World Health Organisation

Covid: WHO urges those at risk from disease to delay travel over Omicron

In its latest travel advisory, the UN agency includes in that category people over 60, and those with conditions such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

It also restates its position that blanket travel bans do not prevent the spread of the variant.

South Africa alerted the world about the variant last week.

Many countries then proceeded to impose restrictions on travel from countries in southern Africa.

"Blanket travel bans will not prevent the international spread, and they place a heavy burden on lives and livelihoods," the WHO said in its statement.

Omicron: WHO warns of 'high infection risk' around globe

The variant could lead to severe consequences in some regions, the WHO said on Monday.

The head of the organisation, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, renewed a call for a global push to get vaccines to poorer nations.

Covid-19 is "not done with us" yet he warned.

The variant was detected in South Africa earlier this month with initial evidence suggesting it has a higher re-infection risk. South Africa has been praised for its prompt reporting of the variant.

WHO labels new Covid strain, named omicron

The U.N. health agency recognized the strain, first 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.

Covid virus may have killed 80k-180k health workers, WHO says

Healthcare workers must be prioritised for vaccines, WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, and he criticised unfairness in the distribution of jabs.

The deaths occurred between January 2020 and May of this year.

Earlier, another senior WHO official warned a lack of jabs could see the pandemic continue well into next year.

There are an estimated 135 million healthcare workers globally.

"Data from 119 countries suggest that on average, two in five healthcare workers globally are fully vaccinated," Dr Tedros said.

New WHO group may be last chance to find virus origins

It has nominated 26 experts to join the body, the Scientific Advisory Group on the Origins of Novel Pathogens (Sago).

More than a year-and-a-half since the virus was detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the question of how it first emerged remains unclear.

The team will consider if the virus jumped from animals to humans in Wuhan markets or leaked in a lab accident.

China has strongly refuted the second theory.

WHO renames UK and other variants with Greek letters

From now on the WHO will use Greek letters to refer to variants first detected in countries like the UK, South Africa and India.

The UK variant for instance is labelled as Alpha, the South African Beta, and the Indian as Delta.

The WHO said this was to simplify discussions but also to help remove some stigma from the names.

Earlier this month the Indian government criticised the naming of variant B.1.617.2 - first detected in the country last October - as the "Indian variant", though the WHO had never officially labelled it as such.

Delay child vaccinations and share jabs with Covax, says WHO

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Friday urged countries to supply more vaccines to the global fair-access scheme Covax.

The international distribution of Covid vaccines remains vastly uneven.

Since the first vaccines were approved in December, wealthier countries have bought up most of the supply.

Many are racing to vaccinate as much of their population as possible.

Covid: Serious failures in WHO and global response, report finds

The panel, set up by the World Health Organization, said the combined response of the WHO and global governments was a "toxic cocktail".

The WHO should have declared a global emergency earlier than it did, its report said, adding that without urgent change the world was vulnerable to another major disease outbreak.

More than 3.3 million people around the world have now died of Covid.

While the US and Europe are beginning to ease restrictions and resume some aspects of pre-pandemic life, the virus is still devastating parts of Asia.

Pacific countries press ahead with AstraZeneca rollout

That is despite several European countries and Australia limiting its use because of safety concerns.

In Australia, the Pfizer vaccine is now the preferred option for people under 50, Britain is offering an alternative for those under 30, while France and Belgium recommend AstraZeneca be given to those 55 and over.

European regulators said earlier this month they had found a possible link between AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine and a rare blood clotting problem that led to a small number of deaths.

Global Covid-19 infections rise for fourth consecutive week, deaths level off

The number of new deaths from the coronavirus levelled off after a six-week decrease, with just over 60,000 new deaths reported.

Europe and the Americas continued to account for nearly eight in 10 of all cases and deaths, while the only region to report a decline in fatalities was the Western Pacific, down nearly a third, compared to the previous week.

Infections rose notably in South East Asia, the Western Pacific, Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean, according to the World Health Organisation’s Weekly Epidemiological Update.