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Scientists are still waiting on more data to determine if Omicron poses a greater public health threat than Delta. Preliminary evidence suggests Omicron may increase the risk of reinfection relative to other concerning variants, the World Health Organization said Friday. Hong Kong reported its first Omicron case last week — a 36-year-old man who had recently visited South Africa. Botswana's health ministry also confirmed four Omicron cases among fully vaccinated travelers in a statement on Friday. (South Africa has fully vaccinated just 24% of its population so far; compared to 59% in the US.)
Persons: Angelique Coetzee, Pfizer's COVID, , They're, Jetelina Organizations: South African Medical Association, Guardian, Service, North America, Omicron, World Health Organization, Hong Kong's Center for Health Protection, CHP, WHO, UTHealth School of Public Health Locations: South Africa, Europe, Asia, North, Botswana, Hong Kong, Israel, Belgium, Africa
REUTERS/Lucas JacksonNEW YORK, Nov 26 (Reuters) - COVID-19 has resurfaced as a worry for investors and a potential driver of big market moves after a new variant triggered alarm, long after the threat had receded in Wall Street's eyes. The moves came a day after the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday when thin volume likely exacerbated the moves. read moreWith little known about the new variant, longer term implications for U.S. assets were unclear. "All policy issues, meaning monetary policy, business trajectories, GDP growth estimates, leisure and hospitality recovery, the list goes on, are on hold." At the same time, stocks that had rallied this year on bets of economic reopening may suffer if virus fears grow.
Persons: Lucas Jackson, David Kotok, Andrew Thrasher, We've, Bill Smead, Jerome Powell, Janet Yellen's, Jack Ablin, Ablin, Saqib Iqbal Ahmed, Chuck Mikolajczak, Megan Davies, Lewis Krauskopf, Ira Iosebashvili, Richard Chang Organizations: New York Stock Exchange, REUTERS, YORK, World Health, U.S, Federal Reserve, Cumberland Advisors, BofA Global, Zoom Communications, Netflix Inc, Energy, Apple Inc, Inc, Microsoft Corp, Smead Capital Management, Occidental Petroleum, Treasury, Cresset Capital Management, Thomson Locations: New York, U.S, South Africa, Israel, Belgium
WTO postpones major meeting after new variant outbreak
  + stars: | 2021-11-26 | by ( Reuters Staff | )   time to read: +2 min
GENEVA (Reuters) - The World Trade Organization (WTO) became the first major diplomatic casualty of the new coronavirus variant on Friday when it postponed its first ministerial meeting in four years due to the deteriorating health situation. FILE PHOTO: A sign of the 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) is pictured at the World Trade Organization (WTO) headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, November 25, 2021. REUTERS/Denis BalibouseMinisters from WTO members were due to have gathered next week for a meeting widely seen as a test of the WTO’s relevance. The World Health Organisation has classified the B.1.1.529 variant detected in South Africa as a “variant of concern”, saying it may spread more quickly than other forms of the virus. India, South Africa and other developing countries are calling for a waiver of intellectual property (IP) rights for vaccines and other COVID-19 treatments.
Persons: Denis Balibouse, Joe Biden, Ngozi Okonjo, Iweala, , Santiago Wills, Organizations: World Trade Organization, Ministerial, REUTERS, WTO, World Health, Colombian WTO Locations: GENEVA, Geneva, Switzerland, South Africa, Belgium, Hong Kong, Israel, The Geneva, Brussels, India, Colombian
On Friday, the World Health Organization said that preliminary evidence suggested "an increased risk of reinfection with this variant, as compared to other [variants of concern]." WHO said the number of cases of the variant appeared to be rising in almost all provinces in South Africa, where it was first identified. Here's what we know about how variants develop and what makes one a "variant of concern." That, Gurdasani said, is when a variant can be on its way to becoming a “variant of concern.”When does a variant become a 'variant of concern'? As we wait to learn more about the variant, Gurdasani said she doubted omicron would be the last variant of concern to emerge out of the pandemic.
Persons: Joe Phaahla, Phaahla, Deepti, Gurdasani, Denis Farrell, Dr, Bill Hanage, Bhiman Organizations: World Health Organization, WHO, country's Health, NBC, Queen Mary University of London, Harvard, NBC News, National Institute Locations: South Africa, Gauteng, Belgium, Hong Kong, Israel, Malawi, U.S, transmissibility, Johannesburg
The World Health Organization on Friday classified a new variant first identified in southern Africa as a "variant of concern." As the world continues to learn more about the new variant, which WHO named "omicron," epidemiologists say countries around the world should be on the alert. WHO said the number of cases of the variant appeared to be rising in almost all provinces in South Africa. Still, he stressed that as it stands, it is the "uncertainty" surrounding the new variant that is most worrying, with the variant having mutations "that we haven’t seen before." People lineup to get on an overseas flight at OR Tambo's airport in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Nov. 26, 2021.
Persons: Michael Osterholm, Osterholm, Dursun, Deepti, “ It's, , Gurdasani, We’ve, Danny Altmann, Anthony Fauci, Fauci, Jerome Delay, ” Fauci, , “ We've Organizations: World Health Organization, WHO, NBC News, University of Minnesota, Anadolu Agency, Getty, NBC, Queen Mary University of London, Namibia —, Imperial College London, CNN Locations: Africa, South Africa, Belgium, Hong Kong, Israel, Malawi, Brussels, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, Namibia, Japan, Singapore, U.S, Johannesburg
U.S. stocks dropped sharply on Friday as a new Covid variant found in South Africa triggered a global shift away from from risk assets. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 900 points, or 2.5 percent, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite slid 1.8 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively. The downward moves came after WHO officials on Thursday warned of a new Covid-19 variant that’s been detected in South Africa. The new variant contains more mutations to the spike protein, the component of the virus that binds to cells, than the highly contagious Delta variant. The Nasdaq is down 2.7 percent for the week, while the S&P 500 and Dow are off 1.8 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively.
Persons: I’m, ” CNBC’s Jim Cramer, Bitcoin, Paul Hickey, Ajene Oden, Organizations: Dow Jones, Nasdaq, WHO, Japan’s Nikkei, Carnival Corp, Royal, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, Boeing, Marriott International, Bank, Bank of America, Citigroup, Caterpillar, Dow Inc, Chevron, Moderna, Pfizer, Netflix, CNBC, BNY Mellon Investor Solutions, Dow Locations: South Africa, United Kingdom, Israel, Hong Kong, Belgium, Botswana, Asia, Royal Caribbean
JOHANNESBURG—A fast-spreading new strain of the coronavirus first detected in southern Africa is a global “variant of concern” and might pose a higher risk of people falling ill with Covid-19 for a second time, the World Health Organization said Friday, as governments around the globe restricted travel from the region. WHO said there was also preliminary evidence that the variant, which it named Omicron after the Greek letter, was more transmissible than the Delta variant that is currently dominant world-wide, and other virus strains. Health authorities in Belgium, Israel, Hong Kong and Botswana said they had detected first cases of the variant.
Organizations: World Health Organization, WHO Locations: JOHANNESBURG, Africa, Belgium, Israel, Hong Kong, Botswana
Governments around the globe have restricted travel to and from southern Africa in an effort to contain a fast-spreading new variant of the coronavirus that scientists say may be more contagious and could render current vaccines less effective. The Biden administration will restrict travel to the U.S. from South Africa and seven other countries beginning Monday, according to senior officials. Outside of southern Africa, the variant has also been identified in travelers to Belgium, Israel and Hong Kong. The new version of the virus, identified as B.1.1.529, has been designated the Omicron variant by the World Health Organization. The WHO said preliminary evidence suggested the variant could increase reinfections and could be more transmissible than other strains.
Persons: Biden Organizations: World Health Organization, WHO Locations: Africa, South Africa, Belgium, Israel, Hong Kong
Belgium seeks to curb social life to fight fourth COVID wave
  + stars: | 2021-11-26 | by ( )   time to read: +2 min
A shopper, wearing a protective face masks, looks at a poster for a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination centre installed inside a supermarket in Brussels, Belgium, August 30, 2021. REUTERS/Bart BiesemansBRUSSELS, Nov 26 (Reuters) - Belgium brought in new restrictions on Friday such as the closure of nightclubs and an earlier end for bars and restaurants to reduce social contact and curb a rapidly spreading fourth wave of COVID-19 infections. "If we did not have such a high rate of vaccination today, we would be in an absolutely drastic situation." The fatality rate though is just below the EU average, with 75% of the population vaccinated against COVID-19. Register now for FREE unlimited access to RegisterReporting by Marine Strauss @StraussMarine and Philip Blenkinsop Editing by John ChalmersOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Persons: Bart Biesemans BRUSSELS, Alexander De Croo, Marine Strauss, StraussMarine, Philip Blenkinsop, John Chalmers Organizations: REUTERS, Belgian, European Union, NATO, European Centre for Disease Prevention, COVID, Marine, Thomson Locations: Brussels, Belgium, Europe, Austria, Slovakia, Belgian
Belgium recorded its first case of the new coronavirus variant seen spreading in southern Africa, its health minister said Friday. Previous cases had been restricted to South Africa, Botswana, and a single case in Hong Kong, which was imported by a traveler. The origin of the variant is unclear, but it is spreading in South Africa. —Tulio de Oliveira (@Tuliodna) November 25, 2021The UK restricted flights from Botswana, South Africa, and four other southern African nations on Thursday. Germany and Belgium imposed flight bans from southern African countries on Friday, while the European Union is considering a bloc-wide ban.
Persons: Frank Vandenbroucke, De Morgen, Vandenbroucke, Laatste Nieuws, 1.1.529, — Tulio de Oliveira Organizations: Delta, European Locations: Belgium, Africa, South Africa, Botswana, Hong Kong, country's, , Germany, European Union
A new coronavirus variant was detected in southern Africa. Fauci said that there is "no indication" the variant is currently in the US. Watch Fauci speak here:The variant, B.1.1.529, has been found primarily in South Africa and Botswana. The UK on Thursday instituted a flight ban South Africa, Botswana, and six southern African nations. The European Union is also considering a flight ban on unspecified southern African nations.
Persons: Fauci, Anthony Fauci, CNN's Organizations: Service, European Locations: Africa, South Africa, Botswana, Hong Kong, Belgium
Advice on how to protect yourself against the coronavirus can be seen on a poster standing in the market square in Brügge, Belgium. In the background, the town hall with the Belfry, an 80-metre-high tower, one of the city's landmarks. Belgium has confirmed a case of the new, heavily mutated variant of the virus that causes Covid-19, according to one of the country's leading virologists. Marc Van Ranst, who works with the Rega Institute, said a sample was confirmed as the novel B.1.1.529 variant in a traveler who returned from Egypt on Nov. 11. The variant was first detected in a small number of samples in South Africa, according to the World Health Organization.
Persons: Marc Van Ranst, Tulio de Oliveira Organizations: Rega Institute, European Union, World Health Organization, South African Department of Health Locations: Brügge, Belgium, Egypt, Brussels, South Africa, Israel, Hong Kong
In the past, governments have taken days, weeks or months to issue travel restrictions in response to new variants. So far only a few dozen cases of the new variant have been identified in South Africa, Botswana, Belgium, Hong Kong and Israel. Image More than 40 percent of adults in South Africa have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccination. Only several dozen cases have been fully identified so far in South Africa, Botswana, Hong Kong and Israel. As several countries including Britain and France rushed to restrict flights from South Africa and other countries in the region, airline stocks dropped.
Persons: Kim Ludbrook, Tulio de Oliveira, de Oliveira, ” Roberto Burioni, Stocks, ” Sajid Javid, Ursula von der Leyen, , Themba, Richard Lessells, Lessells, Joe Phaahla, Phaahla, Altea Tejido, haven’t, Jerome Favre, Hong Kong’s, John Lee, Lee, , Focke Strangmann, lockdowns, we’ve, Etienne, ” Jeff Zients, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus Organizations: Friday, Singapore, World Health Organization, Natal Research, Twitter, Britain, Associated Press Scientists, Lambda, KwaZulu, Spanish Stock Exchange, Shutterstock Stocks, Nasdaq, West Texas, Treasury, U.S, bund, Royal Bank of Canada, lockdowns, Netflix, Boeing, Nikkei, British Airways, Hong Kong, city’s Center for Health Protection, University of Hong, Hong, National Health Commission, Pan American Health Organization Locations: South Africa, Parys, Israel, Africa, KwaZulu, Italian, Britain, France, Italy, Botswana, Belgium, Hong Kong, Malawi, Europe, British, Eastern Europe, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Madrid, U.S, Spain, Asia, Japan, Hong, Hong Kong ., University of Hong Kong, China, Bremen, Germany, Shutterstock, Austria, Bulgaria, United States
B.1.1.529 is spreading rapidly in South Africa and may be harder to contain than prior variants. The new variant, B.1.1.529, appears to have spread rapidly in South Africa. European Commissioner Ursula von der Leyen said Thursday the EU planned to introduce a bloc-wide ban on air travel from South Africa and neighboring countries, Reuters reported. India told individual states to screen and test travellers from South Africa and other "at risk" countries, Reuters reported. As of Friday, the Africa CDC said the B.1.1.529 had been detected in 77 samples from South Africa, 4 from Botswana, and 1 from Hong Kong.
Persons: Sajid Javid, Javid, Ursula von der Leyen, 1.1.529, Anthony Fauci, Jenny Harries Organizations: Service, Politico, Reuters, Disease Control, Prevention, World Health Organization, NBC News, Africa CDC, UK Health Security Agency Locations: Europe, Asia, South Africa, Germany, France, Italy, India, Japan, Israel, Botswana, Hong Kong, Belgium, Netherlands, Austria, Africa, Geneva
Stay-at-home stock plays like Zoom Video and Peloton also jumped as new lockdowns loom. Shares of companies that benefitted from the pandemic rallied Friday as the discovery of a new coronavirus variant in South Africa raised alarms and triggered lockdowns. Zoom Video rose 10%, and Peloton leapt 8% after diving earlier on quarterly results that showed user growth had been slowing. The new variant, B.1.1.529, has been identified mostly in Botswana and South Africa, as well as Hong Kong, according to the World Health Organization. The WHO and health officials from South Africa, where most of the cases have been detected, are scheduled to discuss the variant Friday.
Persons: Moderna's COVID, Matthias Bein, BioNTech Organizations: Getty, Moderna, Pfizer, BioNTech, World Health Organization, WHO Locations: South Africa, Botswana, Hong Kong, Austria, Slovakia, Netherlands, Belgium
The U.S. will speak Friday with scientists from South Africa to "get the facts" on the emerging, heavily mutated Covid-19 variant detected there in a small number of samples, White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN's "New Day." Reviewing South Africa's research will help the U.S. better understand whether the novel B.1.1.529 variant can evade the antibody protection against the virus provided by vaccines and previous infection, Fauci said. Fauci emphasized that the U.S. is in "very active communication" with South African scientists, and is working to get the molecular makeup of the variant in order to conduct lab tests. B.1.1.529 contains even more mutations than the world's most dominant Covid strain, the highly transmissible delta variant. The variant features roughly 50 mutations, according to data presented by the South Africa Department of Health at a media briefing Friday.
Persons: Anthony Fauci, White, CNN's, Fauci, 1.1.529, Covid Organizations: White, Health, Education, Labor, White House, South Africa Department of Health Locations: Washington, U.S, South Africa, Europe, Asia, Africa, Belgium, Botswana, Israel
Remote work and vaccine stocks rallied in Friday trading as traders bet on the new coronavirus variant to spark fresh lockdowns. It shows the "stay at home" trade is suddenly back on, and reopening is in doubt yet again. Shares of popular "stay-at-home" stocks rebounded on Friday as traders dumped reopening strategies and braced for new lockdowns. But the market's massive Friday selloff doesn't just signal the recovery is slowing; it also means the new variant is threatening reopening itself. To them, news of the latest variant means a return to remote work, a need for new vaccines, and that reopening is now on hold.
Persons: coronavirus, Telework, DocuSign, Brent, lockdowns, Lockdowns, it's, Anthony Fauci Organizations: Pfizer, Moderna, Dow Jones, lockdowns Traders, World Health, WHO Locations: Africa, South Africa, Botswana, Hong Kong, Austria, Slovakia, Belgium, Netherlands
The WHO named a new coronavirus variant, Omicron, a "variant of concern." See all newslettersThe World Health Organization designated the new coronavirus variant B.1.1.529 a "variant of concern" on Friday and named it "Omicron." South Africa's coronavirus cases began to rise sharply around the same time that the variant was detected, the WHO said. "Variants of concern" is a designation reserved for select coronavirus strains like Delta that are more transmissible than other strains, cause more severe disease, or are more resistant to vaccines. But the US is notoriously slow to sequence coronavirus cases relative to countries like South Africa.
Persons: Dr, Catherine Schuster, Bruce, Anthony Fauci, it's Organizations: WHO, Health Organization, CNN, UTHealth School of Public Health Locations: South Africa, Botswana, Hong Kong, Belgium, Africa, Israel
He slammed other nations for "wanting to put blame" and ascribing the variant to South Africa rather than working collaboratively to address the situation as guided by the WHO. South Africa wants to be an honest player in the world, to share health info not just of benefit to South Africans and citizens of the world." The new variant, known as B.1.1.529, has been detected in small numbers in South Africa. The United Kingdom also announced Thursday it would temporarily suspend flights from six African countries, including South Africa, starting midday Friday. The decision was made without prior discussion with South Africa, Phaahla said.
Persons: Joe Phaahla, Phaahla, Phaala, Sibongiseni Dhlomo, Anthony Fauci, CNN's, Fauci Organizations: African Health, World Health Organization, WHO, Reuters, Slovenian, Twitter, White House Locations: South Africa, Israel, Hong Kong, Belgium, Africa, EU, United Kingdom, U.S
The US is set to restrict travel from eight countries on Monday because of a new coronavirus variant. The countries are South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Eswatini, Malawi, and Namibia, NBC News reported. The World Health Organization labeled Omicron a coronavirus "variant of concern" on Friday. See all newslettersThe US is planning to restrict travel from eight countries in southern Africa on Monday because of the new Omicron coronavirus variant, multiple outlets reported on Friday. Coronavirus cases in South Africa began to rise around the same time that the new variant was first detected.
Persons: Dr, Catherine Schuster, Bruce, Anthony Fauci, Becca Cohen, Aria Bendix Organizations: NBC News, World Health Organization, Omicron, Washington Post, AP, CNN, Associated Press, WHO Locations: South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Eswatini, Malawi, Namibia, Africa, Hong Kong, Belgium
The WHO labeled a new coronavirus variant, Omicron, a "variant of concern" on Friday. The World Health Organization labeled Omicron a "variant of concern" on Friday — a designation given to variants like Delta that require close scrutiny from public-health officials. Preliminary evidence suggests that Omicron may increase the risk of reinfection relative to other variants of concern, the WHO said. Doctors Without Borders nurse Bhelekazi Mdlalose performs a COVID-19 test on a health worker at the Vlakfontein Clinic in Johannesburg, South Africa on May 13, 2020. "That is probably what is creating this increase in cases that we're seeing in South Africa right now."
Persons: Maria van Kerkhove, Javier Pulpo, Katelyn, it's, Jetelina, We've, they're, Bhelekazi Mdlalose, Michele Spatari, They've, Mike Ryan, Fabrice Coffrini, They're, Johnson Organizations: WHO, Service, World Health Organization, University Hospital of, Europa Press, UTHealth School of Public Health, Wednesday, Vlakfontein Clinic, Getty, Alpha, Moderna, BioNTech, Pfizer, Omicron . Locations: South Africa, Israel, Belgium, Europe, Asia, North America, University Hospital of Badajoz, Spain, Turkey, Egypt, Africa, Johannesburg, AFP, Delta, Geneva
Countries in Europe as well as the United States and Canada have been among those banning flights arriving from South Africa and several other African nations. “Your responses are just not as good,” Dr. Hatziioannou said. “This virus has seen a lot of antibodies,” Dr. Hatziioannou said. She said that Omicron has many mutations in the same regions of the spike protein pinpointed in their own research. Some monoclonal antibody treatments won’t work against Omicron either, she predicted, because the variant’s spike protein is protected from them.
Persons: ” Richard Lessells, de Oliveira, , Theodora Hatziioannou, Hatziioannou Organizations: University of KwaZulu, Rockefeller University, Omicron Locations: Natal, Durban, South Africa, Africa, Europe, United States, Canada, Hong Kong, Belgium, New York, Covid
The approval from the Interior Department paves the way for the country's second large-scale offshore wind farm after a similar project got underway in Massachusetts. The administration aims to put the U.S. on a path to generate 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030, powering about 10 million homes. Construction began last week on the first major offshore project — an 800-megawatt wind farm 15 miles off Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. The administration plans to build at least 16 offshore wind energy facilities by 2025. Worldwide, 6.1 gigawatts were created by new offshore wind projects last year, according to a recent report by the Global Wind Energy Council.
Persons: Biden, Deb Haaland, Organizations: Wednesday, Interior Department, Construction, Global Wind Energy Council, China Locations: Rhode, New York, Massachusetts, Block, Montauk Point, N.Y, Long, U.S, Netherlands, Belgium
France and Britain have long accused each other of not doing enough to curb attempts to cross the Channel. Under an agreement between the two nations, Britain pays France to clamp down on crossings through surveillance and patrols. Image Another group of migrants on the northern coast of France on Wednesday, with a dinghy to attempt the Channel crossing. The French authorities distribute about 2,200 meals to migrants every day, he said, and had relocated 12,000 of them since January. On Wednesday, French authorities said that at least 27 migrants had drowned in the English Channel after their boat capsized.
Persons: Ben Stansall, Boris Johnson, Emmanuel Macron, France, Macron, , Johnson, Mr, France won’t, , Gonzalo Fuentes, Darmanin, Gerald Darmanin of, Francois Lo Presti, Gérald Darmanin, Jean Castex, , Didier Leschi, Leschi, Mohammed Badra, France — Emmanuel D, Malbah, ” Sassd, Amian Organizations: Royal National Lifeboat Institution, ., Agence France, Channel, Eritrea —, European Union, Reuters, RTL, Calais . Ships, Getty, of Immigration Locations: France, Britain, Dungeness, England, Iraq, Somalia, Calais, , Africa, East, Eritrea, Australia, United States, Dover, Europe, Calais ., French, Lille, Gerald Darmanin of France, Belgian, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Dunkirk, Grande, Turkey, Greece, Wimereux, Shutterstock CALAIS, Liberia, Sudan, stow, Egypt, Libya, Italy
European Union flags flutter outside the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, in this file picture taken October 28, 2015. The EU project to create a capital markets union (CMU) suffered a blow when Britain and its large financial sector left the bloc. "It's important that we develop our own capital markets," EU financial services chief Mairead McGuinness said. The tape of securities prices and single point of information will create a "decisive moment" for CMU when implemented, she said. German investment funds association BVI said the proposed European Single Access Point for company information would help asset managers meet increasing reporting obligations in a more cost-effective way.
Persons: Francois Lenoir, Mairead McGuinness, Markus Ferber, BVI, Banks, Rainer Riess, Huw Jones, Timothy Heritage, Susan Fenton Organizations: EU, REUTERS, London, New York, CMU, European, Exchanges, of European Securities Exchanges, Association for Financial Markets, Cboe, Industry, Thomson Locations: Brussels, Belgium, London, New York, Britain, EU, Europe
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