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Omicron forces new restrictions, global call for booster shot

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, upending reopening plans that many hoped would herald the start of a post-pandemic era in 2022.

December 22, 2021 / 11:06 AM IST
Representational image (Reuters)

Representational image (Reuters)

Singapore suspended quarantine-free travel and Australia renewed its vaccination push on Wednesday as surging cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant just days before Christmas forced authorities to impose new curbs and expedite booster shots.

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, upending reopening plans that many hoped would herald the start of a post-pandemic era in 2022.

In Asia-Pacific, Singapore will freeze all new ticket sales for flights and buses under its programme for quarantine-free travel into the city-state from Dec. 23 to Jan. 20, the government said on Wednesday, citing risk from the fast-spreading Omicron.

"Our border measures will help to buy us time to study and understand the Omicron variant, and to strengthen our defences, including enhancing our healthcare capacity, and getting more people vaccinated and boosted," Singapore’s health ministry said in a statement.