MERS Coronavirus warning

The WHO have declared the new variant in South Africa to be a "variant of concern", which is the label they give to variants which look serious. The name they have given to it is "omicron".
World Health Organization declares new variant of concern named omicron
The World Health Organization has declared the new coronavirus variant identified in South Africa as a variant of concern and named it omicron.

WHO's technical advisory group on SARS-CoV-2 virus evolution met on Friday to assess the new B.1.1.529 variant's potential risk to public health and decide whether it should be deemed a "variant of concern" or a "variant of interest." Variant of concern is the more serious designation. The delta variant that is dominating infections in Canada and around the world is a variant of concern.

Experts monitor variants of concern (VOCs) closely because they could spread more easily, may cause more severe illness, or because current vaccines may be less effective against them, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

This variant has about double the number of mutations as delta and some of them are associated with resistance to existing vaccines and increased ability to spread. It is still not known however just how serious it is. It also has a mutation previously associated with the alpha variant.
What we know about the new coronavirus variant omicron
This variant has drawn scrutiny because it has more than 30 mutations of the spike protein that viruses use to get into human cells, U.K. health officials say.

That is about double the number of delta, and makes this variant substantially different from the original coronavirus that current COVID vaccines were designed to counteract.

South African scientists say some of the mutations are associated with resistance to neutralizing antibodies and enhanced transmissibility, but others are not well understood, so its full significance is not yet clear.

U.K. Health Security Agency Chief Medical Adviser Dr. Susan Hopkins told BBC radio some mutations had not been seen before, so it was not known how they would interact with the other ones, making it the most complex variant seen so far.

As well as in South Africa, a few cases have so far turned up in Belgium, Hong Kong, Malawi, and Israel.

Countries are limiting travel from South Africa in order to slow down the spread of the omicron variant.
As an alarming new COVID-19 variant emerges, Canada moves to limit travel from southern Africa
More countries announce COVID-19 travel restrictions after omicron variant discovery
Canada, the UK, the EU, and others are banning flights from South Africa and surrounding countries, and the US are increasing restrictions.
The United States will restrict travel from South Africa — where the new mutation was discovered — and neighbouring countries effective Monday, a senior Biden administration official said.

Going further, Canada said it was closing its borders to those countries, following bans on flights announced by Britain, the European Union and others.

Those interested should see the above links for more information on how travel is affected between South Africa and Canada, as there are new testing and quarantine requirements for Canadian citizens returning from South Africa. There were no direct flights between Canada and South Africa before the ban, so this affects people travelling via a third country.

India, Japan, Israel, Turkey, Switzerland and the UAE have also increased travel restrictions.
Several other countries including India, Japan, Israel, Turkey, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates also toughened travel restrictions.


The UK said this new variant was the "most significant variant" discovered so far.
The variant has a spike protein that is dramatically different to the one in the original coronavirus that current vaccines are based on, the U.K. Health Security Agency said, raising fears about how current vaccines will fare.

"As scientists have described, [this is] the most significant variant they've encountered to date," British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told Sky News.

The president of Brazil however seems to be saying that he doesn't intend to do anything. Bolsonaro has already been widely criticized for mismanaging the pandemic in Brazil.
Brazilian health regulator Anvisa recommended that travel be restricted from some African countries, but President Jair Bolsonaro appeared to dismiss such measures.

Health experts seem to think that travel restrictions won't accomplish much however, as the omicron variant is already undoubtedly out of South Africa and circulating elsewhere.
One epidemiologist in Hong Kong said it may be too late to tighten travel restrictions against the latest variant.

"Most likely this virus is already in other places. And so if we shut the door now, it's going to be probably too late," said Ben Cowling of the University of Hong Kong.
 
I notice the latest Nu variant has gotten Sage, Whitehall & scum media in another ferkin frenzy.

I'm also aware that a closed (Tory) whats app group messages discussing bullying people into having boosters.

Bearing in mind, the variant has already been discovered in Belgium & Netherlands doesn't fill me with any confidence.
 
Here is the COVID-19 summary for Friday.
Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Friday

I have already covered the new omicron variant above, so I will skip over that story here except for indirect effects.

The German air force are helping in the transfer of patients around the country, as authorities shuffle patients in between overloaded hospitals. The health minister said that the situation now in Germany is more serious than it has been at any previous point in the pandemic.
In Europe, the German air force will begin assisting the transfer of intensive care patients Friday as the government warned that the situation in the country is more serious than at any point in the pandemic. Citing the sharp rise in cases, Health Minister Spahn said contacts between people need to be sharply reduced to curb the spread of the virus.

"The situation is dramatically serious, more serious than it's been at any point in the pandemic," he told reporters in Berlin.

The EU will reduce restrictions in export of vaccines. Beginning in January they will no longer require producers to request authorization to export outside the EU. This power was used in March when the EU blocked a shipment of vaccine to Australia.
Meanwhile, the European Union said on Friday that it will ease its restrictions on exporting COVID-19 vaccines.

The Commission, the EU's executive arm, said that as of January it will no longer require vaccine producers to request special authorization to export outside the 27-member bloc.

Earlier this year when vaccines were still in short supply, the EU introduced a mechanism to keep some of the jabs it secured from AstraZeneca, the Anglo-Swedish drug company, from being diverted elsewhere. The export control system, aimed at making sure large drug companies would respect their contracts, was used by the EU in March, when a shipment of more than a quarter of a million AstraZeneca vaccines destined for Australia was blocked from leaving.

The booster campaign in the US appears to be going well, but this does not address the problems with people who haven't gotten any jabs yet.
In the Americas, millions of Americans got booster shots at a near-record pace after the Biden administration expanded eligibility last week, but health officials concerned about climbing infections ahead of the winter holiday season urged more to get the additional protection.

India have resumed export of vaccine to COVAX for the first time since April. SII (the largest manufacturer) expect a large increase in supply starting early next year.
In Asia, India restarted exports of vaccines to the global vaccine-sharing network COVAX for the first time since April, and producer Serum Institute of India forecast a substantial increase in supplies from early next year.

Pfizer and Merck will give licenses to companies in Vietnam to make their COVID-19 treatment pills. These are treatments for people already infected as opposed to vaccines.
Meanwhile, drugmakers Pfizer Inc. and MSD, known as Merck & Co Inc. in the United States and Canada, have agreed to give licences to firms in Vietnam to produce COVID-19 treatment pills.

US authorities have said that Merck's COVID-19 treatment for infected patients is effective. However, they are still looking into whether it is safe. This is a pill which is given to sick people to help them recover, as opposed to a vaccine which is given to people to keep them from becoming sick in the first place. Merck's pill has been found to be less effective than previously announced, only 30 per cent with respect to hospitalization and death rather than 50 per cent as originally announced. The safety concerns revolve around whether it will cause cancer and / or birth defects. The pill induces genetic mutations in the virus and there are concerns that it will do the same to human cells. Because of these concerns the pill will not be used on children. The pill is already approved in the UK.
Merck's COVID-19 pill is effective, U.S. regulators say
U.S. federal health regulators say an experimental COVID-19 pill from Merck is effective against the virus, but they will seek input from outside experts on risks of birth defects and other potential problems during pregnancy.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) posted its analysis of the pill ahead of a public meeting next week where academic and other experts will weigh in on its safety and effectiveness. The agency isn't required to follow the group's advice.

The FDA scientists said their review identified several potential risks, including possible toxicity to developing fetuses and birth defects that were identified in studies of the pill in animals.


Following the announcement of the omicron variant, oil prices fell by $10 per barrel and stock markets fall by more than 2 per cent.
More strange days ahead for oil industry following Friday price plunge
Stock markets roiled anew by fears about emerging coronavirus variant

Oil prices ran headlong into pandemic fears yet again, tumbling to levels not seen since September. The North American benchmark oil price, West Texas Intermediate, lost more than $10 US on Friday, or 13 per cent, to trade below $69 US a barrel.

The drop came amid concerns about a new variant of the COVID-19 virus that could dampen both economic growth and fuel demand.
 
I notice the latest Nu variant has gotten Sage, Whitehall & scum media in another ferkin frenzy.

I'm also aware that a closed (Tory) whats app group messages discussing bullying people into having boosters.

Bearing in mind, the variant has already been discovered in Belgium & Netherlands doesn't fill me with any confidence.
They decided to call it "omicron" instead of "nu" to avoid confusion. Although "nu" is apparently pronounced "nee" (cue the Monty Python skit).

Everybody is currently crossing their fingers and hoping that omicron doesn't turn out to be any worse than delta, but at this point nobody wants to take a chance and end up back in lock down for Christmas.

The travel bans will buy time while they study omicron.
 
Cheers Terminal,

Think you are on the ball here, and knowing what health authorities like down that end even SA, doubt anything postive can come out of this,

Cheers
HIV?

But seriously, there is a massive surge here, and it is highly likely we'll be going into a deeper lockdown very soon.
My advice to you and th fmily - stay away.
Even if you get here, it is likely there won't be much to do, as pubs and restaurants and tourist attractions wil be shut.
Best keep tabs on Monday - government is bound to have a meeting tomorrow (Sunday) about it and announce the way forward.

In addition, given the hubris of the local fvckwit population, and the ignoring of regs and rules in recent weeks, it is no wonder cases are soaring.
Very few folk wear masks on the street, and the taxis and buses seem full of unmasked mongs.
So chances of picking up an infection are quite high.
 
More:

If you were hoping to travel anywhere in the country over the festive season, you may have to re-think your plans.
Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla, has hinted that a ban may be imposed on inter-provincial travel as the new Covid-19 variant, Omnicron, continues to spread across SA.
Phaahla said while he was not in a position to confirm the ban, if infections continued to rise, government would have to look at measures to contain the spread.
Speaking during a virtual Q & A session on Friday, the Minister said that whatever was decided would be based on a risk-adjusted approach.
 
No doubt the usual suspects will kick off and loot every grog shop in the area should the booze ban be enforced again.
 
No doubt the usual suspects will kick off and loot every grog shop in the area should the booze ban be enforced again.
Our local grog shop Tops has very sparse shelves. The manager says he is expecting a lockdown, and they took a bath last Chrimbo withy all the stock he never sold.
Now he is running just basic beers and booze, no top-end spirits in stock.
He says he still has cases of champagne from last year...
Reckons if the lockdown kicks in again, they'll probably shut up shop for good.
 
More social grant dependent unemployed to guarantee votes for the cANCer regime. Just what they want. They're incapable of any kind of long term outlook.
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer

Straightforward overview
 

Straightforward overview

I know he has lots of good stuff but I can't watch 27' of him any longer. My attention span on anything like this has significantly decreased over time. So with the greatest respect, and I really do appreciate you posting it here, if you have watched it does he break down how many of the new cases are O strain, and has that caused an increase in deaths/hospitalisations and if so is it broken down into vaccinated/unvaccinated. I know it's cheeky of me but I am getting quite depressed over where this all might head. A simple yes/no will do and I will watch it if "yes". Ta. :)
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
Sorry, I just skimmed the first 15 mins...if I can answer the Q I'll get back to you.
 
The WHO have declared the new variant in South Africa to be a "variant of concern", which is the label they give to variants which look serious. The name they have given to it is "omicron".
World Health Organization declares new variant of concern named omicron


This variant has about double the number of mutations as delta and some of them are associated with resistance to existing vaccines and increased ability to spread. It is still not known however just how serious it is. It also has a mutation previously associated with the alpha variant.
What we know about the new coronavirus variant omicron


As well as in South Africa, a few cases have so far turned up in Belgium, Hong Kong, Malawi, and Israel.

Countries are limiting travel from South Africa in order to slow down the spread of the omicron variant.
As an alarming new COVID-19 variant emerges, Canada moves to limit travel from southern Africa
More countries announce COVID-19 travel restrictions after omicron variant discovery
Canada, the UK, the EU, and others are banning flights from South Africa and surrounding countries, and the US are increasing restrictions.


Those interested should see the above links for more information on how travel is affected between South Africa and Canada, as there are new testing and quarantine requirements for Canadian citizens returning from South Africa. There were no direct flights between Canada and South Africa before the ban, so this affects people travelling via a third country.

India, Japan, Israel, Turkey, Switzerland and the UAE have also increased travel restrictions.



The UK said this new variant was the "most significant variant" discovered so far.


The president of Brazil however seems to be saying that he doesn't intend to do anything. Bolsonaro has already been widely criticized for mismanaging the pandemic in Brazil.


Health experts seem to think that travel restrictions won't accomplish much however, as the omicron variant is already undoubtedly out of South Africa and circulating elsewhere.
1638013803056.png

Omicron Covid variant likely in Netherlands; Recent southern Africa travelers should get tested
 
I notice the latest Nu variant has gotten Sage, Whitehall & scum media in another ferkin frenzy.

I'm also aware that a closed (Tory) whats app group messages discussing bullying people into having boosters.

Bearing in mind, the variant has already been discovered in Belgium & Netherlands doesn't fill me with any confidence.

Got a link for the WhatsApp story?
 
I know he has lots of good stuff but I can't watch 27' of him any longer. My attention span on anything like this has significantly decreased over time. So with the greatest respect, and I really do appreciate you posting it here, if you have watched it does he break down how many of the new cases are O strain, and has that caused an increase in deaths/hospitalisations and if so is it broken down into vaccinated/unvaccinated. I know it's cheeky of me but I am getting quite depressed over where this all might head. A simple yes/no will do and I will watch it if "yes". Ta. :)


I watched it last night.

In short, he criticises the WHO, US etc for being too slow to act - e.g. acting reactively rather than proactively and you can see his genuine frustration because he says we should really be preparing for this to give us time to develop a vaccine etc.

In terms of your questions and from what I recall when I watched this last night:

- No idea how many of current cases are the new variant but SA should be seeing a dip or smoothing out in cases, rather than the exponential increase they are seeing currently due to the fact they are now in Summer. Case numbers in SA are still low, but they are doubling on an almost daily basis I seem to recall he said.

- The disease is able to bypass current immunity because they are finding vaccinated people testing positive for the new variant. However currently no data on if those people are getting hospitalised etc. The reason it can bypass vaccines is because the spike protein has 32 mutations, so potentially it may be a completely different shape and the vaccines target the shape of the spike. Previous infection may still help though as natural immunity will develop for the entire virus rather than a part of it.

- The mutations on another part of the virus (I cannot remember which part) may indicate that transmission is easier - he illustrated this by drawing little needles and saying this is how it sticks to stuff.

- He said it seems to be taking around 12 days for signs for the virus to show from first infection, which is not good.

- No idea if the virus is more deadly, less deadly, or the same. He says one of the good things that could come from this, is if the strain is less deadly, it may help provide the world with natural immunity - although generally when looking at other mutations so far, that has yet to be the case.
 
I watched it last night.

In short, he criticises the WHO, US etc for being too slow to act - e.g. acting reactively rather than proactively and you can see his genuine frustration because he says we should really be preparing for this to give us time to develop a vaccine etc.

In terms of your questions and from what I recall when I watched this last night:

- No idea how many of current cases are the new variant but SA should be seeing a dip in cases, rather than the exponential increase they are seeing currently due to the fact they are now in Summer. Case numbers in SA are still low, but they are doubling on an almost daily basis I seem to recall he said.

- The disease is able to bypass current immunity because they are finding vaccinated people testing positive for the new variant. However currently no data on if those people are getting hospitalised etc.

- He said it seems to be taking around 12 days for signs for the virus to show from first infection, which is not good.

- No idea if the virus is more deadly, less deadly, or the same. He says one of the good things that could come from this, is if the strain is less deadly, it may help provide the world with natural immunity - although generally when looking at other mutations so far, that has yet to be the case.

Nice summary, thank you!
 
I watched it last night.


- No idea how many of current cases are the new variant but SA should be seeing a dip or smoothing out in cases, rather than the exponential increase they are seeing currently due to the fact they are now in Summer. Case numbers in SA are still low, but they are doubling on an almost daily basis I seem to recall he said.
Saffers are idiots, and all the precautions and distancing seems to have gone by the wayside in the past 4 weeks, while government moans about how badly they did in local elections.
Which did not help - long weekend as Monday (voting day) was a holiday, and it was payday weekend, so lots of folk went to rallies etc, or pissed it up and have been doing so ever since.
So the spike is not surprising.
 
Boris has just announced that facemasks are to be made compulsory again in all shops and on public transport in England, but not in hospitality.

Due to two confirmed cases of the Omicron Covid variant.
 

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