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Factbox: Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus – Metro US

Factbox: Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus

Philippines reopen 28 schools in Metro Manila
Philippines reopen 28 schools in Metro Manila

(Reuters) – New York City declared on Monday that all private-sector employers must implement COVID-19 vaccine mandates for their workers, as the highly transmissible Omicron variant has spread to at least one-third of U.S. states.

EUROPE

* Britain’s health minister said there is now community transmission of the variant across regions of England.

* France will close nightclubs ahead of Christmas and tighten social distancing measures in response to the Omicron variant, but there is no need for new lockdowns or curfews, Prime Minister Jean Castex said.

* The Czech government will order COVID-19 vaccinations for people working in hospitals and nursing homes as well as police officers, soldiers and some other professions and all citizens aged 60 and older.

* Nearly 70 nurses and doctors working in the intensive care unit at a Spanish hospital have tested positive for COVID-19 after attending a Christmas party, health authorities said.

* Italy tightened restrictions on people still not vaccinated, limiting their access to an array of places and services.

AMERICAS

* The U.S. ban on foreign nationals entering the country from eight southern African countries is something President Joe Biden’s public health advisers reconsider daily, the White House said.

* At least 17 COVID-19 cases, including a probable case of the Omicron variant, have been detected among passengers and crew on a cruise ship that disembarked in New Orleans over the weekend, Louisiana health officials said.

* Ford Motor Co said it would push its return-to-work hybrid plan to March as the state of the pandemic remained uncertain.

* Argentina, which detected on Sunday its first case of the Omicron variant, has approved Russia’s one-dose Sputnik Light as a standalone vaccine and a booster shot, the Russian Direct Investment Fund said, citing the health ministry.

ASIA-PACIFIC

* Some children in the Philippines’ capital Manila returned to school after a near two-year suspension as the country tries to get life back to normal.

* India’s cases of the Omicron variant rose to 21 over the weekend, officials said, while Nepal and Thailand detected their first cases.

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

* Namibia has detected the Omicron variant in 18 of 19 samples sequenced between Nov. 11 and 26, its health ministry said.

* Nigeria criticised Britain’s decision to add the country to a travel “red list” due to coronavirus concerns as unjust and not driven by science.

* South Africa is preparing hospitals for more admissions, as the Omicron variant pushes the country into a fourth wave of infections, President Cyril Ramaphosa said.

MEDICAL DEVELOPMENT

* Merck & Co on Monday announced a deal with Thermo Fisher Scientific to manufacture its experimental COVID-19 pill at the medical device maker’s site in Whitby, Ontario.

* The European Union’s drug regulator recommended extending the use of Roche’s RoActemra arthritis drug for adult COVID-19 patients on systemic treatment with steroids and those who need oxygen support or mechanical ventilation.

* South Africa’s Biovac Institute will start making Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine early next year after receiving the drug substance from Europe, a Pfizer executive said.

ECONOMIC IMPACT

* The emergence of the Omicron variant is starting to impact shopper behaviour in Britain, researcher Springboard said.

(Compiled by Juliette Portala, Sarah Morland and Shailesh Kuber; Editing by Alex Richardson, Mark Heinrich and Shounak Dasgupta)

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