Follow live updates here
Work-from-home advice and rules on face coverings in classrooms have ended after Plan B measures to curb the spread of Omicron were axed.
Other measures including the mandatory use of face masks on public transport and in shops and the NHS Covid pass will also end next Thursday.
The government hopes to see the legal requirement for people with coronavírus to self-isolate scrapped when regulations expire on 24 Março.
Health secretary Sajid Javid said we must “learn to live with” Covid – but also urged caution.
He told Sky News: “Covid is not going away, it’s going to be with us for many, many years – perhaps forever – and we have to learn to live with it.
“We do still need of course to remain cautious; prevalence remains high.”
“Asked whether self-isolation rules would be scrapped in March, ele adicionou: “We are not there yet –that’s a few weeks away.
“We’ve said we would review those rules and we would like to see it scrapped by the end of March but that decision will be made closer to the time.”
Work-from-home guidance and face coverings in schools axed
Work-from-home advice and rules on face coverings in classrooms have ended today after the government axed Plan B measures to curb the spread of the Omicron variant of coronavirus.
Other measures including the mandatory use of face masks on public transport and in shops and the NHS Covid pass will end next Thursday.
The government also hopes to see the legal requirement for people with coronavirus to self-isolate scrapped when regulations expire on 24 Março.
Bom dia seja bem vindo a O Independente’s live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’ll be taking over from my colleague to bring you the news and statistics as some Covid rules, including working from home advice, end today.
India records highest one-day spike in over eight months
India on Thursday registered 317,532 new coronavirus infections, the highest in over eight months since the country was battered by the Delta variant.
There has been a 3.63 per cent increase in Omicron cases with the current tally being at 9,287 as of Thursday.
The country’s Covid-19 death toll rose to 487,693 com 491 fresh fatalities, the health ministry said.
Ardern rules out new lockdown for New Zealand
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Thursday said that New Zealand will not go into lockdown in the event of an Omicron outbreak.
She said that an outbreak was inevitable and the Pacific nation would tighten restrictions as soon as the first case of Omicron gets detected.
“This stage of the pandemic is different to what we have dealt with before. Omicron is more transmissible. That is going to make it harder to keep it out, but it will also make it more challenging to control once it arrives,” Ms Ardern said.
The prime minister stressed that within 24 para 48 hours of Omicron being detected in the community, the nation would move to its “red” level for Covid restrictions.
KN95 and N95 masks: Which one should one opt for?
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reportedly considering recommending that those who can, should wear a higher standard of mask when in public – specifically the KN95 and N95 masks.
Both N95 and KN95 masks work by fitting tightly to the face and filtering air using multiple layers of material designed to trap extremely small particles, something that common cloth or disposable masks cannot do nearly as reliably.
While N95 respirator masks are the recommended high-standard face covering for healthcare workers, they can feel harder to breathe through than the standard ones, and are more expensive.KN95s, Enquanto isso, are cheaper and more widely available.
Andrew Naughtie has more.
Can you reuse N95 masks?
FDA could authorise Covid vaccine for kids under 5 next month
Anthony Fauci on Wednesday said that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) could approve Pfizer and BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine for children below the age of five in the next month.
“They’re determining now that for children within that age group, it is likely that it will be a three-dose vaccine," a White House chief medical adviser said during an interview with Blue Star Families.
“My hope is that it’s going to be within the next month or so and not much later than that, but I can’t guarantee that,” Dr Fauci said.
He also predicted that most states in the US would be past the Omicron peak by mid-February.
“I would imagine as we get into February, into the middle of February, first few weeks of February, it is very likely that most of the states in the country will have turned around with their peak and are starting to come down with regard to cases, and then obviously hospitalisations," ele adicionou.
Travel bans are not effective, reiterates WHO
The World Health Organisation (QUEM) on Wednesday reiterated that international travel bans are not effective in suppressing the spread of Omicron.
The UN’s health body in a statement said that travel restrictions that were introduced to curb the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus “do not provide added value and continue to contribute to the economic and social stress”.
“Travel measures should be based on risk assessments and avoid placing the financial burden on international travellers,”Acrescentou.
Several countries were quick to suspend flights to and from southern African countries in November 2021 after the discovery of the new variant.
Omicron races through France, Alemanha
France and Germany reported record single-day high coronavirus cases on Wednesday.
France recorded 464,769 new cases in the last 24-hour period driven by the highly contagious Omicron variant of the virus.
Germany reported 112,323 new cases on Wednesday, even as the health ministry said the country has not reached the peak of the Omicron wave. Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said he expected the wave to peak in a few weeks around mid-February.
UK in ‘very strong position’ in fight against Covid
The UK is in a strong position in the fight against the coronavirus due to successful vaccine rollouts and high degrees of natural immunity, a health expert has said.
“I don’t think Omicron will be the last variant – this virus remains very plastic; it will continue to evolve and it will continue to change around the world. But the UK, em particular, and some other countries are in a very, very strong position now,” Sir Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust and former SAGE advisor said.
Furvah Shah relatórios.
Sir Jeremy Farrar says increasing vaccine rates globally needs to be next goal
Mask wearing, other plan B restrictions to end in England
Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday announced the end of all precautionary measures introduced to fight the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
Mandatory face masks will no longer be required across England from next week while advice for people to work from home will be dropped immediately, the prime minister said.
He announced his decision to MPs in the Commons about the axing of all Plan B measures, which included the use of mandatory Covid passes for nightclubs and large events.
Jane Kirby has more.
The legal requirement for people with coronavirus to self-isolate will also be allowed to lapse when the regulations expire on March 24.