DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
* Britain reported another day of record cases on Friday,
with new estimates showing swathes of London’s population are carrying the
* France broke the 100,000 cases threshold for the first
time since the pandemic began as the omicron variant continued its rapid
spread, while Italy reported a third successive record tally of cases on
* Ireland on Friday reported its highest number of daily
cases since the pandemic began but those requiring critical care fell further
amid a rapid roll-out of booster vaccines.
* US airlines cancelled more than 1,300 flights on Sunday as
COVID-19 thinned out the number of available crews, while several cruise ships
had to cancel stops after outbreaks on board, upending the plans of thousands
of Christmas travellers.
* The Dominican Republic has identified its first case of
the omicron variant.
* India will start administering booster shots as a
precautionary measure to healthcare and frontline workers from Jan 10, as
omicron cases rose across the country.
* Japan’s Kyoto and Fukuoka prefectures detected new
infections involving the omicron variant, including cases of possible community
transmission, a government representative and local media said.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* Iran has banned the entry of travellers from Britain,
France, Denmark and Norway for 15 days.
* Omani authorities require foreign travellers aged 18 or
older to have received at least two vaccine doses to enter the sultanate, the
state news agency reported.
* The Palestinian health ministry said it had identified the
first case of omicron in the Gaza Strip.
* A major Israeli hospital will begin administering a fourth
vaccine shot to 150 staff on Monday in a trial aimed at gauging whether a
second booster is necessary nationwide.
* Bharat Biotech’s COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin has gained
approval for emergency use in children aged 12 to 18, the Indian company said
* Asian stock markets were generally weaker with US crude in
holiday-thinned trading on Monday, as uncertainty over the economic impact of
the omicron variant weighed on investor sentiment.
* Japan’s retail sales rose faster than expected in
November, thanks to decreasing COVID-19 cases in the month, which have
encouraged shoppers to ramp up spending on goods and services.