Countries around the world are responding to rising Covid-19 numbers as the Omicron variant quickly becomes the dominant strain.
This was the case in Ireland, where 52% of cases came from Omicron, where the government has now put in place a curfew. The Health Protection Surveillance Center reported on Sunday: 5,124 confirmed cases of Covid-19, including 436 hospitalized and 107 in intensive care.
“It took Omicron less than two weeks to become the dominant strain of COVID-19 in Ireland, revealing how transmissible this variant is. ” noted Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, Irish Department of Health.
From Monday, all restaurants, bars and cafes (excluding delivery or take-out services) will close at 8 p.m.
No indoor events, including entertainment, cultural, community and sporting events, will take place after the same time. All events, including theaters, that take place earlier must be capped at 50% of room occupancy or 1,000 attendees, whichever is lower. Religious, educational or normal activities in the workplace are not included.
Outdoor events will also be capped at 50% of site capacity or 5,000 participants, whichever is lower.
Israel recommends adding 10 more countries to its no-fly list, including the United States, Canada, Italy, Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Morocco, Portugal, Switzerland and Turkey. After approval and from December 22 at midnight, the countries would join 59 others already on its red list such as Great Britain, Ireland, France, Finland and Spain.
The news comes as several members of the Israeli Consulate in New York have tested positive for Covid-19, including Consul General Asaf Zamir and at least 12 other staff. Others are awaiting test results.
London is also bracing for new “inevitable” restrictions, according to Mayor Sadiq Khan, who recently declared a state of emergency due to the rapid increase in cases. Khan predicts that without these restrictions the NHS could face collapse.
“I am afraid that in the last few days we have seen a strong surge of Omicron,” he told the BBC. He continued, “The number of positive cases is much higher, so in the last 24 hours we have had almost 30,000 new confirmed cases. In the past 7 days, more than 130,000 new cases have been confirmed. The direction of travel therefore only goes one way, with cases doubling in two days. “
All of the countries mentioned above are encouraging vaccination and recalls, masking, social distancing and restraint while on vacation when meeting with family and friends, to keep numbers from skyrocketing.