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WHO: Omicron risk could see travel curbs tighten

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The World Health Organization has released further information about the new variant of COVID-19, Omicron

The World Health Organization stated on Monday that the new Omicron COVID variant contained a high risk of transmission with the possibility of positive cases surging. While border closures by more countries across the world cast doubt over the economic recovery from the pandemic.

The world’s major airlines have acted swiftly to protect their hubs by curbing curbing passenger travel from Southern Africa where it’s understood the variant originated from. International carries are fearful that a spread of the variant may lead to further restrictions from other destinations – meaning not just immediately impacted regions.

The markets however have held strong, with airline stocks rebounding at the start of the week, following a decline on Friday – with investors panicking Omicron could see the global aviation sector shut down, again.

According to Reuters, U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell stated that the new variant muddies the outlook on inflation because prices could keep rising for longer than earlier thought.

The rise in COVID-19 cases and the emergence of the new variant “pose downside risks to employment and economic activity and increased uncertainty for inflation,” Powell said in testimony prepared for delivery on Tuesday to the U.S. Senate. Health-related concerns could “reduce people’s willingness to work in person, which would slow progress in the labor market and intensify supply-chain disruptions.”

President Joe Biden urges not to panic / Image: Supplied

BIDEN URGES NOT TO PANIC

U.S. President Joe Biden urged Americans not to panic, stating that the government was working with pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer and Moderna to make contingency plans if new vaccines were needed to fight the new strain.

The president confirmed that the country would not go back to lockdowns this winter – however did urge people to get vaccinated, get their booster shots and wear masks.

Anthony Lucas is reporter, presenter and social media producer with ticker News. Anthony holds a Bachelor of Professional Communication, with a major in Journalism from RMIT University as well as a Diploma of Arts and Entertainment journalism from Collarts. He’s previously worked for 9 News, ONE FM Radio and Southern Cross Austerio’s Hit Radio Network. 

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Tonga welcomes more foreign aid as recovery continues

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Aid is trickling into Tonga from around the world, as more governments deploy ships and flights to the island nation following the massive tsunami on Saturday

The underwater volcano explosion triggered tsunami waves across the Pacific, claiming the lives of at least three people in Tonga.

The wild weather event caused significant damage and crippled communications – the true extent of the damage is still unknown.

A New Zealand vessel which is expected to arrive on Friday is the first major supply ship to pending to dock.

The captain of the HMNZS Aotearoa had earlier told ticker NEWS partner Reuters that the ship was carrying 250,000 litres of water, along with other supplies. The UN says clean water supplies are the top priority for the Pacific nation.

Australia has also deployed its largest ship, the HMAS Adelaide.

The vessel set sail bound for Tonga on Friday. The ship can carry helicopters which can be deployed from the ship to bring supplies to Tonga’s smaller outer islands.

That vessel is due to arrive mid-next week.

The UK also announced on Friday it was also redeploying its HMS Spey to the Tongan response and had sent aid supplies ahead with the Australian ship.

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17 dead after immense explosion rocks western Ghana

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17 people have died in Western Ghana after a truck carrying mining explosives collided with a motorcycle sparking an explosion

The explosion has left hundreds of buildings destroyed, many feared to be trapped among the rubble.

The accident happened around midday, near the mining city of Bogoso, 300km west of the West African country’s capital of Accra.

The exact number of casualties so far stands at 17, with authorities on the ground confirming another 59 are in hospital.

However, the head of the Prestea Huni-Valley municipal government where the explosion took place, Isaac Dsamani, told local media that officials had counted “about 17 dead bodies” so far.

According to reports, at least 57 who were injured had been taken to local hospitals.

More than 500 buildings have been destroyed.

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Ivanka Trump to be investigated

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The US House select committee investigating the January 6 Capitol riots is now requesting to speak with Ivanka Trump

Ivanka is Donald Trump’s daughter and was a senior White House advisor during the insurrection.

The request marks a major step forward in the investigation, as the panel closes in on the former president and his inner circle.

The committee publicly released a letter addressed to Ivanka… seeking “voluntary cooperation”.

The letter also includes testimony regarding Trump’s efforts to pressure former Vice President Mike Pence on the morning of the attack.

A spokesperson for Ivanka Trump has refused to respond as to whether the former president’s daughter will cooperate.

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