Coronavirus

Covid news live: boosters not viable strategy against new variants, WHO warns; Quebec to impose ‘health tax’ on unvaccinated

covid-news-live:-boosters-not-viable-strategy-against-new-variants,-who-warns;-quebec-to-impose-‘health-tax’-on-unvaccinated

Tianjin, China, begins testing 14m residents

The Chinese city of Tianjin has started a new round of Covid-19 testing today among its 14 million residents to block the spread of Omicron.

Tianjin reported 33 domestically transmitted coronavirus infections with confirmed symptoms for Tuesday, up from 10 a day earlier, national data showed.

The city ordered a half-day off for employees at companies and other institutions on Wednesday and required them to remain at home to comply with the city’s second round of mass testing, the local government said in a statement, Reuters reports.

In the central city of Anyang, where Omicron has also been detected in the community, local symptomatic cases number surged to 65 on Tuesday from just two a day earlier.

The two cities have restricted residents’ movement within the cities and made it harder for people to leave town as mass testing campaigns are ongoing.

Including infections in Tianjin and Anyang, mainland China reported a total of 166 local symptomatic cases for Tuesday, more than 110 a day earlier. There were no new deaths, leaving the death toll at 4,636.

Quebec to impose ‘health tax’ on unvaccinated

Quebec, Canada’s second-most populous province, has announced plans to impose a ‘health tax’ on residents who refuse to get the Covid-19 vaccination for non-medical reasons.

Premier François Legault announced the new “contribution” for the unvaccinated on Tuesday, adding that it will apply “in the next few weeks”.

“A health contribution will be charged to all adults that don’t want to get vaccinated,” he said. “Those who refuse to get the shot bring a financial burden to hospital staff and Quebecers. The 10% of the population can’t burden the 90%.”

François Legault (@francoislegault)

1/2 Même si les adultes non vaccinés représentent 10% de la population, ils représentent la moitié des hospitalisations-COVID aux soins intensifs.

C’est un fardeau énorme sur notre réseau de la santé. pic.twitter.com/bykpvPAmX1

January 11, 2022

Read the full story here.

Repeated boosters not viable strategy against new variants, WHO warns

World Health Organization experts have warned that repeating booster doses of the original Covid vaccines is not a viable strategy against emerging variants.

the WHO Technical Advisory Group on Covid-19 Vaccine Composition (TAG-Co-VAC) said:

A vaccination strategy based on repeated booster doses of the original vaccine composition is unlikely to be appropriate or sustainable.

Covid-19 vaccines that have high impact on prevention of infection and transmission, in addition to the prevention of severe disease and death, are needed and should be developed.”

The group said there could be a need to update the existing vaccines to better target emerging Covid variants such as Omicron and called for the development of new jabs that not only protect people who contract Covid against falling seriously ill but also better prevent people from catching the virus in the first place.

It also suggested that vaccine developers should strive to create jabs that “elicit immune responses that are broad, strong, and long-lasting in order to reduce the need for successive booster doses”.

Until new vaccines have been developed, the group said, “the composition of current Covid-19 vaccines may need to be updated”.

According to the WHO, 331 candidate vaccines are currently being worked on around the world.

Maria Van Kerkhove (@mvankerkhove)

Thank you 🙏 @mrigankshail for making this clip summarising the current global #COVID19 situation and Omicron. @WHO https://t.co/sWI36LQRGg

January 11, 2022

Hello it’s Samantha Lock back with you on the blog, ready to take you through all the Covid news this Wednesday.

Let’s dive right in with the news that World Health Organization experts have warned that repeating booster doses of the original Covid vaccines is not a viable strategy against emerging variants.

“A vaccination strategy based on repeated booster doses of the original vaccine composition is unlikely to be appropriate or sustainable,” the WHO Technical Advisory Group on Covid-19 Vaccine Composition (TAG-Co-VAC) said.

The group said there could be a need to update the existing vaccines to better target emerging Covid variants such as Omicron. According to the WHO, 331 candidate vaccines are currently being worked on around the world.

Over in Quebec, Canada’s second-most populous province, has announced plans to impose a ‘health tax’ on residents who refuse to get the Covid-19 vaccination for non-medical reasons.

Premier François Legault announced the new “contribution” for the unvaccinated on Tuesday, adding that it will apply “in the next few weeks”.

“A health contribution will be charged to all adults that don’t want to get vaccinated,” he said. “Those who refuse to get the shot bring a financial burden to hospital staff and Quebecers. The 10% of the population can’t burden the 90%.”

Here’s a quick summary of all the latest developments:

  • People in NSW, Australia are to report all positive rapid antigen test (RAT) or face a $1,000 fine.
  • German police have drawn criticism for using an app to trace Covid contacts from bars and restaurants.
  • Bolivia’s vice president and six cabinet ministers are in isolation after testing positive for the coronavirus, the government said Tuesday.
  • UK former health secretary Matt Hancock tests positive for Covid after contracting the virus for a second time.
  • About three-quarters of teachers in France plan to strike on Thursday to protest against the government’s shifting rules on Covid forcing the closure of half the country’s primary schools, a union has warned.

  • France’s health ministry is expected to announce a record of more than 350,000 new Covid infections over a 24-hour period, according to the health minister, Olivier Véran.
  • Novak Djokovic’s defence of his Australian Open title remains in doubt after reports that he might have given misleading information to Australian immigration officials. Immigration Minister Alex Hawke is still considering whether to cancel Djokovic’s visa.
  • Sweden announced a record 70,641 new Covid cases since Friday. It also said there were a 54 new deaths from Covid.
  • The US recorded a record number of hospitalisations due to Covid-19, as the daily infection rate soared to more than 1.35m. There were 145,982 people hospitalised with coronavirus on Monday, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services.
  • More than half of people in Europe could contract the Omicron in the next two months if infections continue at current rates, the World Health Organization has warned.

  • The WHO also warned that it is too too soon to treat Omicron as a flu-like endemic illness. Senior emergency officer for Europe, Catherine Smallwood, said: “We still have a huge amount of uncertainty and a virus that is evolving quite quickly, imposing new challenges. We are certainly not at the point where we are able to call it endemic.
  • The central Chinese city of Anyang has ordered five million people to begin home confinement in a new lockdown to curb the spread of Omicron variant.

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