The European Union needs to buy time to assess fully the implications of the new Omicron coronavirus variant and to prepare, notably by pushing for greater vaccination rates, the president of the European Commission said on Sunday. Ursula Von der Leyen, speaking during a visit to Latvia, said she took the variant seriously. "We know that we are in a race against time.... And the scientists and manufacturers need two to three weeks to have a full picture about the quality of the mutations of this Omicron variant," she told a news conference.
A condolence ceremony is held for Iraqi Kurdish migrant Maryam Nuri Hama Amin, who drowned in the English Channel trying to reach her fiance in Britain. At least 27 migrants died when their inflatable boat sank off the French port of Calais.
The World Health Organization has called for a new international accord on tackling pandemics, following the emergence of the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus.During a special session of the World Health Assembly on November 29, WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the new variant “underlines just how perilous and precarious our situation is.”“Omicron demonstrates just why the world needs a new accord on pandemics,” he said. “Our current system disincentivizes countries from alerting others to threats that will inevitably land on their shores,” he said.Tedros called on richer nations to commit to vaccine equity in order to bring an end to the pandemic. “More than 80 percent of the world’s vaccines have gone to G20 countries. Low income countries, most of them in Africa, have received just 0.6 percent of all vaccines,” he said. “The longer vaccine inequity persists, the more opportunity this virus has to spread and evolve in ways we cannot predict.”Tedros also said South Africa and Botswana “should be thanked for detecting and sequencing and reporting this variant, not penalized,” and said it was not yet known whether the variant is associated with more transmissions, severe disease, or vaccine resistance. Credit: World Health Organization via Storyful
PARIS (Reuters) -France is prepared to talk to Britain about migration if it is ready for serious discussions, interior minister Gerald Darmanin said on Monday, as he urged the UK to "limit" its economic attractiveness to migrants. Darmanin also told a news conference that Prime Minister Jean Castex will write to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday to detail French demands. Amid a growing rift, France cancelled an invitation to British Interior Minister Priti Patel to attend a meeting on Sunday with European counterparts to discuss the situation.
Triple world champion Mark Williams has apologised to snooker fans for falling asleep during his own match at the UK championship, blaming the after-effects of COVID-19. The 46-year-old 'Welsh Potting Machine' lost 6-5 in the second round to Anthony Hamilton in York on Sunday evening and revealed afterwards that he had nodded off in his chair while leading. "After 30 years as a pro, that’s the first time I have fallen asleep during a match," he told the World Snooker Tour website.