Covid news live: WHO advises vulnerable against travel over Omicron, Greece to fine those over 60 who refuse vaccine

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Covid news live: WHO advises vulnerable against travel over Omicron, Greece to fine those over 60 who refuse vaccine
© Photograph: Remko de Waal/ANP/AFP/Getty Images Travellers seen at Schiphol Airport, the Netherlands, on 30 November as the WHO issues a Covid-19 travel warning ahead of the holiday season in response to the Omicron variant.

The World Health Organization has advised Covid-vulnerable people to postpone plans to travel abroad; Greece imposes €100 monthly fines on unvaccinated over-60s.

WHO advises vulnerable, over 60s, against travel

00:59

The World Health Organization has issued a new travel warning to those thinking about heading abroad this holiday season.

Covid-vulnerable people, including the over-60s, should postpone plans to travel, the WHO said in a statement on Tuesday as more than 50 countries rush to implement travel measures aimed at delaying the spread of the new Omicron variant.

“Persons who are unwell, or who have not been fully vaccinated or do not have proof of previous SARS-CoV-2 infection and are at increased risk of developing severe disease and dying, including people 60 years of age or older or those with comorbidities that present increased risk of severe COVID-19 (e.g. heart disease, cancer and diabetes) should be advised to postpone travel to areas with community transmission,” the WHO advised.

 

00:55

Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the coronavirus outbreak.

I’m Samantha Lock and I’ll be giving you a rundown of the latest updates as they happen.

The World Health Organization has issued a new travel warning to those thinking about heading abroad during the holiday season.

Covid-vulnerable people, including the over-60s, should postpone plans to travel, the WHO said in a statement on Tuesday as more than 50 countries implement travel measures aimed at potentially delaying the importation of the new variant.

“Persons who are unwell or at risk of developing severe Covid-19 disease and dying, including people 60 years of age or older or those with co-morbidities (e.g. heart disease, cancer and diabetes), should be advised to postpone travel,” said the WHO.

Greece has become the latest European nation to take a strict new stand against those who are unvaccinated by imposing a €100 per month fine for people over the age of 60 who have not received a first Covid-19 shot. The measures are set to take effect from 16 January.

Here’s a summary of all the key developments so far:

  • Stricter coronavirus testing is set to be required for all travellers to the US amid Omicron variant concerns, the Washington Post reports.
  • All eligible adults in the UK should be offered a Covid booster jab by the end of January, British prime minister Boris Johnson announced.
  • The Omicron variant was present in Europe at least 10 days ago, according to health authorities in the Netherlands.
  • Austria extends lockdown to 20 days after lawmakers voted to extend a nationwide lockdown by 10 days on Tuesday, bringing the total lockdown ending on 11 December to 20 days.
  • Germany’s constitutional court has ruled that sweeping restrictions to stem Covid infections such as curfews, school closures and contact restrictions were lawful, in a decision that could pave the way for further curbs.
  • Greece has said it will fine people over the age of 60 who have not received a first Covid-19 shot €100 per month from 16 January.
  • All travellers entering Ireland will now have to show negative Covid tests.
  • An expert committee voted to recommend the US Food and Drug Administration authorise Merck’s Covid pill for high-risk adults, the first of a new class of antiviral drug that could tackle Omicron and other variants.The drug, molnupiravir, is likely to be approved for older and more vulnerable people at greater risk of severe illness.
  • Brazil reports first Omicron cases in Latin America after detecting two cases of the Omicron Covid strain on Tuesday, the country’s health regulator, Anvisa, said.
  • Slovenia has halted use of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine after experts confirmed a death in September was related to an extremely rare blood-clotting condition.
  • Poland records highest Covid deaths since April with 526 deaths in the past 24 hours.
  • Israel’s health minister says boosters may protect against Omicron.
  • The US Food & Drug Administration says it is evaluating the effectiveness of authorised Covid vaccines against the Omicron variant and expects to have more information in the next few weeks.
  • Japan confirmed its first case of the Omicron variant. A Namibian diplomat in his 30s is thought to have tested positive for the variant.
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