- 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.

Ontario Implements Emergency Measures to Curb Spread of Omicron Variant - Premier’s Office

Canadian Flag - Sputnik International, 1920, 04.01.2022
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Schools in the Canadian province of Ontario will move to remote learning and retail stores will operate at 50 percent capacity beginning on January 5 to curb the spread of the coronavirus Omicron variant and create opportunity to administer more vaccines for maximum protection, the Premier’s office said in a statement.
“As we continue with our provincial vaccine booster efforts, we must look at every option to slow the spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant,” Premier Doug Ford said in the statement on Monday. “Putting these targeted and time-limited measures in place will give us more opportunity to deliver vaccines to all Ontarians and ensure everyone has maximum protection against this virus.”
All school buildings would be permitted to open for childcare operations, including emergency childcare, offer in-person instruction for special education students who cannot be taught remotely and for school staff who are unable to deliver quality instruction from home, the statement said.
The government seeks that businesses and other entities ensure employees work remotely unless they have no choice but be on-site, the statement said.
The restrictions will affect retail establishments, including shopping malls, where a 50 percent capacity will be allowed but resident will have to observe social distancing and food courts must be closed, the statement said. Personal care services will operate at a 50 percent capacity and saunas, oxygen bars and steam rooms will be closed.
A man wearing a mask to help slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) passes a stop sign written in English, French and Inuktitut as the territory of Nunavut enters a two week mandatory restriction period in Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada 18 November 2020. - Sputnik International, 1920, 02.03.2021
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Indoor meeting and event spaces will also be closed - with limited exceptions - and outdoor spaces will be allowed to remain open with restrictions in place, the statement said. Similarly, Indoor dining at restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments will be prohibited and outdoor dining, takeout, drive through and delivery services remains permitted.
Alcohol sales are being restricted after 10 p.m. and drinking alcohol on-site will not be permitted after 11 p.m., but liquor stores as well as grocery and convenience stores selling alcoholic beverages are exempted from the restrictions, the statement said.
The government is also closing all cinemas, theaters, indoor venues, rehearsals and recorded performances, the statement added.
Museums, zoos, landmarks, historic sites, botanical gardens and other attractions, amusement parks, festivals and other sites are also affected by the imposed emergency measures, according to the statement.
Health authorities in South Africa, where Omicron was first detected, but also in other countries have said that while the variant is more transmissible, it results in mild cases.
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