Coronavirus: Week of Dec. 19 to Dec. 25, instances in China’s Xi’an hit excessive for 12 months

Coronavirus Week of Dec 19 to Dec 25 cases in

Nikkei Asia is monitoring the unfold of the coronavirus that was first detected within the central Chinese language metropolis of Wuhan.

Cumulative international instances have reached 278,970,424, in line with Johns Hopkins College in Baltimore. The worldwide dying toll has hit 5,392,821.

For extra details about the unfold of COVID-19 and vaccination progress world wide, please see our interactive charts and maps.

Global coronavirus tracker charts

Status of vaccinations around the world


Saturday, Dec. 25 (Tokyo time)

2:03 p.m. China’s Xi’an detects 75 domestically transmitted instances with confirmed signs for Dec. 24, its highest every day rely of the 12 months and reversing the day prior to this’s decline, official knowledge exhibits, in line with a Reuters report. Residents within the metropolis of 13 million within the nation’s northwest are of their third day beneath lockdown. They’ve been banned from leaving Xi’an with out clearance from employers or native authorities. Households can ship just one particular person to buy requirements each two days. Different members of the family might not depart residence until they’ve important jobs or pressing issues accredited by employers or communities.

10:20 a.m. China studies 140 new confirmed coronavirus instances for Dec. 24, up from 87 a day earlier, in line with its well being authority. Of the brand new infections, 87 have been regionally transmitted, a press release by the Nationwide Well being Fee says, in contrast with 55 a day earlier. Many of the new native instances have been within the northwestern province of Shaanxi. China reported 24 new asymptomatic instances, which it classifies individually from confirmed instances, down from 26 a day earlier.

5:15 a.m. Business airways world wide cancel greater than 4,000 flights over the Christmas weekend, citing personnel shortages stemming from the surge of COVID-19 infections.

A minimum of 2,300 flights have been scrapped on Friday, with one other 1,400 referred to as off for Christmas Day and 340 extra scheduled for Sunday, in line with a operating tally on the flight-tracking web site

COVID-19 infections have surged within the U.S. and Europe in current days as a result of extremely transmissible omicron variant.

Friday, Dec. 24

7:00 p.m. A Japanese authorities skilled panel provides the inexperienced gentle to Merck’s antiviral tablet molnupiravir, making it the nation’s first oral treatment against COVID. Molnupiravir to this point has been licensed to be used within the U.S., U.Ok. and the Philippines, amongst others. Thailand, South Korea and Malaysia have additionally expressed curiosity within the drug, in line with Reuters, although France has canceled its order.

Vacationers go to Bangkok’s Grand Palace on Nov. 29. Thailand has suspended a program beneath which absolutely vaccinated arrivals weren’t quarantined.

  © AP

4:00 p.m. Thailand studies its first home cluster of coronavirus infections from the omicron variant, in Kalasin Province within the northeast. The 21 instances confirmed to this point stem from a pair who traveled from Belgium beneath the nation’s Check and Go program, which waived quarantine for vaccinated arrivals, a authorities official says. The announcement comes as Bangkok canceled government-sponsored New Yr’s actions, together with midnight prayers. Fireworks and countdown occasions organized by malls have been nonetheless going ahead however would require proof of vaccination and antigen check outcomes.

2:30 p.m. Tokyo studies its first case of neighborhood transmission of the omicron variant. A health care provider at a clinic within the capital with no historical past of current journey abroad was confirmed to be contaminated with the variant by way of an unknown route, the metropolitan authorities says.

1:34 p.m. Each day confirmed instances of the omicron variant in India climb to 358 from 236 a day in the past, with the state of Maharashtra accounting for many such instances (88) adopted by Delhi (67), the well being ministry says.

The nation reported 6,650 new COVID-19 infections general within the final 24 hours, down from 7,495 the day prior to this, bringing the overall caseload to 34.77 million. Deaths jumped by 374 to 479,133.

India’s cumulative vaccination protection has crossed 1.4 billion doses, with over 88% of its eligible grownup inhabitants receiving at the very least one shot, whereas 60% have gotten each doses.

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A South Korean is examined for COVID-19 in Seoul on Dec. 15. The variety of sufferers in critical situation rose to 1,084 on Dec. 23, a document excessive for a 3rd straight day.

  © Reuters

12:00 p.m. South Korea studies 6,233 new coronavirus instances for Thursday, bringing the cumulative complete to 596,209, in line with the Yonhap information company. The variety of sufferers in critical situation rose to 1,084, a document excessive for a 3rd straight day, including strain on the nation’s already reeling hospitals.

11:30 a.m. CanSino Biologics’ vaccine was 57.5% efficient towards symptomatic COVID-19 and 91.7% towards extreme illness 4 weeks or longer after one dose, whereas its safety appeared decrease in older folks, peer-reviewed outcomes from a big Section 3 trial present. The only-shot Ad5-nCoV vaccine, which CanSinoBIO co-developed with the Chinese language military-backed Beijing Institute of Biotechnology, has been accredited to be used in international locations akin to China, Mexico and Pakistan.

10:30 a.m. Japan’s Cupboard approves a 107.60 trillion yen ($940 billion) draft funds for fiscal 2022, the largest ever, to finance measures towards the coronavirus pandemic plus larger social safety prices and spend a document quantity on protection. Fiscal 2021’s preliminary funds was 106.61 trillion yen. The funds for the brand new fiscal 12 months beginning in April will probably be a document excessive for the tenth 12 months in a row.

10:00 a.m. China studies 87 new confirmed coronavirus instances for Thursday, down from 100 a day earlier, its well being authority says. Of the brand new infections, 55 have been regionally transmitted, in contrast with 71 from a day earlier. Many of the new native instances have been within the northwestern province of Shaanxi. China additionally studies 26 new asymptomatic instances, which it classifies individually from confirmed instances, up from 19 a day earlier.

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Well being care employees at a drive-thru testing website in Hammond, Louisiana, earlier this 12 months. New U.S. steering cuts quarantine time to seven days for well being care employees who contract COVID-19 however are asymptomatic and now check unfavourable.

  © Reuters

9:20 a.m. Well being care employees in the USA who contract COVID-19 however are asymptomatic can return to work after seven days in isolation in the event that they now check unfavourable, the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention says. The brand new steering cuts the quarantine time from a beforehand really useful 10 days, which the CDC mentioned was in preparation for an anticipated enhance in omicron instances. Omicron now accounts for 73% of coronavirus infections in the USA. The CDC mentioned the quarantine time could be reduce additional if there are staffing shortages as a result of COVID-19.

8:50 a.m. Japan’s core client costs rose 0.5% in November from a 12 months earlier, authorities knowledge exhibits, the quickest tempo of enhance in almost two years and an indication that the fallout from international commodity worth inflation is broadening. The rise within the nationwide core client worth index, which excludes unstable recent meals however consists of oil, was the most important since February 2020 and adopted a 0.1% rise in October.

2:30 a.m. Britain has a document variety of new coronavirus instances because the omicron variant sweeps throughout the nation, with the every day tally reaching 119,789, from 106,122 a day earlier. Many industries and transport networks are battling workers shortages as sick employees self-isolate, and hospitals have warned of the danger of an impression on affected person security. Omicron’s speedy advance has pushed a surge in instances during the last seven days, with the overall rising by 678,165.

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A U.S. Military soldier prepares a Pfizer shot at a mass vaccination website in Miami on March 10. The military has developed a common COVID-19 vaccine additionally meant to work towards SARS, with a full announcement anticipated quickly on outcomes from Section 1 scientific trials.

  © Reuters

1:34 a.m. The U.S. Military has developed a COVID-19 vaccine meant to work towards not solely all variants, but in addition the carefully associated coronavirus behind SARS.

The spike ferritin nanoparticle (SpFN) know-how confirmed promising leads to Chinese language-origin rhesus macaques in preclinical analysis lately revealed by Science Translational Drugs. It was not examined on the omicron variant particularly there, however laboratory testing on variants is ongoing, and knowledge from Section 1 trials in people remains to be being analyzed, in line with the Walter Reed Military Institute of Analysis. A full official announcement may come “inside weeks,” the Protection One web site studies.

12:30 a.m. A 3rd dose of Sinovac’s COVID vaccine doesn’t present enough safety towards the omicron variant, new analysis signifies, contradicting the Chinese language vaccine maker’s declare that it does. Read more here.

Thursday, Dec. 23

11:34 p.m. The U.S. Meals and Drug Administration authorizes Merck’s antiviral tablet for COVID-19, after giving the go-ahead to an identical therapy from Pfizer a day earlier. Merck’s drug, molnupiravir, developed with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, was proven to cut back hospitalizations and deaths by round 30% in a scientific trial of high-risk people early in the midst of the sickness. The drug just isn’t licensed for sufferers youthful than 18 as a result of molnupiravir might have an effect on bone and cartilage progress, the FDA says.

10:43 p.m. The omicron coronavirus variant seems unlikely to have a long-term impression on manufacturing provide chains within the coming months, however that may depend upon how many individuals get vaccinated, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo says.

The U.S. Labor Division studies that new claims for jobless advantages held under pre-pandemic ranges final week, unchanged at a seasonally adjusted 205,000, leaving the unemployment price at a 21-month low of 4.2%. Shopper spending elevated solidly, at 0.6% in November, placing the U.S. economic system on observe for a robust end to 2021. However inflation pressures proceed, as the non-public consumption expenditures worth index, excluding the unstable meals and power elements, rose 0.5% final month.

10:14 p.m. Germany’s Robert Koch Institute for infectious illnesses confirms the nation’s first dying as a result of omicron variant, a person between age 60 and 79.

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Nationwide Hockey League gamers is not going to be competing on the Beijing Winter Olympic Video games.

  © Reuters

6:00 p.m. Beijing Olympics organizers say they “remorse” the Nationwide Hockey League’s choice to ban its gamers from competing on the Winter Video games due to disruption to the league schedule attributable to the pandemic. The withdrawal means among the sport’s best-known athletes is not going to seem on the Video games.

“We specific remorse that they can’t participate within the Video games due to COVID,” mentioned Huang Chun, an official of the Beijing organizing committee. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman mentioned the postponement of fifty regular-season video games because the omicron variant began to unfold by way of groups had made participation within the Olympics “not possible.”

4:20 p.m. The Kyoto native authorities has confirmed {that a} native lady in her 20s has been contaminated with the omicron variant, including that she had not traveled abroad lately. Kyoto Gov. Takatoshi Nishiwaki says the an infection seems to be the prefecture’s first community-transmitted case. The lady, who had been absolutely vaccinated, confirmed signs akin to a excessive temperature on Sunday and has been hospitalized since Monday. Her signs are actually delicate. Authorities are checking seven individuals who had shut contact together with her. On Wednesday, Osaka Prefecture discovered three members of the family who had no journey historical past contaminated with the brand new variant — the primary community-transmitted instances confirmed in Japan.

2:30 p.m. Australia’s two most populous states reintroduce curbs as every day infections hit their highest level amid an omicron outbreak and a rush on already-stretched testing clinics. New South Wales, residence to a 3rd of Australia’s 25 million folks, is once more making it obligatory to put on masks indoors in public locations. As well as, venues have been informed to restrict the variety of guests and reactivate QR code check-ins for patrons. Victoria, with almost the identical inhabitants, additionally reintroduced a masks mandate.

1:59 p.m. India’s omicron case tally rises to 236 from 213 a day in the past, with western Maharashtra state reporting 65 infections and the nationwide capital territory of Delhi 64, the well being ministry says. Total COVID infections throughout the nation surged to 7,495 for the previous 24 hours, up from 6,317 the day prior to this, bringing India’s complete caseload to over 34.76 million. Fatalities rose by 434 to 478,759.

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Kids in Manila queue totally free meals from a aid program amid the coronavirus illness. The nation’s meals and drug company has now granted emergency approval to manage the Pfizer vaccine to kids aged 5 to 11. 

  © Reuters

12:30 p.m. The Philippines’ meals and drug company has granted emergency approval to manage the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to kids ages 5 to 11. Company chief Enrique Domingo says the advantages outweigh the dangers, with kids in international locations like the USA and Canada already receiving pictures.

12:10 p.m. Organizers of the Beijing Winter Olympics say they count on a “sure quantity” of COVID-19 instances in China as foreigners arrive for the Video games, and are strongly urging members to get vaccination boosters as a result of unfold of the omicron variant. The Video games, set to run from Feb. 4 to Feb. 20, will happen in a “closed loop” to comprise the unfold of the virus in China, which has among the world’s strictest COVID curbs and has largely managed to manage native outbreaks.

11:30 a.m. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida says his authorities has taken full-blown measures towards the omicron variant, a day after Japan reported its first case of neighborhood transmission of the brand new variant. “Utilizing the time we purchased by way of strengthened border management (since late November), we now have accelerated efforts to boost the method of prevention, testing and early therapy,” he mentioned. Japan banned new entries by foreigners globally from Nov. 30, with the step persevering with at the very least till early subsequent 12 months.

11:00 a.m. Australia studies a spike in coronavirus infections a day after Prime Minister Scott Morrison rejected lockdowns to gradual the unfold of the omicron variant. The nation’s most populous state, New South Wales, studies 5,715 new instances, up from 3,763 a day earlier. Instances requiring hospital therapy bounce to 347 folks in New South Wales from 302 the day prior to this, with 45 in intensive care items, up from 40. Victoria state has additionally seen a pointy enhance in infections, reporting 2,005 new instances.

10:30 a.m. Japan has upgraded its progress projections for the fiscal 12 months beginning subsequent April, with the Cupboard Workplace predicting gross home product will hit a document regardless of dangers from the omicron variant of the coronavirus and provide constraints. Projected actual GDP progress for fiscal 2022 has been raised to three.2% from the two.2% forecast in July, buoyed after parliament this week accredited a document additional stimulus funds.

6:20 a.m. A smaller share of individuals contaminated with the omicron coronavirus variant are more likely to require hospital therapy in contrast with instances of the delta pressure, health care data from South Africa, Denmark and the U.K. exhibits. The findings by separate analysis groups elevate hopes that there will probably be fewer instances of extreme illness than these attributable to different strains of the virus, however the researchers cautioned that omicron’s excessive diploma of infectiousness may nonetheless pressure well being providers.

3:21 a.m. Scientists in South Africa say COVID-19 instances look to have peaked in Gauteng Province about 30 days after the omicron variant was first detected there and the impression of surging infections has been much less extreme than earlier waves. Whereas extra analysis was wanted, the scientists say, the information from South Africa tells a “optimistic story” concerning the variant’s severity. Gauteng — the area the place omicron first emerged — is now seeing a fall in every day instances and the share of optimistic checks.

2:55 a.m. Turkey has kicked off mass manufacturing of its homegrown COVID-19 vaccine Turkovac, after authorities gave emergency use authorization to the shot, touted as “higher” than China’s Sinovac.

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A Pfizer signal exterior the corporate’s Manhattan places of work.

  © Reuters

Vaccine administration will start earlier than the 12 months ends, Well being Minister Fahrettin Koca says. Read more here.

2:34 a.m. The U.S. Meals and Drug Administration has granted emergency-use authorization for Pfizer’s antiviral COVID-19 tablet, making it the primary at-home therapy for the coronavirus anticipated to battle the omicron variant.

The corporate’s scientific trial signifies its two-drug antiviral routine was 90% efficient in stopping hospitalizations and deaths in sufferers at excessive threat of extreme sickness. Latest lab knowledge suggests the drug is efficient towards omicron.

The drugs will probably be offered beneath the model title Paxlovid, and Pfizer says it is able to start supply within the U.S. instantly.

12:22 a.m. Christmas and New Yr’s gatherings are banned throughout the Indian capital of New Delhi. The Delhi territorial authorities directs that “no cultural occasions, gatherings [or] congregations happen for celebrating” these holidays, given the necessity to take all requisite measures and actions to manage the unfold of COVID-19.

India, which detected its first two omicron instances on Dec. 2, to this point has reported 213 such infections, with Delhi accounting for essentially the most at 57, adopted by western Maharashtra state and southern Telangana.

12:08 a.m. The Nationwide Hockey League says it is not going to ship gamers to compete within the males’s ice hockey event on the Beijing Winter Olympics in February, after the North American league’s common season schedule is disrupted by a surge in COVID-19 instances. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman notes that fifty video games have already got been postponed by way of Dec. 23 and says “Olympic participation is not possible.”

Wednesday, Dec. 22

10:48 p.m. The Chinese language metropolis of Xi’an orders its 13 million residents to remain residence and urges them to not depart city unnecessarily because it struggles to comprise rising COVID-19 instances beneath Beijing’s guideline that flare-ups have to be curbed as rapidly as potential.

Xi’an, in China’s northwest, has reported greater than 140 domestically transmitted infections with confirmed signs since Dec. 12 in its newest cluster attributable to the delta variant. Beginning Thursday, just one particular person in every family can exit for essential buying each two days, whereas different members of the family should keep residence until they’ve important jobs, a metropolis official says.

4:28 p.m. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison guidelines out a Christmas lockdown, saying hospitals are coping nicely regardless of a document surge in COVID-19 instances fueled by the omicron variant. Australia is grappling with the extra transmissible variant as the federal government eased restrictions forward of the Christmas holidays having achieved a better price of vaccination. “Regardless of these rising instances, hospitals and well being techniques stay in a robust place however after all they are going to be examined,” Morrison informed reporters in Canberra after an emergency cupboard assembly.

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Authorities within the Japanese metropolis of Osaka say they’ve discovered ‘community-acquired’ omicron infections in a household of three. (Photograph by Takaki Kashiwabara)

2:45 p.m. Three members of a household in Osaka with no historical past of journey overseas have been contaminated with omicron, native authorities say. These instances characterize Japan’s first neighborhood transmission of the variant. The three are a person and a girl of their 30s and a lady beneath the age of 10, who had fever and different signs, the Osaka prefectural authorities mentioned. Gov. Hirofumi Yoshimura describes the instances as a “community-acquired an infection,” including that every one three have been hospitalized.

1:40 p.m. India logs 6,317 new instances within the final 24 hours, up from 5,326 the day prior to this, bringing the nation’s complete to 34.76 million. Deaths jumped by 318 to 478,325. In the meantime, the nation’s omicron case rely has risen to 213 from 200 a day in the past, in line with a well being ministry assertion.

12:46 p.m. Singapore will stop sales of tickets for designated flights for its quarantine-free entry program for a month beginning on Thursday, as a result of considerations over the omicron coronavirus variant. The brand new measures are “proactive and preemptive steps to handle the influx of vaccinated journey lane vacationers and mitigate the danger to the Singapore neighborhood whereas we observe and assess the rising scenario,” the civil aviation authority mentioned.

12:28 p.m. Ten workers of the sushi chain Sushiro on the ongoing Expo 2020 in Dubai have been contaminated with COVID-19, in line with Japan’s Ministry of Economic system, Commerce and Business. The restaurant will chorus from working till its security is confirmed. The conveyor-belt sushi restaurant, which stands proper by the Japan Pavilion, has been closed since Dec. 20.

9:53 a.m. South Korea’s new every day instances rebound to 7,456 after falling for 3 consecutive days. Whole infections attain 583,065, with 4,906 deaths. The dying toll is predicted to extend additional, because the variety of hospitalized sufferers in critical situation hit a recent document of 1,063.

9:32 a.m. Israel will supply a fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to folks older than 60 amid concern concerning the unfold of the omicron variant. The choice follows the primary identified dying in Israel of a affected person with omicron. An Israeli hospital on Tuesday confirmed the dying however mentioned he had suffered from various critical preexisting situations.

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U.S. President Joe Biden has come beneath hearth for his dealing with of the coronavirus.

  © Reuters

5:00 a.m. U.S. President Joe Biden pronounces further federal COVID-19 testing and vaccination websites to push again a surge of the omicron variant, including that 500 million at-home speedy checks will probably be obtainable for People to order free on-line beginning subsequent month.

Addressing the nation from the White Home, Biden mentioned the 1 in 4 American adults who are usually not absolutely vaccinated “have a considerably larger threat of ending up within the hospital and even dying.”

“No, this isn’t March of 2020,” Biden mentioned. “2 hundred million persons are absolutely vaccinated, we’re ready, we all know extra.”

New measures additionally embody activating some 1,000 army medical personnel to help hospitals already being overwhelmed by COVID sufferers in some areas, in line with a senior administration official cited by Reuters. The speech got here because the president faces heavy criticism for his dealing with of the virus, which has killed extra People this 12 months than it did final 12 months. Omicron now accounts for 73% of all new instances, in line with the most recent U.S. knowledge, up from lower than 1% in the beginning of the month.

3:43 a.m. The World Well being Group tells European international locations to brace for a “important surge” in COVID-19 instances as omicron spreads and advises the widespread use of boosters. Omicron has been detected in at the very least 38 of the 53 international locations within the WHO’s European area because it emerged final month. It’s already dominant in a number of of them, together with Denmark, Portugal and the U.Ok., WHO’s Europe chief, Hans Kluge, informed a information convention. “We are able to see one other storm coming,” he mentioned. “Inside weeks, omicron will dominate in additional international locations of the area, pushing already stretched well being techniques additional to the brink.”

3:22 a.m. New York Metropolis Mayor Invoice de Blasio pronounces a $100 incentive for residents who get a COVID-19 vaccine booster at city-run websites by the top of the 12 months. Elsewhere in New York, the place the omicron variant is surging, the Metropolitan Museum of Artwork is limiting attendance and Mayor-elect Eric Adams will postpone his inaugural ceremony.

Tuesday, Dec. 21

9:15 p.m. Philippine well being authorities push ahead the wait time for vaccine booster pictures to 3 months in a bid to cease the unfold of the omicron variant. The Philippines follows comparable strikes by South Korea, the U.Ok. and different international locations which can be reducing the intervals of boosters to forestall new surges in infections. Adults who obtained a two-dose regiment not have to attend six months to get a 3rd shot. Filipinos who obtained a single-dose vaccine now can get a second booster shot after two months, the Well being Ministry says.

6:10 p.m. Thailand halts its Check and Go waiver, which means overseas arrivals must quarantine at motels for between seven to 10 days. In the meantime, the nation’s so-called “sandbox” program, which permits guests to depart their motels however stay in a particular geographic location, may also be suspended besides on the resort island of Phuket.

4:30 p.m. About 11 million, or 15%, of the remaining stock of “Abenomasks,” the washable fabric masks amassed by the administration of then-Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, have been discovered to be faulty in a current inspection, says Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. It has value the federal government about 2 billion yen ($18m) to retailer and examine the stock, he says. From March 2020, the federal government procured round 260 million such masks to be distributed to households in addition to nursing care and baby care amenities. Nevertheless, the masks proved unpopular and 71 million haven’t been handed out.

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Japan’s then-Prime Minister Shinzo Abe enters a venue for a information convention in Might 2020. Now, round 11 million ‘Abenomasks’ have been discovered to be faulty.

  © Reuters

3:08 p.m. India has to this point detected 200 omicron instances, with the states of Delhi and Maharashtra reporting essentially the most infections, at 54 every, the well being ministry says. The nation reported its first two instances of the brand new variant on Dec. 2. India has logged 5,326 COVID-19 instances since Monday morning, the bottom every day rely in 19 months, bringing the nation’s complete to 34.75 million. Fatalities rose by 453 to 478,007.

2:00 p.m. Japan raises its general financial evaluation for the first time in 17 months in December as shoppers and corporations turned extra optimistic concerning the outlook on falling COVID-19 instances at residence. Authorities raised their assessments for personal consumption and enterprise situations, with the providers sector underpinned by easing coronavirus restrictions, however they signaled ongoing dangers from provide constraints and uncooked materials costs.

1:00 p.m. A cluster linked to a U.S. army base on the southern Japanese island of Okinawa has grown to round 200, Japan’s authorities says. The Camp Hansen cluster has hit American troopers and native employees. The Japanese authorities has requested the U.S. armed forces check for the omicron variant, do genome evaluation and take extra thorough measures to forestall the cluster’s unfold.

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Folks line up for coronavirus checks at a makeshift website in Seoul. South Korea is now scrambling for hospital beds as critical instances climb.

  © AP

12:00 p.m. South Korea studies 5,202 new instances for Monday, with 49 omicron infections, in line with the Yonhap Information Company. Whereas the overall variety of instances fell, the variety of sufferers in critical situation rebounded to exceed 1,000, placing extra strain on a well being system scrambling to safe hospital beds.

10:30 a.m. Omicron has raced forward of different variants and is now the dominant model of the coronavirus within the U.S., accounting for 73% of new infections final week, federal well being officers say. The Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention numbers present almost a sixfold enhance in omicron’s share of infections in just one week.

5:04 a.m. The White Home is contemplating easing journey restrictions to southern African international locations as U.S. an infection charges of the fast-spreading omicron variant rise, high infectious illness skilled Dr. Anthony Fauci says. “We’re letting in folks from different international locations which have as a lot or extra an infection than the southern African international locations,” he tells the Nationwide Press Membership. “So probably we’re going to have a look at that very rigorously to see if we will pull again.”

4:37 a.m. Quebec, Canada’s second-most populous province, orders bars, gyms and casinos shut and directs folks to work solely from residence to battle the speedy unfold of the omicron variant of the coronavirus. Christian Dube, the province’s well being minister, says Quebec had a document 4,500 new every day instances of the coronavirus.

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Moderna goals to develop an omicron-specific vaccine, with scientific trials hoped for early 2022.

  © Reuters

3:30 a.m. Moderna says a booster dose of its vaccine seems to guard towards the fast-spreading omicron variant in laboratory checks. The corporate says its choice to concentrate on the present vaccine, mRNA-1273, was pushed partially by how rapidly the lately found variant is spreading. Moderna says it nonetheless plans to develop a vaccine to guard towards omicron particularly and hopes to begin scientific trials early subsequent 12 months.

12:39 a.m. The European Fee authorizes using the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine within the European Union. The choice got here shortly after the EU medication regulator had really useful its approval. “With 5 accredited vaccines, the EU has a diversified portfolio, primarily based each on novel applied sciences, akin to mRNA, and basic ones, like Novavax, which is protein-based,” tweeted the pinnacle of the bloc’s government Fee, Ursula von der Leyen.

Monday, Dec. 20

10:36 p.m. India, which reported its first two omicron infections on Dec. 2, says the brand new variant case rely has risen to 161. “We now have already organized a buffer inventory of necessary medicines in order that we do not face any drawback when the variant spreads [further],” well being minister Mansukh Mandaviya tells India’s parliament. The nation, which launched the world’s largest COVID-19 inoculation drive on Jan. 16, has administered over 1.37 billion vaccine doses, with 88% of its eligible grownup inhabitants of 944 million having obtained at the very least one shot whereas 58% have gotten each doses, he says.

10:17 p.m. The European Union’s drug regulator approves use of the COVID-19 vaccine from U.S.-based Novavax in folks 18 and older, paving the best way for a fifth coronavirus shot within the area. Knowledge from two giant research exhibits the vaccine has an efficacy of round 90%, the European Medicines Company says, noting that knowledge is restricted on efficacy towards some variants of concern, together with omicron.

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Klaus Schwab, the manager chairman of the World Financial Discussion board is seen internet hosting an occasion in Geneva, Switzerland in January. (Photograph courtesy of the WEF)

10:02 p.m. The World Financial Discussion board postpones its 2022 assembly of world enterprise and political leaders within the Swiss city of Davos as a result of unfold of the omicron coronavirus variant, saying it will put off the occasion scheduled for January 17-21 till “early summer time.”

“Regardless of the assembly’s stringent well being protocols, the transmissibility of Omicron and its impression on journey and mobility have made deferral essential,” the group mentioned in a information launch.

6:10 p.m. A cluster linked to a U.S. military base in Japan has grown to at the very least 180 instances, Japan’s authorities says. A Japanese employee at Camp Hansen, on the southern island of Okinawa, on Friday examined optimistic for the omicron variant. The cluster has grown to 180 instances, although it isn’t clear what number of are of the extremely contagious variant, Chief Cupboard Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno mentioned.

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Ben Gurion worldwide airport, close to Tel Aviv. Israel is including the USA to a no-fly listing.

  © Reuters

5:20 p.m. Israel has added the USA to its “no fly” listing, citing considerations over the unfold of the omicron variant. Underneath the edict, which takes impact on Tuesday evening, Israelis will want particular permission to fly to the nation, which turns into one in every of greater than 50 on the listing. In a televised handle on Sunday, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett mentioned Israel was in a position to purchase a while by rapidly throttling journey when omicron first surfaced final month however that the variant is now catching up. He predicted a surge of sicknesses inside a number of weeks.

4:00 p.m. Toyota Motor says it can droop manufacturing at 5 home factories in January as a result of provide chain points, chip shortages and the pandemic. The Japanese automaker says the stoppage will affect about 20,000 vehicles however will not impression the corporate’s 9 million car manufacturing goal this 12 months.

3:30 p.m. Thailand finds its first regionally transmitted case of the omicron coronavirus variant in a Thai lady, the well being ministry says. She examined optimistic for omicron after contracting the virus from her husband, a Colombian who returned to Thailand from Nigeria in late November. The ministry will suggest scrapping a quarantine waiver for vaccinated guests and revert to lodge quarantine and a “sandbox” program, which permits free motion in particular areas, Well being Minister Anutin Charnvirakul mentioned. In complete, Thailand has detected 63 folks contaminated with the variant to this point, Anutin mentioned.

2:00 p.m. New Zealand authorities say they’ve linked a 26-year-old man’s dying to Pfizer’s vaccine; he had suffered myocarditis, a uncommon irritation of the guts muscle, after taking his first dose. The dying is New Zealand’s second linked to a identified however uncommon facet impact. In August a girl had died after taking her doses. “With the present obtainable info, the board has thought of that the myocarditis was in all probability as a result of vaccination on this particular person,” the COVID-19 Vaccine Impartial Security Monitoring Board mentioned. The person, who died inside two weeks of his first dose, had not sought medical recommendation or therapy for his signs.

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The Nikkei Inventory Common closed the morning session at 28,055 on Dec. 20, down 1.7% from the earlier shut, on considerations over the unfold of the omicron variant. (File photograph by Kai Fujii)

12:00 p.m. Japan’s Nikkei Inventory Common fell in morning commerce, monitoring Wall Avenue’s weak end over the weekend, as worries concerning the unfold of the omicron coronavirus variant dented investor sentiment. It closed the morning session at 28,055, down 1.7% from Friday’s shut. China’s announcement in the course of the session that it had reduce its key lending price fueled considerations over weak spot within the Chinese language economic system, accelerating the sell-off.

10:55 a.m. China’s central financial institution cuts its benchmark lending price for the first time in 20 months, because the nation’s economic system slows. The Folks’s Financial institution of China decreased the one-year mortgage prime price, or LPR, to three.8%, down from 3.85%, at its December assembly. The reduce got here after the PBOC decreased the reserve requirement ratio imposed on industrial banks by 0.5% earlier this month, the second discount this 12 months.

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U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren says on Twitter she is vaccinated and has obtained a booster shot.

  © Reuters

6:47 a.m. U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, 72, checks optimistic for COVID-19 and says she is experiencing delicate signs. The progressive Massachusetts Democrat says on Twitter she is vaccinated and obtained a booster shot.

Sunday, Dec. 19

11:10 p.m. The European Fee says it reached an settlement with BioNTech and Pfizer for the supply of an additional 20 million doses of their COVID-19 vaccine to European Union states within the first quarter of 2022. This comes on high of an already scheduled 195 million doses from BioNTech-Pfizer, bringing the overall variety of deliveries within the first quarter to 215 million, the fee says.

8:45 p.m. Iran confirms its first case of the omicron COVID-19 variant. Kamal Heidari, the nation’s deputy well being minister, tells state TV that the contaminated particular person is a middle-aged Iranian man who returned lately from the United Arab Emirates.

7:50 p.m. Britain’s well being minister declines to rule out additional COVID-19 restrictions earlier than Christmas, in line with Reuters. “There aren’t any ensures on this pandemic, I do not assume. At this level, we simply need to maintain every part beneath overview,” Sajid Javid tells BBC Tv.

7:36 p.m. Italy is contemplating new measures to keep away from a surge in COVID-19 infections in the course of the vacation interval, every day newspaper Corriere della Sera studies. Prime Minister Mario Draghi plans to satisfy with ministers on Thursday, after which he would possibly require vaccinated people to point out a unfavourable check to enter crowded locations together with discos and stadiums. Unfavourable checks additionally may very well be required to enter cinemas and theaters, together with carrying masks open air, the every day added.

3:05 a.m. The Netherlands will go right into a strict lockdown over the Christmas and New Yr’s interval to attempt to comprise the extremely contagious omicron variant, Prime Minister Mark Rutte says. All nonessential outlets and providers, together with eating places, hairdressers, museums and gymnasiums will probably be closed from Sunday till Jan. 14. All faculties will probably be shut till at the very least Jan. 9. “The Netherlands is once more shutting down. That’s unavoidable due to the fifth wave that’s coming at us with the omicron variant,” Rutte tells a information convention.

2:24 a.m. Two U.S. Air Drive crew members supporting Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s journey final week to the U.Ok. and Southeast Asia have examined optimistic for the coronavirus, a spokesperson for the air power says. The brand new instances, which had not been beforehand disclosed, deliver the overall quantity of people that have examined optimistic for COVID-19 touring on Blinken’s airplane final week to 3.

Saturday, Dec. 18

11:29 p.m. Britain studies a surge in omicron instances that authorities advisers say may very well be simply the tip of the iceberg, and London’s mayor declared a “main incident” to assist town’s hospitals cope. Omicron instances throughout the nation hit virtually 25,000 as of 1800 GMT on Friday, up by greater than 10,000 instances from 24 hours earlier, the U.Ok. Well being Safety Company (UKHSA) says. Seven folks believed to have had the omicron variant had died as of Thursday, up from one dying within the UKHSA’s earlier knowledge which ran as much as Tuesday. Admissions to hospital of individuals thought to have the variant elevated to 85 from 65.

8:07 p.m. Beijing metropolis says it’s advising residents to not depart city throughout a significant vacation season in early 2022, a part of efforts to restrict coronavirus dangers whereas the Winter Olympics Video games are being held. Along with encouraging folks to not take pointless journeys exterior town, it can additionally name for some gatherings to be held on-line, in line with its assertion. The northern Hebei Province that may co-host the Video games with Beijing in addition to a number of different cities have issued comparable advisories.

7:02 p.m. The omicron variant is spreading considerably sooner than the delta pressure in international locations with documented neighborhood transmission, with a doubling time of 1.5 to three days, the World Well being Group says. Omicron, which was designated as a variant of concern on Nov. 26, has been recognized in 89 international locations throughout all six WHO areas as of Thursday, the WHO mentioned.

6:18 p.m. Paris cancels fireworks and different festivities on the Champs Elysees avenue on New Yr’s Eve consistent with new authorities guidelines to forestall the unfold of the omicron variant, BFM TV studies. French Prime Minister Jean Castex says main public events and fireworks could be banned on New Yr’s Eve and really useful that folks — even when vaccinated — take a COVID-19 self-test earlier than getting collectively for year-end events.

11:52 a.m. A U.S. federal appeals court docket panel permits President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for bigger personal employers to maneuver forward, reversing a earlier choice on a requirement that would have an effect on some 84 million U.S employees, The Related Press studies. The two-1 choice overrules a call by a federal choose in a separate court docket that had paused the mandate nationwide.

The mandate from the U.S. Occupational Security and Well being Administration was to take impact Jan. 4. With the most recent ruling, it isn’t clear when the requirement could be put in place, however the White Home mentioned in a press release that it’s going to shield employees: “Particularly because the U.S. faces the extremely transmissible omicron variant, it is important we transfer ahead with vaccination necessities and protections for employees with the urgency wanted on this second.”

To make amends for earlier developments, see last week’s latest updates.

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