The past couple of months has seen the Omicron Covid-19 variant become the dominant variant across the UK, with case numbers surging in recent weeks – although more recently confirmed infections are on the decline. There has been evidence to suggest that the new strain of Covid is milder than its predecessors, as well as suggestions that it passes through the body quicker – in England, self-isolation time for a positive case is being cut to five days for fully vaccinated people, provided they test negative on days five and six. However, with every variant of Covid there remains the concern that symptoms may linger even after the virus has passed – known as ‘long Covid’. Can you still get the longer version of the disease if you have the Omicron variant – and what signs should you be aware of? Can the Omicron variant cause long Covid? Although much is still not known about the Omicron variant, experts have said that, like other strains, it could cause long … [Read more...] about Can the Omicron variant cause long Covid?
President Joe Biden has announced that the US will restrict travel from South Africa and seven other countries due to a new coronavirus variant that the World Health Organization (WHO) has named ‘omicron’. Biden announced on Friday that his administration will restrict travel from South Africa – where cases of the variant appear to be rising in nearly all provinces – as well as Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe. The travel restriction will be effective starting Monday. Biden acted on advice from his chief medical adviser Dr Anthony Fauci and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), after WHO on Friday classified the new variant first found in southern Africa as one ‘of concern’. The B.1.1.529 strain, which originated in Botswana , is being called the ‘worst yet’ because of its resistance to antibodies. WHO named it ‘omicron’ and said that preliminary evidence suggests ‘an increased risk of reinfection with this … [Read more...] about Joe Biden restricts travel from eight southern Africa countries as WHO names ‘omicron’ variant
The majority of patients in London’s hospitals with Covid are being treated primarily for another illness, official data show. It is the first time since the figures were first reported in June that a large number of virus patients in the capital’s hospitals are being treated for something else, known as “incidental” admissions . On Jan 11, 51.2 per cent of patients with confirmed Covid in London hospitals were there for another reason , up from 38.2 per cent the previous week. Across England, 44 per cent of beds occupied by virus patients were being treated for something else, up from 37 per cent the previous week. The East of England has the highest number of Covid patients who are not mainly sick with the disease, at 52.3 per cent as of Jan 11, an increase of 38.2 per cent on the previous week. The figures came as the number of patients waiting to start treatment reached six million at the end of November – a new record high. The number of people having … [Read more...] about More than half of Londoners in hospital with Covid are being treated for other illnesses
Next is cutting sick pay for unvaccinated workers who must isolate after being exposed to Covid. The retail giant said it was an "emotive topic" but had decided to dock pay to protect the needs of its staff and shareholders after experiencing higher than expected absences for this time of year. Next workers who have not had the vaccine but test positive for the virus will continue to receive their sick pay in full, however. People who have been vaccinated no longer have to isolate if they have been exposed to a positive case, but anyone who has not been jabbed must still self-isolate for 10 days after exposure. The retailer pays its store sales staff between £6.55 and £9.21 an hour. Warehouse workers receive an hourly wage of between £9.30 to £11.26. Those who are unvaccinated but self-isolating will be handed the statutory minimum sick pay of £96.35 a week, according to reports. The move comes as companies grapple with significant workforce absences due to covid sickness … [Read more...] about Next cuts sick pay for unvaccinated staff exposed to Covid
Boris Johnson may feel he has little choice when deciding whether to ditch Plan B. Just as persuasive as the extremely positive omicron data coming out of UK hospitals is a need for Johnson to placate furious Tory MPs after the latest and most damaging episode of ‘Partygate’ . The anti-lockdown Covid Recovery Group of Conservative MPs have made clear they will not accept anything less than zero restrictions by the end of January as the PM’s future hangs in the balance. “We need a ‘learn to live with it day’,” says Mark Harper, the Tory MP who chairs the group. “As we head into what will be a difficult few months for many, a great way to help people with the cost of living would be to get the economy motoring. That starts by removing Plan B Covid restrictions.” Steve Baker, fellow Tory MP and the group's deputy chairman, adds that “opposition to Plan B will only have grown by the end of January”. Whatever the Prime Minister’s motivations, an end to vaccine passes and, in … [Read more...] about Omicron becomes a blessing in disguise for Britain’s economic recovery
Denmark lifted a number of COVID-19 restrictions and allowed the reopening of certain venues on Sunday despite the spread of the Omicron variant in the country. Cinemas, zoos, museums, and theatres were among the places that could welcome visitors again. Limited numbers of spectators also were allowed to attend indoor and outdoor sports events. Visitors are required to wear masks at most of these places and provide proof that they have been vaccinated or have recovered or recently tested negative for COVID-19. The government is planning to relax coronavirus restrictions further in Denmark, a country of 5.8 million, on 31 January. Danish health minister Magnus Heunicke told reporters earlier this week that the government was monitoring the pandemic situation carefully and “wouldn’t have supported the reopening if it hadn’t been for a clear approach both from our own and from external experts”. The Omicron variant is less likely to cause severe illness than the … [Read more...] about Denmark lifts COVID restrictions despite Omicron spread
Denmark lifted a number of coronavirus restrictions and allowed the reopening of certain venues Sunday despite the spread of the omicron variant in the country. Cinemas, zoos, museums and theaters were among the places that could welcome visitors again. Limited numbers of spectators also were allowed to attend indoor and outdoor sports events. Visitors are required to wear masks at most of these places and provide proof that they have been vaccinated or have recovered or recently tested negative for COVID-19. The government is planning to relax coronavirus restrictions further in Denmark, a country of 5.8 million, on Jan. 31. Danish Health Minister Magnus Heunicke told reporters earlier this week that the government was monitoring the pandemic situation carefully and “wouldn’t have supported the reopening if it hadn’t been for a clear approach both from our own and from external experts.” Recommended Mälkki could be 1st woman music director of NY … [Read more...] about Denmark lifts COVID restrictions, opens many public venues
Covid restrictions have returned to the country in recent weeks amid the rapid spread of the Omicron variant – which has caused case numbers to surge, at one point even topping the 200,000 mark. England has been subjected to ‘Plan B rules’ in a bid to keep the highly infectious strain at bay – although with case numbers now falling, speculation is mounting over whether the rules might once again be lifted. When might Plan B restrictions end – and what are the current rules in place? Here’s all you need to know. When could Plan B restrictions end? It’s thought that Plan B restrictions – or at least some of them – could come to an end by the end of January. The guidance relating to working from home and vaccine passports being needed for certain size venues could be lifted as soon as January 26 – although other measures, such as face masks in certain venues, may remain. Government scientists have reportedly provided evidence that offers support for the … [Read more...] about When will Covid Plan B restrictions end and what will change?
By James Williams Published 33 minutes ago Share close Share page Copy link About sharing Related Topics Coronavirus pandemic Restrictions introduced in Wales to deal with the Omicron coronavirus variant "have been worth it", according to the economy minister. Vaughan Gething said "more people would have come to harm" without the Welsh government's restrictions. But the Welsh Conservatives have said the government "overreacted to Omicron". Covid rules were eased on Saturday as the limit on outdoor gatherings was lifted from 50 to 500 people. Latest Public Health Wales figures show there had been a further six deaths and 2,133 new Covid cases in Wales in the 24 hours up to Friday morning. The latest paper by the Welsh government's scientific advisers makes reference to research published in May 2021 that suggested it was safer to meet in larger groups. … [Read more...] about Covid in Wales: Restrictions worth it, minister says
The following is a transcript of an interview with Dr. Scott Gottlieb that aired Sunday, January 16, 2022, on "Face the Nation." MARGARET BRENNAN: We want to check in now with former FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who also serves on the board of Pfizer. Good morning to you, Dr.. DOCTOR SCOTT GOTTLIEB: Good morning. MARGARET BRENNAN: The acting FDA commissioner told Congress most people are going to get COVID, Dr. Fauci said most people will be exposed to it at some point. I mean, these statements make people at home go, what am I doing here? Why am I trying to protect myself? At this point, what can you do? DR. GOTTLIEB: Well, look, I think the reality is most people are going to get COVID in their lifetime, I don't think most people need to get COVID within the next month and anything we can do to try to protect ourselves to extent that there are people who haven't been exposed to this virus yet, who've gone out and gotten vaccinated, been able to protect … [Read more...] about Transcript: Dr. Scott Gottlieb on “Face the Nation,” January 16, 2022