Today’s coronavirus news: 13 cases of Omicron variant found in Dutch testing of travelers; Australia confirms two Omicron cases; Israel tightens travel restrictions

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The latest Sunday coronavirus news from Canada and around the world. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories when available,

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7:54 am: Australian authorities confirmed on Sunday that two foreign travelers arriving in Sydney had tested positive for the Omicron version of the coronavirus, as countries around the world tightened controls against the worrying new strain.

The two passengers were among a group of 14 others who arrived in Australia from southern Africa on Saturday, were asymptomatic and were both vaccinated for COVID-19. The remaining 12 have been kept in quarantine.

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Neighboring New Zealand announced it was restricting travel from nine southern African countries because of the threat posed by the variant, and Japan widened its border controls to include more countries from the region.

Tourist-dependent Thailand, which recently began loosening its stringent border restrictions for leisure travelers from some countries, announced its own ban on visitors from eight African countries.

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7:53 am: Swiss voters were speaking out in a referendum on Sunday that used a special COVID-19 certificate that only grants people who have been vaccinated, recovered or tested negative Those who participate in public events and functions.

The vote provides a relatively rare bellwether of public opinion on the issue of government policy to fight the coronavirus, especially in Europe, which is currently the global epicenter of the pandemic.

The vote on the country’s “COVID-19 law”, which has also unlocked billions of Swiss francs for workers and businesses affected by the pandemic, comes as Switzerland – like many other countries in Europe – suffers a steep rise in coronavirus cases. encounters.

The Swiss federal government, unlike others, has not responded with new sanctions. Analysts say he doesn’t want any more protests over his COVID-19 policies before he faces the test at the ballot box on Sunday. If the Swiss give a thumbs up, however, the government may well intensify its anti-COVID efforts.

The poll suggests that a solid majority of Swiss would approve a measure that is already in effect, and rejecting which would end sanctions – as well as pay. But in recent weeks, opponents have piled up cash for his campaign and garnered support from overseas.

Sunday at 7:52 am: Israel on Sunday approved a ban on the entry of foreign nationals and the use of controversial technology for contact tracing as part of its efforts to clamp down on a new coronavirus variant.

The country’s coronavirus cabinet has authorized a number of measures, including red-listing travel to 50 African countries, banning the entry of foreigners and making quarantine mandatory for all Israelis arriving from abroad, the health ministry said in a statement. is included.

It has also approved the use of the Shin Bet Internal Security Agency’s controversial phone surveillance technology to perform contact tracing of individuals confirmed with the new Omicron version of the coronavirus in Israel.

Read Saturday’s coronavirus news.

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