New Zealand delayed the planned reopening of its international border because of the sweeping spread of Omicron around the world on Tuesday, as several other countries reimposed social distancing measures.
Many nations are on high alert just days ahead of Christmas and New Year celebrations, as the latest health crisis also takes a toll on financial markets, which fear the impact on the global economic recovery.
Omicron infections are multiplying rapidly across Europe, the United States and Asia, including in Japan where a single cluster at a military base has grown to at least 180 cases.
New Zealand COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said his country was delaying the start of a planned staggered reopening of its border until the end of February. The government had previously said quarantine-free travel would reopen by mid-January for New Zealand citizens and residents in Australia and by April for foreign tourists.
“There’s no doubt this is disappointing and will upset many holiday plans, but it’s important to set these changes out clearly today so they can have time to consider those plans,” Hipkins said.
In Singapore, the health ministry was carrying out testing to determine whether Omicron was behind a potential cluster of cases at a gym.
“Given its high transmissibility and spread to many parts of the world, we should expect to find more Omicron cases at our borders and also within our community,” Singapore’s health ministry said.
The Omicron variant has become dominant in the United States with lightning speed, and claimed the life of an unvaccinated man in Texas, reports said. Lines for COVID-19 tests wrapped around the block in New York, Washington and other U.S. cities as people clamoured to find out if they were infected before celebrating the holidays with family.
South Korea, the Netherlands, Germany and Ireland were among countries to reimpose partial or full lockdowns, or other social distancing measures, in recent days.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday said the situation was ’’extremely difficult’’ as hospitalisations rose steeply in London.
Asked about speculation the government would ban indoor socialising and limit tourism, Johnson said: “We’re looking at all kinds of things … we will rule nothing out.”
In Australia, where Omicron cases have surged but hospitalisations remain relatively low, Prime Minister Scott Morrison urged state and territory leaders to avoid further lockdowns, saying limiting the spread of the virus comes down to personal responsibility.
“We have got to get past the heavy hand of government and we have got to treat Australians like adults,” he said. “We’re not going back to lock downs. We’re going forward to live with this virus with common sense and responsibility.”
Several leaders and health officials have stressed the importance of booster vaccine shots to fight the variant.
The Omicron variant was first detected last month in southern Africa and Hong Kong and so far has been reported in at least 89 countries.
The severity of illness it causes remains unclear, but the World Health Organization (WHO) warned it is spreading faster than the Delta variant and is causing infections in people already vaccinated or who have recovered from the COVID-19 disease.
The rapid spread of the variant has ignited fears that more countries may impose economically disruptive restrictions, impacting markets.
U.S. stocks ended trading on Monday down by more than 1%, pressured lower by surging Omicron cases, while oil investors feared that new restrictions in Europe would weigh on fuel demand, sending crude prices lower.
Asian shares and oil prices rose in early trade on Tuesday, though the Australian and New Zealand dollars fell.
[VIDEO] Counter-Protester at DC Anti-Mandate Rally Tells Reporter When Her “Vax Injury” Heals, She’ll Get a Booster
Today, tens of thousands of patriots showed up in DC at the Lincoln Memorial to protest the unconstitutional vax mandates and vax passes that are still in place.
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We can’t forget there are still many private businesses out there who are mandating the vax, even after Biden’s mandate was struck down.
So, patriots gathered to protest in D.C., and it was a tremendous success.
MORE NEWS: Reminder: High-Ranking Russian Official Called Out “Biden’s Dementia” to The Entire World
Bonus: the FBI wasn’t there, so no riots broke out.
NOW – Thousands gather in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC to protest against vaccine mandates.pic.twitter.com/rlDXSr1xpN
— Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) January 23, 2022
There was a small group of counter-protesters who showed up.
This is odd because I thought Joe Biden had 81-million voters who supported all of his policies, so you’d think there would’ve been hordes of people out there fighting for “sCiEnCe,” right?
Well, that wasn’t the case. But a few kooks did show up.
One counter-protester actually spoke to reporters.
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She told the reporter she was there to defend “tHe sCiEnCe.”
She also said that right now she’s dealing with a “vaccine injury,” and once that “heals” she’ll get the booster.
Um, yikes… okay.
At the “Defeat The Mandates” Rally counter-protesters were there to defend “the science”.
A woman who shares she’s dealing with a vaccine injury says she’s waiting to heal so she can get her booster. pic.twitter.com/OfkbDbkKci
— Sav (@RapidFire_Pod) January 23, 2022
Here’s what people online had to say:
“these people are hilarious 😂”
“Plot twist: you never heal”
“Genuine question – if you had a severe adverse reaction to one shot that you need time to heal, would a doctor still be recommending you take the second shot or booster??”
“Vaccine-injured, but will get as many boosters as it takes. You just can’t make this stuff up, kids. Common sense isn’t so common anymore.”
“These. People. Are. Insane.”
“Wow. No words…except wow!”
“The brainwashing goes deep”
“It’s sad what they’ve done to us”
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Well, by the time this poor woman has healed, she’ll likely need two boosters, because Fauci was all over the Sunday talk shows prepping the COVIDIANS for yet another booster.
God’s speed, lady…you’ll need it.
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