Coronavirus daily news updates, November 27: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the world

The World Health Organization is cautioning of a new COVID-19 variant they called “omicron.” Though the actual risks are not yet understood, health officials say people who had COVID-19 and recovered could become ill again, and it’s unknown whether current vaccines are less effective against omicron.

In an effort to contain the possible spread of the new variant as its risks are assessed, the Biden administration announced it will restrict travel from South Africa and several other countries beginning Monday. The travel restrictions do not affect U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents.

Doctors in Poland continue to criticize government officials who refuse to introduce additional COVID-19 restrictions for unvaccinated citizens, despite recent surges in cases. The rise in infections pushed authorities to open temporary hospitals and thousands of children have been quarantined and school-aged children began remote learning as COVID-19 outbreaks continue in the country.

We’re updating this page with the latest news about the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the Seattle area, the U.S. and the world. Click here to see previous days’ live updates and all our other coronavirus coverage, and here to see how we track the daily spread across Washington.

Navigating the pandemic

(Jennifer Luxton / The Seattle Times)

World on alert as UK reports cases of omicron COVID variant

LONDON — Britain became the latest country Saturday to report cases of the new potentially more contagious omicron variant of the coronavirus as governments around the world sought to shore up their defenses by slapping restrictions on travel from nations in southern Africa.

Amid fears that the recently identified new variant has the potential to be more resistant to the protection offered by vaccines, there are growing concerns that the pandemic and associated lockdown restrictions will persist for far longer than hoped.

U.K. Health Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed that two people have tested positive with the omicron variant and that the cases are linked and related to travel from southern Africa. One is in the southeastern English town of Brentwood, while the other is in the central city of Nottingham. The government had earlier said one of the locations was Chelmsford, and it didn’t give any reason for the change.

Read the full story here.

—Pan Pylas, Associated Press


UK health secretary says that 2 cases of new coronavirus variant omicron identified in Britain, says they are linked

LONDON — UK health secretary says that 2 cases of new coronavirus variant omicron identified in Britain, says they are linked.

This is a developing story.

—Associated Press

Countries move to cut air links with southern Africa amid news of virulent new coronavirus variant

LONDON — As alarm over a new, possibly more infectious coronavirus variant spread around the world, France, Britain, Japan and Israel began to ban or order quarantines for air passengers arriving from the southern African region.

Susan Hopkins, chief medical adviser to Britain’s Health and Security Agency, warned that the new variant found in southern Africa is the “most worrying we’ve seen.”

The European Union is expected to also propose a ban on air travel arriving from southern Africa. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced the proposal Friday morning on Twitter and said she is coordinating with the bloc’s 27 member states.

Read the full story here.

—William Booth and Perry Stein, The Washington Post

Article Source: The Seattle Times