Santa prepares for lift off! NORAD tracks Father Christmas as he sets off from Lapland πŸ’₯πŸ‘©πŸ‘©πŸ’₯

Santa Claus has set off from Lapland and is speeding around the world as he delivers billions of presents with the help of his reindeer this Christmas Eve.

Booster-jabbed Father Christmas is donning a face mask as he descends down chimneys into homes across the world.

North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) are using their military expertise to help track Mr. Claus – he was last spotted soaring over the west coast of Australia and has already dropped off more than 1.5 billion gifts.

Santa is expected in the UK between 9pm and midnight (GMT), and around the same time (ET) in North America.

You can follow along with video below showing the red-suited man being hauled across the planet in his sleigh by Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, and red-nosed Rudolph leading from the front.

Dr Anthony Fauci confirmed earlier that St Nicholas was ‘fully vaccinated and boosted’ and that nothing – not even a pandemic – would stop his generous mission.

Santa Claus, who is understood to have received his booster jab, is seen wearing a mask as he flies over the South Pacific earlier today with his reindeer

AUSTRALIA: Santa cruising over the west coast of Australia at around 2.30pm London time

AUSTRALIA: Santa cruising over the west coast of Australia at around 2.30pm London time

KOREA: Santa crossing the border between North and South Korea on Friday afternoon

KOREA: Santa crossing the border between North and South Korea on Friday afternoon

JAPAN: Santa was dashing across Japan this afternoon as he made the rounds ahead of moving west

JAPAN: Santa was dashing across Japan this afternoon as he made the rounds ahead of moving west

‘Santa already has great innate immunity,’ Fauci told USA TODAY. ‘This year he is even more protected because he has been fully vaccinated and boosted. Santa will be just fine and is good to go!’

Santa began his journey by soaring over the Russian Far East, heading south into the Pacific by late morning London time.

Rudolph cornered sharply over Christchurch, New Zealand, at around noon and led the pack on towards Australia before making for Japan.

The sleigh will continue northerly through Asia before charting a route across Africa.

From there, the sleigh will enter European airspace, arriving in Britain before heading out across the Atlantic to Canada, the United States, Mexico and South America.

Earlier, Santa was making a list and checking it twice as he worked alongside his elves to make final preparations, packing the last of the presents and feeding his reindeer ahead of the journey.

NORAD said earlier the conditions at the North Pole ‘indicate good weather for flying.’

NORAD will be working alongside various international partners to keep an eye on Santa, including the Royal Air Force and the Royal Canadian Air Force, as well as the US Secret Service.

NEW ZEALAND: Claus is spotted over Christchurch, New Zealand, on Friday at around noon UK time

NEW ZEALAND: Claus is spotted over Christchurch, New Zealand, on Friday at around noon UK time

NEW ZEALAND: Santa flying over New Zealand on Christmas Eve

NEW ZEALAND: Santa flying over New Zealand on Christmas Eve

JAPAN: Mr Claus makes his way over Tokyo at around 2pm GMT

JAPAN: Mr Claus makes his way over Tokyo at around 2pm GMT

NEW ZEALAND: Santa traditionally begins his journey out in the Pacific, visiting New Zealand and Australia, before heading west to Japan and then up through Asia before charting a route across Africa.

NEW ZEALAND: Santa traditionally begins his journey out in the Pacific, visiting New Zealand and Australia, before heading west to Japan and then up through Asia before charting a route across Africa.

RUSSIA: Santa heading over the Russian Far East this morning

RUSSIA: Santa heading over the Russian Far East this morning

The US Secret Service said had readied its team to help escort Santa as he makes his rounds across the country tonight.

‘The Big Red Protective Detail is selected, assembled and stands ready to fulfill their seasonal mission. The American public can rest assured that Mr. S. Claus, here from the North Pole, will travel safely and securely throughout his U.S. tour,’ the Secret Service tweeted.

Meanwhile the RAF Fylingdales in North Yorkshire said it was using its massive radar systems to help NORAD track Santa on his globe-trotting trip.

‘It is a team effort to track #Santa. Cheers @RAFFylingdales!,’ NORAD tweeted.

JAPAN: Santa was flying over Tokyo at around 2pm London time

JAPAN: Santa was flying over Tokyo at around 2pm London time

North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) will be using their military expertise to help track Father Christmas as he plots his course to billions of chimneys around the world.

North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) will be using their military expertise to help track Father Christmas as he plots his course to billions of chimneys around the world.

NORAD tweeted this photo earlier from the North Pole, saying that conditions today looked good for flying

NORAD tweeted this photo earlier from the North Pole, saying that conditions today looked good for flying

Santa earlier today packing up the last of the presents for his sleigh ride across the planet

Santa earlier today packing up the last of the presents for his sleigh ride across the planet

NORAD has been tracking Santa’s whereabouts on Christmas Eve since 1955.

For the rest of the year, NORAD is responsible for protecting America’s planes and airspace but, every Christmas Eve for the last 65 years, it puts its important work on hold for another matter of global importance – that Santa safely delivers all his presents on time.

‘The same assets we use in our aerospace warning and aerospace control missions 24/7/365 are used on Dec. 24 to track and escort [Santa],’ the agency tweeted.

Santa prepares for lift off! NORAD tracks Father Christmas as he sets off from Lapland

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