Covid-19: Booster rollout review and quarantine hotel escapee arrests

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Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Monday morning. We'll have another update for you this evening.

1. Booster jab rollout review

The UK's vaccine advisory body, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, is expected to decide whether it will recommend offering Covid booster jabs to more people. Its deputy chairman Prof Anthony Harnden says it would be a "sensible strategy" to reduce time between doses and extend boosters to people under 40, who are not currently eligible. This comes as fresh restrictions were announced to tackle the new Omicron variant, which is currently showing higher re-infection risk. Measures covering face masks, schools and travel go before Parliament later.

Image source, Getty Images

2. Quarantine hotel escapee arrests

As the Netherlands grapples with record Covid cases and concerns over the new variant it's emerged that police arrested a couple who escaped from a quarantine hotel. Dutch officers detained them on a plane just before take-off from Schiphol airport in Amsterdam on Sunday evening. They've been handed over to the country's health service and it's not known whether they were among the passengers who tested positive for the new coronavirus variant after arriving on two flights from South Africa last week.

Image source, Reuters

3. Call to lift travel bans

Travel bans imposed by the UK, EU and US after the new Covid variant, Omicron, was detected in South Africa have been condemned by the country's president. Cyril Ramaphosa says he was "deeply disappointed" by the action after cases of the heavily mutated variant emerged. He's described the move as unjustified, and called for bans to be urgently lifted. Omicron has been classed as a "variant of concern" with early evidence suggesting it has a higher re-infection risk.

Media caption,
Cyril Ramaphosa: "We are deeply disappointed by the decision of several countries to prohibit travel".

4. Is India ready for a third wave?

Anyone travelling through India's northern states would be forgiven for thinking the pandemic is over. It is not over and cases are rising in Europe again, prompting the World Health Organization to say it is "very worried". So will there be another wave of Covid? And if that happens, is India prepared? Find out here.

Image source, Getty Images

5. Covid dashes Cardiff's return hopes

Cardiff rugby union team's hopes of flying out of South Africa following travel restrictions imposed on the back of the Omicron variant have been dashed. They'd been due to take the same flight as their Welsh rivals the Scarlets but the club's confirmed two positive Covid-19 cases in their squad. They'll be isolating with Irish side Munster who've also had a positive case. Here's the full story.

Image source, Cardiff Rugby

And there's more...

As more cases of the Omicron variant emerge, find out here whether existing Covid vaccines still work.

Image source, BBC

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