HELSINKI — Denmark has recorded the highest number of daily coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic with 16,164 new infection cases in the past 24 hours.

The figure released by Danish health authorities on Monday broke the previous daily record set in the Scandinavian country only on Sunday when 14,844 new infections were documented.

Seven people infected with COVID-19 died in the past 24 hours. That put the total death toll in Denmark at 3,217, officials said.

The number of coronavirus infections in Denmark started to rise sharply in early December but by last week the pace seemed to have leveled off. But health officials said the number of infections started rising dramatically again over the past few days.



— Omicron spreads global gloom over New Year’s celebrations

— Delta flight to Shanghai turned back because of COVID rules.

— Variant disrupts holiday travel but not shopping

— France sees over 100,000 daily infections for the first time


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ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast — Health officials in Ivory Coast say the West African country has seen a dramatic spike in COVID-19 cases

Authorities recorded a 26.5% positivity rate the day after Christmas. A statement from the Ivorian Ministry of Health said that figure had been 18.4% just the day before.

The new figures come at a time when many Ivorians travel from the major cities back to rural areas to see family over the holidays. As of last week, 5.7% of Ivorians were fully vaccinated. Ivory Coast has confirmed 64,429 cases of COVID-19, including 707 deaths since the pandemic began.


NEW YORK — New York City’s sweeping mandate requiring nearly all private-sector businesses to ban unvaccinated employees from the workplace has taken effect amid a spike in coronavirus infections.

Workers at roughly 184,000 businesses were required to show proof they have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Monday. Businesses that don’t comply could face fines starting at $1,000, but Mayor Bill de Blasio has said imposing penalties will be a last resort.

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Employers have to verify and keep a record of each worker’s proof of COVID-19 vaccination. Workers who have only received one shot will have to get a second one within 45 days. Companies must display a sign affirming they are complying with the rule “in a conspicuous location,” under the city’s mandate.


BERLIN — Germany’s national railway says it saw more than twice as many travelers over the Christmas period than last year. But passenger figures were still below pre-pandemic levels.

Deutsche Bahn said it saw 1.6 million passengers and its trains were on average about 40% full between Dec. 22 and 26.

A year ago, Germany was in a lockdown during its second wave of coronavirus infections. This year, authorities are adding restrictions to slow the advance of the omicron variant, such as limiting private gatherings to a maximum 10 people, but many businesses and facilities that were closed last year remain open.

Since late November, rules have required people to be vaccinated, have recovered or have a recent negative test to use public transportation in Germany. Deutsche Bahn says around 500,000 passengers have been checked on its long-distance services since then, and fewer than 1% of them were required to leave trains.


JERUSALEM — Israel has begun trials of a fourth dose of coronavirus vaccine in what is believed to be the first study of its kind.

The trial began at Sheba Medical Center, outside Tel Aviv, with 150 medical personnel who received a booster dose in August receiving a fourth shot of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. The staff receiving the additional dose were tested and found to have low antibody levels.

The trial came as Israeli officials have considered rolling out a second tranche of booster shots to its population as the country grapples with rising infections with the new omicron variant.

Professor Jacob Lavee, former director of the heart transplant unit at Sheba, said “hopefully, we’ll be able to show here … that this fourth booster really provides protection against the omicron”


BERLIN — Police in southern Germany say eight people were arrested after violence during a protest by opponents of coronavirus restrictions and vaccinations.

Eight officers were punched or kicked as groups of people tried to break though police chains set up to prevent the protesters marching in the Bavarian town of Schweinfurt on Sunday evening, police said.

Officers used batons and pepper spray. Police said a 4-year-old child whose mother was among those trying to break through the barricades briefly had to be given medical attention after coming into contact with pepper spray.

Demonstrations against restrictions and a planned universal vaccine mandate have flared up in Germany at times in recent weeks.

Authorities are in the process of implementing restrictions agreed last week to slow the spread of the new omicron variant. Four more states were introducing curbs Monday that include capping the number of people at private gatherings at 10, excluding children under 14.


SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea says it has granted an emergency authorization to Pfizer’s COVID-19 treatment pill, Paxlovid.

The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said Monday it expects the introduction of Paxlovid to help diversify options for COVID-19 treatments and prevent patients’ conditions from becoming serious amid surging infections and critical cases in South Korea.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency says the government has signed contracts to procure Paxlovid pills enough to cover 362,000 patients. It says the Paxlovid pills will be delivered to South Korea as early as mid-January.

It says South Korea has also signed contracts to procure Merck’s COVID-19 pills to treat 242,000 people.

The drug safety agency says it’s still reviewing whether to approve Merck’s molnupiravir.

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