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(Reuters) – India approved and two more vaccines for emergency use as the world’s second most populous country braces for a possible spike in cases, while research by South African scientists suggested Omicron could displace the Delta variant because infection with the new variant boosts immunity to the older one.


* Malaysia lifted a travel ban on eight southern African countries that had been among the first to report the Omicron variant, citing the greater spread of the variant worldwide, and cut the wait time for booster vaccine doses.

* Australia recorded another record surge in infections as an outbreak of the Omicron variant disrupted reopening of the economy, while state leaders argued over domestic border controls.

* Indonesian health authorities were conducting contact tracing on Tuesday after detecting the Southeast Asian country’s first case of the Omicron variant in the community.

* Hong Kong health authorities said the city would tighten quarantine rules for air cargo crew.


* France will pay intensive care nurses an extra 100 euros per month from January as it seeks to improve work conditions for staff exhausted by the fight against COVID-19.

* Confirmed cases in Greece are expected to hit a fresh daily record on Tuesday, topping 15,000, after the country announced tighter curbs a day earlier.


* Rising cases and bad weather caused airlines to cancel more than 1,000 flights within or into and out of the United States on Monday, as the spread of the Omicron variant prompted the U.S. government’s top infectious disease expert to suggest the government consider mandating vaccines for domestic flights.

* President Joe Biden pledged to ease a shortage of COVID-19 tests as the Omicron variant threatened to overwhelm hospitals and stifle travel plans.

* U.S. health authorities shortened the recommended isolation time for Americans with asymptomatic cases to five days from the previous guidance of 10 days.

* Confirmed cases in Argentina almost doubled on Monday from Friday to 20,263 new infections, the highest daily tally in almost 6 months.


* The United Arab Emirates approved emergency use of Sinopharm’s protein-based vaccine and it will be available to the public as a booster dose starting January.

* Daily new cases in Turkey surged 30% on Monday to 26,099, the highest percentage rise this year, as the health minister warned about the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.


* China’s Kintor faced a temporary setback as interim analysis for a late-stage trial for its potential COVID-19 pill did not yield sufficient data due to the lack of hospitalised cases.


* Shares in Europe and Asia inched up on Tuesday, helped by another record-setting day on Wall Street and after Britain and France held off from imposing tougher COVID-19 restrictions before year-end.

* Oil prices extended gains with prices trading near the previous day’s one-month high on hopes that the Omicron variant will have a limited impact on fuel demand.

* Japan’s factory output jumped at the fastest pace on record in November, as easing global supply chain bottlenecks helped car production leap out of its recent slump, lifting prospects for a strong fourth-quarter economic rebound.

(Compiled by Milla Nissi and Devika Syamnath; Edited by Shounak Dasgupta, Kirsten Donovan)