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World: The Latest: Local transmission of virus variant in Scotland

Five things to know about omicron, new COVID-19 'variant of concern'

  Five things to know about omicron, new COVID-19 'variant of concern' The announcement of a COVID-19 variant called B.1.1529 this week by scientists in South Africa, where it was first detected, has sent governments and financial markets around the world reeling.The World Health Organization (WHO) held an emergency meeting on Friday, where it designated the new strain, which it called omicron, a "variant of concern," or VOC, a label applied when a particular strain is especially virulent, transmissible or able to defeat public health measures. The Dow Jones Industrial Average suffered its worst single-day drop of the year, plummeting more than 900 points.

LONDON -- Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said there is evidence of local transmission of the new omicron variant of the coronavirus after the country reported its first six cases.

Passengers queue to check in at Heathrow Airport in London, Monday, Nov. 29, 2021. The new potentially more contagious omicron variant of the coronavirus popped up in more European countries on Saturday, just days after being identified in South Africa, leaving governments around the world scrambling to stop the spread. In Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said mask-wearing in shops and on public transport will be required, starting Tuesday. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein) © Provided by Associated Press Passengers queue to check in at Heathrow Airport in London, Monday, Nov. 29, 2021. The new potentially more contagious omicron variant of the coronavirus popped up in more European countries on Saturday, just days after being identified in South Africa, leaving governments around the world scrambling to stop the spread. In Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said mask-wearing in shops and on public transport will be required, starting Tuesday. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

She told a news conference that not all the cases in Scotland had links to recent travel, adding that this suggests “there might already be some community transmission of this variant in Scotland.”

WHO names new variant of concern 'omicron,' as scientists advise caution

  WHO names new variant of concern 'omicron,' as scientists advise caution The World Health Organization on Friday named the new variant "omicron" and called it a "variant of concern."In a statement released Friday, WHO said preliminary evidence suggested "an increased risk of reinfection with this variant" as it added the new discovery to the list of variants of concern, giving it the name "omicron.

The new cases takes the U.K.’s total to nine after three cases were identified in England over the weekend.

The arrival of the variant on British shores prompted Prime Minister Boris Johnson to tighten restrictions on mask-wearing and testing of international arrivals to England.

Passengers arrive at Heathrow Airport in London, Monday, Nov. 29, 2021. The new potentially more contagious omicron variant of the coronavirus popped up in more European countries on Saturday, just days after being identified in South Africa, leaving governments around the world scrambling to stop the spread. In Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said mask-wearing in shops and on public transport will be required, starting Tuesday. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein): Virus Outbreak Britain © Provided by Associated Press Virus Outbreak Britain

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MORE ON THE PANDEMIC:

— 13 omicron cases discovered in Portuguese soccer club

— AP explains what is known and not known about the new COVID-19 variant

Merriam-Webster chooses vaccine as the 2021 word of the year

A passenger arrives at London's Heathrow Airport,  Monday, Nov. 29, 2021. The new potentially more contagious omicron variant of the coronavirus popped up in more European countries on Saturday, just days after being identified in South Africa, leaving governments around the world scrambling to stop the spread. In Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said mask-wearing in shops and on public transport will be required, starting Tuesday. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein) © Provided by Associated Press A passenger arrives at London's Heathrow Airport, Monday, Nov. 29, 2021. The new potentially more contagious omicron variant of the coronavirus popped up in more European countries on Saturday, just days after being identified in South Africa, leaving governments around the world scrambling to stop the spread. In Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said mask-wearing in shops and on public transport will be required, starting Tuesday. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

Why WHO skipped ‘nu,’ ‘xi’ for new COVID variant

Daily on Energy: Why Biden needs to ramp up transmission lines construction to meet his goals

  Daily on Energy: Why Biden needs to ramp up transmission lines construction to meet his goals Subscribe today to the Washington Examiner magazine and get Washington Briefing: politics and policy stories that will keep you up to date with what's going on in Washington. SUBSCRIBE NOW: Just $1.00 an issue! © Provided by Washington Examiner DOE Default Image - July 2021 WHY WIRES MATTER FOR BIDEN: President Joe Biden’s success in pursuing 100% carbon-free power by 2035 could come down to wires, a key part of his infrastructure agenda that I spotlight in a special edition of our magazine (paywalled).

— See all of AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic

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ISLAMABAD -- Pakistan’s planning minister said a big vaccination campaign against coronavirus will be expedited this week to minimize the threat of the new variant.


Video: Particular concern of the rapid rise of this new Covid variant from South Africa, expert says (CNBC)

Asad Umar warned that the new coronavirus variant known as omicron will inevitably come to the Islamic nation in the next few weeks, and he urged unvaccinated citizens to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Umar said since the world is interconnected, it is impossible to stop the new variant from entering Pakistan.

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LISBON, Portugal — Portuguese health authorities said they have identified 13 cases of omicron, the new coronavirus variant believed to be more contagious, among team members of a professional soccer club.

UK set to expand COVID vaccine boosters amid omicron fears

  UK set to expand COVID vaccine boosters amid omicron fears LONDON (AP) — The independent body advising the British government on the rollout of coronavirus vaccines will likely decide Monday whether to expand the booster program to younger age groups following the discovery of the new omicron variant. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization, or JCVI, has been asked by the British government to consider the merits of expanding the booster program to millions more people under the age of 40 and cutting the time period to a third jab.

Police officers check the vaccination certificates of guests in a restaurant in Hannover, Germany, Monday, Nov. 29, 2021. On behalf of the local authorities, the police are starting to patrol restaurants and other catering establishments in order to check the measures to battle the spread of the coronavirus. (Ole Spata/dpa via AP) © Provided by Associated Press Police officers check the vaccination certificates of guests in a restaurant in Hannover, Germany, Monday, Nov. 29, 2021. On behalf of the local authorities, the police are starting to patrol restaurants and other catering establishments in order to check the measures to battle the spread of the coronavirus. (Ole Spata/dpa via AP)

The Ricardo Jorge National Health Institute said Monday that one of those who tested positive at the Lisbon-based Belenenses soccer club had recently traveled to South Africa, where the omicron variant was first identified.

The others, however, hadn't traveled to South Africa, indicating that this may be one of the very first cases of local transmission of the virus outside of southern Africa.

People pass through Waterloo train station, in London, during the morning rush hour, Monday, Nov. 29, 2021. The new potentially more contagious omicron variant of the coronavirus popped up in more European countries on Saturday, just days after being identified in South Africa, leaving governments around the world scrambling to stop the spread. In Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said mask-wearing in shops and on public transport will be required, starting Tuesday. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham) © Provided by Associated Press People pass through Waterloo train station, in London, during the morning rush hour, Monday, Nov. 29, 2021. The new potentially more contagious omicron variant of the coronavirus popped up in more European countries on Saturday, just days after being identified in South Africa, leaving governments around the world scrambling to stop the spread. In Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said mask-wearing in shops and on public transport will be required, starting Tuesday. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

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Biden addresses nation on omicron variant as some travel bans to US take effect

  Biden addresses nation on omicron variant as some travel bans to US take effect With the omicron variant prompting new travel restrictions this week, President Joe Biden will address the nation on Monday in remarks about the new COVID-19 variant. "While we have said that travel restrictions can slow the speed of omicron, it cannot prevent it. Here's what it does: It gives us time," Biden said in remarks from the White House. "It gives us time to take more actions. To move quicker, to make sure people understand you have to get the vaccine. You have to get the shot. You have to get the booster.

BUCHAREST, Romania — Romania wants to repatriate 39 of its citizens from South Africa, including members of a professional rugby team, amid suspended flights because of concerns over the omicron variant.

Commuters walk through ticket barriers in Waterloo train station, London, after disembarking from a train, Monday, Nov. 29, 2021. The new potentially more contagious omicron variant of the coronavirus popped up in more European countries on Saturday, just days after being identified in South Africa, leaving governments around the world scrambling to stop the spread. In Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said mask-wearing in shops and on public transport will be required, starting Tuesday. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham) © Provided by Associated Press Commuters walk through ticket barriers in Waterloo train station, London, after disembarking from a train, Monday, Nov. 29, 2021. The new potentially more contagious omicron variant of the coronavirus popped up in more European countries on Saturday, just days after being identified in South Africa, leaving governments around the world scrambling to stop the spread. In Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said mask-wearing in shops and on public transport will be required, starting Tuesday. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Romania’s foreign ministry said it will organize a special repatriation flight and urged Romanian citizens in South Africa who want to leave the country to notify the authorities as soon as possible.

Tourist visit the Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand, Monday, Nov. 29, 2021. Thailand, starting this Wednesday, will ban visitors from eight southern African countries where the new COVID-19 variant omicron has been found. From Dec. 15, The kingdom will require arrivals from all other African nations to undergo a 14-day hotel quarantine upon arrival. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit) © Provided by Associated Press Tourist visit the Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand, Monday, Nov. 29, 2021. Thailand, starting this Wednesday, will ban visitors from eight southern African countries where the new COVID-19 variant omicron has been found. From Dec. 15, The kingdom will require arrivals from all other African nations to undergo a 14-day hotel quarantine upon arrival. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Romania’s sports minister, Eduard Novak, said he has been in close contact with Romania’s national champion rugby team whose members are in South Africa.

Scotland Plans Independence Vote in 2023 Amid Discontent About U.K. Leaving European Union

  Scotland Plans Independence Vote in 2023 Amid Discontent About U.K. Leaving European Union While 52 percent of U.K. voters overall backed leaving the EU in a 2016 referendum, 62 percent of Scottish voters favored remaining in the bloc."Next year, COVID permitting, as we emerge from winter into spring, the campaign to persuade a majority of people in Scotland that our future will be more secure as an independent nation will resume in earnest," Sturgeon said. "In the course of next year, I will initiate the process necessary to enable a referendum before the end of 2023. And just as importantly, our party will set out afresh the positive case for independence.

Japan suspends new reservations on all incoming flights .
TOKYO (AP) — Japan continued its aggressive stance against a new coronavirus variant on Wednesday, asking international airlines to stop taking new reservations for all flights arriving in the country until the end of December in a further tightening of already strict border controls. The transportation ministry said the request is an emergency precaution amid growing worry over the spread of the new omicron variant. The move by the world’s third largest economy, coupled with its recent return to a ban on foreign visitors, is among the most stringent anywhere, and more in line with cloistered neighbor China than with some other democracies in the region.

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