China Vaccines for Africa; Singapore Reopen Flops: Virus Update

(Bloomberg) — China pledged another 1 billion vaccine doses for Africa while Hong Kong joined places across the world in expanding travel restrictions as the omicron variant spreads. Singapore’s long-awaited reopening has drawn few travelers.

Most Read from Bloomberg

  • China Cash Flowed Through Congo Bank to Former President’s Cronies
  • ‘Pension Poachers’ Are Targeting America’s Elderly Veterans
  • Reliving the New York Subway Map Debate

U.S. President Joe Biden cautioned Americans against panicking and urged them to instead get vaccinated or get an extra shot. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expanded its recommendation for boosters to all adults. 

The South African doctor who raised the alert on the possibility of a new variant has observed mild illness in people infected with omicron. But the World Health Organization warned omicron could fuel a fresh surge in infections with severe consequences.

Key Developments:

Virus Tracker: Cases top 261.9 million; deaths pass 5.2 millionVaccine Tracker: More than 7.96 billion doses givenOmicron undetected in U.S. so far, testing Biden sequencing planKey takeaways from South Africa’s briefing on omicronChina’s Xi pledges a billion more vaccines for AfricaOmicron needs three evolutionary surprises to wreak havoc: Faye FlamVariant reaches nations from U.K. to Australia in widening spreadWhat we know about the omicron variant so far

China Vaccines for Africa; Singapore Reopen Flops: Virus Update
© Bloomberg Where The Omicron Variant Has Been Detected

Cases Spike in Germany (11:05 a.m. HK)

Germany recorded a total of 45,753 new cases, compared to 29,364 the day before, according to the country’s public health authority RKI. New deaths associated with the virus rose by 388, bringing the total to 101,344.

German authorities are under pressure to introduce new curbs as case numbers climb and the new omicron variant has been discovered in the country. 

Chancellor Angela Merkel and her incoming successor, Olaf Scholz, will hold talks with Germany’s 16 state premiers on Tuesday to discuss the next steps in the fight against Covid-19.

Asia Mulls Omicron Vaccines (10:02 a.m. HK)

Vaccine makers in Asia are considering developing new vaccines to fight omicron. 

Sinovac Biotech Ltd. said it is collecting information and samples through its global partner network and evaluating the efficacy of its existing vaccine. It has previously looked into developing vaccines against the gamma and delta variants and can mass-produce a new vaccine quickly, the company said.

CanSino Biologics Inc. has started research for a vaccine targeting omicron, the Global Times reported on Monday, adding the company can come up with a new vaccine “in the shortest time” if needed. Shionogi & Co., which has an experimental vaccine, has also obtained information on the variant and is considering making a vaccine against it, a spokesman said on Tuesday.

More Critical Patients in Korea (9:01 a.m. HK)

South Korea reported a record 661 coronavirus patients in critical condition, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency’s website. There were 44 deaths. Amid the increase in critically-ill patients and concerns about the new variant, the country plans to roll out booster shots more quickly. Some 79.9% of the population is already fully vaccinated.

China Touts Homegrown Vaccines (8:41 a.m. HK)

Chinese Covid vaccines will remain effective in preventing severe cases and death from the omicron variant, state TV reported, citing Xu Wenbo, head of the National Institute for Viral Disease Control and Prevention under the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Xu said scientists should watch for omicron’s ability to spread compared with delta and its immune escape capability. 

The country added 21 local confirmed cases to its covid tally on Monday and said all these local cases were in Inner Mongolia.

Australia to Trial mRNA Vaccine (8:02 a.m. HK)

Australia is to trial its first ever mRNA covid vaccine in the new year, the government of Victoria announced Tuesday. Scientists and manufacturers from the state have spent five months developing the drug product, and 150 people will now take part in Phase 1 clinical trials. Results are expected later in 2022.

Separately, the government has delayed the planned reopening of its borders to students and foreign workers as officials weigh the threat posed from the omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Singapore’s Brush With Omicron (7:50 a.m. HK)

Singapore started contact tracing for airport staff who may have come into contact with two travelers infected with the omicron variant of Covid-19 who transited through Changi Airport on their way to Australia from South Africa, the health ministry said.

While most of the travelers for the Singapore Airlines flight from Johannesburg had remained in the transit area until their departure for Sydney, seven disembarked, the ministry said in a statement Monday. Six of them are in isolation at a dedicated facility and one, a close contact of an infected individual on the flight, has been quarantined.

Rapid Tests May Detect Omicron (7:35 a.m. HK)

Covid-19 rapid tests such as Abbott’s BinaxNOW should be able to pick up the omicron variant, potentially lending a critical tool to curbing the spread of the new strain.

Anthony S. Fauci, the White House’s chief medical adviser for Covid-19, said Monday that his South African colleagues told him “at least some of the rapid antigen tests” could detect the variant first discovered by South African scientists last week.

Manila to Keep Curbs Loose (7:20 a.m. HK)

The Philippines will keep loose movement restrictions in the capital amid concerns over the omicron coronavirus variant.

Metro Manila, which accounts for a third of economic output, will remain under Alert Level 2 from Dec. 1 to 15, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said in a statement, citing an approved recommendation from the virus task force. Indoor restaurants, gyms, cinemas can operate at half capacity, while outdoor businesses can open at 70% capacity.

Pfizer to Seek Booster Approval for Teens (6:45 a.m. HK)

Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE are poised to ask the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to authorize a booster shot of their Covid-19 vaccine for 16- and 17-year-olds, the Washington Post reported, citing two people familiar with the situation. 

Regulators are expected to sign off on the request quickly, the people told the newspaper.

CDC Expands Booster Recommendation (6 a.m. HK)

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now recommending booster shots for all vaccinated people 18 and older as scientists race to study the emerging omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2.

The guidance, which previously said adults “may” get boosters, now says they “should” get a third dose of the Moderna Inc. or Pfizer Inc. shot six months after their second dose. The same recommendation applies to those who received the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine but after only two months.

N.Y. Doesn’t Plan Mask Mandate (4 p.m. NY)

New York Governor Kathy Hochul said there were no reported cases of the omicron variant in the state but she was monitoring infections found nearby in Ontario, Canada. At a briefing Monday, she said she was focused on getting more of the state vaccinated and planned to tap its National Guard to help administer booster shots at nursing homes.

Hochul said she has no plans for a statewide mask mandate, preferring a targeted approach to restrictions that are guided by local officials. She also called out the stark divide in cases between Upstate regions — which account for most of New York’s recent Covid hospitalizations — and the rest of the state. 

Hospital Workers Rejected at Supreme Court (3:35 p.m. NY)

A U.S. Supreme Court justice turned away a request from eight Mass General Brigham Inc. workers for a religious exemption from the Massachusetts hospital system’s requirement that they be vaccinated against Covid-19.

Justice Stephen Breyer rejected the request without requesting a response from the hospital or referring the matter to the full, nine-member court. Breyer, who is assigned to handle emergency matters from Massachusetts, gave no explanation.

Pfizer Sees 2-3 Weeks to Study Omicron (2:30 p.m. NY)

Pfizer Inc.’s top executive said the company will know within two to three weeks how well its Covid-19 vaccine holds up against the new omicron variant, and even in a worst-case scenario he expects the existing formula will retain some efficacy against the heavily mutated strain.

The company is currently conducting lab tests to see how antibodies generated by the existing vaccine work against the new variant, Chief Executive Albert Bourla said on Bloomberg Television’s “Balance of Power with David Westin.”

N.J. Hospitalizations at Highest in 7 Weeks (1:32 p.m. NY)

New Jersey hospitalizations for Covid-19 reached 950, the highest in seven weeks, Governor Phil Murphy said. The number has surged 35% since Nov. 1. Even so, the total is about a third of the 2,908 hospitalizations a year ago, when vaccinations weren’t available.

More than 78% of New Jersey’s population has received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, higher than the U.S. total of 69.7%. The unvaccinated continue to make up most of the hospitalizations, Murphy said.

Biden Cautions Against ‘Panic’ (12:55 p.m. NY)

President Joe Biden cautioned Americans against panicking over a new variant of the coronavirus recently identified in South Africa, and urged them to instead get vaccinated or obtain booster shots.

“This variant is a cause for concern. Not a cause for panic,” Biden said in remarks at the White House after a private briefing from his health advisers.

He said the administration doesn’t yet believe new formulations of coronavirus vaccines will be necessary but that it is already working with Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc. on contingency plans. He said he’ll issue a new strategy to combat a winter surge of coronavirus on Thursday, adding that the U.S. will not have to practice further lockdowns or shutdowns.

NYC ‘Strongly Recommending’ Indoor Masks (10:45 a.m. NY)

New York City issued a new mask advisory on Monday, “strongly recommending” residents wear masks in all indoor locations regardless of vaccination.

The health advisory stops short of a mandate but signifies officials’ trepidation of a new Covid-19 wave as the omicron variant spreads around the world and New York sees an increase in post-Thanksgiving Covid cases.

U.K. Urges Boosters for All Adults (10:30 a.m. NY)

The U.K. is poised to offer Covid booster shots to all adults and second shots to more children amid worries that the new omicron variant could spread even more easily and fuel another surge in cases.

A committee that advises the U.K. government said all adults should be eligible for a third dose, with availability expanded to those under 40. Children ages 12 to 15 should get second shots, the group said. 

An expansion of the booster program comes with tougher pandemic rules set to take effect this week in the U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government is seeking to buy scientists time to determine the risks posed by the new strain. 

Merkel, Scholz to Meet With State Leaders (9:55 a.m. NY)

Chancellor Angela Merkel and her incoming successor, Olaf Scholz, will hold talks with Germany’s 16 state premiers on Tuesday to discuss the next steps in the fight against Covid-19.

The discussions will follow a decision by the Constitutional Court due in the morning, according to an official familiar with their plans. Germany’s top court is expected to lay out parameters for what restrictions are admissible to tackle the nation’s worst outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. 

German authorities are under pressure to introduce new curbs as case numbers climb and the new omicron variant has been discovered in the country. 

Norway to Increase Isolation Times (7:18 a.m. NY)

Norway is extending isolation times for those testing positive to the coronavirus and where there’s reason to believe the infection is the omicron variant, the Health and Care Services Ministry said in a statement.

Other household members will be required to quarantine for 10 days and close contacts to those infected must undergo testing under the new measures, which will apply regardless of vaccination status.

Italy to Consider Infant Vaccination Units (7:14 a.m. NY)

Italy may start Covid vaccinations on children in the 5-11 age group as soon as December 23, should the Italian Medicines Agency, Aifa, give the proposal the green light this week, Franco Locatelli, head of the National Health Institute, said in an interview on SkyTg24.

Italy’s medical authorities are considering setting up dedicated children units within the vaccination hubs, Locatelli said.

Most Read from Bloomberg Businessweek

  • Medical Debt Is Crushing Black Americans, and Hospitals Aren’t Helping
  • Wildfires Are Getting Worse, and One Chemical Company Is Reaping the Benefits

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

News Related


Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan thanks Egyptian fan for helping ‘fellow Indian'

© Getty Images Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan – Getty Images Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan thanked an Egyptian fan for helping “fellow Indian” Ashwini Deshpande who was having trouble ... Read more »

Doctor Strange 2: Huge hint Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man returns in Multiverse of Madness?

Following a year of rumours, Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker variants showed up for substantial roles in Spider-Man: No Way Home’s third act. But who’s to say that’s ... Read more »

White House Competition Council to host second meeting Monday, highlighting progress on pricing

© Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images The White House is seen at dusk on the eve of a possible government shutdown as Congress battles out the budget in Washington, DC, September 30, ... Read more »

Legendary fashion designer Manfred Thierry Mugler has died

© Motivate Publishing Thierry-Mugler The fashion world is mourning another loss of an icon. Manfred Thierry Mugler, renowned fashion designer and former creative director of Mugler, has died aged 73. ... Read more »

NATO sends ships and fighter jets to eastern Europe

© Provided by The Canadian Press BRUSSELS (AP) — NATO said Monday that it’s putting extra forces on standby and sending more ships and fighter jets to eastern Europe as ... Read more »

An immersive hologram concert experience is coming to Dubai

© Motivate Publishing Dubai Hologram Here’s something new to do in Dubai… This city truly has it all: Dancing fountains, drone shows, award-winning performances and much more. And now, Dubai ... Read more »

Almarai's Q4 net income slips as subsidies reduce and feed costs rise

© Provided by The National Almarai said it will focus on process and cost efficiency and expects 2022 to be a “positive” year. Sammy Dallal / The National Saudi Arabia’s ... Read more »

Aldar partners with Ewec to power its assets with clean energy for up to five years

© Provided by The National Aldar’s assets will be supplied power from Ewec’s clean energy sources. Victor Besa / The National Aldar, the UAE’s biggest listed property company, signed an ... Read more »

Chiefs favored by 7 over Bengals, Rams favored by 3 over 49ers

The Bengals beat the Chiefs in Week 17 and the 49ers beat the Rams in Week 18, but the Bengals and 49ers will be underdogs for the upcoming conference championship ... Read more »

Panasonic to invest $700 million to produce Tesla EV battery -Nikkei

Attendees look over a Tesla Model X powered by Panasonic batteries at the Las Vegas Convention Center during the 2018 CES in Las Vegas TOKYO (Reuters) –Japan's Panasonic will begin ... Read more »

Ukraine rushes to ‘defend Chernobyl' over fears most radioactive site in the world could be targeted in Russian invasion

UKRAINE has rushed forces to defend the area around Chernobyl over fears the disaster zone could be targeted in a Russian invasion. The site around the former nuclear plant is ... Read more »

Somizi To Style Your Little Ones

Somizi Mhlongo is looking to expand his empire with his latest business venture which will see your kids looking runway ready. As part of his Sompire, the Idols SA judge ... Read more »

Benzema will miss Quarterfinals against Athletic Bilbao

© Photo by Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images Real Madrid attacker Karim Benzema will miss the Copa del Rey’s Quarterfinals match against Athletic Bilbao, according to a report from ... Read more »

FC Barcelona News: 24 January 2022

© Photo by Patrick Goosen/BSR Agency/Getty Images Alavés 0-1 FC Barcelona: Late winner secures vital victory – FC Barcelona The Basques and Catalans were tightly deadlocked for 87 minutes, but ... Read more »

SPAC linked to Trump's venture outperforms others in sector

© Reuters/Shannon Stapleton FILE PHOTO: Former U.S. President Trump By Anirban Sen (Reuters) – Shares of the blank-check acquisition firm that agreed to merge with former President Donald Trump’s social ... Read more »

4 Japanese planes fly more aid to Tonga after volcanic blast

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Four Japanese aircraft left Australia on Monday to deliver more vital aid to Tonga as the Pacific nation deals with the aftermath of a volcanic eruption ... Read more »

Budget 2022: Meet Nirmala Sitharaman's Key Team in Shaping Union Budget This Year

© Provided by News18 Budget 2022: Meet Nirmala Sitharaman’s Key Team in Shaping Union Budget This Year Union Budget 2022: Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman is all set to present ... Read more »

Vote with your feet: film, music, art and more to engage you politically

© Provided by The Guardian Photograph: Alamy Film There are plenty of brilliant political movies – but almost all are satirical and ironic. Frank Capra’s Mr Smith Goes to Washington ... Read more »

Burkina Faso president arrested by mutinous soldiers: security sources

© Jonathan WALTER Burkina Faso Mutinous troops in restive Burkina Faso arrested President Roch Marc Christian Kabore on Monday and detained him in army barracks a day after staging an ... Read more »

Russia will stage live-fire naval drills off the coast of Ireland

Russia will hold live-fire naval drills off the coast of Ireland next month, Moscow has announced amid escalating tensions with the West.  Battleships will take part in sea drills around ... Read more »

Sony's WH-XB910N ANC headphones are 49 percent off in Amazon's one-day sale

For anyone looking for ANC wireless over-ear headphones at a decent price, Sony’s WH-XB910N should be front of mind. If you’ve been checking them out, now is the time to ... Read more »

East Timor's Ramos-Horta to make new run for presidency

© Reuters/PEDRO NUNES FILE PHOTO: Former President of the Republic of East-Timor and 1996 Nobel Peace Prize winner Jose Ramos Horta attends a speech at the Estoril Conferences – Global ... Read more »

Influencer pilot accused of crashing his plane on purpose in California for attention

© Trevor Jacob/YouTube A still image from the YouTube video in which Trevor Jacob can be seen ejecting himself from the plane before it crashed – Trevor Jacob/YouTube A YouTuber ... Read more »

Picking the parts of Indian culture I love and rejecting what I don’t doesn’t make me a ‘coconut’

Last year, the comedian Shazia Mirza did a show called Coconut, where she discussed her evolving identity as a British-Pakistani Muslim woman. It was a bold move, not just in ... Read more »

‘Abducted by luxurious pirates’: Passengers on board Crystal Cruises ship that fled to Bahamas to avoid warrant speak out

© AP Cruise ship Crystal Symphony changed its course after a federal judge issued an arrest warrant – AP Passengers on board a cruise ship that sailed to the Bahamas ... Read more »

The Norwegian parliament's administration could be fined 2 million kroner in relation to the 2020 data breach

The Norwegian parliament’s (Storting) administration has been notified that it could receive a fine of NOK 2 million from the Norwegian Data Protection Authority in relation to the data breach ... Read more »

Is Don’t Look Up realistic?

© Tobias Roetsch/Future Publishing via Getty Images Illustration of an asteroid or comet striking surface of Earth Tobias Roetsch/Future Publishing via Getty Images How experts are dealing with the real-life ... Read more »

SA vs IND: 'He Delivered With the New Ball": Gautam Gambhir Lauds Indian Pacer For His Performance in 3rd ODI

© Provided by News18 SA vs IND: ‘He Delivered With the New Ball”: Gautam Gambhir Lauds Indian Pacer For His Performance in 3rd ODI Team India suffered a humiliating 0-3 ... Read more »

Inting to sit as interim Comelec chairman starting Feb. 3 — Guanzon

from SFT interview Comelec Commissioner Socorro Inting will serve as the poll body’s interim chairperson starting February 3, Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said Monday. “Commissioner Socorro Inting , most senior [commissioner] ... Read more »

Liz Truss branded ‘demented’ for claiming China could exploit Ukraine invasion for Pacific attacks

© AP Liz Truss A former Australian prime minister has branded Liz Truss “demented” after she claimed China could exploit a Russian invasion of Ukraine to launch its own attacks ... Read more »

What are the best foods to eat when you have a stomach ulcer?

© Provided by Independent Online (IOL) Deciding what to eat is difficult enough. So imagine how much more difficult it would be if you had a stomach condition that prevents ... Read more »

Premier League examining new Covid rules that will impact Manchester United and Man City

Premier League clubs may soon have to show proof of four positive Coronavirus tests within their squad in order to have a fixture postponed under a stern change in approach. ... Read more »

The best men's and women's winter running gloves

At RW, we’re of the opinion that you can usually get by without a wooly hat and running tights. But the item you don’t want to be without is a ... Read more »

New documentary by Andrew Neil will explore Boris Johnson’s ‘leadership in crisis’

Andrew Neil will front a documentary exploring Boris Johnson’s “political fight” in what the broadcaster has called “the biggest leadership in crisis in three decades”. The programme – titled Boris ... Read more »

Kanye West and Julia Fox make red carpet debut

Kanye West and Julia Fox have cemented their budding romance by making their relationship red carpet official. The couple made their debut this weekend at Paris Men’s Fashion Week as ... Read more »

Melissa McCarthy dons a brown floral midi dress as she goes shopping

Melissa McCarthy cut a stylish figure as she stepped out in Los Angeles on Sunday for a shopping spree at interiors chain, HomeGoods. The actress, 51, looked ever-chic in a ... Read more »

De La Rue shares tumble 30% after it warns on profits as higher costs and staff absences hit output at banknote printer

De La Rue shares have tumbled almost 30 per cent this morning after the banknote and passport maker issued a profit warning and said its turnaround plan would be delayed ... Read more »

Thomas Tuchel faces £105m Chelsea dilemma despite answering Marina Granovskaia's transfer puzzle

At some point in your life, you’d have come across the infamous shape sorter game growing up as a child, which just so happens to be the perfect analogy for ... Read more »

Inheritance tax: Five ways to pay less tax to HMRC in 2022 and save up to £250,000

As many people get on top of their finances in January, people are being reminded that there are legal ways to reduce how much inheritance tax they need to pay ... Read more »
On you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic