Norway: Social restrictions reintroduced to combat Covid infections

The Norwegian Directorate of Health recommends a maximum of 10 people in private homes, one meter social distancing and bar closures.

The Norwegian Directorate of Health recommends that there be a national recommendation for a maximum of 10 guests in private homes, they write in the professional basis they have provided to the government.

They also believe that there should be a recommendation to limit the number of social contacts per week, preferably to less than 10. These are exempt from contacts in connection with leisure activities, school and work. They also believe that it should be recommended that you meet outdoors where possible.

The Norwegian Directorate of Health recommends several measures, including an order to stop drinking at midnight.

In addition, these measures are introduced:

  • Recommendation: Use of home office, flexible working hours and digital meetings.
  • Recommendation to keep at least 1 meter away from others in the workplace (nationally)
  • Recommendation for face masks where it is not possible to keep a distance, unless physical barriers have been put in place (supplements the national face bandage recommendation, which has been recommended previously). (Nationally)
  • Mandatory: Indoor events: 30 people
  • Mandatory: With fixed allocated places: 200
  • Order: Registration of guests

The proposals include reopening the compensation scheme for the business community for the rest of the year and extending the support measures for public transport and flights until March.

VG.no report (in Norwegian)

 

Norway: “The number of corona inpatients who need intensive care is higher than before, and it seems to be increasing”

Is Omicron another Plague Island export?

Is Omicron another Plague Island export?  Both the Alpha and Delta variants were exported across the globe from the UK because of its laissez-faire attitude to border controls. Now, it’s beginning to look like the UK may have exported another Covid variant abroad, this one mistakenly attributed to South Africa – the Omicron variant.

There is accumulating evidence that some of the Omicron cases turning up in the UK predate the first cases announced in South Africa. Why are we not surprised by that revelation?


“Scientific advisers are bracing themselves for hundreds of UK cases of the Omicron Covid variant to be confirmed in the next week or so, the Guardian has learned. Some of them may predate the earliest cases of Omicron found in South Africa last week but could still be linked to travellers returning from the country, it is understood. Evidence of community transmission also emerged on Monday.”

The Guardian report


“According to scientists, the first indications of the new Omicron corona variant came from the African state of Botswana. In a statement at the end of last week, Botswana’s Ministry of Health emphasized that the first suspected cases involved four foreign diplomats whose nationality was not disclosed.”

N-tv.de report (in German)


Botswana’s government said Friday 26th November 2021 that the four B.1.1.529 cases reported last week actually originated with fully vaccinated diplomats who visited from elsewhere. Their home country still is not identified.

“The new virus was detected on four foreign nationals who had entered Botswana on the 7th November 2021, on a diplomatic mission,” said Botswana in a statement. The four diplomats tested positive for COVID-19 on November 11 as they were leaving, and genomic sequencing confirmed the variant on November 24.

African Times report


Statement from Botswana Ministry of Health:


 

The BNONews Omicron tracker shows the latest infection numbers for Omicron. How can the UK have “hundreds” of cases of a variant that was first announced by South Africa less than a week ago, and that was first sequenced from samples given by four diplomats in Botswana just 18 days ago?


Omicron samples apparently have a “common ancestor 1-2 months ago”


Evidence of the spread of Omicron earlier this summer:


Lift off in early November 2021 in North Yorkshire?



Omicron was already in Europe on November 19th 2021, before it was first sequenced in South Africa:

“The omicron coronavirus variant was already in the Netherlands a week before South Africa reported the new variant to the World Health Organization, according to a Dutch health agency. The variant was recently identified in retests of samples that were taken on Nov. 19 and 23, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, or RIVM, announced on Tuesday.”

NPR.org report


Omicron has been spreading for “weeks” apparently:


Triple jabbed doctor infected with Omicron after flight from London:

Israel: Triple jabbed doctor found infected with Omicron after flight from London


Israeli doctor believes he caught Omicron variant of Covid in London


First London Omicron case had already left the country when confirmed infected:

UK: Third Omicron case confirmed, was last seen in Westminster


 

 

 

 

Photo by KMA .img on Unsplash

UK: Third Omicron case confirmed, was last seen in Westminster

A third person infected with the Omicron coronavirus variant has been identified in the UK, health officials have said. They are said to have been in Westminster in central London.

The individual, who is no longer in the country, tested positive after travelling to Britain and “is linked to travel to southern Africa”.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is now carrying out targeted testing where the individual visited when they were likely to be infectious. They are said to have been in Westminster in central London.

Sky News report

 

UK: All travellers will require a PCR test and quarantine until negative to prevent spread of Omicron

UK: All travellers will require a PCR test and quarantine until negative to prevent spread of Omicron

At a press conference today, 10 Downing Street announced new measures to combat the potential spread of the Omicron variant in the UK.

The new variant of concern, which has already been found in the UK, Belgium, Hong Kong, Germany, the Netherlands and possibly also in Australia, will clearly require stricter measures to prevent it seeding across the country. 

The press conference, which was, in some ways, two years too late, did nevertheless show that the UK has at least learned some lessons from the pandemic. The speed with which the red list for travel was updated is a promising sign that the UK is finally taking Sars-CoV-2 seriously.

Unfortunately, however, the drumbeat from the UK government was still about putting all their eggs in the single basket of vaccination rather than promoting a multi-layered approach of defences in depth which is what is really required. Even  the World Health Organisation has recently criticised the ‘false sense of security’ given by over-selling of the benefits of the vaccines.

Although facemasks are to be reintroduced in retail and travel settings, these measures clearly won’t be enough to stop a more transmissible variant with strong vaccine escape capabilities becoming dominant in the UK within a month of arrival.

After two years of the UK aimlessly thrashing around for solutions to the pandemic, it seems that are plenty of lessons still to be learned.

Key measures announced by the UK today:

  • All travellers to the UK will have to take a PCR test by the end of day 2 of their arrival; travellers must self-isolate until they receive a negative test result
  • All contacts of suspected Omicron cases must self-isolate for 10 days, regardless of their vaccination status. They will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace
  • Face coverings will become compulsory on public transport and in shops – not including hospitality
  • The JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation) will consider giving boosters to a wider age group, as well as reducing the gap between the second dose and booster.

 

 

 

UK: Third Omicron case confirmed, was last seen in Westminster

Netherlands: “Dozens” infected with Covid on flights from South Africa

Dutch health authorities said that dozens of people who arrived in Amsterdam on two flights from South Africa on Friday are likely infected with COVID-19, and they are conducting further testing to see if people are infected with the recently discovered Omicron coronavirus variant.

Around 600 passengers arrived at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport on the two KLM flights on Friday and then faced hours of delays and testing due to concerns over the new virus variant.

Reuters report

** The latest figure we have seen is 61 people are infected from the two planes.

 

Image by Lars_Nissen from Pixabay

B.1.1.529 Omicron: Valve-style face mask may have caused cross-infection between vaccinated, quarantined patients

A Covid-19 patient whose valve-style face mask was blamed for a cross infection in a quarantine hotel last week has been found to be carrying a new variant of the virus with a high number of mutations, marking the first known appearance of the strain in Hong Kong.

The Department of Health revealed on Thursday night that a genome sequencing analysis confirmed the patient, who arrived in the city from South Africa, and another hotel guest who tested positive a few days after him, were infected with the B.1.1.529 [Omicron] coronavirus variant. Both were fully vaccinated.

The new variant – which has been designated “Omicron” by the WHO, in keeping with global naming conventions based on the Greek alphabet – was first discovered in Botswana. Apart from the two cases in Hong Kong, only nine others have been identified worldwide so far – three in Botswana, and six in South Africa.

SCMP report

 

** We understand that the infected patient had at least one PCR tests that proved negative before testing positive for B.1.1.529 during his stay in quarantine **

 

 

 

 

Image by Ren_mch from Pixabay

Vaccinated are more likely to be infected with Covid-19

“We must recognise that unvaccinated people are unlikely to cause any more risk to others than the vaccinated, and perhaps less.”

In a recent hearing of the UK  Pandemic Response and Recovery All Party Parliamentary Group, several experts said they were highly sceptical of the value of vaccine passports.

 

Professor David Paton:

“There is no obvious sign from countries that have already implemented similar certification schemes that there are any benefits in terms of reducing infections. But we know there will be huge costs to the economy; nightclubs in Scotland have reported trade levels dropping by almost half since the introduction of their vaccine passport scheme while leaked documents show that the Government itself estimates the cost of implementing Plan B in England to be between £11 billion and £18 billion.

Covid passes are a heavy-handed and invasive approach to public health. They pose an unacceptable risk to rights and individual liberties and could jeopardise trust in public health measures at a critical time.”

 

Dr Roland Salmon said:

“From a public health standpoint, it makes little sense to impose any kind of vaccine certification scheme. If the vaccine is to protect others around you, then it needs to greatly reduce transmission. Studies from Public Health England and Imperial College only show reductions in household transmission of 30-50%; not enough and even then, probably temporary. Thus, a policy of targeting vaccination to those at highest risk, allowing broader post-infection immunity to develop in the wider community to prevent spread is likely to be a much more effective approach.”

 

Dr David Bell:

“It is unclear what vaccine passports will achieve in the U.K. We must recognise that unvaccinated people are unlikely to cause any more risk to others than the vaccinated, and perhaps less. We know that vaccinated people who become infected commonly have similar infectiousness as unvaccinated people, while Public Health England data indicates that vaccinated people over 30 years are now more likely to be infected than the unvaccinated. We also know that unvaccinated people will, in general, suffer more symptoms, so are more likely to abstain from community gatherings when infected, while infected vaccinated people continue to be active, potentially increasing risk to the vulnerable.”

 

UK: Fully vaccinated up to 29 times more likely to catch Covid

 

 

The real reason Britain rejected vaccine passports

China: first Covid cases detected at 2022 Winter Olympics

Organizers of February’s Winter Olympics in Beijing said Friday that two foreign athletes had tested positive for COVID-19 in ongoing test events for the Games.

The two who tested positive are among 1,500 competitors and staff who have come into the country since the test events began in early October, said Huang Chun, the deputy director general of the pandemic prevention office for the Games.

He didn’t identify them or their country, but said they had come on a chartered plane for luge training and the World Cup. Neither showed symptoms and both were allowed to train, but they had to stay in a quarantine hotel and eat their meals alone.

Independent.co.uk report

 

China: Zero Covid is still less costly than living with it

 

Image by Oleksandr Pyrohov from Pixabay

China: Zero Covid is still less costly than living with it

China’s top respiratory diseases expert has defended the country’s zero-Covid strategy against scrutiny from some public health experts, saying it was still less costly than living with the disease and reintroducing restrictions each time outbreaks occurred.

The country had no option but to aim for zero infections because the coronavirus was replicating quickly and the global death rate of about 2 per cent was unacceptable, Zhong Nanshan said in an interview with CGTN, China’s state-owned international media arm, published late on Monday.

“Some countries have decided to open up entirely despite still having a few infections,” Zhong said. “That led to a large number of infections in the past two months and they decided to reimpose restrictions. This flip-flopping approach is actually more costly. The psychological impact on citizens and society is greater.”

SCMP.com report

 

 

 

Beijing “alerted residents not to leave” due to Covid outbreaks

The Beijing Health Commission alerted residents not to leave Beijing unless necessary amid flare-ups, and asked residents who have not returned to Beijing to postpone the schedule.

If there is “time and space overlap” with the travel schedule of the reported cases, please report your travel schedule to the community (village) work unit and hotel immediately, stay in self-isolation and cooperate with various control measures, the commission said on Monday.

People who have not returned to Beijing should postpone their return schedule and cooperate with local prevention and control measures, Beijing Health Commission said.

Globaltimes.cn report

 

See also: Shanghai Disneyland closed over single COVID-19 case

Shanghai Disneyland abruptly shut its gates Sunday evening, announcing that it would be closed for at least 48 hours and confining thousands of people inside the park for hours for mass coronavirus testing after a visitor from the day before was found to have COVID-19

Channel new Asia report

 

Update: 2nd November 2021:

In China, a notice posted on the website of the Ministry of Commerce late Monday urged “families to store a certain amount of daily necessities as needed to meet daily life and emergencies” while instructing authorities to take steps to ensure adequate food supplies, AFP reports.

The country is adopting increasingly tight measures and a Covid-zero strategy to contain its latest outbreak. The directive made no mention of a food shortage or of whether the instructions were motivated by fears that Covid measures could disrupt supply chains or leave locked-down citizens in need of food.

Guardian report

 

China: three cities locked down as Covid winter wave rolls in

 

Image by ilham mustakim from Pixabay

UK: start to pandemic “worst public health failure ever” – a failure that is still ongoing

The UK government approach – backed by its scientists – was to try to manage the situation and in effect achieve herd immunity by infection, it said. This led to a delay in introducing the first lockdown, costing lives.

BBC report

Full Parliamentary report here

 

Coronaheadsup Twitter feed, 15th March 2020 – the UK promotes herd immunity and our prediction of the outcome of the policy

Coronaheadsup Twitter feed, 15th March 2020 – the UK promotes herd immunity and ignores warnings from Italian doctors about the severity of the coronavirus

 

Coronaheadsup Twitter feed, March 13th 2020 – warning of a catastrophe in UK schools if they are left open. This is another lesson still not learned. Millions of British schoolchildren have been infected by Covid-19 in UK schools in 2021, with no mitigations allowed.
In an ongoing attempt to impose herd immunity, defenceless British kids are being told to fight a BSL4 pathogen in classrooms with no protection, mitigations, bubbles or vaccines. It’s homicidal insanity, and by far the biggest scandal of this pandemic.

What we don’t want or need is another government apology or a public inquiry in a year’s time after millions more lives have been wrecked by this virus. We need preventative action, and we need it NOW.

 

Sars-CoV-2 – checkmate to the virus in four moves

China: man tests positive after 3 weeks in quarantine and 9 negative Covid tests

A man who completed 21 days of mandatory quarantine upon returning to China from overseas has been identified as the likely source of a new Covid outbreak.  The man underwent 14 days of compulsory hotel quarantine, another 7 days in centralized quarantine and then a further week of health monitoring. He had tested negative for the virus nine times during 21 days of quarantine, before testing positive 37 days after entering China.

Putian’s locally-transmitted epidemic mainly has two chains of transmission – the one relating to Putou Primary School and one relating to Xiesheng shoe-making factory. The total infections from the school increased to at least 15 and at least 10 other infections from the Xiesheng shoe-making factory as of press time.

Preliminary studies suggest the outbreak may be traced to father of a student at the school who recently returned to Putian from Singapore. The person surnamed Lin tested positive on September 10, 38 days after returning from Singapore on August 4, during which he took nine nucleic acid and serologic tests, which were all negative.

Globaltimes.cn report

 

 

 

 

Photo by Nuno Alberto on Unsplash

Argentina: mandatory Covid vaccination law in parliament

A bill has been introduced in the Argentine Chamber of Deputies to mandate vaccination against Covid-19 for all residents of the country. Since it falls within the framework of Immunization Law 27.491, passed in 2018, it can even be “coercively” applied; authorities can demand a fine or jeopardize the implementation of basic procedures such as the renewal of identity cards, passports or driver’s licences, to which every citizen and resident is entitled.

RioTimesOnline.com report

 

 

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Israel: fully vaccinated tourists banned from entering the country

Vaccinated tourists will not be allowed to enter Israel on August 1, as previously decided, Health Ministry’s Director General Prof. Nachman Ash said in a press briefing on Sunday.

“We are postponing the date for the entrance of tourists, it is not going to happen on August 1,” Ash noted, adding that a new date is not set yet. “Unfortunately, the current situation does not permit us to allow tourists to enter,” he added.

Israel also decided that verified coronavirus carriers who breach isolation will be criminally charged.

Image by b1-foto from Pixabay