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Scientists Call for Additional Restrictions on Omicron Fight in UK – Observer

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The British government should impose tighter restrictions to slow the growth of the Omicron variant and prevent further increases in hospitalizations and deaths from covid-19, British scientists say.

A study by scientists at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine predicts that the new variant could cause 25,000 to 75,000 deaths in the UK over the next five months, unless stricter restrictions are adopted.

The study points to a new wave of infections with more infections and hospitalizations than was reported in January this year when the Delta variant appeared, and suggests that the Omicron variant may become the most dominant variant in England in a few days.

The UK reported 58,194 cases on Friday, the highest rate since January, although it is not known how many of them are from the Omicron variant.

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In their forecasts, the experts worked on two possible scenarios: a “more optimistic” scenario, in which Omicron might not hit the immune system so hard, and booster doses of vaccinations would be more effective, and a “more pessimistic” scenario.

The number of infections will depend on the degree of protection of the vaccine against the new variant and the associated booster doses, which remains unknown.

In the first case, 2,000 hospitalizations per day are expected, for a total of 175,000 hospitalizations and 24,700 deaths by the end of April.

If measures are taken at the beginning of the year, such as limiting hospitalizations, closing some entertainment venues, and increasing bandwidth when people gather, the wave could be controlled and the number of hospitalizations to 53,000 and deaths to 7,600 reduced.

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On the worst trajectory, scientists predict a surge in hospital admissions, double the number in January this year, to a total of 492,000 and 74,800 deaths.

Under stricter restrictions, the peak hospital admissions may be lower than the last peak of the pandemic.

The study recalls that these opportunities only apply when other measures than current ones are not being taken, such as using masks indoors, presenting digital certificates of vaccination when entering nightlife venues, and working from home whenever possible. …

“In our most optimistic scenario, the impact of Omicron in early 2022 will be mitigated through light control measures such as working from home,” said Rosanna Barnard of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, while “the most pessimistic scenario suggests that we may have to put up with tougher restrictions so that (the health service) is not overwhelmed. “

The expert acknowledged that “no one wants a new conclusion,” but extreme measures may be required if Ómicron is more infectious, and stressed that political leaders “must consider all the social consequences of measures, not just epidemiological ones.”

Boris Johnson’s government has no plans to take stricter measures, but will offer a booster dose of vaccine to citizens over 18 by the end of January.

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Salman Rushdie attacked with knife, police say writer suffered neck and stomach injuries

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British writer Salman Rushdie was the target of an attack this Friday at an event in New York State. The Booker Prize-winning author was preparing to speak at the Chautauqua Institute and witnesses say they saw a man run onto the stage, where he attacked the interviewer and Rushdie, who suffered neck and stomach injuries, police said. with a knife.

The NYPD identified the suspect in the attack as Hadi Matar, 24, from Fairview, New Jersey, and believe he acted alone. Authorities said there were no threats prior to the event, but said they did not know the reason for the attack.

After the attack, Salman Rushdie, 75, was airlifted to a local hospital. The severity of the injury is not yet known, but New York Gov. Katie Hochul said the writer is alive and “getting the help he needs.” The author’s spokesman, Andrew Wylie, said in an emailed statement that “Rushdie is in surgery” but did not provide any details.

Part of the audience took to the stage shortly after the incident, which took place around 11 am local time (4 pm in mainland Portugal). According to an Associated Press correspondent, the writer was lying on the floor, assisted by a lifeguard who later fled the scene. Henry Reese, the interviewer, also suffered a minor head injury. Reese is the co-founder of a non-profit organization that provides sanctuary for exiled writers who are at risk of persecution.

The attacker was immobilized and detained by the police, but no information has yet been received. British newspaper The Guardian cites eyewitness accounts who say they saw a man wearing a black face mask run onto the stage and attack Rushdie as he sat down. Paula Voell, a retired journalist, said: at the Buffalo News: “We saw the man run a few steps across the stage, and there was horror – the whole audience reacted, and probably 15 people ran out onto the stage to try to look at him.”

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Iran ordered the assassination of Rushdie in 1989.

The author of The Satanic Verses, published in 1988, was sentenced to death by Iran’s leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini a year after publication on charges of blasphemous labor for Muslim believers. This decision forced Salman Rushdie to live in an unknown area under police protection, and a fatwa issued by the Iranian leader promising a three million dollar reward to anyone who kills the writer ultimately became the source of the rupture of diplomatic relations between Britain and Iran. The Iranian government has long distanced itself from Khomeini’s decree, but anti-Rushdie sentiment persists.

In 2012, the Iranian Religious Foundation increased the bounty for Rushdie’s assassination to $3.3 million. At the time, Rushdie downplayed the threat, saying there was “no evidence” that people were interested in the reward. In the same year, the writer published his memoirs “Joseph Anton Memory”, about the “fatwa”.

Author of about two dozen works, Rushdie received the Booker Prize in 1981 for Midnight’s Children, also awarded the Booker Prize in 1993, and in 2008 for The Best of Booker. “O Último Suspiro do Mouro” earned him the Withbread Prize in 1995 and the European Union Literary Prize in 1996.

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EU President considers visa ban for all Russians – Newsroom

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“A total freeze on Russian visas by all EU member states could be another very effective sanction,” Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky said in a statement obtained by AFP.

Lipavsky said he would make the offer at an informal meeting of EU foreign ministers in Prague at the end of August.

The Ukrainian authorities are demanding such a step from the EU, but this has divided the countries of the block, which are forced to unanimously adopt sanctions.

“During this period of Russian aggression, which the Kremlin continues to intensify, one cannot speak of ordinary tourism for Russian citizens,” Lipavsky said. Otherwise, the Czech Republic has stopped issuing visas to Russians since February 25, the day after Russia invaded Ukraine.

The EU has so far adopted six packages of sanctions against Russia.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on Western countries to ban all Russian citizens from entering their territory in an interview with the Washington Post this week.

Last week, Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto unveiled a plan to limit tourist visas for Russians.

Kaja Kallas, Estonia’s prime minister, also on the border with Russia, earlier this week urged the EU to stop issuing visas to Russians.

“Visiting Europe is a privilege, not a human right,” he tweeted on Tuesday. Lipavsky said the move would send “a very clear and direct signal to Russian society.”

This would show that “the Western world does not tolerate the aggression and hateful rhetoric of the Russian regime against free and democratic countries that do not pose a threat to Russia,” he added.

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Shooter shot dead while trying to break into FBI office

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A gunman who tried to break into an FBI office in Cincinnati, Ohio, was killed by law enforcement on Thursday after several hours of clashes.

The incident at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) office in Cincinnati comes after authorities warned of an increase in threats against federal agents in the days following Monday’s searches of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago in Florida.

The FBI said in a statement that early Thursday morning, a gunman attempted to “break into” an office in Cincinnati, Ohio.

“An alarm went off, armed FBI agents arrived, and the suspect fled,” the federal police said.

Police sources said the man was wearing a bulletproof vest and was chased down the freeway and then abandoned his car on nearby country roads bordering forests and farmland near Interstate 71, about 45 miles (72 km) ) northeast of Cincinnati.

“After the car stopped, a shootout broke out between the police and the suspect,” the federal police said.

The man fled to a cornfield, where he was surrounded by police, who unsuccessfully tried to negotiate with him to surrender to the authorities, an Ohio police spokesman said in the evening.

The 42-year-old man died at the scene after pointing a gun at the police, who opened fire.

FBI Director Christopher Wray announced on Wednesday that the FBI had received threats following the search of Trump’s home, calling them “deplorable and dangerous.”

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