The South Africa Open is facing further disruption after four golfers tested positive for Covid-19 ahead of the tournament starting on Thursday. Darren Fichardt, an 18-time winner on the local Sunshine Tour, Teaghan Gauche, Dylan Mostert and Siyanda Mwandla are the players who have been forced to withdraw. It comes after the discovery of a new coronavirus variant in the country last week led to travel restrictions being imposed around the world, and the golf schedule being significantly affected.
The US is moving to require all air travellers entering the country to show a negative Covid test taken a day before departure in a bid to stem the spread of the Omicron variant. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the revised timeline would help to “make international travel as safe as possible” amid growing concern over the spread of the new strain. Currently, vaccinated international air travellers can present a negative antigen test result obtained within three days from their point of departure.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid announces the government have purchased an additional 114 million doses from Pfizer and Moderna. He says these will be for 2022 and 2023, and will be the companies' "latest" vaccines at that time.
The Kremlin said on Thursday that the probability of a new conflict in eastern Ukraine remained high and that Moscow was concerned by "aggressive" rhetoric from Kyiv and an increase in what it called provocative actions. Moscow denies planning an invasion and accuses Ukraine of building up its own forces in the east of the country.
COVID-19 vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna that use mRNA technology provide the biggest boost to antibody levels when given 10-12 weeks after the second dose, a British study published on Thursday has found. The "COV-Boost" study was cited by British officials when they announced that Pfizer and Moderna were preferred for use in the country's booster campaign, but the data has only been made publicly available now. The study found that six out of the seven boosters examined enhanced immunity after initial vaccination with Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine, while all seven increased immunity when given after two doses of AstraZeneca's vaccine.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warns of a return of the "nightmare scenario of a military confrontation" in Europe, as tensions spike over Ukraine. Speaking at the OSCE meeting in Stockholm, Lavrov accuses NATO of bringing its military infrastructure "closer to the Russian borders".
Deputy Labour Leader Angela Rayner has written a letter to Cabinet Secretary Simon Case calling for an investigation into claims the prime minister hosted a Christmas party last year during lockdown. She said his actions show "a blatant disregard for the rules" and wants to "clarify whether the law was broken".
Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer labels promises made by Boris Johnson as not being "worth the manifesto paper" they are written on. The prime minister says Starmer "drivels on irrelevantly" and that Labour are riven by "factional infighting". .
A forest fire burning on Pogue Mountain near Marion, North Carolina, grew to about 300 acres as of the afternoon on Wednesday, December 1, according to local satellite reports.No structures were threatened as of Wednesday as fire crews worked to contain the blaze that ignited on Tuesday afternoon, local media reported.The North Carolina Forest Service issued a statewide burn ban on Monday, in effect until further notice due to “increased fire risk.”Footage filmed by Scotty Powell, who said it was taken in McDowell County, shows a smoke-filled sky on Wednesday. Credit: Scotty Powell via Storyful
New coronavirus variants highlight the need for countries to do their own research and development on COVID-19 vaccines, said a senior Philippines trade official, adding that people will only be safe once the whole world is vaccinated. The Philippines is looking to work with its trading partners on this as vaccine demand is unlikely to wane anytime soon, said Allan Gepty, assistant secretary at the Department of Trade and Industry in an interview at the Reuters Next conference. The new COVID-19 variants highlight that "we have to continue doing our respective research and development in this area because there is a truism that …no one is safe unless everyone is safe," said Gepty.