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Coronavirus: What’s happening in Canada and around the world on Thursday

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The World Well being Group expressed considerations Thursday that wealthy international locations spooked by the emergence of the omicron variant may step up the hoarding of COVID-19 vaccines and pressure world provides once more, complicating efforts to stamp out the pandemic.

The UN well being company, after a gathering of its skilled panel on vaccination, reiterated its recommendation to governments in opposition to the widespread use of boosters of their populations in order that well-stocked international locations as an alternative can ship doses to low-income international locations which have largely lacked entry to them.

“What will shut down illness is for everyone who is particularly susceptible to illness to turn into vaccinated,” stated Dr. Kate O’Brien, head of WHO’s division of immunization, vaccines and biologicals. “We appear to be taking our eye off that ball in international locations.”

Months of quick provides of COVID-19 vaccines have begun to ease over the past two months or so, and doses are lastly attending to needier international locations — similar to by donations and the UN-backed COVAX program — and WHO desires that to proceed. It has lengthy decried “vaccine inequity” by which most doses have gone to individuals in wealthy international locations, whose leaders locked down huge stockpiles as a precautionary measure.

“As we head into regardless of the omicron scenario goes to be, there’s threat that the worldwide provide is once more going to revert to high-income international locations hoarding vaccine to guard — in a way, in extra — their alternative for vaccination, and a kind of ‘no regrets’ form of method,” O’Brien stated.

“It is not going to work. It is not going to work from an epidemiological perspective, and it isn’t going to work from a transmission perspective except we even have vaccine going to all international locations, as a result of the place transmission continues, that is the place the variants are going to return from.”

It’s nation governments, not people, who’re making selections that might affect the equitable distribution of vaccines to different international locations.– Dr. Kate O’Brien, WHO

Some rich governments wish to depart no stone unturned to get their populations as near full vaccination as doable. Many questions stay in regards to the severity, transmissibility and resistance to vaccines of the brand new omicron variant, which emerged final month in southern Africa and has proven early indicators of spreading sooner than the widespread and lethal delta variant driving the pandemic now.

O’Brien urged a “rational, world perspective” about “what’s truly going to close down this pandemic.”

“We’ve got the instruments at hand, we’ve the alternatives we are able to make, and the subsequent days and weeks are actually going to find out what course the world decides it’ll go in, on omicron,” she stated.

However, WHO says people in wealthy international locations ought to observe the insurance policies of their governments, a few of that are engaging individuals to get boosters, that are further doses aimed to buck up immunity from earlier jabs that wanes over time.

“A person in a rustic, their dose is just not going to get shipped to a different nation as a result of they do not take the dose,” O’Brien stated. “It’s nation governments, not people, who’re making selections that might affect the equitable distribution of vaccines to different international locations.”

-From The Related Press, final up to date at 7:50 a.m. ET

What’s taking place throughout Canada

WATCH | What can we learn about omicron? Infectious ailments specialists Dr. Susy Hota and Dr. Lisa Barrett on the brand new variant, and what it would imply for Canadians

COVID-19: When may omicron turn into dominant in Canada?

Andrew Chang talks to infectious ailments specialists Dr. Susy Hota and Dr. Lisa Barrett about when the omicron variant could turn into dominant in Canada, whether or not it seems milder than delta and if individuals ought to change their vacation plans. 6:56

What’s taking place all over the world

WATCH | U.Okay. PM steps up restrictions as authorities faces huge pushback over alleged rule-breaking gatherings: 

Boris Johnson accused of double customary after video reveals employees joking about alleged vacation get together

U.Okay. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is being accused of holding a double customary after a video was leaked displaying staffers joking about an alleged vacation get together final December, when the nation was below lockdown. 2:17

As of early Thursday morning, greater than 267.9 million instances of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, in line with Johns Hopkins College’s coronavirus tracker. The reported world dying toll stood at greater than 5.2 million.

In Europe, the British authorities confirmed Thursday that an inquiry into an alleged lockdown-breaching Christmas get together on the places of work of Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson almost a yr in the past may even take a look at two prior gatherings involving authorities officers.

On Wednesday, Johnson urged individuals in England to once more earn a living from home when doable and to put on face masks in additional indoor settings. He additionally backed the introduction of vaccine passes for crowded venues, similar to nightclubs, and enormous gatherings, together with huge sports activities occasions.

Denmark’s authorities has ordered nightclubs, bars and eating places to shut at midnight in an try to counter an uptick in COVID-19 instances. Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen stated faculty college students as much as Grade 10 should examine remotely for the previous few days earlier than Christmas break and banned concert events the place the audiences have greater than 50 individuals standing.

The measures apply as of Friday and are set to final for 4 week. Frederiksen stated Wednesday that the omicron variant of the coronavirus is “anticipated that this may imply extra contaminated, extra sick and thus probably extra hospitalized sufferers.”

In Africa, South Africa, the place the omicron coronavirus variant is driving a fourth wave of COVID-19 infections, has seen a 255 per cent enhance in infections prior to now seven days, however solely six per cent of intensive care beds are occupied by COVID-19 sufferers, WHO Africa official Thierno Balde stated on Thursday.

Within the Asia-Pacific area, Indian COVID-19 vaccine makers are lobbying the federal government to authorize boosters as provides have outstripped demand.

Within the Americas, Cuba has detected its first omicron case in an individual who had travelled from Mozambique, Cuban state media company ACN reported.

Within the Center East, well being officers in Iran on Thursday reported 3,228 new instances of COVID-19 and 78 further deaths.

-From Reuters, The Related Press and CBC Information, final up to date at 7:55 a.m. ET

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