Wise teacher says omicron precautions “close stable door after horse locks”
It is “too late” to make a “material difference” in a potential spate of omicron cases in Britain, a government adviser said, stressing that current travel bans and pre-departure testing would not help a lot.
“If omicron is here in UK, and it certainly is, if there is community transmission in the UK, and it certainly looks like this, then it’s that community transmission that will drive a next wave. Said Professor Mark Woolhouse, epidemiologist at the University of Edinburgh.
Asked about the new travel rules announced by Health Secretary Sajid Javid last night, including forcing all travelers attempting to enter the UK to take a Covid test before departure, Professor Woolhouse said the measures were akin to “closing the stable door after the horse has bolted”.
This came as 86 more cases of omicron were reported across the UK, bringing the total to 246 and representing an increase of over 50% in a single day.
Meanwhile, Dominic Raab urged the British public to take a “common sense approach” to Christmas. Describing the parties’ allegations to No. 10 last year as “unsubstantiated rumors,” the justice secretary agreed that, if true, they would represent a flagrant violation of the rules of the day.
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Continuing Travel Bans Against Southern African Countries ‘Disappointing’, WHO Chief Says
The director-general of the World Health Organization reiterated his disappointment that countries – including the United Kingdom – continue to enact travel bans against countries in southern Africa in response to the discovery of the omicron variant by scientists from South Africa.
It’s still unclear in which country – or continent – the variant first appeared. It has now been detected in dozens of countries around the world.
Andy GrégoryDecember 5, 2021 7:49 PM
Scottish government adviser denounces ‘cynical fatalism’ over omicron wave
Professor Devi Sridhar, who sits on the Scottish Government’s Covid-19 Advisory Group, dismissed the idea that “there is nothing we can do about another great omicron wave”, saying: “Our micro-behaviors are important. Think about the NHS.
Andy GrégoryDecember 5, 2021 7:33 PM
Here’s a quick look at the creation of the coronavirus dashboard on the government website, from its technical and development manager Pouria Hadjibagheri:
He also revealed that the site recently welcomed visitors from 152 countries around the world in a single day.
Andy GrégoryDecember 5, 2021 7:14 PM
Government guidelines are “too confusing,” said a scientist from the government’s science advisory group for emergencies.
You can listen to comments from Henry Potts of University College London here:
Andy GrégoryDecember 5, 2021 6:59 PM
Pandemic weakened China’s might in Indo-Pacific, think tank says
The coronavirus pandemic has weakened China’s power in the Indo-Pacific, and growing security uncertainties in the region present a “significant” war risk, a foreign policy think tank based in Sydney.
In a report released on Sunday, the Lowy Institute said the impact of the pandemic had undermined the prosperity of the entire region, weakening China’s overall power.
“Beijing is now less likely to outperform its global power competitor by the end of the decade – this suggests that there is nothing inevitable about China’s rise in the world,” the report said. .
“It seems highly unlikely that China will ever be as dominant as the United States once was. “
Andy GrégoryDecember 5, 2021 6:40 PM
Fauci hopes US travel bans against southern African countries can be lifted within “reasonable period”
Senior US infectious disease official Anthony Fauci said he hoped the ban on travelers from southern African countries could be lifted within a “reasonable time” as more information is gathered on the omicron variant.
The new variant has been discovered in almost a third of US states and in at least 38 countries around the world.
Dr Fauci told CNN on Sunday that US officials are aware of the difficulties the travel ban is causing and are constantly reassessing the policy.
Andy GrégoryDecember 5, 2021 6:09 PM
Violent anti-Covid protests again reported in Brussels
Fifteen days after tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Brussels to protest against the new masks and homework warrants, the Belgian capital was once again the scene of violent demonstrations.
Thousands of people rallied again on Sunday in the face of tear gas and water cannons to protest the new measures introduced by Prime Minister Alexander De Croo on Friday, which included the early closure of nurseries and primary schools, and limitation of indoor events with more than 200 people.
Andy GrégoryDecember 5, 2021 5:48 PM
Almost 450,000 receive booster injections and third doses
Another 25,679 first doses of the vaccine were reported in the UK on Saturday, bringing the total to nearly 51.1 million.
More than 46.5 million second doses were also delivered on Saturday, an increase of 35,719 from the previous day.
A combined total of 20.2 million booster and third dose doses were also administered, representing a daily increase of 448,975.
Andy Grégory5 December 2021 17:30
Covid sees new German government facing backlash before taking power
Under normal circumstances, the arrival of Olaf Scholz’s new government in Germany – filled with a new generation of young progressive leaders – would be a harbinger of hope and optimism.
But not in Germany this year.
“The mood in Germany is really, really ugly right now,” said Thomas Jäger, a political scientist at the University of Cologne, in an interview with The independent.
“People have lost confidence in a government’s ability to handle this crisis. You can see for yourself the anger and frustration if you are one of the unfortunate people who sit out in the cold for hours on end, waiting and sometimes hoping, sometimes in vain, to be reminded at a vaccination center. Nothing at all seems to be working as it should right now.
You can find Erik Kirschbaumthe full Berlin report here, with Independent premium:
Andy GrégoryDecember 5, 2021 5:10 PM
Northern Ireland to introduce Covid testing before departure
Starting at 4 a.m. on Tuesday, anyone over the age of 12 traveling to Northern Ireland will need to undergo a Covid test before departure, health authorities have confirmed.
The changes to international travel for Northern Ireland reflect a similar announcement made for England on Saturday, amid concerns over the new omicron variant.
No case of omicron has yet been identified in Northern Ireland, but Health Minister Robin Swann has previously said it is expected that the new variant will already be in the region.