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US President Joe Biden has said 500 million Covid rapid tests will be made available at no cost amid new measures to tackle the surging Omicron variant.
Experts are calling on the government to make rapid antigen tests freely available, particularly for vulnerable communities who may be priced out of purchasing them.
South African scientists - hailed for their discovery of Omicron - are investigating the "highly plausible hypothesis" that the emergence of new Covid-19 variants could be linked, in some cases, to mutations taking place inside infected people whose immune systems have already been weakened by other factors, including, though not limited to, untreated HIV.
Parisians flocked to makeshift COVID-19 testing centres Tuesday to try and secure a safe holiday, as the Omicron variant sweeps across the country.
As the Omicron variant spreads around the world, scientists and health officials are finding that patients are experiencing no symptoms or mild ones so far.
The new coronavirus variant Omicron has now become dominant in South Africa and is driving a sharp increase in new infections, health officials say.
Some 11,500 new Covid infections were registered in the latest daily figures.
That is a sharp rise on the 8,500 cases confirmed the previous day.
By contrast, daily infections were averaging between 200 and 300 in mid-November, a top South African scientist told the BBC.
African-Australian community leaders have criticised the government’s decision to impose a travel ban on nine African countries after the emergence of the Omicron COVID-19 variant.
Scientists believe they have found "the trigger" that leads to extremely rare blood clots after the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid vaccine.
The team - in Cardiff and the US - have shown in exquisite detail how a protein in the blood is attracted to a key component of the vaccine.
European Union countries should consider mandatory vaccination to combat Covid and the Omicron variant, the head of its Commission has said.
Ursula von der Leyen said vaccines would be crucial in the fight against the "highly contagious" new variant.
The WHO says a combination of low vaccination coverage across the planet, mixed with very low testing to track the virus, is a fertile breeding ground for new COVID variants.