Covid live news: South Korea surge sparks hospital alarm; ‘stealth’ Omicron variant found

Only the key events are shown.

11m ago

According to an exclusive story by the news agency, up to one million Covid vaccines are estimated to have expired in Nigeria last month.

The risk of new variant of the Omicron coronaviruses is increasing because of the lag in vaccine delivery rates in richer regions.

There is an advertisement in Lagos, Nigeria. Akintunde Akinleye/EPA

The story shows how difficult it is to get the jabs into arms.

In Nigeria, the most populous nation and home to more than 200 million people, less than 4% of adults have been fully vaccined.

21m ago

The man is namedVincent Ni.

China has changed its approach to Africa from one of debt diplomacy to vaccine diplomacy because of the changing sands of geopolitics.

Analysts say the shift in approach is a sign that Beijing is rethinking its strategy at a time of great power competition and a Covid health emergency.

The reduced financial pledge is not surprising because we have already seen signs in the last couple of years. China has entered a phase of greater caution with regard to Africa. It is starting to pull the brakes after two decades of heavy state funding.

The whole story can be read here.

43m ago

49m ago

The Teatro alla Scala in Milan opened its new season with Verdi's Macbeth, despite the fact that other theatres across Europe were forced to close again due to Covid-19.

The event that is considered a highlight of the European cultural calendar was more subdued than usual, with Giorgio Armani and Italy's president among the guests.

Italy's president, Sergio Mattarella, and his daughter, Laura, are applauded by guests at La Scala in Milan as they arrive to attend the season's opening performance on Tuesday. The Press Office of the Quirinale.

Venues in Vienna, Liepzig and Dresden have been closed again because of the swine flu.

The general manager of La Scala said that they were lucky to arrive at the premiere.

1h ago

1h ago

2h ago

The financial markets seem to have shrugged off the concerns about Omicron with the stock market rallies all over the world in the past 24 hours.

The Japanese stock market has risen 1.3%, the Australian stock market has risen 1.2%, the Korean Kospi has risen 0.8%, and the Chinese stock market has risen 0.8%. Concerns about US regulations on tech stocks led to Hong Kong's decline.

The absence of bad news is being taken very positively by equity markets, though, and I am not a scientist.

We got a signal yesterday from the scientific community, which is difficult for markets, but we got each new variant.

2h ago

A variant of Omicron has been detected in Australia.

2h ago

3h ago

The new Omicron variant has a lot of new information about it, including whether it will evade vaccines, how transmissible it is, and possible new types of strain.

The Omicron variant can partially evade protection from the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine, according to data from South Africa.

There was a 40-fold reduction in the amount of vaccine-generated antibodies that could be used to fight Omicron.

Alex Sigal, a professor at the Africa Health Research Institute, said there was a drop in neutralization of the Omicron variant.

Alex Sigal is a member of thesigallab.
The first experiments on neutralization of Omicron have been completed.
There is a manuscript available.
It should be available in the coming days.
December 7, 2021.

A manuscript posted on the website for his lab says that the lab tested blood from 12 people who had received two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. The data in the manuscript has not been peer reviewed.

The manuscript said that blood from five out of six people who had been vaccine-vaccinated as well as previous infections with COVID-19 still mitigated the Omicron variant.

The results are better than I anticipated. Sigal said that the more antibodies you have, the more chance you have of being protected from Omicron.

The variant against blood from people who received a booster dose is not available in South Africa.

3h ago

Omicron is highly unlikely to evade vaccines, says a top WHO official.

Omicron does not appear to cause more severe disease than previous Covid variants, and is unlikely to fully dodge vaccine protections according to a leading World Health Organization official.

Preliminary data showed that the new variant of Covid-19 didn't make people sicker than Delta and other strains, according to WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan.

The data doesn't show that this is more severe. Ryan said in an interview with Agence France-Presse that the direction was towards less severity.

It is very early days and we have to be careful with how we interpret that signal.

There is a sign outside a vaccine clinic. Andrew Kelly.

He said there was no sign that Omicron could sidestep protections provided by existing Covid vaccines.

The vaccines have proved to be effective against all the variants, in terms of severe disease and hospitalisation, according to the 56-year-old epidemiologist and former trauma surgeon.

He pointed to early data from South Africa where the variant was first detected that suggested the vaccine is holding up in protection terms.

3h ago

The night curfew will be scrapped and face masks will be required for winter holidays on Wednesday, when the government will ease some Covid restrictions.

The number of new cases and deaths reported by Romania on Tuesday was far less than the record highs reported in October and early November.

A Christmas tree made of empty Covid vaccine containers is in a vaccine center. The person is Andreea Alexandru/AP.

Shops and restaurants will be open until 10pm on Wednesday night. Entry to most non-essential public venues will be allowed for people who have recovered from the virus and who have a negative COVID-19 test.

In public transport and indoor public spaces, facemasks are required, but they will not be required outside except in crowded areas.

Only 39% of the population in Romania have taken up the vaccine.

4h ago

South Korea is scrambling to shore up hospitals.

The daily tally of Covid cases in South Korea has risen past 7,000 for the past two years, and the government is scrambling to bolster the country's health system.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency reported 7,175 new coronaviruses cases and 63 deaths on Tuesday.

Kim Boo-kyum, the prime minister, said on Wednesday that hospital capacity was under strain and that he was mobilising additional personnel to oversee coronaviruses patients at home and to improve the emergency transfer system for those who develop severe symptoms.

Kim Boo-kyum was at a meeting of the Covid response. YONHAP/EPA

Private clinics will also treat large hospitals.

The government in South Korea began to ease restrictions on living with COVID-19 in November.

Kim urged the elderly to get booster shots, as they are more likely to be found with infections. He urged adolescents to get vaccinations.

38 cases of the Omicron variant have been confirmed in South Korea. More than 80% of the cases in greater Seoul are in the area.

4h ago