Omicron and Delta spell return of unpopular curbs

Omicron and Delta spell return of unpopular curbs

Paris: Greeks who are over age 60 and refuse coronavirus vaccinations could be hit with monthly fines of more than one-quarter of their pensions a get-tough policy that the country's politicians say will cost votes but save lives.

In Israel, potential carriers of the new Omicron variant could be tracked by the nation's domestic security agency in seeming defiance of a Supreme Court ruling from the last go-round. Weekly protests in the Netherlands over the country's 5 pm lockdown and other new restrictions have descended into violence, despite what appears to be overwhelming acceptance of the rules.

With the delta variant of COVID-19 pushing up cases in Europe and growing fears over the Omicron variant, governments around the world are weighing new measures for populations tired of hearing about restrictions and vaccines.

I know the frustration that we all feel with this Omicron variant, the sense of exhaustion that we could be going through this all over again,British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Tuesday, two days after the government announced that masks would be mandatory again in stores and on public transportation and required all visitors from abroad to undergo a COVID-19 test and quarantine.

In the Netherlands, where the curfew went into effect last week, mounted police patrol to break up demonstrations against the new lockdown, which is among the world's strictest.

In Greece, residents over 60 face fines of 100 euros ( 113) a month if they fail to get vaccinated. The fines will be tacked onto tax bills in January.

In Israel, the government this week approved resuming the use of a controversial phone-monitoring technology to perform contact tracing of people confirmed to have the Omicron variant.

In South Africa, President Cyril Ramaphosa is simply calling on more people to get vaccines to help restore the social freedoms we all yearn for.

Germany on Thursday followed Austria's lead and locked down the unvaccinated, excluding them from nonessential stores, cultural and recreational venues.

The US recorded its first confirmed case of the omicron variant Wednesday in a vaccinated traveller who returned to California after a trip to South Africa.

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