Coronavirus live: Covid passes take effect in England; Omicron ‘probably present in most countries’ | World news








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UK transport secretary says he can say ‘with some confidence’ that people will be able to enjoy Christmas this year, despite soaring Omicron cases

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Pfizer set to oust AstraZeneca as top supplier of Covid shots to poor nations

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Covid could cause major shortages across industry, hospitality and healthcare

Soaring Covid cases could cause major shortages across industry, hospitality and healthcare, UK ministers have been told, as rail companies cancelled services and Royal Mail said it was experiencing high staff absences.

According to cabinet sources, Boris Johnson and England’s chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, said at a briefing that rising cases would be likely to affect businesses with mass worker absences. Whitty also told ministers to expect a “significant increase” in hospital admissions.

West End shows have been cancelled because of the surge in suspected Omicron cases, while waste collections, deliveries and schools are all under threat from shortages. No 10 emphasised there had not been “any discussion or any warning about hospitals or clinical settings having to close as a result of this variant”.

Read the full story here.








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New Zealand reaches 90% vaccination milestone








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South Korea sets daily Covid record, brings back restrictions

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Omicron likely to become dominant strain in Australia, experts say

A third booster Covid-19 vaccine dose will be essential to get high protection against symptoms from the Omicron variant and it appears likely the variant will become the dominant strain in Australia, virologists from the Kirby Institute say.

The new data from the Kirby Institute comes as Covid-19 case numbers in New South Wales jumped again on Wednesday to 1,360, 25 of them are the Omicron variant. There are now 89 Omicron cases in NSW.

The researchers also said Covid boosters may be required every six months to protect against the variant.

Virologists from the Kirby Institute presented new data on Wednesday after growing the Omicron variant in a laboratory and testing how it responded to various samples, including from the fully vaccinated, from those who had recovered from the virus but were unvaccinated, and those who had recovered from the virus and also received two vaccine doses.

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Auckland, New Zealand, reopens border








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Africa is ‘breeding ground’ for new variants, WHO warns








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Omicron probably present undetected in most countries, WHO says








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