Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:
– Ecuador’s compulsory jabs –
Ecuador becomes the first country to make vaccines compulsory for everyone including children as young as five as the Omicron variant arrives in the South American country.
– Pandemic Christmas 2 –
The world rings in a second pandemic Christmas — and a third since the first outbreak in China — as the fast-spreading Omicron virus brings the prospect of yet more Covid restrictions.
– Virus takes wings –
Tens of millions of people across the globe are on the move in one of the busiest travel days of the holiday season as Omicron infections surpass the peak of the Delta wave in some countries.
– China punishes officials –
Dozens of officials in the locked down city of Xi’an are punished for an outbreak as China tries to reinforce its strict zero-Covid approach.
– Two die in hospital fire –
Two patients die in a fire in the intensive care unit of an infectious diseases hospital used to treat Covid patients in Astrakhan in southern Russia.
– Booster gap reduced –
France recommends adults receive a booster vaccination three months after their initial jabs, reducing the guideline from five months.
– Give booster gift: Johnson –
Britain’s under pressure Prime Minister Boris Johnson appeals to the people to get the “wonderful” gift of a jab in a Christmas Eve message amid record infections in his country.
– Times Square dampener –
New York’s famous New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square will be drastically scaled back after a “staggering” surge in virus cases.
– Cruise ship cluster –
Fifty-five people test positive aboard “Odyssey of the Seas”, a Royal Caribbean International cruise ship that set sail from Florida at the weekend.
– Santa good to go –
Canada says Santa has been cleared for travel in the country’s airspace after showing proof of vaccination and a pre-flight negative Covid test.
– Everton match off –
Burnley’s match at home to Everton on Sunday is the latest English Premier League fixture to be postponed because of a virus outbreak.
– More than 5.3 million dead –
The coronavirus has killed at least 5,385,564 people since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019, according to a tally Friday from official sources compiled by AFP.
Record numbers of new infections since the start of have been passed this week so far in the UK, Denmark, Spain, France, Canada, Finland, Australia, Kenya, Malta, South Sudan, Iceland and Monaco.
Taking into account excess mortality linked to Covid-19, the World Health Organization estimates the overall death toll could be two to three times higher.