Covid Omicron news – live: 120,821 new cases and 379 deaths as Scotland lifts restrictions on major outdoor events

Boris Johnson got ‘big calls right’ about Covid, says Michael Gove

The UK has announced 120,821 new Covid cases and 379 deaths for the latest 24-hour reporting period.

The number of new cases has been steadily declining since January 4, when 218,376 cases were reported.

However, deaths have increased. The most recent seven-day average for Covid-related deaths – on January 10 – was 191.

The weekly average death toll has risen steadily since the seven-day average of 85 was reported on Dec. 28.

Meanwhile, Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that restrictions on outdoor events will be lifted from Monday, but restrictions on indoor table service in the hospitality industry and social distancing in public places will remain until at least January 24.

The 500-person cap at major outdoor events will be removed to allow football and rugby fans in the country to return to matches in full.

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Three million Britons took sick leave in the first week of January

While Omicron wreaked havoc, at least three million Britons had to miss work in the first week of this year in January, according to a report by Bloomberg News.

The highly transmissible variant of the coronavirus has led to a sharp increase in the number of people missing from work at a time when the number of cases is high and has not yet been reached, the report said.

According to GoodShape’s tracker of work-related illness and well-being from UK employers, employee absenteeism rose sharply by 18 percent to an estimated 1.6 million between 3 and 9 January.

At least 3.1 million Britons were affected in the past week, even as the year kicked off on the weekend and the first working Monday was January 3, estimates GoodShape.

The report added that workers’ leaves mark the impact of Omicron-related surge on the UK economy.

The absence cost the UK £1.3 billion, GoodShape’s calculation found using data from official population and wage statistics to extrapolate nationwide figures, Bloomberg reported.

Arpan RaiJanuary 12, 2022 06:42

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China tests 14 million inhabitants of Tianjin

All 14 million residents of the Chinese city of Tianjin will undergo a second round of Covid-19 testing, authorities said, after 97 new cases of the Omicron variant were discovered.

The latest cluster of Covid infections emerged during a first round of screenings this weekend.

Residents have been asked to stay where they are until the results of all nucleic acid tests are released.

The first infection in Tianjin was diagnosed on Saturday, with barely a month left before the Winter Olympics on February 4. The city is an hour’s drive from Beijing, where the global sporting event will take place.

Nearly 12 million tests have been conducted so far, with 7.8 million samples returned, officials said.

All those who tested positive in the preliminary round of the test were found to be infected with the Omicron variant, officials of Tianjin’s Prevention and Control Bureau said.

Officials have yet to track down the source of the latest outbreak amid fears that many are unknowingly spreading the strain as they remain asymptomatic.

Arpan RaiJanuary 12, 2022 06:27

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Covid deaths drove Rolls-Royce to record car sales: ‘Life is too short’

The chief executive of luxury car maker Rolls-Royce has said the number of deaths from Covid last year pushed car sales to an all-time high after the super-rich showed a ‘life can be short’ mentality in the face of the ongoing pandemic.

As the pandemic sent these people back in and away from luxury travel, they had more money to spend on the “nice, beautiful things in the world,” Rolls Royce CEO Torsten Muller-Otvos said according to a report.

“Many people also witnessed in their community that people died from Covid and that made them think that life can be short and it is better to live now than put it off until a later date,” said Mr Muller- Otvos, explaining how people splash their money on luxury items.

This in turn made for a “phenomenal year” for Rolls-Royce.

At least 5,586 Rolls Royce cars were purchased last year, according to BMW company data. This is an increase of nearly 50 percent (49 percent) and higher than at any time in the brand’s 11-year history.

This is “very thanks to Covid that the entire luxury business is booming worldwide,” said Mr Muller-Otvos.

Laurie Churchman reports on this here

Arpan RaiJanuary 12, 2022 05:32

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Covid loses 90 percent of its ability to infect in the air within 20 minutes

Within 2 minutes of being airborne, the coronavirus loses at least 90 percent of its ability to infect us, according to a new study that simulates how the virus survives in exhaled air.

Most of the power loss occurs within the first five minutes, the study said.

The study also highlighted the importance of short-range Covid transmission. It considered physical distancing and wearing masks as one of the most effective ways to prevent infection.

A smaller impact was noted by ventilation, although it was still worth it, according to the study.

The study’s lead author, Professor Jonathan Reid, said: the guard: “People are focused on poorly ventilated areas and thinking about air transfer across meters or across a room. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, but I think the biggest risk of exposure is still when you’re close to someone.

“If you go further away, not only is the aerosol diluted, but there is less contagious virus because the virus has lost its contagiousness. [as a result of time]”, says Prof. Reid, director of the Aerosol Research Center at the University of Bristol.

Arpan RaiJanuary 12, 2022 04:58

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WHO warns against repeated boosters of original Covid vaccines

The World Health Organization has said repeating booster doses of first-generation Covid-19 vaccines is not a viable strategy to combat emerging coronavirus variants.

“A vaccination strategy based on repeated booster doses of the original vaccine composition is unlikely to be appropriate or sustainable,” the WHO Technical Advisory Group on Covid-19 Vaccine Composition (TAG-Co-VAC) said Tuesday.

According to the WHO expert panel that assesses the performance of Covid vaccines, providing new shots of the existing vaccines simply wasn’t the best way to fight the pandemic.

The WHO has also been looking for new Covid vaccines that could provide better protection against transmission.

It underlined that the vaccines are “based on strains that are genetically and antigenically close to the circulating SARS-CoV-2 variant(s)” in a statement.

Preliminary data showed that the existing vaccines were less effective in preventing symptomatic Covid disease in people who had contracted the latest coronavirus variant Omicron.

However, it is more likely that protection against serious diseases, for which the vaccines were specifically intended, will be preserved.

The panel asked brands to develop vaccines that not only protect people from becoming seriously ill, but also better prevent infection and transmission.

Arpan RaiJanuary 12, 2022 04:29

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Unvaccinated adults are taxed in Canadian Quebec

Canada’s second most populous province, Quebec, will pay adults who refuse to receive the Covid-19 vaccine a “health fee” as pressure on health care infrastructure increases due to hospitalizations.

The proposal, and its details pending, will not apply to those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons.

Recent trends show that unvaccinated people are responsible for large hospitalizations in countries affected by the Omicron-induced wave.

Unvaccinated people are a financial burden on others, Prime Minister Francois Lagault said at a briefing on Tuesday. Mr Lagault added that the provincial Treasury Department sets a “significant” amount that unvaccinated residents would have to pay.

The amount would be no less than C$100 (£58), the Prime Minister said.

A sweeping tax on unvaccinated adults is a rare and controversial move, sparking debate over individual rights.

Among the milder restrictions worldwide, governments have imposed exercise restrictions on unvaccinated people.

Arpan RaiJanuary 12, 2022 03:59

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Record deaths from Covid in Australia New South Wales

New South Wales, Australia’s most populous state, saw Wednesday its deadliest day since the pandemic began, after at least 21 deaths from Covid were recorded.

The state also made it mandatory for people to report the results of rapid antigen tests.

Residents who fail to register positive rapid antigen tests could face a fine of up to AU$1,000 (£528) starting next week, Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet said.

This strict measure coincides with the highest-ever rise in cases in the Australian state on Wednesday after 34,759 infections were registered in a 24-hour space. This concerns 2,242 hospital admissions and at least 175 patients in intensive care.

The 21 deaths recorded on Wednesday broke the previous day’s high of 18, official data shows.

On Tuesday, Australia as a whole registered 66,825 new cases of Covid, of which nearly 100 are on ventilators, official government data shows.

Arpan RaiJanuary 12, 2022 03:25 AM

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MEPs vote to recognize pandemic pressure on businesses

Calls for the government to acknowledge the pressures businesses have faced during the pandemic have been voted on by the Commons.

MPs voted 219 for, none against, an opposition motion tabled by Labor to “recognize that businesses are under pressure after a difficult Christmas period and two years of disruption during the Covid-19 outbreak”.

The non-binding motion included Labor’s call to reform corporate rates, the tax paid by businesses.

Lamiat SabinJanuary 11, 2022 19:50

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Police handed out more than 800 fines in week No. 10 party held

Police handed out more than 800 fines to people accused of violating Covid laws during the week of Downing Street’s “bring your own booze” garden party on May 20, 2020.

Lamiat SabinJanuary 11, 2022 19:25

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Nurse in Italy arrested and charged with falsifying vaccines

A man has been arrested in Italy and charged with falsifying giving Covid vaccines to at least 45 people in his work as a nurse.

It is alleged that he falsified the vaccinations so that the “patients” could fraudulently obtain a health pass without actually being stung.

He is accused of throwing away the vaccines and putting bandages on the people so that no one would suspect the scam, whereby he received cash.

Police in Ancona, on Italy’s east coast, have also placed four alleged accomplices – accused of buying the anti-vaccine customers – under house arrest.

The 45 people who allegedly received the passes are under investigation and are required to report to the police daily.

Italy has been cracking down on the unvaccinated, requiring proof of vaccination or a recent Covid recovery to access a wide range of leisure activities and services such as public transport.

Italy today reported a record 220,532 new Covid cases and 294 deaths.

Lamiat SabinJanuary 11, 2022 19:05

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