- Sputnik International, 1920
Omicron COVID Strain
The new COVID variant was initially detected in South Africa and Botswana and sparked major concerns due to its high number of mutations (32). The WHO dubbed the strain Omicron and warned it may prove to be more transmissible and dangerous than other coronavirus variants.

France to Penalise Companies Not Complying With Remote Work Requirement

© ALAIN JOCARDMembers of the medical staff work during their night shift in an intensive care unit set up for those infected with the novel coronavirus, Covid-19, at the AP-HP Louis Mourier Hospital in Colombes, near Paris, on the firsts day hours of May 5, 2021.
Members of the medical staff work during their night shift in an intensive care unit set up for those infected with the novel coronavirus, Covid-19, at the AP-HP Louis Mourier Hospital in Colombes, near Paris, on the firsts day hours of May 5, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 30.12.2021
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MOSCOW (Sputnik) - France plans to sanction businesses not complying with the requirements for remote work amid the coronavirus pandemic by requiring them to pay 1,000 euros ($1132) per employee, Labour Minister Elisabeth Borne said on Thursday.

"The overwhelming majority of businesses are playing the telecommuting game. But some do not play by the rules. To dissuade the recalcitrant [firms], I would like the labour inspectorate to be able to pronounce penalties of up to 1000€/employee concerned, within the limit of 50,000€", Borne tweeted.

The government will discuss the introduction of a relevant amendment into a bill set to replace health passes with vaccine ones over the weekend.
On Monday, Prime Minister Jean Castex said that companies able to transfer employees to remote work at least three days per week will be obliged to do so starting January 3 and at least until February. The move is one of the measures reimposed by the government in the face of a surge in coronavirus infections, particularly driven by the Omicron strain.
© AP Photo / Daniel ColeJunior doctor Tom Ballas looks into the room of a patient as doctors and nurses share a Christmas Eve meal together in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at la Timone hospital in Marseille, southern France, Friday, 24 Dec, 2021.
Junior doctor Tom Ballas looks into the room of a patient as doctors and nurses share a Christmas Eve meal together in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at la Timone hospital in Marseille, southern France, Friday, 24 Dec, 2021.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 30.12.2021
Junior doctor Tom Ballas looks into the room of a patient as doctors and nurses share a Christmas Eve meal together in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at la Timone hospital in Marseille, southern France, Friday, 24 Dec, 2021.
France has been hit by a new wave of the coronavirus pandemic since last month, with government officials branding the national epidemiological situation as "critical" and "unprecedented." On Wednesday, the authorities confirmed a new daily record of 208,000 new coronavirus infections. To date, the country has detected over 9.6 million cases of the disease, and more than 120,000 linked fatalities.
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