France toughens measures, but no curfew for NYE
The French prime minister said that in response to a rapid spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19, the government is reducing the deadline for a third recall to three months instead of four, but there will be no cover-up. bonfire for New Years Eve.
Jean Castex also indicated that from today and for the next three weeks, all public gatherings will be limited to 2,000 people for indoor events, and 5,000 people for outdoor events.
Consumption of food and drink will be banned on long-distance transport as well as in cinemas, and working from home will become compulsory for at least three days a week whenever possible, Castex said.
The government has also decided to make face masks compulsory outside in city centers, under the authority of representatives of local communities.
âI know it sounds like a never-ending movie, but a year ago we started our vaccination campaign and now we are one of the best immunized and best protected people in the world,â Mr. Castex at a press conference following a cabinet meeting.
Covid-related disruptions see many flights canceled
Thousands of flights are canceled around the world due to staff shortages caused by the coronavirus.
Since Christmas Eve, around 8,000 flights have been canceled, causing chaos for those intending to travel.
2,000 flights were canceled today, the majority of those in the United States, where airlines blamed the disruption on crews who tested positive or isolated.
In New York, a vaccination mandate for workers in private companies goes into effect today.
In China, 13 million people in Xian are under strict lockdown and can no longer use their cars as of today.
European countries are also tightening restrictions.
Denmark now requires a negative PCR test for travelers, regardless of their vaccination status.
France is grappling with a record number of infections and will discuss new security measures later.
Scotland is closing nightclubs as of today and is returning to table service purely for hospitality.
But England are at odds with other parts of the UK, and Boris Johnson is unlikely to announce any new restrictions after being told about the spread of the Omicron variant.
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Australia reports first death from Omicron variant
Australia reported its first confirmed death from the new Omicron variant of Covid-19 amid a further rise in daily infections, but authorities have refrained from imposing further restrictions as hospitalization rates remain low .
The death of a man in the 1980s marked a grim stage for the country which had to cancel parts of a phased reopening after nearly two years of stop-start lockdowns, due to the new outbreak.
Omicron, which health experts say appears more contagious but less virulent than previous strains, began to spread across the country just as it lifted restrictions on most internal borders and allowed Australians to return from abroad without quarantine, bringing the number of cases to the highest level of the pandemic.
Authorities have given no further details of Omicron’s death except to say that the man caught the virus in an elderly care facility and died in a Sydney hospital.
“This was the first known death in New South Wales (state) linked to the worrying variant of Omicron,” said NSW Health epidemiologist Christine Selvey in a video released by the government.
The man was among six Covid-19 deaths reported in Australia the day before, all in the most populous states of NSW and Victoria, which are home to more than half of the country’s 25 million people.
Australia recorded just over 9,400 new cases today, slightly down from the previous day’s record, but not counting cases in the state of South Australia, which had yet to report his numbers. Most of the new cases were in New South Wales and Victoria.
âAlthough we are seeing an increase in the number of casesâ¦ we are not seeing the impacts on our hospital system,â said Annastacia Palaszczuk, Premier of Queensland who reported 784 new cases with four people hospitalized.
With reports of six-hour wait times for Covid tests for people hoping to meet the requirements for interstate vacation travel, Ms Palaszczuk defended the tourism-friendly state for mandatory testing, saying “everything everyone knew when they booked a ticket that if they wanted to come here they would have to do a PCR test. “
However, she added that Queensland was considering relaxing testing requirements for domestic visitors. Tasmania, another popular state for tourists, has also said it is considering changing the state border testing rules.
Across the country, soaring infections have strained testing resources.
Sydney testing clinic SydPath had confirmed a day earlier that it had wrongly told 400 people who tested positive for Covid they were negative in the days leading up to Christmas; today he realized he had sent wrong results messages to 995 other people.
Australian authorities have so far resisted a return to lockdown amid rising cases, but have reinstated some restrictions.
NSW has again made registration in public places mandatory with QR codes, while many states have reinstated mandatory masks in indoor public places.
The country has also reduced the window for vaccine boosters from six months to four months, soon to be three months.