Omicron may be less severe, but not ‘mild’ – WHO chief

6 January 2022, 6:44 PM
The more infectious Omicron variant of COVID-19 appears to produce less severe disease than the globally dominant Delta strain, but should not be categorised as"mild", the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday.
France to see a record of more than 350 000 new COVID infections Tuesday: Minister 11 January 2022, 5:03 PM

France's health ministry will announce later on Tuesday a record of more than 350,000 new COVID infections over a 24-hour period, Health Minister Olivier Veran told lawmakers. 

PharmaMar shares soar after drug study suggests efficacy against Omicron 11 January 2022, 3:32 PM

Shares in PharmaMar (PHMR.MC) jumped almost 20% on Tuesday after the Spanish drugmaker said lab trials suggested its Plitidepsin drug was effective against the main COVID-19 variants, including the highly contagious Omicron.

India’s COVID-19 vaccine maker seeks inroads into SA market 11 January 2022, 2:58 PM

India's largest vaccine maker Serum Institute of India has sought emergency use approval from South African drug regulator for its COVID-19 vaccine.

US reports 1.35 million COVID-19 cases in a day, shattering global record 11 January 2022, 12:28 PM

The United States reported 1.35 million new coronavirus infections on Monday, according to a Reuters tally, the highest daily total for any country in the world as the spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant showed no signs of slowing.

US reports at least 1.1 mln COVID cases in a day, shattering global record 11 January 2022, 4:10 AM

 The United States reported at least 1.13 million new coronavirus infections on Monday, according to a Reuters tally, the highest daily total of any country in the world as the spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant showed no signs of slowing.

Japan to maintain most border restrictions until the end of February 11 January 2022, 3:49 AM

Japan will maintain the tight entry restrictions it put in place to prevent the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus until the end of February, its Prime Minister said on Tuesday, though some exceptions for humanitarian issues may be considered.

US CDC advises Americans to avoid travel to Canada 11 January 2022, 12:15 AM

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday advised against travel to Canada because of a rising number of COVID-19 cases.

Germany assessing reliability of antibody tests for Omicron – minister 10 January 2022, 4:09 AM

Germany will study how reliable rapid antigen tests are in detecting the fast-spreading Omicron variant of COVID-19, Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said on Sunday.

Australia’s New South Wales marks its highest COVID-19 death count 10 January 2022, 3:41 AM

Australia's most populous state, New South Wales, recorded its highest number of daily COVID-19 deaths on Saturday as the Omicron variant sweeps the country and lawmakers face pressure to close widening supply chain gaps.

Novak Djokovic’s bid to stay in Australia goes before courts 10 January 2022, 2:39 AM

Novak Djokovic's battle to remain in Australia and bid for a record breaking tennis title goes before the courts on Monday, with the star player's lawyers and the federal government to face off over his controversial COVID-19 vaccination exemption.

South Africa should step up COVID-19 vaccinations: Ramaphosa 9 January 2022, 4:31 AM

South Africa should step up COVID-19 vaccinations, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Saturday, urging members of his governing African National Congress (ANC) party to fight vaccine hesitancy in communities.

Djokovic faces a third day in Australian migrant detention in COVID vaccine furore 8 January 2022, 5:17 AM

Tennis world number one Novak Djokovic began a third day in Australian immigration detention on Saturday, joined by Czech women's player Renata Voracova as a blame game between Australian authorities over handling of COVID-19 vaccine exemptions gathered steam.

UK says 4th COVID jabs not needed for now as booster effect lasts 8 January 2022, 4:22 AM

Booster jabs are still providing high levels of protection for older people against severe disease from the Omicron coronavirus variant and there is no need for now for people to have a fourth shot, British health officials said on Friday.

Australia treasurer tests positive for COVID-19 as cases hit a record 8 January 2022, 3:11 AM

Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said he had tested positive to COVID-19 and was isolating, joining other senior government officials to have contracted the disease amid a record number of cases in an outbreak of the highly contagious Omicron variant.

Omicron surge pushes US COVID hospitalisations toward record high 8 January 2022, 2:13 AM

COVID-19 hospitalisations in the United States are poised to hit a new high as early as Friday, according to a Reuters tally, surpassing the record set in January of last year as the highly contagious micron variant fuels a surge in infections.

Spain’s 14-day COVID-19 rate rises to 2 722 per 100 000 7 January 2022, 11:49 PM

Spain's 14-day COVID-19 infection rate rose by 147 cases to 2 722.72 cases per 100 000 people, the Health Ministry said on Friday, compared to 2 574.46 on Wednesday when the last figures were released before a public holiday on Thursday.

9 260 new COVID-19 cases identified in SA 7 January 2022, 8:01 PM

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases has reported 9 260 new COVID-19 cases that have been identified in South Africa, which brings the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 3 513 813.

North Korea says it won’t attend Beijing Olympics, blames COVID-19 and ‘hostile forces’ 7 January 2022, 10:08 AM

In a letter to China, North Korea blamed "hostile forces" and COVID-19 risks for not being able to attend the upcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing and accused the United States of trying to prevent the Games' success, state media said on Friday.

Brazil’s Bolsonaro knocks vaccinating children, criticises health regulator 7 January 2022, 4:39 AM

President Jair Bolsonaro criticized Brazil's health regulator Anvisa on Thursday for authorizing the vaccination of children aged 5 to 11 years against COVID-19, one day after his health minister unveiled plans to inoculate that age group.

Argentina breaks COVID-19 case record as infections near 110 000 7 January 2022, 12:47 AM

Argentina reported a record number of COVID-19 cases on Thursday for a third day in a row at nearly 110 000, as the highly infectious Omicron variant drives a third pandemic wave in the South American nation.

J&J says its single dose protects against breakthrough COVID-19 for up to 6 months 7 January 2022, 12:29 AM

Johnson & Johnson said on Thursday that a real-world study showed its single shot COVID-19 vaccine protects against breakthrough infections and hospitalisations for up to six months.

Mexico nears 300 000 deaths from COVID-19 as cases surge after holidays 6 January 2022, 11:47 PM

Mexico is likely to surpass 300 000 deaths from COVID-19 this week - the fifth highest death toll worldwide - as infections rise after the holiday season, fuelled by the Omicron coronavirus variant and largely unrestricted tourism.

Nigeria is working on COVID-19 vaccine, President says 6 January 2022, 11:34 PM

Nigeria is working to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, President Muhammadu Buhari said in a televised interview on Thursday, as the country battles growing cases of the virus.

Indonesia survey finds 85% of 22 000 respondents have COVID-19 antibodies 6 January 2022, 11:32 AM

More than 85% of 22 000 Indonesians surveyed have antibodies against COVID-19, a government-commissioned survey showed, but epidemiologists warned it was not clear whether this immunity could help contain a fresh wave of coronavirus infections.

Djokovic in limbo as lawyers battle over Australia entry ban 6 January 2022, 11:08 AM

World number one tennis player, Novak Djokovic, is holed up in a quarantine hotel in Melbourne after his lawyers secured an agreement for him to remain in the country for a court hearing on Monday in his case to overturn the federal government ban on his entry.

Hollywood “in total shock”, as Omicron variant disrupts awards season 6 January 2022, 9:44 AM

Hollywood's traditional awards season has been turned upside down for the second year running after both the Grammys and the Sundance film festival announced cancellations on Wednesday because of a surge in the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Italy extends COVID vaccine mandate to everyone over 50 6 January 2022, 8:49 AM

Italy on Wednesday made COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for people from the age of 50, one of very few European countries to take similar steps, in an attempt to ease pressure on its health service and reduce fatalities.

Pfizer, biotech firm end patent fight over COVID-19 vaccine 6 January 2022, 8:29 AM

San Diego-based Allele Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals Inc has resolved its patent dispute with Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE over technology allegedly used in developing their COVID-19 vaccine, according to a filing late on Tuesday in San Diego federal court.

Outcry as Australia bars Djokovic over vaccination status 6 January 2022, 6:37 AM

World number one tennis player Novak Djokovic was denied entry into Australia on Thursday amid a storm of protest about a decision to grant him a medical exemption from COVID-19 vaccination requirements to play in the Australian Open.

Ireland to drop COVID-19 test requirement for vaccinated arrivals 6 January 2022, 4:31 AM

Ireland will no longer require vaccinated arriving travellers to present a negative COVID-19 test, Prime Minister Michael Martin said on Wednesday.