the spread. Further delays and disruption is expected with hundreds more flights cancelled on Sunday, according to website FlightAware. In the UK – which once again saw record-breaking case numbers confirmed on Friday – volunteers are preparing for a Christmas Day booster jabs push to reduce the impact of Omicron.