Health News Roundup: China's COVID cases rise, record daily numbers seen in Beijing and other cities; U.S. COVID public health emergency to stay in place and more
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
China's COVID cases rise, record daily numbers seen in Beijing and other cities
China reported 14,878 new COVID-19 infections for Nov. 12, including a record number of new daily cases in capital city Beijing, as well as in manufacturing hubs Guangzhou and Zhengzhou. The new cases come as industrial activity in Guangzhou and Zhengzhou has been disrupted by restrictions aimed at controlling outbreaks.
U.S. COVID public health emergency to stay in place
The United States will keep in place the public health emergency status of the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing millions of Americans to still receive free tests, vaccines and treatments, two Biden administration officials said on Friday. The possibility of a winter surge in COVID cases and the need for more time to transition out of the public health emergency to a private market were two factors that contributed to the decision not to end the emergency status in January, one of the officials said.
German health minister warns of winter COVID wave as states plan easing
Germany is headed towards a surge in COVID-19 cases this winter, Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said on Friday as he criticised four states' plans to relax isolation rules for infected people. Fearing that infection numbers could rise, Lauterbach said: "Then we would have an even stronger wave than we already fear and we are on the eve of a more infectious variant."
Israel detects cholera in reservoir in north
Israel has detected cholera in a reservoir in the north of the country, likely the result of an outbreak in neighboring Syria spreading, the health ministry said on Friday. The bacteria's detection does not pose a danger to the public at this point, the ministry spokesperson said, adding that the authorities have taken steps to "protect Israel's water sources" and regularly monitor possible water contamination, particularly in the north.
COVID variants BQ.1/BQ.1.1 make up 44% of U.S. cases - CDC
The U.S. national public health agency said on Friday that Omicron subvariants BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 were estimated to account for about 44.2% of COVID-19 cases in the country for the week ending Nov. 12, compared with 32.6% in the previous week. The two variants, which are closely related to Omicron's BA.5 sub-variant that drove COVID-19 cases in United States earlier in the year, made up less than 10% of total cases in the country last month, but currently have surpassed Omicron's BA.5, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
China says it will continue fine-tuning COVID measures
China will keep fine-tuning its steps to control COVID-19 as it tries to minimize infections and serious cases, officials said on Saturday, a day after surprise announcements to lessen the impact of a strict zero-COVID policy. The authorities announced the moves, cheered by financial markets, despite a surge in infections to their highest since late April, according to data released on Saturday, with outbreaks in key cities including Beijing, Guangzhou and Chongqing.
U.S. judge rejects Biden administration's LGBT health protections
A federal judge in Texas ruled on Friday that President Joe Biden's administration had wrongly interpreted an Obamacare provision as barring healthcare providers from discriminating against gay and transgender people. U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk in Amarillo ruled that a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2020 holding that a law barring workplace discrimination protects gay and transgender employees did not apply to the healthcare law.
U.S. FDA approves AstraZeneca's lung cancer drugs
Drugmaker AstraZeneca said on Friday its lung cancer drugs Imfinzi and Imjudo have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) when used along with chemotherapy for the treatment of adults with stage IV non-small cell lung cancer.
Australia seeks to reassure citizens on COVID after cruise ship outbreak
Australia's Home Affairs Minister on Saturday sought to reassure the public that COVID-19 protocols were adequate after a cruise ship with hundreds of infected passengers docked in Sydney. Carnival Australia's Majestic Princess cruise ship was docked in Sydney, the capital of the most populous state, New South Wales, with "in the vicinity" of 800 passengers on board testing positive to the virus, the company said.
(With inputs from agencies.)