15 min agoUK prime minister announces “targeted” measures to combat Omicron Covid-19 variant Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a press conference on November 27, in London. (Hollie Adams/Getty Images)British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the UK must take “targeted and proportionate measures now” amid concerns over the new Omicron Covid-19 variant.
“I must stress this: As always, with a new variant, there are many things we just cannot know at this early stage. Our scientists are learning more hour by hour. It does appear that Omicron spreads very rapidly and can be spread between people who are double vaccinated. There is also a very extensive mutation, which means it diverges quite significantly from previous configurations of the virus, and as a result, it might at least in part reduce the protection of our vaccines over time,” Johnson said in a press conference. Two cases of the variant have been detected in the UK so far.
Johnson also announced additional measures:
“We’re not going to stop people traveling. But we will require anyone who enters the UK to take a PCR test by the end of the second day after their arrival and to self-isolate until they have a negative result,” Johnson said. “…In addition to the measures we’re already taking to locate those who have been in countries of concern over the last 10 days, we will require all contacts of those who test positive with a suspected case of Omicron to self-isolate for 10 days regardless of your vaccination status.”The prime minister said his country will also “boost the booster campaign” in an effort to get as many people possible their vaccine booster shot.
“We don’t yet exactly know how effective our vaccines will be against Omicron, but we have good reasons for believing they will provide at least some measure of protection. And if you’re boosted, your response is likely to be stronger. So it’s more vital than ever that people get their jabs and we get those boosters into arms as fast as possible,” Johnson said.
The new measures will be reviewed in three weeks, he said.
Johnson expressed his “deep gratitude” to scientists in South Africa for identifying this variant.
31 min agoOmicron Covid-19 variant prompts these countries to impose travel restrictionsTravelers queue at a check-in counter at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg on November 27. (Phill Magakoe/AFP/Getty Images)The discovery of a new Covid-19 variant first detected in South Africa prompted multiple countries to impose travel restrictions on at least six African nations.
The newly identified variant appears to be spreading rapidly in parts of South Africa, and scientists are concerned that its unusually high number of mutations could make it more transmissible and result in immune evasion.
Cases have so far been detected in South Africa, Botswana, Hong Kong, Israel and Belgium. The World Health Organization classified it as a “variant of concern” on Friday.
These are the countries that have announced restrictions so far:
The cascade of closures began late Thursday as the United Kingdom announced it would be temporarily suspending flights from South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini.Japan has tightened border controls for travelers from the same six countries, bringing in a 10-day quarantine beginning 12 a.m. on Nov. 27. Bahrain and Sri Lanka said it would suspend entry from those countries as well. Brazil said it will close its air borders with the six cPakistan announced on Saturday that it would be closing its borders to South Africa, Hong Kong, Mozambique, Namibia, Lesotho and Botswana.ountries too. Fellow EU nations Austria, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Malta have all announced imminent entry bans to all travelers who’ve entered South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia and Eswatini in the past two weeks. Switzerland has banned all direct flights from the same seven countries as well. Oman will suspend incoming flights from the seven countries beginning Sunday morning.Egypt, Singapore, Malaysia, Dubai, Saudi Arabia and Jordan have also announced restrictions on the seven countries.Meanwhile, Germany plans to declare South Africa a “virus variant area” from Friday night, which will mean that airlines may only enter from the country to repatriate German citizens.President Biden announced that the United States will restrict travel from South Africa and seven other countries starting Monday as a new coronavirus variant has emerged, administration officials tell CNN. Acting on advice from Dr. Anthony Fauci and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Biden administration will restrict travel from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi. Officials, who are still learning more about the variant, said the policy was implemented out of an abundance of caution.Canada is taking similar steps as the US, according to its health minister.Greece will allow only essential travel from South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique, Eswatini, Zambia and Malawi, the country’s health ministry said Friday. Travelers will have to obtain a special permit from the local Greek embassies and diplomatic missions to travel, the ministry said, adding that on arrival they will be tested and put in quarantine hotels for 10 days, after which they’ll be tested again. The new measures take effect Saturday at 6 a.m. local time. Australia is also banning the entry of foreign citizens who have traveled to the nine southern African countries in the previous 14 days.Starting December 1, travelers from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe “will not be allowed to enter Thailand” and will not be permitted to apply for entry.Russia said on Friday it will restrict entry into its country for cit
PM Boris Johnson says it appears the new Covid variant can spread among those who are fully vaccinated
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