By Ivana Kottasová, Ed Upright, Meg Wagner, Adrienne Vogt, Melissa Macaya and Melissa Mahtani, CNN
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From CNN’s Luke Henderson and Lauren Kent
England has detected community transmission of the Omicron coronavirus variant, UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid said on Monday.
“We can conclude there is now community transmission across multiple regions of England,” Javid said in the House of Commons.
Javid said the United Kingdom has confirmed 261 Omicron cases in England, 71 in Scotland, and 4 in Wales, for a total of 336 confirmed Omicron variant cases. “This includes cases with no links to international travel,” Javid added.
“Recent analysis from the UK Health Security Agency suggests that the window between infection and infectiousness may be shorter for the Omicron variant than for the Delta variant,” Javid said.
“But we don’t yet have a complete picture of whether Omicron causes more severe disease or indeed how it interacts with the vaccines, and so we can’t say for certain at this point whether Omicron has the potential to knock us off our road to recovery,” he added.
Last week, the UK Health Security Agency told CNN that community transmission of the Omicron variant was detected in several cases found in Scotland.
From CNN’s Stephanie Halasz
The German branch of McDonald’s has tweaked its marketing slogan to “Vaccination — I’m lovin’ it” on Tuesday, while Nestlè turned its own tagline into “Have a break — Have a shot.”
The two companies have joined more than 150 brands in Germany to temporarily change their advertising slogans to urge people to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Germany is struggling with vaccine hesitancy as it battles the fourth wave of the epidemic, with high hospitalizations and infection rates.
Under the hashtag #ZusammenGegenCorona, or #TogetheragainstCorona, the brands are trying to help spread awareness of the benefits of vaccinations.
Porsche, for example, simply says: “Vaccinate.” Condor, the airline, tells people “We love vaccinating,” changed from their usual “We love flying.” BMW, instead of “Joy from driving,” has “Joy from vaccinating.”
Antoni, the Berlin advertising company behind the campaign, said the idea was simple: “Literally ask every brand in Germany to change their slogan into a call to action to encourage vaccinations.”
The brands answered, Antoni said in a statement. Within a couple of days, companies such as Burger King, McDonalds, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Edeka and Lidl were on board.
From CNN’s Jen Christensen
The World Health Organization made a strong recommendation Monday against using convalescent plasma to treat Covid-19 patients, saying there was no indication it helped patients and that it took time and resources to administer.
Convalescent plasma is made from the blood of people who have recovered from an infection such as Covid-19. Plasma is the liquid portion of blood carrying immune cells and antibodies — proteins the body makes to fight infection. The plasma can be infused into a sick person in the hope of speeding recovery with from some diseases.
The new WHO recommendations, which were published in the British Medical Journal, said:
Convalescent plasma treatment has been around since the late Victorian era and has been used to treat two other deadly coronaviruses, including MERS and SARS.
WHO said it changed its recommendations because it recognized “no clear benefit for critical outcomes such as mortality and mechanical ventilation for patients with non-severe, severe, or critical illness, and significant resource requirements in terms of cost and time for administration.”
For patients with non-severe illness, the guidance said, it was not justified. For patients with severe and critical illness, there was “sufficient uncertainty” to warrant the continuation of trials.
The decision was based on evidence from 16 trials involving 16,236 patients with non-severe, severe, and critical Covid-19 infection.
Monday’s guidance also recommended against the use of ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine and added to previous recommendations for the use of corticosteroids in patients with severe or critical Covid-19 and for the use of interleukin-6 receptor blockers, as well as conditional recommendations for the use of monoclonal antibody treatments in some patients.
From CNN’s Esha Mitra in New Delhi
More than 100 people who arrived in India from abroad now appear to be untraceable after some of their cellphones were switched off and residence addresses provided on self-declaration forms were found to be locked, an official from the city of Kalyan-Dombivali, near Mumbai, said Monday.
India imposed new rules on international arrivals last week, in reaction to the emergence of the Omicron variant.
People arriving in the country must now submit a self-declaration form to an online government portal that includes a 14-day travel history and a proof of a negative Covid-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to their departure.
On Monday, chief of Kalyan Dombivali’s administrative body, Vijay Suryawanshi, was quoted by Press Trust of India (PTI), an Indian news agency, saying 109 of 295 recent foreign arrivals are untraceable.
While Suryawanshi did not elaborate on where the passengers had flown in from, he told PTI that everyone flying into India from an “at risk” country would have to quarantine at home for seven days in keeping with federal guidelines.
From CNN’s Forrest Brown and Marnie Hunter
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has put five places in Europe — including one of the world’s biggest tourism powerhouses — on its list of destinations for “very high” Covid-19 travel risk.
France and four of its European neighbors moved to Level 4, the CDC’s highest-risk category, on Monday. France was the world’s top destination for international tourist arrivals pre-pandemic, according to 2019 figures from the United Nations World Tourism Organization.
Two other places — one in the Middle East, the other in East Africa — were also moved to Level 4. Those seven nations are:
Destinations that fall into the CDC’s “Covid-19 Very High” Level 4 category have had more than 500 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days.
Read the full story here.