18/05/2022

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covid-news-live:-omicron-‘raging-around-the-world’,-fauci-says;-belgian-protests-turn-violent

Covid news live: Omicron ‘raging around the world’, Fauci says; Belgian protests turn violent

The first death of a child with Covid-19 in New Zealand has prompted calls for Māori children to be prioritised in the next stage of the vaccine rollout, as the country grapples with racial inequalities compounded by the pandemic.

A Māori boy, under the age of 10 and who had tested positive for the virus, died last week, becoming the youngest New Zealander to die with Covid, the Ministry of Health confirmed.

It is unclear whether Covid-19 was the cause of the boy’s death, as New Zealand records all deaths of people considered active Covid cases in its official count. It is the country’s 49th death of a Covid-positive person since the start of the pandemic. Māori make up an estimated 17.1% of the population but they have accounted for 32% of all Covid-19 related deaths.

Our reporter in New Zealand, Eva Corlett, has the full story here.

As things heat up over in Downing Street over alleged lockdown breaches by senior ministers back in May last year, the Guardian can share a photograph of Boris Johnson pictured with wine and cheese alongside his wife and up to 17 staff in the Downing Street garden.

The leaked photo raises questions over No 10’s insistence a “work meeting” was taking place. Johnson’s spokesman has said Downing Street staff were working in the garden in the afternoon and evening.

At the time social mixing between households was limited to two people, who could only meet outdoors and at a distance of at least 2 metres. In workplaces, guidance said in-person meetings should only take place if “absolutely necessary”.

View the controversial snap from our earlier story here.

US senators Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker test positive for Covid

US senators Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker have confirmed they have tested positive for Covid-19, as the US deals with another surge in cases and the emergence of the Omicron variant.

Warren, 72, a progressive Democrat who ran for the presidential nomination in 2020, tweeted that she was vaccinated, had received her booster shot and was experiencing mild symptoms in a breakthrough case of the virus.

“Thankfully, I am only experiencing mild symptoms and am grateful for the protection provided against serious illness that comes from being vaccinated and boosted,” the Massachusetts senator wrote, using the occasion to also urge anyone not vaccinated to do so.

Booker, a Democratic senator for New Jersey who also ran for president in 2020, said in a statement on Sunday he had tested positive for Covid after feeling symptoms a day earlier.

“Fortunately, my symptoms are relatively mild. I’m beyond grateful to have received two doses of vaccine and, more recently, a booster – I’m certain that without them I would be doing much worse. I encourage everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated and boosted,” he said.

Read the full story here.

Belgian protest against Covid measures turns violent

Belgian police intervened to disperse stone-throwing youths on Sunday after the latest protest march in Brussels turned violent against anti-coronavirus measures.

The crowd of around 3,500 mainly young, black-clad and hooded protesters marched from the Gare du Nord railway to a park in the city’s European quarter, AFP reported.

The protesters clashed with riot officers protecting the route to EU headquarters, where officials were meeting African leaders.

The stone- and bottle-throwers were dispersed back into the Jubilee Park by riot police, and plain clothes officers made several arrests, an AFP journalist saw.

Belgium is recording around 10,000 new Covid cases per day as the Omicron variant spreads in Europe, and authorities have again begun to tighten public health rules.

Prime Minister Alexander De Croo’s government will meet on Wednesday to decide on any new measures, and the neighbouring Netherlands has already ordered a Christmas lockdown.

Belgium has run a relatively successful vaccine campaign and has begun issuing booster shots, but a vocal minority is wary of compulsory jabs and certificates or opposes lockdown measures.

Clashes erupt at a protest in Brussels, Belgium, against Covid-19 measures on 19 December.
Clashes erupt at a protest in Brussels, Belgium, against Covid-19 measures on 19 December. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Hello and welcome back to our Covid blog this Monday.

I’m Samantha Lock and I’ll be bringing you all the latest developments from across the world.

First up, let’s start with some words of caution from the White House’s top medical adviser, Dr Anthony Fauci.

The infectious disease expert said the Omicron variant is “raging around the world,” in an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press, adding that “the real problem” for the US hospital system is that “we have so many people in this country who are eligible to be vaccinated who have not yet been vaccinated.”

Fauci repeated such dire predictions on CNN’s State of the Union.

“One thing that’s clear is [Omicron’s] extraordinary capability of spreading, its transmissibility capability,” he said. “It is just raging through the world.

“This virus is extraordinary. It has a doubling time of anywhere from two to three days in certain regions of the country, which means it’s going to take over.”

On Sunday, Belgian police were forced to intervene to disperse stone-throwing youths during a protest march in Brussels.

The crowd of mainly young hooded protesters clashed with riot officers in the latest protest against anti-coronavirus measures.

Here’s a round-up of all the developments you may have missed.

  • The Netherlands entered a strict lockdown that meant the closure of non-essential stores, restaurants, hairdressers, gyms, museums and other public places until 14 January to push back the new wave.
  • Germany followed France and tightened restrictions from Britain, mandating a 14-day quarantine for incoming travellers to avoid an Omicron wave.

  • Pressure builds on UK prime minister Boris Johnson after the Guardian published a picture of him with wine and cheese in the No 10 garden, suggesting a social event, during a strict UK lockdown. No 10 insists the meeting was for work.

  • Poland confirmed seven Omicron cases in total as an official warned the variant is spreading at “unprecedented rate”. A further 15,976 Covid cases were recorded.

  • Peru, the country with the highest Covid deaths per capita and sixth-highest total death toll, detected its first four Omicron cases.
  • The UK recorded above 80,000 new daily cases for only fourth time since pandemic began, and clocked another 12,000 Omicron cases – taking the tally to over 37,000. Health secretary Sajid Javid refused to rule out new restrictions on the Sunday broadcast round. Cases are up 72% in one week.

  • Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious diseases expert, said the Omicron variant has “extraordinary spreading capabilities” and is “raging through the world”.
  • Ireland said Omicron is now the dominant strain of Covid after an estimated 52% of its cases – 5,124 new cases on Sunday – were from the highly mutated variant.
  • The head of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency warned of political violence from the country’s anti-vaccine movement with its connections to the far-right.
  • Iran detected its first case of Omicron.
  • Israel’s prime minister, Naftali Bennett, said on Sunday the country is in a fifth Covid wave and urged people to step up vaccinations.
  • US Senator Elizabeth Warren tested positive for Covid after a routine test. She has mild symptoms.
  • 30,000 people in Vienna, Austria commemorated the country’s 13,000 people who have died from the virus with a “sea of lights” march.
  • Italy detected 24,259 new Covid infections, a 62% climb on the 15,010 new cases on Sunday two weeks ago.
  • Sri Lanka will require Covid vaccine certificates for entry to public places from New Year’s Day.
  • Russia recorded 27,967 new Covid infections, a 13% slide on the 32,031 new cases on Sunday two weeks ago.
  • France reported 48,473 new Covid infections, a 15% climb on the 42,252 new cases detected on Sunday two weeks ago.
  • Brazil’s health regulator Anvisa asked for greater law enforcement protection on Sunday after a flurry of threats following its decision to approve Covid vaccines for children aged five to 11. President Jair Bolsonaro, who has played down the virus’s risks, has publicly pressured the agency over the decision.

Hello and welcome back to our Covid blog this Monday.

I’m Samantha Lock and I’ll be bringing you all the latest developments from across the world.

First up, let’s start with some words of caution from the White House’s top medical adviser, Dr Anthony Fauci.

The infectious disease expert said the Omicron variant is “raging around the world,” in an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press, adding that “the real problem” for the US hospital system is that “we have so many people in this country who are eligible to be vaccinated who have not yet been vaccinated.”

Fauci repeated such dire predictions on CNN’s State of the Union.

“One thing that’s clear is [Omicron’s] extraordinary capability of spreading, its transmissibility capability,” he said. “It is just raging through the world.

“This virus is extraordinary. It has a doubling time of anywhere from two to three days in certain regions of the country, which means it’s going to take over.”

On Sunday, Belgian police were forced to intervene to disperse stone-throwing youths during a protest march in Brussels.

The crowd of mainly young hooded protesters clashed with riot officers in the latest protest against anti-coronavirus measures.

Here’s a round-up of all the developments you may have missed.

  • The Netherlands entered a strict lockdown that meant the closure of non-essential stores, restaurants, hairdressers, gyms, museums and other public places until 14 January to push back the new wave.
  • Germany followed France and tightened restrictions from Britain, mandating a 14-day quarantine for incoming travellers to avoid an Omicron wave.

  • Pressure builds on UK prime minister Boris Johnson after the Guardian published a picture of him with wine and cheese in the No 10 garden, suggesting a social event, during a strict UK lockdown. No 10 insists the meeting was for work.

  • Poland confirmed seven Omicron cases in total as an official warned the variant is spreading at “unprecedented rate”. A further 15,976 Covid cases were recorded.

  • Peru, the country with the highest Covid deaths per capita and sixth-highest total death toll, detected its first four Omicron cases.
  • The UK recorded above 80,000 new daily cases for only fourth time since pandemic began, and clocked another 12,000 Omicron cases – taking the tally to over 37,000. Health secretary Sajid Javid refused to rule out new restrictions on the Sunday broadcast round. Cases are up 72% in one week.

  • Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious diseases expert, said the Omicron variant has “extraordinary spreading capabilities” and is “raging through the world”.
  • Ireland said Omicron is now the dominant strain of Covid after an estimated 52% of its cases – 5,124 new cases on Sunday – were from the highly mutated variant.
  • The head of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency warned of political violence from the country’s anti-vaccine movement with its connections to the far-right.
  • Iran detected its first case of Omicron.
  • Israel’s prime minister, Naftali Bennett, said on Sunday the country is in a fifth Covid wave and urged people to step up vaccinations.
  • US Senator Elizabeth Warren tested positive for Covid after a routine test. She has mild symptoms.
  • 30,000 people in Vienna, Austria commemorated the country’s 13,000 people who have died from the virus with a “sea of lights” march.
  • Italy detected 24,259 new Covid infections, a 62% climb on the 15,010 new cases on Sunday two weeks ago.
  • Sri Lanka will require Covid vaccine certificates for entry to public places from New Year’s Day.
  • Russia recorded 27,967 new Covid infections, a 13% slide on the 32,031 new cases on Sunday two weeks ago.
  • France reported 48,473 new Covid infections, a 15% climb on the 42,252 new cases detected on Sunday two weeks ago.
  • Brazil’s health regulator Anvisa asked for greater law enforcement protection on Sunday after a flurry of threats following its decision to approve Covid vaccines for children aged five to 11. President Jair Bolsonaro, who has played down the virus’s risks, has publicly pressured the agency over the decision.

Updated

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