Covid live news: WHO Africa head urges world to keep borders open; thi…




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WHO’s Africa director: Keep borders open amid Omicron

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G7 health ministers to keep up urgent meeting on Monday over Omicron strain

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Anthony Fauci warns of possible US “fifth wave” over climbing situations and slowing vaccination

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Students at schools and colleges in England will need to use masks again, after the Department for Education told principals and headteachers that confront coverings should now be worn in communal areas by staff, visitors and students in year 7 and above. Year 7 is for children aged 11 and is the first year of state secondary school in England.

Students and staff who are “suspected or confirmed close contacts of the Omicron variant” will be asked to self-isolate for 10 days in spite of of vaccination position or age. Currently only confirmed situations need to isolate.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “It appears that the Omicron variant may consequence in more staff and pupil absence thereby worsening an already very grave situation.

“It is consequently imperative that the government provides workforce funding to schools and colleges to help with the cost of supply cover for absent staff.

“Schools and colleges are in a position of having to provide in-class teaching for some groups of students, and far away education for other groups of students, at the same time as experiencing Covid-related staff absence. They simply cannot sustain the current costs of the supply cover that is required.

“The government must also promote a public campaign to encourage twice-weekly home Covid testing among eligible pupils in order to reduce the risk of transmission.

“We have made these calls on many occasions. It is clear that this crisis is not going away, and we once again call upon the government to give the sector the backing that it needs.”

Nadhim Zahawi, the education secretary for England, said: “We are taking targeted and proportionate action as a precaution while we find out more information about the new variant.”

Zahawi additional: “We are working with education and childcare settings to enhance safety measures where needed, including introducing isolation for 10 days for close contacts of suspected Omicron situations.”

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European Commission President warns of global ‘race against time’ against Omicron

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