Covid Omicron latest: New restrictions in force in UK nations as top doctor urges ‘stragglers’ to get booster jab
Nurses aware Christmas this year could be worse than last, warns RCN
New coronavirus restrictions are being introduced in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland from today, while Boris Johnson has not ruled out further rules in England.
The three nations will place limitations on large public gatherings, enforce stricter social distancing rules and encourage people to work from home more.
In Wales and Northern Ireland, the Rule of Six will also return in hospitality venues such as pubs, restaurants and cinemas and the closure of nightclubs will be advised.
This comes as top NHS doctor, Professor Stephen Powis, urged “stragglers” who have not yet had their booster jab to get protected against the highly-contagious omicron variant as soon as possible.
China sees highest daily rise in local Covid-19 cases
China has reported its highest daily rise in local Covid-19 cases in 21 months as cases more than doubled in the northwestern city of Xian, the country’s latest coronavirus hot spot.
The city of 13 million people, which has entered its fourth day of lockdown, detected 155 domestically-transmitted symptomatic cases on Saturday, a sharp increase from 75 cases a day earlier.
This has driven the national daily toll to 158 confirmed cases, the highest since China managed to contain a nationwide outbreak in early 2020.
Roxanne Liu has the full story below.
Furvah Shah26 December 2021 10:59
First vaccinations surge in lead up to Christmas
The number of people getting vaccinated for the first time has surged in the lead up to Christmas, according to government figures.
Over 221,000 first jabs were given in England in the week ending December 21 – a 46 per cent rise from the previous week.
The largest increase was seen among young people aged 18 to 24 who saw an 81 per cent increase in first doses, followed by 25 to 30-year-olds who saw a 71 per cent rise.
Read the full story below.
Furvah Shah26 December 2021 10:21
Top NHS doctor urges “stragglers” to get their booster jab
A top NHS doctor has urged people who are double-vaccinated to not delay in getting their booster job.
Professor Stephen Powis, NHS’ national medical director, has said there is “no time to lose” in making sure people are fully protected against the Omicron variant.
Over 32 million booster and third jabs have been given as of December 23, with many choosing to get vaccinated on Christmas Day, but around 10 per cent of appointments have been missed and hundreds of thousands of slots have gone unfilled.
Professor Powis said: “It’s the best way to protect yourself, your family and your friends so my message to the stragglers is clear: Don’t delay any longer – come forward and sort your jab now.”
Furvah Shah26 December 2021 09:36
New coronavirus restrictions in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland from today
New coronavirus restrictions will be introduced in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland from today while England’s rules will remain the same.
The three nations will limit large public gatherings, enforce stricter social distancing rules and encourage people to work from home.
Boris Johnson has not ruled out introducing new restrictions in England post-Christmas.
In Wales and Northern Ireland, tighter limitations such as the Rule of Six in hospitality venues like pubs, restaurants and cinemas and the closure of nightclubs will also be advised.
Furvah Shah26 December 2021 08:58
China’s ‘zero Covid’ policy won’t work against Omicron, says virologist
Tulio de Oliveira, the director of the Centre for Epidemic Response and Innovation in South Africa who warned about the Omicron variant, said China’s “zero-Covid” policy will not work against the new variant.
“China should not punish its public health officials or citizens or foreigns because a more transmissible variant (sic),” the virologist said in a tweet on Saturday.
The Asian giant has reported its highest number of fresh Covid cases in four months amid new outbreaks in several regions ahead of the Winter Olympics. The country reported 158 locally transmitted cases on Saturday.
Alisha Rahaman Sarkar26 December 2021 06:04
US Navy ship stranded with coronavirus outbreak
A Covid outbreak onboard a US Navy ship has forced it to remain in port at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay.
An unspecified number of the 105-person crew tested positive for Covid and are isolated away from the rest of the crew.
The USS Milwaukee departed from its home base in Mayport, Florida on 14 December for a scheduled deployment to the US 4th Fleet area of operations.
Alisha Rahaman Sarkar26 December 2021 04:44
France reports record number of Covid-19 cases
France on Saturday reported a record-high 104,611 Covid infections for the first time since the onset of the pandemic.
This is the third consecutive day of a record uptick in the number of cases.
The latest tally comes ahead of a video-conference meeting scheduled on Monday, where president Emmanuel Macron and key members of his government will discuss new Covid safety measures as the new Omicron variant continues to spread rapidly.
Alisha Rahaman Sarkar26 December 2021 04:23
How long is Omicron’s incubation period?
The highly contagious Omicron variant has been detected in at least 89 countries to date, with the Netherlands, Germany and South Korea reimposing lockdown measures to slow its spread.
The new variant is thought to incubate faster, closer to three to five days, compared to the first strain of the novel coronavirus.
“Recent analysis from the UK Health Security Agency suggests that the window between infection and infectiousness may be shorter for the Omicron variant than the Delta variant,” UK health secretary Sajid Javid told MPs on 6 December.
Alisha Rahaman Sarkar26 December 2021 04:15
Schools will open despite Omicron surge, PM vows
Boris Johnson has vowed to keep schools open in January despite soaring numbers of Covid cases, raising fears about the impact the decision may have on the NHS, the Times has reported.
The prime minister has told the education secretary, Nadhim Zahawi, that he is “absolutely determined” to send children back to school after the holidays.
The two, who are understood to discuss the issue almost daily, believe that education is the government’s “Number one priority” and school closures are “not something being considered”.
Thomas Kingsley25 December 2021 22:43
Aston Villa head coach Steven Gerrard will miss the club’s next two Premier League games after testing positive for Covid-19, the club have announced.
Gerrard will not be in the dugout for the Boxing Day clash at home to Chelsea or Tuesday’s trip to Leeds.
The club said in a statement: “Aston Villa can confirm head coach Steven Gerrard will be unable to attend our next two Premier League matches with Chelsea and Leeds United as he will be isolating after testing positive for Covid-19.”
Read the full story below:
Thomas Kingsley25 December 2021 22:00