Covid live: Slovakia sets new daily case record; India says expects severity of Omicron to be ‘low’

By Martin Belam (now) and Samantha Lock (earlier)

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Slovakia sets new record for daily Covid cases

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India's health ministry says it expects severity of disease associated with Omicron to be 'low'

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In Australia, the Fair Work Commission has ruled a Covid-19 vaccine mandate for all workers at BHP’s Mt Arthur coalmine was unlawful because the company did not consult adequately with its workers.

Approximately 50 mine workers were stood down without pay last month after they were told they would be required to have had at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine to enter the work site after 9 November, and that they would need to be fully vaccinated by 31 January next year.

The dispute between management of the Mt Arthur open cut coalmine in NSW’s Hunter Valley and the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMMEU) was escalated to a hearing by the full bench of the Fair Work Commission in November.

Read more of Stephanie Convery’s report here: Fair Work Commission rules BHP vaccine mandate unlawful due to lack of consultation

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Oliver Dowden: 'keep calm and carry on your Christmas plans'

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Black and south Asian people in UK urged to get jabs to cut higher Covid death rates

Doctors in the UK have urged unvaccinated Black and south Asian people to get their Covid jabs after new data revealed hospitalisations and deaths are higher in those groups, despite infection rates being lower than in white people.

Infections were higher in many Black and Asian groups during Britain’s first two waves of Covid but recently the pattern has shifted, with infections now more common among white people, even though their death rates remain relatively low.

The data, published on Friday in the final government report on understanding and tackling Covid-19 disparities, suggest that poor vaccine coverage is now a major reason for severe Covid in some black and Asian groups, despite programmes to improve underwhelming vaccine uptake.

Dr Raghib Ali, the government’s independent adviser on Covid-19 and ethnicity, and the author of the report, said evidence gathered over the past year showed that higher death rates seen in ethnic minorities in the first two waves of the pandemic were primarily due to a higher risk of infection, particularly among older people.

Read the full story here.

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South Africa entering fourth wave of Covid infections: health minister

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