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EU states should act now for COVID-19 waves in winter: official

Seeing a “worrying increase” in outbreaks has prompted the EU health chief to call on member states to start preparing for a new wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in autumn and winter.

European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides followed with a warning that there was no room for complacency, saying the pandemic was not over.

Unfortunately the pandemic has shown a worrying increase in several countries,” she told Cyprus state radio.

“For the past two months, we have been preparing for the autumn and winter, fully aware the next pandemic wave cannot and should not further burden our economies or our societies, particularly at a time when it’s being affected by the war and invasion of Ukraine, and inflation,” she said.

Ms Kyriakides told the broadcaster the Commission had asked member states to accelerate booster shots now for persons over 60 and vulnerable groups.

“These months should be preparatory months… So our health systems are ready for possible new waves which might, for instance, be combined with seasonal flu,” she said.

Omicron spreads in Australia and the Far East

On Monday, the number of Australians admitted to hospitals with COVID-19 hit a record of about 5,450, official data showed, as the proliferation of highly contagious new Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants continues nationwide.

Meanwhile up north, in mainland China, 800 new coronavirus cases for July 24 were reported, of which 150 were symptomatic and 650 asymptomatic, according to the country’s National Health Commission.

No deaths were reported, thus the nation’s fatalities remained at 5,226.

A total of 228,798 cases with symptoms were confirmed in mainland China as of Sunday.

The capital of Beijing reported one new local symptomatic case in a quarantined area, compared with no local cases the previous day, the local government said.

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