- Omicron sub-variant BA.2 harder to identify.
- The BA.2 sub-variant has begun to replace Omicron’s more common “original” BA.1 variant in countries such as Denmark.
- Data from there suggests no difference in disease severity, according to another WHO official.
A World Health Organization scientist stated on Thursday that the BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron has been discovered in five African countries, adding that she was concerned about the development because samples of BA.2 may not be identified as a form of Omicron as reported by Reuters.
Sub-variant of omicron
Omicron sub-variant BA.2 harder to identify.
The BA.2 sub-variant has begun to replace Omicron’s more common “original” BA.1 variant in countries such as Denmark. Data from there suggests no difference in disease severity, according to another WHO official.
Danish COVID tally
The number of adult Danes infected with COVID-19 maybe double the official tally, Danish scientists said on Thursday, after releasing data suggesting one-third of the adult population has been infected in the past three months.
By screening blood donations for certain antibodies, Danish scientists say they have come closer to determining how many people are actually infected, following the emergence of the more infectious Omicron variant.
Sweden to lift restrictions
Sweden will lift pandemic restrictions next week despite record levels of infections as it banks on booster shots and high rates of past COVID infections to keep hospitalisation rates manageable.
Current restrictions, which include bars and restaurants having to close early and a cap of 500 people inside larger indoor venues, were extended last month until Feb. 9.
Britain approves Novavax
Britain has approved Novavax’s COVID vaccine for use in those 18 years of age and older, the country’s medicines regulator said on Thursday, bringing a fifth coronavirus shot to its roster.
The British approval for Nuvaxovid comes days after the drugmaker filed for U.S. authorization of the vaccine following months of struggles with development and manufacturing problems, and follows a German backing earlier in the day.
Czech to end COVID passes
The Czech Republic will stop requiring COVID passes for entry to restaurants and other service or entertainment venues starting next week, opening them up to unvaccinated people, Prime Minister Petr Fiala said.
The country of 10.7 million, which was hit hard by previous waves of the pandemic, is seeing a record spike in cases. However, officials expect an easing of infections this month.
New Zealand delays reopening
New Zealand on Thursday announced a phased reopening of its border that has been largely closed for two years, but travel bodies said self-isolation rules need to be removed to revive the struggling tourism sector.
Vaccinated New Zealanders in Australia can travel home from Feb. 27 without a requirement to stay at state-managed quarantine facilities, while New Zealand citizens in the rest of the world will be able to do so two weeks later, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.
Tourists from Australia and other visa-free countries will only be allowed in by July and travellers from the rest of the world will be kept out until October under the plan.
A total of 55 new COVID infections were found among Olympic Games-related personnel on Feb. 2, the chair of the Beijing 2022 medical expert panel said on Thursday, the highest daily tally so far.
Twenty-nine cases were found among new airport arrivals, Brian McCloskey told the International Olympic Committee session the day before the Games’ official opening, while 26 were among those in the “closed-loop” bubble that separates all event personnel from the public.
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