National health and medical news making headlines |

Senegal registers first case of coronavirus omicron variant

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) - Senegal has recorded its first case of the omicron variant, becoming the third West African nation to detect the new coronavirus variant after Nigeria and Ghana.

Germany: incoming minister advises against Christmas travel

BERLIN (AP) - Germany's incoming transport minister is advising people against traveling over Christmas as the country tries to stem a wave of coronavirus infections.

More omicron detected as hospitals strain under delta surge

New York announced three more cases of the omicron variant of the coronavirus Saturday, bringing the number of state cases linked to the new variant to eight.

COVID outbreak on cruise ship approaching New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Ten people aboard a Norwegian Cruise Line ship approaching New Orleans have tested positive for COVID-19, officials said Saturday night.

Former Dutch queen Beatrix tests positive for coronavirus

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) - Princess Beatrix, the 83-year-old former Dutch queen, has tested positive for the coronavirus, the royal house announced Saturday.

UK tightens travel testing rules amid omicron concerns

LONDON (AP) - Britain's government tightened travel restrictions Saturday amid concerns about the spread of the omicron coronavirus variant, saying all travelers arriving in England will need to take a COVID-19 test before they board their flight.

Police get complaints over U.K. leader's festive parties

LONDON (AP) - Britain's opposition Labour Party has raised complaints to police about Christmas parties held by Prime Minister Boris Johnson's staff in his office last year in breach of coronavirus restrictions.

Contact tracing revs up in some states as omicron reaches US

The arrival of the omicron variant of the coronavirus in the U.S. has health officials in some communities reviving contact tracing operations in an attempt to slow and better understand its spread as scientists study how contagious it is and whether it can thwart vaccines.

Anti-lockdown protesters march through Dutch city of Utrecht

UTRECHT, Netherlands (AP) - Thousands of people marched peacefully through the Dutch city of Utrecht on Saturday to protest the government's coronavirus lockdown measures.

US drugstores squeezed by vaccine demand, staff shortages

A rush of vaccine-seeking customers and staff shortages are squeezing drugstores around the U.S., leading to frazzled workers and temporary pharmacy closures.

Merkel: Virus death toll 'so bitter because it is avoidable'

BERLIN (AP) - Outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday made what is likely her final appeal before leaving office next week for Germans to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Italian dentist presents fake arm for vaccine to get pass

MILAN (AP) - A dentist in Italy faces possible criminal charges after trying to receive a coronavirus vaccine in a fake arm made of silicone.

SKorea sets daily records for new coronavirus cases, deaths

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - South Korea again broke its daily records for coronavirus infections and deaths and confirmed three more cases of the new omicron variant as officials scramble to tighten social distancing and border controls.

Brazil's Bolsonaro investigated for linking vaccine and AIDS

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) - A justice of Brazil's top court ordered on Friday that President Jair Bolsonaro be investigated for comments linking COVID-19 vaccines to AIDS - an assertion rejected by doctors and scientists.

Sanders to Biden: Cut back looming Medicare premium hike

WASHINGTON (AP) - Sen. Bernie Sanders is asking the White House to cut back a big Medicare premium hike set to take effect in weeks and tied to a pricey Alzheimer's drug whose benefits have been widely questioned.

Omicron-stricken South Africa may be glimpse into the future

JOHANNESBURG (AP) - Dr. Sikhulile Moyo was analyzing COVID-19 samples in his lab in Botswana last week when he noticed they looked startlingly different from others.

The AP Interview: Scientist says omicron was a group find

JOHANNESBURG (AP) - The Botswana scientist who may well have discovered the omicron variant of the coronavirus says he has been on a "rollercoaster of emotions," with the pride of accomplishment followed by dismay over the travel bans immediately slapped on southern African countries.

Wisconsin's Democratic governor vetoes GOP abortion bills

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Wisconsin's Democratic Gov. Tony Evers vetoed five Republican-authored anti-abortion bills on Friday, two days after the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in a case that could curtail if not end a woman's right to abortion.

Belgian zoo says its 2 very runny-nosed hippos have COVID-19

BRUSSELS (AP) - A Belgian zoo said Friday that a pair of hippopotamuses in its care are in isolation after testing positive for COVID-19, possibly the first time ever such animals have caught the disease.

Study suggests past COVID infection may not fend off omicron

The findings, posted online Thursday, are preliminary and haven't yet undergone scientific review.