COVID-19 Coronavirus Updates: Sunday / Monday, Nov. 28-29

If you’re reading this, you’re probably already doing as much as can be done to avoid an ‘OMG Omicron’ infection. The existing rules remain good advice: Get vaccinated, get boosters as necessary, mask up, stay socially distant, and avoid crowds as far as you can. Until scientists know more — which will take some days, if not weeks — the greatest impact will probably be on travellers who made plans for the year-end holidays. (Those who are once again going to be deprived of seeing loved ones have my sympathy, but that’s life during a pandemic… )

As of 8pm Sunday evening…

No cases of the Omicron variant were identified in the United States as of Friday, the CDC has said. But infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said this weekend it was likely already in the United States.

The CDC said Friday it expects to identify the B.1.1.529 variant quickly if it emerges in the United States.

United currently operates five flights per week between Newark and Johannesburg. Delta operates three from Johannesburg to Atlanta…

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There were no cases of the Omicron variant in New Zealand at this stage but the developing global situation showed why a cautious approach was needed at the borders, she said.

“Omicron is a reminder of the risk that still exists at our borders,” Ardern said at the news conference.

New Zealand has some of the toughest border controls in the world and plans to keep borders closed to most international travellers for a further five months.

It also introduced fresh border measures for travellers from nine southern African nation on the weekend, announcing that only citizens from these countries can travel to New Zealand and will have to stay in state quarantine for 14 days…

New Zealand moves into a new “traffic light” system from Friday that rates regions as red, orange or green depending on their level of exposure to COVID-19 and vaccination rates. Auckland, the epicentre of the country’s Delta outbreak, will start at red, making face masks mandatory and putting limits on gatherings at public places.

New Zealand has had about 11,000 cases so far and 43 related deaths.

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Think positive… ‘miracles’ do happen, sometimes:

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