World Health Organisation Member States Launch Pandemic Accord Talks

Countries agreed to establish an intergovernmental negotiating body “to draft, negotiate WHO convention” Geneva: World Health Organization member states agreed Wednesday to start work on building a new international accord setting out how to handle the next global pandemic. Countries adopted a resolution at a special meeting in Geneva, launching the process that it is … Read more

COVID-19: NERVTAG scientists ‘can’t rule out’ Omicron causing biggest wave of infections yet that may overwhelm NHS

The Omicron variant could trigger a surge in COVID infections bigger than previous waves in the UK with a risk it may overwhelm the NHS, a key group of scientists have warned. Experts on the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG), which advises the government, held an extraordinary meeting last week to … Read more

COVID-19: Help vaccinate poor countries or face more new variant shocks, rich economies told

The world’s rich nations must help vaccinate the poorest nations or else they will face a continual cycle of economic shocks and restrictions in the face of new variants, the OECD’s chief economist has said. Laurence Boone told Sky News that the Omicron variant could cause the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) to … Read more

South Korea exports soar as Omicron looms

South Korea’s exports in November were the largest monthly figure on record, driven by rising prices and volumes. South Korean exports grew at their fastest pace in three months in November thanks to post-pandemic recoveries in big trading partners that pushed up demand for chips and petrochemicals, but the Omicron variant may pose risk to … Read more

Japan Halts New Incoming Flight Bookings Over ‘Omicron’ Strain: Ministry

Japan’s borders have been virtually sealed throughout most of the pandemic. (Representational) Tokyo: Japan has asked airlines to stop taking new incoming flight bookings over concerns about the Omicron virus variant, the transport ministry said Wednesday. The announcement came as authorities announced they had detected a second infection with the new strain in an arriving … Read more

COVID-19: ‘A lot more’ will be known about Omicron variant in two weeks, says Sajid Javid

Health Secretary Sajid Javid has suggested the possible impact of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 will be known in a fortnight’s time and ahead of the government’s three-week review of fresh restrictions. The government has responded to the discovery of the Omicron variant by reimposing compulsory mask-wearing in England in shops and on public transport, … Read more

Xiomara Castro wins Honduran presidential vote after rival concedes

Honduras’ ruling party conceded defeat on Tuesday in presidential elections held two days earlier, giving victory to leftist opposition candidate Xiomara Castro and easing fears of another contested vote and violent protests. Tegucigalpa Mayor Nasry Asfura, presidential candidate of the National Party, said in a statement that he had personally congratulated Castro, despite only about … Read more