Omicron variant

Omicron outbreak in China

Key points:

  • Chen Erzhen says his hospital in Shanghai sees 1,600 emergency admissions daily, with 80 per cent COVID-19 patients
  • Chinese officials are bracing for rising numbers in rural areas as Lunar New Year approaches 
  • More than a dozen countries have imposed restrictions on travellers from China

The steep rise in infections came after years of hardline restrictions were abruptly loosened last month, with little warning or preparation, and quickly overwhelmed hospitals and crematoriums.

PNG Confirms 13 New Omicron cases

This were the results from the last two updates on Thursday, 17th and Friday, 18th February 2022. On the 17th, 13 new Omicron cases were reported from the samples that were sent down to Australia, raising the total number of this new variant to 14 so far.

These 13 new cases of Omicron were among 333 new cases of COVID-19 reported on this day.

Omicron variant widespread in Kiribati as 222 new Covid-19 cases recorded

The omicron variant is now widespread in the community as cases continue to be recorded on South Tarawa, Betio, Buota, Butaritari island and in North Tarawa.

The health ministry has confirmed that a 65-year-old woman who previously had a stroke has been admitted to an isolation centre.

The health ministry said 48 border cases at the Quarantine Centre have all been discharged after they tested negative, while another 88 community cases have recovered.

There is one confirmed Covid-19 death on the atoll islands.


“Returning Students Must Be Tested”

Director of Curative Health Services, Dr Max Manape confirmed that so far there were 10 fresh cases reported including an Omicron case.

“We have one confirmed Omicron case being admitted. The rest are COVID-19 cases of which six reported from Goroka Base, two in Henganofi and one in Daulo. The one Omicron case as we know from contact tracing, originated from South Africa where the carrier is a mine worker,” Dr. Manape said.

Omicron A Concern In PNG

In Papua New Guinea, a positive case was traced and diagnosed for the COVID-19 Omicron variant. According to National Pandemic Response Controller, David Manning, the man came to PNG last December after travelling from South Africa via London and Hong Kong.

However, Mr Manning said the man had to undergo testing while in quarantine and has fully recovered.

Half of Europe to be infected with Omicron within weeks - World Health Organisation

Dr Hans Kluge said a "west-to-east tidal wave" of Omicron was sweeping across the region, on top of the surge of the Delta variant already present.

The projection was based on the seven million new cases reported across Europe in the first week of 2022.

The number of infections has more than doubled in a two-week period.

"Today the Omicron variant represents a new west-to-east tidal wave, sweeping across the region on top of the Delta surge that all countries were managing until late 2021," Dr Kluge told a news conference.

Fiji confirms community transmission of Omicron variant

Samples sequenced by the Ministry of Healtth and the Doherty Institute in Melbourne, were determined to be Omicron , the latest COVID-19 variant in circulation around the world.

The Ministry of Health’s Permanent Secretary, Doctor James Fong said Fiji has community transmission of both Omicron and Delta variants throughout the country.

He added that it explains the high number of cases recorded recently given the high transmissibility of the variant.

Health experts are warning it will become the dominant variant.

Fijians urged to take Omicron variant seriously

Fiji reported two cases of the variant two weeks ago - both patients had arrived in the country from Nigeria on 25 November.

Health Secretary James Fong said more than 70 countries had reported cases of Omicron and it was probably in most countries, even if it hadn't been detected yet.

He said if there was an outbreak in Fiji, it could again overwhelm the health system.

Dr Fong said vaccines alone would not get any country out of the crisis, and that nations must prevent the spread of Omicron with mask wearing, hand washing, and social distancing.

Omicron probably in most countries, WHO says

Cases of the heavily mutated variant have been confirmed in 77 countries.

But WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it was probably in many others that had yet to detect it, and was spreading at an unprecedented rate.

Dr Tedros said he was concerned that Omicron was being underestimated.

"Surely, we have learned by now that we underestimate this virus at our peril. Even if Omicron does cause less severe disease, the sheer number of cases could once again overwhelm unprepared health systems," he said.

Omicron variant showing ‘unusual but mild’ symptoms, South African doctor says

In a Fox News report, Dr. Angelique Coetzee, who is a board member of the South African Medical Association, said she first noticed unusual symptoms on Nov. 18.