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Germany Extends COVID-19 Vaccination Proof to Restaurants, Bars 

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A restaurant demands the 2G rule, that means only vaccinated or recovered customers are allowed to enter in Cologne, Germany, Jan. 7, 2022. New

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Friday announced that proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test will now be required to enter bars and restaurants in the country.

Vaccination proof has been required to enter many public venues for several weeks, but the new measure expands the mandate to include eating and drinking establishments.

Scholz announced the decision to reporters in Berlin following a COVID-19 strategy meeting with Germany’s 16 regional governors.

The leaders also agreed to shorten quarantine — or self-isolation — for those exposed to COVID-19 cases from 12 to 10 days. Those vaccinated or fully vaccinated with a booster will not have to quarantine at all.

Scholz said the government met its goal of administering 30 million booster shots by Christmas. He said they are now aiming to administer another 30 million by the end of January.

Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, health officials Friday announced that more than 100 people, including at least nine government officials and several lawmakers, have been sent into quarantine after attending a birthday party where they had encountered two attendees who later tested positive for COVID-19.

Hong Kong public health chief Edwin Tsui told reporters the entire guest list of about 170 people would need to be isolated after a second person tested positive for COVID-19. The guest list at the Monday evening party included Home Affairs minister Caspar Tsui, Hong Kong police chief Raymond Siu and immigration minister Au Ka-wang.

The guest list also included at least 20 lawmakers, but as some left early it is not clear how many will be required to quarantine.

The party came three days after health officials advised residents avoid large gatherings. Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Friday expressed disappointment that officials set such a bad example for the public.

Global surge

The number of global COVID infections has passed the 300 million mark. It took more than a year to reach the first 100 million and just five months to add the third 100 million, as the world deals with the highly contagious omicron variant.

France registered 328,214 new coronavirus cases Friday, just short of the record high of 332,252 new daily cases reached on Wednesday.

Britain’s Health Secretary Sajid Javid warned Friday that hospital admissions were rising and said the country’s health system was facing a “rocky few weeks ahead.”

In an Instagram post, the world’s top ranked men’s tennis player, Novak Djokovic thanked fans from “around the world” for supporting him as he seeks to overturn Australian deportation orders over the country’s COVID-19 rules.

Djokovic was barred from entering the country Wednesday when federal officials rejected his medical exemption to play in the Australian Open. He is confined to a Melbourne hotel pending a court hearing Monday.

Sri Lankan health authorities began vaccinating children ages 12-15 Friday to fight off a wave of COVID-19 cases driven by the omicron variant.

In Japan, the government approved new restrictions Friday in the southwestern regions of Okinawa, Yamaguchi and Hiroshima to stop a rise in coronavirus cases. The restrictions include reduced hours for restaurants and bans on large-scale events.

India’s health ministry reported 117,100 new COVID-19 cases early Friday. That is five times the number from the previous week.

Some information for this report was provided by the Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.

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