Could the isolation period for COVID-positive cases be cut to five days? What are other countries doing? – ABC News

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-01-19/covid-positive-isolation-period-cut-five-days-considered/100767236

…Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said he was watching what was going on overseas.

“Some are at seven [days isolation], some are at 10, some are still at 14,” he said.

“And both the CDC in Atlanta and the European equivalent in Stockholm admit there is no evidence behind [the decision to cut isolation periods].

“It is a decision of balance. It’s a decision about workforces and a trade-off with increased transmission in the community.”

New Covid variant: How worried should we be? – BBC News

https://www.bbc.com/news/health-59418127

In a media briefing Prof de Oliveira said there were 50 mutations overall and more than 30 on the spike protein, which is the target of most vaccines and the key the virus uses to unlock the doorway into our body’s cells.

Zooming in even further to the receptor binding domain (that’s the part of the virus that makes first contact with our body’s cells), it has 10
mutations compared to just two for the Delta variant …

This level of mutation has most likely come from a single patient who was unable to beat the virus.

Biden ‘Forgets’ To Close The Southern Border Against ‘Omicron’ Variant

https://www.nationandstate.com/2021/11/27/biden-forgets-to-close-the-southern-border-against-omicron-variant/?amp
Authored by Monica Showalter via AmericanThinker.com,

Much has been made of the news that Joe Biden has shut the door to eight countries over the new ‘omicron’ COVID variant […]

COVID: What we know about the omicron variant

https://m.dw.com/en/covid-what-we-know-about-the-omicron-variant/a-59948143

How dangerous is the new variant?

Researchers are concerned about the new variant because they say it shows an
“extremely” high number of mutations of the coronavirus. They have found 32 mutations in the spike protein. By comparison, the delta variant, which is considered highly infectious, shows eight mutations.

‘Super mutant’ Covid strain triggers emergency response — RT World News

https://www.rt.com/news/541363-mutant-covid-who-emergency/

of mutations has prompted the World Health Organization (WHO) to convene a special emergency meeting, set to discuss how to address the evolved
variant.
The global health body’s
technical head on Covid-19, Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, announced the
upcoming meeting on Thursday during a livestreamed Q&A session,
saying experts would gather Friday to talk about the new strain, dubbed
B.1.1.529, which has now been detected in South Africa, Botswana and
Hong Kong.

“Our technical advisory group on virus evolution is discussing this with our colleagues in South Africa,” Van Kerkhove said of the new variant, adding “We’re also meeting again tomorrow.”

We’re
calling a special meeting to discuss this, not to cause alarm, but just
because we have the system in place, we can bring these scientists
together and discuss ‘what does it mean?’

Not much is currently known about the newly emerging strain, the WHO
official continued, noting that fewer than 100 full genomic sequences
are available for review. What is known, however, is that the variant
has already been observed to have “a large number of mutations,”
raising questions and concerns over how that will impact diagnostics,
therapeutics and vaccinations. As researchers continue to look into the
strain, Van Kerkhove said it could take several weeks before enough
insight is gained into the impact of the B.1.1.529 strain.

The WHO’s chief scientist, Soumya Swaminathan, pointed to “a number of worrying mutations in the spike protein”
of the South African variant, referring to the biological mechanism
that allows the coronavirus to penetrate host cells and cause
infection.

A professor of clinical microbiology at Cambridge University, Ravi Gupta – who had previously warned of the possibility of “super mutant”
Covid variants – also said his lab work identified two specific
mutations in the new strain that could increase infectivity and reduce
antibody recognition.

Reacting to the WHO’s comments on the new Covid strain, the British government temporarily suspended flights
to six African nations, with Sajid Javid, secretary of state for health
and social care, calling the move a precautionary measure. Israel, too,
said it would bar travelers from South Africa and other countries on the continent.

Tulio de Oliveira, director of the Centre for Epidemic Response and Innovation in South Africa, told
the Financial Times that up to 90% of new infections in the country’s
Gauteng region – which encompasses Johannesburg, a major city – involved
the new variant. He said he recently expressed concerns to the WHO
ahead of its emergency meeting, and that “the key question to be answered is what exactly is the effect on the vaccines.”

READ MORE: Time to consider mandatory jabs in Europe, WHO official says

However,
despite the concerns, Van Kerkhove voiced some optimism during
Thursday’s question-and-answer session, saying the fact the variant was
detected is itself a good sign, as “it means we have a system in place” to quickly identify and tackle new, potentially dangerous strains.

Biggest Covid Delta outbreak hits university town in China — RT World News

https://www.rt.com/news/540278-china-covid-delta-outbreak/

China is facing its biggest surge of the Delta variant of the
coronavirus, putting the zero-case policy to the test. Restrictions were
imposed on a university town in the country’s northeast.
More than 10,000 students
were placed under quarantine after two large dorms were closed down in
the university town of Zhuanghe, which is under the administration of
the city of Dalian in the coastal province of Liaoning in northeastern
China

Overall, more than 230 Covid-19 cases have been recorded in
Dalian, a city of 7.45 million people, since November 4, health
officials said. Rushing to uphold its zero-case strategy, authorities
ramped up restrictions, including road closures, and launched a citywide
mass testing campaign.

The outbreak of the more contagious Delta variant has been linked to
companies that store and handle frozen food, while another cluster of
infections was discovered at a student campus, Chinese media said.

Wu
Liangyou, the deputy director of the National Health Commission’s
disease control and prevention division, said on Sunday that the
outbreak in Dalian was “at a stalemate” and the virus had not spread to other areas.

Thanks
to a combination of vigorous lockdowns, contact tracing and mass
testing, China managed to largely contain the spread of Covid-19 during
the early months of 2020. Since then, authorities have been fighting to
curb virus hotspots appearing in different parts of the country.

According
to a calculation by Reuters based on official data, 1,308 locally
transmitted symptomatic cases were recorded in China between October 17
and November 14, compared to 1,280 such cases during the Delta wave in
the summer.

Re-Imposing COVID Restrictions Would Cost UK Up To £18 Billion

https://www.nationandstate.com/2021/10/27/re-imposing-covid-restrictions-would-cost-uk-up-to-18-billion/
Re-Imposing COVID Restrictions Would Cost UK Up To £18 Billion Authored by Paul Joseph Watson via Summit News, Boris Johnson has been warned that any move to re-impose COVID restrictions would last until at least March 2022 and would cost the economy up to £18 billion pounds. Public health technocrats, leftists and the media have…

‘Enough’: Australian newspaper The Age comes out against extended lockdown in fiery editorial — RT World News

Comment by tonytran2015: Premier Daniel Andrew of Victoria refused to use contact tracing and hid the contagious sites in the first lockdown. That caused an outrage when 800+ age care residents died in that first lockdown. After that he adopted contact tracing but is often on hair trigger with lockdowns. So far, Melbourne has been lock-downed for more than 220 days.

https://www.rt.com/news/533774-daniel-andrews-age-melbourne/

Australia’s The Age newspaper has sparked fresh division in
Victoria after publishing an extensive editorial article harshly
criticizing the state government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic and
recent lockdown extensions.
On Wednesday, the paper published an editorial headlined “Victoria can’t go on like this.
The piece condemned Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews and the Labor State
Government over its extension of harsh lockdown measures and a lack of
evidence to back them up.

The restrictions were maintained despite
officials conceding it was no longer possible to achieve zero cases in
the state – an ambitious pursuit championed by Andrews.

There
comes a point, and The Age believes that point has been reached, where
the damage caused by the harshest and longest lockdowns in the country
needs to be more seriously factored in,” the editorial reads.



Also on rt.com
Victoria premier extends
statewide lockdown, again, as Aussie police granted power to covertly
HACK citizens’ phones & alter data

On social media, it immediately sparked a divide in the already
polarized Victoria between those supportive of the premier’s continued
lockdowns and those who have had enough.

The paper noted the
concessions that Andrews said would be made after reaching a 70%
vaccination rate, such as extending allowed travel distance to 10km from
5km, but implied they were not enough. “The night curfews remain in Melbourne, despite limited evidence they make a difference,” it added.

Mental health repercussions and damage to the young Victorians’ education were also at the heart of The Age’s appeal. “Enough,” they declared, imploring Andrews that the state “needs hope.

No
more lectures about compliance. No more measures that have limited if
any evidence to back them just in case they might assist around the
edges.

It added that it was not arguing for a total end to restrictions, but that the government should “work out those that could be lifted at minimal risk to health but with maximum benefit to Victorians” and move towards a “more balanced position.

The state can no longer live like this,” the editorial concludes.

The statement resonated with many on social media who supported the paper’s stance, but others were quick to mock it.



Also on rt.com
Victoria to ban displaying of Nazi symbols after Aussie police call for more powers against extremist ideologies

ABC journalist Leigh Sales praised the newspaper for its “strong” words and reiterated that “Victorians are past the point of endurance.

Michael
Rowland, another ABC journalist, also showed his support, agreeing with
The Age’s criticism of what they claimed to be a “lack of proper information” coming from the state government.

One critic, however, said The Age should be behaving “more responsibly” and “supporting the measures” to keep Victoria safe. “We don’t have alternatives,” they said on Twitter.

Another person tweeted “F**K The Age” and followed up with the hashtag #f**ktheage, which was then retweeted by #Istandbydan followers.

Andrews’
supporters initiated a campaign to cancel the paper, despite the fact
that it has been rated by some media fact-checking agencies as
left-leaning.

One person released a photo on Twitter with the phone number to call to cancel one’s subscription to the paper. “If you love Victoria, keep it beautiful and put rubbish like The Age in the bin,” they said.

Another, however, raged at the paper, which said it should be apologizing “for its own complicity in the madness” of harsh lockdowns in the first place.

In
August, the capital of Victoria, Melbourne, marked a total of 200 days
of lockdowns during 17 months since the pandemic began. Still in
lockdown, the state’s inhabitants found out this week that they will
remain under restrictions for at least another three weeks, despite
being told measures would end on Thursday.