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China on high COVID alert ahead of Lunar New Year: Live

  • January 17, 2022

Several Chinese cities are on high COVID alert as hundreds of millions of people travel around China ahead of the Lunar New Year celebration on February 1.

Many local governments advised residents not to travel unnecessarily during the holiday, just weeks before Beijing is set to host the Winter Olympic Games.

Governments around the world are also enforcing stricter measures to contain the spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant.

In the Philippines, unvaccinated commuters have been banned from accessing public transport, despite opposition.

Here are Monday’s updates:

17 mins ago (07:47 GMT)

Nepal starts giving boosters

Nepal has begun giving COVID vaccine booster shots as daily cases jumped by 4,961 on Sunday, the biggest 24-hour increase in more than six months.

“The booster shots will be given to those people who have completed six months after getting a second vaccine dose,” the government said in a statement.

Nepal has double-vaccinated 39.9 percent of its 30 million people, in a campaign that began early last year.

The government has also banned large public gatherings and closed schools and colleges until the end of January to curb the rate of infection.

1 hour ago (07:00 GMT)

Vaccine mandate for Manila commuters

People who are not fully vaccinated against COVID have been banned from riding public transport in the Philippine capital – a move that sparked protests from labour and human rights groups.

The Department of Transportation’s “no vax, no ride” policy, which will last at least to the end of January, is an offshoot of President Rodrigo Duterte’s warning that unvaccinated Filipinos who defy orders to stay at home to ease community infections could face arrest.

The Philippines’ vaccination campaign has been dogged by public hesitancy and delays, while the Omicron variant has fuelled a recent spike in infections.

1 hour ago (06:57 GMT)

Japan to expedite boosters to tackle Omicron

Japan will bring forward COVID vaccination booster shots by two months, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has announced in Parliament, as infections soared nationwide.

Containing the pandemic is critical for Kishida, whose predecessor Yoshihide Suga stepped down last year after voter support crumbled as COVID surged.

Japan’s government is also discussing whether to impose a quasi-state of emergency in the capital, Tokyo, and surrounding areas.

1 hour ago (06:52 GMT)

China on high alert ahead of Lunar New Year

Several Chinese cities are on high COVID alert as hundreds of millions of people travel ahead of the Lunar New Year celebration on February 1.

At least five provinces and municipalities reported local Omicron infections, while 14 provincial areas found the variant among travellers from overseas.

Beijing’s first reported case of Omicron prompted stepped-up measures in the capital, just weeks before it hosts the Winter Olympics.

The number of cases in China reached the highest since March 2020 on Monday, despite a strict “zero COVID” policy that includes city lockdowns and travel curbs.

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