The world counted a record number of new COVID cases over the 24 hours to Monday, smashing a record for new cases reported while hospitalizations and deaths have remained surprisingly subdued.
Despite that, the omicron-driven winter wave is prompting some governments to impose new restrictions on the economy, most notably France, which will now require local businesses to require all white-collar workers who are able to work from home for most of next month, if not longer.
The new measures are intended to combat what French authorities have described as an omicron-induced "megawave". Starting from next week, working from home will become mandatory for those who are able. Additionally, public gatherings will be limited to 2K people for indoor events. This comes as France reports more than 100K cases over the weekend.
Elsewhere, in NYC, residents are suffering through the second day of vaccine mandates for private businesses. Footage of police arresting the unvaccinated inside a Burger King in the city is already going viral on social media.
Protestors in NYC are arrested for entering Burger King without showing proof of vaccination pic.twitter.com/XmwMHBcJi6— Libs of Tik Tok (@libsoftiktok) December 28, 2021
Moving on, the outbreak in the northwestern Chinese city of Xi'an has continued to worsen. Already, some among the 13M residents who have been locked down for a week already are running out of food, according to the Daily Mail.
These people - some of whom say they are "starving" - aren't allowed to venture outdoors for any reason, including for buying food and other supplies. Previously, one member of each household was allowed out once every two days to buy food. City officials said people in "low risk" areas will be allowed to buy essentials once testing is complete and if their results are negative.
Xi'an reported 175 new cases on Tuesday, a paltry figure compared to other large cities around the world, but a substantial number in China, which still favors its "Zero COVID" approach even in the face of a less deadly, more infectious, variant. Nearby cities have also logged cases linked to the flare-up, including Yan'an, which is situated about 185M from Xi'an. Authorities asked people to stay home and businesses not to open in that city Tuesday.
People in Xi'an may face up to 10 days in police detention and fines of up to $75 if they are caught leaving their home for any reason other than to get tested or for a medical emergency.
Finally, India may see a spurt in Covid-19 growth rate within days and head into an intense but short-lived wave as the omicron variant moves through the crowded nation of almost 1.4 billion, according to a team of researchers at the University of Cambridge who developed a Covid-19 India tracker.