NEW YORK — New York City’s sweeping mandate requiring nearly all private sector businesses to ban unaffiliated employees from the workplace has taken effect amid a spike in coronavirus infections.
Workers in about 184,000 businesses were required to show evidence that they had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Monday. Businesses that don’t comply could face fines starting at $1,000, but Mayor Bill de Blasio has said imposing a fine would be a last resort.
Employers must verify and record each worker’s proof of COVID-19 vaccination. Workers who have received only one pill must take a second pill within 45 days. Companies must display a sign confirming that they are complying with the “at a specific location” rule under city mandates.
Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic:
– Omicron spreads global sadness on New Year’s celebration
– Delta flight to Shanghai returned due to COVID regulations.
Here’s what else is happening today:
BERLIN – Germany’s national railway says it saw more than double the number of passengers over the Christmas period compared to last year. But passenger figures were still below pre-pandemic levels.
Deutsche Bahn said it saw 1.6 million passengers and that its trains were about 40% full on average between December 22 and December 26.
A year ago, Germany was in lockdown during a second wave of coronavirus infections. This year, officials are adding restrictions to slow progress on the Omicron version, such as limiting private gatherings to a maximum of 10 people, but many businesses and facilities that closed last year remain open.
From the end of November, the rules require people to be vaccinated, healthy or have recently tested negative to use public transport in Germany. Deutsche Bahn says that about 500,000 passengers have been checked on long-distance services since then, and less than 1% of them were required to leave trains.
JERUSALEM – Israel has begun testing a fourth dose of a coronavirus vaccine, in what is believed to be the first study of its kind.
The trial began at Sheba Medical Center outside Tel Aviv, with 150 medical personnel receiving a booster dose to receive a fourth shot of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in August. Employees receiving additional doses were tested and found to have low antibody levels.
The test comes as Israeli officials consider introducing a second tranche of booster shots for its population as the country grapples with rising infections with the new Omicron variant.
“Hopefully, we will be able to show here … that this fourth booster does indeed provide protection against omicrons,” said Professor Jacob Lavi, former director of the heart transplant unit at Sheba.
BERLIN – Police in southern Germany say eight people were arrested after violence during protests against coronavirus restrictions and vaccinations.
Eight officers were punched or kicked as groups of people tried to break police chains to prevent protesters from marching in the Bavarian town of Schweinfurt on Sunday evening, police said.
The officers used batons and pepper spray. Police said a 4-year-old child whose mother had been trying to break barricades for some time had to seek medical attention after being exposed to pepper spray.
Demonstrations against sanctions and a planned universal vaccine mandate have erupted several times in Germany in recent weeks.
Officials are in the process of implementing the restrictions agreed last week to slow the spread of the new Omicron variant. Four more states were imposing restrictions on Monday, including limiting the number of people in private gatherings to 10, except for children under 14.
Seoul, South Korea – South Korea says it has granted an emergency authorization to Pfizer’s COVID-19 treatment pill, Paxlovid.
The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said on Monday that it expects the launch of Paxlovid to help diversify COVID-19 treatment options and help prevent patients from worsening amid rising infections and severe cases in South Korea. .
The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency says the government has signed a contract to purchase enough Paxlovid tablets to cover 362,000 patients. It said that the Paxlovid tablets would be delivered to South Korea by mid-January.
It said South Korea has also signed a contract to purchase Merck’s COVID-19 pills to treat 242,000 people.
The Drug Safety Agency says it is still reviewing whether to approve Merck’s mollupiravir.
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