Health News Roundup: S.Korea reports first deaths linked to Omicron coronavirus variant - Yonhap; Brazil health agency warns against boarding cruise ships amid COVID-19 outbreaks and more
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
S.Korea reports first deaths linked to Omicron coronavirus variant - Yonhap
Two people who posthumously tested positive for the highly contagious Omicron variant of the coronavirus appear to be the first such reported deaths in the country, Yonhap news agency reported on Monday. Officials are still investigating the exact cause of death for the two patients, who were both in their 90s, Yonhap reported, citing health authorities in the city of Gwangju.
Brazil health agency warns against boarding cruise ships amid COVID-19 outbreaks
Brazilian health agency Anvisa on Sunday warned passengers against boarding cruise ships operating along the Brazilian coast after outbreaks of COVID-19 affecting crew and customers, according to a statement on its website. The move follows a call for the "immediate temporary interruption of the cruise ship season in Brazil" as they pose a risk to public health.
German hospitals hope Omicron - as milder variant - could ease burden
The Omicron coronavirus variant could ease pressure on the German health system if it turns out to produce milder illness, even though infections are rising, the head of the country's association of senior hospital doctors (VLK) said on Sunday. VLK President Michael Weber said coronavirus would no longer be a threat to the health system if Omicron became as dominant in Germany as it is in South Africa, Britain or Denmark and if the infections are as predominantly mild as there.
Australia to push ahead with reopening amid record COVID-19 cases
Australia's government said the milder impact of the Omicron strain of COVID-19 meant the country could push ahead with plans to reopen the economy even as new infections hit a record of more than 37,000 and the number of people hospitalised rose. Record daily case numbers were reported on Monday in the states of Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania, as well as the Australian Capital Territory.
Israel approves fourth COVID-19 vaccine dose for people over 60 and medical staff
Israel will offer a fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccine to people over 60 and to medical staff, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced on Sunday amid a surge in Omicron variant infections, saying the country's top medical officer had approved the shot.
France has put the United States on its COVID-19 travel "red list", meaning unvaccinated people coming into the country will have to quarantine for 10 days. The rules will not change for fully vaccinated people coming into France from the United States: they still have to show proof of a negative test before boarding their flight.
Fauci warns of danger of hospitalization surge due to large number of COVID cases
Top U.S. infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said there was still a danger of a surge in hospitalization due to a large number of coronavirus cases even as early data suggests the Omicron COVID-19 variant is less severe. "The only difficulty is that if you have so many cases, even if the rate of hospitalization is lower with Omicron than it is with Delta, there is still the danger that you will have a surging of hospitalizations that might stress the healthcare system," Fauci said in an interview on Sunday with CNN.
English school children to wear masks to tackle Omicron surge
Children in secondary schools in England will be told to wear face coverings when they return after the Christmas holiday next week to tackle a surge in cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said on Sunday. "We want to maximize the number of children in school and college for the maximum amount of time," he said in an article in the Sunday Telegraph.
Israel to offer fourth COVID vaccine shot to over 60s, medical staff
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Sunday that Israel would offer the fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccine to people over 60 and to medical staff as it faces a surge in Omicron variant infections. Israel last week approved a fourth dose of the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, a second booster, for people who are immune-compromised and the elderly living in care homes.
France reports close to 60,000 new daily COVID cases
France on Sunday reported 58,432 new confirmed coronavirus cases in a 24-hour period, a figure much lower than the previous four days, when daily additional infections were over 200,000, On days following a public holiday - as New Year's Day was - new reported cases tend to dip, so the sharp drop does not necessarily indicate a change of trend.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)