Government leaders and advisers are assessing how best to respond to a surge of new Covid-19 infections from the fast-spreading Omicron variant, with the U.S. looking at ways to minimize staff shortages and prevent hospitals from becoming overrun with new cases, while Israel has begun testing a fourth shot of Covid-19 vaccine on medical personnel.

Initial evidence suggests the Omicron variant, first identified by South African epidemiologists last month, produced a milder disease than earlier Covid-19 strains, particularly in people who have been vaccinated.

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