Sajid Javid says Christmas might be ‘nice’ regardless of Omicron pressure

Sajid Javid says Christmas might be ‘nice’ regardless of Omicron pressure


New Covid restrictions to battle Omicron variant

  • All arrivals to UK should take a PCR check, slightly than a lateral circulate, on day two from ‘this week’, and isolate at dwelling till they get the end result;
  • All contacts of somebody discovered to be contaminated with the Omicron variant should self-isolate for 10 days;
  • Facemasks might be obligatory in outlets and on public transport from Tuesday;
  • Seven extra international locations in southern Africa have been placed on the UK’s pink record from 4am this morning. Solely British residents can come to the UK after visiting pink record areas, and even then they need to do a spell at a quarantine resort. 

Sajid Javid at this time insisted it’s ‘going to be an awesome Christmas‘ and the UK is ‘nowhere close to’ correct lockdown as he desperately tried to chill panic over the brand new Omicron Covid variant.

The Well being Secretary mentioned the federal government was taking ‘proportionate and balanced’ precautions to ‘purchase time’, confirming that masks might be obligatory once more in outlets and on public transport from Tuesday. 

However he burdened there isn’t any certainty that the ‘super-mutant’ pressure will have the ability to dodge vaccines, or to what extent that might occur.

And requested whether or not there may very well be a return of even harder curbs equivalent to social distancing, Mr Javid mentioned there the federal government is ‘nowhere close to’ that.

Urging folks to maintain planning for the festive season as they’ve been, Mr Javid informed Sky Information: ‘It is going to be an awesome Christmas.’ 

The reassurance effort got here after Boris Johnson imposed isolation for all UK arrivals and necessary masks in outlets and on trains in a bid to forestall the unfold of the extremely transmissible new variant.   

At a hastily-arranged Downing Road press convention final night time the PM painted a grim image of the potential risk from the brand new ‘super-mutant’ pressure – admitting he can not assure Christmas will go forward as hoped.  

Mr Johnson put unlocking in reverse as he prolonged journey bans, implementing day-two PCR exams for arrivals in Britain, and making facemasks obligatory in outlets and on trains. 

All arrivals to the nation should self-isolate till they get a unfavorable end result from a gold-standard check – which might determine these carrying Omicron. 

All contacts of individuals contaminated with the variant should keep at dwelling for 10 days.       

Mr Javid mentioned this morning he hopes additional measures might be ‘momentary’, including he thinks folks will ‘take this extra severely’.

Chatting with Trevor Phillips On Sunday on Sky Information, Sajid Javid mentioned: ‘Doing it on this proportionate manner the place it is for public transport, it is for stores, I believe is the best degree of response on masks.

‘It is going to be by way of Authorities regulation and meaning, I believe, that individuals will take it severely.’

Pressed on whether or not folks will following the foundations on masks, Mr Javid mentioned following the information of a brand new variant: ‘I do suppose folks will take this extra severely.’

Mr Javid added: ‘It is necessary, I believe, to behave in a proportionate manner and in addition in a short lived manner.

Sajid Javid said the government was taking 'proportionate and balanced' precautions to 'buy time', but stressed there is no certainty that the 'super-mutant' strain will be able to dodge jabs

Sajid Javid mentioned the federal government was taking ‘proportionate and balanced’ precautions to ‘purchase time’, however burdened there isn’t any certainty that the ‘super-mutant’ pressure will have the ability to dodge jabs

‘I hope that is one thing that we will take away inside weeks. However I do suppose when it comes to making progress, we would like life to return in direction of regular, however at this time limit, given what we find out about this variant, and the knowledgeable recommendation that has been acquired, I believe it’s proper to take some proportionate and balanced motion.’

On the festive season he mentioned: ‘I believe it is honest to say that the character of this pandemic is it will be irresponsible to make ensures.

‘As for Christmas, I believe folks ought to proceed with their plans as regular for Christmas, I believe it’ll be an awesome Christmas.’

Mr Javid performed down the prospects of reintroducing working from dwelling or social distancing measures to fight coronavirus.

‘We all know now these forms of measures do carry a really heavy value, each economically, socially, when it comes to non-Covid well being outcomes equivalent to influence on psychological well being,’ he mentioned.

‘So, if one was to make selections like that they must be performed very, very rigorously and we’re not there but, we’re nowhere close to that.’

Mr Javid mentioned he’s anticipating to get recommendation on broadening the booster programme from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation ‘imminently’.

He mentioned getting a vaccine is now much more necessary.

‘We all know that vaccines work. Sure, this new variant could make it much less efficient or not,’ he mentioned. 

‘However the vaccines work, they’re our first type of defence and that’s the reason I’ve additionally requested our knowledgeable advisers on vaccines referred to as JCVI to offer me very fast recommendation on broadening boosting our booster programme.

‘I count on to get that recommendation imminently. That is all about appearing swiftly in a proportionate and balanced method to shield the progress that now we have made.’ 

Mr Javid is predicted to make clear the timeline on different guidelines taking impact over the subsequent couple of days, with No10 suggesting they are going to be launched ‘subsequent week’.  

Two instances of the pressure have been detected in Nottingham and Brentwood in Essex. Each are linked to journey to southern Africa, the suspected origin of the mutation.

The contaminated people and all members of their households have been informed to self-isolate after the UK Well being Safety Company confirmed the sequencing.

It marks the primary time since final winter that restrictions have been tightened in England – though Scotland and Wales have beforehand responded to spiking an infection charges.

The premier mentioned the measures might be reviewed in three weeks, and within the meantime the booster jab marketing campaign might be ramped up. 

The Welsh Authorities and the Scottish authorities are mirroring the restrictions on worldwide journey, and warning they may go even additional. 

The adjustments don’t fairly go so far as the formal ‘Plan B’ outlined by the federal government in the summertime, as Mr Johnson stopped in need of bringing again orders to make money working from home the place doable and introducing vaccine passports. 

However the PM refused to rule out a Christmas lockdown when pressed by reporters, warning that Omicron ‘diverges fairly considerably’ from different Covid variants and that it’ll ‘scale back the protections of our vaccines over time’. 

He was solely keen to supply a lukewarm dedication that the festive season might be ‘higher’ than final 12 months’s.

Sir Patrick additionally warned that the UK could must ‘face up’ to the opportunity of additional restrictions if the Omicron variant could be very transmissible. 

And Prof Whitty mentioned the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation will now must determine whether or not to increase the booster vaccine right down to adults age 18, and whether or not a second dose ought to be supplied to kids aged 12-15 who determined with their households to get the primary dose of the vaccine.

One other 39,567 Covid instances had been recorded within the UK at this time – down 3.36 per cent from 40,941 posted final Saturday – whereas the quantity of people that have died inside 28 days of testing optimistic for Covid fell by 12.7 per cent from 150 final week to 131. 

The EU, US and Canada all adopted Britain’s transfer to impose journey restrictions on guests from southern Africa forward of the WHO including the pressure, often known as B.1.1.529, to its highest class for regarding variants. 

Britain’s first two Omicron infections got here as a spate of instances had been discovered throughout Europe, with no less than 61 new instances of Covid getting into the Netherlands from South Africa this morning. Authorities are presently sequencing the exams for the brand new variant.

Europe’s first case of the variant was noticed in Belgium yesterday – regardless of the unvaccinated lady who caught it having travelled to Turkey and Egypt. Germany and the Czech Republic each confirmed suspected instances at this time. 

Germany’s preliminary sequencing suggests a traveller from South Africa was carrying the virus with a number of mutations shared by Omicron. Officers are awaiting full sequencing later at this time. Australian authorities – who additionally banned journey to 9 international locations within the area – worry the variant could have already entered the nation. 

The US chief medical officer Dr Anthony Fauci mentioned he would ‘not be stunned’ if the Omicron Covid variant was already in America. His feedback got here as President Joe Biden was slammed for nonetheless permitting flights from South Africa to land within the US earlier than the beginning of a journey ban on Monday.  

 

 

Boris Johnson speaks during a press conference after cases of the new variant were confirmed in the United Kingdom

Boris Johnson speaks throughout a press convention after instances of the brand new variant had been confirmed in the UK

Boris Johnson was last night only willing to provide a lukewarm commitment that the festive season will be 'better' than last year's as he put Covid unlocking in reverse by announcing new restrictions

Boris Johnson was final night time solely keen to supply a lukewarm dedication that the festive season might be ‘higher’ than final 12 months’s as he put Covid unlocking in reverse by saying new restrictions 

Between November 11 and November 26, there were 48 direct flights from Cape Town and Johannesburg to London Heathrow. During this period, there were two British Airways flights and one Virgin Atlantic flight per day. If each plane carried 300 passengers, that could mean there have been 14,400 arrivals from South Africa since Omicron was first detected

Between November 11 and November 26, there have been 48 direct flights from Cape City and Johannesburg to London Heathrow. Throughout this era, there have been two British Airways flights and one Virgin Atlantic flight per day. If every aircraft carried 300 passengers, that might imply there have been 14,400 arrivals from South Africa since Omicron was first detected

Another 39,567 Covid cases were recorded in the UK today – down 3.36 per cent from 40,941 posted last Saturday – while the number of people who have died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid fell by 12.7 per cent from 150 last week to 131

One other 39,567 Covid instances had been recorded within the UK at this time – down 3.36 per cent from 40,941 posted final Saturday – whereas the quantity of people that have died inside 28 days of testing optimistic for Covid fell by 12.7 per cent from 150 final week to 131

Graphs shown at a Downing Street press conference on Saturday showed the number of people who have been jabbed

Graphs proven at a Downing Road press convention on Saturday confirmed the quantity of people that have been jabbed

NOTTINGHAM: One case of Omicron has been found in Nottingham, where infections have been creeping up steadily in recent weeks in line with the national picture

NOTTINGHAM: One case of Omicron has been present in Nottingham, the place infections have been creeping up steadily in latest weeks in step with the nationwide image

BRENTWOOD: The other case was found in Brentwood, Essex, which has seen a broadly similar trend, recording 67 new cases on Wednesday

BRENTWOOD: The opposite case was present in Brentwood, Essex, which has seen a broadly comparable pattern, recording 67 new instances on Wednesday

South Africa recorded 2,828 new Covid cases yesterday, more than double the 1,374 recorded last Thursday, but infection levels have yet to skyrocket and no hospitalisations with the new variant have occurred so far. Graph shows: The seven-day average  for cases in the country

South Africa recorded 2,828 new Covid instances yesterday, greater than double the 1,374 recorded final Thursday, however an infection ranges have but to skyrocket and no hospitalisations with the brand new variant have occurred to date. Graph exhibits: The seven-day common  for instances within the nation

All flights from South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Namibia were banned by Mr Javid yesterday

All flights from South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Namibia had been banned by Mr Javid yesterday

PM ‘completely assured’ that Christmas might be ‘significantly higher’ than final 12 months… however refuses to rule out lockdown 

Boris Johnson has mentioned he’s ‘fairly to utterly assured’ that this Christmas is ‘going to be higher’ than final 12 months’s throughout a Covid press convention on Saturday.

The PM’s remark got here as he refused to rule out one other lockdown over the festive interval whereas fielding questions from journalists following the invention of the brand new super-mutant Omicron variant in Britain.

The pressure – designated a ‘variant of concern’ by the World Well being Organisation on Friday – has been detected in Nottingham and Brentwood in Essex, in two individuals who had just lately returned from southern Africa.

There are fears the ‘monster’ variant may plunge the nation into one other lockdown over considerations it may dodge the vaccine and be simpler at re-infecting folks.

At a Downing Road press convention final night time, Mr Johnson mentioned: ‘We proceed to be in a powerful place largely due to the pace of the vaccine rollout, one other booster rollout and I believe I will stick to the system I’ve used earlier than, which is I am fairly assured to utterly assured this Christmas might be significantly higher than final Christmas.’

He later backed up his remark, saying: ‘I believe will probably be significantly higher than final 12 months.’

Cautious that many on the Conservative backbenches might be angered by the reimposition of restrictions, Mr Johnson mentioned: ‘I very a lot hope that we are going to discover that we proceed to be in a powerful place and we will raise these measures once more, however proper now that is the accountable plan of action to decelerate the seeding and the unfold of this new variant and to maximise our defences in order that we shield the features we have labored for therefore laborious.’ 

4 extra international locations – Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Angola – might be added to the pink record from 4am on Sunday, that means solely British residents can come to this nation, and so they have to remain in a quarantine resort. 

South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Namibia had been placed on the banned roster yesterday amid rising worldwide panic concerning the ‘variant of concern’, which scientists worry is extra transmissible and may dodge vaccines.  

The Prime Minister mentioned: ‘We’re not going to cease folks travelling, I wish to stress that, we’re not going to cease folks travelling, however we would require anybody who enters the UK to take a PCR check by the tip of the second day after their arrival and to self-isolate till they’ve a unfavorable end result.

‘Second, we have to decelerate the unfold of this variant right here within the UK, as a result of measures on the border can solely ever minimise and delay the arrival of a brand new variant slightly than cease all of it collectively. We would require all contacts of those that check optimistic with a suspected case of Omicron to self-isolate for 10 days no matter your vaccination standing. We may even go additional in asking all of you to assist include the unfold of this variant by tightening up the foundations on face coverings in outlets and on public transport.’ 

Mr Johnson mentioned border journey measures can ‘solely ever minimise and delay the arrival of a brand new variant slightly than cease all of it collectively’, so all contacts with a suspected case of the brand new variant should isolate for 10 days, no matter their vaccination standing.

Omicron Covid variant DOES unfold quickly and will be transmitted between fully-vaccinated folks, says UK authorities amid fears it makes jabs 40% much less efficient 

The Omicron Covid-19 variant does unfold quickly and will be transmitted between full-vaccinated folks, the UK authorities mentioned at a press convention tonight.

It comes amid fears the brand new super-mutant pressure makes jabs 40 per cent much less efficient after Prime Minister Boris Johnson mentioned the variant ‘may partially scale back the effectiveness of vaccines over time’.

Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty mentioned it isn’t but clear how efficient the vaccine might be as safety in opposition to it – however mentioned those that are vaccinated or obtain the booster jab might be much less prone to grow to be severely ailing.

He mentioned it’s ‘inevitable’ the Omicron variant will unfold the world over over the subsequent few days however added the vast majority of instances within the UK stay to be of the Delta variant.

He warned there may be presently vital charges of transmission amongst younger folks however famous that charges amongst folks aged over 60 and susceptible teams are enhancing, that means hospitalisations and deaths proceed to lower.  

He added the measures might be reviewed ‘in three weeks’, including: ‘At that time we must always have a lot better details about the persevering with effectiveness of our vaccines.’

The prime minister informed a Downing Road press convention: ‘We have to bolster our protections in opposition to this new variant.

‘We do not but precisely know the way efficient our vaccines might be in opposition to Omicron however now we have good causes for believing they may present no less than some measure of safety. 

‘Should you’re boosted, your response is prone to be stronger so it is extra important than ever that individuals get their jabs and we get these boosters into arms as quick as doable. 

‘From at this time we will increase the booster marketing campaign, we’re already planning on doing six million jabs in England alone over the subsequent three weeks and now we’re trying to go additional. The Well being Secretary has requested the JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation) to think about giving boosters to as large a bunch as doable in addition to decreasing the hole between your second dose and your booster.’

The Prime Minister admitted the most recent restrictions on journey ‘sound robust’, however added: ‘That is the best way it is bought to be.’

In response to a query about whether or not the Authorities may have moved sooner to shut borders to guard the nation from the brand new Omicron variant, Mr Johnson mentioned: ‘I actually do not know the way we may’ve acted sooner.

‘We bought the information out about it on Thursday and we put various southern African international locations on the pink record yesterday, and a few extra at this time.’

However the introduction of obligatory PCR exams for Covid-19 for everybody arriving within the UK has been described as a ‘big blow’ for the journey trade. 

Abta, a commerce affiliation for tour operators and journey brokers within the UK, mentioned the added price of testing for all arrivals to the UK will have an effect on buyer demand for holidays, including strain to an trade which has been among the many ‘hardest hit’ throughout the pandemic. 

‘Whereas Abta understands that this can be a quickly evolving scenario and public well being should come first, the choice to require all arrivals to take a PCR check and self-isolate till a unfavorable result’s returned is a big blow for journey companies, lots of whom had been solely simply beginning to get again on their ft after 20 months of extreme restrictions,’ an Abta spokesman mentioned.

‘These adjustments will add price to folks’s holidays, which can undoubtedly influence client demand and maintain again the trade’s restoration, so it is important that this choice is saved below cautious evaluate and restrictions are lifted promptly if it turns into clear there may be not a danger to the UK vaccination programme.

‘The Authorities should additionally now think about providing tailor-made assist for journey companies, which have been amongst the toughest hit throughout the pandemic.’

Which? journey editor Rory Boland mentioned travellers will perceive the necessity for restrictions, however the personal testing trade which they should depend on ‘is not match for goal’.

‘Testing companies have struggled to supply exams on time over the previous 12 months, so it’s laborious to believe they may have the ability to deal with this spike in demand at quick discover,’ he mentioned.

‘Now that the Authorities has taken the choice to make PCR exams necessary, it should take steps to correctly regulate {the marketplace} and implement the CMA’s (Competitors and Markets Authority) suggestions so that customers can believe they’re reserving with a supplier they will depend on.’

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has mentioned the Authorities’s choice to impose tighter restrictions on face masks is ‘welcome’.

He tweeted: ‘Right now’s announcement that face coverings might be obligatory on public transport nationwide, as they already are throughout TfL, is welcome. Proof exhibits they assist cease the virus spreading, and this can be a measure I’ve repeatedly urged the Authorities to take.’

Following the announcement on face coverings, Higher Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham wrote on Twitter: ‘That is proper however exhibits why they should not have been relaxed.

‘It’s going to now be more durable, and take longer, to get ranges of compliance as much as the place we’d like them to be.’

Sir Patrick mentioned vaccine makers are already how they will make them simpler in opposition to rising variants, and {that a} jab designed to particularly goal the Omicron variant may very well be created in ‘about 100 days’.

He informed the Downing Road press convention: ‘I believe it is necessary to recognise there are 3 ways by which this may be performed and the businesses are fascinated by this. The primary is the boosters will give excessive sufficient antibody protection that really that is going to be sufficient to cowl this. That is the primary scenario and must be examined. However that appears like one thing that anyway goes to offer safety, whether or not there’s extra wanted on prime of that we’ll must see.

‘The second is that vaccine producers have been producing broader vaccines anyway to get broader protection throughout potential new variants. So these are within the pipeline.

‘Then a few corporations have already mentioned they may tweak their current vaccines and get a brand new vaccine out particularly in opposition to this in about 100 days.

‘These are the kind of three eventualities, clearly the one which is the one to essentially go for now’s increase, as a result of it’s the case that as you retain boosting the vaccine, you get barely broader protection as a result of the immune system is aware of it must get broader.

‘As a result of the antibody ranges are so excessive, it truly causes sufficient protection of different variants to be efficient.’

He added it’s anticipated the variant will unfold.

US chief medical officer Anthony Fauci says ‘he would not be stunned’ if Omicron COVID variant is already in America 

US chief medical officer Anthony Fauci has mentioned ‘he would not be stunned if Omicron is already in America’.

Fauci informed the Right now Present on Saturday morning: ‘I might not be stunned whether it is.

‘We have now not detected it but however when you might have a virus that’s exhibiting this diploma of transmissibility and also you’re already having travel-related instances…it virtually invariably is finally going to go throughout.’

‘It’s important to watch out and assume that that is the case,’ he added, noting that Omicron may probably ‘evade’ vaccinations. 

Fauci’s considerations about ‘transmissibility’ come as Biden has imposed a ban on vacationers from from eight African international locations – South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi – which will not go into impact till Monday.

US residents and inexperienced card holders from different areas of Africa will nonetheless be allowed to journey to the US.  

President Biden has been slammed for nonetheless permitting flights from South Africa to land within the US till Monday.

Sir Patrick added: ‘I believe we’ll get extra data on transmissibility, we’ll get extra data on the flexibility of the vaccines to guard in opposition to the virus, however that is going to take just a little little bit of time. In the mean time, the fashions are extra ‘if it spreads very quick, in fact it’ll unfold very quick and go into plenty of locations, and if it spreads much less quick it is going to take action much less’.

‘But when it is very transmissible and does trigger large escape, then clearly that is a significant problem now we have to resist. However that is not what we all know for the time being, we have to get that data.’

In an announcement this afternoon, Mr Javid mentioned: ‘Right now I can announce one factor that we’re doing instantly is finishing up focused testing and sequencing of optimistic instances within the two areas which might be affected.

‘We all know there’s this new variant on the market. We do not know sufficient about it but however from what we do know, the protections that now we have – particularly the vaccines – are vastly necessary.

‘We’ll do no matter is critical to guard the progress now we have made as a rustic. 

‘We have come a good distance because the summer season and we hold all of this below evaluate and if we have to take additional motion, we are going to.’ 

Mr Javid mentioned anybody who has travelled within the final 10 days to the ten international locations now on the pink record, they need to self-isolate and take PCR exams.

England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty mentioned: ‘We’ll proceed to work carefully with the worldwide group to rapidly collect and analyse data on this variant to know any doable improve in transmissibility or resistance to vaccines.’ 

In a Twitter thread linked to the brand new Omicron variant, Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford mentioned: ‘Wales is bringing in the identical worldwide journey measures as the remainder of the UK.

‘The Cupboard will proceed to satisfy this night and tomorrow to watch the creating scenario and determine if additional motion is required to guard folks’s well being.’ 

Israel shuts its borders to ALL foreigners to kerb Omicron as anti-vaxxers protest lockdown in Netherlands and Germany, Italy and UK detect instances

Israel shut its borders to all foreigners and introduced again phone-tracking late on Saturday in a bid to crack down on the Covid super-mutant Omicron. 

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett mentioned in an announcement that the ban, pending authorities approval, would final 14 days. Israelis getting into the nation, together with those that are vaccinated, might be required to quarantine.

The ban will come into impact at midnight between Sunday and Monday. A journey ban on foreigners coming from most African states was imposed on Friday.  

Anti-lockdown protesters demonstrated within the Hague after the federal government launched new Covid-19 restrictions below a ‘mild’ lockdown.

Demonstration lit flares in protest at a ban on new years eve fireworks which the federal government mentioned was to forestall extra hospitalisations and permit docs to deal with treating virus sufferers. 

Germany, Italy and the UK grew to become the most recent states to detect instances of the extremely transmissible and doubtlessly vaccine resistant Omicron pressure, which was found in South Africa this week. 

In the meantime, Czech well being authorities additionally mentioned they had been analyzing a suspected case of the variant in an individual who hung out in Namibia. 

The First Minister referred to as the brand new Omicron variant a ‘critical growth’, including on Twitter: ‘This new variant is a critical growth within the ongoing pandemic. I urge everybody in Wales to proceed to work collectively to maintain one another secure. Please get your vaccine or booster when supplied, put on a masks when essential, and guide a check if in case you have signs.’

It comes as Mr Johnson prepares to implement contemporary journey bans on a number of nations, after Britain halted flights to South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini and Zimbabwe yesterday.

Consultants warned Britain may face restrictions being reintroduced within the nation this Christmas however the Prime Minister hopes journey bans may forestall the necessity for one more lockdown.  

Nicky Kelvin Head of The Factors Man UK mentioned: ‘The most recent UK Authorities announcement is yet one more blow of uncertainty to the journey trade to each enterprise and leisure travellers leaving from or coming again to the UK. 

‘The important thing factor to recollect right here is while there are nonetheless some particulars to be confirmed, relating to the day two check, the check will be taken on arrival, day one or day two, it now must be a PCR check, reverting to what it was beforehand. 

‘It’s doable to take a PCR check upon arrival and while travellers might want to quarantine till the outcomes come by way of, you’ll be able to minimise disruption to your life when getting back from a visit. 

‘It is price sourcing testing suppliers which might be positioned in airports e.g. Specific Check have on website testing at Heathrow- travellers are subsequently capable of land, have a check, and as a quickly as they get their outcomes again, might be away from quarantine.

‘As this example is constant to develop, there may very well be additional adjustments as international locations the world over impose restrictions, not solely on South Africa, but in addition on international locations just like the UK that presently have excessive charges of COVID infections.’

Prof Whitty beforehand mentioned he fears Britons won’t settle for one other nationwide lockdown to battle off the variant over the winter due to ‘behavioural fatigue’ attributable to two years of restrictions. 

South Africa recorded 2,828 new Covid instances yesterday, greater than double the 1,374 recorded final Thursday, however an infection ranges have but to skyrocket within the nation and no hospitalisations with the brand new variant have occurred to date.

And Professor Sir Andrew Pollard, one of many Oxford scientists behind the AstraZeneca vaccine, at this time expressed cautious optimism that current vaccines may very well be efficient at stopping critical illness from the variant.  

The US has joined the rising record of nations to shut their borders, with Joe Biden saying the pandemic won’t finish till world vaccinations are in place. New York governor Kathy Hochul yesterday declared a state of emergency as Covid transmission reached charges not seen since April 2020.

Officers in Germany at this time confirmed the primary suspected case of Omicron within the nation got here from somebody coming back from South Africa.

‘The Omicron variant has with sturdy probability already arrived in Germany,’ Kai Klose, social affairs minister within the western state of Hesse, tweeted, referring to the pressure first detected in southern Africa. 

Klose mentioned that exams late Friday on the traveller who had returned to Germany from South Africa revealed ‘a number of mutations typical of Omicron’.

‘As there may be this sturdy suspicion, the particular person has been remoted at dwelling. The complete sequencing remains to be to be accomplished.’

Klose’s ministry mentioned that the particular person had arrived in Germany, the EU’s most populous nation, at Frankfurt worldwide airport, the nation’s busiest.  

Boris Johnson speaks during a press conference after cases of the new Covid-19 variant were confirmed in the UK

Boris Johnson speaks throughout a press convention after instances of the brand new Covid-19 variant had been confirmed within the UK

This chart shows the proportion of cases that were the B.1.1.529 variant (blue) and Indian 'Delta' variant (red) over time in Guateng province in South Africa, where the virus is most prevalent. It suggests that the mutant strain could outcompete Delta in the province within weeks

This chart exhibits the proportion of instances that had been the B.1.1.529 variant (blue) and Indian ‘Delta’ variant (pink) over time in Guateng province in South Africa, the place the virus is most prevalent. It means that the mutant pressure may outcompete Delta within the province inside weeks

Passengers from KLM flight KL598 from Cape Town, South Africa wait to be screened at Amsterdam Airport, the Netherlands, yesterday

Passengers from KLM flight KL598 from Cape City, South Africa wait to be screened at Amsterdam Airport, the Netherlands, yesterday

A KLM Dutch Airliner from Johannesburg in South Africa sits at Schipol Airport in Amsterdam after passengers were taken off and quarantined as part of efforts to prevent the spread of the new Omicron variant

A KLM Dutch Airliner from Johannesburg in South Africa sits at Schipol Airport in Amsterdam after passengers had been taken off and quarantined as a part of efforts to forestall the unfold of the brand new Omicron variant

Red Cross health workers transport passengers infected with coronavirus returning from South Africa for a quarantine in a hotel in Schiphol, the Netherlands, today

Crimson Cross well being employees transport passengers contaminated with coronavirus coming back from South Africa for a quarantine in a resort in Schiphol, the Netherlands, at this time

What do we all know concerning the Omicron variant? 

Scientists have mentioned they’re involved concerning the B.1.1.529 variant, named by the World Well being Organisation as Omicron, because it has round 30 completely different mutations – double the quantity current within the Delta variant. The mutations include options seen in all the different variants but in addition traits that haven’t been seen earlier than. 

UK scientists first grew to become conscious of the brand new pressure on November 23 after samples had been uploaded on to a coronavirus variant monitoring web site from South Africa, Hong Kong after which Botswana. 

On Friday, it was confirmed that instances had been recognized in Israel and Belgium however presently there are not any recognized instances within the UK.

Professor Adam Finn, a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), informed Good Morning Britain on Friday that sequencing is being carried out across the UK to find out if any instances have already been imported. 

Work can also be below method to see whether or not the brand new variant could also be inflicting new an infection in individuals who have already had coronavirus or a vaccine, or whether or not waning immunity could also be taking part in a task.  

Professor James Naismith, director of the Rosalind Franklin Institute in Oxford, has mentioned the brand new variant will ‘virtually definitely’ make vaccines much less efficient, although they’d nonetheless supply safety.

Pfizer/BioNTech, which has produced a vaccine in opposition to Covid-19, is already learning the brand new variant’s potential to evade vaccines. 

Common Secretary of Usdaw, the Union of Store, Distributive and Allied Employees, Paddy Lillis mentioned: ‘Retail workers working with the general public every single day are deeply apprehensive about catching Covid-19 and the arrival of the Omicron variant is an extra concern.

‘Sporting a face masking protects others, it shouldn’t be a private desire however a private duty. The Authorities should be clear and constant on it being necessary and that store employees will not be anticipated to implement the legislation on face coverings.

‘Usdaw is urging the procuring public to put on face coverings, together with essential hand sanitisation and sustaining social distancing, to assist make outlets safer and restrict the unfold of Covid-19.

‘We ask the general public to comply with the foundations and respect store employees, abuse is just not part of their job. We proceed to name on retail employers to keep up acceptable security measures, making certain they’re adopted constantly in each retailer.

‘Many store employees are at a better danger of catching the virus and taking it dwelling to their households. But they’ve labored all through the pandemic to maintain the nation equipped with necessities. These key employees should be valued, revered and guarded.’  

In the meantime, Sir Andrew at this time moved to calm fears in Britain, claiming a lot of the pressure’s mutations are in comparable areas seen in different variants to date. 

He informed BBC Radio 4’s Right now programme: ‘That tells you that regardless of these mutations current in different variants the vaccines have continued to forestall critical illness as we have moved by way of Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta.

‘A minimum of from a speculative standpoint now we have some optimism that the vaccine ought to nonetheless work in opposition to a brand new variant for critical illness however actually we have to wait a number of weeks to have that confirmed.

‘It is extraordinarily unlikely {that a} reboot of a pandemic in a vaccinated inhabitants like we noticed final 12 months goes to occur.’ 

Prof Pollard mentioned a brand new vaccine to fight Omicron may start ‘very quickly’ if required.

‘The processes of how one goes about creating a brand new vaccine are more and more well-oiled, so if it is wanted that’s one thing that may very well be moved very quickly.’ 

South African consultants yesterday additionally tried to calm the wave of panic over the variant, describing it as a ‘storm in a tea cup’. 

Victory for MoS in ‘third dose’ chaos 

Weak sufferers with compromised immune techniques can lastly guide an important third Covid vaccine by way of the NHS’s nationwide reserving system.

The Mail on Sunday has highlighted how as much as 500,000 folks with most cancers, transplanted organs and different situations have struggled to entry the so-called ‘third main dose’ on account of local-level confusion over eligibility.

NHS bosses introduced in early September that ‘severely immunocompromised’ people would have the ability to get a 3rd shot after research confirmed they usually did not generate antibodies after two doses.

However many GPs and even hospital consultants have been unaware of the programme or have confused it with the separate ‘booster’ marketing campaign for older folks. In a victory for the MoS, NHS England has now introduced that individuals can guide a 3rd dose by way of the nationwide Covid vaccination reserving service, both on-line or by calling 119.

In the meantime, British vaccine activity power member Sir John Edmunds mentioned journey bans won’t hold the brand new variant away from British shores however may delay a possible surge in instances past the festive interval to guard the NHS from additional strain.

Consultants nonetheless have insisted there may be ‘no believable situation’ by which Omicron will take the UK again to ‘sq. one’, and referred to as for ‘calm heads’ regardless of the halting of flights from southern Africa. 

Mr Javid informed MPs that, whereas there was ‘big worldwide concern’, vaccines had put Britain in a powerful place.

Scientists mentioned current jabs may very well be tweaked to sort out the variant. And a World Well being Organisation consultant mentioned that resorting to ‘Plan B’ measures so rapidly, equivalent to working from dwelling or vaccine passports, can be an over-reaction.

However information of the variant noticed the FTSE 100 – the UK’s main share index – endure its sharpest drop since January, closing down at 3.7 per cent, spelling alarm for journey corporations banking on winter bookings.

A senior aviation supply informed the Occasions there have been ‘critical jitters’ in all corners of the trade, including: ‘There’s now a large query mark over Christmas. It’s clear the pink record will develop and that may have a large knock on.’ 

Authorities sources mentioned ministers ‘wish to prohibit journey to keep away from restrictions at dwelling in any respect prices’, even when it means risking a critical blow to the journey trade.

Initially generally known as the ‘Botswana’ variant, the pressure was final night time named ‘Omicron’ by the WHO and formally designated a ‘variant of concern’.

Its discovery earlier this week was so vital as a result of it has round 30 mutations, together with some linked to an elevated danger of transmission. One knowledgeable described it because the ‘worst’ variant to date.

In a rush to restrict the unfold, the EU suspended all flights to southern Africa after the primary case was confirmed in Europe. Britain had already put six nations on the journey ‘pink record’ – and was poised so as to add two extra final night time.

A authorities adviser recommended that the general public ought to be ‘prepared for the likelihood’ of a return to Covid restrictions. However a senior authorities supply informed the Mail: ‘Folks mustn’t panic.’ 

Eight issues we discovered from the No 10 briefing on Omicron: 

Boris Johnson was joined by chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance, the chief scientific adviser, for a Downing Road press convention on Saturday following the emergence of the Omicron coronavirus variant within the UK.

These are the eight foremost issues we discovered from the press briefing:

1. Face masks might be obligatory in outlets and on public transport in England from subsequent week.

2. Anybody getting into the UK from any vacation spot aboard should take a PCR check two days after arrival and self-isolate till they’ve a unfavorable end result.

3. Anybody who has been in shut contact with a case of Omicron should self-isolate for 10 days, no matter their vaccination standing.

4. The brand new measures might be reviewed inside three weeks.

5. The 2 instances found within the UK had been a part of the identical outbreak and are in Essex and Nottingham.

6. Omicron will be unfold between people who find themselves double vaccinated.

7. The variant has an ‘in depth’ mutation which suggests in could ‘no less than partially’ scale back the safety of the vaccine over time, the PM mentioned.

8. Omicron ‘actually adjustments the danger/profit calculations’ for the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation concerning recommending vaccines to youthful kids, that means kids below 12 may quickly be eligible.

Reporting by PA

Boris Johnson’s assertion: In full 

Good afternoon.

The UK’s plan in opposition to Covid has been working.

We have had the quickest vaccine roll-out in Europe, and now the quickest booster marketing campaign in Europe, with virtually 16.8 million boosters in folks’s arms, and although case numbers have remained comparatively excessive, we’re seen falling hospitalisations and falling numbers of deaths.

However on Wednesday we acquired information of a brand new variant – the so-called Omicron Variant – I wish to categorical my deep gratitude to scientists in South Africa who recognized this new variant and shared this data broadly and instantly.

This variant is spreading world wide, with 2 instances to date recognized right here within the UK.

As at all times, and I have to stress this, as at all times with a brand new variant, there are lots of issues that we simply can not know at this early stage.

However our scientists are studying extra hour by hour, and it does seem that Omicron spreads very quickly, and will be unfold between people who find themselves double vaccinated.

There’s additionally a really in depth mutation which suggests it diverges fairly considerably from earlier configurations of the virus, and as end result, it would – no less than partially – scale back the safety of our vaccines over time.

So we have to take focused and proportionate measures now as a precaution whereas we discover out extra.

First, we have to decelerate the seeding of this variant in our nation.

We have to purchase time for our scientists to know precisely what we’re coping with.

And for us to get extra folks vaccinated and – above all – to get extra folks boosted.

In addition to to assist our NHS put together in what’s an already difficult winter.

So yesterday we took steps to guard the UK in opposition to the variant coming right here from southern African international locations – and earlier at this time added 4 extra international locations to the pink record.

However we now must go additional and implement a proportionate testing regime for arrivals from throughout the entire world.

So we’re not going to cease folks travelling, I wish to stress that, we’re not going to cease folks travelling, however we would require anybody who enters the UK to take a PCR check by the tip of the second day after their arrival, and to self-isolate till they’ve a unfavorable end result.

Second, we have to decelerate the unfold of this variant right here within the UK.

As a result of measures on the border can solely ever minimise and delay the arrival of a brand new variant, slightly than cease it altogether.

So along with the measures we’re already taking to find those that have been in international locations of concern during the last ten days, we would require all contacts of those that check optimistic – with a suspected case of Omicron – to self-isolate for ten days, no matter your vaccination standing.

We may even go additional in asking all of you to assist include the unfold of this variant, by tightening up the foundations on face coverings in outlets and on public transport.

And third – and most significantly – we have to bolster our protections in opposition to this new variant.

We do not but precisely know the way efficient our vaccines might be in opposition to Omicron, however now we have good causes for believing they may present no less than some measure of safety.

And in case you are boosted – your response is prone to be stronger.

So it is extra important than ever that individuals get their jabs, and we get these boosters into arms as quick as doable.

So from at this time we’re going to increase the booster marketing campaign.

We’re already planning on doing 6 million jabs in England alone over the subsequent three weeks.

And now we need to go additional, so the Well being Secretary has requested the JCVI to think about giving boosters to as large a bunch as doable, in addition to decreasing the hole between your second dose and your booster.

And, in fact, we’re talking to our counterparts within the Devolved Administrations and can proceed to coordinate with them.

The measures that we’re taking at this time – together with on our borders and face masks – are momentary and precautionary, and we are going to evaluate them in three weeks.

At that time we must always have a lot better details about the persevering with effectiveness of our vaccines.

I very a lot hope that we are going to discover that we proceed to be in a powerful place, and we will raise these measures once more.

However proper now that is the accountable plan of action, to decelerate the seeding and the unfold of this new variant, and to maximise our defences so we shield the features now we have labored so laborious for and in order that we will proceed to save lots of lives.

Thanks.

How did 10% of passengers to Holland from South Africa arrive with Covid after they all had NEGATIVE exams? Alarm as suspected instances of Omicron are reported in Germany, Australia and Czech Republic alongside confirmed UK and Belgium instances

Alarms had been at this time raised after one in ten passengers coming into the Netherlands from South Africa this morning examined optimistic for Covid and a wave of suspected instances of the brand new super-mutant variant had been noticed in Europe.

Round 600 passengers arrived on two planes in Schipol Airport, close to Amsterdam, from Johannesburg – the epicentre for the brand new pressure that consultants worry is 40 per cent extra vaccine evasive than Delta – hours after journey bans had been put in place.

Some 61 of these on the planes examined optimistic for the virus on PCR exams after they had been stopped on the airport, regardless of having to supply proof of a unfavorable lateral circulate check taken inside 24 hours earlier than boarding the flight.

It raises the prospect that exams will not be being carried out appropriately for travellers in South Africa, fraudulent exams are being offered or lateral circulate exams could also be much less capable of detect the Omicorn variant.

Folks returning to the Netherlands from outdoors the EU are required to take to point out both a unfavorable PCR exams taken 48 hours earlier than their arrival or a unfavorable lateral circulate swab performed 24 hours earlier than coming again.

The check outcomes have to incorporate identify and get in touch with data of the institute, physician or laboratory that performed the check.

Instances of Omicron have already been picked up in South Africa, Botswana, Hong Kong, Israel and Belgium. It’s not but recognized whether or not the variant arrived within the Netherlands yesterday however Dutch authorities are sequencing passengers’ exams. There are additionally suspected particular person instances being sequenced in Germany, the Czech Republic and Australia

Europe’s first case of the variant was noticed in Belgium yesterday – regardless of the unvaccinated lady who caught it having travelled to Turkey and Egypt, not souther Africa the place the pressure emerged.

The UK confirmed it had sequenced two instances at this time – in Nottingham and Brentford, Essex – which had been each linked to journey in southern Africa.

And Germany and the Czech Republic each confirmed suspected instances at this time. Germany’s preliminary sequencing suggests a traveler from South Africa was carrying the virus with a number of mutations shared by Omicron. Officers are awaiting full sequencing later at this time.

And Australian authorities – who additionally banned journey to 9 international locations within the area – worry the variant could have already entered the nation.

South Africa recorded 2,828 new Covid instances yesterday, greater than double the 1,374 recorded final Thursday, however an infection ranges have but to skyrocket within the nation and no hospitalisations with the brand new variant have occurred to date.

And Professor Sir Andrew Pollard, one of many Oxford scientists behind the AstraZeneca vaccine, at this time expressed cautious optimism that current vaccines may very well be efficient at stopping critical illness from the variant. The pressure makes vaccines no less than 40 per cent much less efficient in opposition to transmission, based on the UK Well being and Safety Company.

The US has joined the rising record of nations to shut their borders, with President Joe Biden saying the pandemic won’t finish till world vaccinations are in place. New York governor Kathy Hochul yesterday declared a state of emergency as Covid transmission reached charges not seen since April 2020.

Omicron is ‘NOT a catastrophe’, says SAGE knowledgeable who accuses different scientists of ‘vastly overstating the scenario’ as a result of vaccines will shield in opposition to extreme illness 

The brand new Covid variant is ‘not a catastrophe’ and a few folks could also be ‘vastly overstating the scenario’, based on a Sage adviser.

Final night time the World Well being Organisation branded the so-called ‘Omicron’ mutation a ‘variant of concern’ as international locations together with Britain and the US moved to close their borders to 6 international locations from southern Africa, the realm of suspected origin.

The variant’s sudden look this week sparked panic in Whitehall circles, with Downing Road’s scientists warning that it may very well be vaccine-resistant and Well being Secretary Sajid Javid threatening to reimpose lockdown if essential.

In a rush to restrict the unfold, the EU suspended all flights to southern Africa after the primary case was confirmed in Europe. Britain had already put six nations on the journey ‘pink record’ – and was poised so as to add two extra final night time.

However microbiologist Professor Calum Semple at this time urged calm, insisting that vaccines are ‘nonetheless prone to shield you from extreme illness’.

The Sage adviser informed BBC Breakfast that he supported new journey restrictions on South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini and Zimbabwe, however added: ‘This isn’t a catastrophe, and the headlines from a few of my colleagues saying ‘that is horrendous’ I believe are vastly overstating the scenario.

‘Immunity from the vaccination remains to be prone to shield you from extreme illness. 

‘You may get a snuffle or a headache or a dirty chilly however your probability of coming into hospital or intensive care or sadly dying are tremendously diminished by the vaccine and nonetheless might be going into the long run.’

Professor Semple mentioned that whereas it is probably not doable to cease the variant coming to the UK, it’s nonetheless necessary to delay its arrival.

‘Should you can sluggish the virus coming into your nation it offers you extra time to your booster marketing campaign to get forward of it,’ he went on. ‘It additionally offers the scientists longer to know extra concerning the virus in case there may be something we actually ought to be worrying about.’

Requested what different measures he thought had been advisable, Prof Semple mentioned he was in favour of obligatory facemasks in outlets and on public transport, and handwashing.

Professor Sir Andrew Pollard, the director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, mentioned ‘this can be very unlikely {that a} reboot of a pandemic in a vaccinated inhabitants like we noticed final 12 months goes to occur’. Chatting with Radio 4’s Right now programme, he additionally insisted that vaccines may very well be efficient at stopping critical illness from the Omicron variant. 

‘That tells you that regardless of these mutations current in different variants, the vaccines have continued to forestall critical illness as we have moved by way of Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta,’ he informed the programme.

‘A minimum of from a speculative standpoint, now we have some optimism that the vaccine ought to nonetheless work in opposition to a brand new variant for critical illness however actually we have to wait a number of weeks to have that confirmed. It is extraordinarily unlikely {that a} reboot of a pandemic in a vaccinated inhabitants like we noticed final 12 months goes to occur.’

This week, Mr Javid informed MPs within the Commons that the Authorities ‘will not hesitate to behave’ if additional restrictions are essential.

‘One of many classes of this pandemic has been that we should transfer rapidly, and on the earliest doable second,’ the Well being Secretary mentioned. ‘We’re heading into winter and our booster programme remains to be ongoing, so we should act with warning.’

Pressed on whether or not the Authorities may implement its Plan B for winter, Mr Javid mentioned the present guidelines ‘stay the insurance policies that I believe we’d like right now’.

Revealed: As much as FIFTY direct flights from South Africa arrived in UK after Omicron was first detected- as Dutch discover 10% of arrivals from Johannesburg have Covid

Almost 50 direct flights from South Africa have arrived within the UK because the new Covid variant was first detected, MailOnline can reveal.

The ‘monster’ Omicron pressure was first detected by well being officers in Botswana on November 11 earlier than spreading throughout the area after which leapfrogging to Europe and the Far East.

All flights from South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Namibia had been banned by Well being Secretary Sajid Javid yesterday amid rising worldwide panic concerning the pressure, which scientists consider is extra transmissible and has an elevated danger of reinfection.

However between November 11 and November 26, there have been 48 direct flights from Cape City and Johannesburg to London Heathrow.

Throughout this era, there have been two British Airways flights and one Virgin Atlantic flight per day, an evaluation by MailOnline has discovered. If every aircraft carried 300 passengers, that might imply there have been 14,400 arrivals from South Africa since Omicron was first detected.

Between November 11 and November 26, there were 48 direct flights from Cape Town and Johannesburg to London Heathrow. During this period, there were two British Airways flights and one Virgin Atlantic flight per day. If each plane carried 300 passengers, that could mean there have been 14,400 arrivals from South Africa since Omicron was first detected

Between November 11 and November 26, there have been 48 direct flights from Cape City and Johannesburg to London Heathrow. Throughout this era, there have been two British Airways flights and one Virgin Atlantic flight per day. If every aircraft carried 300 passengers, that might imply there have been 14,400 arrivals from South Africa since Omicron was first detected

Was new Covid variant named Omicron to keep away from angering Beijing? WHO selected to skip TWO letters of Greek alphabet to keep away from ‘Xi’ which has written similarity to Chinese language president Xi Jinping

The connection between China and the World Well being Organisation has come below renewed scrutiny after the UN physique appeared to skip over the Greek letter ‘Xi’ and name the brand new Covid variant ‘Omicron’ as an alternative.

Final night time the WHO sparked criticism from China hawks after it named the mutation ‘Omicron’ as an alternative of ‘Nu’ or ‘Xi’.

The UN physique has been utilizing Greek letters equivalent to ‘Alpha’, ‘Beta’ and ‘Delta’ to explain the variants, saying on its web site it will ‘be simpler and extra sensible to be mentioned by non-scientific audiences’.

Nevertheless, its choice to call the variant from southern Africa ‘Omicron’ has sparked hypothesis that the WHO intentionally passed over ‘Xi’ to keep away from angering the President of China, Xi Jinping.

President Xi is alleged to have significant influence over WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, a former Ethiopian minister whose country has been a major recipient of Chinese investment

President Xi is alleged to have vital affect over WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, a former Ethiopian minister whose nation has been a significant recipient of Chinese language funding

President Xi is alleged to have vital affect over WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, a former Ethiopian minister whose nation has been a significant recipient of Chinese language funding.

Tedros has been accused of utilizing his function to make additional appointments that had been preferable to Beijing, together with making Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe a goodwill ambassador.

The Chinese language authorities has been accused of utilizing an ‘aggressive’ affect marketing campaign on the WHO’s response to the preliminary Covid outbreak which led to it lacking its probability to cease the pandemic. Additionally it is alleged that the UN physique’s independence was eroded previous to the worldwide unfold of the virus in early 2020.

Donald Trump Jr wrote on Twitter: ‘So far as I am involved the unique will at all times be the Xi variant.’



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