# omicron

This year
# XBB.1.5
We need to talk about the 'Kraken' variant: What is it, and do we know what impact it could have?
XBB.1.5 is uniquely good at breaking the ‘door’ to the human body, but it’s not clear how much of a surge in cases it could cause.
Last year
# covid-19 vaccine
EU backs new Omicron vaccines for first jabs, and not just for boosters
The vaccines are currently only authorised as boosters but could now be used for people’s first vaccinations.
# Frustration
Maskless World Cup scenes spark anger in China
Driven by the fast-spreading Omicron variant, daily cases in the country hit 29,157 on Wednesday.
# pandemic
World Health Organisation warns Covid is still an international emergency
The WHO’s Covid-19 technical lead, agreed, warning that there were still millions of cases being reported each week
# Immunology
Explainer: What you need to know about the new adapted Covid vaccines heading into winter
Professor of Immunology Christine Loscher says the new jabs work ‘specifically against Omicron’.
# vaccine rollout
New Omicron-specific vaccines to be rolled out as boosters from next month, Health Minister says
Anyone who is eligible for both a flu vaccine and a Covid booster vaccine can receive them at the same time from next month.
# Jabs
European Medicines Agency approves first Omicron-specific Covid vaccines
The so-called “bivalent” vaccines protect against the earlier BA.1 strain of Omicron, but do not target the latest strains.
# Coronavirus
Immunologist says boosters must be used 'at the right time' to protect against winter Covid wave
Professor Christine Loscher told The Journal that there needs to be a “coordinated response” to deal with future waves of the virus.
# omicron
New Omicron subvariants leading to increase in Covid-19 infections, health authorities say
However, the HSPC have said that there is no indication that the severity of the virus has changed.
# omicron
Covid-19: Ireland's cases are rising quickly - here's why and what it means
Case numbers and hospitalisations are rapidly increasing – here’s a breakdown of the latest figures that you probably haven’t heard about.
The number of people with Covid-19 is on the rise once again.
Ireland is quietly fighting Omicron subvariants that are less affected by immune responses to the virus.
Lauren Boland breaks down the latest Covid-19 data and speaks to an immunologist about the spread of the subvariants.
# omicron
A new Covid variant of concern has been detected in Ireland - what do we know about it?
BA.4 and BA.5 were identified by the ECDC as variants of concern earlier this month.
# China
Shanghai says 'zero-Covid' achieved but millions still in lockdown
The city of 25 million has been under heavy restrictions since early April.
# Covid-19
Covid deaths hit new daily high in South Korea amid surge in Omicron cases
The 429 deaths reported in the latest 24 hours were nearly 140 more than the previous one-day record.
# Covid-19
Hong Kong morgues running out of space amid Omicron surge
The city has recorded nearly a million infections and more than 4,600 deaths in the last three months.
# Coronavirus
Germany has passed Omicron peak, says health minister
The country’s health minister has still warned against lifting restrictions too quickly however.
# Covid-19
Sweden ends wide-scale Covid testing as pandemic restrictions lifted
The move puts the nation at odds with most of Europe, but experts say it could become the norm as costly testing yields fewer benefits with Omicron.
# coronvirus
'Stealth Omicron' spreads more than original strain, Danish study finds
Sub-variant BA.2 – also called “stealth Omicron” – was detected earlier this year.
# Losses
Ryanair posts €96 million loss for third quarter of 2021
The airline said it is selling more tickets for the summer season than it had before the pandemic.
# Covid-19
Netherlands to ease Covid restrictions from today as WHO says Omicron risk remains 'very high'
Bars, restaurants and museums in the country will be allowed to reopen from today.
# omicron
New Zealand’s PM postpones wedding as she introduces tougher Covid rules
Jacinda Ardern had been planning to get married next weekend but the celebration has been postponed.
# David Nabarro
WHO Special Envoy anticipates Covid-19 will become milder, but warns against reopening quickly
Nabarro said that while countries should hope for the best, they should expect difficulties to arrive.
# Vaccine pass
Unvaccinated people to be excluded from venues under new French Covid law
French President Emmanuel Macron had hoped to pass the bill through the National Assembly sooner but was slowed due to opposition.
# Olympic Games
Beijing reports first local Omicron case ahead of Winter Olympics
The infection comes less than three weeks before the Winter Olympic Games’ opening ceremony on 4 February.
# lifting restrictions
Govt to review 8pm closing time as Taoiseach hopes NPHET advice will allow easing of restrictions
Micheál Martin says case numbers are levelling off.
# omicron wave
HSE boss Reid says 'stable' ICU numbers are encouraging for hospital system
Paul Reid said the Omicron variant is still having a significant impact on the health service.
# covid absences
Changes to HGV driving and resting time brought in due to driver shortages
The derogation will see the maximum hours for HGV drivers increased to 112 hours in a two week period.
# Covid-19
Millions more locked down as China battles Omicron spread
In England, people who test positive on an antigen test will no longer need to take a PCR test to confirm their result.
# ce mark
EU experts to discuss Genrui antigen tests after people report hundreds of false positives
Irish retailers have taken the at-home Covid-19 test kits off the shelves.
# Albania
Here's What Happened Today: Saturday
Here’s your round-up of what made the headlines today.
# vaccine rollout
Children aged 5-11 can get the Covid-19 vaccine from today
Health authorities are encouraging parents and guardians to get their children vaccinated.
# the explainer
The Explainer: What can we learn from South Africa’s Omicron wave?
Can we say for definite now that Omicron is milder than other variants?
# UK
UK to deploy troops to London hospitals impacted by Covid-related staff shortages
The deployment will include 40 military medics and 160 general duty personnel.
# omicron
No new restrictions recommended by NPHET
Taoiseach Micheál Martin said earlier this week that most patients in ICU have the Delta variant.
# Stormont Assembly
Stormont Assembly to be recalled over Omicron surge
The move follows a recall motion submitted by Sinn Fein MLA Pat Sheehan.
# HSE briefing
Hospitals under 'relentless pressure' as at least 8,500 HSE staff absent due to Omicron
HSE Chief Paul Reid says there is “absolutely no doubt” that Covid case numbers are much higher than the daily recorded figures.
# omicron
No rule change for close contacts as Taoiseach warns of 'accelerating exponential growth'
Close contacts who have received a booster are required to self-isolate for five days.
Micheál Martin said that sectors can apply for derogation on the rules if deemed necessary.
Education Minister Norma Foley said today she said she would not be seeking a derogation for teachers.
Hospital data shows that the bulk of Ireland’s sickest Covid-19 patients have the Delta variant and not the highly contagious Omicron strain.
Schools set to re-open on Thursday as safety measures deemed 'effective and appropriate'
Free antigen tests for symptomatic under-40s can now be ordered online
# omicron
Ireland ranked highest in Europe for boosters as elective care may be cancelled due to Covid
Strict close contact rules and the prevalence of Covid-19 have caused worker shortages in some sectors.
# world report
Blow for Macron's party as opposition join forces to hold up Covid bill
The United States set a new world record with more than one million cases logged yesterday.
All time
# omicron
Covid case numbers are spiralling globally but deaths are down
The average number of new daily coronavirus cases globally has passed the symbolic one million mark.
# Your Say
Poll: Will you use an antigen test today?
Some people are planning gatherings to ring in 2022.