Oil fell on Monday (27/12) after U.S.A. airlines called off thousands of flights over the Christmas holidays amid surging COVID-19 infections, and China's cases edged higher as Xian tightened curbs on travel within the city on the fifth day of a lockdown of its 13 million people.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
* Visitor numbers in London's main shopping and entertainment district were just over half of the pre-pandemic level on Dec. 26 and also fell compared to a week earlier, data for one of the year's traditionally busiest shopping days showed.
* The Swiss drugs regulator approved Ronapreve, an antibody treatment jointly developed by Roche and Regeneron, to treat COVID-19 patients.
* U.S. airlines canceled more than 1,300 flights on Sunday as COVID-19 thinned out the number of available crews, while several cruise ships had to cancel stops after outbreaks on board, upending the plans of thousands of Christmas travelers.
* The Dominican Republic has identified its first case of the Omicron variant.
* Australian authorities refrained from imposing new curbs despite the country's first Omicron death, saying hospitalization rates remained low.
* South Korea authorized emergency use of Pfizer's antiviral pills targeting COVID-19 as the first of its kind to be introduced in the country.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* An Israeli hospital administered fourth COVID-19 vaccine doses to a test group as the country considers approving the measure for vulnerable populations.
* Oman will not allow employees in the public or private sectors to enter their workplace without a vaccination certificate proving they are fully vaccinated.
* Iran has banned the entry of travelers from Britain, France, Denmark, and Norway for 15 days.
* The Palestinian health ministry said it had identified the first case of Omicron in the Gaza Strip.
* Japan's Shionogi & Co. Ltd started a phase III clinical trial in Vietnam for a new COVID-19 vaccine.
* China's Kintor Pharmaceutical Ltd said data from a phase III clinical trial for its potential COVID-19 treatment proxalutamide in non-hospitalized patients did not meet statistical criteria in the interim analysis.
* Bharat Biotech's COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin has gained approval for emergency use in children aged 12 to 18, the Indian company said on Twitter.
* World stocks steadied and oil prices eased in quiet trade as flight cancellations over Christmas revived concerns that the Omicron variant could slow down the economy heading into the new year.