Governments globally have tightened social mobility restrictions and made urgent pleas for citizens to vaccinate as Omicron emerges as the dominant strain of the virus. In Asia-Pacific, Singapore Government today said that it will freeze all new ticket sales for flights and buses under its programme for quarantine-free travel into the city-state from tomorrow to January 20.
U.S. President Joe Biden today promised half a billion free rapid COVID-19 tests and warned the quarter of American adults who are unvaccinated that their choices could spell the “difference between life and death.”
In response to the surge in cases, countries are also looking to shorten the time between second vaccination shots and boosters. However, wary of public lockdown fatigue, there is reluctance to return to the strict curbs imposed during the spread of the Delta variant earlier this year.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced new vaccination funding for clinics and pharmacies. He also urged the country’s states to reopen hundreds of vaccination hubs, to accelerate a booster rollout.
Australia on Wednesday reported more than 5,000 daily infections for the first time during the pandemic, with the bulk of cases in its most populous states of New South Wales and Victoria.
There was also resistance to new lockdowns in South Korea, where authorities announced restrictions on gatherings and operating times for restaurants, cafes and bars.