Japan widens restrictions as omicron surges in cities

Japan widens restrictions as omicron surges in cities

Restaurants and bars in Tokyo and a dozen other regions of Japan will close early Friday starting Friday as the country widens COVID-19 restrictions due to an increase in cases in metropolitan areas due to the Omicron version.

Under the latest measure, most eateries are told to close by 8 or 9 pm, while large events may allow full capacity with anti-virus plans. In Tokyo, certified eateries that stop serving alcohol can stay open until 9 p.m., while those that serve alcohol must close an hour earlier. Restaurants that close at 9 p.m. and serve alcohol receive 30,000 yen ($263) per day in government compensation, while those that close at 8 p.m. receive 25,000 yen ($220) per day.

The restraint, which is a pre-state of emergency, is the first since September and is scheduled to last until February 13. Tokyo reported 8,638 new cases of coronavirus infection on Thursday, up from the previous record of 7,377 a day earlier.

With three other prefectures – Okinawa, Hiroshima and Yamaguchi – under similar measures since early January, the state of restraint now covers 16 regions, or a third, of the country. While many Japanese adults have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, some have received a booster shot, a significant protection against the highly infectious Omikron variant. The Health Ministry on Friday approved the Pfizer vaccination for children aged 5-11 years.

37,77,104 Number of new cases reported globally in the last 24 hours
33,67,90,193 Total number of cases worldwide
55,60,718 total number of deaths worldwide

Preteens Can Be Waxed Without Parental Consent

A proposal Thursday by a California state senator would allow children age 12 and older to be vaccinated, the youngest in any state, without their parents’ consent. Alabama allows such a decision at age 14, Oregon at age 15, Rhode Island and S. Carolina at age 16. Only Washington, D.C. has a lower limit, at age 11, said Sen. Scott Wiener.

‘Sputnik V has more omicron-specific antibodies than Pfizer’

According to a small study, people vaccinated with two doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine did not drop as much of the micron-neutralizing antibody levels as those who got the Pfizer shots. The peer-reviewed study, posted January 19 on the preprint repository MedRxiv, was conducted by the Spallanzani Institute in Italy and the Gamalia Institute, the developer of the vaccine.

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