Germany: Germany’s intensified vaccination campaign appears to be paying off, with 780,000 doses administered within just one day, officials said. The figure is much higher than last week’s daily jab rate of 593,000 doses. Many of the vaccinations were booster shots, which have been administered to more than 45% of the population. The number of people in Germany who are fully vaccinated (and not yet boostered) rose to more than 72% on Thursday. Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government set a goal to have 80% of the population fully vaccinated by the end of January.
France: France is easing some of its strict travel restrictions on visitors from the UK, French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced. Fully vaccinated British travelers who also have a COVID negative test will be allowed to enter France without having to self-isolate for 48-hours— and will no longer have to provide a “valid” reason for travel. The rules change goes into effect on Friday. Castex said France was relaxing the travel curbs since the highly-contagious omicron variant is now dominant in both France and the UK. The curbs had been in place since mid-December. Also in France, teachers across the country went on strike on Thursday over the government’s chaotic COVID-19 strategy for schools. “The exhaustion and exasperation of the entire educational community have reached an unprecedented level,” eleven unions said in a joint statement. France has logged an ever-climbing surge in infections this week, including a record of over 368,000 new cases in a single day.
India: India recorded its highest-ever new daily COVID caseload on Thursday — logging more than 247,000 new daily cases for the first time. India is in the midst of a third wave of infections, with the omicron variant causing cases to exponentially rise in cities like New Delhi and Mumbai.