As winter officially begins in the Northern Hemisphere — what we now know to be the seasonal high point for coronavirus cases — governments around the world are once again tightening lockdown restrictions in a supposed attempt to “slow the spread” of the highly-transmissible (yet far less deadly) Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
Here is a look at some of the latest government clampdowns taking place across the globe:
- Officials in British Columbia are set to announce new lockdown measures at a press conference Tuesday afternoon. In a press release Monday, the province said “public health is monitoring the increase in cases in British Columbia and developments in other jurisdictions, and will outline additional COVID-19 measures during Tuesday’s regular media briefing.”
- Quebec is shutting down everything from schools to bars, gyms and movie theatres. Tougher vaccine passport measures are also coming into effect, with proof of vaccination now required for places of worship. Private gatherings of more than 10 people are forbidden.
- Ontario's new lockdown measures came into effect on Sunday, restricting all public buildings to 50% capacity and restricting all private gatherings to less than 10 people.
- As previously reported by Rebel News, New Brunswick announced new lockdown restrictions earlier this month that gave all businesses — including grocery stores — the option of requiring proof of vaccination in place of new distancing measures. The province recently walked back on allowing the option for grocery stores after significant public backlash.
- As reported last week by Rebel News, the state of California has reimposed its indoor mask mandate, which will apply to everyone regardless of vaccination status. Those who have been double-vaccinated and taken their booster shot will not be exempt from the mandate.
- Additionally reported by Rebel News last week was the imposition of a new COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all for all employees of private companies operating in New York City. The vaccine mandate is thought to be the most expansive in North America, as it applies to every employed individual in the city.
- Both Scotland and Wales have announced new capacity restrictions that will come into effect just after Christmas. This comes after British lawmakers last week voted to approve tougher rules on mask-wearing for indoor public spaces alongside the implementation of COVID vaccine passports.
- The European Commission announced Tuesday that COVID vaccine certificates in the European Union will require a booster shot to remain valid.
- Germany plans to limit private gatherings to a maximum of 10 people, all of whom must have been either vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19. German officials are set to meet Tuesday afternoon to finalize the new measures.
- Catalonia, Spain is set to impose a host of new lockdown measures, including a nightly curfew and restricting gatherings to maximum of 10 people.
- Iceland is imposing new lockdown measures, including restricting gatherings to a maximum of 20 people and expanding physical distancing rules.
- The Netherlands has entered a full lockdown as of Sunday, forcing all “non-essential” stores, bars and restaurants to remain closed until at least mid-January.
- The Swedish government has announced new COVID measures, including a new work-from-home directive and tighter restrictions on capacity limits.
- French Prime Minister Jean Castex has imposed strict new travel measures on those entering France from the United Kingdom, stating that the Omicron variant is “spreading at lightning speed.”
- Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is set to hold an “informal meeting” with the premiers and chief ministers of Australia to discuss how best to respond to a recent “surge in Omicron cases” in the country.