It was announced hours after the first known U.S. case of community transmission of the variant was reported. With authorities around the world scrambling to contain Omicron, Biden warned in no uncertain terms that infections will rise this winter. "We're going to fight this variant with science and speed, not chaos and confusion," he said, speaking at the National Institutes of Health medical research facility in Maryland. New York has found five cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant, its governor said, becoming the fourth U.S. state to detect the variant and bringing the total number of infections in the country to eight. New York Governor Kathy Hochul told a news conference that one of the cases involved a 67-year-old Long Island woman with mild symptoms who had recently returned from South Africa. The woman had some vaccination history but it was not yet known how many doses she had received. Further information was not yet available on the other four people, all New … [Read more...] about US steps up fight against Omicron as variant marches across globe
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Britain, Germany and Italy detected cases of the new Omicron coronavirus variant on Saturday and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced new steps to contain the virus, while more nations imposed restrictions on travel from southern Africa. The discovery of the variant has sparked global concern, a wave of travel bans or curbs and a sell-off on financial markets on Friday as investors worried that Omicron could stall a global recovery from the nearly two-year pandemic. Israel said it would ban the entry of all foreigners into the country and reintroduce counter-terrorism phone-tracking technology to contain the spread of the variant. The two linked cases of Omicron detected in Britain were connected to travel to southern Africa, British health minister Sajid Javid said. Johnson laid out measures that included stricter testing rules for people arriving in the country but that stopped short of curbs on social activity other than requiring mask wearing in some settings. … [Read more...] about UK, Germany and Italy detect Omicron variant cases, Israel closes borders
The World Health Organization warned countries on Tuesday not to impose blanket travel bans over the new Omicron coronavirus variant as governments and scientists try to determine how much protection current vaccines would offer against the strain. Officials offer vaccine reassurance against the new Omicron coronavirus variant. Financial markets fell sharply after the head of drugmaker Moderna said existing COVID-19 vaccines would be less effective against the Omicron variant. MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe shed 1.39% a day after broad declines in Europe and Asia. BioNTech's chief executive struck a cautiously positive note, saying the vaccine it makes in a partnership with Pfizer would likely offer strong protection against severe disease from Omicron, which was first reported in southern Africa a week ago. The questions over vaccine effectiveness came as cases of the new variant spread, with the first reported case in Latin America … [Read more...] about Officials offer vaccine reassurance; WHO advises against travel bans
The Ministry of Health (MOH) has asked local authorities to strengthen surveillance to discover Covid-19 cases and any abnormal signs of clusters as a new coronavirus variant called Omicron has emerged. The World Health Organisation (WHO) on November 25, 2021 reported that the coronavirus variant it has named Omicron (B.1.1.529) was discovered in several African countries, such as South Africa and Botswana. The first patient was a 30-year-old man in South Africa. He had fatigue, body aches with a minor headache, and itching, but no sore throat, cough or loss of taste. According to scientists, the Omicron variant has 32 mutations in spike glycoprotein and is the most mutated of the SARS-CoV-2 viruses. It is predicted to spread faster than Delta. Omicron cases have been discovered on several continents. Though epidemiologists think that it’s too late to impose travel restrictions to prevent Omicron from spreading globally, many countries have banned passengers from the … [Read more...] about What will Vietnam do to cope with the Omicron variant?
Bourla told CNBC that his company on Friday began testing the current vaccine against the Omicron variant, which was first reported in South Africa and reignited fears of a global wave of Covid-19 infections. "I don't think the result will be the vaccines don't protect," Bourla said. But the testing could show that existing shots "protect less," which means "that we need to create a new vaccine," Bourla said. "Friday we made our first DNA template, which is the first possible inflection of the development process of a new vaccine," he said. Bourla likened the situation to the scenario earlier this year when Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech developed a vaccine in 95 days when there were concerns the previous formula would not work against Delta, though that version ultimately was not used. The current vaccine is "very effective" against Delta, the executive said, adding that the companies expect to be able to produce four billion vaccine doses in 2022. On Monday, the … [Read more...] about Pfizer already working on Covid vaccine targeting Omicron: CEO
More countries imposed travel restriction to try to seal themselves off. The World Health Organization (WHO) said it was not yet clear whether Omicron, first detected in Southern Africa, is more transmissible than other variants, or if it causes more severe disease. "Preliminary data suggests that there are increasing rates of hospitalization in South Africa, but this may be due to increasing overall numbers of people becoming infected, rather than a result of specific infection," WHO said. It said understanding the level of severity of Omicron "will take days to several weeks". The detection of Omicron triggered global alarm as governments around the world scrambled to impose new travel curbs and financial markets sold-off, fearing the variant could resist vaccinations and upend a nascent economic reopening after a two-year global pandemic. In its statement, the WHO said it was working with technical experts to understand the potential impact of the variant on existing … [Read more...] about Omicron variant detected in more countries as scientists race to find answers