As Omicron ebbs, England revives Plan A: living with COVID - BusinessWorld Online

1/28/2022 8:08:00 AM

After an uncomfortable but relatively brief return to coronavirus restrictions triggered by the Omicron variant, England is going back to “Plan A” — learning to live with a disease that is probably here to stay. READ:

After an uncomfortable but relatively brief return to coronavirus restrictions triggered by the Omicron variant, England is going back to “Plan A” — learning to live with a disease that is probably here to stay. READ:

LONDON — After an uncomfortable but relatively brief return to coronavirus restrictions triggered by the Omicron variant, England is going back to “Plan A” — learning to live with a disease that is probably here to stay. The bet is that booster jabs, antiviral pills, and Omicron’s lower severity will enable the government to manage […]

The bet is that booster jabs, antiviral pills, and Omicron’s lower severity will enable the government to manage outbreaks of a virus that cannot be shut out. Other countries equally keen to unshackle business and personal freedom will be watching.“As we evolve to move to living with COVID, UKHSA’s COVID-19 response will move from a whole nation approach to a targeted response, focused on protecting the vulnerable,” read the paper, titled

“We will ensure that our future response is more streamlined, flexible, and convenient for citizens and delivers value for money.”BECOMING ENDEMICHe also said he would let the law that obliges people with COVID-19 to self-isolate lapse in March, and even look to bring that date forward.

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Hong Kong risks exodus over extended COVID isolation, Euro chamber says - BusinessWorld OnlineHONG KONG — Hong Kong may not reopen until early 2024 because of its strict coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) policies, which could trigger an exodus of foreign firms and staff and jeopardize the city’s role as a financial hub, its European Chamber of Commerce said in a draft report. The limited effectiveness of locally developed […]

PAL says passenger insurance now has COVID coverage - BusinessWorld OnlinePHILIPPINE Airlines, Inc. (PAL) on Wednesday said its insurance package for passengers now covers coronavirus-related medical expenses. READ:

PH logs 3 Omicron deaths; WHO: Strain risk very highThe Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday reported three more fatalities among the Omicron variant COVID-19 cases in the Philippines, bringing the total to five. READ:

Moderna begins trial of Omicron-specific vaccine booster — statementUS biotech company Moderna announced on Wednesday that it has begun clinical trials of a booster dose of vaccine designed specifically to combat the Omicron variant of COVID-19. Mode RNA.. Just be careful what you wish for. FactsNotFear 😷😷😷😷😷😷

DOH reports five deaths due to Covid-19 Omicron variant | Claudeth Mocon-CiriacoThe Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday reported the death of five persons due to the Covid-19 Omicron variant. “As per verification, we have five recorded deaths,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said. Of the reported deaths, three are seniors and all have comorbidities. “One [was] partially vaccinated, one unvaccinated,…

Eastern Visayas has 28 confirmed COVID-19 Omicron casesRegion 8 has a total of 220 cases of variants of concern during the two-year pandemic, with 55% of the cases being Delta and 13% Omicron.

Linkedin REUTERS LONDON — After an uncomfortable but relatively brief return to coronavirus restrictions triggered by the Omicron variant, England is going back to “Plan A” — learning to live with a disease that is probably here to stay.Linkedin REUTERS HONG KONG — Hong Kong may not reopen until early 2024 because of its strict coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) policies, which could trigger an exodus of foreign firms and staff and jeopardize the city’s role as a financial hub, its European Chamber of Commerce said in a draft report.The package includes emergency medical evacuation and repatriation, travel cancellation in case the passenger or a family member is infected with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) within 30 days prior to flight departure, and trip curtailment in case the passenger is hospitalized due to COVID-19, the airline said in a statement.bringing the total to five.

The bet is that booster jabs, antiviral pills, and Omicron’s lower severity will enable the government to manage outbreaks of a virus that cannot be shut out. Other countries equally keen to unshackle business and personal freedom will be watching. The European Chamber of Commerce declined to comment on the report. Work-from-home guidance ended last week, and measures such as mask mandates and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) passes, also introduced in England last month, lapsed on Thursday, returning the rules to where they were last July. The insurance package includes a medical expense benefit of P1. The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is preparing to switch focus to supporting vulnerable individuals rather than imposing national rules, according to a draft policy seen by Reuters.4 billion population, which could take until late 2023 or early 2024, it said. “As we evolve to move to living with COVID, UKHSA’s COVID-19 response will move from a whole nation approach to a targeted response, focused on protecting the vulnerable,” read the paper, titled UKHSA COVID-19 Vision – DRAFT . “Over 21 million new cases were reported, representing the highest number of weekly cases recorded since the beginning of the pandemic,” the WHO said in its weekly epidemiological coronavirus update.

“We will ensure that our future response is more streamlined, flexible, and convenient for citizens and delivers value for money. “We anticipate an exodus of foreigners, probably the largest that Hong Kong has ever seen, and one of the largest in absolute terms from any city in the region in recent history,” it said. “With the ongoing pandemic, it is important to invest in peace of mind and preparedness,” said Oscar Enrico Reyes, PAL senior vice-president for marketing and sales.” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has presided over a death toll of 150,000 that ranks seventh in the world, was forced in December to introduce the “Plan B” restrictions, angering some of his own lawmakers. He now has a strong political imperative to scrap them. Hong Kong has seen a surge of infections this month, which authorities have struggled to control. As police investigate gatherings at his offices during COVID lockdowns, in apparent violation of laws he had himself imposed, he faces the biggest crisis of his career, while many of his members of parliament are determined that he must return life to near-normal. — Arjay L. BECOMING ENDEMIC Conservative lawmaker Andrew Bridgen told Reuters that further COVID-19 restrictions were “unlikely, unnecessary and politically impossible”. Given the scenario, multinational firms would increasingly relocate China-focused teams to the mainland or shift their Asian regional teams to Singapore or Seoul, the chamber said. There is not much difference between the Omicron variant and its “stealth” subvariants, the DOH said on Wednesday as it announced another death following infection of the highly transmissible lineage.

Mr. Johnson himself told lawmakers last week: “As COVID becomes endemic, we will need to replace legal requirements with advice and guidance. The departure of international talent could also undermine the city’s “potential to maintain world class universities,” it said.” He also said he would let the law that obliges people with COVID-19 to self-isolate lapse in March, and even look to bring that date forward. Much of his confidence stems from the nature of Omicron, which drove infections to record levels in December without increasing hospitalizations and deaths to the same extent. Its role as one of the world’s main transhipment and passenger hubs has been curtailed by tough flight restrictions, which mean very few people are allowed to land and hardly anyone is allowed to transit. Graham Medley, chair of the government’s COVID modeling group, told Reuters that when Plan B was introduced, the severity of Omicron and the impact of boosters had been unclear. “Based on current observations all over the world, we are observing there is not much difference,” she told ANC’s Headstart.

In the event, even at the peak, with social restrictions stopping short of a full lockdown, daily deaths stayed below 300 on a seven-day average, compared to more than 1,000 a day in the third national lockdown a year earlier. Only about 70% of people in Hong Kong have been double-vaccinated compared with 91% of Singapore’s eligible population. Mr. Medley said growing immunity — with 83% of over-11s having had two doses of vaccine, and 63% a booster — meant each future wave should be less challenging, though there might be hiccups: “Whilst I expect next January to be better than this one, and the following January to be better than next January, I wouldn’t be surprised if at some point we have to go backwards. The chamber outlined other scenarios of “average likelihood” including the possibility of an uncontrolled outbreak in the mainland leading to Hong Kong sealing its boundary with China and reopening with the rest of the world.” There is also a potential new resource, in the shape of antiviral drugs — aimed at preventing high-risk individuals who catch the virus becoming seriously ill, but not yet rolled out widely. “Things have changed so much over the last six or seven months,” said Harkishan Mistry, 58, who was included in the “Panoramic” trial of Merck’s molnupiravir after catching the virus. This could cause up to 20,000 deaths among the elderly.2 has around 85 mutations, Solante said.

“We’ve got a clear path going forward. I’m optimistic now,” Mr. Foreign businesses should assume that Hong Kong would very likely be “semi-closed for international travel in the coming 12–36 months. Mistry said on a video call from Bradford, where he was self-isolating. His view was echoed by health minister Sajid Javid, who said: “Our vaccines, testing, and antivirals ensure we have some of the strongest defenses in Europe and are allowing us to cautiously return to Plan A, restoring more freedoms to this country. — Farah Master/Reuters.” NOT THERE YET? But evolutionary virologist Aris Katzourakis of Oxford University warned that diseases such as malaria and polio may be endemic, but are not harmless. The Philippines has so far recorded a total of 535 Omicron cases.

“A disease can be endemic and both widespread and deadly,” he wrote in the science journal Nature . “It frustrates me when policy makers invoke the word ‘endemic’ as an excuse to do little or nothing.” A relentless focus on managing COVID, rather than preventing infections, also has unwanted side effects. Because National Health Service resources have been diverted towards vaccination boosters, thousands of other appointments have been postponed, adding to a vast backlog of elective care in the state-run system. At the same time, high infection rates among staff and patients continue to weigh heavily on hospitals. However, “based on the currently available evidence, the overall risk related to the Omicron variant remains very high”.

“It’s about living safely with COVID. It’s not just about living with COVID,” said Matthew Ashton, Director of Public Health at Liverpool City Council. “We all desperately want the pandemic to end,” he added. “Minimizing disruption is part of that solution. I definitely feel like we’re on the journey towards living safely with COVID — but I don’t think we’re there yet. “For the behavior of the virus, if it’s more severe than omicron I don’t think it will cause severe (disease),” Solante said.

” Nick Thomas, a family doctor in Witney, central England, supporting the Panoramic trial, said local practices were also feeling the strain, despite the success of vaccines and the prospect of effective antivirals. “We have to manage all of those [other conditions] as well as an Omicron wave right now. And so that balance is really important – and the more tools we have, the better.” — Alistair Smout and Elizabeth Piper/Reuters .