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 - Sputnik International, 1920
Omicron COVID Strain
The new COVID variant was initially detected in South Africa and Botswana and sparked major concerns due to its high number of mutations (32). The WHO dubbed the strain Omicron and warned it may prove to be more transmissible and dangerous than other coronavirus variants.
An Orange Farm, South Africa, resident listens to a nurse after receiving his jab against COVID-19 Friday Dec. 3, 2021 at the Orange Farm multipurpose center. South Africa has accelerated its vaccination campaign a week after the discovery of the omicron variant of the coronavirus - Sputnik International

Live Updates: Omicron Strain Dominating All New S African COVID-19 Cases, President Ramaphosa Says

The new "Omicron" variant that emerged in southern Africa has prompted many nations to impose travel bans on African countries and tighten other pandemic restrictions.
The Omicron strain has been detected in at least 38 countries and all continents except Antarctica. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Omicron has been qualified as a variant of concern due to a high number of mutations (32) in its spike proteins. It is feared that Omicron is more transmissible than other strains of the virus.
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19:54 GMT 06.12.2021
France to Close Nightclubs for 4 Weeks From December 10
"We will close nightclubs for four weeks. This measure will remain in force starting this Friday until the beginning of January. We introduce this measure because the virus largely spreads among young people, even among those who have been vaccinated, and due to the difficulty of wearing masks in such places," Castex French Prime Minister Jean Castex said during a press conference on Monday.
15:33 GMT 06.12.2021
EMA Recommends RoActemra for Treatment of Adults With Severe COVID-19
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The European Medicines Agency said on Monday that its Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) has recommended the approval of RoActemra as a COVID-19 treatment for adults receiving systemic treatment with corticosteroids and who require supplemental oxygen or mechanical ventilation.
"The CHMP will now send its recommendation for COVID-19 to the European Commission, which will issue a final decision," the statement read.
RoActemra is an immunomodulating medicine, marketed by Roche Registration GmbH, used to treat adults and children with severe rheumatoid arthritis, systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis, juvenile idiopathic polyarthritis, giant cell arteritis and cytokine release syndrome.
A CHMP study found that the use of RoActemra alongside systematic treatment decreases the chance of death from COVID-19 and increases chances of faster recovery from the infection. While RoActemra alters the response of immune systems to inflammation and improves symptoms of severe COVID-19, it should not be applied without systematic treatment, the committee said.
14:04 GMT 06.12.2021
NYC Mayor Imposes COVID Vaccine Mandate on Private Sector Employees
FILE PHOTO: A waiter sets up tables in front of a restaurant on a street on the first day of the phase two re-opening of businesses following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., June 22, 2020.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 06.12.2021
NYC to Use 'Preemptive Strike' Against Omicron With Vaccine Mandate for all Businesses, Mayor Says
14:01 GMT 06.12.2021
EU to Consider Easing Omicron Travel Restrictions on Southern Africa, Media Says
13:24 GMT 06.12.2021
Slovak Health Minister Proposes Extending Lockdown Until 16 December
12:18 GMT 06.12.2021
Omicron Strain Dominating All New South Africa COVID-19 Cases - President
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Omicron coronavirus variant accounts for most new COVID-19 cases in the majority of South African provinces, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday.
"As the country heads into a fourth wave of COVID-19 infections, we are experiencing a rate of infections that we have not seen since the pandemic started. The Omicron variant that was brought to global attention by South African scientists nearly two weeks ago appears to be dominating new infections in most provinces," the president said in a statement published on his official website.
Over the past week, the number of daily COVID-19 cases in South Africa has increased five-fold, which Ramaphosa said was "of great concern" but not surprising.
"Disease modellers in our country have told us that we would likely experience a fourth wave around this time and that it was almost inevitable that new variants of the virus would emerge," he said.
The government is preparing public and private medical facilities in the event of an increase in the number of COVID-19 patients, Ramaphosa said, adding that the National Coronavirus Command Council will soon convene to discuss the current epidemiological situation.
The South African president urged people to get vaccinated, describing it as "urgent priority" for public health and an "essential" component of economic recovery. He stressed that the country has sufficient COVID-19 vaccine supplies and vaccination centers arranged "in every part of the country."
The Omicron strain was first detected in South Africa in late November. The strain contains more mutations in the spike protein — 32 — than all previous variants, meaning that it could hamper the body's immune response and spread more easily.
10:29 GMT 06.12.2021
Russia Detects Two Omicron Strain Cases
09:26 GMT 06.12.2021
Argentina Detects First Case of Omicron COVID-19 Variant
BUENOS AIRES (Sputnik) - The first case of Omicron COVID-19 variant was detected in Argentina in a traveller returning from South Africa through the United States, the Argentine Health Ministry said.

"The National Reference Laboratory (LNR) confirmed the first case of Omicron variant in Argentina in a traveller from South Africa on December 5," Argentine Health Ministry said in a statement.

08:56 GMT 06.12.2021
Russia Confirms 32,136 New COVID-19 Cases Over Past 24 Hours
08:17 GMT 06.12.2021
Argentina Greenlights Sputnik Light Both as COVID-19 Vaccine and Booster Shot
Russian Sputnik Light vaccine against COVID-19 infection - Sputnik International, 1920, 06.12.2021
Argentina Greenlights Sputnik Light Both as COVID-19 Vaccine and Booster Shot
07:49 GMT 06.12.2021
Omicron Scare: Indian State Admits Presence of 'Cluster Cases' Amid Fears Of Community Transmission
Authorities in the Indian state of Karnataka on Monday said that guidelines to tackle "cluster cases" have been issued in the wake of new COVID cases being detected in the state.

"We're seeing cases in the form of clusters, in hostels in particular. We've issued guidelines to tackle these cluster cases. For example, yesterday in Chikkamagaluru, a large cluster was detected. All the students and their primary and secondary contacts are being traced and treatment is being given to them. Our government is in constant touch with experts to take timely action", he said.

Ninety-four students at a school in Karnataka tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday. So far, India has seen 21 cases of Omicron, as per the health authorities.
As the global scare around the Omicron variant escalates, authorities in Australia's New South Wales confirmed "community transmission" of COVID-19.
06:25 GMT 06.12.2021
Omicron Strain is Accounting for Most New COVID Cases in South Africa, President Ramaphosa Says
05:59 GMT 06.12.2021
Danish Professor Says Omicron to Become Dominant Strain Amid 'Worrying' Increase in Cases
A man makes a phone call in Copenhagen International Airport in Kastrup  - Sputnik International, 1920, 06.12.2021
Omicron COVID Strain
Danish Professor Says Omicron to Become Dominant Strain Amid 'Worrying' Increase in Cases
05:01 GMT 06.12.2021
Two Infants Hospitalised in Brazil After Getting Pfizer Shots by Mistake, Reports Say
In this Oct. 5, 2021, file photo a healthcare worker fills a syringe with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. President Joe Biden’s most aggressive move yet to combat the COVID-19 pandemic is almost ready to see the light of day. - Sputnik International, 1920, 06.12.2021
Two Infants Hospitalised in Brazil After Getting Pfizer Shots by Mistake, Reports Say
05:00 GMT 06.12.2021
Vaccine Creator: Next Virus Could be 'More Lethal' Than COVID

"This will not be the last time a virus threatens our lives and our livelihoods. The truth is the next one could be worse. It could be more contagious, or more lethal, or both", a member of the team that created the AstraZeneca vaccine, Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert said.

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