Israel bans travel to US over Omicron concerns: COVID live news

Israel has added the United States to its “no-fly” list, citing concerns over the spread of the new Omicron coronavirus variant.

Acting on health ministry recommendations, Israeli cabinet ministers voted on Monday to put the United States, Italy, Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Morocco, Portugal, Canada, Switzerland and Turkey on the no-fly roster.

In Europe, Germany has ruled out a Christmas lockdown but warned a fifth COVID-19 wave could no longer be stopped amid the spread of Omicron.

Meanwhile, the top infectious diseases expert in the United States warned that a new COVID-19 wave could strain hospital capacity.

“One thing that’s very clear … is (Omicron’s) extraordinary capability of spreading,” Fauci told broadcaster NBC News. “It is just… raging through the world.”

Tennis player Nadal tests positive for COVID-19 after Abu Dhabi event

Rafa Nadal has tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival in Spain after making his comeback from injury in an exhibition event in Abu Dhabi last week, the Spaniard said.4

Ireland does not expect to impose additional COVID restrictions: deputy PM

The Irish government does not expect to have to impose stricter COVID-19 restrictions in the coming weeks, deputy prime minister Leo Varadkar said, days after the government ordered bars and restaurants to close at 8pm.

“If we have to, we will do whatever is necessary … but we don’t anticipate that will be necessary,” Varadkar told Irish broadcaster RTE.

UK’s Omicron deaths rise to 12, no guarantees on Christmas restrictions

Twelve people in Britain have died with the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, with another 104 people hospitalized, Britain’s Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab said.

Asked whether the government would impose further restrictions before Christmas, Raab told Times Radio: “I just can’t make hard and fast guarantees.”

“In assessing the situation we rely very heavily on the real data coming through and it will take a little bit more time to assess this critical issue of the severity of Omicron,” he said.

Coronavirus cluster linked to US base in Japan grows to at least 180

A cluster of coronavirus infections linked to a US military base in Japan has grown to at least 180, Japan’s government said, raising fears over the spread of the virus in the community.

A Japanese worker at Camp Hansen on the southern island of Okinawa was found positive with the Omicron variant last Friday, Japanese officials said.

The cluster linked to the base now had 180 cases, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told a regular news conference, though it was not clear how many were of the highly contagious Omicron variant.

“The Japanese government is urging again the US side to ensure all workers at the US military bases in Japan abide by the instructions and take strong measures if there are any violations,” Matsuno said.

Ramaphosa, who was given Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine in February, tested positive for COVID-19 on December 12 and received treatment for mild symptoms.

“The President has returned to duty and will chair the final cabinet meeting for 2021 on Wednesday,” the presidency said in a statement.

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