OMICRON variant was first detected last month in southern Africa and Hong Kong and so far been reported in at least 89 countries.
Britain refused to rule out curbs on gatherings on Monday, a day after the Netherlands imposed a fourth lockdown prompted by the fast-spreading Omicron variant of the coronavirus and as other European countries considered putting a squeeze on Christmas.
Omicron infections are multiplying rapidly across Europe and the United States, doubling every two or three days in London and elsewhere.
FRANCE announced a shutdown on Saturday, ordering the closure of all but essential stores, as well as restaurants, hairdressers, gyms, museums and other public places from Sunday until at least Jan. 14.
Twelve people in Britain have died with the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab said on Monday, refusing to rule out a tightening of social restrictions before Christmas.
The German government’s scientific advisory panel said in a statement on Sunday it was necessary to further limit contact, with data so far showing that boosters alone would not be enough to contain the spread of the virus.
The state premier of North Rhine-Westphalia, Hendrik Wuest, did not rule out contact restrictions on people who have been fully vaccinated or had a booster shot.
Ireland on Friday ordered bars and restaurants to close at 8 p.m. and reduced the capacity in all public events. Italy is also considering new measures to avoid a surge in infections, newspapers reported on Sunday.
Israel’s health ministry Sunday recommended banning Israelis from travelling to the United States, and added several European countries to its Covid “red list”, aimed at containing the Omicron variant’s spread.
Barring US travel for Israeli citizens and residents would mark a significant step for Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s government, given the hundreds of thousands of dual nationals and close ties between the countries.
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