Health News Summary: Scotland Reports Fewer COVID-19 Hospitalizations With Omicron; COVID testing rules trigger Christmas travel chaos in Australia as cases hit record highs and more

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Here is a summary of the current health briefs.

Scotland reports fewer COVID-19 hospitalizations with Omicron

In Scotland, the Omicron variant of the coronavirus appears to be less likely to result in hospitalization for COVID-19 than Delta, according to an analysis of the first data released Wednesday ahead of the peer review. The updated statistics are in line with data released earlier Wednesday from South Africa and England, also ahead of the peer review.

COVID testing rules trigger Christmas travel chaos in Australia as cases hit record highs

Australia’s COVID-19 testing facilities were severely strained Thursday amid a record increase in the number of cases and as tens of thousands of domestic travelers flocked to centers to obtain test results. tests needed to travel interstate for Christmas. Most states require travelers to have a negative test result 72 hours before departure to be allowed entry, although Prime Minister Scott Morrison has urged them to relax the testing requirement, which he said reoriented resources that could be used to accelerate deployment. booster injections.

Philippines approves Merck’s COVID-19 pill for at-risk patients

The Philippines on Thursday approved the emergency use of Merck & Co Inc’s COVID-19 treatment pill for adult patients at risk of serious illness as it tries to boost the country’s drug arsenal for fight new variants. It has also approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5 to 11 so that the vaccine, which will be given in a pediatric formulation, can be administered once it becomes available, its chief of staff said. the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The risk of hospital stay for Omicron is 40-45% lower than in the Delta-UK study

The risk of having to stay in hospital for patients with the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is 40-45% lower than for patients with the Delta variant, according to an Imperial College London study released on Wednesday . “Overall, we find evidence of a reduced risk of hospitalization for Omicron compared to Delta infections, on average across all cases over the study period,” the researchers said of the study, which analyzed data from PCR-confirmed cases in England between December 1 and 14.

US clears Pfizer’s COVID-19 oral treatment, first for home use

The United States on Wednesday cleared Pfizer Inc’s COVID-19 antiviral pill for people 12 years and older at risk of serious illness, the first oral and home treatment, and a new tool against the rapidly spreading Omicron variant . Pfizer’s antiviral regimen, Paxlovid, was nearly 90% effective in preventing hospitalizations and death in patients at high risk for serious illness, according to data from the company’s clinical trial. Recent lab data suggests the drug retains its effectiveness against Omicron, Pfizer said.

Japan rules out changes to COVID-19 borders despite Omicron

The Japanese government does not plan to immediately change current restrictions on COVID-19, Cabinet Secretary-General Hirokazu Matsuno said on Thursday, a day after community transmission of the Omicron variant was discovered in the country. The government confirmed on Wednesday that a family of three based in the western city of Osaka was infected with the Omicron variant and that the origin of how they caught the virus could not be traced.

Chinese city of Xian on high alert imposes travel restrictions as COVID-19 cases rise

The northwestern Chinese city of Xian has placed strict restrictions on overseas travel as well as ordinary daily commute within the city as new COVID-19 outbreak sees community cases increase , but stopped before the large-scale lockdown as seen in Wuhan last year. The daily number of nationally transmitted COVID-19 infections with confirmed symptoms in Xian, a city of 13 million people, has increased for six consecutive days since December 17. The total number of local cases was over 200 during the period December 9-22, according to Reuters calculations based on official data released Thursday.

US tests struggle to keep up with Omicron

According to interviews with more than a dozen officials, health providers and testers. Some testing centers, such as the New York area’s CityMD, have had to close sites due to a lack of workers, causing long lines at others, they say. Demand is being exacerbated by a months-long shortage of rapid home tests at pharmacies that has worsened in the hardest-hit areas.

South African study offers hope to Omicron ahead of coronavirus second Christmas

South African data offered a glimmer of hope on Wednesday about the severity of the Omicron coronavirus variant, but World Health Organization officials warned it was too early to draw firm conclusions as the strain was spreading across the world. As the second Christmas of pandemic days approaches, countries have placed further restrictions on their citizens while worrying about the damage the variant could inflict on their economies.

Large US Holiday Gatherings Not Safe Even If Spurred On, Fauci Says

Americans vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19 may be with family over the holidays, but attending large gatherings is not safe, even for those who have received a booster dose, the leading US infectious disease expert said on Wednesday. Anthony Fauci. The United States faces a second Christmas of disrupted holiday plans, with an increase in infections fueled by the now-dominant Omicron variant of the coronavirus forcing many to cancel their trip, reconsider visiting loved ones and wondering to attend end of year celebrations.

(This story was not edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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