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France to impose more Work-From-Home in COVID fight

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Vaccination mandatory in Singapore from February 2022
CDC cuts quarantine time for COVID-affected Americans to 5 days
Record case numbers reported in 2 Australian States
Cyclists ride along Marina Bay overlooking the financial business district in Singapore.

FRANCE,SINGAPORE, US, AUSTRALIA: France will order companies to impose at least three Work-From-Home days a week for employees whenever possible to stem a fifth wave of Covid infections, Prime Minister Jean Castex said yesterday.

The new measure, which will be in place for at least three weeks, is one of several announced after a crisis Cabinet meeting on the new Omicron variant, which is again threatening to overwhelm hospitals.

The meeting came after France reported Saturday over 100,000 daily COVID cases, a record since the pandemic erupted nearly two years ago, with many experts warning the number would rapidly increase over the coming weeks.

“It all seems like a never-ending movie… but today thanks to our collective mobilisation, we are one of the most vaccinated countries in the world,” he said at a press conference in Paris.

Meanwhile, Singapore has made COVID vaccination a mandatory condition for the approval of new applications for work passes, long-term passes and permanent residence in Singapore from February 1 next year.

Those renewing their work passes will also have to be vaccinated, The Straits Times reported, citing the multi-ministry task force (MMTF) on COVID.

The new order will not apply to children aged below 12 and those who are medically ineligible for vaccination, it said.

“These measures will help sustain our high vaccination rates and facilitate the safe reopening of our society and economy,” the Singapore daily quoting the MMTF said.

Meanwhile, U.S. health authorities on Monday shortened the recommended time for isolation for asymptomatic Americans with COVID-19 to five days from the previous guidance of 10 days.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also said the people who test positive after quarantining should follow five days of wearing a mask when around others.

Omicron accounts for 73% of U.S. coronavirus infections, the federal CDC had said last week.

Breakthrough infections are rising among the fully vaccinated population, including those who have had a third booster shot. However, Omicron appears to be causing milder symptoms in those people, some of whom have no symptoms at all.

Reducing the CDC’s 10-day quarantine recommendation would help asymptomatic people return to work or school, with proper precautions, White House medical adviser Anthony Fauci had told CNN last week.

Meanwhile, Australia’s Victoria and Queensland states reported record levels of new daily coronavirus infections on Tuesday as pressure on testing centers prompted calls for wider use of rapid antigen tests.

Queensland state reported 1,158 cases, the first time the state has seen more than 1,000 cases in a day, but hospitalizations remained low. The state has more than 4,000 active cases of which 257 are reported to be the omicron variant.

Victoria state reported 2,738 new cases Tuesday, beating the previous state record of 2,297 cases in mid-October.

Australia’s most-populous state, New South Wales, saw a slight fall in case numbers but that corresponded with fewer tests around Christmas Day. The state reported 6,062 new infections Tuesday, down from 6,324 a day earlier.



Wednesday, December 29, 2021 – 01:00

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