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Vaccine passports ‘could be extended to pubs and restaurants’ to slow Omicron

Jacob Scott

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Scientific advisors are said to be calling for the measure (Picture: Getty)

Ministers are reportedly considering extending vaccine passports to pubs and restaurants in a bid to tackle Omicron after new data showed boosters are crucial in beating the variant.

Under the government’s Plan B announced this week, people will need to show proof of vaccination or a negative test if they want to go to large events such as nightclubs and concerts.

But according to The Times, the Government’s scientific advisors want to extend the measure to any public place amid surging Covid cases.

A number of new restrictions are said to be under consideration, including requiring people to check in at venues, mandatory face masks in secondary school classrooms and extending vaccine passports to hospitality venues.

The so-called ‘Plan C’ could also see the return of isolation for contacts of all confirmed coronavirus cases – a policy implemented in Scotland yesterday by Nicola Sturgeon.

The First Minister said the UK was facing a ‘tsunami of infections’ as daily cases reached the highest number since January.

What are the new rules for Vaccine passports in England?

Subject to approval by MPs, from Wednesday December 15, people in England will need to use the NHS Covid pass if they want to go to:

Nightclubs Indoor unseated venues with more than 500 people Unseated outdoor venues with more than 4,000 people Any venue with more than 10,000 people

People who are not fully vaccinated will be able to show proof of a recent negative lateral flow test instead.

One scientific adviser told The Times a return of isolation for contacts and a requirement for a negative test to enter public places would be an effective ‘next step’, adding: ‘There might have to be something else, but it might keep us going to January.’

But Boris Johnson, who is embroiled in a snowballing scandal about Downing Street parties during last winter’s lockdowns, is said to be reluctant for further measures.

There are fears reintroducing the 10-day isolation will lead to the ‘pingdemic’ that brought much of the country to a standstill over summer as hundreds of thousands of people had to self-isolate, leading to food shortages and transport chaos.

The possibility of tougher measures will also infuriate many Conservative backbenchers who already oppose the current ‘Plan B’.

The embattled prime minister is facing the biggest rebellion of his premiership next week over plans for vaccine passports at large events, with more than 60 Tory MPs expected to vote against the new rules.

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However, scientists have warned the world faces a ‘pandemic 2.0’ if the threat of Omicron is not taken seriously.

The UK’s Health Security Agency (HSA) said yesterday that Omicron is expected to become the dominant strain in the UK within days and cases could hit one million by the end of the month.

The experts said having two doses of a Covid vaccine offers less defence against infection from the new variant than with Delta, the previous dominant strain.

Dr Susan Hopkins, the UKHSA’s chief medical adviser, said: ‘I think what we’re seeing is that if you’ve had two doses more than three months ago, then it’s not going to prevent you from getting symptomatic disease.’

More: Coronavirus

However, the HSA found that having a third dose prevents about 75% of people from getting any Covid symptoms.

The data has promoted fresh calls for those who are eligible to come forward for their booster.

But with only a third of the population having had a booster jab and infections doubling every two or three days, ministers have indicated more restrictions could come in the mean time.

Cabinet minister Michael Gove warned of a ‘deeply concerning situation’ after holding an emergency Cobra meeting on Friday afternoon to discuss the latest data and the co-ordinated response across the four nations.

He said that ministers had been ‘presented with some very challenging new information,’ adding: ‘Action is absolutely required, and as new data comes in we will consider what action we do require to take in the face of that data’.

Although he didn’t say what measures could come next, sources said the situation was ‘deeply concerning’ and ‘all options are on the table’.

It comes HAS document, leaked to the Guardian, called for ‘stringent action’ on or before December 18 to stop the NHS being overwhelmed with up to 5,000 people being admitted to hospital each day.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected].

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‘Moon Knight’ Took Marvel in a Different Orbit, but It Didn’t Rise to the Occasion

Jacob Scott

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Before anyone writes that off as an anomaly, “Eternals” tackled a similar introduction of a dense mythology on the bigger screen, with equally mixed results. It’s a reminder that while film-goers have had more than a decade to get to know characters like Iron Man, Captain America and Thor, introducing some of these lesser-known heroes can pose a more formidable challenge beyond catering to the most ardent fans.
For Marvel, there are warning signs in that, since “Moon Knight” will be followed by several series based on second-tier characters, although the next two on the horizon, “Ms. Marvel” (which is due in June) and “She-Hulk,” at least have the benefit of sharing franchises and name recognition with existing Avengers.
Ultimately, “Moon Knight’s” murky storytelling appeared to squander its principal assets, which included the cool look of the character — a costume that was too seldom used — and the presence of Isaac, who possesses additional genre credentials via the “Star Wars” sequels.

Taking its time in peeling back the layers of the character’s complicated backstory, “Moon Knight” took a weird plunge into the Egyptian mythology behind it, in ways that became increasingly confounding and surreal.

By the time the protagonist’s two halves, Steven Grant and Marc Spector, wound up in a psychiatric hospital talking to an anthropomorphic hippo in the penultimate chapter, the question wasn’t so much being able to keep up with the story as whether bothering to do so was worth the effort.

The sixth and final episode brought the plot to a messy close, seeking to stop the goddess Ammit from proceeding to “purify the souls of Cairo, and then the world.” In the customary credit sequence, the producers capped that off by introducing a third personality, Jake Lockley, also rooted in the comics. While that seemingly spelled the end for the show’s villain (Ethan Hawke), the finish — giving the god Khonshu the protégé he sought — paved the way for further adventures should Marvel so choose.

That last twist might be cause for celebration in narrower confines of the Marvel fan universe, but “Moon Knight” too often felt like it was one long Easter-egg sequence, conspicuously preaching to that choir.

Granted, Marvel has made clear that Disney+ offers the chance to explore different kinds of stories, but “Moon Knight” feels at best like a quirky showcase for Isaac and at worst a failed experiment in terms of execution and tone.

That doesn’t mean this “Moon” won’t somehow rise again, if the closely held streaming data justifies it. But the promise that surrounded this property has faded, providing further evidence that even Marvel isn’t immune from setbacks as it moves into its next phase.

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Start-up Pony.ai says it’s the first self-driving company to get a taxi license in China

Jacob Scott

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Autonomous driving start-up Pony.ai can collect fares for robotaxi rides in parts of two major Chinese cities as of Sunday.

Pony.ai handout

BEIJING — Self-driving start-up Pony.ai announced Sunday it received a taxi license, the first of its kind in China.

The license allows Pony.ai to operate 100 self-driving cars as traditional taxis in the Nansha district of the southern city of Guangzhou, the company said.

The Chinese start-up, which is backed by Toyota, received approval from Beijing city late last year to charge fees to operate a commercial robotaxi business in a suburban district of the city. It is not the same as a taxi licence.

Baidu’s Apollo Go also received approval in the same Beijing district last year.

Pony.ai was valued at $8.5 billion in early March. The company said its Nansha taxi license required 24 months of autonomous driving testing in China and/or other countries, and no involvement in any active liability traffic accidents, among other factors.

The start-up said it plans to launch commercial robotaxi businesses in two other large Chinese cities next year. The company is already testing self-driving cars in those cities and in California. 

Robotaxis in China currently have a human driver present for safety.

— CNBC’s Arjun Kharpal contributed to this report.

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How to watch Timberwolves vs. Grizzlies: TV channel, NBA live stream info, start time

Jacob Scott

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Who’s Playing

Memphis @ Minnesota

Current Records: Memphis 2-1; Minnesota 1-2

What to Know

The Memphis Grizzlies’ road trip will continue as they head to Target Center at 10 p.m. ET this past Saturday to face off against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Memphis will be strutting in after a win while Minnesota will be stumbling in from a loss.

The Grizzlies are hoping for another victory. They beat the Timberwolves 104-95 this past Thursday. The victory came about thanks to a strong surge after the first quarter to overcome a 39-21 deficit. Memphis’ success was spearheaded by the efforts of power forward Brandon Clarke, who had 20 points in addition to eight rebounds, and shooting guard Desmond Bane, who shot 7-for-15 from beyond the arc and finished with 26 points and six boards.

Barring any buzzer beaters, Memphis is expected to win a tight contest. They might be worth taking a chance on against the spread as they are currently on a two-game streak of ATS wins.

Memphis’ win brought them up to 2-1 while the Timberwolves’ defeat pulled them down to a reciprocal 1-2. A couple offensive stats to keep in the back of your head while watching: The Grizzlies come into the game boasting the second most points per game in the league at 115.6. But Minnesota is even better: they rank first in the league when it comes to points per game, with 115.9 on average. Tune in for what’s sure to be a high-scoring contest.

How To Watch

When: Saturday at 10 p.m. ET Where: Target Center — Minneapolis, Minnesota TV: ESPN Online streaming: fuboTV (Try for free. Regional restrictions may apply.) Follow: CBS Sports App Ticket Cost: $76.96

Odds

The Grizzlies are a slight 2.5-point favorite against the Timberwolves, according to the latest NBA odds.

The oddsmakers had a good feel for the line for this one, as the game opened with the Grizzlies as a 3-point favorite.

Over/Under: -110

See NBA picks for every single game, including this one, from SportsLine’s advanced computer model. Get picks now.

Series History

Memphis have won 19 out of their last 28 games against Minnesota.

Apr 21, 2022 – Memphis 104 vs. Minnesota 95 Apr 19, 2022 – Memphis 124 vs. Minnesota 96 Apr 16, 2022 – Minnesota 130 vs. Memphis 117 Feb 24, 2022 – Minnesota 119 vs. Memphis 114 Jan 13, 2022 – Memphis 116 vs. Minnesota 108 Nov 20, 2021 – Minnesota 138 vs. Memphis 95 Nov 08, 2021 – Memphis 125 vs. Minnesota 118 May 05, 2021 – Memphis 139 vs. Minnesota 135 Apr 02, 2021 – Memphis 120 vs. Minnesota 108 Jan 13, 2021 – Memphis 118 vs. Minnesota 107 Jan 07, 2020 – Memphis 119 vs. Minnesota 112 Dec 01, 2019 – Memphis 115 vs. Minnesota 107 Nov 06, 2019 – Memphis 137 vs. Minnesota 121 Mar 23, 2019 – Minnesota 112 vs. Memphis 99 Feb 05, 2019 – Memphis 108 vs. Minnesota 106 Jan 30, 2019 – Minnesota 99 vs. Memphis 97 Nov 18, 2018 – Memphis 100 vs. Minnesota 87 Apr 09, 2018 – Minnesota 113 vs. Memphis 94 Mar 26, 2018 – Memphis 101 vs. Minnesota 93 Dec 04, 2017 – Memphis 95 vs. Minnesota 92 Feb 04, 2017 – Memphis 107 vs. Minnesota 99 Nov 19, 2016 – Memphis 93 vs. Minnesota 71 Nov 01, 2016 – Minnesota 116 vs. Memphis 80 Oct 26, 2016 – Memphis 102 vs. Minnesota 98 Mar 16, 2016 – Minnesota 114 vs. Memphis 108 Feb 19, 2016 – Memphis 109 vs. Minnesota 104 Jan 23, 2016 – Minnesota 106 vs. Memphis 101 Nov 15, 2015 – Memphis 114 vs. Minnesota 106

Injury Report for Minnesota

No Injury Information

Injury Report for Memphis

Dillon Brooks: Game-Time Decision (Foot) Santi Aldama: Out (Knee) Killian Tillie: Out (Knee)

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