Hong Kong suspends transit flights from most of world

Hong Kong will droop transit flights for a month from round 150 nations and territories thought-about excessive danger as a result of of the coronavirus, deepening the worldwide monetary hub's isolation.

The transfer comes as the town has seen round 50 circumstances of the fast-spreading Omicron variant for the reason that finish of final 12 months.

Prior to the outbreak, which authorities mentioned could possibly be traced again to 2 aircrew members of Cathay Pacific Airways, the town had had no native transmissions for over three months.

Hong Kong International Airport mentioned in a press release at present that any individuals who’ve stayed in locations labeled as excessive danger by well being authorities within the 21 days earlier than travelling can not transit by means of the town from 16 January till 15 February.

The measure was taken "in order to control the spread of the highly infectious Omicron variant," it mentioned.

Hong Kong presently classifies greater than 150 nations and territories as excessive danger.

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Last week, it banned incoming flights from Australia, Canada, France, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Britain and the United States, together with interchanges.

The Chinese-ruled metropolis has adopted mainland China's coverage in adopting a zero-tolerance in direction of native Covid-19 circumstances at the same time as a lot of the world shifts in direction of residing with the coronavirus.

In current weeks, authorities have tightened quarantine restrictions on air crew and reintroduced curbs on social life.

Tighter quarantine restrictions for air crews launched

Fifteen varieties of venues, together with bars and golf equipment, cinemas, gyms and sweetness salons have been ordered to shut, whereas eating in eating places is banned after 6pm.

Primary faculties and pre-schools have additionally been closed.

The authorities is anticipated to announce later at present that the restrictions might be prolonged by means of the Lunar New Year vacation at the beginning of subsequent month.

Swedish PM assessments constructive for Covid as fourth wave surges

Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson has examined constructive for Covid-19, her spokesperson mentioned, as a rising wave of infections swept the nation pushed by the extra contagious Omicron variant.

Ms Andersson is one of a number of occasion leaders to have examined constructive for the virus within the wake of a debate in parliament earlier this week whereas Sweden's king, queen and crown princess have all been hit with infections this month.

Magdalena Andersson is working remotely

The Nordic nation has repeatedly set new each day data for Covid circumstances this month amid a mounting fourth wave of the virus, elevating strain on the healthcare system and triggering the reimposition of many restrictions.

"She is following the current recommendations and will perform her duties from home. The PM is feeling well, given the situation," the spokesperson mentioned.

The well being company expects circumstances, presently hitting highs of round 25,000 per day, to peak later this month when Sweden may attain nearly 70,000 each day circumstances, based on its modelling.

Shanghai cuts some tourism journeys after transient resumption

Shanghai has suspended some tourism actions as half of its efforts to go off a handful of sporadic new native transmissions, whereas it additionally faces a rise in Covid-19 infections from abroad.

Shanghai's tourism and tradition authority mentioned journey companies and on-line tourism firms should as soon as once more halt organising group excursions between Shanghai and different provinces, areas or municipalities, after the town reported 5 new domestically transmitted infections yesterday, all linked to a earlier arrival from abroad.

The order, consistent with a nationwide guideline to chop vacationer actions in provincial divisions the place new infections have emerged, got here lower than a month after Shanghai lifted a earlier suspension that had come into impact in November, based on native authorities statements and a report by a newspaper managed by China's tourism authority.

Empty roads in an space closed off as a consequence of a Covid outbreak in Huaxian county

The danger of the virus getting into from abroad has elevated in Shanghai, with new imported circumstances in the course of the first 10 days of this month already exceeding December's whole, based on Reuters calculations.

It is unclear what number of have been attributable to the Omicron variant.

There have been additional indicators that Shanghai, one of China's most populous cities, was elevating its Covid-19-related vigilance forward of the Lunar New Year vacation journey peak later this month.

Those arriving in Shanghai from different low virus-risk elements of China ought to cut back gatherings within the first week of arrival, and residents are suggested to not go away city unnecessarily in the course of the Lunar New Year vacation, a neighborhood illness management skilled throughout the identical information convention.

China reported a complete of 143 native confirmed circumstances, and 4 domestically transmitted asymptomatic carriers for 13 January.

There have been no new deaths, leaving the dying toll at 4,636.

As of 13 January, mainland China had 104,580 confirmed symptomatic circumstances, together with each native ones and people arriving from abroad.

Welsh authorities set to ease Covid guidelines

The Welsh authorities is to set out a two-week plan to ease coronavirus restrictions.

First Minister Mark Drakeford will reveal his street map for returning to alert stage 0, throughout a press convention in Cardiff this afternoon.

Wales has been on alert stage 2 since Boxing Day, which incorporates measures reminiscent of mask-wearing in all public venues, the two-metre rule and the rule of six in hospitality settings.

Nightclubs have additionally been compelled to close.

However, present knowledge reveals falling case numbers and a decline within the quantity of sufferers in crucial care beds.

The transfer to alert stage 0 is anticipated to be phased, with restrictions on outside actions being eliminated first.

Huge crowds collect for Hindu competition in India

Drones sprayed holy water from the Ganges on hundreds of Hindu pilgrims to scale back crowding throughout a large competition being held regardless of hovering Covid circumstances in India.

The Gangasagar Mela within the east of the nation has drawn comparisons with one other "superspreader" Hindu gathering final 12 months that the Hindu nationalist authorities refused to ban. It was blamed partially for a devastating Covid surge.

Officials had mentioned they anticipated round three million individuals to attend the competition's climax on Sagar Island, the place the Ganges meets the Bay of Bengal.

An AFP photographer mentioned that there have been fewer individuals than in recent times and that rain postpone some pilgrims from making the journey.

But there have been nonetheless big crowds, largely with out masks, taking a holy dip within the river.

Fatalities from India's present wave of infections stay a fraction of what they have been in the course of the surge in April and May final 12 months, with 315 deaths recorded yesterday in contrast with as many as 4,000 per day on the peak.

Infections are rising quick, nonetheless, with nearly 265,000 new circumstances reported yesterday. Some fashions predict India may expertise as many as 800,000 circumstances per day in a couple of weeks, twice the speed seen 9 months in the past.

Keen to keep away from one other painful lockdown for hundreds of thousands of employees reliant on a couple of {dollars} in each day wages, authorities in numerous elements of India have sought to limit gatherings.

In New Delhi, all bars, eating places and personal workplaces are shut and the capital is about to enter its second weekend curfew tonigh.

In the monetary capital Mumbai, gatherings of greater than 4 persons are banned.

But in West Bengal state, the Calcutta High Court allowed the Gangasagar Mela to proceed.

As with 2021's Kumbh Mela, it has attracted individuals from throughout northern India who, after cramming onto trains, buses and boats to succeed in the island, will then go house.

Amitava Nandy, a virologist from the School of Tropical Medicines in Kolkata, mentioned the federal government "has neither the facilities nor the manpower" to check everybody attending or impose social distancing.

Schools in Philippines capital cease lessons as Omicron circumstances surge

Schools within the Philippine capital Manila have been ordered at present to droop on-line lessons for per week, as an Omicron-driven report surge in infections ravages the metropolis of 13 million.

Covid-19 is ripping by means of the nationwide capital area and surrounding provinces, inflicting widespread disruption to companies, providers and healthcare suppliers.

The order for faculties within the capital to droop on-line classes till 22 January was to "ease the health burden" for lecturers and college students, the regional Department of Education mentioned in a memorandum.

Thousands of lecturers and college students have been contaminated with Covid-19, based on the Alliance of Concerned Teachers, which has welcomed the "health break".

In an obvious effort to restrict the havoc attributable to Omicron and get individuals again to work sooner, the federal government has additionally shortened the isolation interval for individuals with delicate signs of the illness from ten to seven days.

The transfer to pause classes comes days after the nationwide division of training gave faculties throughout the archipelago the choice to droop lessons for 2 weeks this month as Omicron whips throughout the nation.

Only round half of the Philippine inhabitants is absolutely vaccinated.

While practically each nation within the world has partially or absolutely reopened faculties for face-to-face classes, the Philippines has stored them largely closed since March 2020.

A pilot return of some faculties to in-person classes in November was suspended in December as infections rose.

Students at Ricardo P Cruz elementary faculty in suburban Manila on 6 December 2021, after authorities loosened coronavirus restrictions

The quantity of new circumstances hit a report 37,207 at present, with greater than three million individuals within the nation contaminated for the reason that begin of the pandemic.

But an absence of testing and the exclusion of antigen outcomes from the tally means the precise determine is prone to be a lot increased.

To revive the battered financial system, the federal government loosened lockdowns in October final 12 months, after coronavirus infections pushed by the Delta variant peaked.

New an infection numbers dwindled to a couple hundred per day simply earlier than Christmas, however ramped up once more as individuals gathered over the vacations.

Additional reporting PA

based mostly on website supplies www.rte.ie

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