Health News Roundup: UK’s COVID ‘Plan B’ measures vital to buy time -PM’s spokesman; Russia shelves plan for QR vaccination proof on planes and trains and more

Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

UK’s COVID ‘Plan B’ measures vital to buy time -PM’s spokesman

Britain’s ‘Plan B’ measures to tackle the spread of COVID-19 are vital to protect people while more work is done to better understand the Omicron variant, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman said on Monday. Parliament is due to vote to approve the measures, which include ordering people to work from home, wear masks in public places and use COVID passes for some venues, and Johnson is facing a major rebellion among his own Conservative lawmakers.

Russia shelves plan for QR vaccination proof on planes and trains

Russia’s parliament will shelve a draft bill that would have required people travelling by plane or train to present QR codes showing proof of immunity to COVID-19, the speaker of the State Duma said on Monday. The U-turn came in response to strong public opposition to the proposal, which would effectively have forced people to get vaccinated – or show that they had caught the disease and recovered – in order to travel around the country.

Denmark cuts COVID-19 booster shot interval to 4-1/2 months

Denmark will move forward the third coronavirus vaccination shot for people over the age of 40 to 4-1/2 months after the second shot, the health authority said on Monday. The move to offer the booster shot earlier than the six months initially planned comes amid rising infection numbers and concern over the Omicron coronavirus variant.

Two-dose vaccines induce lower antibodies against Omicron, study finds

Two-dose COVID-19 vaccine regimens do not induce enough neutralising antibodies against the Omicron coronavirus variant, British scientists found, indicating that increased infections in those previously infected or vaccinated may be likely. Researchers from the University of Oxford published results on Monday from a study yet to be peer-reviewed, where they analysed blood samples from participants who were given doses from AstraZeneca-Oxford or Pfizer-BioNTech in a large study looking into mixing of vaccines.

First person dies from Omicron variant in United Kingdom

At least one person has died in the United Kingdom after contracting the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday, warning that the variant now accounted for 40% of infections in the British capital. Since the first Omicron cases were detected on Nov. 27 in the United Kingdom, Johnson has imposed tougher restrictions and on Sunday he urged people to get booster shots to prevent the health service from being overwhelmed.

Norway to tighten COVID-19 restrictions, PM says

Norway will further tighten restrictions this week in order to limit the spread of the coronavirus, Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere told news agency NTB on Monday. “The situation is serious. The spread of infection is too high and we have to take action to limit this development,” he said.

Omicron poses ‘very high’ global risk but data on severity limited – WHO

The Omicron coronavirus variant, reported in more than 60 countries, poses a “very high” global risk, with some evidence that it evades vaccine protection but clinical data on its severity is limited, the World Health Organization says. Considerable uncertainties surround Omicron, first detected last month in southern Africa and Hong Kong, whose mutations may lead to higher transmissibility and more cases of COVID-19 disease, the WHO said in a technical brief issued on Sunday.

Masks come off, rallies begin as India’s COVID-19 patient load falls

India reported its lowest tally of active COVID-19 cases in 18 months on Monday, but a sharp drop in the use of protective face masks is causing concern after a rise in the number of infections with the Omicron variant. Many people have been standing or sitting close to each other without masks, or covering only their chins, at big rallies held by political parties in several states before elections. Something similar happened before the Delta variant ravaged India from April.

Queues form at English vaccine centres, testing kits run low

Long queues of people formed at vaccine centres in major English cities on Monday after Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged all adults to get a booster shot, Reuters reporters said. Queues formed at centres in London and Manchester in northern England. There were also issues booking appointments online.

Joyful moment or risky move? Europe divided over kids’ vaccines

As Europe starts vaccinating younger children, countries are pursuing very different strategies in what will be a major test of parents’ willingness to get their kids inoculated. One region in Italy is sending in clowns and jugglers to clinics, France and Germany are targeting only the most vulnerable kids, while Denmark has been administering shots even before the specially-designed vials and syringes have arrived.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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