WHO warns world can’t ‘enhance its method out’ of pandemic

Blanket booster programmes in wealthy nations danger prolonging the battle with COVID-19, WHO chief says.

The World Well being Group chief has warned that the frenzy in rich nations to roll out extra COVID vaccine doses is deepening the inequity in entry to vaccines and is prolonging the pandemic.

“No nation can enhance its method out of the pandemic,” WHO Director-Common Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus mentioned on Wednesday.

In the meantime, a brand new South African examine, together with information on hospitalisations and deaths within the nation’s fourth wave of COVID infections, counsel that the danger of extreme illness is decrease with Omicron than with earlier variants, a high scientist has mentioned.

The UK has recorded 106,122 new each day coronavirus infections, the best whole of the pandemic and the primary time the determine has topped 100,000.

In Nigeria, authorities have destroyed about a million expired doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, even because the West African nation’s vaccination fee has virtually doubled within the final week amid a spike in confirmed infections.

This stay weblog is now closed. Right here had been Wednesday’s updates:

22 Dec 2021 – 22:40 GMT

In Scotland, the Omicron variant of the coronavirus seems much less more likely to end in COVID-19 hospitalisation than Delta, in line with an evaluation of early information that was posted forward of peer evaluation on Wednesday.

The up to date statistics agree with information launched earlier on Wednesday from South Africa and from England, additionally upfront of peer evaluation.

On the College of Edinburgh, researchers tracked practically 152,500 sufferers identified with COVID-19, together with 22,205 contaminated with the Omicron variant. Half of the Omicron-infected sufferers had been underneath the age of 40.

The variety of Omicron sufferers who wanted to be hospitalised was 68 p.c decrease than what the researchers would have anticipated, primarily based on the speed in sufferers contaminated with Delta.

22 Dec 2021 – 22:14 GMT

United States President Joe Biden has welcomed the US authorisation of Pfizer’s antiviral COVID-19 capsule — the primary at-home therapy for the coronavirus — calling it “promising”.

The US Meals and Drug Administration (FDA) authorised the drug for emergency use on Wednesday.

We obtained excellent news immediately in our combat towards COVID-19. The FDA granted emergency use authorization of the Pfizer antiviral capsule, a promising new therapy choice that may considerably cut back hospitalization and demise as we battle the extra transmissible Omicron variant.

— President Biden (@POTUS) December 22, 2021

22 Dec 2021 – 21:39 GMT

High United States infectious illness knowledgeable Anthony Fauci has warned towards attending giant gatherings through the vacation season, saying that they aren’t thought-about secure even for vaccinated individuals and those that have obtained a booster dose.

“There are a lot of of those events which have 30, 40, 50 individuals during which you have no idea the vaccination standing of people. These are the sort of features within the context of COVID — and notably within the context of Omicron — that you don’t want to go to,” Fauci mentioned at a White Home briefing.

“So to the extent doable, we urge you to avoid these conditions that would put you at the next danger.”

Faucci had mentioned that small household gatherings “within the setting of the house” stay secure for vaccinated individuals.

22 Dec 2021 – 20:54 GMT

A state well being official says two-thirds of the sufferers who’re in hospitals with COVID-19 in Maine throughout its surge in instances are usually not totally vaccinated towards the illness.

The seven-day rolling common of each day new instances in Maine has risen over the previous two weeks from about 634 new instances per day on December 6 to about 940 new instances per day on December 20.

The surge in instances got here after months of the state doing a greater job of controlling the unfold of the virus than most.

22 Dec 2021 – 20:50 GMT

France reported 84,272 new COVID-19 infections within the final 24 hours, coming near its all-time excessive of just about 87,000 instances in November 2020.

Coming inside attain of the 84,999 new instances recorded on the peak of France’s spring wave in April, the variety of instances was additionally the nation’s second-highest this 12 months.

France’s well being minister earlier mentioned over 100,000 new infections could possibly be reached by the top of this month.

22 Dec 2021 – 20:33 GMT

The Governors Awards, an annual gala the place honorary Oscars are handed out, turned the newest glitzy Hollywood occasion postponed, as fears develop of a surge in coronavirus instances fueled by the Omicron variant.

Actors Samuel L Jackson, Danny Glover, Norwegian actress Liv Ullmann, and actress-director Elaine Might had been resulting from obtain golden statuettes to honour their careers subsequent month at an occasion that sometimes attracts a who’s who of Tinseltown.

“We’ve got made the tough determination to vary our plans in internet hosting the Governors Awards in individual on January 15,” the Academy of Movement Image Arts and Sciences mentioned in an announcement.

22 Dec 2021 – 20:16 GMT

Spain will make it obligatory to put on a face masks outdoor once more as a part of a bundle geared toward containing the fast-spreading Omicron coronavirus variant, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez advised reporters.

With practically 80 p.c of its inhabitants vaccinated and a booster programme gathering tempo, Spain was largely spared the rampant wave of infections that led a number of northern European nations to toughen restrictions within the autumn.

22 Dec 2021 – 20:04 GMT

Mohga Kamal-Yanni of the Individuals’s Vaccine Alliance (PVA) mentioned the discarding of AstraZeneca vaccines in Nigeria was resulting from vaccines with very quick expiry dates.

“You give them [vaccines] to the nation with a two-week expiry date, that’s simply not sufficient time to ship the vaccines to rural areas of the villages. You don’t have sufficient time for transport and well being staff and all of the logistics that surrounds vaccines to work,” Kamal-Yanni advised Al Jazeera from Oxford, UK.

“Vaccines are usually not simply the vials. There may be the syringes, the transport, the well being staff, the chilly chain between when it arrives on the airport till it goes to the place it’s truly going to be given to individuals. So that you want the time.”

With the onset of the sometimes busy end-of-year journey season coinciding with the speedy unfold of the brand new Omicron coronavirus variant, passengers are navigating the newest modifications to COVID laws.

Not less than 50 million individuals worldwide are projected to be travelling on worldwide flights through the season, in line with the Worldwide Civil Aviation Group (ICAO).

Learn extra right here.

An overview of what each covid test is used for

The danger of needing to remain in hospital for sufferers with the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is 40 to 45 p.c decrease than for sufferers with the Delta variant, in line with analysis by London’s Imperial Faculty.

“General, we discover proof of a discount within the danger of hospitalisation for Omicron relative to Delta infections, averaging over all instances within the examine interval,” the researchers mentioned of the examine, which analysed information from PCR-test confirmed instances in England between December 1 and December 14, 2021.

22 Dec 2021 – 19:01 GMT

Low-cost airline Ryanair has mentioned the Omicron coronavirus variant would have a powerful impact on its monetary efficiency because it greater than doubled the forecast for its annual loss.

The Irish airline now expects a lack of 250-450 million euros ($283-510m) in its monetary 12 months that runs via March 2022, up from an earlier forecast of 100-200 million euros.

22 Dec 2021 – 18:55 GMT

Media and different in-person league personnel functioning in close to proximity to groups and gamers on sport day are underneath a brand new mandate from the NBA to obtain the COVID-19 booster shot by January 5.

The order covers “league employees and distributors who of their official capacities work together in individual with any participant” inside 15 ft (4.6 metres), together with referees, league operations, participant improvement, staff and participant advertising and marketing, communications and NBA images.

A nationwide spike in COVID-19 instances has hit the NBA laborious in December after solely 17 positives in October and November mixed. Greater than 115 optimistic exams had been recorded in gamers within the first 21 days of the month.

22 Dec 2021 – 18:50 GMT

Northern Eire ordered the closure of nightclubs from Sunday after reporting an all-time excessive of three,231 COVID-19 instances, up from a median of simply greater than 2,000 within the earlier seven days.

The devolved authorities of the British area additionally ordered an finish to ordering at bars and restricted eating places to serve not more than six individuals per desk.

A number of members of the devolved administration have mentioned they’re restricted in what they’ll do resulting from funding constraints from London.

“The precautionary strategy would have been to impose far more extreme restrictions proper now,” mentioned Well being Minister Robin Swann. “All different issues being equal, the chief would have gone additional immediately.”

22 Dec 2021 – 18:39 GMT

Belgium determined to additional tighten restrictions in anticipation of the surging Omicron variant however shied away from a full lockdown just like the neighbouring Netherlands has.

The authorities determined to shut cinemas, theatres and live performance halls and ban indoor actions.

Sports activities followers will likely be closed out of stadiums and indoor halls. Buying will likely be curtailed with guests pressured to be unfold out and teams getting into a store restricted to 2 adults, probably accompanied by kids.

22 Dec 2021 – 18:24 GMT

A brand new coronavirus (or SARS-CoV-2) variant, generally known as Omicron (or B.1.1.529), was first recognized by scientists in South Africa on November 24.

The newest variant of the virus that causes the COVID-19 illness is believed to be extra transmissible than the already extremely transmissible Delta variant. Omicron has already been detected in 106 nations, the WHO has mentioned.

Learn extra right here.

22 Dec 2021 – 18:09 GMT

Canada will briefly increase help programmes to assist individuals and companies whose livelihoods are being hit by the Omicron variant, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau mentioned.

“We’re adapting our measures to ensure that nobody is left behind,” Trudeau advised a televised briefing.

Ottawa mentioned in October it will wind down many helps in late October, citing the recovering financial system and the success of vaccination efforts.

22 Dec 2021 – 17:55 GMT

People are going through a second Christmas of upended vacation plans, with a surge in COVID-19 infections fuelled by the now-dominant Omicron variant forcing some individuals to cancel their journey and fret about whether or not it’s secure to go to family members.

Carmen Rivera and her fiancee Jasmine Maisonet made the painful determination to cancel their flights to go to household in Florida and Puerto Rico after Maisonet was uncovered to an contaminated co-worker and examined optimistic for COVID-19.

Learn extra right here.

22 Dec 2021 – 17:42 GMT

US President Joe Biden mentioned he obtained one other COVID-19 take a look at on Wednesday, 5 days after publicity to the virus from a member of his employees, however has not obtained the outcomes but.

Biden examined unfavourable for the virus three days after he was uncovered. The president made the feedback to reporters after public remarks throughout a gathering on the standing of the US provide chain.

22 Dec 2021 – 17:18 GMT

Pfizer Inc mentioned the US Meals and Drug Administration authorised its antiviral COVID-19 capsule, making it the primary at-home therapy for the coronavirus that’s anticipated to turn into an essential instrument within the combat towards the fast-spreading Omicron variant.

Information from Pfizer’s medical trial confirmed its two-drug antiviral routine was 90 p.c efficient in stopping hospitalisations and deaths in sufferers at excessive danger of extreme sickness.

Learn extra right here.

22 Dec 2021 – 16:53 GMT

The WHO head has warned that blanket booster programmes in wealthy nations danger prolonging the world’s battle with COVID-19 and mentioned “no nation can enhance its method out of the pandemic”.

WHO Director-Common Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus mentioned the precedence should be to cut back deaths and assist all nations meet minimal vaccination targets that many nonetheless haven’t reached.

Furthermore, he famous that “the overwhelming majority of hospitalisations and deaths are in unvaccinated individuals, not unboosted individuals”.

Learn extra right here.

22 Dec 2021 – 16:30 GMT

Italy reported 146 coronavirus-related deaths towards 153 on Tuesday, the well being ministry mentioned, whereas the each day tally of latest infections rose to 36,293 from 30,798.

Italy has registered 136,077 deaths linked to COVID-19 since its outbreak emerged in February final 12 months, the second-highest toll in Europe after Britain and the ninth-highest on this planet. The nation has reported 5.5 million instances thus far.

22 Dec 2021 – 16:19 GMT

The UK reported greater than 100,000 new each day coronavirus instances for the primary time since widespread testing was launched, with 106,122 in contrast with 90,629 on Tuesday.

There have been 140 deaths inside 28 days of a optimistic case, down from 172 the day prior to this, in line with authorities information.

22 Dec 2021 – 16:07 GMT

The WHO doesn’t but have sufficient information on the brand new Omicron variant of the coronavirus to say whether it is extra transmissible than the Delta variant, an official mentioned, virtually a month after South Africa first raised the alarm about its emergence.

“We do have some information suggesting that charges of hospitalisation are decrease,” WHO’s technical lead on COVID-19, Maria van Kerkhove, mentioned in a briefing with media.

22 Dec 2021 – 15:48 GMT

Plane passengers are twice and even thrice extra more likely to catch COVID-19 throughout a flight for the reason that emergence of the Omicron variant, in line with the highest medical adviser to the Worldwide Air Transport Affiliation (IATA).

The brand new pressure is extremely transmissible and has turn into dominant in a matter of weeks, accounting for greater than 70 p.c of all new instances within the US alone.

Learn extra right here.

22 Dec 2021 – 15:29 GMT

The Nationwide Hockey League mentioned it is not going to ship its gamers to compete within the males’s ice hockey match on the Beijing Winter Olympics after the common season schedule was disrupted resulting from a surge in COVID-19 instances.

“Sadly, given the profound disruption to the NHL’s regular-season schedule attributable to current COVID-related occasions – 50 video games have already got been postponed via December 23 – Olympic participation is now not possible,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman mentioned.

22 Dec 2021 – 15:04 GMT

Britain has mentioned it will begin vaccinating susceptible kids aged 5 to 11 towards COVID-19 after the nation’s medicines regulator accepted using a decrease dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech shot in that age group.

The youngsters will obtain two 10mg doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine – a 3rd of the grownup dose – with an interval of eight weeks between the primary and second doses, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) mentioned.

Authorities in Nigeria have publicly destroyed multiple million expired doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine even because the West African nation’s vaccination fee has virtually doubled within the final one week amid a spike in confirmed infections.

The expired doses – numbering 1,066,214 – had been destroyed in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, every week after the nation mentioned it is going to now not settle for donated COVID-19 vaccines with quick shelf lives.

Al Jazeera’s Fidelis Mbah reported from Abuja the federal government’s very public show of destroying the vaccines was to reassure residents no matter jabs had been administered, had been of “good high quality” – amid conspiracies and false info towards vaccines within the nation.

Learn extra right here.

22 Dec 2021 – 14:38 GMT

Bharat Pankhania of the College of Exeter Medical Faculty advised Al Jazeera that until poor nations are totally vaccinated, richer nations immunising their populations a number of instances is not going to cease variants rising.

“Once more, the richer nations can do no matter they like, as a result of they’ve acquired the vaccines, provides, they usually can immunise their inhabitants as soon as, twice, thrice,” he mentioned from Bathtub, within the UK.

Nonetheless, he mentioned: “If you don’t suppress infections in susceptible nations the place you may have a whole lot of immune suppressed individuals, then you’re going to get the drive for variants to emerge. And Omicron is one such instance. And we are able to undoubtedly get different variants which is able to once more be a setback.”

22 Dec 2021 – 14:35 GMT

The world’s kids are bearing the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic, with marked will increase in violence, abuse, baby labour, misplaced education, and malnutrition, two Vatican research mentioned on Wednesday.

The research, primarily based on tutorial, scientific, United Nations information and different supply materials, had been produced by the Vatican’s improvement workplace and the Pontifical Academy for Life.

“Studies of violence, abuse, and exploitation of youngsters have sharply elevated for the reason that pandemic started. Poorer communities disproportionately bear these adversities,” one of many research mentioned.

22 Dec 2021 – 14:24 GMT

France has cancelled its order for Merck & Co’s COVID-19 antiviral drug following disappointing trial information and hopes as an alternative to obtain Pfizer’s competing drug earlier than the top of January, the well being minister mentioned.

France is the primary nation to publicly say it has cancelled an order for the Merck therapy after the corporate launched information in late November suggesting its drug was markedly much less efficient than beforehand thought, decreasing hospitalisations and deaths in its medical trial of high-risk people by about 30 p.c.

“The newest research weren’t good,” Olivier Veran advised BFM TV.

22 Dec 2021 – 14:14 GMT

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has mentioned participant welfare just isn’t being taken critically sufficient following the Premier League’s determination to proceed enjoying regardless of a surge in COVID-19 instances.

“I’m apprehensive about participant welfare and I don’t suppose anyone takes that critically sufficient, particularly on this interval, when COVID is right here,” Henderson advised BBC Sport.

Liverpool assistant supervisor Pep Lijnders mentioned it was “absurd” to play twice in 4 days whereas lacking a lot of key gamers resulting from COVID-19 and accidents, whereas Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel mentioned gamers’ well being and security was in danger.

22 Dec 2021 – 14:11 GMT

Aston Villa supervisor Steven Gerrard says concern of the coronavirus is so heightened that one among his gamers was reluctant to get out of his automobile.

An outbreak at Villa noticed their match towards Burnley final Saturday postponed at quick discover, with Gerrard warning that will probably be a “nightmare” if the Midlands must deal with two matches in two days with simply 14 gamers accessible.

“We had a state of affairs on the weekend the place one of many gamers was reluctant to get out of his automobile as a result of he had some signs and he’s acquired a younger household, and you’ll completely perceive his view in his state of affairs,” Gerrard mentioned.

22 Dec 2021 – 13:52 GMT

Finland will from Thursday begin providing coronavirus vaccines to kids between 5 and 11 years of age, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Well being has mentioned.

The Finnish Well being Institute earlier this month really helpful that kids aged 5 and above ought to be vaccinated towards COVID-19 in the event that they or somebody of their family had been at excessive danger of extreme an infection.

22 Dec 2021 – 13:30 GMT

All foreigners looking for to enter Sweden must current a unfavourable COVID-19 take a look at taken inside 48 hours, the federal government mentioned as instances surged.

The requirement will come into pressure on December 28 and can apply to all non-citizens and non-residents over the age of 12, together with travellers from the European Union and neighbouring Nordic nations.

“All travellers will want to have the ability to current a unfavourable take a look at for an ongoing an infection of COVID-19 upon arrival to Sweden, no matter which nation you’re travelling from,” the federal government mentioned in an announcement.

22 Dec 2021 – 13:20 GMT

A brand new South African examine, together with information on hospitalisations and deaths within the nation’s fourth wave of COVID infections, counsel that the danger of extreme illness is decrease with Omicron than with earlier variants, a high scientist has mentioned.

“In South Africa, that is the epidemiology: Omicron is behaving in a method that’s much less extreme,” mentioned Professor Cheryl Cohen of the Nationwide Institute for Communicable Ailments (NICD), one of many authors of the brand new examine.

“Compellingly, collectively our information actually counsel a optimistic story of a lowered severity of Omicron in comparison with different variants,” she mentioned throughout a information convention by a bunch of NICD scientists.

Learn extra right here.

22 Dec 2021 – 12:00 GMT

Turkey’s domestically developed COVID-19 vaccine, Turkovac, has obtained emergency use authorisation by Turkish authorities and will likely be open to make use of from subsequent weekend, Well being Minister Fahrettin Koca mentioned.

Turkey started growing Turkovac this 12 months, however the launch date for the vaccine has been beset by delays. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has mentioned Turkey would make the shot accessible globally.

Turkey has already administered greater than 125 million doses of vaccines utilizing photographs developed by China’s Sinovac and by Pfizer-BioNTech, with greater than 51 million having obtained two doses of the vaccines. It has additionally begun administering booster photographs.

22 Dec 2021 – 11:40 GMT

AstraZeneca is working with Oxford College to develop a greater coronavirus vaccine that may completely goal the Omicron variant.

“Along with Oxford College, we have now taken preliminary steps in producing an Omicron variant vaccine, in case it’s wanted, and will likely be knowledgeable by rising information,” mentioned the British-Swedish pharmaceutical in an announcement offered to native media.

Sandy Douglas, head of a analysis group at Oxford College, advised The Monetary Instances that up to date vaccines are a should when coping with logistical challenges posed by the speedy unfold of variants corresponding to Omicron, and that they may assist alleviate pressures on healthcare providers and techniques.

“Adenovirus-based vaccines [such as made by Oxford-AstraZeneca’s] might in precept be used to reply to any new variant extra quickly than some could beforehand have realised,” she mentioned.

22 Dec 2021 – 11:15 GMT

The northern Chinese language metropolis of Xi’an on Wednesday ordered all 13 million residents to remain residence, in a strict lockdown as concern grows over a recent outbreak of COVID-19.

With Beijing getting ready to host the 2022 Winter Olympics in February, China is on excessive alert because it fights native outbreaks in a number of cities.

All households could solely “ship one family member exterior as soon as each two days to buy requirements”, with all others ordered to stay indoors apart from emergencies, town authorities mentioned in an announcement on its official Weibo social media account.

22 Dec 2021 – 10:46 GMT

The Philippines has halved to 3 months the ready time for a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine in its battle to rein within the extra infectious Omicron variant of coronavirus, which has pressured a world tightening of curbs.

From Wednesday, adults can obtain a booster dose no less than three months after taking the second complement of a two-dose vaccine, versus six months earlier, performing presidential spokesman Karlo Nograles mentioned.

Single-dose vaccine recipients are eligible for a booster after two months, he advised a daily information convention.

22 Dec 2021 – 10:15 GMT

Poland on Wednesday reported 775 COVID-related deaths within the final 24 hours, the best each day quantity within the fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic, the info from the well being ministry confirmed, with the full variety of infections for the reason that begin of the pandemic crossing 4 million.

Poland has been coping with persistently excessive each day case numbers in a fourth wave that has pressured authorities to tighten restrictions.

“Sadly, [deaths] dominate among the many aged and the unvaccinated … we don’t get vaccinated and we go to hospitals too late,” the ministry’s spokesman, Wojciech Andrusiewicz, advised reporters.

22 Dec 2021 – 09:45 GMT

Israel has introduced it is going to supply a fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to well being staff and other people older than 60, amid concern in regards to the unfold of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

A well being ministry knowledgeable panel really helpful the fourth shot late on Tuesday, a choice that was swiftly welcomed by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett as “nice information that may assist us overcome the Omicron wave that’s spreading all over the world”.

Learn extra right here.

22 Dec 2021 – 09:16 GMT

Japan confirmed its first recognized native transmissions of the brand new Omicron variant of the coronavirus in Osaka on Wednesday, an indication it’s already making its method within the nation.

The household of three in Osaka had no report of travelling abroad and their infections couldn’t be traced, Osaka Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura mentioned.

The three are the primary recognized instances of neighborhood transmission of the extremely infectious Omicron variant in Japan, Yoshimura mentioned. “I imagine they solely occurred to be detected and we should take steps on the idea that there already are different instances of neighborhood transmission,” he mentioned.

22 Dec 2021 – 09:01 GMT

South Africa’s noticeable drop in new COVID-19 instances in current days could sign that the nation’s dramatic Omicron-driven surge has handed its peak, medical consultants say.

After hitting a excessive of practically 27,000 new instances nationwide final Thursday, the numbers dropped to about 15,424 on Tuesday. In Gauteng province – South Africa’s most populous with 16 million individuals, together with the most important metropolis, Johannesburg, and the capital, Pretoria – the lower began earlier and has continued.

“The drop in new instances nationally mixed with the sustained drop in new instances seen right here in Gauteng province, which for weeks has been the centre of this wave, signifies that we’re previous the height,” Marta Nunes, senior researcher on the Vaccines and Infectious Ailments Analytics division of the College of Witwatersrand, advised The Related Press information company.

22 Dec 2021 – 08:44 GMT

There are at present 129 individuals in hospital with the Omicron variant of the coronavirus and to date 14 individuals have died with it, junior well being minister, Gillian Keegan, advised Sky Information.

She additionally mentioned the UK authorities wouldn’t hesitate to herald additional COVID-19 restrictions if the info confirmed it was mandatory.

22 Dec 2021 – 08:10 GMT

Finland will limit eating places’ opening hours to curb rising COVID-19 infections and the unfold of the brand new Omicron variant, the federal government mentioned.

Beginning on Christmas eve, bars must cease serving alcohol at 9pm and shut at 10pm. From December 28 onwards, alcohol can solely be served till 5pm and bars want to shut by 6pm and eating places by 8pm, the federal government mentioned in an announcement.

The federal government additionally determined college and different grownup college students would shift to distant education after the Christmas holidays and international travellers coming to Finland would wish proof of vaccination or restoration from COVID-19 and a current unfavourable take a look at end result.

22 Dec 2021 – 07:49 GMT

France might have round 100,000 new COVID-19 instances a day, Well being Minister Olivier Veran mentioned, up from about 70,000 at present because the nation battles a fifth wave of the epidemic.

Veran mentioned no new restrictions had been on the desk for now, though nothing could possibly be dominated out, with authorities hoping a rise within the numbers of individuals having vaccinations will permit them to maintain the virus in test.

22 Dec 2021 – 07:13 GMT

Malaysia has briefly suspended gross sales of tickets for air and land journey underneath a vaccinated journey lane scheme with Singapore till January 20, the well being ministry mentioned, amid issues over the unfold of the Omicron coronavirus variant.

The motion adopted an analogous transfer by Singapore to freeze all new ticket gross sales over the identical interval.

Below the vaccinated journey lane programme, each nations permit quarantine-free entry for totally vaccinated travellers, who must do a number of screenings.

22 Dec 2021 – 06:15 GMT

California healthcare staff will likely be required to have coronavirus booster photographs to make sure that hospitals are able to take care of a surge in instances because the more-transmissible Omicron variant spreads all through the state.

Governor Gavin Newsom introduced the order on Tuesday on his private Twitter account and deliberate to supply extra particulars at a Wednesday information convention.

California already requires healthcare staff to be vaccinated towards the coronavirus, a directive that took impact in September and has since led to the firing or suspension of hundreds of individuals. Now it is going to be a part of New Mexico as no less than the second state to require booster photographs for healthcare staff.

22 Dec 2021 – 06:11 GMT

New COVID-19 instances in Australia’s most populous state surged to a pandemic report on Wednesday, as Prime Minister Scott Morrison met state leaders to debate preventive measures.

Morrison emerged from the nationwide cupboard assembly once more rejecting lockdowns and masks mandates imposed by the federal authorities. He mentioned insurance policies on mask-wearing had been greatest left to state governments and to Australians who ought to comply with “commonsense behavioural measures”.

“Regardless of these rising instances, hospitals and well being techniques stay in a powerful place however after all, they are going to be examined,” Morrison advised reporters in Canberra after the emergency assembly.

22 Dec 2021 – 06:09 GMT

Singapore has mentioned it is going to freeze all new ticket gross sales for flights and buses underneath its programme for quarantine-free journey into the city-state from December 23 to January 20, the federal government mentioned, citing the danger from the fast-spreading Omicron.

“Our border measures will assist to purchase us time to review and perceive the Omicron variant, and to strengthen our defences, together with enhancing our healthcare capability, and getting extra individuals vaccinated and boosted,” Singapore’s well being ministry mentioned in an announcement.

Below the vaccinated journey lane programme, Singapore permits quarantine-free entry for totally vaccinated travellers, who must take a number of COVID-19 exams.

About two dozen nations are listed within the programme together with Australia, India, Malaysia, Britain and the USA.

Travellers already holding tickets on flights or buses and who meet all different necessities can nonetheless journey underneath the programme.

Singapore has confirmed imported Omicron instances and a number of other native infections.

Transfer goals to re­as­positive a cautious pub­lic that the do­nat­ed vac­cines with a brief shelf life had been tak­en out of cir­cu­la­tion.

Lengthy strains for take a look at­ing and fears of the brand new coro­n­avirus vari­ant un­der­mine hol­i­day trav­el plans for a sec­ond 12 months.

Examine finds peo­ple di­ag­nosed with Omi­cron in South Africa 80 per­cent much less like­ly to be advert­mit­ted to hos­pi­tal.

Well being work­ers and Is­raelis who’re over the age of 60 or are im­muno­com­professional­mised will likely be el­i­gi­ble for a fourth dose.


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