News related to the outbreak, impact and efforts to combat the novel coronavirus COVID-19
December 3, 2021
Germany's federal and state leaders have decided to exclude unvaccinated people from many aspects of public life as a measure to break the new wave of Covid-19. Only the vaccinated or those who have recently recovered from Covid will be allowed to enter restaurants, cinemas, shops, sports venues, and leisure facilities.
December 2, 2021
On December 1st, the CDC confirmed that the first COVID-19 case caused by the new Omicron variant has been detected in the US, in California. The University of California, San Francisco performed genomic sequencing of the sample, and the CDC confirmed that the sequence was consistent with that of the new Omicron variant.
December 1, 2021
On November 30th, the CDC updated its COVID-19 vaccine booster shot recommendation following the emergence of the COVID-19 Omicron variant. The CDC now recommends that people aged 18 and older receive booster doses either six months after the initial Pfizer or Moderna series vaccination or two months after the initial Janssen series vaccination.
November 29, 2021
Several countries, including Australia, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, and the UK, have reported COVID-19 cases due to the new Omicron variant. On November 27th, the US imposed a travel ban on eight African countries - Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.
November 28, 2021
The new Covid-19 variant B.1.1.529, detected first in South Africa, was designated "Variant of Concern" by the World Health Organization - It was named Omicron. The variant is already feared to have spread to several countries.
November 28, 2021
In response to the Omicron Covid variant spreading through Southern Africa, President Biden stated, "I am ordering additional air travel restrictions from South Africa and seven other countries. These new restrictions will take effect on November 29." President Biden emphasized the importance of global vaccination for this pandemic to end.
November 26, 2021
On November 25th, South Africa's National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) confirmed that a new COVID-19 variant - B1.1.529 - has been detected in the country. As of Thursday, the NICD and other private laboratories recorded 22 positive cases of the new variant using genomic sequencing.
November 24, 2021
On Tuesday, the Biden administration filed a petition with a federal appeals court in Cincinnati to reinstate the national mandate requiring companies to ensure that their employees are vaccinated. The 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals had stayed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rules the day after publication on November 5th.
November 22, 2021
Widespread protests have broken out in several European countries including Austria, Belgium, Italy, and the Netherlands. The protests come in response to new COVID-19 restrictions. On Sunday, citizens marched through the Belgian capital of Brussels. Demonstrations soon turned violent, with the police responding by deploying tear gas and water cannons.