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    More African leaders on Monday joined South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera in condemning travel bans against their nations – imposed hurriedly by U.S. President Joe Biden and other Western and Asian governments after the discovery of the Omicron coronavirus variant – as unreasonable actions driven by virus panic and racist animosity towards Africans. Malawi’s Chakwera on Sunday accused the Biden administration, and others who imposed travel bans, of “Afrophobia.” Ramaphosa said the travel restrictions are “completely unjustified and unfairly discriminate against our country.” Botswana’s Minister of Health and Wellness, Edwin Dikoloti, worried the travel bans could interfere with the delivery of much-needed vaccines. “We were expecting one million doses before the end of the year and now we are just confused as we are not sure if those vaccines will come because we have been red-listed by the manufacturing countries,” he said. Dikoloti said only 19 cases of the Omicron variant have been detected in Botswana, and the first four patients were fully-vaccinated foreign nationals. “Most of these cases, contacts have been traced, tested and...
    United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres condemned travel bans rapidly imposed in the past week on southern African countries in response to the discovery of a new Chinese coronavirus variant, stating on Monday that he was “deeply concerned” about policies such as that enacted by President Joe Biden. Guterres’ opposition to travel bans echoes that of the World Health Organization (W.H.O.), a U.N. agency, of the leaders of African countries targeted, and of Joe Biden in 2020. While Biden accused predecessor Donald Trump of racism, “xenophobia,” and other epithets last year for limiting travel from countries experiencing high numbers of Chinese coronavirus cases, Biden banned travel from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, and Malawi last week while on an extended five-day vacation in upscale Nantucket. Guterres did not name Biden personally, as several other countries – most notably those in Western Europe, the Middle East, and Japan – enacted similar policies. Japan documented its first case of the new Chinese coronavirus variant, dubbed “Omicron,” on Tuesday, less than 24 hours after imposing its travel ban. “I am now deeply...
    This is the moment terrified eco-students were forced to run for their lives after a six-ton sex-crazed bull elephant charged their jeep while on a tour in South Africa.  Trainee guides were being driven through Selati Game Reserve on the edge of the Kruger National Park in South Africa on Sunday when they were charged by a bull elephant in 'musth' - a state of sexual aggression that occurs during mating season.  Video captured the moment their open-topped car was being driven down a narrow dirt road when the bull charged out of the undergrowth, trumpeting and pawing the ground before smashing into the side of the vehicle and lifting it off the road.  More footage captured from the car behind by EcoTraining guides reveals how the car was turned sideways by 13ft elephant - sending three female students running for their lives. Trainee safari guides were on a tour of the Selati Game Reserve in South Africa when their vehicle was charged by a bull elephant in a state of sexual aggression known as 'musth' The six-ton male elephant pierced the...
    South African citizens complained over the weekend that the Chinese coronavirus’s latest superstar variant, now generally referred to as the “Omicron variant,” has been closely identified with their nation. South African scientists argued the threat of Omicron has been overhyped and they have been punished for their diligent work in isolating the strain. South Africans complained over the weekend the Omicron variant was actually discovered in Belgium and the early cases were not linked to southern Africa. They said the B.1.1.529 strain, as it is technically classified, only became known as the “South Africa variant” because the laboratory in Durban, South Africa, quickly identified the new mutation of the coronavirus and warned the rest of the world. South Africans, including President Cyril Ramaphosa, complained they were being unfairly ostracized and punished with travel bans. Putting a travel ban on South Africa for alerting the world about a new variant (due to excellent sequencing capacity) is like banning the room with the smoke detector when there’s a fire in your house. #B11529 #NewVariant — Clinton du Preez (@Cleintoon) November 26,...
    Some health experts are sure that the South African Omicron variant is already in the United States, it just has not been detected yet. Dr Scott Gottlieb, former head of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) told CBS News' Face the Nation that the variant likely found its way into the U.S. before flights from seven south African nations were paused. The restriction was instituted on Monday by President Biden in an effort to prevent the potentially vaccine evasive, highly infectious, variant from finding its way stateside. Omicron was first detected in South Africa last week, and has since been found in more than a dozen countries, including the UK and Canada. Dr Scott Gottlieb (pictured) believes that the Omicron COVID-19 variant is already in the U.S. and it just has not been sequenced yet Gottlieb says that since so many people are flying into America and then testing positive for the virus, it is extremely likely at least one person brought the variant with them. Another expert, Dr Chris Thompson of Loyola Chicago, agrees. The U.S. halted travel from...
    There’s very little evidence so far to support the idea that the omicron variant of COVID-19 is more dangerous than others that have already passed through the population. Scientists who have studied the variant and its mutations generally believe it to be more contagious than the original alpha variant and recently-dominant delta variant, but it’s unclear if it actually makes people sicker or is more evasive to the body’s immune response. What’s known so far is that omicron has 32 mutations on its spike protein, compared to just nine for delta. That has caused some panic, because the spike protein is the part of the virus targeted by vaccines. It’s also known that omicron is not a direct descendent of the delta strain. (RELATED: WHO Admits It Skipped Over ‘Xi Variant’ To Avoid ‘Causing Offence’) Update #COVID19 in South Africa???????? 26/11/2021 The test positivity rate, a leading indicator of the #COVID19 trajectory in SA, on a steep upward climb: 9.1% today ???? The 7-day rolling average is at 4.3%, up from 1.4% a week ago and 0.98% 14 days ago...
    EUROPEAN leaders are scrambling to save Christmas as the Omicron variant with a "Frankenstein mix" of mutations sweeps across the region. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said a "race against time" was now underway to stop the concerning new Covid variant rampaging across Europe. 2 2European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said a 'race against time' was now underwayCredit: Getty The UK, Spain, Sweden, Denmark, Portugal, the Netherlands, Germany, the Czech Republic, Italy, and Belgium have all reported cases of the new virus strain. European leaders have introduced fresh restrictions in a bid to keep the variant at bay, with Christmas markets banned and flights suspended to several southern African countries. And experts have warned the variant could be a formidable threat to the current vaccines as Omicron has about 50 mutations. Scientists have reacted more quickly to Omicron than to any other variant - with the president of Moderna, Dr Stephen Hoge, describing it as a "Frankenstein mix" of mutations. Dr Hoge said scientists got to work immediately after learning about Omicron...
    The South African doctor who initially told officials about patients with the omicron variant said symptoms of the latest variant appeared unusual but mild, the Telegraph reported Saturday. Dr. Angelique Coetzee explained she first learned of the possibility of another variant when patients in her private practice in Pretoria came in earlier in the month with coronavirus symptoms that failed to make immediate sense. Patients included young people of multiple backgrounds and ethnicities with severe fatigue and also a six-year-old suffering from a high pulse rate, she told the outlet. However, none of them experienced a loss of taste or smell. “Their symptoms were so different and so mild from those I had treated before,” Dr. Coetzee, a GP for the past 33 years who also chairs the South African Medical Association, stated. When four family members tested positive recently for the coronavirus experiencing total exhaustion, she told the country’s vaccine advisory committee about the case. She explained that approximately two dozen of her patients tested positive for the coronavirus along with symptoms of the latest variant. The patients...
    PANIC OVER OMICRON… Fauci Says Omicron Variant Will ‘Inevitably’ Be In US, Speculates It Could Be ‘Highly Transmissible’ (VIDEO) The new Omicron variant will “inevitably” be found in the U.S. and early evidence suggests it could be “highly transmissible,” President Joe Biden’s chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday.
    Cyril Ramaphosa, the president of South Africa, condemned on Sunday what he repeatedly called “unjustified” travel bans on citizens of his country and its neighbors by much of the West and the Middle East in response to the discovery of a new Chinese coronavirus variant known as “Omicron.” Ramaphosa called on nations banning South Africans from entry, including the United States, to “urgently” undo the policies before they further damage African economies already suffering direly from the two-year-old Chinese pandemic. Ramaphosa used his speech on Friday night to also announce that he would not change the current coronavirus protocol in the country and urge citizens to receive coronavirus vaccine candidate doses. South Africa has approved the distribution of two American companies’ vaccine products – those by Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer – the product by European company AstraZeneca, and the low-efficacy Chinese “Coronavac” by Sinovac Biotech. The World Health Organization (W.H.O.) designated Omicron a “variant of concern” last week in large part due to the discovery that it had mutated significantly more than the “Delta” variant from India, currently the most prevalent...
    A Dutch couple was arrested after allegedly attempting to bust out of a COVID-quarantine hotel. Both had tested positive for COVID after flying from Johannesburg, the Dutch military police reported on Sunday. They tried to flee the quarantine facility but were arrested "in an airplane that was about to depart," authorities said. The pair were part of a group of 61 passengers who flew out of the South African city and tested positive for COVID-19. Thirteen of the 61 tested positive for the Omicron variant. It's unclear if the couple also tested positive for the Omicron variant. TWO OMICRON COVID-19 CASES REPORTED IN CANADA The couple, a Spanish man and Portuguese woman, had attempted to fly to Spain, reports the Amsterdam newspaper Het Parool. The majority of those tested were asked to quarantine in a hotel. However, Dutch residents were allowed to quarantine at home. The Netherlands entered an extended partial lockdown on Sunday, forcing local businesses to close earlier and placing a limit on the number of guests allowed in homes. ...
    THE new Omicron variant has caused hospitalisations in South Africa to treble in two weeks, worrying new figures reveal. The new data, taken from the NICD, showed that hospital admissions had risen from 135 to 418 over the past 14 days – confirming fears that it could be more transmissible. 4Most new South African infections have been attributed to the new variantCredit: Reuters 4Travel bans have imposed against travellers - pictured here in Johannesburg - flying out of the country amid fears over the strains transmissibilityCredit: AFP The new Omicron strain, or B.1.1.529, was first reported 13 days ago with cases reported across a number of African nations. It has 50 genetic mutations, most of which have been identified in previous variants, along with three brand-new changes. A South African doctor who treated patients with the Omicron variant reported that the symptoms were “mild” but did note that they were unusual. And aftter cases were detected in 14 different nations - including Britain - it was quickly dubbed as a "variant of concern" by the World Health Organization - sparked...
    Member of the medical staff work in the hallways of the Intensive Care Unit where Covid-19 patients are hospitalised at the Etterbeek-Ixelles Hospital on April 6, 2021, in Brussels.JOHN THYS | AFP | Getty Images Covid symptoms linked to the new omicron variant have been described as "extremely mild" by the South African doctor who first raised the alarm over the new strain. Dr. Angelique Coetzee, chair of the South African Medical Association, told the BBC on Sunday that she started to see patients around Nov.18 presenting with "unusual symptoms" that differed slightly to those associated with the delta variant, which is the most virulent strain of the virus to date and globally dominant. "It actually started with a male patient who's around the age of 33 ... and he said to me that he's just [been] extremely tired for the past few days and he's got these body aches and pains with a bit of a headache," she told the BBC. The patient didn't have a sore throat, she said, but more of a "scratchy throat" but no cough...
    Photo by Filip Singer – Pool/Getty Images The President of South Africa and an official from the World Health Organization criticized on Sunday countries banning travel following the discovery of the Omicron variant of Covid-19. “Travel restrictions may play a role in slightly reducing the spread of COVID-19 but place a heavy burden on lives and livelihoods,” Matshidiso Moeti said in a statement. “If restrictions are implemented, they should not be unnecessarily invasive or intrusive, and should be scientifically based, according to the International Health Regulations, which is a legally binding instrument of international law recognized by over 190 nations.” Moeti praised the South African government for alerting international health organizations promptly about the discovery of the new variant. South African president Cyril Ramaphosa similarly blasted “unjustified” travel bans based on the Omicron variant on Sunday, calling on countries with bans to “urgently reverse their decisions… before any further damage is done to our economies.” “The only thing the prohibition on travel will do is to further damage the economies of the affected countries and undermine their ability to respond...
    A DOCTOR who treated patients with the Omicron variant says it causes “unusual” symptoms - including intense fatigue and high heart rate. Dr Angelique Coetzee, who runs a private clinic in Pretoria, said it does not cause loss of taste or smell like previous versions of Covid. 2 “Their symptoms were so different and so mild from those I had treated before," she said. “We had one very interesting case, a kid about six years old, with a temperature and a very high pulse rate, and I wondered if I should admit her. But when I followed up two days later, she was so much better. “What we have to worry about is older, unvaccinated people. If they are not vaccinated, we are going to see many people with a severe form of the disease.” The Omicron strain, or B.1.1.529, is feared to be more transmissible and may be able to avoid vaccines. It has 50 genetic mutations, most of which have been identified in previous variants, along with three brand-new changes. Prof Lawrence Young, of Warwick Medical School, said:...
     The South African doctor who first identified the Omicron variant of the coronavirus is speaking out and emphasizing that more time is necessary to truly understand it. Dr. Angelique Coetzee, chairwoman of the South African Medical Association, spoke to multiple media outlets over the weekend about the unusual symptoms she spotted in patients diagnosed with the Omicron variant. In describing the symptoms that were exhibited in lieu of more common ones like loss of taste or smell, Coetzee categorized the effects as “mild” to The Telegraph, and stressed that “currently there’s no reason for panicking as we don’t see severely ill patients.” Coetzee elaborated that the symptoms of Omicron patients appear to be fatigue, body aches, and a recurring dry cough. She said many of the patients managed to recover on their own, though she had concerns about how the variant might affect the elderly or people with underlying health issues. “What we have to worry about now is that when older, unvaccinated people are infected with the new variant, and if they are not vaccinated, we are going...
    President BidenJoe BidenGOP eyes booting Democrats from seats if House flips Five House members meet with Taiwanese president despite Chinese objections Sunday shows preview: New COVID-19 variant emerges; supply chain issues and inflation persist MORE’s chief medical adviser Anthony FauciAnthony FauciSunday shows preview: New COVID-19 variant emerges; supply chain issues and inflation persist NY governor declares state of emergency to prepare for omicron US to restrict travel from eight African nations over new COVID-19 concerns MORE on Sunday defended the travel restrictions imposed by the Biden administration and other governments in response to the omicron variant of the coronavirus.  The restrictions on travel from South Africa and other countries in that region were necessary and justified, Fauci said, to give governments and populations time to ready for the variant, which scientists worry could be more transmissible.  “You know, it will slow things down, George," Fauci told ABC “This Week” anchor George StephanopoulosGeorge Robert StephanopoulosHarris says 2024 is 'absolutely not' being discussed yet with Biden Harris says she doesn't feel underused in Biden administration The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by ExxonMobil...
    Joe Biden is seen shopping in Nantucket on Saturday without a mask. President Joe Biden was caught disobeying an indoor mask mandate this weekend just hours after being fully briefed on the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus and banning travel from eight African countries.  The president, who has been staying on the island of Nantucket with family this Thanksgiving weekend, was spotted inside Murray's Toggery Shop with his mask around his neck and not covering his mouth. The island brought back its indoor mask mandates earlier this month.   Biden, who is vaccinated, has repeatedly told Americans to wear masks indoors, but has been found multiple times not heeding his own advice. The White House said that Biden has been 'fully briefed' on Omicron as fears rise over the new super mutant variant - and the president's top health expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said he 'wouldn't be surprised' if the strain was already in the U.S.  The president was joined by his son Hunter and three of his grandchildren, including Hunter's infant son Beau, named for the president's late eldest son. President Biden...
    The South African doctor who first alerted authorities to the presence of the COVID-19 omicron variant reported that it presents "unusual but mild" symptoms.  Dr. Angelique Coetzee, a board member of the South African Medical Association, first noticed otherwise healthy patients demonstrating unusual symptoms on Nov. 18.  "Their symptoms were so different and so mild from those I had treated before," Coetzee told The Telegraph.  FILE PHOTO: A child reacts while receiving a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine at Smoketown Family Wellness Center in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S., November 8, 2021. REUTERS/Jon Cherry/File Photo  "It presents mild disease with symptoms being sore muscles and tiredness for a day or two not feeling well," Coetzee explained. "So far, we have detected that those infected do not suffer the loss of taste or smell. They might have a slight cough. There are no prominent symptoms. Of those infected some are currently being treated at home." BIDEN PROMISED TO ‘SHUT DOWN’ COVID, BUT OMICRON VARIANT POSES NEW CHALLENGE FOR ADMIN Coetzee reported around two dozen of her patients that...
    The omicron variant is already having an effect on the sports world, about 21 months after games and events were put on pause when the coronavirus pandemic first exploded. Golf, cricket and rugby were the first major international sports to be affected by the new COVID-19 variant. Several European golfers withdrew from a DP World Tour tournament in Johannesburg, South Africa, while rugby games were postponed and the Dutch cricket team decided to defer their series against a South African team. CLICK HERE FOR MORE SPORTS COVERAGE ON FOXNEWS.COM People lineup to get on an overseas flight at OR Tambo’s airport in Johannesburg, South Africa’, Friday Nov. 26, 2021. A slew of nations moved to stop air travel from southern Africa on Friday in reaction to news of a new, potentially more transmissible COVID-19 variant that has been detected in South Africa. Scientists say  it is a concern because of its high number of mutations and rapid spread among young people in Gauteng, the country’s most populous province. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) British golfers withdrew from the Joburg Open after...
    Parts of the U.S. have begun an all-out assault against the new, highly transmissible Omicron variant of COVID-19 as Dr. Anthony Fauci warned that the variant is likely already circulating in the country. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency Friday, limiting hospital capacity to emergency needs as of Dec. 3 and arranging for the purchase of medical supplies. The emergency state, which temporarily bans elective surgeries, will remain in effect until at least Jan. 15. “We continue to see warning signs of spikes this upcoming winter, and while the new Omicron variant has yet to be detected in New York State, it’s coming,” Hochul said. The Omicron variant, formally known as B.1.1.529, was classified as a “variant of concern” and given its Greek name by the World Health Organization on Friday. The designation, prompted by a cluster of cases originating out of southern Africa, led to the U.S. imposing travel restrictions on South Africa and seven other African countries. The CDC said late Friday that it hasn’t detected any cases of it so far,...
    JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South African golfer Thriston Lawrence won the Joburg Open on Saturday after the third round was abandoned because of bad weather, meaning the result was called after 36 holes of the inaugural event on the DP World Tour. The event had been reduced to a 54-hole tournament late Friday to help non-South African resident players, caddies and support staff at the tournament return to their home countries, a move triggered by international travel restrictions being imposed on South Africa because of the emergence of a new COVID-19 variant in the country. Lawrence had a four-shot lead at the end of the second round, having shot 65-65 to be on 12 under par overall. He claimed his first win on what was formerly named the European Tour. Play was suspended at 1012 GMT on Saturday — with Lawrence having just started his third round — due to heavy rain and the threat of lightning. Organizers said large parts of the course were unplayable, leaving officials with little option but to abandon the day’s play. Thriston had more reason...
    (CNN)Dutch health authorities are investigating whether 61 people traveling from South Africa who tested positive for Covid-19 on Friday were infected with the new and potentially more transmissible coronavirus variant known as Omicron.The World Health Organization (WHO) said late on Friday that early evidence suggest the Omicron variant, first identified in South Africa, could pose an increased risk of reinfection and said that some of the mutations detected on the variant were concerning. The variant has so far been found in Botswana, Hong Kong and Belgium. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said Friday there was a "high to very high" risk the new variant would spread in Europe.GGD Kennemerland, the municipal health service responsible for the Amsterdam Schiphol airport, said the positive test results would be examined as soon as possible. Those who tested positive were sent into isolation at a nearby hotel, the Dutch authorities added.The discovery of the new variant has sparked fears around the world. A number of countries have imposed travel bans and the global markets plunged.Travel doors slam shut as new Covid...
    Joe Biden on Friday announced a ban on travel from eight southern African countries in response to a new COVID variant - hours after his chief scientific advisor suggested the move was unlikely, and despite Biden himself declaring last year that 'banning travel will not stop it'. The president, in Nantucket for a Thanksgiving break with his family, said travel will be banned from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, and Malawi. U.S. citizens and green card holders will still be able to travel into the U.S. from the banned countries, but no one else will be allowed. Biden's decision came after the UK and Israel on Thursday halted travel, and the EU followed suit. President Biden spoke with reporters today outside The Nantucket Tap Room where he said he decided on the ban out of an abundance of caution. He is Nantucket celebrating Thanksgiving with his family President Joe Biden on Friday banned travel from eight African countries - shaded red in the map. South Africa is the only one to have direct flights to the United...
    BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The race to stop the spread of another COVID-19 variant. “We don’t know a lot about the variant except that it is of great concern it seems to spread rapidly,” said President Biden. READ MORE: Shoppers Across Maryland Return To Stores For Black Friday As Retailers Face Supply, Staffing ChallengesThe new variant Omicron was first reported in South Africa on Wednesday is mutating quickly. Health experts fear it could be more transmissible than the Delta variant. “It is something that has emerged in South Africa and is spreading at a reasonably rapid rate,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci. It prompted countries around the world to impose travel restrictions Friday. The United States did the same based on advice from the CDC. “There’s no travel to and from South Africa and six other countries except for American citizens who are able to come back,” said President Biden. READ MORE: Catonsville Carpenter Moonlights As Santa's Helper, Writing Back To Hopeful ChildrenThe World Health Organization met Friday to discuss Omicron classifying it as a “variant of concern.” “This variant has a...
    CHICAGO (CBS) – After millions of families gathered for the holidays, a new COVID-19 variant on another continent is having effects here. The variant is also causing changes in international travel. Starting Monday, the U.S. will restrict travel from South Africa and seven other African countries. Officials say it’s a decision made out of an abundance of caution, but the concern is real. READ MORE: Burglars Target The North Face Store, Foot Locker In Wicker Park; Boost Mobile Nearby In Humboldt ParkIt was enough to send the Dow tumbling today more than 1,000 points. The S&P and NASDAQ both dropped over 2 percent. CBS 2’s Marie Saavedra gets Cook County’s perspective on this new threat. If it feels like the news of this new variant came out of nowhere overnight, it’s because it did. B11529 was found in South Africa, and in the last eight hours, we’ve watched the world make changes because of it. Here at home, doctors say it’s worth being cautious. “We didn’t know this particular variant was on the horizon.” An overnight stunner for doctors here...
    US crude oil prices fell by about 10 per cent per on Friday as global concerns grow over the Nu COVID variant and Joe Biden imposed new travel bans. West Texas Intermediate crude futures, the US oil benchmark, dropped $68.85 per barrel on Friday after soaring to near historic heights in recent weeks.  It had begun the day at around $77 dollars.   The sudden drop in oil prices came as the Dow Jones Industrial Average reported a 1,000 point drop, or about 2.5 per cent decrease, the worst drop of the year. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq both reported a drop of 2.2 per cent.  The blow to the national economy arrived as the World Health Organization warned of the 'most infectious' variant of COVID-19 yet, named Nu or Omicron, in South Africa.  West Texas Intermediate crude futures serves as the benchmark for US oil prices. The cost per barrel dropped by about 10 per cent on Friday The Dow Jones tumbled on Friday morning by more than 1000 points   There are no recorded cases of the variant in the...
    Starting on Monday, the United States will restrict travel from South Africa and seven other African countries amid the new Omicron strain of the coronavirus, announced the White House on Friday. The United States will restrict travel to anyone who isn’t a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, and Malawi. Those eligible to enter the United States from those places must test negative for the coronavirus. The United States joins other nations including the United Kingdom in restricting travel from South Africa due to the new variant, which the World Heath Organization on Friday called Omicron – also the 15th letter of the Greek alphabet. In a statement on Friday, President Joe Biden said the following: This morning I was briefed by my chief medical advisor, Dr. Tony Fauci, and the members of our COVID response team, about the Omicron variant, which is spreading through Southern Africa. As a precautionary measure until we have more information, I am ordering additional air travel restrictions from South Africa and seven other countries. These new...
    CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — Golf, cricket and rugby became the first major sports to be affected by the new COVID-19 variant on Friday, prompting fears of renewed travel restrictions and disrupted events just as they were returning to normal nearly two years into the pandemic. European golfers withdrew midway through the season-opening DP World Tour tournament in Johannesburg and were scrambling to catch flights out of South Africa. Visiting cricket and rugby teams were doing the same. Golf was the first to be hit by the emergence of the new B.1.1.529 variant that was initially identified in South Africa and is causing concern over fears that it may be more transmissible than current variants and resistant to vaccines. It has already been detected in Israel, Hong Kong and Belgium as well as several other countries in southern Africa. While the start of the World Tour was ruined, rugby games in South Africa in a new European-South African tournament were postponed “due to the sudden developments,” organizers said. A tour to South Africa by India’s cricket team next month...
    The U.S. will restrict travel for non-U.S. citizens from South Africa and seven other countires on Monday after the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) labeled a new coronavirus strain a “variant of concern.” The U.S. will also restrict travel from the following African nations: Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi. NEW Starting Monday, the Biden administration will restrict travel from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, and Malawi. American citizens and lawful permanent residents will still be able to enter the U.S. but must show a negative COVID test — Zolan Kanno-Youngs (@KannoYoungs) November 26, 2021 CNBC reports: [The] World Health Organization assigned the newly identified variant the Greek letter omicron and formally recognized the strain, previously referred to as lineage B.1.1.529, as a “variant of concern.” Health experts are deeply concerned about the transmissibility of the omicron variant given that it has an unusual constellation of mutations and a profile that is different from other variants of concern. It is not clear how severe infections would be for vaccinated patients. It is feared a sharp upswing of Covid cases in...
    LOS ANGELES (CNN) – President Joe Biden announced Friday the US will restrict travel from South Africa and seven other countries starting Monday as a new coronavirus variant has emerged. Acting on advice from Dr. Anthony Fauci and the CDC, the Biden administration will restrict travel from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi. READ MORE: Black Friday Shoppers Return Despite Pandemic, Recent Rash Of Smash-And-Grab RobberiesThe decision to restrict travel comes as the federal government is still attempting to learn more about the new variant, which has been named Omicron. They need to see more sequencing, but after discussing what they’ve seen so far, officials decided to halt travel from these other countries out of concern about what they don’t yet know. Biden was briefed today on the new coronavirus variant circulating in southern Africa, he said in the announcement. Officials, who are still learning more about the variant, said the policy was implemented out of an abundance of caution given the WHO has now identified this as a variant of concern. “Our scientists and public...
    Manufacturers of Americas most used vaccines are saying that they can quickly respond to challenges presented by the South African Nu variant. The recently emerged variant is believed to be the most infectious yet, and some fear it could evade protection provided but the current crop of COVID-19 vaccines. Pfizer, BioNTech and Moderna, who are responsible for producing the two most common vaccines in the U.S., have all said they can quickly update the vaccines to provide protection against the emerging variant, if necessary. While the variant is yet to have been detected in the United States, it has appeared in multiple countries in Africa and Europe, keeping American officials on high alert. CNBC's Meg Tirell (pictured) reports that Pfizer and Moderna both are taking action to potentially update their COVID-19 vaccines if need be in wake of the newly discovered South African virus strain The new strain has over 30 mutations, it what has been described as a 'constellation' by some 'Moderna and BioNTech and Pfizer tell us that they are already looking at this very closely and have...
    NANTUCKET, Mass. (AP) — US to ban travel from South Africa, 7 other African nations by non-US citizens beginning Monday due to COVID-19 variant. Copyright © 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.
    JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South African golfer Thriston Lawrence shot another 6-under 65 to finish his second round atop the leaderboard of the Joburg Open on Friday, while a large number of European players withdrew because of a new COVID-19 variant. Lawrence was on 12-under 130 at the halfway mark to lead compatriot Zander Lombard (67) by four strokes on a day when play was again interrupted by bad weather before being suspended because of fading light. The second round will finish early Saturday. But the tournament was overshadowed by news of European governments banning flights to counter the spread of a new COVID-19 variant. A World Health Organization panel named the variant “omicron” and classified it as a highly transmissible virus of concern. The U.K. banned flights from South Africa and five other southern African countries and the 27-nation European Union later imposed its own temporary ban. Many of the British and Irish players scrambled to return home on Friday. The Joburg Open marks the start of the inaugural season of the DP World Tour following the rebranding of the...
    By RAF CASERT BRUSSELS (AP) — The discovery of a new coronavirus variant sent a chill through much of the world Friday as nations raced to halt air travel, markets fell sharply and scientists held emergency meetings to weigh the exact risks, which were largely unknown. A World Health Organization panel named the variant “omicron” and classified it as a highly transmissible virus of concern, the same category that includes the delta variant, the world’s most prevalent. The panel said early evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection. Medical experts, including the World Health Organization, warned against any overreaction before the variant that originated in southern Africa was better understood. But a jittery world feared the worst nearly two years after COVID-19 emerged and triggered a pandemic that has killed more than 5 million people around the globe. “We must move quickly and at the earliest possible moment,” British Health Secretary Sajid Javid told lawmakers. There was no immediate indication whether the variant causes more severe disease. As with other variants, some infected people display no symptoms, South African experts...
    BRUSSELS (AP) — The discovery of a new coronavirus variant sent a chill through much of the world Friday as nations raced to halt air travel, markets fell sharply and scientists held emergency meetings to weigh the exact risks, which were largely unknown. Medical experts, including the World Health Organization, warned against any overreaction before the variant that originated in southern Africa was better understood. But a jittery world feared the worst nearly two years after COVID-19 emerged and triggered a pandemic that has killed more than 5 million people around the globe. British Health Secretary Sajid Javid told lawmakers that the newest variant may be more transmissible than the delta variant and render vaccines less effective. “We must move quickly and at the earliest possible moment,” Javid said. There was no immediate indication that the variant causes more severe disease. As with other variants, some infected people display no symptoms, South African experts said. Even though some of the genetic changes appear worrisome, it was unclear if the new variant would pose a significant public health threat. Some previous...
    White House Chief Medical Adviser Anthony Fauci gives his opening statement before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions hearing on "Next Steps: The Road Ahead for the COVID-19 Response" on Capitol Hill in Washington, November 4, 2021.Elizabeth Frantz | Reuters The U.S. will speak Friday with scientists from South Africa to "get the facts" on the emerging, heavily mutated Covid-19 variant detected there in a small number of samples, White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN's "New Day." Reviewing South Africa's research will help the U.S. better understand whether the novel B.1.1.529 variant can evade the antibody protection against the virus provided by vaccines and previous infection, Fauci said. With countries across Europe and Asia imposing travel restrictions on several nations in southern Africa, Fauci added that analyzing the data could help determine whether similar measures might also be necessary in the U.S. "This is really something that's in motion," Fauci said. "And we just arranged, right now, a discussion between our scientists and the South African scientists a little bit later in the morning to...
    Medical experts have been fearing that a new COVID-19 variant would emerge that is even more infectious than the Delta variant, and a new mutation that has emerged in South Africa has some doctors expressing concerns. One of them is 80-year-old expert immunologist Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden’s top White House medical adviser. Fauci discussed this new South African variant, which is called B.1.1.529, during a Friday, November 26 appearance on CNN’s “New Day.” Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told “New Day” host Brianna Keilar that the variant “has some mutations that are raising some concern, particularly with regard to possible transmissibility increase and possible evasion of immune response.” Fauci added, “We don’t know that for sure right now. This is really something that’s in motion…. It is something that has emerged in South Africa and seems to be spreading in a reasonably rapid rate.” A new concerning coronavirus variant identified in South Africa. \n\nDr. Anthony Fauci joins @NewDay\u00a0and says "they are in very active communication" with...
    U.S. scientists will talk with South African scientists on Friday about the threat of the new B.1.1.529 COVID-19 variant, including whether or not it can evade antibodies. In an interview on CNN's "New Day," National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Dr. Anthony Fauci said that the variant was raising concerns about the possibility of "transmissibility increase" and its ability to evade immune response.  "We don't know that for sure right now," Fauci said. "This is really something that's in motion and we just arranged right now a discussion between our scientists and the South African scientists, a little bit later in the morning to really get the facts – because you're hearing a lot of things back and forth." "We want to find out, scientists to scientists, exactly what is going on," he said. "But it's something that has emerged in South Africa and seems to be spreading at a reasonably rapid rate, in the sense of when they do test positivity they're seeing it's a bit more widespread in South Africa than was originally felt a...
    Concerns are growing over a new variant of the COVID-19 virus in South Africa. The World Health Organization announced Thursday that it is monitoring a new variant of the coronavirus and has scheduled a closed-door emergency meeting on Friday to discuss how it could affect vaccines and treatments. The variant, labeled B.1.1.529, has been detected in small numbers in South Africa. "We don't know very much about this yet. What we do know is that this variant has a large number of mutations. And the concern is that when you have so many mutations, it can have an impact on how the virus behaves," Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO's technical lead on COVID-19, said in a Q&A streamed to WHO's social media platforms. AFGHAN GIRL FROM NAT GEO COVER EVACUATED TO ITALY Dr @mvankerkhove gives an update on #COVID19 virus variant B.1.1.529, during the #AskWHO session on 25 November 2021 ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/ZpflfEYzW9— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) November 25, 2021 The new variant reportedly has an "unusual constellation of mutations," Professor Tulio de Oliveira, the...
    (CNN)The United States is working to quickly learn more about the newly identified coronavirus variant B.1.1.529, which was first identified in South Africa.South Africa's health minister announced Thursday the discovery of the variant, which appears to be spreading rapidly in parts of the country.A new Covid-19 variant with high number of mutations sparks travel bans and worries scientistsCurrently, "there's no indication" that B.1.1.529 is in the United States right now -- and US scientists are working closely with colleagues in South Africa to learn more about the emerging variant, Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden and director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Friday.The virus seems to be spreading "in a reasonably rapid rate," Fauci told CNN's Brianna Keilar. The variant so far has been detected in South Africa, Botswana, in a traveler to Hong Kong from South Africa -- and Belgium became the first European country to confirm a case.US scientists are in "very active communication" with South African scientists to learn more about the molecular makeup of the variant so...
    BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union said Friday it is planning to stop air travel from southern Africa to counter the spread of a new COVID-19 variant as the 27-nation bloc is battling a massive spike in cases. “The last thing we need is to bring in a new variant that will cause even more problems,” said German Health Minister Jens Spahn. EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement that she “proposes, in close coordination with the member states, to activate the emergency brake to stop air travel from the southern African region.” A new coronavirus variant has been detected in South Africa that scientists say is a concern because of its high number of mutations and rapid spread among young people in Gauteng, the country’s most populous province. Germany said von der Leyen’s proposal could be enacted as soon as Friday night. Spahn said airlines coming back from South Africa will only be able to transport German citizens home, and travelers will need to go into quarantine for 14 days whether they are vaccinated or...
    (CNN)The discovery of a new and potentially more transmissible coronavirus variant by South African health authorities has sparked a forceful reaction across the world with a number of countries banning travelers from several southern African countries.The newly identified variant, currently known as B.1.1.529, appears to be spreading rapidly in parts of South Africa and scientists are concerned that its unusually high number of mutations could make it more transmissible and result in immune evasion. "Initially it looked like some cluster outbreaks, but from yesterday, the indication came from our scientists from the Network of Genomic Surveillance that they were observing a new variant," Minister of Health Joe Phaahla said Thursday, stressing that it is currently unclear where the variant first emerged.It has so far been detected in South Africa, Botswana and in a traveler to Hong Kong from South Africa, Phaahla added. Reinfection from Covid-19 is rare, severe disease is even rarer, a study of people in Qatar findsTulio de Oliveira, the director of South Africa's Center for Epidemic Response and Innovation, said the variant has "many more mutations than...
    South African rand.RapidEye | iStock | Getty Images The South African rand on Friday fell sharply against the dollar after a new variant with many mutations was detected in the country. The currency fell to as low as 16.2391 against the greenback during Asia trading hours on Friday and was last trading about 1.6% weaker at 16.2215 per dollar. The losses came as investors scurried toward safe-haven currencies such as the Japanese yen, which strengthened about 0.6% against the greenback to 114.69 per dollar. The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against its peers, was at 96.712 — as compared with levels below 96.5 seen earlier this week. One currency analyst told CNBC's "Street Signs Asia" on Friday that the big move in the rand may be partially due to fewer trades being made during Asia hours. "This fundamental news of the new variant in [South] Africa, combined with thin liquidity in Asia, is definitely driving part of that price action," said Adarsh Sinha, co-head of Asia rates and foreign exchange strategy at Bank of America Securities. World Health...
    SOUTH Africa has slammed the UK's travel ban as "rushed" despite a new, more infectious Covid variant spreading among the young and unvaccinated at lightning speed. Senior minister Naledi Pandor urged the UK government to reconsider the ban that was introduced on Friday. 4South Africa has recorded 53 cases of the new 'horror' Covid variantCredit: Reuters 4Senior South African minister Naledi Pandor branded the UK's ban as 'rushed'Credit: Getty Slamming the move, Pandor, who runs the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, said: "Our immediate concern is the damage that this decision will cause to both the tourism industries and businesses of both countries." She suggested the UK had overreacted as the WHO had not yet issued advice on the new B.1.1.529 strain. On Friday, UK Health Minister Sajid Javid temporarily banned South Africans from entering Britain, tweeting: "COVID-19 UPDATE: UKSHA is investigating a new variants. More data is needed but we're taking precautions now. "From noon tomorrow, six African countries will be added to the red list, flights will be temporarily banned, and UK travellers must quarantine." SURGING...
    Concern over a mega-mutated strain of COVID has grown in the last 24 hours, with new variant spreading in South Africa and two cases detected in Hong Kong. Scientists are rushing to determine how transmissible the strain is, whether it’s more likely to evade the vaccine, and whether it causes more severe illness than other versions. “This is clearly a variant that we must be very serious about,” Ravindra Gupta, professor of clinical microbiology at the University of Cambridge, told the Associated Press. At the moment, the number of documented cases of B.1.1.529 is small—around 100—but health officials fear it may be fueling a dramatic surge in new cases in South Africa. The country—where less than half of all adults are vaccinated—went from about 200 new cases a day to 10 times that on Thursday. So far, the variant has been identified in only three places: South Africa, Botswana, and Hong Kong—where a visitor from South Africa tested positive while in quarantine, as did someone in a hotel room across from them. The United Kingdom reacted to the...
    Thousands of people are landing in the United States from South Africa every week, despite a new COVID-19 variant sparking such concern that Britain and Israel on Thursday effectively halted travel from the region. The variant is predominately found in Botswana - from where there are no direct flights to the U.S. - and also in neighboring South Africa. United Airlines currently fly direct from Johannesburg to New York City seven days a week, with the 16-hour flight leaving at 10pm and arriving at 7am in Newark. United also fly direct to New York City from Cape Town three times a week, on Monday, Thursday and Saturday. United flies Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, which can hold 290 people. Delta fly direct from Johannesburg to Atlanta on Saturday, Monday, and Thursday. They use Airbus A350-900, which can seat between 300 and 350 people. On Thursday Britain's health secretary, Sajid Javid sounded the alarm over what he termed the 'worst-ever' super-mutant COVID variant. A baby cries as her mother receives her Pfizer vaccine against COVID-19, in Diepsloot Township near Johannesburg, South Africa on...
    (CNN)South Africa's health minister announced Thursday the discovery of a new coronavirus variant that appears to be spreading rapidly in parts of the country. "Initially it looked like some cluster outbreaks, but from yesterday, the indication came from our scientists from the Network of Genomic Surveillance that they were observing a new variant," Minister of Health Joe Phaahla said, stressing that it is currently unclear where the variant -- currently dubbed B.1.1.529 -- first emerged.It has so far been detected in South Africa, Botswana and in a traveler to Hong Kong from South Africa, Phaahla added. Reinfection from Covid-19 is rare, severe disease is even rarer, a study of people in Qatar findsDuring a news briefing, genomic scientists said the variant has an unusually high number of mutations, with more than 30 in the key spike protein -- the structure the virus uses to get into the cells they attack.Professor Tulio de Oliveira, the director of the Center for Epidemic Response and Innovation, said the variant has "many more mutations than we have expected," adding it is "spreading very fast...