MERS Coronavirus warning

Dutch are now saying that, of the 61 positive cases on the two flights from S Africa, only 13 are the Omicron strain. Also that all had antigen tests before flying.

If that's true, either the antigen tests aren't very good at picking up any strain or there were a load of fake certificates and tests among the 600 on both flights.
see my #23 683...
 
Ramaphosa dodging lockdowns or any additional restrictions in his speech, just exhorting the unvaxed to go get it done. Must have dawned on them that iron control is one thing but it leaves very little to pilfer if the economy is down the gurgler and hanging on with its toenails.
 
Ramaphosa dodging lockdowns or any additional restrictions in his speech, just exhorting the unvaxed to go get it done. Must have dawned on them that iron control is one thing but it leaves very little to pilfer if the economy is down the gurgler and hanging on with its toenails.
an internal travel ban would have stuffed the economy in its hoop, and led to absolute anarchy on the roads.
Tell Soweto / Khatelitsha they cannot 'go home' for the Chrimbo period...
 
They likely think they've dodged riots and looting over the festive season, but it's become a bit of a habit I think, and all that free stuff in a depressed economy is just so tempting.

Call me a cynic, but reality tempered with experience has made me so. I don't think the usual suspects will sit still for another New Year shit circus locked down.
 
Here is the COVID-19 summary for Sunday.
Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Sunday

The WHO asked countries not to place a travel ban on Southern Africa. The WHO have taken a fairly consistent position on this with different countries throughout the pandemic, but many countries do not agree with this.
"Travel restrictions may play a role in slightly reducing the spread of COVID-19 but place a heavy burden on lives and livelihoods," Moeti said in a statement. "If restrictions are implemented, they should not be unnecessarily invasive or intrusive, and should be scientifically based, according to the International Health Regulations, which is a legally binding instrument of international law recognized by over 190 nations."
In other stories the WHO have said that they are concerned that if countries are subjected to travel bans when they report the presence of new variants many may either stop looking for them or cover up the information.


Israel have banned all foreigners from entry. Morocco have halted all incoming flights.
Israel decided to bar entry to foreigners, and Morocco said it would suspend all incoming flights for two weeks starting Monday — among the most drastic of the many travel curbs being imposed as nations scrambled to slow the variant's spread. Scientists in several places — from Hong Kong to Europe — have confirmed its presence.

The Netherlands reported 13 cases of omicron. Australia reported 2.
The Netherlands reported 13 omicron cases on Sunday, and Australia found two.

Canada reported 2 cases of omicron in people who had arrived from Nigeria on the 23rd of November.
"Today, the province of Ontario has confirmed two cases of the omicron variant of COVID-19 in Ottawa, both of which were reported in individuals with recent travel from Nigeria. Ottawa Public Health is conducting case and contact management and the patients are in isolation," the statement said.

There is a more detailed story on omicron travel bans here:
Travel curbs aimed at omicron variant tighten across the world

Anti-vaxxers protested in Prague. Protest signs showed themes such as syringes with a circle and stroke over them.
In Europe, thousands rallied in the Czech capital of Prague on Sunday to protest the government's restrictive measures to tackle a record surge of coronavirus infections.

In Ghana, vaccination will become mandatory for all public employees and health workers.
In Africa, Ghana will ramp up its inoculation campaign next month and make the vaccine mandatory for targeted groups, including all public-sector and health workers, beginning Jan. 22.

In Columbia, the laws covering pandemic state of emergency were extended until the 29th of February.
In the Americas, Colombia will extend its health state of emergency until Feb. 28 due to the emergence of omicron, its president said.

In Australia, police will charge a 31 year old woman with setting fire to a quarantine hotel where she was staying with her 2 children.
In the Asia-Pacific region, Australian police said they expect to charge a 31-year-old woman with arson after she allegedly set fire to the COVID-19 quarantine hotel where she and her two children were staying.
 
The following is an interesting story on the methods used to achieve a relatively high vaccination rate (86 per cent) among the large South Asian minorities in a city in the Toronto region.
How Brampton went from a COVID-19 hotspot to one of Canada's most vaccinated communities

The short version is they got various South Asian community groups together and they worked tirelessly contacting people in their own languages (Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu, etc.) and getting them organized to get jabbed. They worked with local media to distribute information and to reassure people that the vaccines were necessary.

Overall it is a good example of the sort of work which can be necessary to achieve the desired goal, and how it is important to work with community groups and not expect public health officials to do everything themselves.
 
The Botswana Dr that initially reported the variant, said it's unusual but mild.

Que the friggin meltdown & scaremongering.
What often happens, over time, is that as viruses mutate they become less dangerous but more infectious*. It is a simple survival mechanism, the virus can't continue if it kills all of its hosts!

Now this is really the best that we can hope for, as it isn't going away, ever, As with the flu virus, we will, almost certainly, need to get immunised every year and the vaccines will evolve with the virus.

* 2 notable exceptions are Ebola and West Nile viruses where certain mutations have caused them to be more deadly so it is not a 100% given that this will happen, at least not in a linear fashion.
 
What often happens, over time, is that as viruses mutate they become less dangerous but more infectious*. It is a simple survival mechanism, the virus can't continue if it kills all of its hosts!

Now this is really the best that we can hope for, as it isn't going away, ever, As with the flu virus, we will, almost certainly, need to get immunised every year and the vaccines will evolve with the virus.

* 2 notable exceptions are Ebola and West Nile viruses where certain mutations have caused them to be more deadly so it is not a 100% given that this will happen, at least not in a linear fashion.
A while ago an epidemiologist in Canada was asked about this rule of thumb that diseases become less deadly over time. He replied that this was a general observation, not a hard fast rule.

The idea is based on the observation that if a disease kills a high percentage of its victims quickly it won't spread very far because the people who could spread it will be dead.

However, if disease variants become less deadly, then infected people will survive longer and the disease will spread more widely and the less deadly variants will out compete the more deadly ones.

When we had SARS in Canada it killed something like 30 per cent of the people it infected and even the survivors became seriously ill. You knew when and where there was an outbreak and they were able to stop its spread through contact tracing.

COVID-19 has been less deadly on a per case basis than SARS, but has killed far more people in Canada because it has infected so many more.

However, since COVID-19 started out with a relatively low fatality rate compared to SARS it could become significantly more deadly that it is now while still not affecting its ability to spread.

I'm not making any judgments about whether omicron is more deadly, less deadly, more infectious, less infectious; we really just don't know at this time. The beta variant from South Africa had people worried for a while but it turned out to not be a big deal. We will simply have to wait for more information to emerge.
 
Of the 6 cases of Omicron reported in Glasgow , it has need reported that a percentage of them have no travel history. So this variant is already in the community.


I know it's only 6, but hopefully this is fitting the pattern with the other anecdotal data doing the rounds:

"Those affected are isolating but none are in hospital."
 
Paywall but worth a read. That said it's no surprise at all that BBC still favours the opinions of a CPGB member on a China style lock down. How she was allowed to be a member of both official and unofficial SAGE while being fundamentally opposed to Western democratic values is a question to which I've yet to find an answer.

The Left love lockdowns — and few more so than the longtime communist who’s one of the BBC’s favourite ‘experts’​

DOMINIC LAWSON
NOVEMBER 29, 2021

The Left love lockdowns — and few more so than the longtime communist who’s one of the BBC’s favourite ‘experts’
 
First case of the omicron variant has been found in Spain. A traveller from S Africa admitted to the Gregorio Maranon hospital in Madrid.

One Spaniard and his Portuguese girlfriend have been arrested in the Netherlands after fleeing from quarantine with the variant and booking flights to Spain. They'd actually got on board the plane before being removed and are now in custody. Leaving quarantine in the Netherlands is considered a crime.

In our Torrevieja health authority area, which includes 10 municipalities, there are 18% of adults not vaccinated. This is put down to the high number of foreigners living in the area and is 10% more than the national average. Cases in this area are now at 200 per 100,000 compared to the neighbouring health area of Orihuela which is 25 per 100,000.
 
First case of the omicron variant has been found in Spain. A traveller from S Africa admitted to the Gregorio Maranon hospital in Madrid.

One Spaniard and his Portuguese girlfriend have been arrested in the Netherlands after fleeing from quarantine with the variant and booking flights to Spain
. They'd actually got on board the plane before being removed and are now in custody. Leaving quarantine in the Netherlands is considered a crime.

In our Torrevieja health authority area, which includes 10 municipalities, there are 18% of adults not vaccinated. This is put down to the high number of foreigners living in the area and is 10% more than the national average. Cases in this area are now at 200 per 100,000 compared to the neighbouring health area of Orihuela which is 25 per 100,000.
I'd wondered about that, so thank you.
Assumption this side was it was a) a bunch of tourists on a bus tour or b) a bunch of local chaps with dodgy vax certificates
 
I'd wondered about that, so thank you.
Assumption this side was it was a) a bunch of tourists on a bus tour or b) a bunch of local chaps with dodgy vax certificates
From El Mundo
"
The Dutch gendarmerie detained a Spanish citizen and a Portuguese woman at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport when they tried to flee the country aboard a plane bound for Spain, after escaping from the hotel where they were quarantined with the other travelers who arrived from South Africa with 13 contagions of the omicron variant.

A spokesman for the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee explained to Efe on Monday that the gendarmerie received yesterday "information stating that two people had left the hotel where they were serving quarantine near Schiphol and that they had the intention of leaving the country, so a investigation to locate them "before they managed to leave the Netherlands.

The couple, a 30-year-old man and a 28-year-old woman, had bought two plane tickets for a flight that left yesterday Sunday late in the afternoon to Barcelona and had even managed to board, passing all the previous controls "apparently" with your covid pass that collects that you are both fully vaccinated.

"They were trying to leave the Netherlands on a plane. The boarding process was already finished, so we had to get inside the plane, take them out of detention and hand them over to the health authorities , who put them at the disposal of the Prosecutor's Office to decide how to will proceed from now on, "the spokesman explained.

The Prosecutor's Office could present throughout this Monday the charges that will be imputed to the couple for "violating the mandatory quarantine", which in the Netherlands is considered a "crime" and can carry from fines to imprisonment, depending on the charged charges, which could include high risk of contagion from others.

The couple are now isolated in another hotel, although they are officially "detained for health reasons," the spokesman said."
 
First case of the omicron variant has been found in Spain. A traveller from S Africa admitted to the Gregorio Maranon hospital in Madrid.
well, that kinda dashes any hopes that Omicron is mild and won’t result in hospitalisations…
 
Paywall but worth a read. That said it's no surprise at all that BBC still favours the opinions of a CPGB member on a China style lock down. How she was allowed to be a member of both official and unofficial SAGE while being fundamentally opposed to Western democratic values is a question to which I've yet to find an answer.

The Left love lockdowns — and few more so than the longtime communist who’s one of the BBC’s favourite ‘experts’​

DOMINIC LAWSON
NOVEMBER 29, 2021

The Left love lockdowns — and few more so than the longtime communist who’s one of the BBC’s favourite ‘experts’
Paywall free version
 
Portugal reports that Belenenses FC, a Lisbon football club, has 13 probable cases of the Omicron variant.
One player, Cafu Phete (no, I'm not making these names up) returned from playing two games for the S Africa national team at the weekend.

In addition to the 13 footballers, the coach, his assistant and two other members of the coaching team tested positive. They say it shows the cases are "related" to the Omicron virus but the samples have been sent for sequencing to confirm if that is so.

All have now been quarantined.

And two travellers from S Africa tested positive on arrival at Barcelona airport from Germany. They again suspect Omicron and tests are being carried out.

Seems like anyone with any S African connections will now be "Omicron" even though it's not confirmed.
 
Portugal reports that Belenenses FC, a Lisbon football club, has 13 probable cases of the Omicron variant.
One player, Cafu Phete (no, I'm not making these names up) returned from playing two games for the S Africa national team at the weekend.

In addition to the 13 footballers, the coach, his assistant and two other members of the coaching team tested positive. They say it shows the cases are "related" to the Omicron virus but the samples have been sent for sequencing to confirm if that is so.

All have now been quarantined.

And two travellers from S Africa tested positive on arrival at Barcelona airport from Germany. They again suspect Omicron and tests are being carried out.

Seems like anyone with any S African connections will now be "Omicron" even though it's not confirmed.
 
Here is the COVID-19 summary for Monday.
Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Monday

Canada have discovered several more cases of omicron, including 2 more in Ottawa and another in Quebec City. The case in Quebec city involves someone who had recently returned from Nigeria. Two additional possible cases are being investigated in Hamilton.
Quebec has confirmed one case of the new omicron COVID-19 variant, while two more cases have been confirmed in Ottawa, bringing the total detected in the city to four.

The UK will extend boosters to every age 18 or older.
In Europe, Britain reacted to concerns about the omicron variant by expanding its COVID-19 booster program to everyone 18 and older, making millions more people eligible. Up until now, booster shots were available only to those 40 and over and people particularly vulnerable to the virus. The U.K. has reported about a dozen omicron cases.

Spain reported a case of omicron in a traveller returning from South Africa via Amsterdam.
Spain on Monday became one of the latest countries to report its first confirmed omicron case, detected in a traveller who returned Sunday from South Africa after making a stopover in Amsterdam.

In South Africa, one doctor has said that patients so far appear to be showing relatively mild symptoms, but a South African health expert said there wasn't enough data yet to be drawing any conclusions.
In Africa on Sunday, a South African doctor who was one of the first to suspect the presence of a new variant said omicron appeared so far to be producing mild symptoms.

However, Abdool Karim, a professor at South Africa's University of KwaZulu-Natal and Columbia University in the United States, said it was too early to draw firm conclusions, because doctors can only comment on patients who they treat.

"In terms of clinical presentation, there's not enough data yet," he said.

The Philippines plan to try to vaccinate 9 million people in 3 days.
In the Asia-Pacific region, the Philippines on Monday launched an ambitious drive to vaccinate nine million people against COVID-19 in three days, deploying security forces and thousands of volunteers in a program made urgent by the threats of the omicron variant. Three million daily vaccinations would be nearly quadruple the national average of 829,000 during November.

The Singapore - Malaysia border has re-opened after being closed for nearly 2 years.
Meanwhile, Singapore and Malaysia reopened one of the world's busiest land borders on Monday, allowing vaccinated travellers to cross after nearly two years of remaining shut due to the pandemic.

OPEC will postpone their upcoming meeting while they look into the effects that omicron might have on oil demand and prices.
In the Middle East, OPEC and its allies have postponed technical meetings to later this week, giving themselves more time to assess the impact of the new omicron coronavirus variant on oil demand and prices, according to OPEC+ sources and documents.

G7 health ministers met over video to discuss closer cooperation with respect to pandemic monitoring and preparedness. They also backed WHO proposals for an international pathogen surveillance network.
G7 health ministers agree to closely monitor omicron variant after virtual meeting
The G7 health ministers met virtually to discuss the new threat, underscoring the importance of ensuring all countries have access to COVID-19 vaccines and the needed supports to get them into arms.

They also expressed strong backing for an international pathogen surveillance network within the WHO, said a joint statement issued after the meeting.

WHO members are discussing an international treaty on pandemic preparedness.
The developments came as countries debated a new global convention on pandemic preparedness and response at a special meeting of the World Health Assembly on Monday.

If member countries agree, the assembly would begin developing what would essentially serve as an international treaty on pandemic readiness.

"Global health security is too important to be left to chance, or goodwill, or shifting geopolitical currents, or the vested interests of companies and shareholders," WHO director Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at the outset of the summit.

"The best way we can address them is with a legally binding agreement between nations: an accord forged from the recognition that we have no future but a common future."

Japan have responded to omicron by closing their borders to foreigners.
Japan joins Israel in banning foreign visitors as omicron coronavirus variant spreads
Japan said on Monday it would close its borders to foreigners, as the world's third-largest economy joined Israel in taking the toughest measures against the new coronavirus variant omicron, which also cast a cloud over Australia's reopening plans.

The omicron variant has so far been found in Australia, Belgium, Botswana, Britain, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy, and the Netherlands as well as South Africa.
Potentially more contagious than prior variants, omicron, first identified in South Africa, has been found in Australia, Belgium, Botswana, Britain, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy, and the Netherlands.

A South African health expert said that it is too early to tell if the omicron variant is any different in terms of the severity of symptoms it produces, but that it did appear to be more contagious and will likely produce a large increase in infections in South Africa in the coming week. He also said that he expects that existing vaccines will continue to be very effective against severe disease from the omicron variant as preventing severe disease is a function of T-cells and it is much harder for a virus to escape from T-cell immunity than from anti-body immunity.
Vaccines should give good protection against Omicron - S.African expert

Professor Salim Abdool Karim, who served as the government’s chief adviser during the initial response to the pandemic, also said it was too early to say whether Omicron led to more severe clinical symptoms than previous variants.

However, he said it did appear more contagious and more likely to infect people with immunity from vaccination or prior infection, and he was expecting it to drive new daily infections in the country above 10,000 before the end of the week, from 2,858 on Sunday.

“Based on what we know and how the other variants of concern have reacted to vaccine immunity, we can expect that we will still see high effectiveness for hospitalization and severe disease, and that protection of the vaccines is likely to remain strong,” Abdool Karim told a news conference.

Preventing severe disease is mainly a function of T-cell immunity, different from the antibody immunity that often blocks infections, “so even if there’s some escape from antibodies it’s very hard to escape T-cell immunity,” he said.
 

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