* The World Health Organization said on Sunday it is not yet clear if the new Omicron coronavirus variant is more transmissible compared to other SARS-CoV-2 variants or if it causes more severe disease.
* The Kremlin said on Sunday it was hoping that US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin would speak via videolink before the end of the year.
* Germany said on Sunday it was continuing to work closely with the United States on implementing a deal on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which runs under the Baltic Sea and carries gas from Russia to Germany.
* Britain said it will convene an urgent meeting of G7 health ministers on Monday to discuss developments on the new Omicron coronavirus variant.
* China administered about 9.15 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines on Nov. 28, bringing the total number of doses administered to 2.492 billion, data from the National Health Commission showed on Monday.
* South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Sunday that authorities were considering making COVID-19 shots compulsory for certain places and activities, as a rise in infections linked to a new variant threatens to become a fourth wave.
* Member states of the World Health Organization have reached a tentative consensus to negotiate a future agreement on preventing pandemics, bridging the gap between sides led by the European Union and United States, diplomats said on Sunday.
* The euro zone is better equipped to face the economic impact of a new wave of COVID-19 infections or the Omicron variant, European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said.
* Novavax said it had started working on a version of its COVID-19 vaccine to target the variant detected in South Africa and would have the shot ready for testing and manufacturing in the next few weeks.
* A surge in coronavirus cases in Germany has led to a disappointing start to the Christmas season for retailers in Europe's biggest economy, the sector body said on Sunday.
* Top US infectious disease official Anthony Fauci told President Joe Biden on Sunday it will take about two weeks to have more definitive information about of the COVID-19 Omicron variant, while he asked Americans to be prepared to fight its spread.
* Britain is moving towards offering everyone a COVID-19 booster vaccine, a member of Britain's vaccine advisory committee said on Monday, ahead of an expected decision on whether to extend and speed up booster shots.
* Mexico recorded 38 more coronavirus deaths on Saturday and an additional 1,050 confirmed cases, according to Health Ministry data, bringing the overall death toll to 293,897 and the number of cases to 3,883,842.
* Australia will review its plans to reopen borders to skilled migrants and students from Dec. 1, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday, after the country reported its first cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant.
* New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday the country will move into a system of living with the COVID-19 virus later this week despite the new Omicron variant posing a fresh health threat to the world.
* Portugal detected 13 cases of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus on Monday, all involving players and staff members of Lisbon soccer club Belenenses, after one player recently returned from South Africa, health authority DGS said.
* Two cases of the Omicron variant have been confirmed in Canada, provincial health officials said.