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

Factbox-Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus

People queue outside a John Lewis a store announcing a
People queue outside a John Lewis a store announcing a seasonal sale, in London

(Reuters) – Skyrocketing COVID-19 cases hobbled U.S. airline staff on Monday, causing hundreds of flight cancellations, and prompted the country’s top infectious disease expert to suggest the government consider a vaccine mandate for domestic air travel.

DEATHS AND INFECTIONS

* Eikon users, see COVID-19: MacroVitals for a case tracker and summary of news

EUROPE

* Greece on Monday announced further restrictions effective from Jan. 3-16 to contain a further upsurge in COVID-19 infections including the Omicron variant, targeting mainly night-time entertainment venues.

* Italy reported 142 coronavirus-related deaths on Monday against 81 the day before, the health ministry said, while the daily tally of new infections rose to 30,810 from 24,883.

* 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.

AMERICAS

* U.S. airlines canceled nearly 1,000 flights after grounding thousands of flights over the Christmas holiday weekend, hobbled by staff shortages from COVID-19 infections and bad weather in parts of the country.

* U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday pledged to ease a shortage of COVID-19 tests as the Omicron variant threatened to overwhelm hospitals and stifle travel plans as it spread across U.S. states this holiday week.

ASIA-PACIFIC

* 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.

* Australia reported its first confirmed death from the new Omicron variant of COVID-19 on Monday amid its biggest daily surge in infections, but the authorities refrained from imposing new restrictions saying hospitalisation rates remained low.

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.

MEDICAL DEVELOPMENTS

* South Korea authorised for emergency use Pfizer’s antiviral pills targeting COVID-19 as the first of its kind to be introduced in South Korea, the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said on Monday.

ECONOMIC IMPACT

* Global equity markets stocks rose and oil prices eased on Monday as flight cancellations over Christmas revived concerns that the Omicron coronavirus variant could slow the economy into 2022. [GLOBAL-MARKETS/]

* Oil prices rose more than 2% on Monday to the highest level since late November on hopes that the Omicron coronavirus variant will have a limited impact on global demand in 2022, even as surging cases caused flight cancellations.

(Compiled by Devika Syamnath and Shinjini Ganguli; Edited by Shounak Dasgupta and Maju Samuel)

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