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Round-up of Covid-19 news.

Posted on 4th December 2021

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Tougher Health Regulations

This BBC article reports that Ireland is closing nightclubs and the hospitality sector faces tighter rules over Christmas as the government tries to curb the spread of Covid-19. Indoor events such as concerts and sports fixtures must operate at no more than 50% capacity and private home visits must involve no more than four households.

Germany is, as reported by the BBC, barring the unvaccinated from much of public life: restaurants, cinemas, leisure facilities and many shops. Angela Merkel also recently said, in a speech, that there could be a national vaccine mandate in Germany from February 2022.

This update on Schengen Visa Info describes tighter restrictions on travel to EU countries, especially for the unvaccinated.


Pfizers's chief executive Dr. Albert Bourla was recently speaking to the BBC (before the discovery of the Omicron variant). He said that we will probably need annual Covid jabs for years to come (as I predicted back in 2020), as with the 'flu shot.

Dr Bourla also said that Pfizer had already developed updated vaccines in response to the Beta and Delta variants, but that they had not been needed. The company is now working on an updated vaccine that will be more effective against the Omicron variant that could be ready in 100 days (which is pretty impressive).

One of the problems with Pfizers's vaccine, especially for developing nations, has always been the need for it to be stored at -70°C, but within a month or so, Pfizer says it will roll out a new formulation of the vaccine that can be stored for three months in a normal fridge, which Dr Bourla said, would make a "huge difference" for sub-Saharan African countries.

New Variants

This piece on the BBC discusses whether low rates of vaccinations could be responsible for the emergence of the new Omicron variant. The opinion seems to be that there is not yet enough evidence to prove the case, but that it seems likely. In a population of totally unvaccinated people, mutations of the coronavirus confer little advantage; in a population with high vaccination rates, virus transmission rates are greatly reduced which limits the opportunity for mutation; but in a population with low to medium vaccination rates there is plenty of opportunity for mutations to arise (because transmission rates are still high) and mutations confer advantages to the virus. So, you unvaccinated people are probably responsible for the Delta, Delta+ and Omicron variants.