Displaying items by tag: Omicron variant

Thursday, 24 February 2022 20:42

China: Hong Kong healthcare overwhelmed

Hong Kong is compulsorily testing all its 7.5 million citizens as the city battles surging coronavirus infections. Residents must undergo three rounds of tests starting in March. Hong Kong is trying to adhere to China's ‘zero Covid’ policy, but Omicron has overwhelmed hospitals, testing and quarantine facilities. While other parts of the world are learning to live with the disease, China's policy is to try to eradicate infection through early testing, detailed contact tracing and strict quarantine and travel restrictions. Tens of thousands of new isolation spaces are being created for those who test positive, but chief executive Carrie Lam conceded the new measures may not succeed. ‘The coming one to three months are crucial in fighting the pandemic,’ she told reporters. ‘This quickly worsening epidemic has far exceeded the Hong Kong government's ability to tackle it.’

Published in Worldwide
Wednesday, 22 December 2021 21:36

Two epidemics at once

Omicron is spreading rapidly, but Delta is not disappearing. The two variants are circulating together. Previously Alpha wiped out the original variant and was then displaced by Delta. It is believed Omicron can get past some of the body's defences built up by vaccination and previous infection. The two variants are not competing for the same people. Delta cases since summer have been stable, but Omicron infections are rapidly driving the numbers up. As cases go up there is pressure to introduce more restrictions or a full lockdown. However, restrictions don't stop the epidemic - they prolong it. Pray for God to reinforce research capabilities for medical scientists and clarity of thought to all in the front line fighting the pandemic. Pray for God to give courage to our leaders as they make difficult decisions. May they be surrounded by wise counsel that hears Your voice. See also next article: Covid circuit breaker request.

Published in British Isles
Wednesday, 22 December 2021 21:14

Europe: Omicron is spreading at lightning speed

Omicron will become the dominant Covid variant in France by January. Germany, the Republic of Ireland, the Netherlands, and France have announced additional restrictions to stem the tide. Germany's health minister said they must prepare for a challenge never seen before. He has designated France, Norway and Denmark as ‘high risk’ and added tougher rules on UK arrivals. A third of Ireland’s new cases have been Omicron. They are expecting infections at a rate that far exceeds anything they have seen to date. Italy, Greece and Portugal announced that visitors from the EU, even those who have been vaccinated, must present a negative test result on arrival, to stem the tide of infections. The UK is hardest hit, but English people with Covid can end quarantine after seven days instead of ten if they test negative on days six and seven. England has new restrictions before Christmas, while Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have curbed social mixing.

Published in Europe
Wednesday, 15 December 2021 21:36

Omicron variant: things to pray for

Downing Street intended to hold a Christmas party this year, but following the renewal of compulsory mask wearing and restricted numbers allowed in venues it was cancelled. Pray that managers and leaders of councils, commerce and industry will also take practical precautions when considering Christmas celebrations. Sajid Javid warns Omicron is spreading at a rate ‘that we've never seen before’. Pray for peace and safety to flow through our streets and for health and hope to be in our homes. A new target to give all eligible adults booster jabs by 1 January at hundreds more sites across the country means the PM and NHS are appealing for volunteers to help run these vaccination centres. They need tens of thousands of trained vaccinators and stewards to achieve the accelerated booster rollout. Pray for an exceptional number of qualified medics and helpers to be established on sites quickly.

Published in British Isles
Wednesday, 15 December 2021 21:27

Covid shadow over NHS and care homes

Many Covid patients admitted to hospital are unvaccinated and then ask for the vaccine on arrival, when it is too late. Hospitals are treating unprecedented numbers of sick people at the start of what could be the toughest winter in NHS history. One doctor said, ‘The recent volume of patients is higher than ever before. Everyone wants to give their best, but sometimes that is just not possible’. The treatment backlog caused by Covid has made things worse, and there are more mental health issues and alcohol abuse due to the current constraints. See There are currently no restrictions on the number of visitors allowed to care homes, but the government has confirmed it is considering restricting visits to homes to three named people over Christmas as a consequence of the uncertainty caused by the Omicron variant. Pray for the shadow of trauma, fear, and uncertainty caused by Covid to be lifted.

Published in British Isles
Thursday, 09 December 2021 20:37

Pandemic: Omicron reinfection

WHO chief scientist Dr Swaminathan said reinfections with the Omicron variant 90 days after the virus first strikes are three times more common. While data on the virulence and transmissibility will take time, scientists know that Omicron is a dominant strain in South Africa. They have said there was no surge of re-infection during either the Beta or Delta waves, despite laboratory studies suggesting those variants had the potential to evade some immunity. But they are now detecting a spike in re-infections and the timing suggests the Omicron variant is the driving force. Prof Juliet Pulliam, from Stellenbosch University, said, ‘These findings suggest that Omicron's selection advantage is at least partially driven by an increased ability to infect previously infected individuals.’ However, it is still only one piece of the puzzle. See

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 09 December 2021 20:34

Pandemic: insights on global response to Omicron

Across the nations governments are planning how to respond to the new Omicron mutation. Pray according to 1 Timothy 2:1 for all who are in authority, so that we lead safe and peaceful lives. May our leaders' decisions and actions be in God’s will - not man’s opinions. May the media be prevented from exaggerating facts or promoting half-true opinions to gain attention. Father, let all that You desire for our governments and scientists to accomplish be done. Anoint every discussion on how to respond to Omicron with immunisations and health and safety bylaws with your wisdom and not out of panic. Do not allow politics to influence the governments’ coronavirus guidelines. Guide all research that is being done to both develop vaccines and medicines to treat those who are infected - and guard it from any big pharmacy companies' maneuverings or financial greed. We ask you for scientific breakthroughs that will bless the nations of the world.

Published in Worldwide
Friday, 03 December 2021 10:09

Sage scientists’ response to Omicron

The impact of the Omicron variant on the UK is uncertain but may require a very stringent response, according to the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE). Ask God to give SAGE officials all the wisdom and stamina needed as they collect data on the variant. May they have ample discernment analysing the data and preparing for a potential wave of infections. Officials are throwing everything at a campaign to roll out booster jabs to all adults this winter in response to Omicron. Pray for Pfizer and others which have already begun to explore making new vaccines. The CEO of Moderna said it will take 95 days; also, the high number of mutations the virus uses to infect humans could mean that existing vaccines need to be modified and a higher dose booster jab needed to be the ‘first line of defence’. See

Published in British Isles
Friday, 03 December 2021 09:26

World: Omicron and politics

The Omicron variant has spread globally. Leaders hoping lockdowns and travel bans had ended now face disruptions that could affect their economies and popularity. Italy’s PM Mario Draghi has made economic recovery a cornerstone of his leadership, but he is under fire for enforcing some of the strictest vaccine mandates in Europe. His honeymoon period could be derailed if further lockdowns or disruptions send the economy into a nose-dive. Inflation and supply-chain chaos are headaches for America. Uncertainty over Omicron threatens to make things worse after a wobbly economy and a shambolic departure of troops from Afghanistan. Biden’s handling of the pandemic previously inspired voter confidence but has now caused his popularity to drop. It is unlikely that he will take risks that could harm the US economy. China’s president is pursuing an increasingly elusive zero Covid strategy. If Omicron is more transmissible than previous variants, China's leadership could be questioned domestically.

Published in Worldwide