Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
China’s Xi told EU less lethal Omicron opens way for fewer COVID restrictions
Chinese President Xi Jinping blamed mass protests in Chinese cities on youth frustrated by years of the COVID-19 pandemic, but said the now dominant Omicron variant of the virus paved the way for fewer restrictions, European Union officials said. The senior EU officials, who asked not to be named, recounted the main points of a visit to Beijing by European Council President Charles Michel, who met Xi along with other senior EU officials on Thursday.
United States to end mpox emergency declaration
Mpox is expected to no longer be considered a public health emergency in the United States from Feb. 1, 2023, the U.S. health department said on Friday. The months-long declaration was meant to tackle the largest-ever outbreak of cases in the country. The move signals that the crisis, which led to a spate of cases mostly among men who have sex with men, has come under control and would no longer require an emergency status meant to shore up funding and tools to fight the disease.
Amgen says experimental obesity drug has promising durability
Amgen Inc’s experimental obesity drug demonstrated promising durability trends in an early trial, paving the way for a larger mid-stage study early next year, company officials said ahead of a data presentation on Saturday. The small Phase I trial found that patients maintained their weight loss for 70 days after receiving the highest tested dose of the injected drug, currently known as AMG133.
Protests in Malta as parliament debates abortion amendment
A large picture of an unborn baby was placed outside the office of Malta’s prime minister on Sunday as demonstrators called on the government to halt plans to amend the country’s strict anti-abortion laws. The protest, the biggest in years, attracted several thousand people including Malta’s top Catholic bishop and the leader of the conservative opposition, but was led by a former centre-left president, Marie Louise Coleiro Preca.
Factbox-How many people might die, and why, if China loosens COVID restrictions
China has started taking steps to ease its zero-COVID policy, fuelling a mix of relief and worry as the public waits to see the health consequences, and impact on the medical system, of a full-blown exit. Researchers have analysed how many deaths the country could see if it pivots to a full reopening, with most pointing to the country’s relatively low vaccination rates and lack of herd immunity as some of its most vulnerable spots.
Chinese cities ease curbs but full zero-COVID exit seen some way off
More Chinese cities including Urumqi in the far west announced an easing of coronavirus curbs on Sunday as China tries to make its zero-COVID policy more targeted and less onerous after unprecedented protests against restrictions last weekend. Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang region and where the protests first erupted, will reopen malls, markets, restaurants and other venues from Monday, authorities said, ending strict lockdowns after months.
(With inputs from agencies.)