Reuters Health News Summary
Merkel said more social distancing measures were needed. UK data shows good safety of COVID-19 vaccines in pregnancy COVID-19 vaccination is safe for pregnant women and not associated with higher rates of complications, data released by the UK Health Security Agency showed on Thursday, as officials urged pregnant women to take up the offer of shots.
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Netherlands plans 'heavy measures' to stop COVID-19 spread - minister
The Dutch government plans a set of "heavy measures" to slow the current record wave of new COVID-19 cases the country is facing, health minister Hugo de Jonge said on Thursday, but it has not made a final decision on what they will be. "That heavy measures will be needed is beyond doubt," De Jonge told reporters in The Hague after health authorities reported more than 20,000 new cases in the past 24 hours. The government is expected to announce new restrictions on Friday.
UK flags concern over newly identified coronavirus variant
A newly identified coronavirus variant that has spread in South Africa is the most concerning that British health officials have seen as it has double the number of mutations of the Delta variant including some associated with evading immune response. The UK Health Security Agency said that the variant - called B.1.1.529 - has a spike protein that was dramatically different to the one in the original coronavirus that COVID-19 vaccines are based on.
European states add booster vaccinations, plan shots for children amid COVID surge
European countries expanded COVID-19 booster vaccinations, began plans to get shots to young children and tightened some curbs on Thursday as the continent battled a surge in coronavirus cases and concerns about its economic fallout grew. Slovakia https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/slovaks-lock-down-slow-worlds-highest-covid-infection-rate-2021-11-25 went into a two-week lockdown, the Czech government declared a 30 day state of emergency involving early closure of bars and clubs and a ban on Christmas markets, while Germany https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/german-covid-19-deaths-pass-100000-mark-fourth-wave-takes-hold-2021-11-25 crossed the threshold of 100,000 COVID-19-related deaths.
Expanded eligibility boosts U.S. COVID-19 booster shots ahead of holidays
Millions of Americans got COVID-19 booster shots at a near record pace after the Biden administration expanded eligibility last week, but health officials concerned about climbing infections ahead of the winter holiday season urged more to get the additional protection. About 37.5 million people had received a booster shot in the United States as of Tuesday, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Portugal reimposes rules as COVID-19 cases rise
Portugal, which has one of the world's highest rates of vaccination against COVID-19, announced it would reimpose restrictions to stop a surge in cases, ordering all passengers flying into the country to show a negative test certificate on arrival. "It doesn't matter how successful the vaccination was, we must be aware we are entering a phase of greater risk," Prime Minister Antonio Costa told a news conference on Thursday.
Russia needs to invest up to $54 billion a year to reduce carbon footprint - cenbank
Russia's plan to reduce its carbon footprint by 2050 will require investments of between 1 trillion roubles and 4 trillion roubles a year ($13.4 billion to $53.6 billion), the central bank said on Thursday. Climate change poses a serious challenge for Russia, whose economy relies heavily on oil and gas production, as well as mining. Some of that infrastructure is built on permafrost, which is vulnerable to rising temperatures .
EU proposes booster jabs for 2022 travel, opens to WHO vaccines
European Union residents will need to have COVID-19 vaccine booster jabs if they want to travel to another country in the bloc next summer free of tests or quarantines, the European Commission proposed on Thursday. The EU executive also proposed accepting all vaccines approved by the World Health Organization for travel purposes, which would allow non-essential travel to the EU from outside the bloc for people vaccinated with Chinese shots and vaccines made in India.
When fighting COVID-19, "every day counts," Merkel warns her successors
Germany is in a phase of exponential growth in numbers of coronavirus cases, Chancellor Angela Merkel said, adding that every day counted when it came to enacting social distancing measures designed to slow its spread. Some of outgoing conservative chancellor's allies have criticised Social Democrat Olaf Scholz's government-in-waiting for declining to extend some lockdown measures that were put in place by Merkel's government. Merkel said more social distancing measures were needed.
UK data shows good safety of COVID-19 vaccines in pregnancy
COVID-19 vaccination is safe for pregnant women and not associated with higher rates of complications, data released by the UK Health Security Agency showed on Thursday, as officials urged pregnant women to take up the offer of shots. The real-world data from the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in Britain support other studies around the world that the vaccines are safe to give at any stage of pregnancy, the UKHSA said.
France makes COVID-19 booster shots available to all adults
French Health Minister Olivier Veran confirmed on Thursday that COVID-19 booster shots will be made available to all adults starting this week-end, with the government hoping that the move will help contain a new wave of the disease. Veran also said during a news conference that the delay between a full vaccination programme and a booster shot will be shortened to five months instead of six.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)