This article titled “Covid news live: New York state detects five cases of Omicron variant as new US air travel rules loom” was written by Samantha Lock, for theguardian.com on Friday 3rd December 2021 04.24 UTC
Congo’s fully vaccinated just 0.06%
The Democratic Republic of Congo is struggling to vaccinate its population, ranking among the least immunised nations in the world.
In a population of 90 million, a mere 0.16% have received one dose – and this falls to just 0.06% for those who have been fully vaccinated, Agence France Presse reports.
In early March, 1.7 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine, dispatched via the Covax mechanism for poorer countries, arrived in the DRC.
But authorities postponed the start of vaccinations after several European countries suspended vaccination campaigns with AstraZeneca over fears that it caused rare but serious blood clotting.
Rumours flooded social media, claiming that vaccination made people sterile or that Africans were to be used as “guinea pigs” or even killed. The coronavirus was presented as a “white man’s disease” brought into the DRC by travellers.
President Felix Tshisekedi made his suspicions of the AstraZeneca jab widely known.
“I think I was right not to be vaccinated … I had my doubts,” he said, adding that he preferred to wait for other vaccines before taking the plunge.
Many Congolese say they have not been vaccinated “yet” or are waiting to see, but among others, scepticism runs deep.
“They say that vaccines in Europe are not the same as here,” Emmanuel, a 62-year-old police officer, told AFP by way of explanation.
“In my opinion, Covid does not exist,” Fabrice, a 21-year-old architecture student, said, adding he did not even know anyone who has caught it.
India has just released its daily Covid figures.
A total of 9,216 new cases have been reported in the last 24 hours, according to a ministry of health update.
The nation’s active caseload currently stands at 99,976 – the lowest since March 2020.
Here’s a quick rundown of all the key developments that have unfolded over the past few hours.
- California is reporting its second confirmed case of the Omicron variant in as many days.
- Two more US states report the Omicron variant. Hawaii says it detected a case in an unvaccinated Hawaii resident with no recent travel history. New York reported five cases.
- New Zealand’s largest city of Auckland celebrates after emerging from a gruelling 107 days in lockdown.
- South Korea reports another 4,944 cases of Covid-19 and 34 deaths. The figures are a drop on Thursday’s record of more than 5,200 daily infections as concern grows over the sharp rise in patients with severe symptoms.
- South Africa reports another 11,535 new cases and 44 deaths – a significant jump from Wednesday’s 8,561 new cases, up from 4,373 the day before and 2,273 on Monday.
- A continuing outbreak in a Chinese city of Manzhouli on the Russian border has prompted more freight shutdowns as authorities seek to control it. The country reported 96 new Covid cases for 2 December, up from 73 cases a day earlier.
- China will reduce the time needed for approval of travel by US business executives to no more than 10 days.
- Germany is reporting a further 74,352 new daily Covid cases and 390 deaths, according to recently released figures from the Robert Koch Institute.
- Panama and Nepal both join the growing list of countries on Thursday to move to temporarily ban the entry of travellers from eight African countries due to concerns over the spread of the Omicron variant.
Panama has joined the growing list of countries on Thursday to move to temporarily ban the entry of travellers from eight African countries due to concerns over the spread of the Omicron variant.
The restriction applies to travellers who have been to South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe or Malawi within a two-week period, Panama’s government said in a statement, Reuters reports.
Panamanians and residents of the country who are vaccinated must present a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of arriving in the country, while those who are not inoculated must place themselves in “preventative quarantine,” the government said.
A continuing outbreak in a Chinese city on the Russian border has prompted more freight shutdowns as authorities seek to control it.
More than 150 cases have been recorded in the city of Manzhouli since 28 November, centred around the freight hub. On Tuesday it reported another 53 locally transmitted cases. On Wednesday the city, in the northern China region of Inner Mongolia, said it would halt cargo loading and unloading and customs transportation and clearance at the highway port of entry.
The city had already closed several cargo yards as a result of the cases, and flights, trains, coaches, taxis and city buses have been suspended. Schools were moved online, and hospitals have been limited to emergency care only.
Authorities had also imposed controls on city exits, temporarily closed markets and cultural, sports, leisure and entertainment establishments, and put limits on weddings, religious gatherings, and restaurants. The more than 300,000 people who live in the city were ordered to get tested.
Nepal will ban the entry of travellers who have been in eight African countries or Hong Kong, to curb the spread of the new Omicron coronavirus variant, a government spokesman said on Friday.
The ban, which goes into effect at midnight on Friday, covers people who have been in or transiting through South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, Malawi and Hong Kong.
Travellers who have been to these countries in the past three weeks will also not be allowed to enter Nepal, and all other international visitors already in transit must spend seven days at their own cost in hotel quarantine, the government said in a statement.
“Nepali nationals are advised against non-essential foreign travel for fear of the new variant,” Home Ministry spokesman Phanindra Pokharel told Reuters.
Germany is reporting a further 74,352 new daily Covid cases and 390 deaths, according to recently released figures from the Robert Koch Institute.
The daily rise brings the cumulative confirmed coronavirus cases in the country to more than six million with 6,051,560 cases.
California is reporting its second confirmed case of the Omicron variant in as many days.
The Los Angeles County public health department says a full vaccinated county resident is self-isolating after apparently contracting the infection during a trip to South Africa last month.
The person’s symptoms are improving without medical care and some people who were in close contact with the traveller have tested negative for the virus and don’t have any symptoms, the department said in a press release.
As global health bodies race to roll out vaccinations, here is a detailed map of how countries across the world compare with vaccination rates.
Auckland, New Zealand, celebrates end of more than 100 day lockdown
Today marked the first day of eased Covid restrictions in New Zealand’s largest city of Auckland, after a gruelling 107 days in lockdown.
The traffic light system, announced by prime minister Jacinda Ardern in late November, ends lockdowns in favour of restrictions on the unvaccinated.
For the vaccinated, much of life opened up at midnight on Thursday: they could once again invite family and friends into their homes, plan a trip to the gym, drink in a bar, sit in a cafe and drink an espresso.
Our New Zealand reporter, Tess McClure, has the full story here.
China will reduce the time needed for approval of travel by US business executives to no more than 10 days, China’s ambassador to the United States, Qin Gang, said on Thursday.
Qin told a dinner hosted by the US-China Business Council that Beijing would also work to make Covid-19 testing more convenient and would allow executives to work during quarantine, Reuters reports.
He repeated Beijing’s call for Washington to abolish additional tariffs imposed on Chinese goods by the administration of former President Donald Trump.
More daily Covid updates out of southeast and east Asia have just dropped.
Thailand has reported another 4,912 cases of Covid-19 and 33 deaths over the past 24 hours.
South Korea reports another 4,944 cases of Covid-19 and 34 deaths. The figures are a drop on Thursday’s record of more than 5,200 daily infections as concern grows over the sharp rise in patients with severe symptoms.
Some Covid numbers out of South Africa have just been released.
Another 11,535 new cases and 44 deaths have been reported.
This is a significant jump from Wednesday’s 8,561 new cases, up from 4,373 the day before and 2,273 on Monday.
The Omicron variant has fuelled a “worrying” surge in coronavirus cases in the country and is rapidly becoming the dominant strain, local health officials have said.
Omicron appears to be reinfecting people at three times the rate of previous strains, experts in South Africa previously said.
Hawaii says it has detected a case of the Omicron variant in an unvaccinated Hawaii resident with no recent travel history, the Associated Press reports.
Hawaii Epidemiologist Dr Sarah Kemble said Thursday that the adult had been infected with Covid-19 a year ago, isn’t currently hospitalised and had “mild-to-moderate” symptoms including headache, body aches and cough.
She wouldn’t identify the patient other to say the person lives on the island of Oahu.
China has reported 96 new confirmed Covid cases for 2 December, up from 73 cases a day earlier, its health authority said on Friday.
Of the new infections, 80 were locally transmitted, according to a statement by the National Health Commission, compared with 53 a day earlier.
China reported 24 new asymptomatic cases, which it classifies separately from confirmed cases, compared with 13 a day earlier.
There were no new deaths, leaving the death toll at 4,636. As of 2 December, mainland China had 98,993 confirmed cases.
Multiple Omicron cases detected in New York
Multiple cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant have been detected in New York, health officials said Thursday, including a man who attended an anime convention in Manhattan in late November and tested positive for the variant when he returned home to Minnesota.
In addition to the conventioneer, health officials said tests showed five other people recently infected with Covid-19 had the variant, the Associated Press reports.
They included a person in the city’s Long Island suburbs who had recently travelled to South Africa, residents of Brooklyn and Queens and another case possibly linked to travel.
“No cause for alarm. We just want to make sure that the public is aware of information when we receive it,” said Governor Kathy Hochul.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the geographic spread of the positive tests suggested the variant was undergoing “community spread” in the city, and wasn’t linked to any one event.
Officials in the city of 8.8 million said they expected it would be only a matter of time before the new variant was reported in the city.
“We should assume there is community spread of the variant in our city,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement.
As comfort over air travel returns, it’s inevitable that new variants like Omicron will spread from country to country and state to state, said professor Danielle Ompad, an epidemiologist at New York University’s School of Global Public Health.
“We shouldn’t panic, but we should be concerned,” she said.
Hi I’m Samantha Lock and welcome to our Friday Covid blog.
I’ll be giving you a rundown of the latest coronavirus updates as they happen.
Let’s start off with the news that multiple cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant have been detected in New York, health officials said late Thursday, including a man who attended an anime convention in Manhattan in late November and tested positive for the variant when he returned home to Minnesota.
Health officials also said tests showed five other people recently infected with Covid-19 had the variant in the city’s Long Island suburbs as well as Brooklyn and Queens, the Associated Press reports.
Governor Kathy Hochul said the cases were “no cause for alarm” as New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the geographic spread of the positive tests suggested the variant was undergoing “community spread” in the city.
- US president Joe Biden announced a new nationwide coronavirus battle plan.
- Scientists believe they may have found the trigger behind the extremely rare blood clot complications stemming from the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine.
- South African officials say the Omicron variant is fuelling an “exponential” rise in Covid cases across the country. The variant was found to account for three-quarters of all the virus genomes sequenced last month.
- Indonesia tightened border curbs, extended quarantine and will limit movement on strategic toll roads, in a preemptive move to limit the spread of the Omicron Covid variant.
- Sweden warned it could impose new restrictions as soon as next week.
- Germany imposes restrictions on unvaccinated and mandatory Covid vaccinations from February, outgoing chancellor, Angela Merkel, announced.
- German health authorities reported the first confirmed case of the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus in the capital Berlin.
- India detected two cases of the new Omicron coronavirus variant in the southern state of Karnataka.
- Finland detected its first case of the Omicron variant in a person who had travelled from Sweden.
- Greece detected its first case of the Omicron coronavirus variant on the island of Crete.
- The European Union’s public health agency predicts the Omicron variant could be responsible for more than half of all Covid infections in Europe within a few months.
- Omicron may cause more Covid reinfections, South African health experts say.
- New US rules requiring international air travellers to obtain a negative Covid-19 test within one day of travel will take effect Monday.
- UK drugs watchdog approved new Covid treatment Xevudy.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010