Live updates: Greece bans music at venues for New Year’s

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Greece’s health minister says music will be banned in all commercial venues for New Year celebrations as part of new restrictions announced in response to a rise in COVID-19 infections fueled by the Omicron edition will be installed.

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The restrictions, originally planned to take effect on January 3, will begin early Thursday after the daily number of infections reached nearly 22,000 on Tuesday, more than double the previous day’s record number.

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“Omicron is now the dominant figure in terms of new infections,” Health Minister Thanos Pleveris said during the livestream briefing.

The measures include the mandatory use of high-protection masks at supermarkets and public transport, schedule changes and additional work-from-home orders for government employees, and stricter capacity limits at sporting venues.

Entertainment venues will close at midnight from Thursday, but they will be allowed to remain open until 2 p.m. for New Year’s Eve.


Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic:

– Asia keeps Omicron away, but a bounce may be inevitable

– WHO: Global COVID cases up 11% last week, Omicron risk high

– California first US state to top 5 million cases amid Omicron surge

– Canada’s stringent rules complicate NHL through pandemic


Follow ‘s pandemic coverage


Here’s what else is happening today:

BERLIN – Germany’s health minister is urging his compatriots to be cautious during New Year’s celebrations, warning that the coronavirus infection rate is two to three times higher than the current figures.

Data from Germany continues to show that infection rates have drifted downward from the spike caused by the delta variant. But officials have repeatedly cautioned that the numbers are incomplete during the holiday period because fewer tests are being conducted and there are delays in reporting of tests.

On Wednesday, official figures showed 40,043 new cases were reported in the past 24 hours and an infection rate or incidence of 205.5 new cases per 100,000 residents in the past seven days.

Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said that “the under-reporting is probably of the order that the actual incidence is currently two or three times higher than what we are measuring.”

He added that “we are also seeing a significant increase in Omicron cases which concerns us.”

Lauterbach advised the Germans to spend the New Year period “very carefully” and to celebrate only in very small groups. Restrictions that took effect in recent days included limiting private gatherings to 10 people. Massive New Year celebrations have been cancelled.


WARSAW, Poland – Poland on Wednesday reported a new daily toll of 794 deaths from COVID-19, a record high in the latest wave of infections – though a number that also reflects some delayed reporting due to Christmas.

The deputy health minister, Waldemar Kraska, said the number of new infections had dropped by about 13% compared to last week, but another wave fueled by the Omicron version is still expected to hit the country next month.

The previous record for a death toll, widely referred to as the fourth wave, was 775 on 22 December, while the highest daily rate came at 954 deaths on 8 April, when central Europe was a global hot spot of infections.

To date, the country of 38 million people has recorded more than 4 million infections and a total of 95,707 deaths.


MADRID – Spain’s prime minister has denied any immediate national restrictions in response to the Omicron version of the coronavirus.

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said official data shows that even though Omicron spreads more quickly, it generally produces mild symptoms and therefore puts less strain on Spain’s hospitals than previous strains. He also cited the country’s high vaccination rate of over 80%.

“It is clear that we are in a fundamentally different position,” Sanchez told reporters during his press conference at the end of the year. “We are better and more prepared to face the Omicron version.”

Sanchez confirmed that a panel of regional chiefs and central health officials will debate a proposal to shorten the mandatory isolation period for individuals who test positive but display no COVID-19 symptoms.

Spanish officials are considering reducing the period from 10 to five days, following the United States, Greece and other countries. Staff absenteeism due to the virus has led to the cancellation of trains and other service disruptions in Spain.

Spain confirmed 100,000 new infections on Tuesday, health ministry data showed, bringing the 14-day infection rate to 1,360 cases per 100,000 residents, nearly double the level a week earlier.


PARIS — France’s government is moving forward with efforts to increase pressure on unvaccinated people to get coronavirus jabs, as the Omicron version reports a record rise in infections.

In a parliamentary hearing on Wednesday afternoon, the health minister has defended a French government plan to allow only fully vaccinated individuals to access places such as restaurants, cinemas, theatres, museums and playgrounds. has been given.

Accelerating the introduction of so-called “vaccine passes”, a government strategy to use vaccinations instead of new lockdowns, to try to reduce the impact of the rapidly spreading Omicron variant on already overburdened hospitals Is part of.

France on Tuesday reported nearly 180,000 new COVID-19 cases, a daily record, and numbers are set to continue to rise, with warnings of a potential 250,000 more daily infections by January.

France has vaccinated more than 75% of its population and is rolling out booster shots, but more than 4 million adults in the country are unvaccinated.

The government wants the vaccine pass requirement to be completed by mid-January. If approved by parliament, the plan would mean that non-vaccinated people would no longer be able to use negative test results to travel to places where passes are required.


Seoul, South Korea – South Korea is extending measures to protect against the Omicron version of the coronavirus for another four weeks.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said on Wednesday that short-term foreign travelers from 11 African countries would continue to be banned from entering the country, while all other international arrivals would have to follow a 10-day quarantine until February 3.

South Korea reported 109 new daily COVID-19 cases, the agency says, including the Omicron version, the highest 24-hour tally since the country confirmed its first Omicron case on Dec. .

The delta variant still accounts for the vast majority of new cases in South Korea, but experts say Omicron could become the country’s dominant strain in the next few months.

South Korea reported a total of 5,409 new cases on Wednesday and the number of serious or critically ill patients reached a record high of 1,151.


JERUSALEM – Israel has lifted its travel ban on dozens of European and African countries, including Italy and Germany, even as the country’s coronavirus infection rate continues to rise.

But the Israeli government’s corona cabinet on Wednesday approved red-listing Mexico, adding it to a travel ban that includes the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada.

Israel largely closed its borders to travel after the emergence of the highly contagious Omicron variant last month. Despite a successful vaccination campaign, it has seen new daily infections more than double in the past week.

More than 4.2 million of Israel’s 9.3 million people have received a coronavirus booster shot since it was authorized in July. Earlier this week, a major hospital began a trial to study the effects of a fourth dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine on medical workers.

Israel has recorded at least 8,243 deaths from the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic nearly two years ago.


Berlin: Germany’s international development minister says her country plans to donate another 75 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine to poor countries.

Minister Svenja Schultz told the Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland newspaper group in remarks published on Wednesday that Germany had reached its goal of donating 100 million doses in 2021.

She added: “But we can’t leave it there. For next year, we plan to donate at least a further 75 million doses.

Schulz said he agrees with Germany’s health minister that the donation may not come at the expense of the country’s own vaccination campaign, which officials are working to keep in high gear as new Omron versions move forward.

But she said “we agree that we can achieve both: supplying our own population and poor countries.”


SYDNEY – Australia’s outbreak of the Omicron variant soared coronavirus cases on Wednesday, prompting Prime Minister Scott Morrison to schedule an emergency national cabinet meeting.

The surge has already overwhelmed testing stations, prompted new vaccine mandates and caused at least one state to cut back on elective surgeries.

New infections in Sydney and surrounding parts of the state of New South Wales rose to more than 11,000, up from 6,000 a day earlier. The state of Victoria also reported a record 3,700 cases, up more than 1,000 from the previous record set on Tuesday.

Morrison said the country’s leaders would meet ahead of schedule on Thursday.

“As Omicron continues to move forward, we will see more pressure, but states and territories are working very closely on their plans to address those challenges,” Morrison told reporters.

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