Morrison denies Djokovic ‘singled out’ over COVID | Coronavirus pandemic News

Tennis star held in a Melbourne detention hotel after being denied access amid public outcry over ‘exemption’.

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s live blog on the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur.

A summary of the main developments:

  • More daily records have been broken, with France reporting more than 332,000 cases on Wednesday in a surge driven by the Omicron variant.
  • Novak Djokovic, the world’s top male tennis player, has been denied entry to Australia and is expected to be deported. The unvaccinated player said he had been granted a medical exemption so he could compete in the Australian Open.

Here are the latest updates:

CDC in United States recommends boosters for young people

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending young people between the ages of 12 and 17 get an additional shot of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine.

“It is critical that we protect our children and teens from COVID-19 infection and the complications of severe disease,” CDC director Rochelle Walensky said in a statement. “I encourage all parents to keep their children up to date with CDC’s COVID-19 vaccine recommendations.”

The initiative covers about 10 million adolescents and teens.

Morrison says Djokovic didn’t have evidence for medical exemption

Scott Morrison has been talking about Australia’s move to bar entry to tennis star Novak Djokovic.

He told reporters at a press conference in Canberra that the Serb failed to provide enough evidence to secure a medical exemption to COVID-19 vaccination.

“All I can say is that the evidence [for] medical exemption that was provided was found to be insufficient,” Morrison said, adding Djokovic had not been “singled out” for scrutiny.

Djokovic has been taken to a detention hotel pending his deportation.

Australian PM Scott Morrison holds his hands out as he speaks to reporters in CanberraAustralian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra after Novak Djokovic was denied entry to the country [Lukas Coch/EPA]

Japan asks US to tighten COVID rules for bases

Japan has asked the United States to strengthen COVID-19 measures at its military sites, including restrictions on people leaving US bases, according to the Kyodo news agency.

Kyodo said the request was made during a phone call between Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Japan has been keeping COVID-19 in check, but the southern island of Okinawa, where there is a large US base, has emerged as a new hotspot.

Read all the updates from January 5 here.

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