UK PM faces more revelations over COVID lockdown party: Live | News on the coronavirus pandemic

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing yet more allegations that his office is hosting ‘boozy parties’ when everyone in the country has been unable to mix due to strict social distancing rules.

US President Joe Biden has said his administration will provide 500 million faster COVID-19 tests to better combat the spread of the Omicron variant.

French teachers have gone on strike against their government’s viral “chaotic” strategy for schools.

Here are the latest updates:

Hong Kong airport suspends transit flights from high-risk countries

Hong Kong International Airport said passenger transit flights from countries considered high risk due to the coronavirus will be suspended from Jan. 16 to Feb. 15.

“Passenger transfer/transit services through Hong Kong International Airport for anyone who has stayed at one or more specified Group A locations within the past 21 days will be suspended,” the airport said in a statement released. on its website.

Hong Kong considers more than 150 countries as high risk.

Shanghai cuts some tourist trips again over COVID-19 cases

Shanghai’s financial hub in eastern China has suspended some tourist activities as part of its efforts to avoid a handful of sporadic new local transmissions, as it also faces a rise in COVID-19 infections. 19 from abroad.

The Shanghai Tourism and Culture Authority said travel agencies and online tourism companies must once again stop organizing group tours between Shanghai and other provinces, regions or municipalities, after the city reported five new locally transmitted infections, all linked to a previous arrival from abroad.

The order, in line with a nationwide directive to reduce tourist activities in provincial divisions where new infections have emerged, came less than a month after Shanghai lifted a previous suspension that went into effect in November, according to local government statements and a report from a newspaper run by the China Tourism Authority.

Cambodia begins fourth round of COVID vaccinations

Cambodia has started a fourth round of coronavirus vaccinations following the recent discovery of cases of the Omicron variant, with high-risk groups being the first to receive their next vaccines.

Among those waiting in hospitals and clinics were frontline medical personnel as well as members of the armed forces.

Government ministers, including Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, also received booster doses on Friday. Hun Sen called on all Cambodians to get fully vaccinated, including a booster, saying it is the only way to ensure that their families and communities are protected from COVID-19.

“Alarm” in China during the latest epidemic

Al Jazeera’s Britt Clennett, reporting from Hong Kong, says there is growing “alarm” in China over the latest coronavirus outbreak.

The country confirmed 201 new cases for January 13, up from 190 a day earlier. Authorities also reported 42 asymptomatic cases, which China does not report among its confirmed cases.

Clennett says the concern is that cases from Tianjin, just 30 minutes by train from Beijing, could spread to the capital just as it prepares to host the Winter Olympics. She says authorities are “taking no risks” and have stepped up checks on travelers to the capital.

Omicron set to become dominant in South Korea

Omicron is poised to become the dominant variant in South Korea, with officials closely monitoring the spread of the virus ahead of the upcoming Lunar New Year.

“The Omicron variant is spreading rapidly, especially since last week, and is poised to become the dominant variant as it accounted for 20% of national cases two days ago,” Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said during a briefing. a meeting on the response to COVID-19, according to the Yonhap news agency.

“I ask people to refrain from visiting their hometowns and meeting relatives and families during the Lunar New Year holiday period.”

As the government extends health restrictions until February 6 amid concerns, it says it will also relax the rules slightly so that six fully vaccinated people can attend private gatherings instead of four. A 9 p.m. curfew on restaurants, cafes and bars will continue.

People wearing masks walk on a cold winter day in a park by the Han River in Seoul [Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters]

Philippines extends COVID-19 restrictions until January 31

The Philippines’ coronavirus task force plans to extend movement restrictions in the Manila region and other provinces until the end of January, according to acting presidential spokesman Karlo Nograles.

The Southeast Asian nation is battling its biggest-ever rise in COVID-19 cases.

Online and physical classes at all public and private schools in Manila began a one-week suspension on Friday.

Australia’s New South Wales reports record deaths

The Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) has reported a record number of deaths from COVID-19 for a third day.

The state reported 29 of Australia’s 56 reported deaths on Friday.

The spike in Omicron cases is putting pressure on hospitals, but health officials say they expect admissions to peak next week.

The state’s Assistant Secretary of Health, Susan Pearce, told the media that the number of hospitalized patients was better than the best-case scenario in the official modeling and the cap “but that cap is obviously still at a relatively high level of COVID patients in our hospitals and in our (intensive care).

More party revelations for UK Prime Minister Johnson

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing new allegations that his office partied as citizens were told not to gather for social events because of COVID-19.

The Daily Telegraph says the last gatherings took place on April 16 last year – the day before Prince Philip’s funeral – despite rules limiting the size of gatherings indoors and outdoors.

Johnson is already under pressure, with some members of his party calling for his resignation after he admitted on Wednesday to attending a staff aperitif during the May 2020 lockdown. He told parliament he believed it was a work event .

Djokovic trains as clock ticks on Australia visa decision

Tennis star Novak Djokovic trained in Melbourne this morning as the Australian government prepares to announce its decision on his visa status.

Immigration officials canceled his visa when he arrived in the country last week ahead of the Australian Open tennis tournament, citing insufficient evidence of a medical exemption from the COVID-19 vaccination. 19.

This decision was overturned by a court.

The top male tennis player is awaiting a decision on his visa from Immigration Minister Alex Hawk.

Novak Djokovic in blue shorts, t-shorts and shoes plays a shot during training at Melbourne ParkDjokovic trains at Melbourne Park [Diego Fedele/AAP Image via Reuters]

WHO approves new COVID-19 treatments

A WHO expert group has added two more drugs to its guidelines for recommended treatments for COVID-19.

The drug baricitinib, which is also used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, is “highly recommended” for patients with severe or critical COVID-19, in combination with corticosteroids.

Sotrovimab, an investigational monoclonal antibody treatment, received a “conditional recommendation” for people with non-severe COVID-19 but at the highest risk of hospitalization.

You can read more about this story here.

You can read all of the January 13 updates here.

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Edward L. Robinett