• Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Results for "Omicron"

China says restrictions on its travellers abroad discriminatory: Warns countermeasures

Piqued by several countries, including India, clamping curbs on Chinese travellers amid the massive surge of Covid in the country, China on Tuesday (3) said the restrictions are discriminatory and warned of reciprocal countermeasures. The US, Australia, Canada, India, Israel, Malaysia, Morocco, Qatar, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan and several EU…

Immune evasive Covid variant omicron XBB.1.5 spreads fast in US

The latest data released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has revealed that the Covid cased caused by the Omicron sub-variant XBB.1.5 have doubled in the past week. Now, more than 40 per cent of the Covid cases in the US are caused by this sub-variant which…

NoriZite nasal spray blocks infection with Omicron variant of Covid-19…

Laboratory studies have proved that NoriZite nasal spray can block the infection of the Omicron variant of Covid-19, Birmingham Biotech announced on Thursday (15). The research confirmed the complete inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 infection for up to 48 hours when exposed to the unique blend of carrageenan and gellan gum. The…

How you heat your home this winter can make you…

Experts have warned that the way Brits heat their homes this winter could damage their health, especially for those with heart and lung conditions. With the cost-of-living crisis continuing across the UK, many people are trying to reduce their gas and electricity bills by turning the heating off. However, this…

Covid in some ways will be there forever but worst…

COVID-19 in some ways will be there forever but the worst days of the pandemic are "absolutely" over, Dr Ashish K Jha, the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, said on Tuesday. Speaking at the 20th Hindustan Times Leadership Summit, Jha said given the high levels of immunity in the population…

UK researchers cure man who had Covid for 411 days

British researchers announced Friday they have cured a man who was continually infected with Covid for 411 days by analysing the genetic code of his particular virus to find the right treatment. Persistent Covid infection - which is different to long Covid or repeated bouts of the disease - occurs…

Half of adults in England and Wales receive ‘phishing’ messages,…

New data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that half of adults in England and Wales received a 'phishing' message for the year ending March 2022. According to results from the Telephone-operated Crime Survey of England and Wales (TCSEW), those aged 25 to 44 years are most likely…

UK becomes first country to approve COVID booster vaccine targeting…

The UK has become the first country to approve a so-called bivalent COVID vaccine that targets both the original strain of COVID-19 and the newer Omicron variant, British health authorities announced on Monday (15). The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said it had given the green light to…

Rushed back from US last December to stop Britain from…

Conservative leadership candidate Rishi Sunak revealed he rushed back home from the US in December last year to stop Britain from “sleepwalking into a national lockdown”.The Omicron variant of the coronavirus was raging around Christmas time last year triggering fears that the country would have to take harsh measures to…

UK weekly Covid-19 infections rise, over 50s to be offered…

AN estimated 3.5 million people in Britain had Covid-19 in the latest week of available data, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said on Friday (15), up nearly 30 per cent from the 2.7 million recorded in the previous week. Separately, the government announced that a new Covid booster jab…

Patients offered faster treatment under NHS ‘final push’ to slash…

PATIENTS are being offered faster treatment in different parts of the UK as part of an NHS (National Health Service) ‘final push’ to virtually eliminate the number waiting for two years or more. The NHS Elective Recovery Plan, published earlier this year, set out how the health service would address…

Omicron less likely to cause long COVID than previous variants:…

The Omicron variant of coronavirus is less likely to cause long COVID than previous variants, according to the first peer-reviewed study of its kind from the United Kingdom.Researchers at King's College London, using data from the ZOE COVID Symptom study app, found the odds of developing long COVID after infection…

Are Covid cases going up in the UK? This interactive…

England reported a jump in Covid-19 cases for the first time since March, as the virus appears to be bouncing back after a months-long lull.According to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), 797,500 people tested positive for the disease on June 2, accounting for 1.46 per cent of…

Estimated 2 million have long Covid in UK: official data

An estimated two million people in the UK, which represents around three percent of the population, have reported experiencing so-called long Covid, official statistics showed Wednesday. Around 1.4 million of them said they first had Covid-19, or suspected they had the virus, at least 12 weeks previously, according to the…

Nearly three million people receive lifesaving NHS cancer checks

A record three million people have received vital NHS cancer tests from March 2021 to Feb 2022 compared to 2.4 million people referred before the pandemic, the latest data revealed.  Even at the peak of the Omicron wave, referrals for suspected cancer were at 116 per cent of pre-pandemic levels…

Kamala Harris tests positive for Covid

US vice president Kamala Harris tested positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday (26) but is asymptomatic and not considered a current close contact of president Joe Biden, the White House said. "Today, vice president Harris tested positive for Covid-19 on rapid and PCR tests. She has exhibited no symptoms, will isolate…

UK patient was Covid positive for record 505 days, say…

BRITISH researchers believe they have documented the longest-known Covid-19 infection, in a patient who tested positive for a total of 505 days before their death. The previous record for persistent infection -- rather than repeated bouts of Covid -- is thought to be 335 days, the team from King's College…

Call for evidence opens for 10-year mental health plan

THE UK on Tuesday (12) started a call for evidence to form a new 10-year mental health plan to level up mental health across the country and put mental and physical health on an equal footing. People with lived experience of mental health conditions and those who support people with…

New Covid Variant in UK: Here’s what Health Security Agency…

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is studying XE, a mutation of the BA.1 and BA.2 Omicron strains, and 637 XE cases were detected in England as of March 22, according to official figures. A NEW Covid-19 variant called XE has been found in the UK and early indications suggest…

600,000 more catch Covid in UK in a week

RATES of Covid infection have hit a record high in the UK, official data showed, just as free government testing ended for millions in England. Some 4.9 million people in the UK are estimated to have had Covid-19 in the week ending March 26, or 600,000 more than the previous…

‘Hybrid immunity’ gives best Covid protection: studies

People with the "hybrid immunity" of having been both fully vaccinated and previously infected with Covid-19 have the strongest protection against the virus, two new studies said on Friday. After two years of a pandemic that has seen nearly 500 million people infected and billions vaccinated, the studies highlighted the…

UK to continue free Covid tests for healthcare workers, vulnerable

BRITAIN said that healthcare workers, social care staff and the most vulnerable will still get Covid-19 tests without any charge when it ends free testing for the general public next month. When he announced all coronavirus restrictions would be scrapped in February, prime minister Boris Johnson said free tests would…

UK Covid cases ‘record high’ with 4.2m infected last week

CORONAVIRUS levels reached all-time highs in Scotland and Wales and are nearing record levels in England, with around 4.2 million people infected across the UK last week, official figures showed Friday (25).The steep rise in infections is due to Omicron BA.2, a more transmissible variant of Omicron, said the Office…

England to roll out fourth Covid shot: NHS

ENGLAND will begin rolling out its fourth coronavirus vaccine shot this week, the National Health Service (NHS) announced Sunday (20), with millions of the country's most vulnerable people being offered jabs.The latest booster shot will be made available to care home residents, people aged over 75 and the immunosuppressed.Around five…

Britain approves antibody-based Covid-19 treatment

BRITAIN's medicines regulator has approved AstraZeneca's antibody-based Covid-19 treatment for adults with poor immune response, marking a major step in the fight against the pandemic as infections surge globally amid the spread of the Omicron variant. The decision to grant approval for the treatment was endorsed by the government's independent…

Rise in Covid hospital admissions was ‘expected’, says Javid

UK health secretary has said that an increase in Covid infections following the easing of coronavirus restrictions was ‘expected’.  Sajid Javid told Sky News that there is no “cause for concern” despite the number of people in hospital with Covid climbing back above 10,000. Daily Covid cases in the UK have…

Britain outlines inquiry terms as Covid-19 prevalence rises

Britain has outlined the terms of reference of its planned inquiry into the Covid-19 pandemic, looking into the preparedness of the country as well as the public health and economic response to the coronavirus. Meanwhile, England's Covid-19 prevalence rose to 1 in 25 in the week ending March 5, Britain's…

No compulsory vaccination for health staff in England

NHS and social care workers in England will no longer have to have a Covid jab as a condition of employment from later this month, the government said. The UK government announced on January 31 that it intended to revoke the regulations that made vaccination compulsory, subject to the results…

Novavax’s vaccine shows long-term protection against Covid in UK study

AN extended analysis of a late-stage study conducted in the UK showed that Novavax's Covid-19 vaccine provided long-term protection against the coronavirus. The protein-based vaccine, NVX-CoV2373, continued to provide protection and maintained overall efficacy of 82.7 per cent over a six-month period, the company said. Additionally, vaccine efficacy of 82.5…

EXCLUSIVE: Don’t stop Covid tests

Business and doctors’ leaders have criticised the government’s decision to stop free lateral flow tests in April. The prime minister, Boris Johnson, announced the decision in his “living with Covid” statement to parliament on Monday (21). He told MPs that all Covid restrictions would end in England on Thursday (24)…

Fresh approach to tackling persistent vaccine hesitancy

THE spectacular successes of the vaccination and booster rollouts have gone a very long way in pushing omicron into retreat, allowing us to relax the ‘Plan B’ Covid restrictions imposed before Christmas. Yet, there are five million or so people in this country – many from our ethnic minority communities…

Young innovator’s device ‘can breathe new life into muscles’

AN AWARD-WINNING young innovator said the experience of watching his mother on a ventilator in his childhood, as well as the difficulties faced by patients during the Covid-19 pandemic, inspired him to develop his product. Oxford-based Mihir Sheth, 28, developed RespiTrain, a device that keeps a patient’s muscles working when…

Biological E. Covid shot gets India emergency approval for 12-18…

INDIAN vaccine maker Biological E. Ltd said on Monday (21) its Covid-19 vaccine received an emergency use approval in the country for use in children aged 12 to 18. The company's shot, called Corbevax, is the third vaccine approved for use in children aged 12 and above in India, joining…

Johnson scraps Covid restrictions in England

BRITISH prime minister Boris Johnson on Monday said he would end all coronavirus restrictions in England including mandatory self-isolation for people with Covid-19 and free testing, drawing scepticism from some scientists and political opponents. Johnson's "living with Covid" plan has sparked alarm that it is premature and will leave the…

Vivek Murthy, family test positive for Covid-19

INDIAN AMERICAN US surgeon general Dr Vivek Murthy has said that he along with his wife and two young children have tested positive for Covid-19. In a series of tweets on Friday (18), Dr Murthy said that his four-year-old daughter last week tested positive for the virus first with fever…

UK retail sales recover more than expected from Omicron knock

BRITISH retail sales grew faster than expected in January, recovering about half the losses suffered when a wave of coronavirus cases caused many shoppers to stay at home during December. Retail sales volumes rose by 1.9 per cent in January after a 4.0 per cent decline in December, the largest…

British health chiefs urge Johnson not be to be ‘gung-ho’…

ENGLISH medical leaders on Friday (18) urged Boris Johnson not to be too "gung-ho" with the nation's health when he moves to end all pandemic restrictions with his plan to live with Covid-19 next week. Having scrapped virtually all Covid-19 restrictions in England already, Johnson on Monday (21) will set…

Covid: £23m to help “community champions” tackle vaccine hesitancy

By Kemi Badenoch THE spectacular successes of the vaccination and booster rollouts have gone a very long way in pushing omicron into retreat, allowing us to relax the ‘Plan B’ Covid restrictions imposed before Christmas. Yet, there are five million or so people in this country – many from our…

Tiger 3: Fresh details emerge on the last schedule of…

Starring Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif in their popular roles as Avinash Singh ‘Tiger’ Rathore and Zoya Rathore, Tiger 3 is one of the most-awaited films of 2022. It also stars Emraan Hashmi in the lead role. The Murder (2004) actor will be seen playing the lead antagonist in the…

Akshay Kumar’s Prithviraj to debut on June 10

Bollywood superstar Akshay Kumar on Thursday took to social media to unveil the characters of his much-anticipated historical war drama Prithviraj. He also announced the new release date for the magnum-opus. Produced by Aditya Chopra under Yash Raj Films, Prithviraj has missed its theatrical release a couple of times due…

Quarter of UK employers cite long Covid as driving absences:…

A quarter of British employers have cited long Covid as the main cause of long-term sickness absences, a survey by a professional body found on Tuesday (8), adding that it raised questions over how workers with the condition were being supported in their jobs. British prime minister Boris Johnson is…

Deepika Padukone and Prabhas to resume filming Project K

Indian actor Prabhas who rose to international fame after the riotous success of Baahubali: The Beginning (2015) and Baahubali: The Conclusion (2017), is presently working on several pan-India films. In one of his forthcoming pan-India projects, tentatively titled Project K, he stars alongside Deepika Padukone. Megastar Amitabh Bachchan also plays…

Covid: US death toll surpasses 900,000

THE US death toll from the Covid-19 pandemic surpassed 900,000 on Friday (4), according to the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus tracker. The toll had hit 800,000 dead in mid-December, just a month and a half ago. New cases linked to the Omicron variant are falling, but daily deaths are still…

India’s Covid deaths cross 500,000

INDIA's official Covid-19 death toll crossed 500,000 on Friday (4), a level some data analysts said was breached last year but was obscured by inaccurate surveys and unaccounted dead in the hinterlands, where millions remain vulnerable to the disease. The country, which has the fourth-highest tally of deaths globally, recorded…

Four Indian players Covid positive ahead of Windies series

FOUR Indian players, including senior batsman Shikhar Dhawan, have tested positive for coronavirus ahead of the home series against the West Indies, the country's cricket board said on Wednesday (2). Dhawan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shreyas Iyer and Navdeep Saini (standby player) returned positive tests along with three support staff members with…

Prabhas & Pooja Hegde’s Radhe Shyam books a new release…

Starring Prabhas and Pooja Hegde in lead roles, Radhe Shyam is one of the most anticipated pan-India films of 2022. Earlier, it was set to hit screens on January 14, but the makers had to put its release on hold due to the third wave of coronavirus, fuelled by the…

NHS race observatory welcomes plan to revoke mandatory jabs for…

BRITAIN plans to revoke its decision to make Covid-19 vaccination mandatory for health workers in England after warnings that an already-stretched service could face serious staff shortages. The NHS race and health observatory, which raised concerns last year that any mandatory Covid vaccination policy could be potentially discriminatory, welcomed the…

Mandatory Covid jabs for NHS staff in England under review

NHS workers and staff who work on the frontline in England have been asked to get fully vaccinated by April 1 or will be redeployed or dismissed. However, on Monday (31) the ministers will be meeting to decide whether or not to scrap mandatory Covid jabs for NHS workers in…

England revives Plan A: living with Covid

ENGLAND on Thursday (27) lifted coronavirus restrictions imposed to tackle the Omicron variant, with masks no longer required in enclosed places and vaccine passports shelved. The number of positive Covid-19 cases has fallen sharply over the past two weeks, and although still at high levels, have plateaued in recent days.…

UK to drop Covid test for vaccinated travellers from Feb…

FULLY vaccinated travellers arriving in Britain will no longer have to take a Covid-19 test, transport secretary Grant Shapps said on Monday (24), as the government sets out plans to move beyond restrictions and live with the virus. Currently, vaccinated people arriving in Britain are required to take a lateral…

India’s Omicron wave may intensify in coming weeks, experts say

INDIA'S Covid-19 infections, led by the Omicron variant, may see a sharp rise in the coming weeks, some top experts said, noting that the variant was already in community transmission and hospitals were seeing more patients despite a decline in cases in major cities. India reported 306,064 new infections over…

Delhi to stay under weekend, overnight Covid curfew

INDIA's capital Delhi will remain under curfew over the weekend and overnight to help curb the spread of the Omicron variant of coronavirus, the city's disaster management authority said, rejecting calls from businesses to ease restrictions. The authorities, however, said private offices will be allowed to be partially staffed but…

India extends curbs on international flights till Feb 28

INDIA has extended the suspension of scheduled international passenger flights till February 28, the country’s aviation regulator said on Wednesday (19).Scheduled international passenger flights have been suspended in India since March 23, 2020.However, special passenger flights have been operating between India and approximately 40 countries since July 2020 under air…

Most Covid rules in England to be scrapped as infections…

THE UK government announced Wednesday (19) that restrictions reimposed in England last month to fight the surge in Omicron coronavirus cases would be lifted, citing data that showed infections had peaked. Guidance advising people to work from home was lifted immediately, while from the middle of next week they will…

India’s new Covid cases hit eight-month high, full impact weeks…

INDIA reported new coronavirus infections at an eight-month high on Wednesday (19) and a government scientist warned it will take weeks before data on hospitalisations and deaths will show how severe the latest wave driven by the Omicron variant will be. The federal authorities have said Omicron was causing fewer…

‘Partygate’ bites Johnson as Tory MP Wakeford defects

BRITISH prime minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday (19) suffered an embarrassing defection from his Conservative party over revelations of lockdown-breaching events in Downing Street but vowed to fight on.Seven Conservatives said they had filed letters demanding a Tory vote of no-confidence in the embattled Johnson, and more than 20 others…

Omicron surge spoils India’s huge wedding season

INDIA’s Omicron-driven third wave has become a huge blow to the country's traditional wedding season, which runs from November to March, reported the Guardian. Recently, the New Delhi government, along with other restrictions, limited wedding guests to 20. According to the report, thousands of families are in the same agony of…

Ministers to decide on lifting England’s Covid curbs

Prime minister Boris Johnson will meet with his Cabinet on Wednesday (19) to review restrictions to tackle the spread of Covid-19 in England as he seeks to move attention away from parties held at his residence during coronavirus lockdowns. The restrictions, known as "Plan B" measures, were introduced by the…

Johnson prepares to let the UK live with the virus

UK prime minister Boris Johnson has signalled to his backbenchers that he is prepared to let the UK live with the virus, the Guardian reported.  All Covid restrictions in England could end in March as Johnson looking at ending mandatory self-isolation for positive Covid cases, the report added, quoting a senior…

India’s Gennova developing Omicron-specific Covid-19 vaccine

INDIA's Gennova Biopharmaceuticals is working on an Omicron-specific mRNA Covid-19 vaccine candidate, the company said, after a person with direct knowledge of the matter said the product could be ready in a month or two. "The Omicron-specific variant of the vaccine is under development and will be ready for human…

Lakshya Sen wins Covid-hit India Open finals

LAKSHYA SEN beat reigning men's world champion Loh Kean Yew to salvage some home side glory at the India Open after a tournament plagued by a Covid outbreak. Third seed Sen triumphed 24-22, 21-17 in less than an hour after breaking ahead of the Singaporean early in the second game,…

India’s main cities record sharp fall in Covid infections

INDIA'S capital Delhi and financial hub Mumbai have reported a big fall in Covid-19 infections in the past two days and most of those who contracted the virus have recovered at home, authorities said on Monday (17). Mumbai's daily new infections fell below 10,000 on Sunday (16) for the first…

Labour leader Starmer says Johnson ‘broke the law’

BRITAIN'S main opposition leader on Sunday (16) accused prime minister Boris Johnson of breaking the law, but the government vowed changes after an explosive series of revelations about lockdown-breaching parties. In the latest, Johnson's wife Carrie was photographed on the front page of the Sunday Telegraph embracing a friend at…

UK points to lifting of Covid curbs

BRITAIN said Sunday (16) it hopes to lift its latest Covid restrictions for England later this month with the Omicron surge of infections apparently fading.Last month, England switched to "Plan B" restrictions, re-imposing guidance to work from home and a requirement for attendees to show vaccination passports on entry to…

Johnson set to scrap Plan B Covid restrictions

PRIME MINISTER Boris Johnson is set to lift Plan B Covid restrictions in England, the Telegraph reported on Friday (14), as government scientists warn on dropping of Plan B prematurely. Covid passports and work from home guidance are widely expected inside Whitehall to be lifted from Jan. 26 for England,…

UK economy finally bigger than before pandemic in November

BRITAIN'S economy grew strongly in November to finally surpass its size just before the country went into its first Covid-19 lockdown, official data showed on Friday. The world's fifth-biggest economy expanded by a much faster than expected 0.9 per cent in November - before the latest wave of Covid-19 infections…

Hundreds of thousands gather for holy dip in India, defying…

HUNDREDS of thousands of Hindu worshippers gathered on the banks of India's Ganges river on Friday (14) for a holy bath despite a 30-fold rise in coronavirus cases in the past month. Hindus believe a bath in the holy river on the Jan. 14 Makarsankranti festival washes away sins. A…

Funding boost to vaccinate vulnerable communities

BACKED by £22.5 million of government funding, volunteers will reach out to councils with low vaccine uptake and get hard-to-reach communities jabbed. Community Vaccine Champions from Bradford to Brighton will be tapping into their local networks and encouraging people in their community to come forward and get vaccinated. The funding…

Kidambi, six others out of India Open with Covid

TOP SEED Kidambi Srikanth and six other players have withdrawn from the India Open badminton championship in New Delhi after testing positive for Covid-19, organisers said on Thursday (13). The event was originally meant to feature more than 200 players from 19 countries but is being held behind closed doors…

British financial services achieve third quarter of growth, survey says

BRITAIN'S financial services grew for the third quarter in a row in the last three months of 2021 and at their fastest pace since mid-2017, even though Covid-19 dampened optimism, a survey of 105 firms in the sector showed. A year since the Brexit transition period ended, the health of…

India’s big cities could see Covid cases peak next week

NEW Covid-19 infections in Indian cities such as capital New Delhi and Mumbai could peak next week after rising rapidly, experts said on Thursday (13), as the country reported the highest number of daily cases since late May. The 247,417 new infections were more than 30 times higher daily cases…

EXCLUSIVE: Lord Bilimoria urges UK government to “lower taxes to…

The president of the organisation which speaks for UK businesses has urged the government to lower taxes immediately to help the country’s “very fragile economy”. Speaking exclusively to Eastern Eye, Lord [Karan] Bilimoria, founder of Cobra Beer, said that families and businesses were suffering from a triple whammy of higher…

Cost of living crisis: Sunak tries to quell growing Conservative…

UK chancellor Rishi Sunak will try to quell growing Conservative unrest over the cost of living as delegations of MPs press him to cancel a planned tax rise and ditch VAT on energy bills in exchange for savings on tackling the pandemic, the Guardian reported.  Sunak is committed to national…

A million Hindu worshippers set to throng India’s Ganges for…

NEARLY one million Hindu worshippers are expected to gather on the banks of the Ganges river this Friday (14) and Saturday (15) for a holy bathe despite galloping Covid-19 infections across the country, an official said on Tuesday (11). India reported 168,063 new Covid-19 infections on Tuesday, a 20-fold rise…

Heathrow passenger traffic dives to quarter of pre-Covid levels

HEATHROW Airport handled 19.4 million passengers in 2021, less than a quarter of pre-pandemic levels and lower than 2020, after omicron sparked a run of cancellations in December. Britain's biggest airport said on Tuesday (11) that at least 600,000 passengers cancelled travel plans from Heathrow in December as new travel…

India begins booster campaign as Omicron cases soar

India began a Covid-19 booster shot campaign for frontline workers and vulnerable people aged 60 and above on Monday as authorities grapple with a rapidly escalating outbreak driven by the Omicron variant. Daily case numbers are approaching the enormous figures seen last year, when thousands died each day and workers…

Dulquer Salmaan puts the release of his film Salute on…

Dulquer Salmaan took to his Instagram handle and posted a note, writing that the team had to take the decision keeping the safety of the audiences in mind. Well-known actor Dulquer Salmaan on Monday announced that his much-anticipated Malayalam crime thriller Salute has been pushed from its scheduled release of…

Elections in India’s five states from Feb 10-Mar 7

UTTAR PRADESH, India's most populous state and a key battleground for prime minister Narendra Modi and opposition groups, will hold elections in seven phases starting from Feb. 10, chief election commissioner Sushil Chandra said on Saturday (8). The outcome of the election in the northern state, currently ruled by Modi's…

India’s Covid cases multiply, vulnerable groups given boosters

INDIA began administering booster doses of Covid-19 vaccine to frontline workers and vulnerable elderly people on Monday (10), with the fast-spreading Omicron variant fuelling an almost eight-fold rise in daily infections since the start of the year. India reported 179,723 new cases on Monday (10), most of them in the…

Britain puts private health firms on high alert as Omicron…

BRITAIN on Monday (10) put the biggest private health companies on high alert to deliver crucial treatments such as cancer surgery should Omicron overwhelm National Health Service hospitals in England. The United Kingdom's death toll from the Covid-19 pandemic stands at 150,154, the world's seventh worst official Covid toll after…

Seven decades after extinction, cheetahs set to return to India

SEVEN decades since they were hunted to extinction by the British colonists, cheetahs are set to return in India, thanks to their reintroduction in the country’s wild from southern Africa. The action plan for the project, which was conceived in 2009, was released last week. According to The Telegraph, the…

Djokovic readies vaccine exemption case for Australian visa showdown

TENNIS world number one Novak Djokovic readied his legal guns on Sunday (9) for a battle to stay in Melbourne and defend his Australian Open title, arguing he has the all-clear because of a positive coronavirus test in December. Djokovic's fight to overturn the shock cancellation of his visa and…

UK Covid-19 death toll exceeds 150,000 after Omicron surge

THE United Kingdom's official death toll from the Covid-19 pandemic rose above 150,000 on Saturday (8), government figures showed, following a record wave of cases caused by the Omicron variant. Some 313 deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test were reported on Saturday, taking the total number of…

Restrictions imposed in India as Covid-19 cases surge

INDIA reported 159,632 new Covid-19 cases on Sunday (9), as the Omicron variant of the coronavirus continues to spread rapidly in the country, nudging several state governments to impose fresh restrictions. India's richest state, Maharashtra, said on Saturday (8) it would close swimming pools and gyms from Monday (10) while…

Karachi launches door-to-door COVID-19 vaccination for women

Pakistan’s largest city Karachi is launching a door-to-door campaign to vaccinate women, who are lagging behind men in rates of coronavirus inoculation as the country enters a fifth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, a senior official said on Friday. Pakistan on Friday reported nearly 1,300 cases in a single day,…

Indian court allows huge Hindu festival despite Covid concerns

An Indian court on Friday rejected a bid to cancel a major Hindu festival despite fears the vast gathering could spread coronavirus infections as the country sees an Omicron-driven surge in cases. Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to attend the annual Gangasagar Mela festival, which begins Saturday on…

World passes 300 million Covid cases as Omicron breaks records

The total number of Covid-19 cases registered worldwide passed 300 million on Friday, with the Omicron variant's rapid spread setting new infection records in dozens of countries over the last week. In the past seven days, 34 countries have recorded their highest number of weekly cases since the start of…

Britain calls in military to help NHS Covid staffing crunch

BRITAIN'S Ministry of Defence on Friday (7) said that it had begun the deployment of the military to support hospitals experiencing staff shortages and extreme pressures due to record Covid-19 cases in the country. The government said that 200 Armed Forces personnel had been made available to support the National…

Omicron: India fears another Covid catastrophe

HAUNTED by the spectre of last year's crisis, India is bracing for a deluge of Covid-19 cases, with authorities of various megacities bringing in restrictions in a bid to keep infections in check. Case numbers have yet to match the enormous figures seen last spring, when thousands died each day…

Johnson slams anti-vaxxers’ ‘mumbo jumbo’

British prime minister Boris Johnson on Thursday hit out at anti-vaccine campaigners' "mumbo jumbo" and "nonsense" in his toughest attack yet on those opposed to Covid-19 jabs. "I want to say to the anti-vax campaigners, the people who are putting this mumbo jumbo on social media: they are completely wrong,"…

Gujarat’s investor summit postponed due to Covid surge

INDIA’S Gujarat state government has decided to postpone the 10th edition of the Vibrant Gujarat Summit in the wake of a spike in Covid-19 cases. The three-day biennial summit was planned in Gandhinagar from Monday (10) to attract investments and delegations from partner countries and CEOs of top companies were…

Sundance Film Festival 2022 to be held virtually amid rising…

The Sundance Film Festival has announced that it is moving forward with a virtual edition instead of the previously planned hybrid format due to the new Covid-19 variant Omicron.         In a joint statement posted on the festival's website, Joana Vicente, CEO, Sundance Institute, and Tabitha Jackson, Festival Director, said there…

Omicron surge: India cancels election rallies

ELECTION rallies were cancelled in India's heartland Thursday (6) as authorities fret over a sudden Covid surge, driven by the Omicron variant, which has seen confirmed infections nearly triple in two days. Teeming crowds have thronged campaign events for next month's poll in Uttar Pradesh -- the country's most populous…

Britain reports record Covid-19 prevalence as Omicron surges

BRITAIN on Wednesday (5) reported record Covid-19 prevalence for the last week of 2021, with one in 15 people in England infected, as prime minister Boris Johnson said cases were increasing at the fastest rate ever. The increasing number of cases has put huge strains on public services such as…

Omicron spreads in India’s big cities but hospitalisations still low

INDIAN megacities Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata are experiencing a surge in Covid-19 cases, although without a corresponding rise in hospitalisations, but fears are growing about a spread to rural areas in coming days. India reported 90,928 new daily Covid-19 cases on Thursday (6), up nearly four-fold since the start of…

Staffing crisis may derail attempts to solve hospital backlog, say…

ATTEMPTS to deal with record waiting lists for hospital treatment caused by the Covid-19 pandemic are at risk of being derailed by a staffing crisis, which is being exacerbated by the Omicron wave, a lawmaker report said on Thursday (6). Hospitals are facing extreme pressure as they try to catch…

UK eases curbs for travel into England

THE UK government announced changes on Wednesday (5) to Covid travel rules for England, scrapping the need for visitors to have pre-departure tests and quarantine on arrival until they have tested negative. The new arrangements under which arrivals will be able to take a lateral flow in the first two…

Prabhas’ Radhe Shyam put on hold amid spike in Covid…

Radhe Shyam stars Prabhas in a dual role, with one of his characters being a palmist. The makers of Prabhas and Pooja Hegde’s much-anticipated film Radhe Shyam on Wednesday announced that they have decided to put the film’s release on hold. Directed by Radha Krishna Kumar, the big-ticket film was…

Indian doctors’ body raises PLAB2 test issue with Javid

AN ORGANISATION representing Indian doctors has raised the issue of cancelled qualification exams in the UK with health secretary Sajid Javid. The General Medical Council (GMC) announced on December 22 that it was cancelling all PLAB2 tests for foreign doctors in January and February 2022. However, this decision was made…

Bharat Biotech gets approval to test nasal Covid-19 shot as…

INDIA'S drug regulator on Wednesday granted approval to Bharat Biotech for conducting late-stage trials of its nasal Covid-19 vaccine to be used as a booster shot, according to a Mint report, which cited ANI. The vaccine maker submitted the late-stage trial application to the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI)…

Labour’s Starmer takes aim at Johnson

BRITISH opposition Labour leader Keir Starmer took aim at Boris Johnson's Conservative Party on Tuesday (4), saying he offered Britain "straight leadership" rather than the prime minister's "flawed" and "reckless" government. With Labour ahead of the governing Conservatives in opinion polls, Starmer used an address at the start of the…

Amid Omicron surge, Johnson resists another lockdown

BRITISH prime minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday (4) said that England could withstand a surge in Covid-19 infections without shutting down the economy as Britain reported another record daily high in cases, fuelled by the Omicron variant. Johnson has resisted imposing stringent lockdown measures in England, betting that a vaccine…

Akshay Kumar’s Prithviraj postponed due to sharp rise in coronavirus

The film was scheduled to enter theatres on 21st January 2022. According to reports, the release of Akshay Kumar’s upcoming historical drama Prithviraj has been postponed due to the sudden surge in coronavirus cases in India. Aside from Kumar, the film also stars former Miss World Manushi Chhillar who is…

Pakistan reports most Covid-19 cases in two months

PAKISTAN reported more than 700 Covid-19 cases in a single day on Monday (3), its highest tally in two months, as authorities warned of a fifth wave of infections. At least 708 cases in the past 24 hours pushed the positivity ratio to 1.55 per cent, the highest since October…

NHS trusts declare “critical incidents” amid Covid staff crisis

MANY NHS trusts across England have declared “critical incidents” amid soaring staff absences caused by Covid-19, The Guardian reported.  More than half a dozen trusts have issued alerts over “internal critical incidents” in recent days, as concerns mount that some may be unable to deliver vital care to patients, the…

Covid-hit cruise halted in Indian waters

MORE THAN 2,000 people travelling on a cruise ship in Indian waters have been prevented from disembarking after a Covid outbreak on board, authorities said.  The Empress set sail from Mumbai to the former Portuguese colony of Goa but was stopped by port authorities near its destination at the city…

Johnson says hospitals face ‘considerable pressure’

BRITISH prime minister Boris Johnson on Monday (3) said that the UK's state-run hospitals will face "considerable pressure" in the coming weeks due to the steep rise in virus infections. Speaking during a visit to a vaccine centre, Johnson said "the pressure on our NHS hospitals is going to be…

Covid: India launches drive to vaccinate children aged 15 to…

INDIA started vaccinating children aged 15 to 18 against the coronavirus on Monday (3) as it quickly expands its inoculation effort to cover the world's largest adolescent population amid fears the Omicron variant will drive a new surge of infections. Authorities on Monday (3) reported 33,750 new Covid-19 cases and…

English children to wear masks in classrooms

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 (2). "We want to maximise the number of children…

New Covid cases continue to rise in India

INDIA reported more than 27,000 new Covid-19 cases on Sunday (2), with infections sharply rising for a fifth consecutive day. The country's largest cities, including Delhi and the financial capital Mumbai, have seen a recent spike in Covid-19 cases, including those of the Omicron variant, which has triggered a fresh…

RRR release postponed again due to rise in Covid-19 cases

RRR, one of the most anticipated Indian films of 2022, has been postponed once again amid a surge in coronavirus cases in the country and concerns over the new Omicron variant. The film, directed by SS Rajamouli and produced by DVV Entertainments, was due on January 7, 2022. It stars…

Omicron hospitalisation risk around one third of Delta, UK analysis…

THE risk of hospitalisation with the Omicron variant of coronavirus is about one-third that of the Delta variant, according to British analysis of more than a million cases of both types in recent weeks. Britain is experiencing a surge in Covid-19 cases driven by the highly-transmissible Omicron variant, with record…

Omicron: India’s daily Covid-19 cases rise by 22,775

INDIA on Saturday (1) reported 22,775 new Covid-19 infections over the past 24 hours, health ministry data shows, adding to concerns for authorities around the country about the rising number of cases. The data indicates that thickly populated metros, such as the national capital New Delhi, financial centre Mumbai and…

England hospital staff absences double as virus surges

HOSPITAL staff absences due to Covid have more than doubled in a month in England as the virus surge puts strain on beds, according to data published Friday (31). The number of hospital staff ill or self-isolating due to the virus rose from 11,375 on November 29 to 24,362 on…

Prioritise Covid tests for NHS workers, says Javid as UK…

UK health secretary Sajid Javid has urged to ensure priority for NHS workers for Covid tests or risk a “devastating” impact on patient care, The Guardian reported.  Javid conceded to MPs that the supply of lateral flow kits would have to be “constrained” over the next fortnight in light of rocketing…

As virus surges, England builds temporary hospitals

England is building temporary hospitals to deal with a potential overspill of inpatients as surging virus cases put the country's health service on a "war footing", officials said Thursday. Fuelled by the highly contagious Omicron variant, daily cases have ballooned, standing at more than 183,000 on Wednesday. NHS England said…

England builds temporary hospitals to tackle potential overspill of inpatients

ENGLAND is building temporary hospitals to deal with a potential overspill of inpatients as surging virus cases put the country's health service on a "war footing", officials said Thursday (30). Fuelled by the highly contagious Omicron variant, daily cases have ballooned, standing at more than 183,000 on Wednesday (29). NHS…

India imposes stricter rules to prevent Covid-19 spread

INDIAN authorities started to impose stringent rules on Thursday (30) to prevent mass gatherings at parties and public venues ahead of new year celebrations as the nation sees a spike in Covid-19 infections. Night curfews have been imposed in all major cities and restaurants ordered to limit customers, officials said.…

Over 10,000 people hospitalised with Covid in England

THE number of people in hospital with Covid in England topped 10,000 on Wednesday (29), the highest total since March, as UK case numbers hit a new record. According to updated government figures, there were 10,462 people in hospital with Covid in England on Wednesday morning, the highest level since…

WHO worried for health systems over Covid cases ‘tsunami’

A "tsunami" of Omicron and Delta Covid-19 cases will pile pressure on health systems already being stretched to their limits, the WHO warned on Wednesday (29). The WHO said the Delta and Omicron variants of concern were "twin threats" that were driving new case numbers to record highs, leading to…

Omicron cases surge in Delhi and Maharashtra

THE total count of the highly transmissible Omicron coronavirus variant reached 781 in India on Wednesday (29), the health ministry said. Of the 781 cases, 241 people have been either discharged, recovered or migrated. Delhi has the highest Omicron count with 238 cases, followed by Maharashtra with 167 cases. The…

UK’s daily Covid infections hit record high of 129,471

BRITAIN reported a record 129,471 new cases of Covid-19 on Tuesday (28), a day after prime minister Boris Johnson said he would not bring in new restrictions this year to limit the spread of the highly transmissible Omicron variant of the virus. Johnson said on Monday (27) he would not…

UK seeks to mitigate workforce disruption from Omicron

THE BRITISH government has asked public sector managers to test their contingency plans against a worst-case scenario of 25 per cent staff absence as part of efforts to minimise disruption from the rapid spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19. With daily infection numbers at a record high and people…

South Africa study suggests Omicron could displace Delta

RESEARCH by South African scientists suggests that Omicron could displace the Delta variant of the coronavirus because infection with the new variant boosts immunity to the older one. The study only covered a small group of people and has not been peer-reviewed, but it found that people who were infected…

India to use only Covaxin shot to those aged 15…

INDIAN health ministry has said that Bharat Biotech's Covid-19 vaccine, Covaxin, will be the only shot available to children aged 15 to 18 when inoculation begins for them from next Monday (3).  "This (Covaxin) is the only vaccine with emergency use listing for the age-group 15-18," said the guidelines released by…

India boosts fight against Covid with Merck pill, two more…

INDIA has approved Merck's Covid-19 pill and two more vaccines for emergency use as the world's second most populous country braces for a possible spike in coronavirus cases due to the rapidly spreading Omicron variant. Asia's third-largest economy has already said it will allow Covid-19 booster shots for some of…

No new Covid curbs for England this year

ENGLAND will not get any new Covid-19 restrictions before the end of 2021, health minister Sajid Javid said on Monday (27), as the government awaits more evidence on whether the health service can cope with high infection rates. Prime minister Boris Johnson continues to resist new measures, which would be…

UK ministers risking emergence of new Covid variants, says Labour…

THE Labour party has claimed that ministers are risking the emergence of other Covid variants like Omicron by thwarting a bid by poorer countries to manufacture their own vaccines, The Guardian reported.  According to the opposition party, the government has “actively blocked countries in Africa and across the developing world from…

Johnson to examine hospital data before imposing additional Covid measures

BRITISH prime minister Boris Johnson will examine crucial hospital data on Monday (27) before making any new announcement on Covid measures, media reports said.  The Guardian reported that Johnson would “take stock” after being encouraged by improving data on Friday (24), a sign that No 10 is leaning away from…

England cleared to play after multiple Covid-19 cases hit camp

ENGLAND'S cricket team were cleared to play the second day of the third Ashes Test in Melbourne on Monday (27) after two members of support staff and two of their family members were forced to isolate after testing positive for Covid-19. A team spokesman initially reported only one positive test…

Omicron: New York sees increase in hospitalised children

WITH Omicron cases on the rise, New York health officials have reported an increase in hospitalised children, as the White House promised Sunday (26) to quickly resolve the country's Covid-19 test shortage. The New York state department of health warned "of an upward trend in pediatric hospitalisations associated with Covid-19,"…

India to start Covid-19 vaccines for ages 15 and up…

INDIA will open its Covid vaccination drive for adolescents and start administering booster doses to its at-risk adult population, prime minister Narendra Modi said. The highly-infectious Omicron variant has gained a foothold in the country, and the health ministry has raised concerns about its onward spread. "Omicron is a matter…

Indian restaurant’s recipe for success despite Covid hurdles

Dishoom boss's pride at feeding millions of children and NHS staff during pandemic IT IS probable that the hospitality trade will be grateful this Christmas and New Year for the chancellor’s £1 billion fund. According to global consultants Alix-Partners, one in 10 restaurants has been forced to shut permanently during…

India to give Covid-19 booster shots to healthcare workers from…

INDIA will start administering Covid-19 booster shots as a precautionary measure to healthcare and frontline workers from January 10, prime minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday (25), as cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant rose across the country. In a national address, Modi also said those aged 15-18 would start…

Crossbow-carrying intruder detained at Queen’s castle in London

A MAN armed with a crossbow who broke into Windsor Castle, where Queen Elizabeth II is spending Christmas, has been arrested and detained for mental health treatment, police said Sunday (26). "Security processes were triggered within moments of the man entering the grounds and he did not enter any buildings,"…

Modi tells states to ramp up health facilities amid Omicron…

INDIAN prime minister Narendra Modi on Thursday (23) asked chief minister of states to ramp up oxygen supplies and strengthen health infrastructure to contain a possible surge of Omicron cases ahead of the festive season, as gatherings in public spaces and markets grow in size. India has recorded 236 Omicron…

Indian court urges delay in state elections as Omicron spreads

AN Indian court urged prime minister Narendra Modi's government to suspend political rallies and election campaigns in poll-bound states amid the rising number of Omicron cases, a variant of Covid-19. Judges of the Allahabad High Court in the country's most populous Uttar Pradesh (UP) state said on Thursday (23) the…

UK says Omicron cases at much lower risk of hospital…

THERE is a lower risk of hospitalisation for people with the Omicron coronavirus variant compared to Delta, but the higher transmissibility of Omicron could still lead to significant numbers needing hospital treatment, the UK government said. Analysis of preliminary data by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) showed an individual…

AstraZeneca vaccine booster works against Omicron, Oxford study finds

A three-dose course of AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine is effective against the rapidly-spreading Omicron coronavirus variant, the pharmaceutical company said on Thursday (23), citing data from an Oxford University lab study. Findings from the study, yet to be published in a peer-reviewed medical journal, match those from rivals Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna…

Auto industry ‘may fully recover only by 2023’

INDIAN automobile dealers' body FADA on Thursday (23) said passenger vehicle supplies may get affected further if chip making countries go under lockdown due to the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. The industry body, however, noted that it expects the semiconductor shortage situation to normalise by the…

UK approves Covid jab for under-12s as new daily cases…

BRITISH regulators on Wednesday (22) approved Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine for use in children aged five to 11, as the country reported more than 100,000 new daily cases for the first time as Omicron surged. The developments came after the government said it was cutting the isolation period required for positive…

British data indicate lower hospitalisation rate for Omicron

TWO studies from Britain published Wednesday (22) showed Covid infections with Omicron are less likely to result in hospitalisation compared to the Delta variant, the latest research confirming a trend first identified in South Africa. The preliminary studies - one paper from Scotland and the other from England - were…

UK secures millions more antivirals to tackle Omicron

IN order to tackle Omicron variant of coronavirus, the UK government has secured millions more antivirals for NHS patients by signing two new contracts. The significant new deals have been accelerated following the emergence of the Omicron variant to protect vulnerable people over the coming months. The move would help…

AstraZeneca, Oxford aim to produce Omicron-targeted vaccine

ASTRAZENECA PLC said on Tuesday (21) it is working with Oxford University to produce a vaccine for the Omicron coronavirus variant, joining other vaccine-makers who are looking to develop the variant-specific vaccine. "Together with Oxford University, we have taken preliminary steps in producing an Omicron variant vaccine, in case it…

UK economy grew more slowly than thought before Omicron hit

BRITAIN'S economy grew more slowly than previously thought in the July-September period, before the Omicron variant of the coronavirus posed a further threat to the recovery later in the year, official data showed on Wednesday (22). Gross domestic product in the world's fifth-biggest economy increased by 1.1 per cent in…

EXCLUSIVE: As Omicron surge continues doctors’ leaders warn…NHS ON BRINK…

Senior Tories urge PM not to “exacerbate and aggravate” pandemic fallout One in 10 health workers could be forced to stop working because of Covid come the New Year, according to the chair of the British Medical Association (BMA). The warning comes as senior Conservatives urged the prime minister to…

4 travellers from UK test coronavirus positive in Goa

FOUR passengers from the UK tested positive for the coronavirus after arriving in Goa on Tuesday (21), state health minister Vishwajit Rane said. Goa’s government has set up a special facility at a primary health centre (PHC) at Cansaulim in South Goa district where Covid-19 patients are kept while their…

UK reduces Covid self-isolation to 7 days for most in…

THE BRITISH government said that from Wednesday (22), it was reducing the Covid-19 self-isolation period to seven days from 10 days for people in England who get a negative result on a lateral flow test two days in a row. With the Omicron variant spreading rapidly in Britain and record…

Sunak launches £1 billion support package for Covid-hit businesses

BRITAIN on Tuesday (21) launched a £1 billion support package for Covid-hit businesses, as staff absences from rising cases began to bite in the run-up to Christmas. Chancellor Rishi Sunak said some 200,000 firms would be eligible for one-off grants to offset losses from what is normally the busiest time…

UK expects Omicron to disrupt education during spring

BRITAIN’S government expects the Omicron variant to disrupt schools and colleges during the upcoming spring, as the education department has called on former teachers to fill staff absences in the New Year. In a statement, the department said, “the Omicron variant is expected to continue to cause increased staff absence…

Sunak to say more about hospitality support talks soon

BRITISH finance minister Rishi Sunak will talk soon about his discussions with representatives of the hospitality industry who are demanding more government support as the Omicron coronavirus variant hammers their sector, a government minister said. "He was in calls with industry leaders last night and he will be saying more…

Johnson says ‘we’re looking at all kinds of things’ to…

BRITISH prime minister Boris Johnson said on Monday (20) he was looking at all kinds of measures to keep the Omicron coronavirus variant under control as the situation was extremely difficult, cautioning that further restrictions might be needed. Britain has reported record levels of Covid-19 cases over the past week,…

India reports 200 Omicron cases

INDIA has recorded 200 cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant across 12 states, mostly in the western state of Maharashtra and New Delhi, the health ministry said on Tuesday (21). The country's tally of Omicron cases has nearly doubled within a week, but there have been no deaths reported so…

Spectators barred from South Africa-India matches

No tickets will be sold to the general public for the forthcoming Test and one-day international series between South Africa and India because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Cricket South Africa (CSA) announced on Monday. CSA said in a statement that a joint decision had been taken with the Board…

London cancels New Year event over virus surge

A MAJOR New Year celebration in London will be cancelled, the British capital's mayor said, as worries mount over a surge in virus cases sparked by the Omicron variant. Sadiq Khan said infections were at record levels in the city and he needed to do everything possible to slow the…

Virtual sessions line up to encourage Londoners to get jabbed

LONDON mayor Sadiq Khan has taken a lead in getting more people to vaccination centres as Omicron cases rise rapidly in the capital and the rest of the UK. As part of the city administration’s drive to tackle vaccine hesitancy, the mayor unveiled a series of virtual events to encourage…

Sunak resists new Covid restrictions before Christmas

BRITAIN'S finance secretary Rishi Sunak is one of 10 cabinet ministers who are resisting the introduction of new restrictions before Christmas to curb the spread of the Omicron variant by casting doubts on the accuracy of official modelling, the Times reported. The UK government's chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance told…

Foreign investors pull out £1.76 billion from Indian markets in…

FOREIGN portfolio investors (FPIs) pulled out Rs 176.96 billion (£1.76 bn) from the Indian markets during the month till Friday (17). The flight of foreign money is attributed to expectations of faster tapering by the US Federal Reserve and the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. According to data from depositories,…

Javid doesn’t rule out new Covid curbs before Christmas

BRITAIN'S health secretary on Sunday (19) declined to rule out the chance of further Covid-19 restrictions before Christmas, saying the spread of the Omicron variant was a very fast moving situation. Britain has reported a surge in Omicron cases, which government advisers said could be just the tip of the…

Investors lose £114 billion in two days as Indian stock…

INVESTORS have lost Rs 11.45 trillion (£114.34 billion) in two days as the Indian equity market continued to face severe drubbing amid a global selloff. The BSE benchmark Sensex plunged 1,189.73 points or 2.09 per cent to close at 55,822.01 on Monday (20). During the day, the index tanked 1,879.06 points to 55,132.68. It had…

Todiwala: Stop victimising the hospitality sector

Restaurant business badly impacted, says celebrity chef TV CHEF and restaurant owner Cyrus Todiwala has said the government needs to stop “victimising the hospitality industry” for the spread of Covid-19. Todiwala, who owns Cafe Spice Namaste at the edge of Royal Albert Wharf, Docklands, told Eastern Eye on Tuesday (14)…

More funding, vaccine ambassadors to boost vaccine uptake

AN additional £22.5million in funding and an army of vaccine ambassadors have been deployed across the UK to encourage vaccine uptake in the run-up to Christmas and the New year, a statement said.  The department for levelling up, housing and communities' community vaccines champion scheme will target 60 local authorities…

London declares ‘major incident’ over Omicron spread

LONDON mayor Sadiq Khan has declared a "major incident" in the British capital due to the spread of the Omicron variant. More than 65,000 new Covid cases were confirmed in London over the past seven days, and 26,418 cases reported in the last 24 hours -– the highest number since…

Mayors address climate migration challenge

LONDON and Dhaka may be separated by distance and different time zones but the people of the two cities share a common bond over spicy food and cricket. The city of London is home to more than 200,000 Bangladeshi-origin community, settled mainly in the East End, making significant contribution to…

Co-founder of UK’s Gurdwara Aid Gurdeep Singh dies at 59

A PROMINENT community hero is being mourned after he passed away last week. Gurdeep Singh was the co-founder of Gurdwara Aid, an independent Sikh service set up to help gurdwaras, and Sikh and non-Sikh charities in the UK. Through Gurdwara Aid, he played a key role in supporting Sikh places…

Johnson takes ‘responsibility’ for by-election disaster

BRITISH prime minister Boris Johnson said on Friday he took "personal responsibility" for a crushing by-election defeat in a constituency never previously lost by his Conservative party, which has prompted questions about his leadership after weeks of scandals. The historic loss in a seat Johnson's ruling Tories held with a…

Omicron more likely to reinfect than Delta, says study

THE risk of reinfection with the Omicron coronavirus variant is more than five times higher and it has shown no sign of being milder than Delta, a study showed, as cases soar across Europe and threaten year-end festivities. The results of the study by Imperial College London were based on…

UK reports record 93,045 Covid-19 cases as Omicron surges

BRITAIN reported record Covid-19 infections for the third consecutive day on Friday (17), with a rise to 93,045 new cases fuelled by the rapid spread of the Omicron variant of the virus. The government will hold an emergency committee meeting on Omicron at the weekend with the devolved administrations in…

British hospitality businesses reel from Omicron surge

Britain's pandemic-weary hospitality businesses have taken a fresh hit from soaring coronavirus cases fueled by the Omicron variant, as anxious customers curtail socialising and cancel bookings over the Christmas period. Pubs, restaurants and bars -- already struggling after nearly two years of reduced revenues due to the pandemic -- now…

South African man leaves India with fake Covid test result

THE police in the southern Indian state of Karnataka have arrested four persons on grounds of helping a South African national to leave the country’s shores with a fake negative coronavirus test report, officials said on Tuesday (14). The South African man tested tested positive for the coronavirus when he…

UK government and faith leaders join forces to support booster…

THE UK government and faith leaders have united in the national effort to see the people get Covid-19 doses in the wake of a surge in Omicron cases. The drive is being supported by religious leaders, including members of the Prime Minister’s Places of Worship Taskforce, the Archbishop of Canterbury,…

Sunak cuts short US trip to discuss new Covid-19 aid

BRITISH finance secretary Rishi Sunak cut short an official trip to the United States on Thursday (16) to consider help for Covid-hit hospitality businesses but said firms were already receiving support through tax reliefs. Britain has reported record numbers of new Covid-19 infections for two days running, and on Wednesday…

Profits and sales will be lower than expected, Boohoo says

ONLINE retailer Boohoo has warned that full-year profits and sales will be lower than expected after being hit by more customers returning clothes, delivery disruptions and surging costs, reported The Guardian.  Shares of the retailer plunged 15 per cent in response to its second warning in four months. However, the firm…

North Shropshire by-election: Tories lose seat to Lib Dems

PRIME minister Boris Johnson on Friday (17) suffered a crushing by-election defeat in a constituency never previously lost by the Conservatives, a result which raises questions about his leadership. The Tories won the seat in North Shropshire, central England, by a massive majority in 2019, but that was wiped out…

‘Panic’ in Britain as Omicron crisis bites ahead of Christmas

Soaring Omicron cases left Britons scrambling on Thursday to make alternative Christmas plans, faced with cancellations, long queues for vaccines and France shutting the border to UK visitors. Britain recorded a second consecutive record daily number of new Covid infections at more than 88,000 but the government has so far…

Indian cricketers touch down for South Africa tour

The Indian cricket team arrived in Johannesburg on Thursday and headed straight for their bio-secure base at the start of a curtailed South Africa tour. India will play three Tests and three one-day internationals despite a surge in coronavirus cases in South Africa, but four planned T20 internationals have been…

Sadiq Khan plans council tax rise, cut free travel for…

LONDON mayor Sadiq Khan said he would have to raise council tax in London and reduce free travel for over-60s, with the government yet to offer a deal to fund the pandemic-hit transport system, The Guardian reported. He accused ministers of planning to “unfairly punish Londoners” by refusing to agree…

Respect mask-wearing rules in pharmacies, urges NPA

FOLLOWING reports that many customers and patients are not wearing masks on pharmacy premises, National Pharmacy Association (NPA) has urged the public to respect mask-wearing rules. A recent survey of independent pharmacists conducted by the NPA revealed that in some pharmacies, less than half of patients are wearing masks. Urging…

25 million Britons get booster shots as virus continues to…

BRITAIN has administered booster shots to more than one-third of its population amid surging cases of new infections. The health department said “a record” 745,000 people received a third jab in the UK on Thursday (16) alone, taking the total to more than 25 million. Health secretary Sajid Javid said…

EXCLUSIVE: Alarm as Asians shun booster jabs

Revealed: Fewer than one in four has had third vaccination Health experts are urging south Asians to get their booster jab after Eastern Eye revealed that fewer than one in four has taken a third vaccine. Analysis by this newspaper suggests that as of 5 December, only 22.6 per cent…

England’s chief medical officer urges to scale back Christmas plans

ENGLAND's chief medical officer warned people not to mix with others unless they have to in the run-up to Christmas after Britain recorded its most daily coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic. With a new highly transmissible Omicron variant of the virus surging across Britain, a further 78,610…

UK to lift Covid travel ban on arrivals from Africa

THE UK is to drop 11 African countries including South Africa from its "red list" barring incoming travel, ministers said on Tuesday (14). From 0400 GMT on Wednesday (15), all will be removed from the list, said transport secretary Grant Shapps. The UK government had responded to the identification of…

NHS cannot deliver extra Covid-19 rapid tests to pharmacies

THE NHS has told pharmacies that it cannot increase the number of Covid-19 rapid tests it delivers each day, The Telegraph reported.  Infections from the Omicron variant of the coronavirus have risen in the UK with the number of new cases reaching 59,610 on Tuesday (14), the highest figure since…

International travel depends on Omicron situation, says Indian minister

INDIAN aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia has said that the normalisation of international flights will depend on the Omicron scenario. He added that concerned authorities will watch the situation as it unfolds. "Keeping in mind the health of the people, we cannot dissociate ourselves from Covid. We are working closely with…

UK jobs growth remains strong in November

BRITISH employers added 257,000 staff to their payrolls in November, adding to signs that the labour market withstood the end of the government's furlough scheme, according to data published on Tuesday (14). The Bank of England has said it needs to be sure that the expiry of the scheme at…

Two doses of vaccines induce lower antibodies against Omicron: study

TWO doses of Pfizer and AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines generate lower levels of antibodies against the Omicron variant of coronavirus, according to a study which suggests that those previously infected or vaccinated may be at an increased risk of infection. Researchers from the University of Oxford in the UK analysed the…

Omicron variant: Britain reports first death globally

AT LEAST one person has died in the UK after contracting the Omicron coronavirus variant, prime minister Boris Johnson said. The death on Monday (13) is the first publicly confirmed death globally from the swiftly spreading strain. Since the first Omicron cases were detected on Nov. 27 in Britain, Johnson…

Daily rapid testing for Covid contacts from this week

PEOPLE who are fully jabbed and identified as a contact of someone with Covid-19, whether Omicron or not, will have to take an NHS rapid lateral flow test for the next seven days from Tuesday (14). The move comes in order to slow the spread of the Omicron variant in…

UK airlines hit out at government over Omicron travel curbs

A group of airlines accused the UK government on Monday (13) of a "haphazard and disproportionate approach" to travel restrictions in the wake of the Omicron variant and demanded further state help to prevent a "permanent scarring" of the industry. "Whilst we fully recognise the need to take steps to…

Johnson warns of Omicron ‘tidal wave’, says two doses not…

PEOPLE in Britain have been urged to get the booster dose of a Covid-19 vaccine because double-jabbed people are vulnerable against the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. As Britain faces a "tidal wave" of the Omicron variant of coronavirus and two vaccine doses will not be enough to contain it,…

UK virus cases highest since January

BRITAIN on Friday (10) saw the highest number of Covid infections since January as the government seeks to slow the spread of the new variant. Communities secretary Michael Gove said the country faces a "deeply concerning situation" as the Omicron variant spreads rapidly, with case numbers doubling every two to three days in England.…

Omicron: India extends international flight ban till January end

INDIA has extended restrictions on international flights till January 31, 2022, amid concerns over the Omicron variant of the deadly coronavirus, according to a circular issued by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the country’s civil aviation regulator. International all-cargo operations and flights “specifically approved” by the DGCA have…

India’s Omicron cases mild, vaccine boosters not a priority, says…

India has detected 25 cases of the emergent Omicron variant of the coronavirus and all have shown mild symptoms, the health ministry said on Friday (10), adding that there was no immediate plan to authorise vaccine boosters. Vaccine supplies have surged in India in recent months thanks to the Serum…

Labour opens six-point poll lead over Tories

LABOUR has taken a six-point lead over Boris Johnson's Conservatives in a new poll showing the impact of alleged lockdown parties at the prime minister's residence and tougher Covid measures. Johnson faces charges of hypocrisy after he tightened restrictions in England days after a leaked video showed his staff laughing…

EXCLUSIVE: As the Omicron variant spreads, front line doctors warn…

A senior emergency doctor has warned that NHS staff are dealing with the worst health crisis in 20 years. They are under so much pressure more health workers than ever are quitting front line medicine for other hospital jobs. Dr Joydeep Grover, a consultant who has worked in emergency medicine…

Omicron surge: Johnson announces home-working, Covid passports in England

BRITISH prime minister Boris Johnson has announced the tightening of virus restrictions in England as Omicron variant cases surge, including guidance to work from home and mandatory Covid passports. Johnson said at a briefing that the rate of Omicron cases was doubling every two to three days, risking a "big…

UK’s Johnson says sorry, orders probe into aides’ alleged lockdown…

British prime minister Boris Johnson apologised and announced an internal probe on Wednesday (8) after a video emerged of senior aides joking about a Christmas party at Downing Street last year when social events were banned under Covid-19 rules. The leaked footage appears to contradict more than a week of…

India allows banks to infuse capital in overseas branches without…

INDIAN banks will be allowed to infuse capital in their overseas branches and repatriate profits without seeking prior approval from the central bank. Currently, banks incorporated in India can infuse capital in their overseas branches and subsidiaries, retain profits in these centres and repatriate or transfer the profits with prior…

Pakistan bans travel from 15 countries

PAKISTAN has banned travel from 15 countries and tightened up travel restrictions on 13 other nations amid the threat of the new Covid-19 variant Omicron. The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), Pakistan’s top coronavirus response agency, reviewed the Covid-19 situation across the globe to revise the categorisation of travel.…

Javid confirms community transmission of Omicron variant in England

BRITAIN's health minister has said that there is now community transmission of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus across regions of England but it is too early to say if this will "knock us off our road to recovery". Defending the introduction of stricter rules to slow the spread of…

Katrina Kaif, Vicky Kaushal land in Jaipur ahead of wedding

Bollywood actors Katrina Kaif and Vicky Kaushal arrived in Jaipur on Monday night for their wedding to be solemnized at a hotel in Rajasthan's Sawai Madhopur district. The pair and eight others arrived at the Jaipur airport in a chartered flight. Earlier in the day, some of the family members,…

India’s South Africa cricket tour fixtures announced despite Covid-19 cloud

India will play Test matches in Centurion, Johannesburg and Cape Town on their tour of South Africa which starts later this month, Cricket South Africa (CSA) announced on Monday. The first world championship Test will start at SuperSport Park in Centurion on December 26. The second Test will be played…

Unvaccinated mothers urge pregnant women to get Covid vaccine

AS PART OF a new campaign, unvaccinated women who suffered from Covid-19 during their pregnancies are encouraging expectant mothers to get the vaccine. They narrate their harrowing stories of battling the virus, from being hospitalised to having emergency c-sections as part of the initiative, a statement has said. The video features…

WHO says no Omicron deaths yet, as variant spreads worldwide

The Omicron variant has been detected in 38 countries but no deaths have yet been reported, the WHO said on Friday, as authorities worldwide rushed to stem the spread of the heavily mutated Covid-19 strain. The United States and Australia became the latest countries to confirm their first locally transmitted…

Indian genome scientists suggest Covid booster dose for people over…

TOP Indian genome scientists have recommended a booster dose of the Covid-19 vaccine for those above 40 years with preference to high-risk and high-exposure population. The weekly bulletin of the Indian SARS-CoV-2 genomics sequencing consortium (INSACOG), a network of national testing labs set up by the government to monitor genomic…

‘Applying the brakes now will give us a better festive…

Bharat Pankhania discusses Omicron and what control measures may be needed Q: You have said previously that Omicron may not have come from South Africa. What did you mean by that? A: It’s very important to be aware that variants can arise from any part of the world. It’s just…

India sees impact of Omicron blunted by vaccination, prior infections

INDIA expects the Omicron variant of coronavirus to cause less severe disease, the health ministry said on Friday (3). The reasons behind this are vaccinations and high prior exposure to the Delta variant that infected nearly 70 per cent of the population by July. Junior doctors protested to demand that…

Fate of India’s South Africa tour should be known in…

India cricketers expect to know in the next few days whether their tour of South Africa later this month will go ahead following the emergence there of the Omicron coronavirus variant, captain Virat Kohli said on Thursday. Sport in South Africa began to shut down last week following the emergence…

India announces first two cases of Omicron variant

India announced its first two cases of the Omicron Covid variant on Thursday, months after a devastating wave of the virus killed more than 200,000 people around the country. Top health ministry official Luv Agarwal said two men in southern Karnataka state, aged 66 and 46, had tested positive for…

Survey: Pregnant women fear job loss in UK due to…

In the survey of more than 400 pregnant women, over two-thirds (69 per cent) said they were fairly or very worried about catching Covid because of their work A NEW survey has revealed that pregnant women in UK fear losing their jobs due to safety concerns about Covid in the…

‘Magical’ version of Life of Pi

Strong cast and technical wizardy make complex story about faith shine on stage ONE can only fervently hope that Omicron doesn’t put paid to Life of Pi, Lolita Chakrabarti’s “magical” adaptation of Canadian author Yann Martel’s Booker Prize-winning novel from 2002, at Wyndham’s Theatre in the West End. This is…

UK agrees deals for 114 million more Moderna and Pfizer…

BRITAIN said on Wednesday (1) it had agreed deals to buy 114 million more Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna Covid-19 vaccine shots, saying it had sped up signing the new contracts in light of the emergence of the new Omicron variant. The deal involves an additional 60 million Moderna shots and 54…

EXCLUSIVE: ‘Act now to save lives’

As a new variant hits Britain, infections’ expert warns of surge in pandemic deaths A leading infections’ expert has launched a scathing attack on the prime minister for not doing enough to protect lives after the discovery of a new Covid virus variant. The World Health Organization named the variant…

UK approves GSK Covid drug, appears effective against Omicron

BRITISH regulators on Thursday (2) approved a GlaxoSmithKline drug to treat those at high risk of developing severe Covid-19 symptoms, with the manufacturer saying it appears effective against the new Omicron variant. The antibody treatment, sotrovimab, "was found to be safe and effective at reducing the risk of hospitalisation and…

Traveller from London among 4 tested positive for Covid in…

FOUR more travellers from “at-risk” countries tested positive for Covid-19 on arrival at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi on Thursday (2), officials said. Three out of the 243 people on the Air France flight that landed at the airport around midnight tested positive for the disease. One more…

Covishield vaccine was effective during India’s second wave

WHEN the coronavirus pandemic was at its peak in India during the second wave driven by the delta variant, the efficacy of the Covishield vaccine stood at 63 per cent - according to a recent study published in The Lancet journal. The efficacy of Covishield against the delta variant was…

India reports 8.4 per cent quarterly growth, but concerns remain

INDIA'S economy has recovered to its pre-pandemic size, official data showed Tuesday (30), boosted by a broad-based recovery in the July-September quarter after a deadly infection surge earlier this year. Asia's third-largest economy maintained its virus bounceback with 8.4 per cent growth in the three months ending September 30, compared…

South Africa hails Indian ‘solidarity’ before major cricket tour

THE South African government has pledged to "take all precautions necessary" and praised the "solidarity" of India's cricketers ahead of a high-profile cricket tour to the republic in the next two months. India are due to play three Tests, three one-day internationals and four Twenty20 internationals between December 17 and…

UK urges people to take booster shots as Omicron cases…

BRITISH health secretary Sajid Javid urged people to book a Covid-19 booster shot on Wednesday (1) as he said there were 22 confirmed cases of the Omicron virus variant in the country. Javid said the government believed a booster campaign would help protect against severe disease from Omicron, even if…

India promises more Covid-19 shots to Omicron-hit Africa

INDIA stands ready to "expeditiously" send more Covid-19 vaccine to Africa to help fight the Omicron variant, New Delhi said late on Monday (29) after China pledged 1 billion doses to the continent. India and China have close ties with many African countries but Beijing has pumped much more money…

Only matter of weeks before Omicron hits Pakistan: Minister

IT IS only a matter of a few weeks before the Covid-19 Omicron variant hits Pakistan, the head of Pakistan's anti-coronavirus task force has warned. Federal planning minister Asad Umar, who is the chief of National Command and Control Center (NCOC), tasked to tackle the pandemic, said the world was…

UK health chief says no indication of Omicron wave so…

THERE is no sign of a surge of the Omicron coronavirus variant in Britain so far, the chief of the UK Health Security Agency said on Tuesday (30), saying there was no rise in the proportion of tests with a quirk that distinguishes it from Delta. Jenny Harries said there…

Omicron variant: India issues new guidelines for international passengers

INDIA will make on-arrival Covid-19 testing mandatory for flyers from more than a dozen countries, including South Africa and Britain where the Omicron variant has been detected, the health ministry said. The decision will be effective from Wednesday (1) and comes after a man who recently returned from South Africa…

UK extends Covid vaccine booster programme to all adults

ALL adults in Britain will now be eligible for a third Covid jab, the government said, as concern mounted about the spread of the new Omicron variant. The move, backed by a scientific advisory body and health secretary Sajid Javid, comes as ministers scramble to react swiftly to the new…

India steps up Covid testing for international flyers

INDIA will make on-arrival Covid-19 testing mandatory for flyers from more than a dozen countries, including South Africa and Britain where the Omicron variant has been detected, the health ministry said on Monday (29). The decision will be effective from Dec. 1 and comes after a man who recently returned…

Britain to unveil new booster guidance as Omicron variant spreads

BRITAIN is set to unveil new guidance on extending the rollout of Covid-19 booster shots to the under-40s on Monday (29) in light of the rapid rise in cases of the variant of concern Omicron, which the government expects to spread further. Prime minister Boris Johnson has restricted travel to…

WHO says Omicron poses ‘very high’ global risk, world must…

THE Omicron coronavirus variant is likely to spread internationally, posing a "very high" global risk of infection surges that could have "severe consequences" some areas, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Monday (29). The UN agency urged its 194 member states to accelerate vaccination of high-priority groups and, in…

UK toughens Covid rules as new strain Omicron arrives

BRITAIN on Saturday (27) announced tougher entry rules for all arriving passengers and the return of a masks mandate, after confirming its first two cases of the new Omicron strain of Covid-19. The cases were both linked to travel from southern Africa, and the government also expanded travel restrictions on…

UK scientist backs vaccines against Omicron

THE British scientist who led the research underpinning AstraZeneca's coronavirus jab said Saturday (27) a new vaccine could be developed against the emerging Omicron variant "very rapidly" if needed. Prof Andrew Pollard, the director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, also said existing vaccines should work against the new strain, but…

5 Oldest Living Things Killed by Humans

1. 130-year-old whale In May 2007, indigenous hunters killed a bowhead whale off the Alaskan coast. Embedded into the shoulder bone of the whale was an exploding harpoon that they were able to date to being used in 1890, meaning the whale survived the attack and lived a further 117 years…