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US CDC shortens isolation time for COVID******
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has shortened the isolation periods for health care workers infected with COVID-19, due to hospital staffing shortages driven by the surge in new cases and hospitalizations.。
The CDC revised its guidelines on Thursday, recommending that health care workers who are asymptomatic return to work after seven days with a negative test, adding that "isolation time can be cut further if there are staffing shortages."
The agency also said that those workers who have received all recommended vaccine doses, including boosters, do not need to quarantine at home following high-risk exposures.。
The new guidelines apply to all health care facilities that are directly involved in patient care, which include hospitals, nursing homes, dental offices and other medical sites.。
"As the health care community prepares for an anticipated surge in patients due to Omicron, CDC is updating our recommendations to reflect what we know about infection and exposure in the context of vaccination and booster doses," said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky.。
"Our goal is to keep health care personnel and patients safe, and to address and prevent undue burden on our health care facilities," she said.。
Walensky urged all health care personnel to get vaccinated and boosted.。
The CDC stressed that the new guidelines do not extend to the general public and only apply to the health care workforce.。
Others who are infected COVID-19 should isolate for 10 full days, according to CDC guidance.。
Some health experts and business leaders are hoping that the CDC will consider loosening the period for all vaccinated Americans.。
The CDC said it continues to evaluate isolation and quarantine recommendations for the broader population as it learns about the Omicron variant and will update the public as appropriate.。
The new Omicron variant is driving a winter surge in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths across the United States.。
Many hospitals are already overburdened, especially with patients who remain unvaccinated and those who have delayed necessary care during the pandemic. Doctors, nurses and other workers have suffered extensive burnout.。
US President Joe Biden said this week that 1,000 military medical professionals would be deployed to help hospitals, and the US National Guard is already working in some nursing homes and hospitals to address understaffing in several states.。
Over 10 mln students in China's universities for aged******
BEIJING, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) -- The number of students in China's universities for the aged had exceeded 10.88 million by the end of 2019, according to the country's first report on education development of the elderly made public Tuesday.
Over 80 percent of the students are under the age of 70. People aged between 60 and 69 accounted for about 50 percent of the total number, the highest proportion of all age groups, read the report issued by the China Association of the Universities for the Aged.
Except for on-campus study, online digital education has turned into a vital education platform for the elderly. Incomplete statistics showed that China had more than 6,000 schools providing distance education services for the aged in 2019, about six times that of 2017. Enditem
WHO special session seeking 'pandemic treaty' amid Omicron concerns******
A medical worker treats COVID-19 patients in an ICU of the University Emergency Hospital in Bucharest, Romania on November 4, 2021.。
A special session of the World Health Assembly (WHA) kicked off on Monday amid growing concerns over the latest Omicron coronavirus variant, where the participants aim to negotiate a new "pandemic treaty."
Legally binding pandemic treaty。
The WHA May session this year decided to set up a working group to consider the findings and recommendations of a number of panels and committees on global preparedness for and response to COVID-19 before starting their discussions on Monday on the potential new "legally binding agreement between nations."
"COVID-19 has exposed and exacerbated fundamental weaknesses in the global architecture for pandemic preparedness and response," said World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at the opening of the special session.。
"The best way we can address them is with a legally binding agreement between nations, an accord forged from the recognition that we have no future but a common future," he said.。
According to Tedros, the new "pandemic treaty" is expected to address COVID-19 as "a crisis of solidarity and sharing."
"The lack of sharing of PPE (personal protective equipment), tests, vaccines, technology, know-how, intellectual property and other tools hindered our collective ability to prevent infections and save lives," he said, noting the lack of a consistent and coherent global approach has resulted in "a splintered and disjointed response, breeding misunderstanding, misinformation and mistrust."
Travelers wait to receive COVID-19 tests at Cape Town International Airport in Cape Town, South Africa on November 29, 2021.。
Get prepared for Omicron。
The WHA special session coincides with the emergence of the highly mutated Omicron virus variant, which was designated by the WHO as a "variant of concern" (VOC) just three days ago.。
Though the WHO has said it is not yet clear whether Omicron is more transmissible or causes more severe disease than the other known variants, including Delta, concerns over its impact on the efficacy of existing vaccines and treatments have been growing.。
A number of countries have already introduced entry bans on travelers from South Africa, where Omicron was first confirmed on November 9 and has been identified in multiple European countries, including Belgium, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Portugal, and Sweden.。
Sweden's Public Health Agency on Monday confirmed its first case of the Omicron variant, found when a traveler who last week returned to Sweden from South Africa was tested.。
Portugal's National Institute of Health Doctor Ricardo Jorge (INSA) on Monday confirmed 13 cases of the Omicron variant in Portugal among players and staff members of the football club Belenenses SAD.。
The INSA said that the samples were collected and analyzed on Sunday, and that one of the players who tested positive had recently returned to the country from South Africa.。
In Germany, the COVID-19 seven-day incidence rate climbed to a new all-time high of 452.4, up from 386.5 a week ago, the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases announced on Monday.。
German virologist Christian Drosten told the broadcaster ZDF on Sunday that he was "quite concerned at the moment. I am surprised to see so many mutations in the virus."
In Cyprus, new anti-coronavirus measures relating to young school children came into force on Monday, with most COVID-19 clusters currently being found in schools.。
In addition to banning direct arrival from the eight African countries most affected by the Omicron variant, all travelers coming from other destinations will also be tested for the coronavirus at airports, said Michalis Hadipantelas, Cyprus' health minister.。
Polish Health Minister Adam Niedzielski said on Monday that the country's government is set to announce new restrictions to cope with the new variant, including tightened flight rules on seven southern African nations.。
"Omicron demonstrates just why the world needs a new accord on pandemics: our current system disincentivizes countries from alerting others to threats that will inevitably land on their shores," said Tedros.。