South Africa, Botswana and some other southern African countries, have reported many cases of the Omicron variant of COVID19. Travel bans have been announced by many countries to prevent the arrival of Omicron. Japan, India, Canada, The United States, the European Union, Brazil and others have stopped travel from southern Africa. Israel and Morocco have stopped all international travel. Despite travel bans, by yesterday, the Omicron variant had already been confirmed in Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, The UK, Australia, Denmark, Italy, Czechia, Israel and Hong Kong. There is concern that the Omicron variant could be more transmissible than the Delta variant, which is currently the most common strain of COVID19 in the world. There is also a fear that current vaccines could be less effective against the new variant, as they were designed for the original strain of COVID19, first found in the Chinese city of Wuhan. Vaccine manafacturers have said that they will have information on how effective current vaccines are within two weeks, and the company Pfizer has said that they could have a new vaccine ready in 100 days. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said last night that he was deeply disappointed that countries had banned travel from Southern Africa, and said that the World Health Organization does not support this...
“We are deeply disappointed by the decision of several countries to prohibit travel from a number of southern African countries, including our own, following the identification of the Omicron variant. This is a clear and completely unjustified departure, from the commitment that many of these countries made at the meeting of the G20 countries in Rome last month...”
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is on the frontline with the Ethiopian army, fighting against the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front, according to Ethiopian media. In a video Abiy has claimed that his army is recapturing towns controlled by Tigrayans.
Across Europe coronavirus restrictions are being restarted. In The Netherlands, all hospitality and cultural venues must close by 5pm. In Switzerland people have voted in support of a vaccine certificate system. In a referendum held this weekend, 63% of people supported the use of a certificate to show whether people have been vaccinated against or recovered from COVID19. And in the UK prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Friday that people must take a PCR test when arriving in the UK and people must wear facemasks in shops...
“We will also go further in asking all of you to help contain the spread in this variant by tightening up the rules on face coverings in shops and on public transport.”
In Belarus, President Alexander Lukashenko has visited migrants on the border with Poland. In a speech Lukashenko said that the migrants should be able to enter Poland or travel to Germany. The European Union blames Belarus for deliberately starting a migrant crisis as revenge for economic sanctions placed on Belarus.
Czechia has a new prime minister. Petr Fiala will head a coalition of centre and centre right parties. President Milos Zeman performed the inauguration ceremony inside a plastic cubicle, because he had tested positive for the coronavirus a few days ago.
In Myanmar, deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi is expected to hear the verdict in a trial today. Kyi has been detained by the military since a coup d’etat in February. She has been charged with incitement against the military, and other charges, that could give her years in jail. Peaceful demonstrations in the first two months have now changed to violent resistance throughout Myanmar, with the military fighting many ethnic groups and forces loyal to the government of Aung San Suu Kyi.
India now has more women than men, according to a recent survey. For centuries there have been more men than women in India, caused by the family preference for male children. Everywhere in the world, there are slightly more boys born than girls, however women live longer than men.
In Canada, there is a shortage of maple syrup. Maple syrup is an iconic food for Canada, and Canada exports 77% of the world’s maple syrup. Maya Dil reports...
A shortage in maple syrup in Canada has meant that producers have had to take from the worlds' only maple syrup stockpile. According to the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup producers, the demand for maple syrup rose by 36% from 2020 to 2021. A short harvest season in 2021 has also meant that there has not been enough maple syrup produced. To fulfill the high demand, the Federation has released 22 million kilograms of syrup from reserves.
In Peru archaeologists have found a mummy that is believed to be 1000 years old. The mummy was found surrounded by offerings, including ceramics, tools and vegetables, close to Peru’s Capital, Lima.
Barbados will become a republic tomorrow. In 1966 Barbados gained independence from the United Kingdom, however, it became part of the commonwealth of nations, which maintain the British monarch as the head of State. Tomorrow, Queen Elizabeth will stop being the head of state of Barbados, and Sandra Mason will become the first President of Barbados.
That’s your world news in 7 minutes. You can read the transcripts for every episode at send7.org. I’m Stephen Devincenzi. Tomorrow you will be with Juliet Martin. Have a great day.