Leaders fear Britain could see 1 million omicron cases by Christmas
Key moments from Boris Johnson’s Covid announcement
A fourth koronavirus vaccine dose may be needed to boost protection against the new omicron variant, the head of Pfizer has said after initial tests showed the strain may undermine the antibody protection provided by a standard double dose.
Albert Bourla said the company was waiting to see real-world data to determine if additional doses would be required specifically for omicron. That data is expected in a few weeks.
Omicron has now been reported in at least 57 land, according to the World Health Organisation. American officials say most of the cases detected in the US so far have induced a mild form of Covid-19.
I Storbritannia, Boris Johnson announced ‘plan B’ restrictions will be introduced in England from as early as next week, including guidance to work from home and vaccine passports being made mandatory at nightclubs and larger venues.
Sajid Javid, the health secretary, has said he believes there are about 10,000 cases of omicron in the UK, though only 568 have been confirmed so far. He said the figure could hit 1 million before the end of the year.
Full story: Pfizer CEO predicts a fourth shot might be needed in light of omicron variant
The CEO of Pfizer Inc has said that a fourth dose of coronavirus vaccine might be needed for better protection against the omicron variant, as initial studies have shown that it could undermine antibody protection with two doses.
Albert Bourla said the company was waiting to see real-world data to determine whether additional doses would be required specifically for omicron, skriver Stuti Mishra.
“When we see real-world data, [we] will determine if the omicron is well covered by the third dose and for how long. And the second point, I think we will need a fourth dose,” Mr Bourla said on CNBC’s Squawk Box, adding that the data could be expected in the next two weeks.
Company is waiting to see real-world data to decide if additional doses would be needed
ICYMI: True number of UK omicron cases ‘likely to be 10,000,’ says Javid
Health secretary Sajid Javid told MPs there were already 568 bekreftede tilfeller – but that the real number was “probably closer to 10,000”.
And he raised the prospect of more people having to go to hospital and “unsustainable pressure” on the NHS.
The new omicron variant of koronavirus is significantly more transmissible than delta – and more than a million people could be infected with it by the end of the month on its current spread, the health secretary warned.
Jane Dalton rapporter:
Javid raises fresh prospect of ‘unsustainable pressure’ on the NHS as variant ‘more transmissible’
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US omicron cases appear mostly ‘mild’, says CDC chief
Mer enn 40 people in the US have been found to be infected with the omicront variant so far, and more than three-quarters of them had been vaccinated, the chief of the CDC said on Wednesday.
But she said nearly all of them were only mildly ill.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Dr Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the data is very limited and the agency is working on a more detailed analysis of what the new mutant form of the coronavirus might hold for the US.
But “the disease is mild” in almost all of the cases seen so far, hun sa, with reported symptoms mainly cough, congestion and fatigue. One person was hospitalised, but no deaths have been reported, CDC officials said.
Mer enn 40 cases of the omicron variant have been reported in the U.S. så langt, with most of them people who were vaccinated and nearly all of them suffering only mild illness, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday
Pakistan finds first case of omicron
Pakistan has detected its first case of the omicron variant, authorities said on Thursday.
A spokesperson for the southern province of Sindh told Reuters news agency that the infection was found in an unvaccinated patient undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Pakistan’s most populous city of Karachi.
The patient had travelled abroad. Officials refused to disclose the location but confirmed that contact tracing was underway.
ICYMI: ‘Plan B’ restrictions to be enforced in England
The prime minister’s decision to ramp up restrictions — after a meeting of the government’s Covid operations committee — comes in response to concerns over the transmissibility of the omicron variant and spread around the world.
He also announced the mandatory wearing of face masks will be extended to cinemas and theatres after they were reintroduced a fortnight ago for public transport and shops, but exemptions will be included for eating, drinking and exercising.
derimot, in a move that risked sparking confusion with work from home guidance, Mr Johnson reiterated his previous stance that Christmas parties should not be cancelled and urged everyone to “exercise due caution”, including testing before such events.
Ashley Cowburn, our political correspondent explains the new rules:
Government will also extend mandatory mask-wearing for cinemas and theatres
Pfizer CEO predicts a fourth shot might be needed in light of Omicron variant
The CEO of Pfizer Inc has said that a fourth vaccine dose may be needed for better protection against the omicron Covid-19 variant, as initial studies show that it could undermine antibody protection with two doses. Albert Bourla said the company was waiting to see real world data to determine whether additional doses will be required specifically for omicron. “When we see real-world data, [we] will determine if omicron is well covered by the third dose and for how long. And the second point, I think we will need a fourth dose,” Mr Bourla told CNBC, adding that the data could be expected in the next two weeks.
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