US lays out strategy to fight the coronavirus, including booster jabs, free home testing, and new requirements for international travellers.

US President Joe Biden has unveiled new measures to combat COVID-19, saying the emergence of the Omicron variant increases the urgency for booster vaccines. Biden’s plan includes tighter restrictions for international travellers, and expanding access to at-home testing.

Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday that people who are not vaccinated will be excluded from non-essential shops, cultural and recreational venues, and parliament will consider a general vaccine mandate that would come into force from February.

Also on Thursday, India, Finland and Norway became the latest countries to report cases of the new Omicron coronavirus variant as regulators in the United Kingdom gave the green light for the use of a monoclonal therapy, called Sotrovimab, to treat those at high risk of developing severe COVID-19 symptoms.

The news came as South Korea’s daily coronavirus case numbers rose to a new high with authorities halting quarantine exemptions for fully vaccinated inbound travellers for two weeks in a bid to fend off the new variant.
Meanwhile, in the United States, fears over the effect of the new coronavirus strain have risen after it reported its first case in a fully vaccinated person in California. The case returned from South Africa on November 22 and tested positive seven days later.

In South Africa, where scientists detected the Omicron variant last week, new infections doubled in a day signalling a dramatic surge in the country.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said  CONTINUE READING

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