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Coronavirus Resurgence - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 19th Jan 2022

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Japan PM plans stronger COVID curbs for Tokyo, 12 other regions

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Tuesday he planned to impose a state of quasi-emergency, meaning stronger COVID-19 curbs on dining and gatherings, on 13 regions including Tokyo from Jan. 21 to Feb. 13. He said the government had halted a programme where those vaccinated or with negative test results would be exempted from coronavirus restrictions as virus cases jumped.
18th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Nepal says COVID-19 cases may double as daily infections hit record level

Nepal recorded 10,258 new coronavirus infections on Tuesday, government data showed, the highest number reported in a single day as the government projected the tally could double by the end of the month. Total infections topped 972,198 and COVID-19-related deaths stood at 11,624. The previous daily record was 9,483 cases in May last year.
18th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Romania sees biggest daily jump in COVID-19 cases in three months

Romania reported 16,760 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, more than double on the day and the biggest single-day rise since October, as the Omicron coronavirus variant takes hold. Romania is the European Union's second-least vaccinated state, with just under 41% of the population fully inoculated amid distrust of state institutions and poor vaccine education. The number of new infections was approaching a record high of 18,863 daily cases seen in October, official data showed, but hospitalisations were still relatively low.
18th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Australia suffers deadliest day of pandemic as Omicron drives up hospital cases

Australia suffered its deadliest day of the pandemic on Tuesday as a fast-moving Omicron outbreak continued to push up hospitalisation rates to record levels, even as daily infections eased slightly. Australia is dealing with its worst COVID-19 outbreak, fuelled by the Omicron variant of the coronavirus that has put more people in hospitals and intensive care than at any time during the pandemic. A total of 77 deaths was recorded, exceeding the previous national high of 57 last Thursday, official data showed.
18th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Czech Republic sees biggest daily jump in COVID cases since Dec 1

The Czech Republic reported on Tuesday more than 20,000 new cases of COVID-19, the biggest single-day rise since Dec. 1, the Health Ministry said. The central European country of 10.7 million is bracing for a new wave of the pandemic as the Omicron variant of the coronavirus begins pushing up cases. The government has shortened quarantine and isolation times as part of new measures while also launching mandatory testing of employees at companies, which got underway this week.
18th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Tianjin reports fewer COVID-19 cases; curbs affect some Boeing employees

The Chinese city of Tianjin reported fewer COVID-19 cases on Tuesday after measures such as conducting mass testing and locking down some areas to curb the highly transmissible Omicron variant, steps that have also affected the local operations of foreign firms such as Boeing. Tianjin, a key port in northern China, reported 18 domestically transmitted cases with confirmed symptoms for Monday, National Health Commission (NHC) data showed on Tuesday. That marks the lowest daily number in a week.
18th Jan 2022 - Reuters

South American health networks struggling as Omicron cases rise

The rapid spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant has prompted dire warnings from healthcare workers across South America, as pressure builds at hospitals whose employees are taking sick leave, leaving facilities understaffed to cope with COVID-19. A major hospital in Bolivia’s largest city stopped admitting new patients due to a lack of personnel. One of Brazil’s most populous states cancelled scheduled surgeries for a month. And Argentina’s federation of private healthcare providers told the Associated Press news agency that it estimates about 15 percent of its health workers currently have the virus.
18th Jan 2022 - Al Jazeera

Philippine COVID deaths may be double the current number

Deaths in the Philippines due to the COVID-19 pandemic may be double the health department’s official numbers, according to a new government report, as the country battles a record-breaking wave of the pandemic due to the Omicron variant. In a preliminary report released on Monday, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) put “registered deaths due to COVID-19” at 75,285 from January to October 2021.
18th Jan 2022 - Al Jazeera

Poland has entered a fifth wave of COVID, says minister

Poland is experiencing a fifth wave of COVID-19 infections, the health minister said on Monday, warning that the spread of the Omicron variant could send daily case numbers soaring to levels not yet seen in the country. While daily case numbers have fallen since early December, the European Union's largest eastern member has had little respite since the fourth wave, regularly reporting over 10,000 new infections per day amid low vaccine take-up and limited restrictions on public life.
18th Jan 2022 - Reuters


Coronavirus Resurgence - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 18th Jan 2022

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US Covid-19 hospitalizations expected to substantially increase from an already record-high over the coming weeks, expert says

Areas that were among the first to get hit hard by the Omicron variant are starting to see their Covid-19 numbers level off or even improve. But that's not the case for much of the country, US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said. "There are parts of the country -- New York, in particular, and other parts of the Northeast -- where we are starting to see a plateau, and in some cases, an early decline in cases," Murthy told CNN on Sunday.
18th Jan 2022 - CNN

The poor die from COVID while the rich get richer, Oxfam warns

The wealth of the 10 richest men has doubled during the coronavirus pandemic, stoking inequality that contributes to the deaths of at least 21,300 people each day, according to a report released on Monday by Oxfam International. “We enter 2022 with unprecedented concern,” Oxfam’s Inequality Kills report warns, arguing that the current global state of extreme inequality is a form of “economic violence” against the world’s poorest people and nations. In this deeply unequal world, structural and systemic policy and political choices are skewed in favour of the richest and most powerful, resulting in harm to the majority of ordinary people around the world, said the report, which highlighted the COVID-19 vaccine divide as a prime example. “Millions of people would still be alive today if they had had a vaccine — but they are dead, denied a chance while big pharmaceutical corporations continue to hold monopoly control of these technologies,” said Oxfam. The report calculates that 252 men have more wealth than all one billion women and girls in Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean combined. And 10 of the world’s richest men own more than the least affluent 3.1 billion people.
17th Jan 2022 - Al Jazeera English

Covid-19 news: Falling cases in UK suggests omicron wave has peaked

A fall in coronavirus cases and plateau in hospital admissions across the UK is ‘cautiously good news’ A fall in new coronavirus cases in the UK suggests the wave triggered by the highly-transmissible omicron variant may have passed its peak. On Sunday, 70,924 people in the UK tested positive for coronavirus, according to UK government data. Within the past seven days, 754,054 new cases have been reported – a decrease of 463,043 on the previous seven days. “It does look like across the whole of the country cases do seem to be falling,” Mike Tildesley of the University of Warwick told BBC Breakfast today. “We have had… very, very high case numbers throughout late December and early January – we peaked above 200,000 at one point. We do now seem to be a little bit beyond that,” he said.
17th Jan 2022 - New Scientist

India's main cities record sharp fall in COVID-19 infections

India's capital Delhi and financial hub Mumbai have reported a big fall in COVID-19 infections in the past two days and most of those who contracted the virus have recovered at home, authorities said on Monday. Mumbai's daily new infections fell below 10,000 on Sunday for the first time since early this month, after touching an all-time high of 20,971 on Jan. 7. It reported 7,895 infections late on Sunday, Mumbai's municipal corporation said.
17th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Analysis: China's 'zero-COVID' campaign under strain as Omicron surges

China is doubling down on its "zero-COVID" strategy, saying the spread of the potentially milder Omicron variant is no reason to lower its guard amid warnings of economic disruptions and even public unrest as lockdowns drag into a third year. As other countries talk about a transition from "pandemic" to "endemic", China has stepped up policies to stamp out any new outbreak as soon as it arises, sealing off cities, shutting transport links and launching mass testing programmes. The approach has kept infections at a minimum, but some experts warn that China could become the victim of its own success as a lack of exposure to COVID-19 over the last two years leaves it vulnerable to the more infectious Omicron.
17th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Iran reports its first three deaths from Omicron coronavirus variant

Iran's health ministry reported the country's first three deaths from the highly contagious Omicron coronavirus variant on Saturday, reported Reuters. "The number of patients with Omicron in the country has reached 1,162 and … one death has been reported due to Omicron in each of the cities of Tabriz, Yazd and Shahrekord, and one critically ill patient is hospitalised in Ahvaz," ministry spokesman Mohammad Hashemi told state broadcaster IRIB. Iran this week lifted restrictions on land travel to and from neighbouring countries and some European states but maintained a ban on arrivals from Britain, France and eight countries in Southern Africa over Omicron fears, Iranian media reported.
17th Jan 2022 - Middle East Monitor

Omicron Surge Pressures U.S. Hospitals

Americans shouldn’t expect the Omicron variant to peak nationwide in coming days, the U.S. surgeon general warned Sunday, as Covid-19 cases continue to rise and put more pressure on hospitals. “The next few weeks will be tough,” Dr. Vivek Murthy said during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union.” The seven-day average for confirmed and suspected Covid-19 hospitalizations is at the highest recorded level, with about 155,958 reported Sunday, after topping old records last week, data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services show. The seven-day average for newly reported cases also reached nearly 808,000 a day on Saturday, the first time it has topped 800,000, data from Johns Hopkins University show.The latest data are inflated by a surge in Texas cases reported at the same time after the state cleaned up and added to its 2020 case total. At the same time, the rise in at-home testing that is often not captured in state data reports has added to an incomplete picture of the true level of infections, health and data experts said.
17th Jan 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

New Zealand Bracing for Imminent Arrival of Omicron, Ardern Says

New Zealand is bracing for the arrival of omicron, with the highly infectious Covid-19 variant expected to breach the nation’s closed border at any time. “We know that with omicron it is a case of when, not if,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told a news conference Monday in Auckland. “We’re doing what we can, but I think it would be wrong for us to assume that those border measures will be sufficient. At some point, we will see omicron in the community.” The government has delayed a phased reopening of the border to keep omicron out while it rushes to administer booster vaccination shots and begin inoculating children. While 93% of adults are now fully vaccinated, the evidence from neighboring Australia shows that omicron will still lead to a surge in infections.
17th Jan 2022 - Bloomberg

Masks reintroduced as WA records five new local COVID-19 cases amid Omicron spread in Perth

Western Australia has reintroduced a mask mandate for all indoor public areas in Perth and Peel after Premier Mark McGowan revealed three new local COVID-19 cases had been recorded in addition to two earlier-announced cases, bringing the total number to five. Masks will be required from 6:00pm Sunday in all indoor public places in Perth and the Peel region, but will not be required to be worn in homes. Anyone who has been in Perth or the Peel region from January 6 will be required to wear a mask indoors if they have travelled to another region.
17th Jan 2022 - ABC News

Hospital admissions climb as virus spreads - Cayman Islands

Public Health officials said that there are now nine patients in hospital as a result of COVID-19 after three more people were admitted over the last day, reflecting the anticipated knock-on effect from the continued uncontrolled spread of the virus through the community. Another 357 positive tests emerged during the latest results, and officials said that over 5% of the population is now infected with SARS-CoV-2. Interim Chief Medical Officer Dr Autilia Newton reported that eleven of the latest positive cases were among travellers and of the 346 community cases, 19 were in the Sister Islands. Rumours circulated on social media Wednesday of an islandwide lockdown for Cayman Brac because of the recent spike in cases, but officials said these were false.
17th Jan 2022 - Cayman News Service

COVID deaths and cases are rising again at US nursing homes

COVID-19 infections are soaring again at U.S. nursing homes because of the omicron wave, and deaths are climbing too, leading to new restrictions on family visits and a renewed push to get more residents and staff members vaccinated and boosted. Nursing homes were the lethal epicenter of the pandemic early on, before the vaccine allowed many of them to reopen to visitors last year. But the wildly contagious variant has dealt them a setback. Nursing homes reported a near-record of about 32,000 COVID-19 cases among residents in the week ending Jan. 9, an almost sevenfold increase from a month earlier, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
17th Jan 2022 - The Associated Press


Coronavirus Resurgence - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 17th Jan 2022

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City of Beijing reports first local Omicron case -state media

The Chinese capital Beijing on Saturday reported its first locally transmitted infection of the highly transmissible Omicron coronavirus variant, according to state media, just weeks ahead of its staging of the Olympic Winter Games. State television reported on Saturday that the new infection had been identified as the Omicron strain. Lab testing found "mutations specific to the Omicron variant" in the person, Pang Xinghuo, an official at the city's disease control authority, told a news briefing.
15th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Brazil reels as COVID-19 cases soar; hospitals, economy under pressure

Brazil is suffering a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases as the Omicron variant spreads through the country, putting pressure on health services and weighing on an already sputtering economy. Insufficient testing and a data blackout caused by hackers have made it harder for experts to track the spread of the highly contagious variant in Brazil, but there are increasingly clear signs it is hitting Latin America's largest nation hard. Confirmed cases have almost doubled since last week, with the rolling average for the past seven days surging to 52,500, from 27,267 last Wednesday.
15th Jan 2022 - Reuters

India extends ban on public events in election states as COVID cases rise

India's election commission extended its ban on political rallies and roadshows in five states on Saturday due to rising COVID-19 cases in the country. The ban, which runs to Jan. 22, excludes indoor political party events of less than 300 people, or at 50% of a venue's capacity, the watchdog said in a statement. India reported 268,833 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, taking its total tally to 36.84 million, according to data from the federal health ministry. Deaths from COVID-19 rose by 402 to 485,752.
15th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Swedish PM tests positive for COVID as fourth wave surges

Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson tested positive for COVID-19, her spokesperson said on Friday, the latest of several high-profile Swedes to catch the virus as a fourth wave of Omicron-driven infections sweeps across the country. Social Democrat Andersson, 54, attended a debate in parliament on Wednesday, after which two other party leaders - Annie Loof of the Centre Party and Per Bolund of the Greens - also tested positive. Sweden's king, queen and crown princess were all hit with coronavirus infections in early January
15th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Number of French COVID-19 ICU patients falls, despite record infections

The number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care units in France has fallen for the second day in a row, despite a record infection rate, health ministry data showed on Friday. France reported 3,895 COVID-19 patients were in intensive care units on Friday, 44 fewer than Thursday, and the second consecutive fall, despite the seven-day moving average of new infections reaching a new high of nearly 294,000 on Thursday. The number of people in hospital with COVID-19 rose by 357 to 24,511, but the week-on-week increase of 13.5% was the lowest since the start of the year.
15th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Australia's worst-hit state says COVID-19 hospitalisations may plateau next week

COVID-19 hospitalisation rates in Australia's most populous state of New South Wales could plateau next week, a top health official said on Friday, as the state suffered record deaths from the virus for a third day. Pressure on hospitals will likely remain for "the next few weeks", the state's health deputy secretary, Susan Pearce, said, though hospitalisation numbers were tracking better than the best-case scenario in an official modelling a week ago. "That is pleasing, but that plateauing is obviously still at a relatively high level of COVID patients in our hospitals and in our (intensive care)," Pearce told a media briefing in Sydney, the state capital.
15th Jan 2022 - Reuters

UK seven-day COVID-19 infections down 33% on week before

The United Kingdom reported 81,713 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, leaving the seven-day tally down by nearly 33% on the previous week. It reported 287 deaths of people who had tested positive for the disease within the previous 28 days. The seven-day total for deaths was up 45% on the week before, following a record spike in infections in recent weeks.
15th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Nearly 90% of big US meat plants had COVID-19 cases in pandemic's first year - data

Nearly 90% of processing plants owned by five big U.S. meat companies had COVID-19 cases in 2020 and early 2021, a Reuters analysis of public data found, as a congressional committee investigates how meatpackers handled the pandemic. The U.S. House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis began its probe last year amid evidence the plants were major spreaders of COVID-19 and that workers suffered unusually severe outbreaks. It is unclear what the consequences of the investigation could be.
15th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Zhuhai in coronavirus mass testing mode after Zhongshan reports case

The southern Chinese city of Zhuhai reported seven cases of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 on Friday, as citywide mass screening of its 2.4 million people got under way. One of the cases was a 53-year-old woman living in the township of Nanping and she was transferred to a designated hospital for treatment, Zhuhai health authorities said. Authorities announced on Friday that all residents would be tested within the day at designated areas, advising the public to not leave Zhuhai unless absolutely necessary. Those who travel will need to show a negative nucleic test result taken within the previous 24 hours.
14th Jan 2022 - South China Morning Post


Coronavirus Resurgence - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 14th Jan 2022

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Omicron may reach millions before vaccines do – but that doesn’t mean race to vaccinate the world is over

It’s estimated that there could be 3 billion new infections globally over the next three months thanks to the highly infectious omicron variant. Large outbreaks are ongoing across Europe and North America and cases are also rising in many other countries.
13th Jan 2022 - The Conversation

COVID Hospitalizations Rising in Kids Too Young for Vaccine

While COVID-19 has taken the lives of many children and caused serious illness for many more, it is generally agreed that the virus is much less likely to inflict severe damage in the young. But new data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has revealed a concerning trend: The rate of COVID-19-linked hospitalizations among children younger than 5 grew substantially last week, while the same rate for children between the ages of 5 and 17 remained relatively stable. The latest numbers have sparked concerns that the youngest members of society may be more vulnerable to the Omicron variant than their older peers. The affected children, ages 4 and under, are in the age group not yet eligible for a coronavirus vaccine.
13th Jan 2022 - HealthDay News

Hungary govt expects COVID-19 cases to surge, shortens quarantine period

Hungary is to make a fourth COVID-19 shot available to people who ask for it, after a consultation with a doctor, Prime Minister Viktor Orban's chief of staff, Gergely Gulyas, told a news conference on Thursday. Gulyas made the announcement just as the Central European country of 10 million expects a substantial further increase in COVID-19 cases over the coming weeks due to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant. "Anyone can get a fourth COVID-19 shot based on a consultation with a doctor, the (government) decree about this will be published this week," Gulyas said.
13th Jan 2022 - Reuters

U.S. COVID deaths rising but likely due to Delta, not Omicron, says CDC chief

COVID-19 hospitalizations in the United States have increased by about 33% and deaths are up by about 40% from a week earlier, the head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Wednesday. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, speaking on a media call, said U.S. COVID-19 cases, driven by the fast spreading Omicron variant, are expected to peak in the coming weeks. "The magnitude of this increase is largely related to the Omicron variant, which now represents about 90% of the COVID-19 cases in the country," she told reporters.
13th Jan 2022 - Reuters

India's big cities could see COVID-19 cases peak next week

New COVID-19 infections in Indian cities such as capital New Delhi and Mumbai could peak next week after rising rapidly, experts said on Thursday, as the country reported the highest number of daily cases since late May. The 247,417 new infections were more than 30 times higher daily cases from a month ago, rising as the more transmissible Omicron variant replaced Delta across the country. Total infections reached 36.32 million, behind only the United States. "Our modelling, and those of others, suggests that the big Indian cities should see their peaks in cases close to Jan. 20, while the overall peak in India may be shifted a bit later, to early February," said Gautam Menon, professor of physics and biology at Ashoka University near the capital.
13th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Australia COVID-19 infections hit record amid runaway Omicron outbreak

Australia on Thursday reported its biggest pandemic caseload with a runaway Omicron outbreak driving up hospitalisation rates as the surge put severe strain on supply chains forcing authorities to ease quarantine rules for more workers. After successfully containing the virus earlier in the pandemic, Australia has reported nearly a million cases over the last two weeks as people slowly get adjusted to living with the coronavirus amid fewer restrictions. Total infections detected since the pandemic began neared 1.4 million.
13th Jan 2022 - Reuters

China faces omicron test weeks ahead of Beijing Olympics

Most access to a major city adjacent to Beijing was suspended Thursday as China tried to contain an outbreak of the highly contagious omicron variant, which poses a test to its “zero-tolerance” COVID-19 policy and its ability to successfully host the Winter Olympics. Tianjin, a port and manufacturing center with 14 million people, is one of a half-dozen cities where the government is imposing lockdowns and other restrictions as part of a policy that aims to track down every virus case. But the outbreak in a city so close to the Olympic host is particularly worrying. Throughout the pandemic, authorities have been especially protective of Beijing since it is the seat of government and home to senior politicians. With the Games opening there in just over three weeks and China’s national pride on the line, the stakes are even higher now.
13th Jan 2022 - The Associated Press


Coronavirus Resurgence - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 13th Jan 2022

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Bulgaria's daily coronavirus infections at record high

Daily coronavirus infections in Bulgaria reached a record high of 7,062 on Wednesday, largely fuelled by the highly contagious Omicron variant, official data showed. New cases, on the rise since the beginning of the year, surpassed a previous peak set in late October, when the European Union's least vaccinated member state grappled with the Delta variant. The virus has killed 89 people in the past 24 hours in the Balkan country, according to official figures, bringing the total death toll to 31,761.
12th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Russia prepares new measures as Omicron cases near 700

Russia has so far recorded 698 cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant and will prepare new measures by the end of the week to combat its spread, Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova said on Wednesday. Omicron has pushed COVID-19 case figures to record highs in parts of western Europe and the United States but the variant has been slower to hit Russia, where daily COVID cases have fallen from a peak of 41,335 registered in early November. Data compiled by the Reuters COVID-19 tracker show Russia's reported pandemic death toll stands at more than 666,000, the second highest in the world behind the United States.
12th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Tokyo, Osaka record most COVID-19 cases in 4 months as Omicron spreads

Japan recorded a surge in new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, with infections reaching four-month highs in the major metropolitan areas of Tokyo and Osaka as the Omicron variant spreads. New cases totalled 2,198 in the capital of Tokyo, while the western prefecture of Osaka recorded 1,711, nearly tripling from the day before. Those marked the highest levels since early September. COVID-19 cases across Japan will exceed 10,000 on Wednesday, according to a tally by broadcaster TBS. That tally would be the highest number of infections in Japan in a single day since Sept. 9.
12th Jan 2022 - Reuters

COVID-19 cases jump in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan as Omicron spreads

Central Asian neighbours Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan reported jumps in new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday as both countries said the Omicron variant of the virus was now spreading on their territories. Kyrgyzstan reported its first cases of the variant on Wednesday while Kazakhstan confirmed its first last week. The Kyrgyz healthcare ministry said on Wednesday it has registered 465 new COVID-19 cases, a five-month high. Kazakh Healthcare Minister Azhar Giniyat told a government meeting on the same day that the country has registered over 8,000 cases over the last seven days, almost three times more in the previous seven days.
12th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Germany's COVID-19 cases hit daily record of more than 80000

Germany reported 80,430 new coronavirus infections on Wednesday, the highest recorded in a single day since the pandemic began, as the contagious Omicron variant rips through a population with lower vaccination rates than some other parts of Europe. The previous daily record, on Nov. 26, was more than 76,000
12th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Austria's daily COVID-19 cases hit record in Omicron surge

Austria's daily coronavirus infections have hit a new record as cases continue to surge while the extremely contagious Omicron spreads, government data showed on Wednesday. Austria is bracing for infections to rise far above previous records, in line with what has happened elsewhere in Europe recently. The conservative-led government wants to avoid reintroducing a full lockdown like the one the country emerged from last month, its fourth of the pandemic. New daily coronavirus infections rose above 17,000 for the first time on Wednesday, to 17,006, data from the interior and health ministries showed. The previous peak was 15,809 on Nov. 19, though figures vary by source - public health agency AGES lists the previous peak as 16,474 on Nov. 16.
12th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Covid-19 Cases Surge at Nursing Homes

The Covid-19 surge fueled by the Omicron variant is hitting nursing homes hard, with the highest number of cases ever documented among staffers and a near-record tally of residents also testing positive, according to new federal data. The increases among staff are posing an operational challenge for facilities that have been struggling with worker shortages for months, while a surge in patient cases threatens a return of serious illness and death among residents. In the week ending Jan. 9, there were 32,061 new confirmed Covid-19 cases among nursing-home residents, up from 18,186 a week earlier and 6,406 the week before that, according to new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.
12th Jan 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

Omicron May Infect Half of Europeans Within Weeks, WHO Says

More than half of Europe’s population may be infected with omicron within weeks at current transmission rates, a World Health Organization official said. The fast-spreading variant represents a “west-to-east tidal wave sweeping across the region,” said Hans Kluge, the regional director of the WHO for Europe at a briefing Tuesday. He cited forecasts by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation that the majority of Europeans could catch it in the next six to eight weeks. he latest Covid surge has so far resulted in fewer symptomatic cases and lower death rates than in previous waves, fueling optimism the pandemic may be easing. However, the WHO has repeatedly warned against underestimating the omicron strain as mild. Kluge said hospitalization rates are increasing in Europe, which is putting pressure on health systems.
12th Jan 2022 - Bloomberg

Australia Worker Shortage Worsens on Covid Omicron Spread

Australia was already facing a record shortfall of workers before spiraling omicron infections triggered the widespread absenteeism that is causing the country more acute pain from the variant than its global peers. Official data Wednesday showed job vacancies climbed to a record, up 18.5% to almost 400,000 in the three months through November. With the virus now raging, a key industry body is warning that firms in food and logistics are reporting 10%-50% of their workers are sick or in isolation, leaving supermarket shelves empty.
12th Jan 2022 - Bloomberg


Coronavirus Resurgence - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 12th Jan 2022

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Poland hits grim milestone of 100,000 deaths from COVID-19

Poland has become the latest European nation to reach the grim milestone of 100,000 deaths related to the coronavirus. Nearly a quarter of those deaths — some 24,000 — occurred in the most recent wave of infection that began in October, a period in which vaccines have been widely available in the European Union nation. Health Minister Adam Niedzielski said Tuesday that 493 deaths of people with COVID-19 had been registered in the past day, pushing the death toll to 100,254 in the central European nation of 38 million people.
11th Jan 2022 - The Independent

Covid-19 hospitalizations reach record high, HHS data shows

The number of US patients hospitalized with Covid-19 has hit a record high, adding strain to health care networks and pushing states toward emergency staffing and other measures as they struggle to cope. More than 145,900 people were in US hospitals with Covid-19 as of Tuesday -- a number that surpasses the previous peak from mid-January 2021 (142,246), and is almost twice what it was two weeks ago, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services. The hospitalization record comes amid a surge in cases fueled by the highly transmissible Omicron variant.
11th Jan 2022 - CNN

UK’s wider Covid-19 death toll passes 175,000

More than 175,000 people in the UK have had Covid-19 recorded on their death certificate since the pandemic began, new figures show. It comes just days after the government’s preferred death toll, which counts only people who have died within 28 days of testing positive, reached 150,000. A total of 176,035 deaths involving coronavirus have now been registered in the UK, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). This includes all instances where Covid-19 has been mentioned on someone’s death certificate, either as a main cause of death or a contributory factor. The ONS figures provide the fullest picture so far of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the population. The 175,000 total was passed on December 20 2021, but has only now been confirmed due to the time it takes for deaths to be registered.
11th Jan 2022 - The Independent

Australia swamped by Omicron surge as pressure grows on hospitals

Australia's COVID-19 infections hovered near record levels on Tuesday as a surge of infections caused by the Omicron variant put a strain on hospitals already stretched by staff isolating after being exposed to the virus. After successfully containing the coronavirus for most of the pandemic, Australia has been swamped by the rapid spread of the Omicron variant after authorities eased mitigation measures as high vaccination rates were reached. Australia has reported about 1.1 million cases since the pandemic began, with more than half of those in the last two weeks, including nearly 86,000 cases on Tuesday, with two states due to report later.
11th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Hong Kong unveils further steps to curb COVID-19 spread, boost vaccinations

Hong Kong will shut kindergartens and primary schools and start offering COVID-19 vaccines for children from the age of five, the city's leader said on Tuesday, as the financial hub grapples with an increase in coronavirus infections. Certain passengers meanwhile will be banned from transiting through Hong Kong for a month, Bloomberg News reported, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter. It comes as the Chinese-ruled city has seen some local transmissions of the Omicron coronavirus variant after three months of no local coronavirus cases at the end of last year.
11th Jan 2022 - Reuters

COVID-19 hospitalisations in France see biggest jump since April 2021

The number of people in hospital with COVID-19 in France rose by 767 to 22,749 on Monday, the biggest increase since April 2021 as a runaway Omicron infection rate boosted hospitalisations. Net new hospital admissions still remained well below peaks set in Nov-Dec 2020, when they stood over 700 for nearly a month and COVID-19 hospitalisations peaked at 33,497 on Nov. 16, 2020. Health Minister Olivier Veran told lawmakers on Monday that the Omicron coronavirus variant leads to less serious complications than previous variants, but since it is highly infectious, it is pushing hospital numbers up quickly.
11th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Slovenia reports record 5164 new covid-19 cases, 52% up from a week ago

Slovenia and Serbia reported record numbers of new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, amid the spread of the highly transmissible coronavirus Omicron variant. Slovenia, which has vaccinated 67.3% of its about 2 million-strong population with at least two doz es so far, reported 5,164 new cases, up 52% from a week before, according to the National Institute for Public Health.Serbia reported 13,693 new cases and 22 deaths. The total number of registered cases in Serbia is 1,359,544, while 12,958 people have died since the outbreak nearly two years ago.
11th Jan 2022 - Reuters

U.S. reports 1.35 million COVID-19 cases in a day, shattering global record

The United States reported 1.35 million new coronavirus infections on Monday, according to a Reuters tally, the highest daily total for any country in the world as the spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant showed no signs of slowing. The previous record was 1.03 million cases on Jan. 3. A large number of cases are reported each Monday due to many states not reporting over the weekend. The seven-day average for new cases has tripled in two weeks to over 700,000 new infections a day. The record in new cases came the same day as the nation saw the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients also hit an all-time high, having doubled in three weeks, according to a Reuters tally.
11th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Swiss authorities say coronavirus infections set to peak this month

Swiss health authorities said on Tuesday they expect the number of coronavirus infections to peak later this month. "We expect infections to reach their peak in January," Tanja Stadler, head of the national COVID-19 science task force, told a media briefing as the government reported more than 24,600 new cases in Switzerland and tiny neighbour Liechtenstein. "We could get to the peak within the next two weeks if contacts among people stay on the same level. If people are more cautious, it will take longer," she said.
11th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Nepal bans big public gatherings, closes schools amid COVID spike

Officials in Nepal have banned large public gatherings and closed schools across the Himalayan nation for nearly three weeks after a spike in coronavirus cases. Nepal reported 1,357 new cases on Monday, the biggest single-day jump since September last year, taking its total to 833,946 since the pandemic began. Its death toll from the coronavirus is 11,606.
11th Jan 2022 - AlJazeera

Omicron surge sweeps through US hospital staff

As COVID-19 cases in the United States soar in the wake of the holidays, led by the highly transmissible Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant, nearly a quarter of hospitals are reporting critical staffing shortages due to workers being sick or off work for quarantine. Meanwhile, federal and states are expanding vaccination activities and policies to protect more people.
11th Jan 2022 - CIDRAP

From ambulance delays to transit disruptions, COVID-19 absences hit Canada's public services

From delayed ambulances to police shortages, Canadian public agencies hit hard by COVID-19 worker absences have cut back on service, rearranged staff or warned the public that emergency responses may be disrupted. Over the weekend, paramedics in Toronto, Canada's largest city, said there were briefly no ambulances available to respond to emergencies. The city said about 12.8% of its "essential and critical services" staff were off due to COVID-19 as of Monday.
10th Jan 2022 - Reuters


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Nepal closes schools as COVID-19 cases spike

Schools across Nepal will close for nearly three weeks after a spike in coronavirus cases, a government spokesman said on Monday, forcing more than seven million students to stay at home. Nepal reported 841 new cases on Sunday, the biggest single-day jump since September last year, taking its total to 832,589 since the pandemic began. Its death toll from the coronavirus is 11,604. Education Ministry spokesman Deepak Sharma said schools would remain closed until Jan. 29 although a campaign to vaccinate children aged 12 to 17 at their schools would go ahead. "Schools must notify students about the time and date when they need to go to schools and receive the shots,” Sharma told Reuters. Authorities hope the closure of schools will help break chains of infection amid fears about the rapid spread of the omicron variant of the virus.
10th Jan 2022 - bdnews24.com

France averages new record of nearly 270000 new Covid cases per day

The number of people in hospital with COVID-19 in France rose by 767 to 22,749 on Monday, the biggest increase since April 2021 as a runaway Omicron infection rate boosted hospitalisations. Net new hospital admissions still remained well below peaks set in Nov-Dec 2020, when they stood over 700 for nearly a month and COVID-19 hospitalisations peaked at 33,497 on Nov. 16, 2020. Health Minister Olivier Veran told lawmakers on Monday that the Omicron coronavirus variant leads to less serious complications than previous variants, but since it is highly infectious, it is pushing hospital numbers up quickly.
10th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Hospitals Cut Beds as Nurses Call In Sick With Covid-19

Rising numbers of nurses and other critical healthcare workers are calling in sick across the U.S. due to Covid-19, forcing hospitals to cut capacity just as the Omicron variant sends them more patients, industry officials say. The hospitals are leaving beds empty because the facilities don’t have enough staffers to safely care for the patients, and a tight labor market has made finding replacements difficult. Staff shortages prompted the Mass General Brigham hospital system in Boston to keep 83 beds empty on Friday. The University Hospitals system in Ohio has closed as many as 16% of its intensive-care beds recently, while Parkland Health & Hospital System in Dallas has shut 30 of 900 beds. “It’s definitely a brutal situation,” said Dr. Joseph Chang, chief medical officer at Parkland, which had more than 500 out of 14,000 employees out sick one recent day.
10th Jan 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

Nepal bans big public gatherings, closes schools as COVID cases spike

Nepal banned large public gatherings and closed schools across the Himalayan nation for nearly three weeks after a spike in coronavirus cases, officials said on Monday. Nepal reported 1,357 new cases on Monday, the biggest single-day jump since September last year, taking its total to 833,946 since the pandemic began. Its death toll from the coronavirus is 11,606. Home Ministry spokesman Pradip Kumar Koirala said public gatherings like political rallies and religious functions involving more than 25 people had been prohibited.
10th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Australia vows to 'push through' Omicron wave as infections cross 1 mln

Australia must "push through" the fast-moving Omicron outbreak, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday, as infections surpassed 1 million, more than half in the past week alone, throwing a strain on hospitals and supply chains. Although aggressive lockdowns and tough border controls kept a lid on infections earlier in the pandemic, Australia is now battling record infections in its effort to live with the virus after higher vaccination rates.
10th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Hungary's daily COVID-19 cases could hit new peak exceeding 13000 - minister

Hungary's daily tally of new COVID-19 cases could hit a new peak of more than 13,000, with deaths reaching 200 a day, a government minister warned, as the highly transmissible Omicron variant fuelled a rising wave of infections. Miklos Kasler, minister for human resources who is also in charge of healthcare, told local Inforadio late on Sunday that the government was looking into the possibility of offering a fourth vaccine shot, but more assessments were needed to measure how long immunity lasts after the third shot. Infection figures for the weekend are expected to be released later on Monday. On Friday, Hungary reported 6,524 new infections, and 39,780 people have died of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.
10th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Sweden to implement more COVID measures as Omicron squeezes healthcare

Sweden will introduce more measures to stem a rising number of COVID cases that have placed a greater burden on the healthcare system, Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said on Monday. Sweden has seen the fastest spread of COVID cases in recent weeks as the Omicron variant has surged through the country. A record 60,000 cases were detected last week, despite limited testing capabilities. "The situation has deteriorated, without doubt. The level of infections in Sweden is at a historically high level," Andersson told a news conference.
10th Jan 2022 - Reuters

With peak yet to come, Europe's healthcare groans under Omicron's swift spread

Europe's healthcare systems are being strained once again by the rapid spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus over the holiday period, with large numbers of key staff ill or self-isolating and experts predicting the peak of infections is yet to come. Despite early studies showing a lower risk of severe disease or hospitalisation from Omicron compared to the previously-dominant Delta variant, healthcare networks across Spain, Britain, Italy and beyond have found themselves in increasingly desperate circumstances.
10th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Spain reports more Covid reinfections in one fortnight than rest of pandemic

The number of Covid reinfections reported in Spain in the past fortnight has exceeded the total number of repeat infections documented during the rest of the pandemic, according to the latest data from Spanish researchers. In the span of two weeks in late December and early January, 20,890 reinfections were reported in Spain, figures from the state-backed Carlos III Health Institute suggested. While the bulk of cases appeared to be mild, the number is higher than the 17,140 cases of reinfection documented from the start of the pandemic to 22 December. The Spanish data includes both confirmed and suspected reinfections.
10th Jan 2022 - The Guardian

China Reports Nation's First Community Spread of Omicron

China saw its first omicron cases in the community, igniting a mass testing blitz in the northern city of Tianjin as the country strives to maintain its zero-tolerance approach to Covid in the face of more transmissible variants. The two cases in the port city were confirmed as being omicron by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, after its local branch completed the genome sequencing, CCTV reported. The infections were from the same transmission chain but officials have yet to establish if the strain is the same as imported omicron cases reported earlier in Tianjin, according to the report. China’s commitment to its Covid Zero policy has seen it restrict movements and implement mass testing and other measures in cities spread across the country. Further outbreaks raise the risk of new lockdown measures that could disrupt production and shipping in an economy already battling weak consumption and a property market slump.
10th Jan 2022 - Bloomberg

U.S. Covid-19 Seven-Day Case Average Tops 700,000

The seven-day average for newly reported cases in the U.S. topped 700,000 for the first time, data from Johns Hopkins University show, as the highly infectious Omicron variant spreads throughout the country. The average of known cases could soon triple the pre-Omicron record set a year ago, when the U.S. briefly saw about a quarter million daily cases. The numbers reported by state health departments and collected by Johns Hopkins also likely reflect a fraction of the true number, due in part to Omicron’s rapid spread and the difficulty many Americans have had getting tested. Some laboratories are limiting test-processing to certain people such as those with symptoms because of the surge in demand.
10th Jan 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

Hungary Sees 200 Daily Covid Deaths at Omicron Peak: Inforadio

Hungary expects more than 13,000 daily infections and about 200 daily deaths during the omicron-variant-fueled latest wave of the coronavirus pandemic in the eastern European Union nation, the country’s health chief told Inforadio. The number of Covid-related hospitalized patients may peak at between 8,000 to 9,000 during the fifth wave in Hungary, which is expected to last until May, Human Resources Minister Miklos Kasler, who’s in charge of healthcare, said in an interview with Inforadio on Sunday. The estimates were made assuming no other variant emerges in the period and assumes no significant increase in the vaccination rate, he said. Hungary’s new daily Covid infections almost doubled in a week to 6,524 on Friday, while daily Covid-related deaths rose to 101 from 82 a week earlier
10th Jan 2022 - Bloomberg

Royal Caribbean pauses some cruise operations due to Omicron concerns

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd has paused some of its cruise operations amid rising numbers of COVID-19 infections due to the Omicron variant. The sailings of three ships - Serenade of the Seas, Jewel of the Seas, Symphony of the Seas - have been paused while the return of its Vision of the Seas to cruising has been postponed to March 7, 2022, the cruise line said in a statement on Friday. "We regret having to cancel our guests' long-awaited vacations and appreciate their loyalty and understanding," the company adding that these measures have been implemented "in an abundance of caution."
10th Jan 2022 - Reuters


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HUNDREDS of cars wait for up to three hours for covid tests in Arizona

Arizona citizens are waiting in three or more hour lines for COVID-19 testing. Nearly three in 10 tests are coming back positive statewide this wide, a pandemic high. Before, it has never reached over 20 per cent . Lines are so long that some citizens cannot access their neighborhoods and are being told to find other testing sites
8th Jan 2022 - Daily Mail

Mexico nears 300,000 deaths from COVID-19 as cases surge after holidays

Mexico is likely to surpass 300,000 deaths from COVID-19 this week - the fifth highest death toll worldwide - as infections rise after the holiday season, fueled by the Omicron coronavirus variant and largely unrestricted tourism.
7th Jan 2022 - Reuters

India's COVID-19 cases set for new highs as Omicron spreads

India's daily COVID-19 cases jumped to 117,100 on Friday, a five-fold increase in a week and on course to overtake its previous infection peak as the fast-spreading Omicron variant replaces Delta in cities. Government officials have privately said they are working under the assumption that daily infections will surpass the record of more than 414,000 set in May, given what has happened in countries, such as the United States where daily cases have risen past 1 million.
7th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Italy reports 223 COVID-19 deaths, cases halve due to fewer tests

Italy reported 108,304 COVID-19 related cases on Friday, less than half from a day earlier, the health ministry said, reflecting fewer tests being carried out on a national holiday. The number of deaths rose to 223 from 198. On Thursday, Italy's coronavirus cases had reached a new daily record of 219,441. Italy has registered 138,697 deaths linked to COVID-19 since its outbreak emerged in February 2020, the second highest toll in Europe after Britain and the ninth highest in the world. The country has reported 7.08 million cases to date.
7th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Sweden COVID cases hit new record, pile pressure on healthcare

Sweden set a new daily record for COVID-19 cases for the third time this week, registering 23,877 cases on Jan. 5, health agency data showed on Friday, as a fourth wave swept the country and piled pressure on its healthcare system. The mounting wave of COVID-19 cases is increasingly driven by the more contagious Omicron variant and has seen hospitalisations rise rapidly in many parts of the country, although deaths have remained relatively stable so far.
7th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Argentina Reports Record Covid Cases for Third Straight Day

Argentina posted a record number of Covid-19 cases for a third consecutive day as the Omicron variant surges across Latin America. Argentina’s health ministry reported 109,608 cases on Thursday, more than double the number of infections seen on Dec. 31. Yet the death toll as well as hospital occupancy remained relatively low: 40 people died of the virus and only 38% of intensive-care units were taken -- about half the peak level seen last year for ICUs.
7th Jan 2022 - Bloomberg

COVID-19: Military medics drafted into London hospitals as NHS grapples with staff shortages

The Royal College of Nursing says the deployment means the government can no longer deny there is a "staffing crisis" within the NHS. Two major incidents have been declared in England because of pressures caused by the spread of COVID-19 - after the Ministry of Defence said Armed Forces personnel would be deployed in London to help in hospitals. Some 200 Armed Forces personnel are being sent to support the NHS in London as hospitals grapple with staff shortages. Military medics will assist NHS doctors and nurses with patient care, while general duty personnel will help fill gaps caused by other absences. And now two major incidents have been declared in England with emergency services saying there is a civil emergency in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.
7th Jan 2022 - Sky News

Omicron surge pushes U.S. COVID hospitalizations toward record high

COVID-19 hospitalizations in the United States are poised to hit a new high as early as Friday, according to a Reuters tally, surpassing the record set in January of last year as the highly contagious Omicron variant fuels a surge in infections.
7th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Brazil reports rise in new COVID-19 infections as Omicron variant spreads

Brazil has had 63,292 new cases of the coronavirus reported in the past 24 hours, and 181 deaths from COVID-19, the health ministry said on Friday. That is the highest number of daily infections since July last year. Health experts say the Omicron variant is spreading in the South American country. Brazil has now registered 22,450,222 cases since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 619,822, according to ministry data. Brazil's COVID-19 death toll trails only the United States and Russia, according to Reuters calculations.
7th Jan 2022 - Reuters


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An 'awful' month of Covid-19 lies ahead, doctor says, but preventative measures will still be key

While the highly transmissible Omicron variant continues to drive up Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations -- and the numbers are likely to get worse before they get better -- health experts say it's critical Americans continue safe practices to prevent infections. "I don't buy the idea that we are all going to get Omicron and, therefore, just give up trying. I think that's wrong," Dr. Robert Wachter, chairman of the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, told CNN's Erin Burnett on Wednesday. It's likely that "the next month is going to be awful," he said. But this does not mean that everyone should assume they will catch the virus, he said, noting the pattern of Omicron infections in the UK and South Africa.
6th Jan 2022 - CNN

Covid-19: More than 100 test positive on an Italy-India flight

A total of 125 passengers who arrived in the northern Indian city of Amritsar on a chartered flight from Italy have tested positive for Covid-19. They will be placed in isolation, health officials said. They were among 179 passengers on the flight from Milan which landed in Amritsar on Wednesday afternoon. India reported more than 90,000 cases on Thursday - a nearly six-fold rise over the past week that experts say is fuelled by the Omicron variant. The country recorded 325 deaths in the 24 hours but only one has been linked to Omicron, officials said.
6th Jan 2022 - BBC News

Thailand raises COVID-19 alert level due to Omicron spread

Thailand on Thursday raised its COVID-19 alert level following rising infections driven by the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, a senior health official said. The change, from level three to four, sets a pretext for possible measures that could follow, such as closing high-risk areas and placing restrictions on domestic travel or public gatherings. "Thailand has entered a new wave of infections, where new cases will be rising fast," said Kiattiphum Wongrajit, permanent secretary of the health ministry.
6th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Australia suffers record COVID cases, straining businesses and supply chains

Fuelled by the highly transmissible Omicron variant, Australia's daily coronavirus infections soared to a fresh peak on Thursday, overwhelming hospitals, while isolation rules caused labour shortages, putting a strain on businesses and supply chains. With Thursday's count still incomplete, Australia so far has reported 72,392 new infections easily exceeding the high of 64,774 set a day earlier. Western Australia is due to post its new cases later. Prime Minister Scott Morrison, facing a federal election before May, is under pressure over his handling of the Omicron outbreak due to stock shortages of antigen tests and hours-long wait times at testing centres.
6th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Mexico nears 300000 deaths from COVID-19 as cases surge after holidays

Mexico is likely to surpass 300,000 deaths from COVID-19 this week - the fifth highest death toll worldwide - as infections rise after the holiday season, fueled by the Omicron coronavirus variant and largely unrestricted tourism.Infections have more than doubled to 20,000 during the last week when many tourists visited Mexico from the United States and Canada. Eleven of Mexico's 32 states decided not to resume in-person school classes this week with cases climbing fast.
6th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Belgium suffers record COVID cases, adapts quarantine strategy

Fuelled by the highly transmissible Omicron variant, Belgium's daily cases of COVID-19 reached a new peak this week, with health experts warning of between 30,000 and 125,000 cases a day by mid-January in the nation of 11 million. "The fifth wave has started. The weekly average has risen by 82%," virologist Steven Van Gucht told a news conference following a government meeting on the coronavirus situation. Home to the European Union institutions and NATO, Belgium registered 27,199 new COVID-19 cases on Jan. 3, beating a record set in Nov. 2020, and hit a fresh high of over 28,000 on Jan. 4, as Omicron hit the country a little later than Britain, Spain and France.
6th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Argentina breaks COVID-19 case record as daily infections near 100000

Argentina broke its record for COVID-19 infections on Wednesday, approaching 100,000 daily cases as it faces a third wave of the pandemic, driven by the highly infectious Omicron variant. But the record of 95,159 officially confirmed cases, coming in the middle of the Southern Hemisphere summer holiday season with tourist centers full of travelers, has not translated into a similar exponential rise in COVID-related deaths, which totaled 52. "We do not have a strong impact on intensive therapy units and less in terms of deaths," the chief of staff of the Ministry of Health, Sonia Tarragona, told local radio station Urbana Play. "The cases are mild or moderate and they are not putting stress on the health system."
6th Jan 2022 - Reuters

India confirms first Omicron-related death as COVID-19 cases jump

A diabetic man who died in the western state of Rajasthan was India's first fatality from the Omicron COVID-19 variant, the health ministry said on Wednesday, adding that overall infections had doubled to 58,097 over the past four days. The health ministry reported that total Omicron infections had risen to at least 2,135, just over a month since the first case was detected in the country. Government officials privately say daily cases in the country's third wave of infections could surpass the record of more than 414,000 hit last May. They also warn that many people are taking the Omicron variant lightly and not wearing masks as most cases have been mild.
6th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Britain reports record COVID-19 prevalence as Omicron surges

Britain on Wednesday reported record COVID-19 prevalence for the last week of 2021, with one in 15 people in England infected, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson said cases were increasing at the fastest rate ever. The increasing number of cases has put huge strains on public services such as hospitals, which face staff shortages and growing admissions. Johnson has resisted imposing stringent lockdown measures in England. Instead, he has bet that a vaccine booster drive and caution among the population will be enough to constrain the latest wave of infections, despite the arrival of the highly transmissible Omicron variant.
6th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Dutch coronavirus cases reach new record amid Omicron wave

New coronavirus cases in the Netherlands jumped to a record high of around 24,500 on Wednesday as the Omicron variant of the coronavirus has become dominant in the country, official data showed. Infections were up almost 60% from last week despite a strict lockdownthat has closed all but essential stores as well as restaurants, hairdressers, gyms, museums and other public places since Dec 19. The previous record of just under 24,000 cases in 24 hours was set during the wave of infections caused by the Delta variant of the virus that swamped hospitals throughout the country in late November.
6th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Hong Kong Has First Covid Case From Unknown Source in Months

Officials in Hong Kong have disclosed the first preliminary positive case of Covid-19 from an unknown source in almost three months, a worrying sign as the city works to contain an omicron cluster. The city’s health department suspects that the patient, an unvaccinated worker in the North Point area of the city, carries the omicron variant, although whole genome sequencing still needs to be conducted to confirm if that’s the case, according to a government statement on Tuesday. The highly contagious variant has already scuttled the border reopening with China and sent hundreds of city residents to the government-run quarantine facility in an effort to contain the outbreak before it spreads. Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced a vaccine requirement for restaurants and public leisure facilities will be imposed from February 24.
6th Jan 2022 - Bloomberg

US Sets Covid Global Daily Record of Over 1 Million Virus Cases

The U.S. added more than 1 million people to its Covid-19 case count on Monday as the true scope of a surge in infections over the holidays began to round into view. The highly mutated variant, combined with delayed reporting by local governments over the holidays, led to a single-day record for new cases for any country in the world. Monday’s number is almost double the previous mark of about 590,000 set just four days ago in the U.S., which itself was a doubling from the prior week. Using a seven-day average, which smooths out the unevenness of data across the country, cases climbed to 485,363 a day on Monday, more than doubling in the span of a week. The data is compiled by Johns Hopkins University, which relies on local governments, some of which may take more time than others to update their figures.
6th Jan 2022 - Bloomberg

Staffing Crisis Threatens Plan to Clear U.K. Hospital Backlogs

England’s National Health Service faces an “unquantifiable” challenge to clear a record backlog of patients as a result of the pandemic, rising pressure on emergency departments, and a failure to hire and train enough staff, a committee of U.K. lawmakers said. Close to 6 million patients are waiting for elective care -- a figure that could double by 2025 -- as the crisis caused by Covid-19 weighs heavily on the NHS, according to a report published Thursday by Parliament’s Health and Social Care Committee. Waiting times in emergency departments have also hit the worst levels since records began, with one in four patients waiting longer than four hours to be admitted, transferred, or discharged in October. That’s despite about 4,800 extra doctors and 1,200 more nurses working in the NHS in October 2021 compared to the previous year, according to the latest NHS workforce statistics.
6th Jan 2022 - Bloomberg

US hospitals seeing different kind of COVID surge this time

Hospitals across the U.S. are feeling the wrath of the omicron variant and getting thrown into disarray that is different from earlier COVID-19 surges. This time, they are dealing with serious staff shortages because so many health care workers are getting sick with the fast-spreading variant. People are showing up at emergency rooms in large numbers in hopes of getting tested for COVID-19, putting more strain on the system. And a surprising share of patients — two-thirds in some places — are testing positive while in the hospital for other reasons. At the same time, hospitals say the patients aren’t as sick as those who came in during the last surge. Intensive care units aren’t as full, and ventilators aren’t needed as much as they were before. The pressures are neverthless prompting hospitals to scale back non-emergency surgeries and close wards, while National Guard troops have been sent in in several states to help at medical centers and testing sites.
5th Jan 2022 - The Associated Press

Spike in California virus cases hitting hospitals, schools

California is struggling to staff hospitals and classrooms as an astonishing spike in coronavirus infections sweeps through the state. The fast-spreading omicron variant of COVID-19 is sidelining exposed or infected health care workers even as hospital beds fill with patients and “some facilities are going to be strapped,” Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said Wednesday. Some 40% of hospitals are expecting to face critical staff shortages and some are reporting as much as one quarter of their staff out for virus-related reasons, said Kiyomi Burchill of the California Hospital Association. In Fresno County, more than 300 workers at area hospitals were either isolating because of exposure or recovering, said Dan Lynch, the county’s emergency medical services director.
5th Jan 2022 - The Associated Press


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Queensland records 6,781 new Covid-19 cases as health chief says most will have 'mild' symptoms

Queensland has recorded 6,781 new Covid-19 cases, a significant uptick from the 5,699 cases detected on Tuesday. There are now 32,000 active cases across the Sunshine State, but health authorities say the figure is much higher due to queues at testing clinics and the time it is taking to receive results. There are currently 265 people in hospital with the virus including 10 patients in ICU, a positive sign the number of admissions remains steady. Chief health officer Dr John Gerrard reassured Queenslanders that the majority would only experience mild symptoms as case numbers explode across the state.
5th Jan 2022 - Daily Mail

Singapore sees Omicron coronavirus wave outpacing Delta

Singapore expects the Omicron coronavirus variant to cause a bigger wave of infections than Delta, the health ministry said on Wednesday, adding a booster dose will soon be required for adults to maintain their fully vaccinated status. From Feb. 14, eligible persons aged 18 years and above should have received a booster dose no later than 270 days after the last dose in the primary vaccination series to continue to be considered fully vaccinated, the ministry said. The city-state of 5.5 million people allows only those counted as fully vaccinated to enter malls or dine in restaurants or at hawker stalls.
5th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Rio cancels Carnival street parades due to rising COVID-19 cases, Omicron threat

Rio de Janeiro has canceled street parades and parties during its world-famous Carnival for a second year due to an increase in COVID-19 cases and the threat from the arrival of the Omicron coronavirus variant, the city's mayor said on Tuesday. However, the spectacular parade by Rio's samba schools, which the public watches from the stands of the city's Marques de Sapucai Sambadrome, will go ahead, unlike last year, with health precautions to prevent spreading the virus, he said. Rio mayor Eduardo Paes announced after a meeting with health authorities that the city would call off the street events that draw hundreds of thousands of Carnival revelers each year.
5th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Thailand fears "tens of thousands" of new COVID-19 cases, weighs curbs

Thailand is considering measures such as limiting large gatherings and banning alcohol sales in restaurants to discourage customers to avert a wave of coronavirus infections, a health official said on Wednesday. The country reported 3,899 cases on Wednesday, up from an average of 2,600 daily cases towards the end of last year, and the Omicron variant itself has tripled from last month's holiday period, government data showed. If measures like wearing masks and regular testing were not followed, infections could reach the "tens of thousands in the next two weeks," Sumanee Watcharasin, a spokeswoman for the country's coronavirus taskforce, said.
5th Jan 2022 - Reuters

COVID-19 infects 214 on five cruise ships in Brazilian waters

Five cruise ships in Brazilian waters have reported 214 cases of COVID-19 among their crew and passengers, including two ships that are in quarantine in the port of Santos, health regulator Anvisa said on Tuesday. Two ships run by the Swiss-Italian cruise line MSC Cruises, each with more than 3,000 passengers are due to arrive in Rio de Janeiro and Santos this week, the regulator said. The MSC Seaside arriving on Thursday in Santos has reported 65 cases among crew members and 25 among passengers, while the MSC Preziosa due in Rio on Wednesday has 25 crew with COVID-19 and 8 passengers infected, Anvisa said.
5th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Japan's Okinawa sees doubling of COVID-19 cases, considers emergency steps

The southern Japanese island chain of Okinawa emerged on Wednesday as the epicentre of a new coronavirus surge, with cases more than doubling from the previous day and officials were considering imposing emergency curbs. New infections in the prefecture jumped to 623 from 225 on Tuesday, the highest since August when Japan was in the midst of its fifth and biggest wave of COVID-19. Governor Denny Tamaki on Tuesday told reporters the region had entered a sixth wave of infections and the highly transmissible Omicron variant was responsible.
5th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Hungary reports 5270 new COVID-19 cases in sharp rise

Hungary reported 5,270 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, a sharp rise from the 3,005 recorded a week ago, as the Omicron variant spreads. Omicron accounted for more than 11% of new cases, the government said. Despite the rise in cases, the number of coronavirus patients being treated in hospital was 3,090, down from 3,854 a week ago. In Hungary, a country of close to 10 million people, 39,599 people have died of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. Prime Minister Viktor Orban's government, which faces elections in April, and opposes lockdowns for fear of stifling the economy, has stepped up its vaccination campaign since November.
5th Jan 2022 - Reuters

U.S. reports nearly 1 mln COVID-19 cases in a day, setting global record

The United States reported nearly 1 million new coronavirus infections on Monday, the highest daily tally of any country in the world and nearly double the previous U.S. peak set a week ago as the spread of the Omicron variant showed no signs of slowing. The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients has risen nearly 50% in the past week and now exceeds 100,000, according to data collected by Reuters, marking the first time that threshold has been reached in a year. The latest surge, which forced waves of cancellations from commercial airlines flights to Broadway shows in recent weeks, was disrupting plans for public schools to welcome students back from winter vacation.
5th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Germany considers more contact limits as infections jump

Germany is considering shortening COVID-19 self-isolation periods over fears that critical services could grind to a halt as the highly infectious Omicron variant takes hold, a health ministry plan showed on Wednesday. Workers in critical sectors, such as hospitals or electricity suppliers, would be able to end their isolation after five days, provided they test PCR negative for the virus, under the draft proposals being sent to regional leaders. The current isolation period is 14 days for everyone.
5th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Amid Omicron surge, UK PM Johnson resists another lockdown

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday said that England could withstand a surge in COVID-19 infections without shutting down the economy as Britain reported another record daily high in cases, fuelled by the Omicron variant. Johnson has resisted imposing stringent lockdown measures in England, betting that a vaccine booster drive and caution among the population would be enough to constrain the latest wave. The United Kingdom reported 218,724 new COVID cases on Tuesday, a new record for the number of cases reported on a single day - although a figure that also was skewed by reporting lags over the holidays.
5th Jan 2022 - Reuters

‘Third wave has set in’: India’s new COVID cases double in 4 days

India has reported 58,097 new daily COVID-19 cases, twice the number seen only four days ago, with a top health official in the national capital saying the pandemic’s third wave in the country “has set in”. Deaths rose by 534, including the southern state of Kerala’s updated death toll of 423, lifting the national total to 482,551, according to the health ministry data on Wednesday.
5th Jan 2022 - AlJazeera


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More than 100,000 people hospitalized with Covid-19 in US for first time in nearly four months

More than 103,000 people are currently hospitalized with Covid-19, the first time the total has reached six figures in nearly four months, according to the latest data from the US Department of Health and Human Services. Covid-19 hospitalizations reached a record high of more than 142,000 about a year ago, on January 14, 2021, and last topped 100,000 on September 11. The total fell to about 45,000 hospitalizations in early November, but increased steadily since then, and surged in the last week. Just last Monday, HHS reported 71,000 Covid-19 hospitalizations.
4th Jan 2022 - CNN

Hong Kong to expand 'vaccine bubble' from Feb. 24 to combat COVID-19 spread

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said on Tuesday the government will expand a "vaccine bubble" from Feb. 24 to include venues such as gyms, cinemas and libraries as the city steps up its fight against the spread of coronavirus. Only vaccinated people would be allowed into those venues. Lam was speaking at a weekly press conference a day after health authorities confirmed a fifth case of Omicron in the local community.
4th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Taiwan urges vigilance after first Omicron coronavirus cases

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Tuesday urged vigilance against the spread of the coronavirus after the island detected its first cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant spreading in the community. Taiwan has kept the pandemic well under control because of early and effective prevention, including largely closing its borders. Most cases of its cases have been imported from abroad, though the island did see an outbreak of domestic infections in the middle of 2021. After months of relative safety, Taiwan this week reported its first two cases of the highly transmissible Omicron variant, both linked to a quarantine hotel.
4th Jan 2022 - Reuters

COVID-19 infections soar in U.S. Congress amid Omicron surge

The U.S. Congress is experiencing an unprecedented rise in COVID-19 cases, with the seven-day positivity rate at a congressional test site surging to 13% from just 1% in late November, the Capitol's attending physician said on Monday. Most coronavirus infections on Capitol Hill have been occurring among the vaccinated, with the Omicron variant representing about 61% and the Delta variant 38%, based on a limited sample as of Dec. 15, Dr. Brian Monahan told lawmakers and staff in a Jan. 3 letter. The surge comes as the number of new COVID-19 cases in the United States has doubled in the last seven days to an average of 418,000 a day, according to a Reuters tally.
4th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Daily COVID cases top 1000 in Japan for first time in three months -Jiji

The number of new COVID-19 infections in Japan rose above 1,000 on Tuesday for the first time in three months, the Jiji news agency reported. Japan had seen fewer cases in recent months, but experts had warned of a potential sixth wave of infections during the winter.
4th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Sweden sets new daily COVID-19 case record as fourth wave grows

Sweden set a new daily record for COVID-19 cases, registering 11,507 cases on Dec. 30, health agency data showed on Tuesday, as a fourth wave of the virus swept across the country and put healthcare under renewed pressure. The daily infection figures are typically revised up somewhat as any delayed records of additional cases are added to the national total for a given day. The previous record of 11,376 cases was set in late December 2020. The fresh wave of COVID-19 cases, in part driven by the more contagious Omicron variant, hit Sweden later than its Nordic neighbours, but has in recent weeks resulted in a sharp rise in cases and hospitalisations.
4th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Australia COVID-19 cases surge, overloading testing system

Australian COVID-19 cases soared to a pandemic record on Tuesday as the Omicron variant ripped through most of the country, driving up hospitalisation rates as the once-formidable testing regime buckled under lengthy wait times and stock shortages. The country which for a year and half used a system of constant testing, contact tracing and lockdowns to squash most outbreaks, clocked 47,799 new infections, up nearly a third on Monday's number which was also a record. Political leaders have pointed to a largely successful, if slow, vaccination rollout and few deaths, relative to new case numbers - four on Tuesday. But hospitalisations, another closely watched measure, are higher than at any other time in the pandemic: 1,344 in the most populous state New South Wales.
4th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Romania's daily COVID-19 infections double after holiday

The number of daily COVID-19 infections more than doubled in Romania on Tuesday following an easing of restrictions during the winter holidays, and officials estimate the fifth wave of the pandemic could see twice as many cases as the previous one. Romania is the European Union's second-least vaccinated state, with roughly 40% of the population fully inoculated amid distrust in state institutions and poor vaccine education.
4th Jan 2022 - Reuters

Pakistan sees most COVID-19 cases in two months; concern about Omicron

Pakistan reported on Monday more than 700 COVID-19 cases in a single day, its highest tally in two months, as authorities warned of a fifth wave of infections and made preparations to try to contain the fast-spreading Omicron variant. At least 708 cases in the past 24 hours pushed the positivity ratio to 1.55%, the highest since Oct. 24, according to data from the National Command Operation Centre (NCOC), which is overseeing the pandemic response. “There is clear evidence now of a beginning of another COVID wave which has been expected for the last few weeks,” Asad Umar, the minister in charge of supervising anti-COVID-19 operations, wrote on Twitter.
4th Jan 2022 - Reuters

COVID activity ramps up in India, Middle East

Ever since it battled a catastrophic COVID-19 surge last spring, India has been bracing for another round of infections and making preparations. Over the past few days, cases have sharply risen, but hospitalizations remain low, New Delhi health officials said yesterday, according to Reuters. Cases had dropped to about 6,000 a day, but daily totals have risen sharply for 5 days in a row, with 33,750 reported today, with much of the activity from New Delhi and Mumbai. So far, the country has reported 1,700 Omicron cases.
3rd Jan 2022 - CIDRAP


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U.S. schools delay openings as Omicron pushes pandemic to record highs

Thousands of U.S. schools delayed this week's scheduled return to classrooms following the holiday break or switched to remote learning as the Omicron variant of the coronavirus pushed COVID-19 cases to record levels. In other school districts, officials pressed on with plans to reopen, including in hard-hit New York City, where one of every three COVID-19 tests over the last week was positive for the virus, according to city data released on Monday. Nationwide, the country is averaging 18% of tests coming back positive, according to the Mayo Clinic.
3rd Jan 2022 - Reuters

Daily COVID cases in Saudi Arabia above 1000, continue to climb in UAE

Daily coronavirus cases in Saudi Arabia have climbed above 1,000 for the first time since August, while daily infections in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) haven crossed the 2,500-level. Authorities in the two Gulf Arab states did not break down the cases by COVID-19 variant. Both countries confirmed their first known case of the Omicron variant in early December. Saudi Arabia, the largest Gulf state with a population of around 30 million, on Sunday registered 1,024 new coronavirus infections and one death. Daily cases had fallen below 100 in September.
2nd Jan 2022 - Reuters

Kids' Covid Hospitalizations Hit Record in U.S. Omicron Surge

Pediatric Covid-19 hospitalizations have risen to record levels as omicron races across the U.S., amplifying the urgency to get boosters and vaccines cleared for children. While the variant so far doesn’t appear more severe than other versions in youngsters, the growing number of cases means more children are susceptible to serious illness. New hospital admissions of kids with Covid-19 have increased 66% to 378 a day on average for the week ending Tuesday, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The last peak occurred in early September at a daily count of 342. The Northeast and parts of the Midwest are seeing higher-than-ever numbers, though a doubling of hospitalizations in some Southern states still haven’t yet hit records reached over the summer.
1st Jan 2022 - Bloomberg

Travelers infected one another across hallway in Covid-19 quarantine facility, New Zealand research shows

A traveler isolated for Covid-19 at a quarantine facility in New Zealand managed to infect three others across a hallway, researchers reported Thursday. Closed-circuit camera footage, genetic testing and careful contact tracing show that the only conceivable way the virus could have passed from one room to another was in air that leaked out when both doors were briefly opened, the researchers said. It's a demonstration of how the virus can spread -- and of how well vaccines can work. The one person who escaped infection was fully vaccinated and never tested positive, despite having stayed in the same room as four other infected people for weeks on end.
31st Dec 2021 - CNN

The US shattered its average daily Covid-19 case record again. Experts say numbers will keep climbing in the coming weeks

A day after reporting its highest average daily Covid-19 case number, the US shattered the record Thursday, with an average of 355,990 infections reported every day in the past week, according to Johns Hopkins University. As the latest surge sweeps across the US, pushing cases and hospitalizations to unprecedented levels and altering daily life again, experts warn a turning point could be weeks away. Given the size of our country -- and the diversity of vaccination versus not vaccination -- that it likely will be more than a couple of weeks (until Covid-19 cases peak) ... probably by the end of January," Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, told CNBC. Roughly 62% of the country is fully vaccinated, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Only about 33% of fully vaccinated adults have gotten boosters, which experts say are critical to protect against severe illness from the variants.
31st Dec 2021 - CNN

S.Korea to extend curbs amid Omicron surge, serious COVID-19 cases

South Korea said on Friday it will extend stricter social distancing rules for two weeks amid a persistent surge in serious coronavirus infections and concerns over the spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant. The government reinstated the curbs on Dec. 18, six weeks after easing them under a "living with COVID-19" scheme, as record-breaking numbers of new infections and serious cases put a huge strain on the country's medical system.
31st Dec 2021 - Reuters

Russia's COVID-19 death toll climbs to world's second highest

Russia has overtaken Brazil to have the world's second-highest death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic, behind the United States, data from Russia's state statistics service and Reuters calculations showed on Thursday. The statistics service, Rosstat, said 87,527 people had died from coronavirus-related causes in November, making it the deadliest month in Russia since the start of the pandemic. Russia's overall pandemic death toll reached 658,634, according to Reuters calculations based on Rosstat figures up to the end of November and data from the coronavirus task force for December, overtaking Brazil which has recorded 618,800 deaths.
31st Dec 2021 - Reuters

Hong Kong says Omicron has breached its strict COVID-19 restrictions

Hong Kong's health officials said on Friday the Omicron variant of the coronavirus has made its way past some of the world's toughest COVID 19 restrictions, with the city reporting its first cases outside its strict quarantine system. The findings raise risks that the global financial hub might keep its borders shut well into 2022. It has largely isolated itself from the world hoping in turn to open the border with mainland China for a limited number of business travellers.
31st Dec 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19 deaths in Eastern Europe surpass 1 million

Coronavirus deaths in Eastern Europe topped 1 million on Thursday, according to a Reuters tally, as the Omicron variant threatened to batter the region. Three out of the five countries reporting the highest number of daily deaths in Europe are from the East, including Russia, Poland and Ukraine, Reuters data through Thursday showed. “I am scared because it is a huge number of daily deaths – huge, unimaginable,” said Bozena Adamowicz, a pensioner from Warsaw.
31st Dec 2021 - Reuters

Greece reports new COVID-19 daily record, 76 deaths

Greece reported 40,560 COVID-19 cases on Friday, setting a new record high for the fourth successive day following a surge of cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant. Health authorities said 76 deaths had been reported on Friday. Greece introduced new restrictions this week, ordering bars, restaurants and nightclubs to close at midnight, with no standing customers and no music. An exception is New Year's Eve, when establishments can close at 2 a.m.
31st Dec 2021 - Reuters

Portugal's COVID-19 cases hit record, Omicron dominates at 83%

Portugal reported on Friday a new daily record of 30,829 coronavirus cases, up from 28,659 the previous day, with the rapidly spreading Omicron variant accounting for an estimated 83% of all new cases, official data showed. Health authority DGS registered 18 fatalities from COVID-19, up from Thursday's 16, but that was only a fraction of the more than 300 daily deaths suffered in late January, when Portugal had just begun its vaccination campaign. The number of patients in intensive care was steady at 145, also well below more than 900 in early 2021.
31st Dec 2021 - Reuters

UK had over 2 million COVID-19 cases in week to Dec. 23 - official estimate

More than 2 million people in Britain tested positive for COVID-19 in the week before Christmas, Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates published on Friday showed, with the highest ratio of around one in 25 people seen in England. Britain is experiencing a surge in cases of the virus driven by the highly-transmissible Omicron variant, but the government is hoping its comprehensive vaccine programme and potentially milder disease caused by Omicron will allow it to keep the economy largely open.
31st Dec 2021 - Reuters

Covid Latest: US Daily Cases Hit Records as Omicron Sweeps Across the Country

In Boston, coronavirus levels measured in wastewater are spiking to more than quadruple last winter’s surge. In Miami, more than a quarter of people are testing positive for Covid. And a San Francisco medical leader estimates that, based on his hospital’s tests, one of every 12 people in the city with no Covid symptoms actually has the virus. As the omicron variant sweeps the country, daily cases are reaching unheard-of levels, crossing the half-million mark, and are only expected to go much higher. Some projections are for a peak of more than one million cases a day by as early as mid-January. “That seems totally plausible to me, given that we’re already at almost 600,000,” said Sam Scarpino, managing director of pathogen surveillance at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Pandemic Prevention Institute
31st Dec 2021 - Bloomberg

Covid-19 Australia: Doherty Institute director says Omicron cases to surge but strain less severe

Doherty Institute director warned Omicron cases will surge to 'very high' level. Sharon Lewin said less severe strain meant restrictions could begin to ease. Changes were recently made to isolation rules and close contact definition. Remarks came after 2GB's Ray Hadley slammed NSW government over Covid NSW reported pandemic record 21,151 cases and Victoria 5,919 infections
30th Dec 2021 - Daily Mail


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World hits record number of COVID-19 cases in a week: Tally

The world has hit a new record number of COVID-19 cases in a single week, according to one tally, with daily infections also reaching new highs in the United States, Australia and several European countries amid the rapid spread of the Omicron variant. More than 935,000 cases on average have been detected each day between December 22 and 28, according to the tally published by the AFP news agency on Wednesday. In total, 6.51 million coronavirus cases have been reported worldwide in the past week.
29th Dec 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Japan braces for Omicron spread as New Year's travelers fan across country

Japan braced for a feared rebound in coronavirus cases as the highways and airports filled with travelers at the start of New Year's holidays on Wednesday. The governors of the metropolises of Tokyo and Osaka urged residents to keep end-of-year gatherings small, as more cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 come to light, including a suspected cluster at an Osaka nursing home. Health officials advised travelers to avail themselves of free coronavirus tests before departure, amid fears that an outpouring of city dwellers could spread infections to the countryside.
29th Dec 2021 - Reuters

Thailand warns of spike in COVID-19 cases after "super-spreader" event

Thai health authorities warned on Wednesday that residents should brace themselves for a potential jump in coronavirus cases after classifying the country's first cluster of the Omicron variant as a super-spreader incident. The Omicron cluster identified in the northeastern province of Kalasin on Christmas eve has been linked to a couple who had travelled from Belgium and visited bars, concerts and markets. The ensuing cluster had infected hundreds, with cases spreading to 11 other provinces, said senior health official Opas Karnkawinpong, citing how one of the bars linked to the cluster had been packed and did not have good ventilation.
29th Dec 2021 - Reuters

In under-vaccinated Congo, fourth COVID-19 wave fills hospitals

At the St Joseph COVID Treatment Centre in Kinshasa, patients lie in ramshackle rooms breathing oxygen from old tanks. The clinic has 38 beds, and all but one are occupied. In a backyard littered with medical equipment, tents are needed to cope with the overflow. Democratic Republic of Congo is the least vaccinated country against COVID-19 in the world. Now a fourth wave of the coronavirus threatens to put greater pressure on its rickety health system than at any time during the pandemic. "We have experienced the three previous waves gradually, but in the fourth wave cases have jumped overnight," said Francois Kajingulu, the head of St Joseph. "On Monday we had 5-6 cases and on Saturday we went straight from 30 to 36."
29th Dec 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19 cases at record high around world, raising testing and quarantine fears

Global COVID-19 infections hit a record high over the past seven-day period, Reuters data showed on Wednesday, as the Omicron variant raced out of control and governments wrestled with how to contain its spread without paralysing fragile economies. Almost 900,000 cases were detected on average each day around the world between Dec. 22 and 28, with myriad countries posting new all-time highs in the previous 24 hours, including the United States, Australia, many in Europe and Bolivia.
29th Dec 2021 - Reuters

New Zealand records first community exposures from border-related Omicron case

New Zealand said on Wednesday that a person who tested positive for the Omicron variant of COVID-19 had briefly been active in the community in Auckland. The person arrived in New Zealand from the United Kingdom on Dec 16 but only tested positive on Dec 17, the health ministry said in a statement. The ministry said the person was in Auckland city on Dec 26 and Dec 27, but that they do not believe the individual was highly infectious at the time of exposure.
29th Dec 2021 - Reuters

New Omicron variant fills up children's hospitals

A five-fold increase in pediatric admissions in New York City this month. Close to double the numbers admitted in Washington, DC. And nationwide, on average, pediatric hospitalizations are up 48% in just the past week. The highly transmissible Omicron variant is teaming up with the busy holiday season to infect more children across the United States than ever before, and children's hospitals are bracing for it to get even worse. "I think we are going to see more numbers now than we have ever seen," Dr. Stanley Spinner, who is chief medical officer and vice president at Texas Children's Pediatrics & Urgent Care in Houston, told CNN.
29th Dec 2021 - CNN

U.S. Covid Cases Approach Pandemic High Amid Omicron Wave

Covid-19 cases are setting records. The daily number of new infections hit all-time highs both in the world and in the U.S. Infections have surged again in the past month as the Omicron coronavirus variant—the latest strain— spread like wildfire from country to country. Worldwide, the daily number reached 1.49 million on Monday; the new high is actually lower than the previous record of 1.5 million set in December 2020 because of reporting irregularities that now have been factored in, Bloomberg reported. In the U.S., there were 512,553 new confirmed cases on Monday, according to Johns Hopkins data. The previous daily high was 303,461, set on Jan. 8.
29th Dec 2021 - Barron's

CDC Investigating 86 Cruise Ships With Covid-19 Cases

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating or monitoring 86 cruise ships with reported Covid-19 cases on board, according to a list posted on its website Tuesday, as the highly transmissible Omicron variant spreads around the world. The CDC investigates a ship if there are one or more reported Covid-19 cases among the crew or if cases reported account for at least 0.10% of total passengers in the past seven days. For a ship with 6,500 passengers, that would mean seven cases would trigger an investigation. As part of the investigation, the CDC works with the cruise ship to lower transmission and ensure medical resources on board aren’t overwhelmed, according to the agency. It also gathers additional information such as case exposure histories, vaccination rates and details about close contacts.
29th Dec 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

CDC Pares Omicron Estimate to a Still-Dominant 59% of U.S. Cases

The omicron variant is causing an increasing share of coronavirus infections in the U.S., though its climb to dominance has been gentler than earlier estimates indicated, according to an updated federal model. Omicron accounted for an estimated 58.6% of sequenced U.S. virus cases in the week ending Dec. 25, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Nowcast model showed Tuesday, up from an estimated 22.5% a week earlier. The once-dominant delta variant accounted for 41.1% of cases in the most recent period, according to the CDC.
29th Dec 2021 - Bloomberg

Asia keeps omicron at bay, but a surge may be inevitable

Much of Asia has largely managed to keep omicron at bay even as the variant rages in other parts of the world, but the region that is home to most of the globe’s population is bracing for what may be an inevitable surge. Strict quarantine rules for arrivals and widespread mask wearing have helped slow the spread of the highly contagious variant in Asia. Countries such as Japan, South Korea and Thailand quickly reinstated entry and quarantine restrictions in recent weeks after relaxing them in the fall. But cases are mounting, and experts say the next few months will be critical. Those fears have been amplified by doubts about the effectiveness of the Chinese-made vaccines used in China and much of the developing world.
29th Dec 2021 - The Associated Press

India fears new COVID wave as Omicron infections spread

The Omicron variant of the coronavirus is raising fears of a third wave of the pandemic in India. The country on Wednesday reported a total of nearly 800 Omicron cases, while COVID-19 infections rose by 9,195 new daily cases – a 44 percent spike from the previous day.
29th Dec 2021 - AlJazeera

More Covid-19 Vaccines Are Reaching Poorer Nations, but Slowly

Vaccine makers have delivered more Covid-19 shots to the world’s poorest nations in recent months, but wealthy countries are still receiving a disproportionate share. The unequal distribution, global health experts say, has hampered efforts to move past the pandemic and allowed new variants like Omicron to emerge. High-income nations, which include the U.S. and are home to a sixth of the world’s population, have received nearly half of all 5.9 billion doses made by the four major Western vaccine makers, according to healthcare data company Airfinity.
28th Dec 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Portugal Posts Record Number of Daily New Covid Cases

Portugal on Tuesday reported the biggest daily increase in confirmed coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic. There were 17,172 new cases in a day, more than the previous record of 16,432 reported at the end of January, the government said in an emailed statement. There were 19 fatalities in a day. The number of patients in intensive-care units rose by two to 152. That’s a fraction of the level reached at the end of January and early February, when the country faced one of the world’s worst outbreaks and the number of patients in intensive-care units rose to as high as 904.
28th Dec 2021 - Bloomberg


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Spain's COVID-19 infections soar after Christmas

Spain's coronavirus infection rate exceeded 1,000 cases per 100,000 people for the first time on Monday, stoked by the fast-spreading Omicron variant, although hospitals were under much less strain than in previous waves of the pandemic. The rate, measured over the preceding 14 days, rose to 1,206 cases following the Christmas weekend, according to health ministry data. That compares with 911 reported on Thursday, when it first topped the previous record of 900 cases set in late January. The tally had not been updated since Thursday and has added 214,619 new cases to the 5,932,626 recorded since the start of the pandemic.
27th Dec 2021 - Reuters

Malaysia Suspects First Local Omicron Case as Variant Spreads

The probable local case was reported in the Borneo state of Sarawak on Dec. 24 in a 38-year old Chinese national, Khairy said in a briefing on Saturday. The individual has been working with a local engineering company for three years and hasn’t traveled abroad during that period; he has also been fully vaccinated The cause of the infection is not known and investigations are still ongoing, Khairy said. New cases may climb in the coming weeks in view of the suspected local omicron case, and the government will next week announce the shortening of the booster shot interval to curb the spread of the new variant, he added. About half of the 61 imported cases are from Saudi Arabia, followed by five from the U.K, four from Qatar and three from the U.S. The U.K, U.S, Saudi Arabia, Denmark, Australia, France, Norway, India, Canada and Nigeria have high risk omicron and travelers coming from these countries must wear a digital tracker: Malaysia’s local cases have plunged from a daily high of more than 22,000 in late August to about 3,500 this week. Still, imported cases -- most of them omicron -- have risen rapidly to about 100 daily since Wednesday, according to data from the health ministry The government’s attempts at managing the pandemic hit a speed bump after parts of peninsular Malaysia suffered the worst flooding in years last weekend; on Thursday, 15 positive cases were found among the victims seeking shelter at evacuation centers, taking the total to 405, the health ministry said
26th Dec 2021 - Bloomberg

Singapore Finds New Omicron Cluster, Braces for Community Spread

Singapore confirmed a new cluster of Covid-19 cases linked to the omicron variant, warning that it expects to see the highly-transmissible strain spread in the community. The primary case in the confirmed cluster at The Vinyl Bar in the city was a passenger who flew in using Singapore’s quarantine-free vaccinated travel lane on Dec. 14. He tested negative upon arrival but received a positive result in a further government-mandated test four days later. Nine more people are linked to the cluster. All are fully vaccinated and have mild or no symptoms, the ministry of health said. The confirmed cases and their close contacts will be placed in quarantine.
25th Dec 2021 - Bloomberg

Dominican Republic reports first case of COVID-19 Omicron variant

The Dominican Republic has identified its first case of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, the health ministry of the Caribbean country said on Saturday. In a statement on Twitter, the ministry said Omicron had been identified in a person with mild symptoms who had arrived in the country from South Africa. The ministry also said it had later been informed by Chilean authorities that a person who traveled to Chile from the Dominican Republic had tested positive for Omicron. Other potential cases of Omicron are under investigation, the ministry added.
25th Dec 2021 - Reuters


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Poland reports highest number of COVID-related deaths in fourth wave

Poland reported 775 COVID-related deaths on Friday, the highest daily number in the fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic, the data from the health ministry showed. Poland has been dealing with persistently high daily case numbers in a fourth wave that has forced authorities to tighten restrictions. On Friday Poland reported 18,021 new coronavirus cases with the total number of infections since the start of the pandemic crossing 4 million. "Unfortunately, (deaths) dominate among the elderly and the unvaccinated... we do not get vaccinated and we go to hospitals too late," ministry's spokesman Wojciech Andrusiewicz told reporters
22nd Dec 2021 - Reuters

Northern Ireland COVID case numbers surge 50% to record high

Northern Ireland ordered the closure of nightclubs from Sunday after reporting an all-time high of 3,231 COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, up from an average of just over 2,000 in the previous seven days due to the highly transmissible Omicron variant. The devolved government of the British region also ordered an end to ordering at bars and limited restaurants to serve no more than six people per table. But it stopped short of matching the 8 p.m. closure imposed on hospitality venues in the neighbouring Republic of Ireland last week
22nd Dec 2021 - Reuters

Portugal imposes post-Christmas COVID-19 curbs as Omicron cases surge

Portugal on Tuesday ordered nightclubs and bars to close and told people to work from home for at least two weeks starting on Saturday to control the spread of COVID-19 over the holiday period. "This still isn't the normal Christmas we are used to," Prime Minister Antonio Costa told a news conference. "If we do not adopt these measures now, the consequences on everyone's lives will be much worse after Christmas and the New Year." Costa also announced capacity restrictions at stores and said a negative coronavirus test would now be required to stay at hotels or go to events.
22nd Dec 2021 - Reuters

Austria tightens restrictions as it braces for Omicron wave

Austria is introducing restrictions including a 10 p.m. closing time to slow the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant after Christmas and prevent it being imported from Europe's hardest-hit countries, a senior health official said on Wednesday. Austria began emerging from its fourth full coronavirus lockdown 10 days ago. While that three-week lockdown slashed daily COVID-19 infections, the country is bracing for another surge because of the extremely contagious Omicron variant, of which several hundred cases have been confirmed so far.
22nd Dec 2021 - Reuters

Portugal to Record Almost 9,000 New Covid Cases, Minister Says

Portugal on Wednesday recorded 8,937 new daily coronavirus infections, the highest level since February, as the government prepares to impose new restrictions to fight the pandemic. There were 11 fatalities in a day, taking the total to 18,823 deaths, Portugal’s Directorate General of Health said in a statement. Despite the high case figure, the number of deaths “remains relatively controlled,” Health Minister Marta Temido said in an interview with CNN Portugal television.
22nd Dec 2021 - Bloomberg

U.K. on Edge Heading Toward Christmas Overshadowed by Omicron

Boris Johnson has given Britons the Christmas he has long promised -- some light-touch pandemic restrictions but with no limits on family gatherings. The big question is over what comes next. When the U.K. prime minister ruled out tighter restrictions in the coming days, he also urged Britons to be cautious and warned tougher curbs may yet be needed after Dec. 25 if an omicron-fueled wave of Covid-19 infections threatens to overwhelm the National Health Service.
22nd Dec 2021 - Bloomberg


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Chinese city delays clearing travellers, cargos at port of entry after one COVID-19 infection

A Chinese city next to Vietnam border postponed from Tuesday the clearing of travellers and cargos to pass through its port of entry on COVID-19 concerns, state media reported. Dongxing city in the autonomous Chinese region of Guangxi advised that exports and imports of urgent cargos should be planned to avoid loss from the waiting, state broadcaster CCTV said in a report. The measure is part of the city's effort to cope with "current COVID-19 situation", said CCTV, without providing further details on the virus risk. It came after Dongxing detected one COVID-19 infection during routine testing.
21st Dec 2021 - Reuters

Now-dominant Omicron variant drives surge in COVID cases across U.S.

COVID-19 cases surged in New York City and across the United States over the weekend, dashing hopes for a more normal holiday season, resurrecting restrictions and stretching the country's testing infrastructure ahead of holiday travel and gatherings. The fast-spreading Omicron variant of the coronavirus has become dominant in the United States with lightning speed, and claimed the life on Monday of an unvaccinated man in Texas, officials said. The spike in COVID-19 cases is alarming public health officials, who fear an explosion of infections after the Christmas and New Year's holidays.
21st Dec 2021 - Reuters

Sweden hardens COVID curbs amid worries over Omicron

Sweden will urge all employees to work from home if possible and impose tighter rules for social distancing, the government said on Tuesday, as it ratchets up restrictions to fight a surge in new infections and the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus. The number of new virus cases in Sweden, which sparked international attention last year for its rejection of hard lockdowns, have shot up in recent weeks after a calm autumn when most restrictions were phased out. Hospitalizations and intensive care cases are still among the lowest per capita in Europe, but have also begun rising.
21st Dec 2021 - Reuters

WHO urges people to consider canceling holiday plans amid omicron surge

World Health Organization Director-General is urging people across the globe to consider cancelling their holiday gatherings. “There can be no doubt that increased social mixing over the holiday period in many countries will lead to increased cases, overwhelmed health systems and more deaths,” Tedros said. White House medical adviser Anthony Fauci on Tuesday reiterated his claim that vaccinated Americans can feel comfortable communing with other vaccinated individuals.
21st Dec 2021 - The Hill


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Omicron Prompts New Covid-19 Restrictions

New restrictions were set in place in Europe in an effort to stem the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus as a top U.S. health official warned that the variant is likely to strain American hospitals in the coming weeks. The rapidly spreading variant is already the dominant strain in the U.K., according to estimates derived from British health data, and is within days of becoming so in Denmark. Omicron has been detected in 89 countries, and Covid-19 cases of the variant are doubling every 1.5 to three days in places with community transmission, the World Health Organization said Saturday. The Netherlands on Sunday reimposed a lockdown in the face of Omicron, with all nonessential shops, bars and restaurants closed until mid-January.
20th Dec 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

US could be in store for a 'grim beginning' to the new year, experts warn, as dual variants of Covid-19 spread

With the Delta and Omicron coronavirus variants spreading across the nation as the new year approaches, health experts are urging Americans to get vaccinated or boosted to protect themselves and others before they face greater chances of infection. Airport travel before Christmas is up by nearly double from a year ago, according to Transportation Security Administration data, with more than 2 million people screened each day from December 16-18. And the indoor gatherings among friends and family could ultimately infect more who are at higher risk for Covid-19 complications. As the virus spreads, more cities are adding restrictions, including New York and Washington, DC. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced an indoor mask mandate for the District will be reinstated starting at 6 a.m. Tuesday, December 21 through January 31
20th Dec 2021 - CNN

Thailand says finds first reported local transmission of Omicron

A Thai woman has tested positive to the Omicron variant of the coronavirus in the Southeast Asian country's first reported case of local transmission, a health ministry official said on Monday. The woman contracted the virus from her husband, a Colombian who returned to Thailand from Nigeria in November, the official told a daily health ministry briefing.
20th Dec 2021 - Reuters

Sydney shrugs off COVID-19 spike, resists calls to restore tough curbs

Australian authorities urged a "move away from fear" of the coronavirus on Monday, resisting calls to make masks mandatory indoors and limit the numbers of patrons at Sydney venues, even as new COVID-19 infections lingered near records. Despite the threat from the more transmissible Omicron variant, life returned to near normal in Sydney last week, with almost all tough curbs lifted ahead of Christmas, as vaccination rates rank among the world's highest. "There will always be new variants of this virus," said Dominic Perrottet, premier of the most populous state of New South Wales.
20th Dec 2021 - Reuters

Royal Caribbean says 48 passengers test positive for Omicron variant on ship

Royal Caribbean Group said on Monday 48 people on its Symphony of the Seas cruise ship tested positive for COVID-19, fueling concerns that the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus could put a damper on a recovery in the cruise industry. The cruise operator said it had 6,091 guests and crew members on board the ship, which ended a week-long cruise in Miami on Saturday after setting sail on Dec. 11. The passengers who tested positive were asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic, Royal Caribbean said in a statement, adding that six guests were disembarked earlier in the cruise and transported home.
20th Dec 2021 - Reuters

As Omicron threatens a global surge, some countries shorten COVID-19 booster timelines

A growing number of countries are reducing the wait time for COVID-19 vaccine boosters from six months to as few as three in a bid to ward off a new surge in infections from the Omicron variant. They are reacting to early evidence suggesting that Omicron is spreading faster than its predecessor, Delta, and is more likely to infect people who were vaccinated or had COVID in the past. Some scientists, however, say that giving boosters too soon could compromise the level of longer-term vaccine protection. While data remains limited, half a dozen laboratory studies have shown that an initial course of COVID-19 vaccines - typically given in two doses - is not enough to halt infection from the Omicron variant, but a booster shot may help.
20th Dec 2021 - Reuters

British cabinet to discuss COVID moves as Omicron sweeps Europe

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday he would take more steps to slow the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant if needed, after the Netherlands began a fourth lockdown and as other European nations consider Christmas restrictions. Speaking after UK media reported Britain might impose new curbs after Christmas, Johnson said the situation was "extremely difficult" and hospitalisations were rising steeply in London. "I have to say to the British public, and I say to everybody, we will not exclude the possibility of going further if we have to do things to protect the public," Johnson said after a cabinet meeting.
20th Dec 2021 - Reuters

Fauci warns Omicron COVID variant ‘raging through the world’

Top US pandemic adviser Anthony Fauci has warned of a bleak winter ahead as the Omicron coronavirus variant spurs a new wave of infections globally, sparking restrictions and concerns over hospital capacity. “One thing that’s very clear … is [Omicron’s] extraordinary capability of spreading,” Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told broadcaster NBC News on Sunday. “It is just … raging through the world.”
20th Dec 2021 - AlJazeera


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Omicron coronavirus cases surge in UK, scientists see bigger wave

Britain reported a surge in cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant on Saturday which government advisors said could be just the tip of the iceberg, and London's mayor declared a "major incident" to help the city's hospitals cope. The number of Omicron cases recorded across the country hit almost 25,000 as of 1800 GMT on Friday, up by more than 10,000 cases from 24 hours earlier, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said. Seven people believed to have had the Omicron variant had died as of Thursday, up from one death in the UKHSA's previous data which ran up to Tuesday. Admissions to hospital of people thought to have the variant increased to 85 from 65.
19th Dec 2021 - Reuters

Australia undaunted by mounting COVID-19 cases

Australian officials on Sunday said there was no need to clamp down on Christmas festivities even as new COVID-19 infections climbed in Sydney, with the country's high vaccination rate helping keep people out of hospital. Health Minister Greg Hunt said he was confident Australia would not need to follow the Netherlands, which has reimposed a strict lockdown over the Christmas and New Year period to curb the spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant
19th Dec 2021 - Reuters

S. Africa Covid-19 Hospitalizations Fall for First Time in Weeks

South African hospitals reported having slightly fewer Covid-19 patients than yesterday, the first decline in weeks. Still, the National Institute of Communicable Diseases, does caution that figures can be skewed by late reporting of admissions. Even so the number could be taken as more evidence that the wave of infections caused by the omicron variant may be slowing. On Friday the South African Medical Research Council said that wastewater analyses showed a decreasing incidence of the virus in Pretoria, the South African capital.
19th Dec 2021 - Bloomberg

China reports 125 new COVID-19 cases on Dec 17

China reported 125 new confirmed coronavirus cases for Dec. 17, up from 76 a day earlier, its health authority said on Saturday. Of the new infections, 89 were locally transmitted, according to a statement by the National Health Commission, compared with 56 a day earlier. Most of the new local cases, 77 cases, were reported by authorities in the eastern province of Zhejiang. China reported 19 new asymptomatic cases, which it classifies separately from confirmed cases, compared with 23 a day earlier.
18th Dec 2021 - Reuters

Spain's coronavirus infection rate rises to 'very high risk' level

Spain's coronavirus infection rate rose above 500 cases per 100,000 people on Friday, crossing over the threshold considered "very high risk" by the Health Ministry and more than doubling since the start of December. On Friday the infection rate, or incidence, as measured over the preceding 14 days, was 511 cases per 100,000, up 38 points on Thursday's 473. There were 33,359 new infections and 41 deaths according to Health Ministry data. Roughly 80% of Spain's population of 47 million has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and some 10 million have received booster shots.
17th Dec 2021 - Reuters


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New Mexico sheriff struggles in undertaker role as COVID deaths mount

New Mexico sheriff Shane Ferrari is used to planning ahead to buy supplies like ammunition that have run short in the pandemic. In the past 12 months, he has also had to buy enough coffins and shelving for COVID-19 victims who are stacking up at the family funeral home that he found himself running. Ferrari took over the funeral business in Farmington, located in San Juan County in the state's northwest corner, last December when his father, the previous manager, died of COVID-19. He has been "overrun" with bodies as San Juan suffers one of the highest per-capita COVID-19 death rates in New Mexico, which is among the top five U.S. states in new cases for the week to Dec. 5, according to Reuters data.
16th Dec 2021 - Reuters on MSN.com

Flu and Covid-19 cases rising in much of the US

US health officials are bracing for a trio of public health concerns this winter: more infections from the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, surging infections with the Delta variant, and a "slow but steady" comeback of the flu. There is growing concern that a rise in Omicron cases, paired with climbing Delta cases and an increase in flu cases, could overwhelm health systems this winter, as well as possibly leading to a need to ramp up Covid-19 testing capacities, Lori Tremmel Freeman, chief executive officer of the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), told CNN on Wednesday.
16th Dec 2021 - CNN

South Korea reimposes COVID-19 curbs amid ‘mayhem’ at hospitals

South Korea says it will reimpose curfews on businesses and tighten social distancing rules as the number of COVID-19 infections and severe cases reach record highs. The measures, announced on Thursday, come a month and a half after the South Korean government eased restrictions under a “Living with COVID-19” policy. But with new daily infections soaring and healthcare workers warning of “mayhem” at hospitals, the government has come under increased pressure to roll back the policy. Under the new rules, which will come into effect on Saturday, gatherings are limited to no more than four people, as long as they are fully vaccinated. Restaurants cafes and bars will also need to close by 9pm and movie theatres and internet cafes by 10pm. Unvaccinated people can only dine out alone, or use takeout or delivery services.
16th Dec 2021 - Al Jazeera English

COVID-19: UK's R number for Omicron between 3 and 5, health chief says

"Each six months will be better than the last six months", England's chief medical officer has said, as he predicted it could be "possibly 18 months" until a wide range of vaccines covers all variants of the coronavirus. Professor Chris Whitty said it is likely that COVID vaccines and anti-viral drugs will do "almost all of the heavy lifting" when it comes to tackling future strains - unless they are "extremely different". He told the Commons Health and Social Care Committee: "If I project forward, I would anticipate in a number of years - possibly 18 months, possibly slightly less, possibly slightly more - that we will have polyvalent vaccines, which will cover a much wider range, and we will probably have several antivirals."
16th Dec 2021 - Sky News

COVID-19: Hundreds of thousands with coronavirus not using NHS app to 'ping' close contacts

Hundreds of thousands of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 are not using the NHS contact tracing apps to alert their close contacts, despite the outbreak of the Omicron variant, new figures reveal. In Scotland less than 20% of people who have downloaded the contact tracing app are using it to inform people that they have tested positive. The Scottish government recently announced that contacts of infected people must isolate until they can take a PCR test, and the app is a key way of alerting them.
16th Dec 2021 - Sky News

President warns against complacency as Indonesia finds first Omicron case

Indonesian President Joko Widodo urged people to stick to health protocols and ensure they are vaccinated against COVID-19, after the world's fourth most populous country detected its first domestic case of the Omicron variant. Jokowi, as the president is known, said the arrival of the highly transmissible variant, which has been reported in more than 70 countries, had been inevitable and warned the public against being complacent while less stringent measures were in place.
16th Dec 2021 - Reuters

Poland reports its first case of Omicron COVID-19 variant - PAP

Poland has detected its first case of the Omicron COVID-19 variant, a deputy health minister was cited as saying on Thursday by state-run news agency PAP. Waldemar Kraska said the variant had been detected by sanitary authorities in the southern city of Katowice, the agency reported. Poland has been dealing with persistently high daily case numbers in a fourth wave that has forced authorities to tighten restrictions.
16th Dec 2021 - Reuters

S.Africa reports record daily COVID-19 cases as Omicron spreads

South Africa reported a record number of new daily COVID-19 infections on Wednesday in a fourth wave believed to be largely caused by the Omicron coronavirus variant. The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) reported 26,976 new cases in the past 24 hours, surpassing a peak of 26,485 in early July during a third wave driven by the then-dominant Delta strain. The NICD also reported another 54 COVID-19 related deaths and an additional 620 hospital admissions.
16th Dec 2021 - Reuters

South Korea to restore tougher curbs against spike in COVID-19 infections

South Korea said on Thursday it will reinstate stricter social distancing rules a month-and-a-half after easing them under a 'living with COVID-19' policy, as the number of new infections and serious cases spirals. Curbs will return from Saturday to Jan. 2, limiting gatherings to no more than four people - as long as they are fully vaccinated - and forcing restaurants, cafes and bars to close by 9 p.m. and movie theatres and internet cafes by 10 p.m., officials said. Unvaccinated people can only dine out alone, or use takeout or delivery services.
16th Dec 2021 - Reuters

Queen Elizabeth cancels pre-Christmas lunch as COVID cases soar

Queen Elizabeth has cancelled a pre-Christmas lunch with her family as a precaution while cases of COVID-19 soar in Britain, a Buckingham Palace source said. "The decision is a precautionary one as it is felt to put too many people's Christmas arrangements at risk if it went ahead. "While there is regret that it is cancelled, there is a belief it is the right thing to do for all."
16th Dec 2021 - Reuters

Britain's hospital admissions could hit new high with Omicron - chief medic

New cases of COVID-19 in Britain hit a record high for the second day running on Thursday, as England's Chief Medical Officer warned daily hospital admissions could also hit new peaks due to the fast-spreading Omicron coronavirus variant. Britain reported 88,376 new infections, the highest since the start of the pandemic and up around 10,000 since the previous record set on Wednesday. The surge in cases was piling pressure on a health service struggling with staff sickness, England's Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said on Thursday.
16th Dec 2021 - Reuters

British surge seen as warning on omicron but responses vary

Soaring infections in Britain driven in part by the omicron variant of the coronavirus rattled Europe on Thursday, prompting new restrictions on the Continent and fueling a familiar dread on both sides of the Atlantic about entering a new phase of the pandemic just in time for the holidays. Much remains unknown about omicron, but officials increasingly warn that it appears more transmissible than the delta variant, which has already put pressure on hospitals worldwide. With so many questions unanswered, uncertainty reigned over how quickly and how severely to crack down on Christmas travel and year-end parties. After the U.K. recorded its highest number of confirmed new COVID-19 infections since the pandemic began, France announced Thursday that it would tighten entry rules for those coming from Britain. Hours later, the country set another record, with a further 88,376 confirmed COVID-19 cases reported Thursday, almost 10,000 more than the day before.
16th Dec 2021 - The Associated Press

US faces a double coronavirus surge as omicron advances

The new omicron coronavirus mutant speeding around the world may bring another wave of chaos, threatening to further stretch hospital workers already struggling with a surge of delta cases and upend holiday plans for the second year in a row. The White House on Wednesday insisted there was no need for a lockdown because vaccines are widely available and appear to offer protection against the worst consequences of the virus. But even if omicron proves milder on the whole than delta, it may disarm some of the lifesaving tools available and put immune-compromised and elderly people at particular risk as it begins a rapid assault on the United States. “Our delta surge is ongoing and, in fact, accelerating. And on top of that, we’re going to add an omicron surge,” said Dr. Jacob Lemieux, who monitors variants for a research collaboration led by Harvard Medical School.
16th Dec 2021 - The Associated Press


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COVID-19: Omicron overtakes Delta as dominant coronavirus variant in London as cases surge across UK

Omicron has now overtaken Delta as the dominant variant in London - and other regions are just a few days behind on the growth curve, new data suggests. The figures, released by the UK Health Security Agency, reveal Omicron hotspots across England, with the East, South East and North West also having high rates. The data also shows five people are in hospital suspected of being infected with the Omicron strain, in addition to the 10 confirmed cases already reported by the UKHSA.
15th Dec 2021 - Sky News

Africa sees 83% surge in COVID-19 cases in past week

Africa is experiencing its fastest surge in COVID-19 cases this year, with the number up 83% in the past week, although deaths remain low, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday. The spike in cases is driven by the Delta and Omicron variants, the WHO said in a statement. The number of new COVID-19 cases on the continent is currently doubling every five days, the shortest time frame reported this year. Africa’s low inoculation rates have encouraged viral mutations like the new Omicron variant to spread, according to health experts. The continent struggled to obtain vaccine doses until recently, and is facing challenges to distribute them including lack of funds, staff and equipment. As of Monday, only 20 African countries had vaccinated at least 10% of their population, according to the WHO. Some countries, like Democratic Republic of Congo and Chad, have vaccinated less than 1%, data collected by Reuters shows.
15th Dec 2021 - CNBC Africa

Cambodia detects first case of Omicron coronavirus variant

Cambodia has detected the country's first case of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus in a local woman who had travelled from Ghana, the ministry of health said. The 23-year old woman had returned from Ghana via Dubai and Bangkok, the ministry said in a statement issued on Tuesday. The woman, who was 15 weeks pregnant, had been admitted to hospital for treatment, it said. The Omicron variant first detected in South Africa and Hong Kong last month has now been reported by over 70 countries and is probably present in most worldwide, but should not be dismissed as "mild", the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday.
15th Dec 2021 - Reuters

Philippines detects first 2 cases of Omicron coronavirus variant

The Philippines has detected two imported cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant of concern, its first reported cases, the Department of Health said on Wednesday. The two Omicron variant cases, detected from 48 samples sequenced on Dec. 14, were currently isolated in a quarantine facility, it said in a statement.
15th Dec 2021 - Reuters

S.Korea considers tightening COVID-19 rules as new cases climb to daily record

South Korea warned on Wednesday it may reinstate stricter social distancing curbs as it posted a new record daily coronavirus tally due to a persistent spike in breakthrough infections among those vaccinated and serious cases. The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) posted 7,850 cases for Tuesday, with the number of patients in serious condition also reaching a fresh high at 964. Daily tallies of infections shot past 7,000 for the first time last week, just days after passing the 5,000 mark, putting ever greater strains on the country's medical capacity
15th Dec 2021 - Reuters

Omicron estimated to be 2.9% of COVID-19 variants in U.S.-CDC

The Omicron variant was estimated to be 2.9% of the COVID-19 variants circulating in the United States as of Dec. 11, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For the week ended Dec. 4, Omicron constituted 0.4% of all variants in the country, based on the specimens sequenced. The agency also estimated that the fast-spreading variant, first detected in South Africa, Botswana and Hong Kong in late November, was 13.1% of circulating COVID-19 variants in New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands for the week ended Dec. 11.
15th Dec 2021 - Reuters

Rwanda and Kenya confirm cases of Omicron coronavirus variant

Rwanda and Kenya have confirmed their first cases of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, authorities in both countries said, as the heavily mutated strain continues to spread on the continent where it was first detected. On Tuesday Rwanda's health ministry said the small central African country had detected six cases as it pushed for people to get vaccinated. "All arriving passengers must quarantine for three days at a designated hotel at their own cost," the cabinet of ministers said in a resolution on Tuesday, adding that it had suspended night club operations and live band entertainment.
15th Dec 2021 - Reuters

Poland's daily COVID death toll hits fourth wave record

Poland's daily death toll from COVID-19 during the fourth wave of the pandemic has climbed to a record 669, the health ministry said on Wednesday, as the country battles high infection rates with tighter restrictions. "This is the effect of these last weeks, when the number of cases has accumulated. They are mainly unvaccinated people," government spokesman Piotr Muller told private broadcaster Radio Zet earlier.
15th Dec 2021 - Reuters

UK records 59610 new COVID cases, highest since January

Britain reported 59,610 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, the highest figure since early January, as it faces what Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called a "tidal wave" on infections from the Omicron variant, official data showed. The number of new infections is the fifth highest recorded since the outbreak of the pandemic in March last year. The figures also showed there had been 150 deaths within 28 days of a positive test.
15th Dec 2021 - Reuters

EU official: Omicron to be dominant variant by mid-January

Omicron is expected to be the dominant coronavirus variant in the European Union’s 27 nations by mid-January, the bloc’s top official said Wednesday amid concerns that a dramatic rise in infections will leave Europe shrouded in gloom during the holiday season. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the EU is well prepared to fight omicron with 66.6% of its population fully vaccinated. She expressed disappointment that the pandemic will again disrupt year-end celebrations but said she was confident the EU has the “strength” and “means” to overcome COVID-19. “Like many of you, I’m sad that once again this Christmas will be overshadowed by the pandemic,” she said.
15th Dec 2021 - The Associated Press


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China's southern Guangzhou city detects one COVID-19 infection of Omicron variant

Health authorities in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou have detected one infection of the Omicron coronavirus variant, the state broadcaster CCTV said on Tuesday. The infected person, a 67-year-old man who entered China from overseas in November and flew to Guangzhou after quarantine last week, tested positive while he was isolated at home in the city, according to CCTV. The case follows China's first Omicron detection in the northern Tianjin city, a person who had also arrived from abroad
14th Dec 2021 - Reuters

Africa sees 83% surge in COVID-19 cases in past week

Africa is experiencing its fastest surge in COVID-19 cases this year, with the number up 83% in the past week, although deaths remain low, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday. The spike in cases is driven by the Delta and Omicron variants, the WHO said in a statement. The number of new COVID-19 cases on the continent is currently doubling every five days, the shortest time frame reported this year.
14th Dec 2021 - Reuters

France might tighten entries from Britain due to COVID Omicron surge

France is contemplating tightening controls for travellers coming from Britain, where the new, more contagious, Omicron coronavirus variant seems to be rapidly spreading, said French government spokesman Gabriel Attal. "Regarding Britain, the current rule is to show a negative test less than 48 hours old in order to enter France," Attal told France Info radio on Tuesday.
14th Dec 2021 - Reuters

COVID toll nears 800,000 to close out year filled with death

Carolyn Burnett is bracing for her first Christmas without her son Chris, a beloved high school football coach whose outdoor memorial service drew a crowd of hundreds. The unvaccinated 34-year-old father of four died in September as a result of COVID-19 after nearly two weeks on a ventilator, and his loss has left a gaping hole for his mother, widow and family as the holidays approach. How, she thought, could they take a holiday photo without Chris? What would Christmas Day football be like without him offering up commentary? How could they play trivia games on Christmas Eve without him beating everyone with his movie expertise? The U.S. on Tuesday hit another depressing pandemic milestone — 800,000 deaths. It’s a sad coda to a year that held so much promise with the arrival of vaccines but is ending in heartbreak for the many grieving families trying to navigate the holiday season.
14th Dec 2021 - The Associated Press

S. Korea marks deadliest day of pandemic as hospitals buckle

South Korea on Tuesday marked its deadliest day of the pandemic as an unrelenting, delta-driven spread stretched thin hospitals and left people dying while waiting for beds. Health experts warn that the country’s medical system is quickly approaching its limits and that fatalities could worsen if the government continues to be slow and hesitant in tightening social distancing. The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said 94 virus patients died in the past 24 hours while a record 906 were in serious or critical condition. The 5,567 new infections were the highest yet for a Tuesday — daily tallies are usually smaller at the start of the week because of fewer tests on weekends – indicating the virus has continued to gain speed after the government moderately tightened social distancing last week.
14th Dec 2021 - The Associated Press

With a minority vaccinated in Romania, fears of fifth wave mount

At a temporary COVID-19 intensive care unit at the University Emergency Hospital in Bucharest, set up to cope with the strain of Romania’s devastating fourth wave, a cardiac monitor beeps with a warning. An elderly, unvaccinated patient, bone-thin and too sick to breathe without the help of machines, is losing his battle with the deadly virus.
14th Dec 2021 - Coronavirus Resurgence

CDC data indicate Omicron is starting to eat into Delta’s U.S. dominance

The Omicron variant is starting to eat into Delta’s dominance in the United States. The new variant accounted for 2.9% of sequenced Covid-19 cases in the United States in the week ending Dec. 11. The week before, 0% of cases were from Omicron. Delta accounted for essentially all of the other sequenced cases, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The new figures, updated Tuesday, indicate that Omicron started circulating before that week, given how long it can take for infections to be sequenced and reported. They show that Omicron’s advantage over the highly transmissible Delta variant is becoming noticeable in this country.
14th Dec 2021 - STAT News


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Omicron cases may already be peaking in South Africa, less than a month after the COVID-19 variant first surfaced

Nearly three weeks after the Omicron variant was first identified by South African scientists, the COVID-19 mutation has whipped across the world, with infections in at least 63 countries. But in South Africa itself, the cases seem to be nearing their peak, and could already be headed for decline. Cases of Omicron in Gauteng, South Africa’s most populous province and home to its biggest city, Johannesburg, rose slightly from a seven-day daily average of 9,645 last Thursday, to 10,131 on Sunday. At the same time, the positivity rate of those being tested and the number of hospitalizations have both been falling. Data from the country’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases shows positivity rates dropping from 30% to around 15% between Thursday and Saturday, while the number of new hospitalizations fell from 207 to 64 over the same period. “The positivity rate in South Africa has been flattening and now declined for the past two days,” Scott Gottlieb, a senior fellow for the American Enterprise Institute and former FDA commissioner, tweeted on Sunday.
13th Dec 2021 - Fortune

Hungary's media, health experts seek more COVID-19 data

As coronavirus infections and deaths soar in Hungary, the country's journalists and public health professionals are demanding more detailed data on the outbreak from the government, with some experts saying that greater transparency might boost lagging vaccination rates. Information is often hard to find in the country of over 9 million people, where infection rates have broken records and daily deaths per capita are among the highest in the world. Although Hungary has secured vaccine doses from China and Russia in addition to those provided by the European Union, nearly a third of its adults still have not received a single shot. That hesitancy is something immunologist Andras Falus said can be partly attributed to official communications about the pandemic being "extremely poor, inconsistent and totally incapable of maintaining trust."
13th Dec 2021 - The Independent

COVID-19: UK 'again in race between vaccine and virus' - as Javid reveals 'about 10' people in hospital with Omicron

Sajid Javid has urged the British public to "play your part" and get a COVID booster vaccine - warning that the UK is "once again in a race between the vaccine and the virus". The heath secretary told Sky's Kay Burley that cases of Omicron are growing at a "phenomenal rate", which is why the government is expanding the booster programme "to a level never seen before in this country".
13th Dec 2021 - Sky News

Mainland China detects first case of Omicron coronavirus variant -state media

Health authorities in northern China's port city of Tianjin have detected the first case of the Omicron coronavirus variant in the country's mainland, the state-run Tianjin Daily reported on Monday. The infection was discovered in a traveller who arrived in the city from overseas on Dec. 9, the newspaper said, adding that the patient is currently being treated in isolation in hospital.
13th Dec 2021 - Reuters

Sixth COVID wave, fuelled by Omicron, to hit France in January -Paris hospitals executive

France will be hit by a sixth COVID-19 wave next month due to the emergence of the new, more contagious, Omicron variant of the disease while the country is still in the midst of the current, Delta-fuelled, fifth wave of the pandemic, according to a leading French hospital executive. "We haven't said a word on the sixth wave, which is Omicron, which will come later, in January", Martin Hirsch, head of Paris's AP-HP hospitals group, Europe's largest hospital system, told RTL radio.
13th Dec 2021 - Reuters

UK raises COVID alert level as Omicron advances

Britain raised its COVID alert level on Sunday in response to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant of the virus, as medical authorities warned that hospitalisations are likely to rise sharply over the coming weeks. The chief medical officers of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland recommended an increase to alert level 4 from level 3 on its 5-point scale, which means they judge transmission of the virus to be high. "Early evidence shows that Omicron is spreading much faster than Delta and that vaccine protection against symptomatic disease from Omicron is reduced," the medical officers said in a joint statement.
13th Dec 2021 - Reuters

Norway to tighten COVID-19 restrictions, PM says

Omicron wave requires tougher measures, PM says. New restrictions hit bars, restaurants, gyms. Stricter COVID-19 quarantines imposed. Fears new cases could reach 300,000 per day in Jan. Currency weakens vs euro
13th Dec 2021 - Reuters

First person dies from Omicron variant in United Kingdom

At least one person has died in the United Kingdom after contracting the Omicron coronavirus variant, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday, the first publicly confirmed death globally from the swiftly spreading strain. Since the first Omicron cases were detected on Nov. 27 in Britain, Johnson has imposed tougher restrictions and on Sunday cautioned that the variant could overcome the immune defences of those inoculated with two shots of vaccines.
13th Dec 2021 - Reuters


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Mexico reports 199 more deaths from COVID-19

Mexico's health ministry on Friday reported 2,992 new COVID-19 cases and 199 more deaths in the country, bringing the official number of infections to 3,914,706 and the death toll since the pandemic began to 296,385. The health ministry has previously said that the real numbers are likely significantly higher.
11th Dec 2021 - Reuters

A year after first U.S. shots, pandemic hallmarks re-emerge

Nearly a year after COVID-19 vaccines were first administered in the United States, the country is returning to many of the hallmarks that defined earlier pandemic life: mask mandates, mass vaccination sites, crowded hospitals and a rising death toll. Amid hope that humanity would soon get the upper hand on the coronavirus, New York City intensive care unit (ICU) nurse Sandra Lindsay received a dose of Pfizer's just-approved vaccine last Dec. 14, becoming the first inoculated U.S. resident.
11th Dec 2021 - Reuters

UK scientists urge more restrictions to fight omicron surge

The British government may need to introduce tougher restrictions to slow the growth of the omicron variant and prevent a new surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths, British scientists said Saturday. U.K. health officials say omicron is spreading much more quickly than the delta strain and is likely to replace it and become the dominant variant in Britain within days. The U.K. recorded 58,194 coronavirus cases on Friday, the highest number since January, though what portion were the omicron variant is unclear. Concerns about the new variant led Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative government to reintroduce restrictions that were lifted almost six months ago. Masks must be worn in most indoor settings, vaccine certificates must be shown to enter nightclubs and people are being urged to work from home if possible.
11th Dec 2021 - The Associated Press

U.K.'s New Daily Covid Cases Hit Highest Since January

The U.K. government is considering whether tougher rules are needed to curb a “deeply concerning” new wave of the pandemic, as daily infections soared to the highest level since the start of the year. “We absolutely need to keep everything under review,” Cabinet minister Michael Gove told broadcasters on Friday after he led an emergency meeting with leaders of the devolved U.K. nations. The meeting was “presented with some very challenging new information” and the country is facing a “deeply concerning situation,” he said.
10th Dec 2021 - Bloomberg

Navy medics join COVID fight in hard-hit New Mexico

Dozens of U.S. Navy medics have deployed to New Mexico to treat a Delta variant-fueled surge in COVID-19 patients as part of a military operation to treat virus hotspots across Western and Midwest states. New Mexico is suffering one of the highest levels of new coronavirus infections in the country, its hospitals reaching record capacity levels. Nearly 50 Navy medics are treating COVID-19 patients at the San Juan Regional Medical Center in Farmington, northwest New Mexico, where critical care patient numbers have been over 200% of capacity for weeks
10th Dec 2021 - Reuters

Low staff vaccination tied to nursing home COVID deaths; experimental vaccine targets multiple coronaviruses

Low rates of COVID-19 vaccination among nursing home staff are linked with high rates of coronavirus illness and death among residents, even when residents have been vaccinated, a U.S. study found. Using national data from early June through late August 2021, researchers compared nursing homes with the highest and lowest percentages of vaccinated staff. In communities with high rates of COVID-19, homes with the lowest staff vaccination rates had more than twice as many residents develop COVID-19 and nearly three times as many residents die from it. This was true regardless of vaccination rates among the residents and of other differences between the facilities, the researchers reported on Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine
10th Dec 2021 - Reuters

A year after first U.S. shots, pandemic hallmarks re-emerge

Nearly a year after COVID-19 vaccines were first administered in the United States, the country is returning to many of the hallmarks that defined earlier pandemic life: mask mandates, mass vaccination sites, crowded hospitals and a rising death toll. Amid hope that humanity would soon get the upper hand on the coronavirus, New York City intensive care unit (ICU) nurse Sandra Lindsay received a dose of Pfizer's just-approved vaccine last Dec. 14, becoming the first inoculated U.S. resident.
11th Dec 2021 - Reuters


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US Covid cases surge as vaccine progress slows and Omicron variant sparks fears

For Dr Rina D’Abramo of the MetroHealth System in Cleveland, it’s difficult when patients in the emergency room tell her they have not been vaccinated. “You can hear it in their voice when you say, ‘Are you vaccinated?’” said D’Abramo, who works at a hospital in the Brecksville suburb. “They shrink down and are like, ‘No. Now I know why I need to be vaccinated.’ ” Unfortunately, there are plenty of people in Ohio and the rest of the US too who have not yet learned that lesson, even as infection rates nationally start to surge again amid fears of the possibly highly contagious new Omicron variant. Ohio is one of the states that has seen the largest recent increases in hospitalizations due to Covid as the number of cases climbs across the country. There has been 19% increase in hospitalizations over the past two weeks in the United States, according to a New York Times analysis of data
9th Dec 2021 - The Guardian

Public urged to regularly use lateral flow tests to fight Covid-19 spread

The public is being urged to regularly take lateral flow tests as a measure to stem the spread of Covid-19. Chief medical officer Sir Michael McBride said it has been in Executive guidance for some period of time. He described it as important to delay as long as possible further introductions of the Omicron variant.
9th Dec 2021 - The Independent

Pakistan detects its first case of the Omicron variant of coronavirus

Pakistan has detected its first case of the Covid omicron variant that has now spread to almost 60 countries. Authorities on Thursday announced that the first case had been found in Pakistan’s most populous city of Karachi in a resident who was undergoing treatment at a private hospital. Without revealing any further details, spokesperson for the southern province of Sindh told Reuters news agency that the person was unvaccinated and had recently travelled to another country. The spokesperson added that the infected person’s contacts were being traced.
9th Dec 2021 - The Independent

WHO's Tedros says Omicron coronavirus variant highlights "perilous situation"

The emergence of the Omicron coronavirus variant highlights the "perilous situation" the world is in roughly two years after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Thursday. He added that he was disappointed that countries had imposed blanket travel bans on southern Africa over Omicron and that transparency would help end the pandemic.
9th Dec 2021 - Reuters

Japan's COVID-19 cases defy Asia rebound, yet fears remain for winter wave

Japan's COVID-19 infections are falling in contrast with rebounds in other parts of Asia, baffling experts. New daily infections have slowed to fewer than one per million people, the least among major economies except China, and fatalities have fallen to zero in recent days. South Korea, with similar vaccination coverage, is seeing record infections. Cases remain elevated in Singapore and are rising again in Australia as authorities there relax stringent controls on movement
9th Dec 2021 - Reuters

Denmark reintroduces some COVID-19 restrictions

Denmark will again impose restrictions aimed at curbing the rapid spread of COVID-19 including the new Omicron variant, the country's prime minister said on Wednesday.
9th Dec 2021 - Reuters

South Africa reports nearly 20000 COVID-19 cases, an Omicron-wave record

South Africa reported nearly 20,000 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, a record since the Omicron variant was detected, and 36 new COVID-related deaths. It was not immediately clear how many of the infections were caused by Omicron, given only a fraction of samples are sequenced, but experts believe it is driving South Africa's fourth wave of infections. The statistics from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) brought the confirmed number of cases in the country to 3.071 million, with more than 90,000 COVID-linked deaths since the pandemic started.
9th Dec 2021 - Reuters

Coronavirus spreads in Australia's pubs; Omicron cases linked to party boat

COVID-19 infections have been spreading in pubs and clubs in Australia's biggest city, including three new cases of the Omicron variant found among people who went on a harbour party cruise, sending officials rushing to trace contacts. Authorities have been easing restrictions in Sydney since early October when the city emerged from a nearly four-month lockdown to contain the Delta coronavirus variant after the population reached higher vaccination levels. "We have seen recently increased transmission in larger social venues ... and that is certainly a contributing factor to the increase in cases," Marianne Gale, New South Wales Deputy Chief Health Officer, said in a video posted on Twitter.
9th Dec 2021 - Reuters


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UK reports 131 new cases of Omicron coronavirus variant

Britain has reported 131 new cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant, the UK Health Security Agency said on Wednesday, taking the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 568.
8th Dec 2021 - Reuters

Omicron reported in 57 countries, hospitalisations set to rise, WHO says

The Omicron variant has been reported in 57 nations and the number of patients needing hospitalisation is likely to rise as it spreads, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday. The WHO, in its weekly epidemiological report, said more data was needed to assess the severity of disease caused by the Omicron variant and whether its mutations might reduce protection from vaccine-derived immunity.
8th Dec 2021 - Reuters

Mexico posts 289 more COVID-19 fatalities; death toll reaches 295601

Mexico's Health Ministry on Tuesday reported 289 more deaths from COVID-19, bringing the country's death toll since the pandemic began to 295,601.
8th Dec 2021 - Reuters

Sweden to reintroduce many COVID-19 measures as cases rise

Sweden will reintroduce a raft of measures to curb rising COVID-19 infections, urging renewed social distancing and the use of masks in public transportation, the government said on Tuesday. "We see an increased spread of infection, but still from low levels," Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson told a news conference. "We need to work together to that the situation doesn't get worse, so today we are presenting further precautionary measures."
8th Dec 2021 - Reuters

S.Korea considers expanded COVID-19 home care as new cases top 7000

South Korea will consider expanding home treatment of COVID-19 patients, a health official said on Wednesday, as both new daily infections and severe cases hit record highs, putting hospital capacity under strain. Infections in South Korea have skyrocketed this month after the government began to ease restrictions under a so-called "living with COVID-19" scheme in November. The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) reported 7,175 new coronavirus cases and 63 deaths for Tuesday, the first time daily infections topped 7,000, while hospitals treated a record 840 critical and serious cases.
8th Dec 2021 - Reuters

Germany records highest daily COVID deaths since February

Germany recorded the highest number of deaths from COVID-19 since February on Wednesday as it battles to stop a fourth wave of the pandemic. A total of 69,601 new infections were reported, 2,415 more than the same time a week ago, and another 527 people died - the highest number since Feb. 12 - to bring the total to 104,047, the German Robert Koch Institute for disease control said. However, the country's seven-day incidence rate of cases per 100,000 people continued to fall, declining to 427 from 432 on Tuesday.
8th Dec 2021 - Reuters

France says fifth COVID-19 wave has not peaked yet

The fifth wave of COVID-19 hitting France has not yet reached its peak, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said on Wednesday, and the cabinet's top adviser on the coronavirus indicated a fourth vaccine shot to fight the disease was possible. "The peak is clearly not behind us, the pandemic continues to gain ground," Attal said during a press briefing following the weekly cabinet meeting, though adding the pace of increase in daily new cases seemed to be slowing somewhat.
8th Dec 2021 - Reuters

Denmark sees society-wide infection with Omicron variant

The new Omicron coronavirus variant has spread across Denmark, health authorities said on Tuesday after registering large outbreaks of the variant in the east and west of the country. "We now have society-wide infection with the Omicron variant," director of the Danish Patient Safety Authority, Anette Lykke Petri, told reporters. Denmark has registered a total of 398 cases of infection with the variant first identified in South Africa.
8th Dec 2021 - Reuters

Record COVID cases in S Korea as ‘immunity wanes among elderly’

South Korea’s daily count of COVID-19 cases has surpassed 7,000 for the first time, with experts attributing the record jump to waning immunity among older people. The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KCDA) reported 7,175 new cases on Wednesday, 2,221 more than the previous day. It said infections were rising particularly among older adults who had “suffered a drop in vaccine efficacy, and children who have yet to receive their first doses”, according to the Yonhap news agency. The number of critically ill patients also reached an all-time high of 840, up from 66 the previous day. The increase in infections and severe cases comes after the government began easing COVID-19 restrictions under a so-called “Living with COVID-19” policy in November. Most of the cases are being reported in the greater Seoul region, home to half of the country’s 51.7 million people.
8th Dec 2021 - AlJazeera


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South Africa's Covid Hospital Admissions More Than Double

The daily number of people admitted to hospital in South Africa with Covid-19 more than doubled on Tuesday from a day earlier. According to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases 383 people have been admitted to hospital with the disease in the last 24 hours compared with 175 in the preceding period. Of the 13,147 new cases recorded 64% were in Gauteng, the province that includes Johannesburg and Pretoria, compared with 70% of the 6,381 cases the day earlier, according to a statement from the NICD. The positivity rate of tests was 24.9% on Tuesday, down from 26.4% the day earlier. Over the 24 hours 27 deaths due to Covid-19 were recorded, taking the total confirmed death toll in the country since the pandemic began to 90,002.
7th Dec 2021 - Bloomberg

COVID-19: UK records 101 new Omicron variant cases in past 24 hours taking total to 437

Another 101 Omicron COVID variant cases have been recorded in the UK, taking the total across the country to 437. This compares with 90 new cases reported on Monday. The latest daily data from the UK Health Security Agency shows 72 cases were in England, 28 in Scotland, and one in Wales. So far, no confirmed Omicron cases have been recorded in Northern Ireland.
7th Dec 2021 - Sky News

COVID-19: UK records 101 new Omicron variant cases in past 24 hours taking total to 437

Another 101 Omicron COVID variant cases have been recorded in the UK, taking the total across the country to 437. This compares with 90 new cases reported on Monday. The latest daily data from the UK Health Security Agency shows 72 cases were in England, 28 in Scotland, and one in Wales. So far, no confirmed Omicron cases have been recorded in Northern Ireland.
7th Dec 2021 - Sky News

France now has 25 Omicron Covid variant cases - minister

France now has identified 25 positive cases of the Omicron COVID-19 virus variant, of which 21 were imported from people returning from Southern Africa, and four who were the result of local infection, Health Minister Olivier Veran said on Monday. Veran said the Omicron variant seems much more contagious than the Delta variant.
7th Dec 2021 - Reuters

Danish health minister isolates in Brussels hotel after testing COVID-19 positive

Denmark's Health Minister Magnus Heunicke on Tuesday tested positive for COVID-19 and is now self-isolating in a hotel in Brussels, the ministry said in a statement. Heunicke had stayed in his hotel room and not been in contact with other ministers, Denmark's permanent representation in the EU told Reuters
7th Dec 2021 - Reuters


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Brazil reports 108 COVID-19 deaths in 24 hours - ministry

Brazil has had 4,385 new cases of the novel coronavirus reported in the past 24 hours, and 108 deaths from COVID-19, the health ministry said on Monday. The South American country has now registered 22,147,476 cases since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 615,744, according to ministry data, in the world's third worst outbreak outside the United States and India and its second-deadliest. With 65% of the population fully vaccinated, the rolling 14-day average of COVID deaths has fallen to 211 per day, compared to the toll of almost 3,000 a day at the peak of the pandemic in April.
7th Dec 2021 - Reuters

The US is averaging more than 100,000 new Covid-19 cases a day, the highest level in two months

For the first time in two months, the US is averaging more than 100,000 new Covid-19 cases each day, shortly after millions of Americans traveled for the Thanksgiving holiday. The seven-day moving average of new cases was 121,437 as of Saturday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University (JHU). Prior to this week, the US last topped the 100,000-cases-a-day mark in early October.
6th Dec 2021 - CNN

Covid-19: Omicron cases confirmed in West Midlands

Five cases of the new Omicron variant of Covid-19 have been identified in the West Midlands. Sandwell Council said it had found one case and the infected person and their contacts were already self-isolating before it was confirmed. Warwickshire's director of public health confirmed two county cases of the variant, linked to overseas travel. A case in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, has also been linked to travel abroad, the county council said. A single case involving the variant had been found in the area, Telford and Wrekin Council announced.
6th Dec 2021 - BBC News

India detects seven more Omicron cases, making 12 in all

India's tally of reported cases of the heavily mutated Omicron variant of the coronavirus rose to 12 on Sunday after the state of Maharashtra said it had detected seven new cases. Local media also said a new case had been reported in New Delhi. India expects Omicron, which scientists say appears to be the most contagious variant so far, to be less damaging than the currently dominant Delta, which caused a devastating wave of infections in March and April.
6th Dec 2021 - Reuters India

Namibia detects Omicron coronavirus variant in 18 of 19 samples

Namibia has detected the Omicron coronavirus variant in 18 of 19 samples sequenced between Nov. 11-26, its health ministry said on Monday. Although the southern African country has sequenced relatively few samples, the finding suggests the variant first flagged by neighbouring South Africa and Botswana late last month, and since labelled "of concern" by the World Health Organization, is also highly prevalent in Namibia. Namibia's Omicron cases were detected predominantly in and around the capital Windhoek, a region that recorded 536 out of 695 new infections countrywide in the first five days of December.
6th Dec 2021 - Reuters

Thailand detects first case of Omicron variant

Thailand has detected its first case of the Omicron coronavirus variant in a U.S. citizen who had travelled to the country from Spain late last month, a health official said on Monday. The confirmed case in the man, who had arrived on Nov. 29, makes Thailand the 47th country to have found the new variant, Opas Karnkawinpong, Director-General of the Department of Disease Control, told a news conference.
6th Dec 2021 - Reuters

Omicron variant found in nearly one-third of U.S. states

The Omicron variant of the coronavirus has spread to about one-third of U.S. states, but the Delta version remains the majority of COVID-19 infections as cases rise nationwide, U.S. health officials said on Sunday. Though the emergence of the new variant has caused alarm worldwide, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease official, told CNN "thus far it does not look like there's a great degree of severity to it." He added that it was too early to draw definitive conclusions and that more study is needed.
6th Dec 2021 - Reuters

Croatia confirms its first two cases of COVID-19 Omicron variant

Croatia confirmed on Monday its first two cases of the Omicron variant of coronavirus, the state health institute said. "We are not sure about the source of the infection as neither of those two people had travelled abroad. We believe they got infected at a business meeting at which both participated," said Bernard Kaic, an epidemiologist at the state health institute. Guests from abroad had been present at the business meeting, he added.
6th Dec 2021 - Reuters

South Africa readies hospitals as Omicron variant drives new COVID-19 wave

South Africa is preparing its hospitals for more admissions, as the Omicron coronavirus variant pushes the country into a fourth wave of COVID-19 cases, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday. Omicron was first detected in southern Africa last month and has triggered global alarm as governments fear another surge in infections. South Africa's daily infections surged last week to more than 16,000 on Friday from roughly 2,300 on Monday.
6th Dec 2021 - Reuters

Britain reports 43992 new COVID-19 cases, 54 deaths

Britain on Sunday reported 43,992 new cases of COVID-19 and 54 deaths within 28 days of a positive test for the virus. That compares with 42,848 cases and 127 deaths reported on Saturday. Earlier, Britain's health security agency said it had identified 86 new cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant, taking the total to 246
6th Dec 2021 - Reuters UK

Italy tightens curbs on unvaccinated as COVID-19 cases rise

Italy tightened curbs on Monday on people still not vaccinated against COVID-19, limiting their access to an array of places and services. The measures were announced last month, even before the discovery of the Omicron variant, and come as cases of coronavirus are starting to tick up across the country, albeit at a slower rate than in many other European nations. Under the new rules, only people who have been vaccinated or have recently recovered from COVID-19 can access indoor seating at bars and restaurants, visit museums, go to cinemas and clubs and attend sporting events.
6th Dec 2021 - Reuters

Russia reports first cases of Omicron COVID-19 variant - agencies

Russia on Monday reported its first confirmed cases of the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus, Russian news agencies reported, in two people who returned from South Africa. Interfax cited consumer health regulator Rospotrebnadzor as saying that 10 people who returned from South Africa had tested positive for COVID-19. RIA said Omicron had been detected in two arrivals from South Africa.
6th Dec 2021 - Reuters


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Two hippos in Belgian zoo test positive for COVID-19

Two hippos have tested positive for COVID-19 at Antwerp Zoo in Belgium in what could be the first reported cases in the species, zoo staff said. Hippos Imani, aged 14, and 41-year-old Hermien have no symptoms apart from a runny nose, but the zoo said the pair had been put into quarantine as a precaution. "To my knowledge, this is the first time in this species. Worldwide, this virus has been reported mainly in great apes and felines," said the zoo's vet, Francis Vercammen.
5th Dec 2021 - Reuters

Chile says detects first case of Omicron variant of the coronavirus

Chilean health authorities reported on Saturday that they detected the first case of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus in a person who had arrived in the copper-producing South American country from Africa. The foreign patient residing in Chile arrived in the country on Nov. 25 from Ghana with a recently-taken negative COVID-19 test. But a subsequent test taken upon arrival in Chile was positive and then sequenced. "The passenger, who had two doses of the Pfizer vaccine, is currently in good health and fulfilling his isolation," the secretary of health of the Valparaiso region in Chile said in a statement.
4th Dec 2021 - Reuters

Zambia records Omicron cases as new strain spreads

Zambia has detected its first cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant, as the “highly transmissible” new variant spread to more than 40 countries since it was first detected in South Africa last week. The country’s health ministry said on Saturday that three people tested positive for COVID-19 in the past week. It added that two of the three infected had travelled abroad recently. A woman who had not travelled abroad had mild symptoms, it said.
4th Dec 2021 - Aljazeera.com

Covid Outbreak on Cruise Ship Approaching New Orleans

Ten people aboard a Norwegian Cruise Line ship approaching New Orleans have tested positive for COVID-19, officials said Saturday night. The Norwegian Breakaway had departed New Orleans on Nov. 28 and is due to return this weekend, the Louisiana Department of Health said in a news release. Over the past week, the ship made stops in Belize, Honduras and Mexico. More than 3,200 people are on board the ship, officials said. According to the statement, Norwegian “has been adhering to appropriate quarantine and isolation protocols as new cases and exposures have been identified aboard this vessel.”
4th Dec 2021 - Bloomberg

Beijing, Shanghai Hit as China's Covid Outbreak Picks Up Steam

China’s two largest cities are seeing cases of Covid-19 pick up once again, as an outbreak in the north spread to six provinces and led to 91 new locally-transmitted infections reported on Friday. The country’s political and financial hubs of Beijing and Shanghai detected one and two new cases respectively. Inner Mongolia, where the latest flare up is concentrated, reported almost five dozen infections, according to the National Health Commission. The findings mean the latest wave, which had been mostly limited to the remote northwestern region, could sweep across the nation and pose another challenge amid falling temperatures.
3rd Dec 2021 - Bloomberg

WHO urges Asia-Pacific to ready for Omicron-driven surge in infections

Asia-Pacific countries should boost their healthcare capacity and fully vaccinate their people to prepare for a surge in COVID-19 cases fuelled by the Omicron variant, officials at the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday. First detected in southern Africa last month and dubbed a "variant of concern" by the WHO, scientists are still gathering data to establish how contagious Omicron is, and the severity of the illness it causes. It has been reported in at least two dozen countries, and started gaining a foothold in Asia this week, with cases reported from Australia, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia and India. Many governments have responded by tightening travel rules.
3rd Dec 2021 - Reuters

As Omicron is detected in a deprived London borough, fears rise

On Wednesday night, the borough, one of London’s poorest, suffered a large dose of bad news. A local health official announced on Twitter that a case of COVID with the new Omicron variant had been detected, and encouraged people to get their vaccines and take regular COVID tests. During the height of the second wave, Barking and Dagenham, Redbridge, and Newham, three neighbouring boroughs in east London, saw the country’s highest infection rates. They were dubbed the “COVID triangle”.
3rd Dec 2021 - Aljazeera.com


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COVID-19: WHO deploying surge team to South Africa as reinfections rise amid Omicron outbreak

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is set to deploy a surge team to South Africa to help deal with the new Omicron COVID variant outbreak. The team will be sent to Gauteng province to help with surveillance and contact tracing as experts warned the new variant could be causing an increase in COVID reinfections across the country. WHO regional emergency director for Africa, Salam Gueye, also said it was providing technical assistance to boost the production and distribution of medical oxygen in Botswana - another country where Omicron has been detected.
2nd Dec 2021 - Sky News

Covid-19 Victoria: Covid cases surge in Victoria as state records 1419 new infections and ten deaths

Victoria has recorded 1,149 new infections and ten deaths on Thursday. It marks the largest spike in daily cases since 1,471 cases on November 1. Health Minister confirmed there were no cases of new Omicron variant
2nd Dec 2021 - Daily Mail

Sweden says could impose new COVID-19 measures next week

Sweden could impose new restrictions as early as next week to fight the coronavirus pandemic and a rising tide of infections, its public health agency said on Thursday. New measures could include general advice such as keeping a distance from other people and wearing a face mask on public transport, the agency said, but gave no precise details. It also said it might recommend employers to enable staff to "to some degree" work from home.
2nd Dec 2021 - Reuters

Lebanon reintroduces some COVID-19 prevention measures

Lebanon will impose a night-time curfew starting Dec. 17 on non-vaccinated people for three weeks and make full vaccination mandatory for all workers in several sectors due to concerns over the spread of coronavirus, the COVID-19 committee said on Wednesday. Vaccination will be mandatory for all civil servants and workers in the health, education, tourism and public transport sectors as of Jan. 10, the committee said. A new coronavirus variant found in South Africa and detected in several countries was determined as a variant of concern by the World Health Organization last week and has led to strengthening COVID-19-related restrictions around the world.
2nd Dec 2021 - Reuters

S.Korea hits new COVID-19 record, halts quarantine exemptions to block Omicron

South Korea's daily coronavirus case numbers rose to a new high on Thursday, as authorities halted quarantine exemptions for fully vaccinated inbound travellers for two weeks in a bid to fend off the Omicron variant. The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) reported 5,266 cases for Wednesday, a day after the daily tally rose above 5,000 for the first time amid concerns over a sharp rise in patients with severe symptoms. South Korea will require a 10-day quarantine for all inbound travellers for two weeks starting Friday, halting exemptions given earlier to fully vaccinated people, the KDCA said.
2nd Dec 2021 - Reuters

German ICUs expect COVID peak to hit hospitals at Christmas

Germany is likely to reach a peak of its fourth wave of COVID-19 infections by mid-December and this could mean 6,000 intensive care beds occupied by Christmas, the country's association for intensive care medicine (DIVI) said on Wednesday. Andreas Schuppert, a forecaster for the DIVI association, told a news conference he was "moderately optimistic" the peak in new cases would come in the next two weeks, but warned this would take time to have its full impact on hospitals.
2nd Dec 2021 - Reuters

Omicron and delta spell return of unpopular restrictions

“The only thing we can do is to listen to the rules, follow them and hope it’s not getting worse. For me it’s no problem. I’m a nurse. I know how sick people get,” said Wilma van Kampen. Huburt Bruls, who as mayor of the Dutch city of Nijmegen banned a protest last weekend, said he sympathized with the frustration but was prepared to carry out the national rules. “There was a lot of disappointment in the effects of vaccination. Everybody did their best, we had one of the highest rates of vaccinations, and it wasn’t enough. Infections are higher than ever. I myself was a little disappointed, but we have to look ahead,” he said.
2nd Dec 2021 - The Associated Press

African Union health watchdog CDC appeals for calm over Omicron

The African Union’s health watchdog has appealed for calm over Omicron, the new, heavily mutated coronavirus variant which has prompted many countries to impose new restrictions. The variant was first reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) by South Africa a week ago, and has quickly showed up across continents, deepening fears of another deadly wave of infections and signalling that the nearly two-year battle against the pandemic is not over. But John Nkengasong, head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), on Thursday urged moderation. “We are very concerned but are not worried that the situation cannot be managed,” he told a press briefing. “There is no need to panic. We are not defenceless.”
2nd Dec 2021 - The Associated Press

As Omicron is detected in a deprived London borough, fears rise

On an overcast day in Newham, a London borough, it looks like business as usual on Green Street as customers buy groceries, jewellery and new South Asian outfits. But a sense of stoicism is sometimes interrupted by fear as people worry about what another coronavirus wave could mean. By January this year, COVID-19 mortality rates were about three times higher in Newham – 441 deaths per 100,000 people – the worst-hit London borough, compared with 150 deaths in Camden, the least affected area of the capital. Everyone’s face here is now covered in line with recent government guidance that made mask-wearing in shops and public transport mandatory once again, as COVID resurges.
2nd Dec 2021 - AlJazeera

Delta surge remains strong as world sizes up Omicron threat

As the world responds to newly emerged Omicron variant, the battle against Delta (B1617.2)-driven surges continues, with activity showing signs of a plateau last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) said yesterday in its weekly snapshot of the pandemic. With the Omicron variant adding a new wrinkle to a pandemic about to enter its third year, the World Health Assembly (WHA)—meeting in a special session for only the second time in its 73-year-old history—today agreed to begin drafting and negotiating an international agreement to boost pandemic preparedness and response.
2nd Dec 2021 - AlJazeera

Second U.S. case of Omicron variant indicates domestic transmission

Health officials on Thursday reported the country’s second Covid-19 infection from the Omicron variant in a Minnesota resident who notably did not travel internationally recently, unlike the first case. The case in Minnesota is an adult male who had been vaccinated and, in early November, received a booster shot. He lives in Hennepin County, which includes Minneapolis, state health officials said. He developed mild symptoms on Nov. 22, was tested on Nov. 24, and no longer has symptoms. The man had been in New York City in the days leading up to feeling sick and attended the Anime NYC 2021 convention at the Javits Center from Nov. 19 to Nov. 21. Minnesota health officials are collaborating with New York City authorities and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on their case investigation.
2nd Dec 2021 - STAT News

First known U.S. Omicron case found in fully vaccinated overseas traveler

The United States on Wednesday identified its first known COVID case caused by the Omicron variant, discovered in a fully vaccinated patient who traveled to South Africa, as scientists continue to study the risks the new version could pose. Public health officials said the infected person, who had mild and improving symptoms, returned to the United States from South Africa on Nov. 22 and tested positive seven days later.
2nd Dec 2021 - Reuters


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Omicron was in Europe long before travel bans on southern Africa

When South African officials sounded the alarm on the new Omicron variant last Thursday, stocks around the world tumbled and up to 70 countries, including the United States, imposed travel bans and restrictions to southern African countries. The knee-jerk response followed the news that the variant had an unusually high number of mutations, which scientists feared could make it more transmissible and result in immune evasion. Much is still unknown about Omicron, including its origin, severity and its transmissibility. Researchers are also racing to discover if it could displace existing variants and become dominant, as Delta has. Early "indications" show that people who have received the coronavirus vaccine booster are "protected" against the new variant, Israeli Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz said Tuesday.
1st Dec 2021 - CNN

COVID in Europe: Portuguese hospital worker tests positive for Omicron

A hospital worker in Portugal tested positive for the new COVID-19 variant called Omicron, forcing the paediatric services unit to close. The worker had been in contact with members of a Portuguese football club where there were at least 13 cases of the new, concerning variant of coronavirus that was first identified in South Africa. The hospital said it will close both emergency and outpatient paediatric services for two weeks even though staff in contact with the hospital worker tested negative for the virus. New virus restrictions entered into force in Portugal from midnight as the country works to contain a new surge in cases. A digital certificate proving vaccination or recovery from COVID-19 must be shown to enter restaurants, cinemas and hotels. Face masks will also be mandatory once again.
1st Dec 2021 - Euronews

China local COVID-19 cases jump to most in nearly a month

China detected 91 domestically transmitted COVID-19 cases with confirmed symptoms for Tuesday, marking the highest daily count since Nov. 2 and a significant jump from 21 cases a day earlier, as the country fights a fresh outbreak in the north. All of the 91 local symptomatic cases were reported in the northern Chinese region of Inner Mongolia, data from the National Health Commission showed on Wednesday. Mainland China has not detected any infections caused by the Omicron variant, Xu Wenbo, an official at Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said on Tuesday at a news briefing.
1st Dec 2021 - Reuters

U.S. tightens travel rules as more countries secure borders to quell Omicron

Heavily mutated Omicron is rapidly becoming the dominant variant of the coronavirus in South Africa less than four weeks after it was first detected there, and the United States on Wednesday became the latest country to identify an Omicron case within its borders. The first known U.S. case was a fully vaccinated person in California who returned to the United States from South Africa on Nov. 22 and tested positive seven days later. The person had mild symptoms and was in self-quarantine, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease official, told reporters at the White House.
1st Dec 2021 - Reuters

COVID: France extends suspension of flights from high-risk southern African countries

France has decided to extend until at least Saturday its suspension of flights from southern African countries which have been hit hard by the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus, said French European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune. "As of this morning, we have extended the suspension of flights from seven southern African countries until Saturday," Beaune told RTL radio. The Omicron COVID variant - first reported in southern Africa and which the World Health Organization (WHO) said carries a "very high" risk of infection surges - has triggered global alarm, with border closures casting a shadow over a nascent economic recovery from a two-year pandemic
1st Dec 2021 - Reuters

South Korea reports two Omicron cases on flight from Nigeria - media

South Korea reported its first five cases of the Omicron variant on Wednesday, officials said, as daily coronavirus infections rose above 5,000 for the first time, stoking concern over a sharp rise in patients with severe symptoms. A fully vaccinated couple tested positive for the variant after arriving last week from Nigeria, followed by two of their family members and a friend, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).
1st Dec 2021 - Reuters

Munster COVID-19 cases reach 14, remainder depart South Africa

Munster reported 13 new COVID-19 cases in their camp in South Africa, taking the total count to 14, as the remainderof the squad departed Cape Town on Tuesday, the Irish rugby team said. Both staff and players have tested positive and will quarantine in a hotel in Cape Town, joining the first player who returned a positive test on Sunday. Welsh side Cardiff also said they had two positive cases over the weekend. Munster did not say if any of the positive tests were for the new Omicron variant of the virus, which was first detected in southern Africa.
1st Dec 2021 - Reuters

Germany reports highest daily COVID-19 death toll for 9 months

Germany is likely to reach a peak of its fourth wave of COVID-19 infections by mid-December and this could mean 6,000 intensive care beds occupied by Christmas, the country's association for intensive care medicine (DIVI) said on Wednesday. Andreas Schuppert, a forecaster for the DIVI association, told a news conference he was "moderately optimistic" the peak in new cases would come in the next two weeks, but warned this would take time to have its full impact on hospitals. "It is an ominous situation," DIVI president Gernot Marx told reporters. "We would be well advised to react immediately. We must get ahead of the situation."
1st Dec 2021 - Reuters

Germany to act to counter COVID-19 fourth wave

Germany's federal and regional governments agreed on Tuesday to take action to counter a fourth wave of COVID-19, including stepping up the vaccination campaign and restricting contact, especially for unvaccinated people. Facing a surge in cases over the last few weeks and warnings from virologists that exponential growth rates would overload hospitals, outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel held video talks with her successor, Olaf Scholz, and regional leaders. "There is agreement that the fourth wave has led to an extremely serious, in some regions dramatic situation in our healthcare system to which federal and state governments will respond jointly and decisively," said government spokesman Steffen Seibert.
1st Dec 2021 - Reuters

Sydney braces for more Omicron cases but no lockdowns for now

Australian authorities on Wednesday flagged another probable case of the Omicron variant in Sydney as they braced for more infections after at least two international travellers visited several locations in the city while likely infectious. Officials in New South Wales (NSW), home to Sydney, said initial testing "strongly indicates" a man in his 40s, who arrived from southern Africa on Nov. 25, had been infected with the Omicron variant and had spent time in the community. "We believe it is likely it will be confirmed later this afternoon as a definite Omicron case," NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard told reporters, but he ruled out lockdowns to contain the newly identified variant.
1st Dec 2021 - Reuters

Germany to act to counter COVID-19 fourth wave

Germany's federal and regional governments agreed on Tuesday to take action to counter a fourth wave of COVID-19, including stepping up the vaccination campaign and restricting contact, especially for unvaccinated people. Facing a surge in cases over the last few weeks and warnings from virologists that exponential growth rates would overload hospitals, outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel held video talks with her successor, Olaf Scholz, and regional leaders. "There is agreement that the fourth wave has led to an extremely serious, in some regions dramatic situation in our healthcare system to which federal and state governments will respond jointly and decisively," said government spokesman Steffen Seibert.
1st Dec 2021 - Reuters

Omicron keeps world jittery as more information drips out

The U.S. recorded its first confirmed case of the omicron variant Wednesday — in a vaccinated traveler who returned to California after a trip to South Africa — as scientists around the world race to establish whether the new, mutant version of the coronavirus is more dangerous than previous ones. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the United States’ top infectious-disease expert, announced the finding at the White House. “We knew it was just a matter of time before the first case of omicron would be detected in the United States,” he said. The infected person was identified as a traveler who had returned from South Africa on Nov. 22, developed mild symptoms and tested positive for COVID-19 Monday. Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco obtained a sample from the patient Tuesday evening and worked feverishly overnight to assemble the genetic sequence.
1st Dec 2021 - The Associated Press

Netherlands detections hint at earlier Omicron spread

In a statement today, the Netherlands' National Institute for Public Health (RIVM) said that the samples that yielded the Omicron variant were obtained on Nov 19 and 23, before South Africa announced its findings and before travel bans went into effect. The samples were taken during municipal health service testing, and investigations and contact tracing are under way. RIVM also provided more details about the results of COVID-19 testing of 624 people returning from South Africa who arrived at Schiphol airport on Nov 26. Of 61 who tested positive for COVID-19, 14 had the Omicron variant. Sequencing revealed different strains of the Omicron variant, suggesting that people were probably infected from different sources and locations. Meanwhile, more countries reported Omicron cases. Japan confirmed its first case, which involves a Namibian diplomat who arrived in Japan on Nov 28, before the country's travel ban went into effect. Officials said the man had been fully vaccinated and was asymptomatic upon his arrival in Japan but developed a fever the next day.
1st Dec 2021 - CIDRAP


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COVID-19: Don't socialise unless necessary to help slow Omicron variant spread, says UKHSA chief Dr Jenny Harries

Boris Johnson has urged people not to cancel Christmas parties or school nativity plays despite a health chief encouraging Britons to cut back on unnecessary socialising ahead of the festive season. Dr Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK's Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said everyone can do their bit by reducing the number of social contacts they have - and by "not socialising when we don't particularly need to". But the PM rejected Dr Harries' call, insisting that he had already put in place a package of "balanced and proportionate measures" in response to the threat posed by the new Omicron variant.
30th Nov 2021 - Sky News

Nine more from Munster test positive for COVID-19 in South Africa

Munster have nine new COVID-19 cases in their camp in South Africa, the Irish rugby team said on Tuesday, taking the total count to 10. Both staff and players have tested positive and will quarantine in a hotel in Cape Town, joining the first player who returned a positive test on Sunday. Welsh side Cardiff also said they had two positive cases over the weekend. Munster did not say if any of the positive tests were for the new Omicron variant of the virus, which was first detected in southern Africa.
30th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Forty-two cases of COVID-19 Omicron variant confirmed in 10 EU states

Forty-two cases of the COVID-19 Omicron variant have been confirmed in 10 European Union countries, the head of the EU's public health agency said on Tuesday. Authorities in the 27-nation EU were analysing another six "probable" cases, Andrea Ammon, who chairs the European Centre for Disease prevention and Control (ECDC), told an online conference organised by the EU's Slovenian presidency. She said the confirmed cases were mild or without symptoms, although in younger age groups.
30th Nov 2021 - Reuters

German and Austrian COVID-19 incidence rate falls, stable in Netherlands

Germany's federal and regional governments agreed on Tuesday to take action to counter a fourth wave of COVID-19, including stepping up the vaccination campaign and restricting contact, especially for unvaccinated people. Facing a surge in cases over the last few weeks and warnings from virologists that exponential growth rates would overload hospitals, outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel held video talks with her successor, Olaf Scholz, and regional leaders. "There is agreement that the fourth wave has led to an extremely serious, in some regions dramatic situation in our healthcare system to which federal and state governments will respond jointly and decisively," said government spokesman Steffen Seibert.
30th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Map: Tracking the Omicron variant

The Omicron coronavirus variant has been detected in at least 19 countries since November 24. On Monday, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that the global risk from the spread of Omicron was “very high” and urged 194 member nations to speed the delivery of vaccinations to high-risk groups. No Omicron-linked deaths have yet been reported, though further research is needed to assess its potential to escape protection against immunity induced by vaccines and previous infections, the WHO added. The map below highlights the countries that have reported Omicron cases. (The map will be updated as more information becomes available)
30th Nov 2021 - Aljazeera.com

1st French omicron case on Indian Ocean island of Reunion

Japan and France confirmed their first cases of the new variant of the coronavirus on Tuesday as countries around the world scrambled to close their doors or find ways to limit its spread while scientists study how damaging it might be.
30th Nov 2021 - The Associated Press

Spain detects first Omicron case, COVID-19 infections rise

Spain has detected its first case of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus in a 51-year-old man who arrived from South Africa on Sunday after a layover in Amsterdam, Madrid's regional health authority said on Monday as Spain's overall infection rate rose. The microbiology unit at Madrid's Gregorio Maranon hospital, which sequenced and confirmed the new variant, added in a separate post on Twitter that the patient was in fair condition with mild symptoms.
30th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Rise in German COVID-19 infections flattens

Germany's federal and regional governments agreed on Tuesday to take action to counter a fourth wave of COVID-19, including stepping up the vaccination campaign and restricting contact, especially for unvaccinated people. Facing a surge in cases over the last few weeks and warnings from virologists that exponential growth rates would overload hospitals, outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel held video talks with her successor, Olaf Scholz, and regional leaders.
30th Nov 2021 - Reuters

France registers biggest jump in COVID-19 hospital patients since spring

France registered its biggest jump in coronavirus-related hospital admissions since the spring, health ministry data showed on Monday. The number of patients in intensive care units with COVID-19 jumped by 117 to 1,749 people, the biggest increase since March-April, when the ICU number rose by more than 100 per day on several days. The number of people in hospital with the virus jumped by 470 to 9,860, the biggest one-day increase since March 29. Compared with a week ago, the number of COVID-19 patients was up more than 18%, the biggest week-on-week increase this year.
30th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Norwegians should wear face masks in crowded places, PM says

Norwegians should wear face masks on crowded public transport, in shopping malls and in taxis following a record surge in coronavirus infections, Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere said on Tuesday. He stopped short of issuing mask mandates, as called for by some municipalities, urging instead an accelerated drive to give booster shots to all adults.
30th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Omicron vaccine warning triggers fresh global selloff

There was a fall in world share markets and scramble to safer currencies and bonds on Tuesday after the CEO of drugmaker Moderna warned that COVID-19 vaccines are unlikely to be as effective against the new Omicron variant. Europe's main bourses jolted 1.4% lower early on, oil shed 3%, Australia's currency which is highly sensitive to global economic confidence hit a year low while Japan's safe-haven yen, German government bonds and gold all rose.
30th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Australia on alert as first Omicron community case confirmed

Australian authorities on Tuesday confirmed a person with COVID-19 had the new Omicron variant after disclosing that the person had been active in the community, but urged calm as they weighed up the severity of the strain. The fully vaccinated person visited a busy shopping centre in Sydney while likely infectious, officials said. All passengers in the person's flight were asked to self-isolate for 14 days regardless of their vaccination status. The additional case brings Australia's total number of infections with the new variant to six. But it is the first case where the person appeared to be active in the community. All other cases have been in quarantine and are asymptomatic or display very mild symptoms.
30th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Omicron was in Netherlands days earlier than first thought

The Netherlands’ RIVM health institute disclosed that patient samples dating from Nov. 19 and 23 were found to contain the variant. It was on Nov. 24 that South African authorities reported the existence of the highly mutated virus to the World Health Organization. That indicates omicron had a bigger head start in the Netherlands than previously believed.
30th Nov 2021 - The Associated Press

Brazil and Japan report first cases of the omicron variant

Brazil and Japan joined the rapidly widening circle of countries to report cases of the omicron variant Tuesday, while new findings indicate the mutant coronavirus was already in Europe close to a week before South Africa sounded the alarm. The Netherlands’ RIVM health institute disclosed that patient samples dating from Nov. 19 and 23 were found to contain the variant. It was on Nov. 24 that South African authorities reported the existence of the highly mutated virus to the World Health Organization. That indicates omicron had a bigger head start in the Netherlands than previously believed. Together with the cases in Japan and Brazil, the finding illustrates the difficulty in containing the virus in an age of jet travel and economic globalization. And it left the world once again whipsawed between hopes of returning to normal and fears that the worst is yet to come.
30th Nov 2021 - The Associated Press

US deaths get even redder

The gap in Covid’s death toll between red and blue America has grown faster over the past month than at any previous point. In October, 25 out of every 100,000 residents of heavily Trump counties died from Covid, more than three times higher than the rate in heavily Biden counties (7.8 per 100,000). October was the fifth consecutive month that the percentage gap between the death rates in Trump counties and Biden counties widened.
30th Nov 2021 - The New York Times


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Omicron variant puts world in a 'race against time', says EU Commission President

The world is in a "race against time" with the Omicron coronavirus variant, said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Sunday, warning during a visit to Latvia that scientists and manufacturers will need weeks to fully understand the new variant. As more cases are identified and governments around the world mobilize to respond to Omicron, an urgent meeting of G7 health ministers will be convened on Monday, the United Kingdom said. It also announced on Sunday new domestic public health rules requiring face coverings in shops and on public transport starting this week. Omicron was first identified by scientists in South Africa, who raised alarm over its unusually high number of mutations on Thursday. Since then, at least a dozen other countries have confirmed cases of the new strain, with several other reporting suspected cases.
29th Nov 2021 - CNN

WHO flags global risk from Omicron, countries tighten curbs

The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday the Omicron coronavirus variant carried a very high risk of infection surges, while border closures by more countries cast a shadow over an economic recovery from the two-year pandemic. Big airlines acted swiftly to protect their hubs by curbing passenger travel from southern Africa, where the new Omicron variant was first detected, fearing that a spread of the variant would trigger restrictions from other destinations beyond the immediately affected regions, industry sources said.
29th Nov 2021 - Reuters

S.Africa's COVID-19 cases could triple this week, says expert

South Africa's daily COVID-19 infection rate could triple to more than 10,000 by the end of this week as the new Omicron variant spreads rapidly, an infectious disease expert said on Monday. Professor Salim Abdool Karim, the government's chief adviser during the initial response to the pandemic, also said that, while existing vaccines should be effective at preventing severe disease from the variant, South African hospitals could be under pressure from a flood of admissions within two to three weeks.
29th Nov 2021 - Reuters

First suspected case of Omicron variant of COVID-19 detected in Switzerland

The first probable case of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has been detected in Switzerland, the government said late on Sunday, as the country tightened its entry restrictions to check its spread. The case relates to a person who returned to Switzerland from South Africa around a week ago, the Federal Office for Public Health said on Twitter. Testing will clarify the situation in the coming days, it added.
29th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Portugal finds 13 cases of Omicron variant at Lisbon soccer club

Portugal detected 13 cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant on Monday, all involving players and staff of top division soccer club Belenenses SAD, one of whose players recently returned from South Africa, health authority DGS said. The diagnoses were made after the Lisbon club played a Primeira Liga match against Benfica on Saturday that started with only nine Belenenses players on the pitch because of a COVID-19 outbreak.
29th Nov 2021 - Reuters

France detects eight possible Omicron cases - Health Ministry

France's Health Ministry said on Sunday it had detected eight possible cases of the Omicron COVID-19 variant across the country after the government announced it would tighten restrictions to contain its spread. Omicron is potentially more contagious than previous variants, although experts do not know yet if it will cause more or less severe COVID-19 compared to other strains.
29th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Pressure mounts for more curbs in Germany as Omicron spreads

Several leading German politicians called on Sunday for tighter restrictions to contain a surge in coronavirus cases as the infection rate hit a new high and fears about the new Omicron variant rose. After the detection of two Omicron cases in the southern state of Bavaria on Saturday, an official in the western state of Hesse said a suspected case in a passenger arriving from South Africa had been confirmed
29th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Wary, weary world slams doors shut, fearing omicron variant

The World Health Organization warned Monday that the global risk from the omicron variant is “very high” based on early evidence, saying the mutated coronavirus could lead to surges with “severe consequences.” The U.N. health agency, in a technical paper issued to member states, said “considerable uncertainties” remain about the variant that was first detected days ago in southern Africa. But it said it is possible the variant has mutations that could enable it to escape an immune-system response and boost its ability to spread from one person to another. “Depending on these characteristics, there could be future surges of COVID-19, which could have severe consequences, depending on a number of factors, including where surges may take place,” it added. “The overall global risk ... is assessed as very high.”
29th Nov 2021 - The Associated Press

Biden pushes shots, not more restrictions as variant spreads

President Joe Biden called the new coronavirus variant omicron a cause for concern but “not a cause for panic” Monday and said he was not considering any widespread U.S. lockdown. He urged Americans anew to get fully vaccinated, including booster shots, and return to face masks indoors in public settings to slow any spread. Speaking Monday at the White House, Biden said it was inevitable that the new variant would reach the U.S., but he also said the country has the tools necessary to protect Americans — particularly the approved vaccines and booster shots. When omicron arrives, and it will, Biden said, America will “face this new threat just as we’ve faced those that have come before it.”
29th Nov 2021 - The Associated Press

Japan to bar all foreign visitors over Omicron variant

Japan says it will bar the entry of all foreign visitors from around the world, just weeks after a softening of strict entry rules, following the emergence of the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus. “We will ban the (new) entry of foreigners from around the world starting from November 30,” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters, saying the measures would take effect on Tuesday. Over the weekend, Japan tightened entry restrictions for people arriving from South Africa and eight other countries in the region, requiring them to undergo a 10-day quarantine at government-designated facilities. Monday’s announcement means Japan will restore border controls it eased earlier this month for short-term business visitors, foreign students and workers.
29th Nov 2021 - AlJazeera


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CDC says no cases of Omicron identified in U.S. so far

No cases of new COVID-19 variant detected in South Africa have been identified in the United States to date, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday. The World Health Organization (WHO) designated the B.1.1.529 variant, dubbed Omicron, as being "of concern," the fifth variant to be classified as such. "We expect Omicron to be identified quickly, if it emerges in the U.S.," CDC said in a statement.
27th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Australia investigates new COVID-19 variant found in South Africa

Australia on Friday said it was investigating the newly identified COVID-19 variant spreading in South Africa and warned it may close its borders to travellers from the African nation if risks from the new strain rise. South African scientists are concerned the new variant could evade the body's immune response and make it more transmissible as it has a "very unusual constellation" of mutations. Australia Health Minister Greg Hunt said he would swiftly respond if the World Health Organization (WHO) classifies it as a major new variant.
26th Nov 2021 - Reuters

New Zealand PM Ardern says prepared for new COVID-19 variants

New Zealand is well prepared for the discovery of new coronavirus variants that may be resistant to vaccines, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Friday, including the strain currently spreading in South Africa. "All of our planning around COVID, we have built into it the possibility of variants in the future," Ardern said in an interview for the upcoming Reuters Next conference. "That is why we are maintaining levels of public health protections. It's why we've maintained requirements at our border." Britain on Thursday drew attention to a newly identified coronavirus variant in South Africa with a spike protein that was dramatically different to the one in the original coronavirus that COVID-19 vaccines are based on.
26th Nov 2021 - Reuters

South Africa Raises Alarm Over New Coronavirus Variant

South Africa’s government is considering new public-health restrictions to contain a fast-spreading new variant of the coronavirus that scientists say has a high number of mutations that may make it more transmissible and allow it to evade some of the immune responses triggered by previous infection or vaccination. The warning from the South African scientists and the Health Ministry, issued in a hastily called news briefing Thursday, prompted the World Health Organization to call a meeting of experts for Friday to discuss whether to declare the new strain a “variant of concern.” The WHO uses this label for virus strains that have been proven to be more contagious, lead to more serious illness or decrease the effectiveness of public-health measures, tests, treatments or vaccines. Other variants of concern include the Delta variant that is now dominant world-wide and the Alpha variant that drove a deadly wave of infections across Europe and the U.S. last winter and spring.
26th Nov 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Shanghai's Flareup Spreads as China Faces a New Covid Outbreak

Shanghai scrapped about one-third of the flights from its busiest international airport on Friday and suspended some hospital services after a handful of Covid infections were detected in the financial hub, showing China’s commitment to stringent curbs to eliminate the virus as winter looms. More than 30% of flights from Shanghai Pudong International Airport were canceled on Friday morning, state broadcaster CCTV reported. Schools were immediately suspended and housing complexes tied to the cases were locked down as local officials embraced strict measures in what may become a protracted battle as cold weather forces more people indoors. Chinese airline stocks declined. Shanghai International Airport Co. Ltd. fell as much as 4%, while Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. and China Eastern Airlines Corp. Ltd. dropped at least 2% in Hong Kong.
26th Nov 2021 - Bloomberg

Hong Kong Finds 2 Cases of New Covid Variant Identified in Africa

Two cases of the new Covid-19 strain raising alarm in parts of southern Africa and unnerving financial markets worldwide have been found in travelers in compulsory quarantine in Hong Kong. A traveler from South Africa was found to have the variant -- currently known as B.1.1.529 -- while the other case was identified in a person who’d traveled from Canada and was quarantined in the hotel room opposite his, the Hong Kong government said late Thursday. The traveler from South Africa used a mask with a valve that doesn’t filter exhaled air and may have transmitted the virus to his neighbor when the hotel room door was open, a health department spokesperson said Friday.
26th Nov 2021 - Bloomberg


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Shanghai city reports three local COVID-19 confirmed cases

Shanghai city found three locally transmitted COVID-19 cases with confirmed symptoms, Wu Jinglei, a local health official, told a news briefing. The three individuals were friends who had long period of being in close contact before their diagnosis, and it remains unclear whether they were linked to clusters in other parts of China, Wu said.
25th Nov 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19 cases surge 23% in Americas, mostly in North America - health agency

New COVID-19 cases have jumped 23% in the Americas in the last week, mostly in North America where both the United States and Canada are reporting increasing infection rates, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said on Wednesday, warning that the region might be facing a relapse as in Europe. Canada's Yukon and Northwest territories saw a two- to three-fold increase in new infections over the last week, it said. In Central America, by contrast, there has been a 37% reduction in new infections. In South America, nearly every country except Brazil, Suriname and Venezuela is reporting increasing COVID-19 incidence. The biggest jumps were in Ecuador and Paraguay, PAHO said.
25th Nov 2021 - Reuters

German Covid Deaths Pass 100000 With Cases Still Spiking

Germany passed the threshold of 100,000 Covid-19 deaths, with the latest resurgence of the disease pushing new infections higher at a record pace and putting hospitals in some hotspots under severe pressure. Since it took hold at the beginning of last year, 100,119 people have died from the virus, according to the latest data from the RKI public-health institute. Battling the fourth wave of the pandemic -- which is spreading rapidly in many European countries -- will dominate the early weeks of Germany’s new government. Social Democrat Olaf Scholz on Wednesday sealed a coalition agreement with the Greens and Free Democrats and he’s expected to be sworn in to replace Angela Merkel early next month.
25th Nov 2021 - Bloomberg

Europe's Facing a Fourth Wave of Covid. What This Means for Its Economy.

Europe is in the grip of a virulent, fourth wave of coronavirus disease infections that risks further dampening its economic recovery. It’s unlikely for now that the measures taken by policy makers will have to be as stringent as in 2020, when they shrank the economy by 6%. That explains why economists don’t expect the impact to be as devastating as in the first months of the Covid-19 pandemic. But if there is little doubt that there will be consequences, what remains uncertain is the true extent of this potential impact.
25th Nov 2021 - Barron's

German COVID-19 deaths pass 100000 mark in fourth wave

Germany crossed the threshold of 100,000 COVID-19-related deaths on Thursday with a surge in infections posing a challenge for the new government. Another 351 people have died from coronavirus, bringing the total since the start of the pandemic to 100,119, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed. The number of new daily cases hit a new record of 75,961. "The day on which we must mourn 100,000 victims of the coronavirus is a sad one," outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel told a news conference.
24th Nov 2021 - Reuters


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Dutch set to impose stricter COVID-19 curbs by Friday

The Dutch government will announce new measures on Friday to tackle a surge in coronavirus infections that is putting pressure on hospitals, Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said. Although some 85% of the adult Dutch population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, new cases hit a record high of 23,709 in 24 hours on Wednesday, official data showed. Weekly figures released on Tuesday had already shown an almost 40% rise in cases in the past week.
24th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Swiss gov't holds off on new measures despite "critical" COVID situation

Switzerland will hold off from new national restrictions to curb coronavirus infections, the government said on Wednesday, as it appealed to common sense and local measures to stem the rising tide of cases it described as "critical." Bern decided to go in a different direction to neighbouring Austria, which has reintroduced a lockdown this week, ahead of a Swiss vote to decide the fate of the national government's pandemic response powers
24th Nov 2021 - Reuters

COVID cases hit records in Europe prompting booster shot rethink

Coronavirus infections broke records in parts of Europe on Wednesday, with the continent once again the epicentre of a pandemic that has prompted new curbs on movement and seen health experts push to widen the use of booster vaccination shots.
24th Nov 2021 - Reuters

A little known cult is at the heart of S.Korea's latest COVID-19 outbreak

A little known sect led by a pastor who pokes eyes to heal is at the centre of a COVID-19 outbreak in South Korea, as the country reported a new daily record of 4,116 cases and battles a spike in serious cases straining hospitals. In a tiny rural church in a town of 427 residents in Cheonan city, south of Seoul, at least 241 people linked to the religious community had tested positive for coronavirus, a city official told Reuters on Wednesday. "We believe the scale of the outbreak is large...," the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said in a statement.
24th Nov 2021 - Reuters

South Korea sets pandemic high with 4,000 new virus cases

New coronavirus infections in South Korea exceeded 4,000 in a day for the first time since the start of the pandemic as a delta-driven spread continues to rattle the country after it eased social distancing in recent weeks to improve its economy. The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said most of the new 4,116 cases reported Wednesday came from the capital Seoul and its surrounding metropolitan region, where an increase in hospitalizations has created fears about possible shortages in intensive care units.
24th Nov 2021 - The Associated Press

Hungary reports record daily COVID-19 cases

Hungary reported a record 12,637 new daily COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 1.045 million with 33,519 deaths, a government tally showed on Wednesday. Hungary, a country of 10 million whose vaccination rate lags the European Union average, imposed new curbs last Thursday, a day before a full lockdown was announced in neighbouring Austria, which also has a relatively low vaccine uptake.
24th Nov 2021 - Reuters


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Covid patients in ICU now almost all unvaccinated, says Oxford scientist

Covid-19 is no longer a disease of the vaccinated, the head of the Oxford jab programme has said. The “ongoing horror” of patients gasping for breath in hospital is now “largely restricted” to people who are unvaccinated, according to Prof Sir Andrew Pollard. Even though the more transmissible Delta variant continues to infect thousands, most of those who are fully vaccinated will experience only “mild infections” that are “little more than an unpleasant inconvenience”.
23rd Nov 2021 - The Guardian

French prime minister positive for COVID-19, as cases rise

France's prime minister tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday, hours after returning from a visit to neighboring Belgium and just as France is seeing a nationwide resurgence of infections, according to his office. French Prime Minister Jean Castex will adapt his schedule for the coming 10 days to continue his activities in isolation, his office said. Officials at the prime minister's headquarters did not comment on whether Castex has any virus symptoms. One of Castex's daughters tested positive Monday after her father returned from a meeting with Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo in Brussels and Castex himself then took two tests that were both positive, his office said.
23rd Nov 2021 - The Independent

Covid-19 cases in children are up 32% from two weeks ago, pediatricians' group says

Covid-19 cases in children are up 32% from two weeks ago, according to new numbers published Monday by the American Academy of Pediatrics. For the week ending November 18, there were at least 141,905 new cases among children, with children making up a disproportionate share of the cases, representing more than a quarter of all new Covid-19 cases for the past week. Children account for 22% of the US population. When the virus first became a known problem in the US in early 2020, kids accounted for fewer than 3% of confirmed cases. Since the start of the pandemic, more than 6.8 million children have tested positive for Covid-19
23rd Nov 2021 - CNN

Covid-19 cases are on the rise with Thanksgiving just days away

Thanksgiving this year will be much different than last year, but far from risk-free, as Covid-19 cases continue to rise across the country and millions of Americans remain unvaccinated. The daily case rate in the United States is about half of what it was at this time last year, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. But the current pace -- about 92,000 new Covid-19 cases each day -- is up 16% from just a week ago. Cases dropped off quickly at the tail end of the summer surge, but have started to climb again over the past couple weeks and are now back to levels last seen in August. Nearly a third of new cases are in Midwestern states, with Michigan and Minnesota reporting more cases per capita than any other states. But the trend is nationwide; all but a dozen states saw cases rise over the past week, JHU data shows
23rd Nov 2021 - CNN

Europe likely to see more than two million Covid-19 deaths by March, WHO warns

Europe is likely to experience more than two million Covid-19 deaths by March, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned. The WHO said the European region remains “in the firm grip” of the coronavirus pandemic, with reported daily deaths rising to almost 4,200 a day – double the 2,100 deaths a day at the end of September. The warning comes as a string of European nations impose renewed restrictions amid surging Covid-19 rates across the continent. Austria entered its fourth national lockdown on Monday and is introducing mandatory vaccinations from February due to low uptake. Case numbers in Germany are soaring with only 7.5 per cent of the population having received a booster shot and a possible lockdown looming.
23rd Nov 2021 - Evening Standard

France's average daily new COVID infections near three-month high

French health authorities reported 5,266 daily new COVID-19 infections on Monday, pushing the seven-day moving average of new cases to an almost three-month high. That average - which smoothes out daily reporting irregularities - rose to 18,479, a level unseen since Aug. 27, from a three-month low of 4,172 on Oct. 10. It had set a 2021 record of 42,225 in mid-April before falling to a 2021 low of 1,816 at the end of June. French government spokesperson Gabriel Attal said on Sunday the current wave of the pandemic was "rampant."
23rd Nov 2021 - Reuters

Germany considers more COVID-19 curbs, compulsory vaccines as cases soar

Germany should impose further restrictions to try to stop a fourth wave of coronavirus infections, outgoing Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Tuesday as more politicians backed the idea of compulsory vaccinations. The surge in infections comes at a difficult time as Chancellor Angela Merkel is preparing to hand over to a new government after a national election in September. The leaders of the Social Democrats (SPD), Greens and Free Democrats, who are trying to form a new coalition, were due to break off their talks on Tuesday to meet Merkel to discuss the pandemic, sources close to the negotiations told Reuters.
23rd Nov 2021 - Reuters

Dutch COVID-19 patients transferred to Germany as hospitals struggle

The Netherlands started transporting COVID-19 patients across the border to Germany on Tuesday to ease pressure on Dutch hospitals, which are scaling back regular care to deal with a surge in coronavirus cases. A patient was transferred by ambulance from Rotterdam to a hospital in Bochum, some 240 km (150 miles) east, on Tuesday morning, and another would follow later in the day, health authorities said. The number of COVID-19 patients in Dutch hospitals has swelled to its highest level since May in recent weeks and is expected to increase further as infections jump to record levels.
23rd Nov 2021 - Reuters

China Is More Dedicated Than Ever to Covid Zero as It Battles Delta

China is facing its toughest virus battle since the first days of the pandemic. Rather than pivot from the strict Covid Zero route that others have abandoned, the country is doubling down, despite rising costs to its people and economy. The current resurgence already accounts for the most infections and the most days with new cases spurred by the delta variant since May. It’s also the most widespread outbreak since China first vanquished the infection that emerged in Wuhan two years ago. Despite ever more extreme measures aimed at shutting it down -- from testing an infant more than 70 times to locking down Shanghai Disneyland on one case -- the pathogen is proving harder than ever to wipe out.
23rd Nov 2021 - Bloomberg


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Germans will be ‘vaccinated, cured or dead’ by spring, warns health minister

Germans will be "vaccinated, cured or dead" by the end of this winter, Health Minister Jens Spahn said Monday, as he rushed out extra doses of the coronavirus jab from BioNTech and Pfizer to inject into the arms of the one-third of people in the country who are still not vaccinated. Germany is experiencing record COVID-19 caseloads in the current fourth wave of the pandemic, putting hospital intensive care units under increasing strain — with unvaccinated patients far more likely to become critically ill. “Probably by the end of this winter pretty much everyone in Germany — as has sometimes been cynically put — will be vaccinated, cured or dead," Spahn told a hastily arranged press conference, in his starkest warning to date of the risks of holding out against vaccination. “But this really is the case: With the very contagious Delta variant, it is very, very likely ... that anyone who is not vaccinated will over the next few months become infected and lack protection.
22nd Nov 2021 - POLITICO.eu

Bodies pile up outside hospital morgue as Romania struggles with fourth wave of Covid

"It's relentless -- relentless," sighed nurse Claudiu Ionita, standing in front of a line of gurneys in Bucharest University Hospital's morgue. On each gurney lay a body inside a black plastic bag. The morgue has a capacity for 15 bodies, but on the day CNN visited, it had received 41. The excess bodies filled the corridor outside, while wails echoed from within the morgue. A woman had been allowed inside for a final glimpse of her father. Bucharest University Hospital is the Romanian capital's largest medical facility treating Covid-19 patients and is struggling through the country's fourth wave, its worst yet. "I never thought, when I started this job, that I would live through something like this," said Ionita. "I never thought such a catastrophe could happen, that we'd end up sending whole families to their graves."
22nd Nov 2021 - CNN

Covid-19 cases on the rise in the US ahead of Thanksgiving

Cases of Covid-19 are rising across the United States as the holiday season approaches, with many people planning a return to traditional Thanksgiving gatherings. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the seven-day rolling average number of daily new cases has risen to 88,482. That is a 16.1 per cent increase from the average of 76,223 reported last week. The total number of US Covid cases since the start of the pandemic is now more than 47.3 million. Some 196 million in the US are now vaccinated. The latest figures are a marked improvement on November 2020 when more than 160,000 cases were reported every day. A further 34.5 million Americans have received a booster shot.
22nd Nov 2021 - The Independent

Singapore health minister says return to strict COVID-19 curbs a last resort

A return to stricter COVID-19 curbs in Singapore will be a "last resort", Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said on Monday, as the city-state partially eased limits on social gatherings and dining out under its calibrated reopening approach. Ong also said the international travel and tourism hub would continue to open "travel lanes" with more countries for vaccinated visitors. Singapore is gradually granting small groups of vaccinated people increased liberties, resuming in-person business events and permitting quarantine-free travel from select countries as it ramps up its vaccine booster programme. "I feel it's important to do it this way, because it minimizes the chance of us having to backpedal too frequently," Ong told Reuters in an interview on Monday for the upcoming Reuters Next conference.
22nd Nov 2021 - Reuters

UK reports 40004 new COVID-19 cases, 61 deaths - daily data

The United Kingdom reported 40,004 confirmed new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, taking the seven-day total to 287,205, a 9.4% rise over the previous seven-day period, official daily data showed. The data also showed 61 new deaths from the virus, as measured in deaths within 28 days of a positive test, were reported on Sunday, raising the seven-day toll to 1,029, a 5.9% drop compared with the previous seven days.
22nd Nov 2021 - Reuters


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Russia's daily COVID-19 deaths reach new record high

Russia on Friday reported 1,254 coronavirus-related deaths in the last 24 hours, a record daily high that follows a surge in cases. The government coronavirus task force also reported 37,156 nationwide infections, including 3,371 in Moscow, down from a peak of 41,335 recorded on Nov. 6.
20th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Czechs report highest daily coronavirus cases since pandemic start

The Czech Republic reported 22,936 new coronavirus cases for Friday, its biggest daily tally since the pandemic began, health ministry data showed on Saturday. Earlier in the week the country tightened restrictions on people who have not had COVID-19 shots to encourage more vaccinations and to ease the burden on hospitals. The Czech government has approved plans to allow only those who are vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 in the past six months to enter restaurants, attend certain events and use some other services from Monday
20th Nov 2021 - Reuters

England's COVID prevalence drops for second week, ONS says

The prevalence of COVID-19 infections in England fell back to about 1 in 65 people in the week ending Nov. 13, Britain's Office for National Statistics said on Friday, dropping for a second week after hitting its highest level of the year. Prevalence had been 1 in 60 people in previous week. Recorded cases and estimated prevalence of infection have both dropped back from peaks hit before a school half-term holiday at the end of last month.
20th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Macron says France does not need to lock down non-vaccinated people as COVID spreads

France does not need to follow those European countries imposing COVID-19 lockdowns on unvaccinated people, because of the success of its health pass in curbing the virus' spread, President Emmanuel Macron said. Europe has again become the epicentre of the pandemic, prompting some countries including Germany and Austria to reintroduce restrictions in the run-up to Christmas and causing debate over whether vaccines alone are enough to tame COVID-19.
20th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Disease control chief: "All of Germany is one big outbreak"

Germany has entered a “nationwide state of emergency” because of surging coronavirus infections, the head of the country’s disease control agency said Friday. Lothar Wieler, the head of the Robert Koch Institute, said regular medical care cannot be guaranteed anymore in some parts of the country because hospitals and intensive care wards are overstretched. The German air force confirmed a report by daily Bild that it was preparing to help transfer patients to clinics with free beds. “All of Germany is one big outbreak,” Wieler told reporters in Berlin. “This is a nationwide state of emergency. We need to pull the emergency brake.” He called for urgent additional measures to tackle the rise in COVID-19 cases, which topped 50,000 for the third day running. The Robert Koch Institute also reported 201 further deaths, taking the toll to 98,739 since the start of the outbreak.
20th Nov 2021 - The Associated Press

Facing surge, Austria will mandate COVID-19 shots, lock down

Austria announced a national lockdown and a plan to mandate vaccinations as coronavirus infections hit a record high Friday, forcing the government to walk back promises that strict shutdowns were a thing of the past. While the scope of the proposed mandate was unclear, a blanket requirement would be a first for a Western country. Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg said those who didn’t comply would likely be fined but gave no other details. The moves come as vaccinations in Austria have plateaued at one of the lowest rates in Western Europe, and as hospitals in heavily hit states have warned that their intensive care units are reaching capacity. Average daily deaths have tripled in recent weeks — though the number of fatalities reported over the past week remains well below the high of last winter and 13 U.S. states are already seeing more deaths per 100,000 people. Earlier this month, Schallenberg indicated a full lockdown would not be needed and instead imposed the restrictions only on those not vaccinated.
20th Nov 2021 - The Associated Press

Facing new COVID wave, Dutch delay care for cancer, heart patients

Dutch healthcare officials said on Friday they have begun delaying operations for some cancer and heart patients to free up space in intensive care units during a record wave of COVID-19 infections. "These are cancer patients that should actually be operated on within six weeks of diagnosis, and that won't be met in all cases. It's also heart patients," said a spokesperson for LCPS, the national organisation that allocates hospital resources. "It's horrible, of course, for the patients." The National Institute for Health (RIVM) reported a record of more than 23,000 new cases in the previous 24 hours on Thursday, compared with the previous daily high of around 13,000 reached in December 2020.
20th Nov 2021 - Reuters on MSN.com


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New Mexico facing 'serious problems' amid latest COVID-19 surge, health officials warn

COVID-19 cases in New Mexico are "trending in a worrisome direction," health officials said this week, as they called on residents to get vaccinated amid the surge. New Mexico reported 1,530 new cases and 539 hospitalizations Wednesday, rivaling numbers last seen in December and January, during the state's last COVID-19 wave. "Things are not going well in our hospitals," Dr. David Scrase, acting cabinet secretary of the New Mexico Department of Health, said during a COVID-19 briefing Wednesday, noting the state is "facing some very serious problems," including with intensive care unit capacity.
18th Nov 2021 - ABC News

Record high cases, more rules and partial lockdowns: A new Covid wave engulfs Europe

The latest wave of Covid cases is hitting Europe with a vengeance. Some countries have responded by imposing partial lockdowns and placing more restrictions on unvaccinated people. Germany shattered a new record on Thursday, reporting more than 65,000 new cases. Some German health officials are warning that the true number of cases could be two or three times as many.
18th Nov 2021 - CNBC

COVID-19: Germany considers restrictions for unvaccinated people amid warning of 'really terrible Christmas' as cases surge

The head of Germany's disease control agency has warned that the country faces a "really terrible Christmas" unless steps are taken to counter the sharp rise in coronavirus infections. "We are currently heading toward a serious emergency," the director of the Robert Koch Institute, Lothar Wieler, said. "We are going to have a really terrible Christmas if we don't take countermeasures now."
18th Nov 2021 - Sky News

Brazil sees 11977 new coronavirus cases, 373 deaths

Brazil registered 11,977 new coronavirus cases and 373 COVID-19 deaths in the last 24 hours, the Health Ministry said on Wednesday.
18th Nov 2021 - Reuters

S.Korea reports record new COVID-19 cases as serious infections cause worry

South Korea reported a record high 3,292 new COVID-19 cases, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said on Thursday, as the country moves into the first phase of its "living with COVID-19" with loosened restrictions. A rise in cases was predicted by officials and experts after many social distancing restrictions were lifted earlier this month after the country surpassed its goal of vaccinating 70% of its 52 million people. More than 78.5% are now fully vaccinated, including more than 90% of adults.
18th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Russia's daily COVID-19 deaths hit new record high

Russia on Thursday reported 1,251 coronavirus-related deaths in the last 24 hours, an all-time record high that follows a surge in cases. The government coronavirus taskforce reported 37,374 nationwide infections, down from a peak of 41,335 recorded on Nov. 6.
18th Nov 2021 - Reuters

French new coronavirus cases top 20000 per day for first time since August

France registered more than 20,000 new confirmed coronavirus infections on Wednesday for the first time since Aug. 25 as the fifth wave of the epidemic picked up speed. The health ministry reported 20,294 new COVID-19 cases, taking the total to 7.33 million and the seven-day moving average of new cases to above 12,400.
18th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Greece calls up private doctors as COVID-19 cases surge

Greece on Thursday ordered private sector doctors in five regions in the north of the country to assist its health system as it grapples with a surge in COVID-19 infections. The government had called on private sector doctors to help out earlier this month, as Greece's public hospitals and intensive care wards have been overwhelmed by rising infections in recent weeks. The requisition order, published in the official government gazette, is effective for a month.
18th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Dutch weigh options to slow rising COVID-19 infections among children

Virologists in the Netherlands have proposed extending holidays over Christmas to slow a surge in COVID-19 cases among children that has forced half of schools nationwide to send classes home, but the government said it wanted to keep them open. The National Institute for Health (RIVM) reported a record number of over 110,000 cases in the week to Nov. 16, an increase of 44% from the previous seven days. The strongest rise was among children aged 4-12.
18th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Belgium extends mask use, enforces home working as COVID-19 spikes

Belgium tightened its coronavirus restrictions on Wednesday, mandating wider use of masks and enforcing work from home, as cases spiked in the country's fourth COVID-19 wave. From Saturday, all people in indoor venues such as cafes and restaurants will need to wear a mask unless seated and the rule will apply to those aged 10 or older. The previous age threshold was 12. Nightclubs may have to test their guests if they want to let them dance mask-free. People wanting to eat in a restaurant or go to the theatre already must present a COVID pass, showing vaccination, a negative test or recent recovery.
18th Nov 2021 - Reuters

LA mayor, recovered from COVID, warns of winter virus surge

Mayor Eric Garcetti, who just returned from quarantine overseas after developing COVID-19 in Scotland, warned Wednesday that a coronavirus surge was likely during the upcoming holiday season and urged residents to get vaccinated to keep case numbers and hospitalizations down. “The answer to who should get the vaccine is simple: everyone,” Garcetti said. “If you have family members who are coming for Thanksgiving or Christmas or the holidays, get them vaccinated.” Garcetti noted that vaccination protection diminishes over time and used himself as an example of a breakthrough infection. The mayor said he had put off getting a booster shot and came down with COVID-19 while attending a United Nations climate conference in the United Kingdom.
18th Nov 2021 - The Associated Press


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COVID-19 deaths decline 17% in the Americas, says health agency

COVID-19 deaths have decreased 17% in the Americas over the past week, but the most populous countries like the United States, Brazil and Colombia are seeing a leveling of new infections after weeks of declining trends, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said on Wednesday. Mexico is reporting an increase in new deaths and in the Caribbean Trinidad and Tobago had a sharp rise in deaths as intensive care unit (ICU) beds fill with COVID-19 patients, PAHO said.
18th Nov 2021 - Reuters

South Africa’s Expected Fourth Covid-19 Wave Seen Less Severe

South Africa, which has the most confirmed coronavirus cases on the continent, will likely be hit by a fourth wave of infections but its impact probably won’t be as severe as during earlier surges, new modeling prepared for the government shows. Sero-prevalence surveys and other data indicate that an estimated 60% to 70% of the population has already contracted Covid-19, which together with vaccinations will provide protection from severe disease, the South African Covid-19 Modelling Consortium said in a online presentation on Wednesday. Even its worst-case scenario projected that deaths and hospitalizations during a fourth wave would be substantially lower than during prior surges. While South Africa’s current caseload is “incredibly low” it’s “very hard to commit to say South Africa is over the worst” of the coronavirus, said Harry Moultrie, a senior epidemiologist at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, which coordinated the modeling.
17th Nov 2021 - Bloomberg

Brazil registers 132 COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday

Brazil registered 132 COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday and 4,918 additional cases, according to data released by the nation's Health Ministry. The South American country has now registered a total of 611,478 coronavirus deaths and 21,965,684 total confirmed cases.
17th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Poland reports 24239 new COVID-19 cases, highest since April

Poland reported 24,239 new daily COVID-19 infections, health ministry data showed on Wednesday, the highest total since April. There were also 463 COVID-related deaths reported on Wednesday. Poland, a country of around 38 million people, has reported 3,254,875 cases of the coronavirus and 79,624 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.
17th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Hungarian doctors warn of 'sad Christmas' as COVID cases soar

Hungary reported 10,265 new COVID-19 infections on Wednesday, its highest daily tally since the end of March, prompting the country's Medical Chamber to call for a ban on mass events and mandatory mask wearing in closed spaces. In a statement, the Hungarian Medical Chamber also said entry to restaurants, theatres and cinemas should be conditional on a COVID-19 immunity certificate. "We must slow down the increase in the number of patients, a flooding of hospitals (with COVID-19 patients) or many families will have a very sad Christmas," they said.
17th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Slovakia reports highest daily tally for new coronavirus cases

Slovakia reported 8,342 new coronavirus cases for Tuesday, the highest daily tally to date in the central European country of 5.5 million people, Health Ministry data showed on Wednesday.
17th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Dutch running short of COVID-19 tests as surge breaks records

Dutch health authorities said on Wednesday they were running short of COVID-19 tests, as the Netherlands registered more than 20,000 new coronavirus cases for the second day in a row, the highest since the pandemic began. "We are coming up against the maximum of our capacity," said Jaap Eikelboom, head of COVID-19 operations at the National Public Health Service, in a statement. The service said it was working to expand test capacity amid a new surge that has caught health authorities and Prime Minister Mark Rutte's government off guard. Around 85% of the adult Dutch population is fully vaccinated.
17th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Austrian COVID cases hit record on third day of lockdown for unvaccinated

Austrian coronavirus infections hit a new daily record on Wednesday, the third day of a lockdown for those not fully vaccinated aimed at halting the surge. Roughly 65% of Austria's population is fully vaccinated against the virus, one of the lowest rates in western Europe. Austria also has one of the highest infection rates on the continent, with a seven-day incidence of 925 per 100,000 people. Soaring infections across Europe as winter approaches are prompting governments to consider reintroducing unpopular lockdowns.
17th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Czech Republic, Slovakia see record cases, mull restrictions

The Czech Republic and Slovakia both reported record daily new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, a day before the two European Union countries plan to approve new restrictions for unvaccinated people in response to rising infections. Thousands in the capitals of both countries, Prague and Bratislava, used Wednesday’s anniversary of the 1989 anti-communist Velvet Revolution to rally against their government’s upcoming coronavirus restrictions. The protesters ignored social distancing and didn’t wear masks. Police didn’t intervene in Prague. In Bratislava, police said two officers sustained injuries after the crowd near the seat of the government detonated fire crackers.
17th Nov 2021 - The Associated Press

Europe only region with increasing COVID deaths last week: WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that Europe was the only region in the world where COVID-related deaths increased last week after a rise of 5 percent. In its weekly report on the pandemic issued on Tuesday, the WHO also said cases jumped 6 percent globally, driven by a rise in the Americas, Europe and Asia. WHO said COVID-19 deaths in all regions other than Europe remained stable or declined last week, totalling 50,000 worldwide. Of the 3.3 million new infections reported, 2.1 million came from Europe, it said. It was the seventh consecutive week that COVID-19 cases continued to mount across the 61 countries that WHO counts in its European region, which stretches through Russia to Central Asia.
17th Nov 2021 - AlJazeera


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Ireland Reimposes Some Virus Restrictions as Cases Surge

Ireland has reintroduced some Covid-19 restrictions as it grapples with surging infections and a rising number of hospitalizations. Starting Thursday, people should work from home where possible, Prime Minister Micheal Martin said in a national address, while bars and restaurants must close by midnight. Cinemas and theaters will now require proof of vaccination, he said. Household contacts of anyone infected with Covid will now have to restrict their own movement for five days and complete a “recommended” antigen test, the premier said.
16th Nov 2021 - Bloomberg

8 deaths reported after recent Covid-19 outbreak at a Connecticut nursing home

Eight residents of a nursing home in northwestern Connecticut have died since late September following a Covid-19 outbreak, the nursing home said in a statement. A total of 89 residents and staff -- many of whom were fully vaccinated -- have tested positive for Covid-19 in the last seven weeks, Geer Village Senior Community in North Canaan said Friday, and 11 residents and one staff member remain in isolation. "Sadly, we have lost 8 residents with serious underlying health issues to Covid," the statement said. The center first released information about the outbreak on October 3, stating that there were three positive cases among residents and a staff member who were all fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
16th Nov 2021 - CNN

Europe turns the screws on the unvaccinated as Covid-19 cases climb

Europe's leaders are toughening their stances towards unvaccinated people and pursuing measures that increasingly isolate them from the rest of society, as frustration grows over stalling shot rollouts and a wave of Covid-19 infections on the continent. Germany may become the next country to impose stricter rules on those who haven't been fully inoculated, after the parties making up its prospective new coalition government hardened their proposed Covid-19 approach in parliament. The proposed measures would require Germans to provide proof of vaccination or a negative test in order to ride a bus or board a train, in an expansion of the country's "3G" system that requires either to enter certain venues and settings.
16th Nov 2021 - CNN

Brazil registers 63 COVID-19 deaths on Monday

Brazil registered 63 COVID-19 deaths on Monday and 2,799 additional cases, according to data released by the nation's Health Ministry. The South American country's coronavirus death toll is second in the world only to the United States, but the pandemic has abated significantly in recent months, as it has in much of Latin America. Brazil has now registered a total of 611,346 COVID-19 deaths and 21,960,766 total confirmed cases.
16th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Hospitals in Slovak east fill up as COVID wave rages, new law tightens rules

Hospitals in Slovakia, one of Europe's least-vaccinated nations, have been filling up with coronavirus patients, with the northeastern region of Presov reporting almost no spare intensive care beds, authorities and hospitals said on Monday. President Zuzana Caputova has signed a law allowing the government to force unvaccinated people to test twice a week before attending work in the worst-affected regions and keep them out of restaurants and other services. The country of 5.5 million was not planning a national lockdown, however.
16th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Czechs report more than 10000 new COVID-19 cases

The Czech Republic reported 11,514 new COVID-19 cases for Nov. 15, the fifth time daily infections have topped 10,000 in past seven days, health ministry data showed on Tuesday. Hospitalisations grew to 4,296, including 635 people in a serious condition, according to the figures. The outgoing government of Prime Minister Andrej Babis has been debating bringing in tougher restrictions including one proposal for some form of lockdown for unvaccinated people.
16th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Portuguese PM warns restrictions may return as COVID cases rise

Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa said on Tuesday that authorities in one of the world's most vaccinated nations may bring back some measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the run-up to the holiday season as infections soar across Europe. The number of new cases has been gradually rising over the past month in Portugal, reaching a two-month daily high of 1,816 infections on Saturday. The 14-day infection rate stood at 156 cases per 100,000 people on Monday, about double that in neighbouring Spain, which has a slightly lower share of its population fully vaccinated, but still well below over 500 in Germany and more than 900 in the Netherlands.
16th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Europe coronavirus spike raises specter of lockdowns and new restrictions

Nearly two years into the coronavirus era, much of Europe is once again facing a surge in cases and, in some countries, a return to lockdowns and other restrictions that had begun to feel like a distant part of the pandemic. This time around, the unvaccinated are frequently the target of new measures. Overall, 76 percent of adults in the European Union and 65 percent of the total population have been fully vaccinated, according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control. In Austria, as of midnight Monday, about 2 million unvaccinated people will be subject to a lockdown lasting 10 days as coronavirus cases rise.
16th Nov 2021 - The Washington Post


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Three snow leopards die of covid-19 at Lincoln Children's Zoo in Nebraska

The three big cats delighted visitors to the Nebraska zoo for years — pouncing on pumpkins during Halloween, preening for pictures and lounging on rocks in their enclosure. The Lincoln Children’s Zoo has described the snow leopards as silly, bubbly and handsome. They were one of the zoo’s main attractions, delivering a dose of mountain majesty to the Great Plains.
15th Nov 2021 - The Washington Post

China fights biggest Delta outbreak as cases grow in city of Dalian

China is battling the spread of its biggest COVID-19 outbreak caused by the Delta variant, according to numbers announced on Monday, with travellers from a city where infections have grown faster than elsewhere in the country subject to tough quarantine rules in nearby areas. Chinese authorities said 32 new domestically transmitted infections with confirmed symptoms have been reported for Nov. 14, most of which were in northeastern Dalian city. That brings the tally of local cases since Oct. 17 to 1,308, Reuters calculations based on official data showed, surpassing the 1,280 local cases from a summer Delta outbreak.
15th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Russia's daily COVID-19 deaths close to record high

Russia on Monday reported 1,211 deaths from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, close to an all-time high of 1,241 reported last week, as well as 38,420 new coronavirus cases. Most of Russia's 80-plus regions lifted a week-long workplace shutdown at the beginning of last week that was designed to curb a surge in case numbers.
15th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Pressure on Dutch hospitals mounts as COVID cases break records

Dutch hospitals are feeling the strain from a surge in COVID-19 patients but the worst has yet to come, the head of the country's hospital association said on Monday. The number of COVID-19 patients in Dutch hospitals increased to around 2,000 on Monday, including almost 400 in intensive care, reaching the highest level since May. With almost 250 new admissions every day, the hospitals are set to pass last winter's peak of around 2,800 coronavirus patients in little over a week, the LNAZ association’s head, Ernst Kuipers, told lawmakers.
15th Nov 2021 - Reuters

German coronavirus infections hit new high, tighter measures planned

Germany's coronavirus infection rate has risen to its highest level since the start of the pandemic, public health figures showed on Monday, as the three parties in talks to form a new government plan an expansion of measures to tackle the pandemic. The seven-day incidence rate - the number of people per 100,000 to be infected over the last week - rose to 303 from 289 the previous day, figures from the Robert Koch Institute showed on Monday.
15th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Navajo Nation reports 89 new COVID-19 cases, one new death

The Navajo Nation has reported 89 more confirmed cases of COVID-19 and one additional death. The tribe released its latest coronavirus-related figures Sunday. Due to a technical issue, Navajo health officials did not have a new total for the number of cases. But at last count, there have been 38,479 new cases. The known death toll is now 1,514. Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez visited the Indian Health Service COVID-19 vaccination site in Chinle, Arizona, on Sunday. He thanked health care workers who administered vaccines and booster shots to adults and children. The tribe has maintained a mask mandate through most of the pandemic. Other vaccination opportunities are available at health care facilities on the reservation that covers 27,000 square miles (70,000 square kilometers) and also stretches into southern Utah.
15th Nov 2021 - The Associated Press


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COVID-19: Active cases rise to 513, 50 new infections recorded

Malta recorded 50 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, figures published on the Health Ministry Facebook page show. Active have now risen to 513, after only 10 recoveries were registered. There are currently 16 patients currently being treated at Mater Dei Hospital, of whom three are in the ITU. Till yesterday, 901,238 doses were administered of which 70,036 are booster doses. No deaths were recorded. 462 total deaths have been recorded since the start of the pandemic.
13th Nov 2021 - Malta Today

SA records 17 Covid-19 deaths, 393 new Covid-19 cases

South Africa recorded 393 new Covid-19 cases and 17 deaths on Friday, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has said. “Today the institute reports 393 new COVID-19 cases that have been identified in South Africa, which brings the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 2 925 371. “This increase represents a 1.3% positivity rate. “As per the National Department of Health, a further 17 COVID-19 related deaths have been reported, bringing total fatalities to 89 469 to date. “A total of 18 865 934 tests have been conducted in both public and private sectors,” the NICD said.
13th Nov 2021 - IOL

Concerns in Malaysia as Covid-19 cases exceed 6000 for third day running

Covid-19 cases are rising in Malaysia, hitting 6,517 on Friday (Nov 12), which is the highest number since Oct 22 and the third consecutive day the number has breached the 6,000 mark. The country's R0 (R-naught) value - or the average number of new infections generated by each case - has also risen to 1, which means Covid-19 is accelerating. It was 0.99 on Thursday. In a Facebook post on Friday, Health Ministry director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah disclosed that the infectivity rate in some states and territories were in fact above 1. The rate in Selangor was 1.03, Kelantan (1.02), Kuala Lumpur (1.04), Putrajaya (1.16), Negri Sembilan (1.01), and Pahang (1.01). Trending downwards since late July, the infectivity rate took a turn beginning Oct 20.
13th Nov 2021 - The Straits Times

Disease center urges Germans to cancel or avoid big events

Germany's disease control center is calling for people to cancel or avoid large events and to reduce their contacts as the country's coronavirus infection rate hits the latest in a string of new highs. The center, the Robert Koch Institute, said Friday that Germany's infection rate climbed to 263.7 new cases per 100,000 residents over seven days, up from 249.1 the previous day. Germany reported 48,640 new cases Friday, a day after the daily total topped 50,000 for the first time. Another 191 COVID-19 deaths brought Germany's total in the pandemic so far to 97,389.
12th Nov 2021 - The Associated Press on MSN.com

COVID-19 hot spots offer sign of what could be ahead for US

The contagious delta variant is driving up COVID-19 hospitalizations in the Mountain West and fueling disruptive outbreaks in the North, a worrisome sign of what could be ahead this winter in the U.S. While trends are improving in Florida, Texas and other Southern states that bore the worst of the summer surge, it’s clear that delta isn’t done with the United States. COVID-19 is moving north and west for the winter as people head indoors, close their windows and breathe stagnant air. “We’re going to see a lot of outbreaks in unvaccinated people that will result in serious illness, and it will be tragic,” said Dr. Donald Milton of the University of Maryland School of Public Health.
12th Nov 2021 - Associated Press

Europe becomes COVID-19's epicentre again, some countries look at fresh curbs

Europe has become the epicentre of the pandemic again, prompting some governments to consider re-imposing unpopular lockdowns in the run-up to Christmas and stirring debate over whether vaccines alone are enough to tame COVID-19. Europe accounts for more than half of the average 7-day infections globally and about half of latest deaths, according to a Reuters tally, the highest levels since April last year when the virus was at its initial peak in Italy. Governments and companies are worried the prolonged pandemic will derail a fragile economic recovery. Countries including the Netherlands, Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic are taking or planning measures to curb the spread.
12th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Can at-home COVID-19 tests make holiday gatherings safer?

Can at-home COVID-19 tests make holiday gatherings safer? Yes, combined with vaccination, home test kits for COVID-19 can add a layer of safety and reassurance by providing on-the-spot results during this second year of pandemic holidays. “We will be using rapid tests to doublecheck everybody before we gather together,” says Dr. Emily Volk, president of the College of American Pathologists, who is planning a holiday meal with six vaccinated family members. “We’ll be doing it as they come in the door.” Home kits are not as accurate as the PCR tests done in hospitals and at testing sites, Volk says. But they have the advantage of giving results within minutes instead of days.
11th Nov 2021 - The Associated Press


Coronavirus Resurgence - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 12th Nov 2021

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India's Covaxin 77.8% Effective Against Covid in Lancet Study

Covaxin, a vaccine developed by India’s government medical research agency and Bharat Biotech International Ltd., was found to have a 77.8% efficacy rate against symptomatic Covid-19 in a long-awaited analysis published in The Lancet. Covaxin, which uses traditional, inactivated-virus technology, “induces a robust antibody response” two weeks after two doses are given, The Lancet said in a statement. No severe-vaccine-related deaths or adverse events were recorded during a randomized trial involving 24,419 participants aged 18-97 years between Nov. 2020 and May 2021 in India, the medical journal said.
11th Nov 2021 - Bloomberg

Covid-19: Berlin brings in tough new rules as cases soar

Authorities in Berlin will reimpose tighter coronavirus restrictions, which will deny unvaccinated people access to indoor restaurants, bars, gyms and hairdressers. The city-wide rules, known as ‘2G’ in Germany, will only allow doubled jabbed residents or those who have proof they have immunity from coronavirus, to access indoor facilities and venues. In comes in a bid to curb “the rising number of coronavirus cases and the increasing pressure on intensive care units”, Berlin’s senate said on Wednesday evening.
11th Nov 2021 - Evening Standard

Germany was a Covid 'poster child.' Now it's seeing 50,000 cases a day, prompting a dramatic warning

Germany was once seen as a prime example of how to deal with the coronavirus. Now, it’s recording close to 50,000 new Covid cases a day, prompting a dire warning of a dramatic rise in fatalities from one expert. Germany is in the midst of what has been described as a fourth wave of Covid, as the delta variant spreads as the weather gets colder. Thursday marks the fourth day in a row that it has posted a fresh daily high, Reuters noted, with the number of new cases coming in at 50,196. Data from the country’s public health body, the Robert Koch Institute, showed that Germany’s total number of cases has now hit 4.89 million and that the number of fatalities stands at 97,198.
11th Nov 2021 - CNBC

Chinese city Dalian halts frozen food trade after COVID-19 cases

Chinese port city Dalian has ordered all businesses handling imported chilled and frozen foods to suspend operations after an outbreak of COVID-19 that began last week. The city on China's northeast coast has reported more than 80 COVID-19 cases over the past week, with the first in a warehouse worker in the Zhuanghe area of the city on Nov. 4. Local authorities issued the order on Monday, state-backed newspaper Global Times reported on Thursday.
11th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Canada's new COVID-19 epicenters are more remote, less vaccinated and less resourced

Canada's coronavirus epicenters are shifting from dense urban zones to more rural or remote areas that have lower vaccination rates and fewer public health resources. Some of those areas were spared in earlier waves of the pandemic and are now forced to contend with a widely spreading virulent strain of the coronavirus with fewer options at their disposal to deal with the surge. Canada has high overall vaccination rates but pockets of hesitancy allow the virus to spread.
11th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Russia's COVID deaths hit new daily peak, some hospitals run low on oxygen

Russia on Wednesday reported a record 1,239 deaths from COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours, two days after most of its regions emerged from a week-long workplace shutdown designed to curb the spread of the virus. "For now we cannot say with confidence that the situation has stabilised and the infection rate is declining," Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova told a government meeting. Her assessment was markedly more downbeat than that of Health Minister Mikhail Murashko, who had said on Tuesday that the nationwide "non-working days" from Oct. 30 to Nov. 7 had turned the tide in Russia's fight against the pandemic.
11th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Israeli 'wargame' sees kids suffering vaccine-resistant COVID strain

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and senior aides holed up in a nuclear command bunker on Thursday to simulate an outbreak of a vaccine-resistant COVID-19 variant to which children are vulnerable, describing such an eventuality as "the next war". Israel would brief foreign leaders next week on the findings of the drill, he said, citing Britain's Boris Johnson as among counterparts with whom he is in contact. Bennett said that, to enhance the challenge of the one-day exercise, he had been kept unaware of specific scenarios of an imagined 10-week crisis that starts over the December holidays.
11th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Britain reports 42408 new COVID cases, 195 deaths

Britain on Thursday reported 42,408 new COVID-19 cases and a further 195 deaths from the disease, government figures showed on Thursday. Reported cases have now risen for four days in a row, but cases over the last seven days are down 12% compared to the previous seven.
11th Nov 2021 - Reuters

German parliament debates new COVID-19 rules as cases soar

Germany's likely new chancellor Olaf Scholz urged more citizens to get vaccinated against COVID-19 on Thursday as the parliament debated new rules to tackle a fourth wave of infections without imposing lockdowns or making shots mandatory for anyone. The three parties negotiating to form Germany's new government have agreed to let a state of emergency in place since the start of the pandemic expire on Nov. 25, despite record new cases as colder weather and more indoor gatherings turn Europe once more into a coronavirus hotspot.
11th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Canada's new COVID-19 epicenters are more remote, less vaccinated and less resourced

Canada's coronavirus epicenters are shifting from dense urban zones to more rural or remote areas that have lower vaccination rates and fewer public health resources. Some of those areas were spared in earlier waves of the pandemic and are now forced to contend with a widely spreading virulent strain of the coronavirus with fewer options at their disposal to deal with the surge. Canada has high overall vaccination rates but pockets of hesitancy allow the virus to spread. In Ontario, Canada's most-populous province, the Sudbury health region about 250 miles (400 km) north of Toronto has tightened restrictions.
11th Nov 2021 - Reuters


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WHO highlights that Europe is only region with rising COVID cases and deaths, as Russia overtakes U.S. for most fatalities in a week

The World Health Organization highlighted Wednesday that Europe was the only region showing rising cases and deaths from the coronavirus-borne illness COVID-19 in the latest week, led by Russia, where low vaccine take-up is believed to be responsible for about 1,200 deaths a day. Russia counted 281,305 new cases in the week to Nov. 7, according to the agency’s weekly epidemiological update, or 371.4 new cases per 100,000 residents. There were 8,276 new fatalities in Russia in the week, or 5.7 new deaths per 100,000 residents, little changed from the prior week. Russia set yet another one-day record death toll on Wednesday of 1,239, and is now leading the world by weekly deaths for the first time since the start of the pandemic, the Moscow Times reported.
10th Nov 2021 - MarketWatch

Germany coronavirus: Record rise prompts warning of 100,000 deaths

One of Germany's top virologists has warned that a further 100,000 people will die from Covid if nothing's done to halt an aggressive fourth wave. Case numbers have soared and Germany on Wednesday registered its highest rate of infection since the pandemic began, with almost 40,000 cases in a day. "We have to act right now," said Christian Drosten, who described a real emergency situation. Doctors in the intensive care Covid ward at Leipzig University Hospital warn this fourth wave could be the worst yet.
10th Nov 2021 - BBC News

Chinese city says it mass tested 30000 for COVID-19 at mega centre, rounded-up runaways

China's southwestern city of Chengdu said on Wednesday it had conducted 30,000 COVID-19 tests on visitors at a mega entertainment centre, and rounded-up those who tried to flee the site, in the second mass screening at a large venue in days. All COVID-19 tests returned negative results, reported the official China Central Television (CCTV) on Tuesday. Those present were required to return home to await their results and not venture outdoors until advised, local authorities in Chengdu said in a notice
10th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Russia says it's turned tide on COVID cases, but deaths hit record high

Russia said last week's nationwide workplace shutdown had helped turn the tide of surging COVID-19 cases, even as officials on Tuesday reported the largest one-day death toll of the pandemic so far. All but a handful of Russia's 80-plus regions on Monday ended a "non-working" period from Oct. 30 to Nov. 7 that was ordered by President Vladimir Putin, the toughest nationwide restriction since the early months of the pandemic.
10th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Czechs, Slovaks report surge in COVID-19 cases, hospitals stretched

The Czech Republicand Slovakia reported fresh surges in coronavirus infections on Wednesday and again had to start limiting non-urgent hospital care to cater for admissions of COVID-19 patients. Slovakia, a country of 5.5 million, reported a record high 7,055 new cases for Tuesday, and the Czech Republic, twice the size, reported 14,539 cases, not far from an all-time peak seen in January. Both countries have been tightening restrictions but they have been far more lax than in previous waves thanks to partial shielding from vaccination and infections affecting younger people.
10th Nov 2021 - Reuters

UK reports 262 COVID-19 deaths, seven-day total up 2.6%

Britain reported 262 new deaths within 28 days of a positive COVID-19 test on Tuesday, up from 57 a day earlier, while the total death toll for the past seven days was 1,160, up 2.6% on the previous seven days, official data showed. A new 33,117 confirmed cases of the virus were also reported, up from 32,322 on Monday. The total for the past seven days was 239,034, down by 14.8% on the previous seven-day period.
10th Nov 2021 - Reuters UK

As many try living with virus, China keeps up zero tolerance

Article reports that Wang Lijie planned to spend three days in the Gobi Desert last month to take in the area’s famous poplar forest as its trees turned a golden yellow. Instead, the Beijing resident has been stuck for more than three weeks, much of it in quarantine, after authorities discovered a cluster of COVID-19 cases in a nearby city. He was among more than 9,000 tourists who became trapped in Ejin Banner, a remote part of China’s Inner Mongolia region that is in the Gobi. As vaccination rates rise in many parts of the world and even countries that previously had strict COVID-containment strategies gingerly ease restrictions, China is doubling down on its zero-tolerance policy.
10th Nov 2021 - The Associated Press

COVID-19 surges expand in Europe

At least three countries, all with low vaccination rates, reported new daily record highs for deaths: Russia, Ukraine, and Bulgaria, according to media reports. Russia recently ended a week-long non-working period, and federal officials said it's too soon to tell if the step helped cut transmission, according to the Washington Post, which said less than 40% of the country is fully vaccinated. Cases are on the rise, however, even in countries with robust vaccine uptake. In the Netherlands, where cases have been rising since early October, the adult vaccination level is about 85%. A hospital group in the southern province of Limburg today urged the government to take stronger measures, warning that they are out of space and staff and that other areas may soon face similar situations, according to Reuters.
10th Nov 2021 - CIDRAP


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Yukon declares state of emergency over COVID-19

The Yukon government has declared a state of emergency, announcing new health regulations aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19, including a proof-of-vaccination requirement set to take effect on Saturday. The declaration came after the territory reported 80 new COVID-19 infections diagnosed over a three-day period between Friday and Monday, for a total of 169 active cases. The territory says it is moving rapidly to implement a proof-of-vaccination system for a range of settings, including restaurants, ticketed events, fitness facilities and personal services businesses, as well as faith-based and cultural gatherings. It says the new measures also include mandatory masks in all indoor public settings and outdoor public settings where physical distancing isn't possible, as well as capacity limits on different types of indoor and outdoor gatherings.
9th Nov 2021 - CBC.ca

Morgues, hospitals struggle with COVID-19 deaths in Romania

The morgue in Romania’s main hospital has no space for the dead any more. In a stark illustration of the human cost of the coronavirus surge sweeping the nation, bodies of COVID-19 victims, wrapped in black plastic bags, line a hallway of the hospital in the capital, Bucharest. Hundreds of people have been dying each day for the past two months in Romania. The country has been among the hardest-hit in the current virus onslaught raging through Central and Eastern European nations, where far fewer people have been vaccinated than in Western Europe.
9th Nov 2021 - Al Jazeera English

France hits one-month high for patients hospitalised for COVID-19

French health authorities said on Monday the number of people hospitalised because of COVID-19 went up by 156 over the past 24 hours, the highest daily rise since Aug. 23, to reach a one-month peak of 6,865. The number of patients in intensive care units (ICUs) for the disease increased by 40 to 1,141, a ninth rise in 10 days. President Emmanuel Macron will speak to the nation on Tuesday about the resurgence of COVID-19 infections as well as his economic reform programme
9th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Bulgaria's daily COVID-19 deaths rise to record high

Bulgaria reported a record number of daily coronavirus deaths on Tuesday as the European Union's least vaccinated country grapples with a fourth wave of the pandemic, official data showed on Tuesday. New infections were 5,286, down from a peak in late October, while 334 people died of the virus, the highest daily death toll since the start of the pandemic. Over 8,500 people were in hospital, including 734 in intensive care units, the data showed.
9th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Dutch hospitals urge new measures as COVID-19 cases near record

A group of hospitals in the southern Dutch province of Limburg on Tuesday called for the government to take new measures to stem rising COVID-19 cases, saying they have no space or staff to handle more coronavirus patients. Coronavirus infections in the Netherlands, as in other parts of Europe, are approaching all-time highs despite adult vaccination levels around 85%. Prime Minister Mark Rutte's government announced last week new measures to slow the spread of the virus, two months after scrapping social distancing rules
9th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Russia's daily COVID-19 death toll hits new record high

Russia said last week's nationwide workplace shutdown had helped turn the tide of surging COVID-19 cases, even as officials on Tuesday reported the largest one-day death toll of the pandemic so far. All but a handful of Russia's 80-plus regions on Monday ended a "non-working" period from Oct. 30 to Nov. 7 that was ordered by President Vladimir Putin, the toughest nationwide restriction since the early months of the pandemic. The health minister told a televised government meeting on Tuesday that the increase in the number of patients receiving medical care had slowed last week for the first time since the beginning of August, though he said it remained "quite high."
9th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Global COVID-19 total tops 250 million infections

At a World Health Organization (WHO) media briefing on Nov 4, the group's COVID-19 technical lead, Maria Van Kerkhove, PhD, said virus activity is rising in places where it shouldn't be—in countries with ample vaccine and tools to fight the pandemic. She urged world leaders and health officials to channel their grief and anger over the pandemic's grim totals into actions to bring transmission under control and cut severe impacts and deaths. "The trajectory of the pandemic is in our hands. It has always been in our hands. What happens now and into 2022 is up to us," she said. In Europe, currently the world's main hot spot, Russia's week-long work stoppage designed to curb virus transmission has ended, but cases are still near record daily highs. Meanwhile, Germany's 7-day incidence rate climbed to its highest level of the pandemic, according to the latest update from the Robert Koch Institute. Health officials are facing the prospect of postponing some surgeries, and some regions are already transferring patients to cope with increased burden on hospitals from COVID-19 patients.
9th Nov 2021 - CIDRAP


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Germany: COVID incidence rate jumps to over 200 for first time

Germany logged a record seven-day incidence rate of over 200 on Monday, according to the latest data released by the Robert Koch Institute of infectious diseases (RKI). The rate, which indicates the number of new COVID-19 infections per 100,000 people over the last week, is now the highest it's been since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The previous record rate of 197.6 was set on December 22, 2020 — a time before vaccines were widely available.
8th Nov 2021 - DW (English)

UK PM Johnson: too many older people are being hospitalised with COVID

Too many elderly people are being hospitalised with COVID-19, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday, as he encouraged eligible people to book booster shots to counteract waning immunity from initial coronavirus vaccinations. "We're starting to see too many elderly people getting into hospital. Sadly, the (COVID) jabs do wane," Johnson said, encouraging eligible people to book booster shots. "(The booster) is a very effective thing. It's a wonderful thing. People get 95% more protection... if you've gone over five months, you can go online and book your booster."
8th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Japan has zero daily COVID-19 deaths for first time in 15 months - media

Japan recorded no daily deaths from COVID-19 for the first time in more than a year on Sunday, local media said. Prior to Sunday, there had not been a day without a COVID-19 death since Aug. 2, 2020, according to a tally by national broadcaster NHK. COVID-19 cases and deaths have fallen dramatically throughout Japan as vaccinations have increased to cover more than 70% of the population.
8th Nov 2021 - Reuters

German coronavirus infection rate hits highest since pandemic began

Germany's coronavirus infection rate has risen to its highest level since the start of the pandemic, public health figures showed on Monday, and doctors warned they will need to postpone scheduled operations in coming weeks to cope. The seven-day incidence rate - the number of people per 100,000 to be infected over the last week - rose to 201.1, higher than a previous record of 197.6 in December last year, the figures from the Robert Koch Institute showed on Monday.
8th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Global COVID-19 cases hit 250 million, eastern Europe infections at record levels

Global COVID-19 cases surpassed 250 million on Monday as some countries in eastern Europe experience record outbreaks, even as the Delta variant surge eases and many countries resume trade and tourism. The daily average number of cases has fallen by 36% over the past three months, according to a Reuters analysis, but the virus is still infecting 50 million people worldwide every 90 days due to the highly transmissible Delta variant. By contrast, it took nearly a year to record the first 50 million COVID-19 cases.
8th Nov 2021 - Reuters

China records 65 local Covid-19 cases as people flee testing in Chengdu

China reported 65 new local symptomatic Covid-19 cases, up only slightly as some provinces claimed progress in controlling outbreaks – but police were investigating in Chengdu after people fled mandatory testing. According to the National Health Commission, the present wave of cases had reached 44 cities in 20 provinces, with most concentrated in the northern regions of Heilongjiang, Inner Mongolia and Gansu. Four of those provinces had not recorded any new local transmissions in a week.
8th Nov 2021 - South China Morning Post

Navajo Nation reports 60 more COVID-19 cases, no deaths

The Navajo Nation has reported 60 more COVID-19 cases but no new deaths. The latest numbers released Sunday pushed the tribe’s totals to 37,411 confirmed COVID-19 cases from the virus since the pandemic began more than a year ago. The known death toll remains at 1,498. The tribe reported no COVID-related deaths 23 times in a 35-day span before reporting five deaths on Thursday and one death on Friday along with 88 new cases. Based on cases from Oct. 15-28, the Navajo Department of Health issued an advisory for 58 communities due to uncontrolled spread of COVID-19.Tribal officials still are urging people to get vaccinated, wear masks while in public and minimize their travel.
8th Nov 2021 - The Associated Press

German COVID infection rate at new high as vaccinations slow

Germany’s coronavirus infection rate climbed to its highest recorded level yet on Monday as what officials have called a “pandemic of the unvaccinated” gathers pace. The national disease control center, the Robert Koch Institute, said the country has seen 201.1 new cases per 100,000 residents over the past seven days. That was above the previous record of 197.6 from Dec. 22 last year. While it’s still a lower rate than in several other European countries, it has set alarm bells ringing. The seven-day infection rate has long ceased to be the only policy yardstick in Germany, with new hospital admissions now an important factor. Those are currently at just under 4 per 100,000 residents over a week — compared with a peak of about 15.5 last Christmas — but officials say hospitals are filling up in badly affected areas.
8th Nov 2021 - The Associated Press

China reports 89 COVID cases as outbreaks grow

China reported 89 new COVID-19 cases for November 7 compared with 74 a day earlier, its health authority said on Monday. Of the new infections, 65 were locally transmitted cases, according to a statement by the National Health Commission, compared with 50 a day earlier. More than half of the new local cases were found in the provinces of Liaoning and Henan. China reported 46 new asymptomatic patients, which it classifies separately from confirmed cases, compared with 35 a day earlier. There were no new deaths, leaving the death toll unchanged at 4,636.
8th Nov 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Germany's COVID-19 infection rate hits record high

Germany’s coronavirus infection rate has risen to a record days after Health Minister Jens Spahn warned that a massive “pandemic of the unvaccinated” was gathering pace. The seven-day incidence rate – the number of people per 100,000 to be infected over the last week – rose to 201.1 on Monday, higher than a previous record of 197.6 in December last year, figures from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed.
8th Nov 2021 - Al Jazeera English


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UK reports 30305 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, 62 deaths

Britain reported 62 deaths on Sunday of people who had tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 28 days, and a further 30,305 new infections. The government figures show a fall from the 155 deaths and 30,693 new cases reported on Saturday.
7th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Rising Covid-19 Breakthrough Cases Hinder Efforts to Control Virus

Covid-19 infections among vaccinated people are complicating the fight to bring the coronavirus under control. And in the U.K., where the path of the disease has been more closely tracked than just about anywhere in the world, they are on the rise. Breakthroughs happen because vaccines, while still offering strong protection against severe illness and death, aren’t bulletproof. The virus can still in some cases infect the body and replicate, causing illness, before the immune response can tackle it. Immunity from vaccination also wanes over time, prompting many countries, including the U.K., to roll out booster-shot campaigns.
6th Nov 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Ukraine COVID-19 deaths hit record amid low vaccination rate

Ukraine's health ministry on Saturday reported a one-day record of 793 deaths from COVID-19. Ukraine has been inundated by coronavirus infections in recent weeks, putting the country's underfunded medical system under severe strain. The ministry said 25,063 new infections had been tallied over the past day; a record 27,377 were reported on Thursday. Although four different coronavirus vaccines are available in Ukraine, only 17.9% of the country's 41 million people have been fully vaccinated, the second-lowest rate in Europe after Armenia. In a bid to stem contagion, Ukrainian authorities have required teachers, government employees and other workers to get fully vaccinated by Nov. 8 or face having their salary suspended. In addition, proof of vaccination or a negative test is now required to board planes, trains and long-distance buses. Earlier this week, protesters marched in the capital of Kyiv to decry the new restrictions.
6th Nov 2021 - The Independent

New infections hit record as Russia's COVID-19 wave persists

Russia s COVID-19 cases hit another one-day record as the country struggles to contain a wave of infections and deaths that has persisted for more than a month. The national coronavirus task force on Saturday reported 41,335 new cases since the previous day, exceeding the previous daily record of 40,993 from Oct. 31. The task force said 1,188 people with COVID-19 died, just seven fewer than the daily death record reported Thursday. Officials cite Russia's low vaccination rate as a major factor in the sharp rise in cases that began in mid-September. The task force reported about 57.2 million full-course vaccinations, or less than 40% of the country’s 146 million people.
6th Nov 2021 - The Independent

New Zealand's daily coronavirus cases cross 200 for first time in pandemic

New Zealand's 206 new daily community infections on Saturday carried it past the double-hundred mark for the first time during the coronavirus pandemic, as the nation scrambles to vaccinate its population of 5 million. The most populous city of Auckland, which reported 200 of the new cases, has lived under COVID-19 curbs for nearly three months as it battles an outbreak of the infectious Delta variant, although restrictions are expected to ease on Monday
6th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19 update: 206 new community cases reported today

There have been a record 206 new community cases of Covid-19 reported in New Zealand today, as the total number of vaccinations in this country tops 7 million. There was no media conference today. In a statement, the Ministry of Health said there were 200 cases in Auckland, four in Waikato and two in Northland. The Ministry said 159 are yet to be linked to earlier cases, with 623 unlinked cases in the past 14 days. The ministry later sent through another statement saying an additional case in Northland had been confirmed. All Northland cases are close contacts of existing cases. They had all been isolating since been told they were close contacts, and as such there are no new locations of interest, Northland District Health Board said via the ministry.
6th Nov 2021 - RNZ

Tonga recorded its first-ever COVID-19 case as Pacific charts pandemic recovery

The main island of Tonga has gone into a week-long lockdown after the South Pacific nation reported its very first COVID-19 case of the pandemic late last week. The COVID-positive traveler, who is fully vaccinated and was showing no symptoms, arrived in Tonga last Wednesday on a flight from Christchurch, New Zealand. All 214 others aboard the flight have tested negative and the infected traveler, a young missionary, is currently quarantined in a facility. "So far, we're very happy that nothing else has happened besides that one case," Dr. Viliami Puloka told NPR from his home in Nuku'alofa, the capital of Tonga. The retired general practitioner and public health specialist said it was just a matter of time before the virus reached them.
5th Nov 2021 - NPR

Is the debate over the origin of Covid-19 still worth having?

The ongoing rhetoric from Republican politicians about the origin of Covid-19 accomplishes nothing other than further polarizing U.S. society. The available public records show that the work done at the Wuhan Institute of Virology using U.S. government funds could not have created SARS-CoV-2, The most recent lab-leak related controversy has centered on grant-related paperwork violations. The scientific community has also been riven by unpleasant disputes. Allegations have been made that lab-leak opponents must have conflicts of interest, however nebulous. One positive outcome is that lab-leak theory has refocused the world’s virologists on an important scientific topic: gain-of-function research.
5th Nov 2021 - STAT News

COVID-19 tears through generation of unvaccinated Romanian elderly

Elderly patients gasping for air through oxygen masks in a central Romanian hospital struggled to explain why they had not been vaccinated despite easy access earlier in the coronavirus pandemic. Romania has the second lowest vaccination rate in the 27-nation European Union and one of the highest COVID-19 mortality rates in the world, with doctors warning that the pandemic is ravaging a generation of grandparents.
5th Nov 2021 - Reuters

France's Macron to address the nation on Tuesday as COVID cases surge

French President Emmanuel Macron will speak to the nation on Tuesday about the resurgence of COVID-19 infections as well as his economic reform programme, the government said on Friday. Infection rates have accelerated strongly in the past month, with the number of new COVID-19 cases rising by double-digit percentages from last week for several days in a row. "The epidemic is picking up speed again in Europe, Europe has again become the epicentre of the epidemic," government spokesman Gabriel Attal told reporters,
5th Nov 2021 - Reuters

UK reports 193 new COVID deaths, 34029 cases

Britain reported 193 deaths on Friday of people who had tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 28 days, and an extra 34,029 cases. The government figures show a fall from the 214 deaths and 37,269 new cases reported on Thursday.
5th Nov 2021 - Reuters

England's COVID prevalence steadies at highest level of the year, ONS says

The prevalence of COVID-19 infections in England remained at around 1 in 50 people in the week ending Oct 30, a school half-term break, Britain's Office for National Statistics said on Friday, steadying at its highest level of the year. The ONS said that prevalence was unchanged from the previous week, after five straight weeks of rising infections. The ONS said that the trend was "uncertain" in the latest week, after infections had been on the rise leading up to the half term break, which for most schools started on Oct 25.
5th Nov 2021 - Reuters


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Europe's 'insufficient vaccine coverage' is blamed by WHO for surge in Covid cases

WHO Europe director Hans Kluge warned Europe is now 'back at the centre of the pandemic.' Kluge said the rising number of cases could mean another half a million people will die from Covid in the next three months. Kluge blamed the caseload of Europe's 'insufficient vaccination coverage,' It comes as Germany recorded record number of cases, with health minister warning a 'massive' pandemic of the unvaccinated
4th Nov 2021 - Daily Mail

Covid-19: 12 more deaths and 1,481 new coronavirus cases

Twelve more Covid-19-related deaths have been reported in Northern Ireland on Thursday. Deaths are measured by recording those who died within 28 days of receiving a positive result in a test for coronavirus. The total number of deaths linked to Covid-19 in Northern Ireland since the start of the pandemic is 2,737. Another 1,481 cases of coronavirus were reported, up from 995 cases recorded on Wednesday. That includes cases confirmed from samples taken in recent days, not necessarily just in the latest 24-hour reporting period.
4th Nov 2021 - BBC News

Russia's daily COVID-19 death toll hits record high

Russia's daily COVID-19 death toll reached a record high of 1,195 on Thursday amid a surge in cases that has forced officials to impose a nationwide workplace shutdown. The government coronavirus task force also reported 40,217 new infections in the past 24 hours, including 6,305 in Moscow.
4th Nov 2021 - Reuters

England sees record COVID prevalence in October -Imperial study

COVID-19 prevalence in England rose to its highest level on record in October, Imperial College London said on Thursday, led by a high numbers of cases in children and a surge in the south-west of the country. Nearly 6% of school-aged children had COVID-19, the researchers found, although there was a drop in prevalence towards the end of the study's period coinciding with the closure of schools for half-term holiday. Despite that dip, researchers said rates had doubled in older groups compared to September, a concerning sign as the government races to give booster shots to the most vulnerable.
4th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Croatia, Slovenia hit highest number of daily COVID-19 infections

Croatia reported on Thursday 6,310 infections of COVID-19 which is the highest daily number of infections since the beginning of the pandemic, the national health authorities said. At the moment there are 25,628 active COVID-19 cases in a country of around 4 million people, while 1,680 patients require hospital treatment. In Croatia a bit over 50% of population is fully vaccinated and experts largely blame such a low vaccination rate for the increase in infections in recent weeks.
4th Nov 2021 - Reuters

German COVID-19 cases hit daily record as health ministers meet

Germany reported 33,949 new COVID-19 infections, the highest daily increase since the start of the pandemic last year, ahead of a two-day meeting of state health ministers starting on Thursday. Countries across Europe have been reporting rises in coronavirus infections, prompting debate over whether to reintroduce restrictions and how to persuade more people to get vaccinated. The daily number of cases was likely inflated by a public holiday in parts of Germany on Monday that led to a delay in data-gathering. The previous record was on Dec. 18, with 33,777 cases.
4th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Austrian coronavirus cases surge as lockdown for vaccine holdouts looms

Having taken a hands-off approach to restrictions last summer, the conservative-led government has since outlined a plan under which the unvaccinated population will be placed under lockdown, with restrictions on their daily movements, once 600 intensive-care beds are filled with COVID-19 patients. Under that incremental plan the unvaccinated, not including those who have recovered from a coronavirus infection, will be barred from cafes and restaurants once 500 intensive-care beds are occupied by COVID-19 patients. The number of those beds currently in use is 352 and rising by more than 10 a day.
4th Nov 2021 - Reuters on MSN.com

Belgian COVID-19 hospitalisations rise back to Oct 2020 levels

Belgium on Thursday reported a jump in COVID-19 infections and hospitalisations rose back to levels that had forced a lockdown in October 2020, as the United States advised against travelling to the host of EU and NATO headquarters. Data from Belgium's Sciensano health institute showed 6,728 daily new cases on average in the last 14 days, up 36% from the previous week. An average of 164 patients with COVID-19 were admitted to hospitals daily in the last seven days, a 31% increase, and 343 coronavirus patients were in intensive care.
4th Nov 2021 - Reuters


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France reports more than 10000 new COVID cases for 1st time in two months

French health authorities reported 10,050 daily new COVID-19 infections on Wednesday, the first time the tally has topped 10,000 since Sept 14. In another sign the virus is ramping up again, hospitalisations for the disease are up by 84, at 6,764, a rise unseen since Sept 6. The cumulative total of new cases now stands at 7.18 million. The number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care rose by 5 in 24 hours to 1,096 and by 58 over a week.
3rd Nov 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19 hospitalizations spike in Colorado

Colorado’s COVID-19 hospitalizations are at their highest peak since last December, according to state data. As of Wednesday, the state had nearly 1,254 hospitalizations, with 80% made up of unvaccinated COVID-19 patients, according to the Colorado health department’s data dashboard. That state data indicates that 30% of state hospital facilities are anticipating ICU bed shortages in the next week. Democratic Gov. Jared Polis issued two executive orders on Sunday in response to the state’s hospitalization increase — one calling for additional National Guard resources and another ordering hospitals and emergency departments to transfer or stop admitting new patients due to the lack of hospital beds.
3rd Nov 2021 - The Associated Press

COVID-19 cases rise in Europe for 5th consecutive week

The number of coronavirus cases has risen in Europe for the fifth consecutive week, making it the only world region where COVID-19 is still increasing, the World Health Organization reported Wednesday. In its weekly report on the pandemic, the U.N. health agency said new cases jumped by 6%, or 3 million, in Europe compared to an 18% increase the previous week. The weekly number of new infections in other regions either fell or remained about the same, according to the report. The sharpest drops were seen in the Middle East where new cases decreased by 12%, and in Southeast Asia and Africa, where they fell by 9%.
3rd Nov 2021 - The Independent

In Russia, COVID-19 surge shows no signs of abating

Daily coronavirus cases and deaths in Russia remained at all-time highs Wednesday as more regions announced extending existing restrictions in an effort to tame the country's unrelenting surge of infections. Russia's state coronavirus task force reported over 40,000 new confirmed cases from a day earlier, the most since the start of the pandemic. It was the fifth time in seven days that the country set a daily case record. The task force also reported 1,189 deaths, another daily record. Russia is five days into a nationwide non-working period that the government introduced to curb the spread of the virus. Last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered many Russians to stay off work between Oct. 30 and Nov. 7. He authorized regional governments to extend the number of non-working days, if necessary.
3rd Nov 2021 - The Independent

Covid cases are surging in countries such as Romania and China – and scientists say the UK can learn from them

Countries around the world are reintroducing measures such as mask-wearing and work-from-home orders to curb a surge in Covid cases, which experts say the UK should also be doing instead of relying on vaccines alone. The Netherlands became one of the first countries in western Europe to bring back masks, while Russia said an order for people not to go to work for a week from 30 October could be extended after it reported a record 1,178 Covid daily deaths on Tuesday. China’s zero-Covid policy has allowed it to quickly quell local outbreaks but not stop them entirely, while increased cases in Romania and Ireland has seen authorities reimpose or extend measures for several weeks.
3rd Nov 2021 - iNews

S.Korean teens drive up COVID-19 cases ahead of full school reopening

South Korea said on Wednesday it would ramp up COVID-19 testing at schools after a sharp rise of infections among children, weeks ahead of a plan to fully reopen schools nationwide. The surge comes as new social distancing rules aimed at a phased return to normal came into effect on Monday as a part of the country's plan to gradually move toward living with COVID-19 on the back of high vaccination rates.
3rd Nov 2021 - Reuters

Slovenia records highest daily number of COVID cases

Slovenia registered a record high 3,456 COVID-19 infections on Tuesday, or 44.7% of the number of people tested, the state health institute said, as medical experts suggest tighter restrictions to rein in the pandemic. Currently there are 29,354 active COVID-19 cases in the small Alpine state of some two million people. There are 1.12 million fully vaccinated people, or 53% of the overall population. Medical experts this week proposed tightening curbs on gatherings, including shorter opening hours for bars and restaurants and work from home for public sector employees, national television reported.
3rd Nov 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19 has declined across the Americas, regional health agency says

COVID-19 deaths and infections have declined across the Americas for the 8th consecutive week, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said on Wednesday, warning that a very high percentage of hospitalized cases now are unvaccinated people. In North America, all three countries reported drops in weekly cases and deaths, and there has been a notable decline in hospitalizations in the United States and Canada, PAHO said, with similar declines in South and Central America. The regional health branch of the World Health Organization said 46% of the Latin American and Caribbean population have been fully vaccinated, and a majority of countries have already reached the WHO's 40% vaccination coverage target set for the end of the year.
3rd Nov 2021 - Reuters

China's COVID-19 cases spike ahead of Communist Party conclave

China's new locally transmitted COVID-19 cases spiked to a near three-month high and tighter curbs to contain the spread are expected in the capital Beijing ahead of a key gathering of the highest-ranking members of the Communist Party next week. The National Health Commission confirmed on Wednesday 93 new local symptomatic cases for Nov. 2, up from 54 a day earlier and the highest daily count since Aug. 9 at the peak of China's last major outbreak. Beijing reported nine new local infections, the biggest one-day increase in the capital this year.
3rd Nov 2021 - Reuters

Czech daily COVID-19 cases near 10000, highest since March

The number of daily COVID-19 cases reported in the Czech Republic neared 10,000 for the first time since March, health ministry data showed on Wednesday. The country recorded 9,902 new infections on Tuesday, up from 6,284 on the same day a week ago. Hospitalisations reached more than 2,000 for the first time since May, including 288 people in intensive care. The country like others in central Europe has seen a renewed jump in COVID-19 cases.
3rd Nov 2021 - Reuters

UK records 41299 new COVID cases, 217 deaths

Britain reported 41,299 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday and 217 more deaths within 28 days of a positive test, official data showed.The figures compared to 33,865 cases on Tuesday and 293 deaths.
3rd Nov 2021 - Reuters

World Economic Forum postpones China event due to COVID-19

The World Economic Forum said on Wednesday that it is postponing its event planned for later this month in the Chinese city of Tianjin due to the outbreak of COVID-19 cases in the country, where new locally transmitted cases hit a near three-month high. "Regretfully, due to the circumstances around the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and recent cases in major cities and provinces in China, the Annual Meeting of the New Champions will be rescheduled," the WEF said in an email to participants.
3rd Nov 2021 - Reuters

Christmas may be tough as COVID not over, England's deputy medical officer says

Christmas may be difficult as the COVID-19 pandemic is not over, England's deputy chief medical officer warned on Wednesday, urging people to behave with caution and come forward for booster shots. Britain reported 293 deaths from COVID-19 on Tuesday, the highest daily figure since March, and there have been an average of around 40,000 new cases each day in recent weeks. Prime Minister Boris Johnson lifted restrictions in England in July, and has said he plans to cope with COVID over the winter by relying on vaccinations rather than mandating masks or lockdowns.
3rd Nov 2021 - Reuters

S.Korean teens drive up COVID-19 cases ahead of full school reopening

South Korea said on Wednesday it would ramp up COVID-19 testing at schools after a sharp rise of infections among children, weeks ahead of a plan to fully reopen schools nationwide.The surge comes as new social distancing rules aimed at a phased return to normal came into effect on Monday as a part of the country's plan to gradually move toward living with COVID-19 on the back of high vaccination rates. South Korea has fully vaccinated nearly 90% of its adult population but only began inoculating children aged between 12 and 17 in recent weeks, administering just 0.6% of the age group with both doses so far.
3rd Nov 2021 - Reuters


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Colorado at Risk of Running Out of Hospital Beds This Month

Colorado could come close to running out of hospital beds in late November or early December if Covid-19 infections accelerate, officials warned Tuesday. An estimated 1,900 of the state’s roughly 2,000 beds could be occupied under a worst-case scenario, Rachel Herlihy, state epidemiologist, said during an online news briefing. At the current pace, hospitalizations are projected to peak at 1,500, Herlihy said. An estimated 1-in-51 state residents are contagious, Governor Jared Polis said during the briefing, imploring Coloradoans to get vaccinated. Polis said the delta variant is “like a laser-guided missile.”
2nd Nov 2021 - Bloomberg

COVID-19 deaths hit another daily record in hard-hit Russia

Coronavirus deaths in Russia hit another daily record Tuesday, four days since a nationwide order for many Russians to stay off work took effect. Russia's state coronavirus task force reported 39,008 new confirmed cases and 1,178 COVID-19 deaths. The task force has reported record daily infections or deaths almost every day for the last month. To reduce the spread of the coronavirus, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a nationwide non-working period for Oct. 30-Nov. 7. Putin has said that governments in regions where the situation is most dire could add more non-working days, if needed. The Novgorod region became the first one to do so Monday, extending the period by another week.
2nd Nov 2021 - The Independent

Slight rise in Covid-19 deaths registered in England and Wales

The number of deaths involving coronavirus registered each week in England and Wales has risen for the second week in a row, though figures remain at a low level. A total of 792 deaths registered in the week ending October 22 mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). This is up 11% on the previous week, and follows a 7% rise a week earlier.
2nd Nov 2021 - Evening Standard

Covid-19: MPs told to wear face masks in Commons after ‘major’ Covid outbreak in Parliament

MPs have been ordered to cancel face-to-face meetings and events with visitors and start wearing face masks at all times in the Commons due to a major covid outbreak on parliamentary estate. The new rules will be in place for at least two weeks after advice from the UK Health Security Agency, which has warned of a “greater” risk of transmission in parliament. Tours, banquets and other events with outside visitors will be cancelled, while MPs – who had been exempt from face coverings in the Commons – are now being told to to wear them in line with parliamentary staff, contractors and journalists.
2nd Nov 2021 - iNews

Greece reports record high daily COVID-19 infections

Greece recorded 5,449 new coronavirus infections in the past 24 hours, authorities said on Monday, the highest single-day figure since the pandemic began early last year. Another 52 people died from COVID-19 over the past day, taking the total to 15,990 among 747,595 COVID-19 cases. Giannis Oikonomou, a spokesman for the government, said it was "pressing" to increase the number of vaccinations, which have been moving at a slower pace than authorities anticipated. "We're not done with COVID yet. As long as there are unvaccinated people, the virus finds a suitable ground to spread," Oikonomou told a regular news briefing on Monday.
2nd Nov 2021 - Reuters

UK records 40077 new COVID-19 cases, 40 deaths on Monday

The United Kingdom recorded 40,077 new COVID-19 cases on Monday and 40 deaths of people who had tested positive for the disease within 28 days, government data showed. That compares with 38,009 coronavirus cases and 74 deaths a day earlier.
2nd Nov 2021 - Reuters UK


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Russia counts cost of missteps, vaccine refusals as COVID tide keeps rising

Ambulance attendant Roman Stebakov has come face-to-face with COVID-19 many times - but he'd rather take his chances with the disease than get himself injected with Russia's Sputnik V vaccine. Their attitudes help explain why the first nation in the world to approve a COVID-19 vaccine - and then export it to more than 70 countries - is struggling to inoculate its own population and has racked up record 24-hour death tolls on 21 days in the past month.
1st Nov 2021 - Yahoo News UK

Latvia gets ventilators, other aid from EU countries amid COVID spike

Latvia has received shipments of emergency medical equipment from the Netherlands, Finland, Hungary and Sweden as it fights the worst surge in new COVID-19 cases in the European Union amid a low take-up of vaccinations. The Baltic country of 1.9 million people filed a request last week to the European Union for more than 130 ventilators and hundreds of vital signs monitors, BNS news agency said. Latvian hospitals were treating 1,526 coronavirus patients on Sunday, their highest number ever, the public broadcaster said. One large Riga hospital, the PSKUS, converted its hallway into a makeshift ward on Monday to treat patients, news portal Delfi reported.
1st Nov 2021 - Reuters

Singapore may see 2,000 COVID-19 deaths each year- minister

Singapore could see as many 2,000 COVID-19 deaths annually over time, mainly among the elderly,but it was focused on avoiding excess mortality, a minister said on Monday, as the country battles its biggest surge in infections. At 0.2% Singapore's COVID-19 case fatality rate is similar to the rate of deaths from pneumonia before the pandemic struck, said Janil Puthucheary, a senior minister of state in parliament. It is also lower than other countries where cases surged before vaccination, he said.
1st Nov 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19's global death toll tops 5 million in under 2 years

The global death toll from Covid-19 topped 5 million on Monday, less than two years into a crisis that has not only devastated poor countries but also humbled wealthy ones with first-rate health care systems. Together, the United States the European Union, Britain and Brazil — all upper-middle- or high-income countries — account for one-eighth of the world’s population but nearly half of all reported deaths. The US alone has recorded over 740,000 lives lost, more than any other nation. “This is a defining moment in our lifetime,” said Dr Albert Ko, an infectious disease specialist at the Yale School of Public Health. “What do we have to do to protect ourselves so we don’t get to another 5 million?”
1st Nov 2021 - The Independent

What's behind the Dominican Republic's new surge in Covid-19 cases?

Dr. Jorge Marte, director of the Center for Diagnosis, Advanced Medicine and Telemedicine (CEDIMAT), one of the main hospitals in Santo Domingo, points to the spread of new variants and the reopening of schools as significant factors in the country's surging case numbers. The country's public health ministry quickly sought to wrest control of the new spread, announcing on Oct 8 new precautionary measures requiring people aged 13 and older to show a vaccination card or negative PCR test in order to access public places, like schools and workplaces. Proof of vaccination would also be required for entrance to restaurants, gyms and public transportation. But those measures could only go so far, according to Marte, who says that despite the introduction of booster shots, the country's overall vaccination campaign has been insufficient. Less than 50% of the total Dominican population has been fully vaccinated, according to JHU. The government had aimed to vaccinate 70% of the country's eligible population with at least two doses.
1st Nov 2021 - CNN

Covid-19: Ten more deaths and 948 new coronavirus cases

Ten more Covid-19-related deaths have been reported in Northern Ireland on Monday. Deaths are measured by recording those who died within 28 days of receiving a positive result in a test for coronavirus. The total number of deaths linked to Covid-19 in Northern Ireland since the start of the pandemic is 2,715. Another 948 cases of coronavirus were reported, down from 1,001 cases recorded on Sunday. That includes cases confirmed from samples taken in recent days, not necessarily just in the latest 24-hour reporting period.
1st Nov 2021 - BBC News

COVID-19: UK records another 38,009 coronavirus cases and 74 related deaths

The UK has recorded a further 38,009 coronavirus cases and 74 related deaths in the latest 24-hour period, the latest government figures show. It compares with yesterday's figures when 41,278 positive COVID-19 infections and 166 deaths were reported, while 39,962 cases and 72 fatalities were logged this time last week. The latest figures also show a total of 49,955,853 people have had one dose of a coronavirus vaccine - with another 33,763 doses being administered. The death toll, as tallied by Johns Hopkins University, is about equal to the populations of Los Angeles and San Francisco combined. It rivals the number of people killed in battles among nations since 1950, according to estimates from the Peace Research Institute Oslo. Globally, Covid is now the third leading cause of death, after heart disease and stroke.
1st Nov 2021 - Sky News

Global Covid-19 death toll passes 5m

The global death toll from Covid-19 has passed 5 million, 19 months after the pandemic was first declared, according to figures released by Johns Hopkins University. Some experts, including those from the World Health Organization, believe the true toll may be two to three times higher than official figures suggest. The number of deaths from Covid-19 far outstrip that of other viral epidemics in the 21st century and most from the 20th century, with the notable exception of the Spanish flu. The US, Brazil, India, Mexico and the UK together account for more than half of all deaths worldwide. In the last 28 days, Johns Hopkins University has logged 197,116 deaths and 11.7 million new cases around the world.
1st Nov 2021 - The Guardian

New COVID-19 restrictions in force in Ukraine's capital amid spike in cases

The Ukrainian capital Kyiv implemented tough new restrictions on Monday in an attempt to stem a surge in COVID-19 infections that is affecting many countries across eastern Europe amid a low take-up of vaccinations. Ukraine had registered 2.94 million infections and 68,027 deaths as of Nov. 1. Only 7.4 million people, or less than a fifth of the total population of around 41 million, has been fully vaccinated so far. From Monday residents of Kyiv will have to present vaccine certificates or evidence of a negative COVID-19 test to use restaurants, cafes, gyms, entertainment facilities and shopping malls. Staff working in those places must have been vaccinated.
1st Nov 2021 - Reuters


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UK reports 41278 new COVID cases, 166 deaths

Britain reported 41,278 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday and 166 more deaths within 28 days of a positive test, official data showed. The figures compared to 43,467 new infections and 186 deaths reported on Friday.
30th Oct 2021 - Reuters

One person in 50 had Covid in England last week, ONS data shows

Coronavirus infections in England have increased to the same levels seen at the height of the second wave in January, data has revealed, with one in 50 people in the community having the virus last week. According to figures from the Office for National Statistics, based on swabs collected from randomly selected households, an estimated 2% of people had Covid in the week ending 22 October – about 1,102,800 people. Such levels were last seen in the weeks around late December and early January, when the second wave of Covid swept across the country. The figures mark a rise on the week before, when about one in 55 people in the community in England were thought to have Covid. Such levels were last seen in the weeks around late December and early January, when the second wave of Covid swept across the country.
30th Oct 2021 - The Guardian

World could go ‘back to square one’ with new COVID-19 strains without more vaccine aid

Australia has been urged to ramp up its COVID-19 vaccine aid to developing countries and encourage other nations to do the same at this weekend’s summit of global leaders to reduce the risk of dangerous new strains emerging. Research commissioned by UNICEF Australia ahead of the G20 meeting of the world’s major economies shows Australia’s per capita vaccine supply is nine times higher than doses delivered per capita to Sub-Saharan Africa.
30th Oct 2021 - Sydney Morning Herald

With coronavirus untamed, Russia suffers deadliest September since World War II

Russia suffered its deadliest September since World War II, according to figures published on Friday, even before the peak of its current wave of the Covid-19 pandemic forced authorities to order non-working days for the first week of November. There were 44,265 deaths associated with the virus last month, bringing the pandemic’s total to nearly half a million, according to Federal Statistics Service data published late on Friday. That contributed to the highest number of September fatalities since the war, said Alexei Raksha, a demographer who left the agency last year after a dispute over its coronavirus numbers.
30th Oct 2021 - South China Morning Post

China's COVID-19 outbreak developing rapidly, health official says

China's latest COVID-19 outbreak is developing rapidly, a health official said, as the authorities demanded high vigilance at ports of entry amid growing infections in a northeastern border city caused by the virus arriving from abroad. Some 377 domestically transmitted cases with confirmed symptoms were reported from Oct. 17-29, National Health Commission (NHC) data showed. China has tackled a series of outbreaks this year since it largely contained a national spread in early 2020.
29th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Poland's tally of COVID-19 infections crosses 3 mln

Poland's total number of COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic passed 3 million on Friday, health ministry data showed, with daily cases hitting their highest in the fourth wave as a spike in infections gathers pace. Amid wide disregard for rules on wearing masks, infections in Poland are surging ahead of All Saints' Day, when crowds of people visit cemetries to pay their respects to the dead in a tradition that could contribute to the spread of the virus.
29th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Russia says at least 44265 people died from COVID-19 in Sept

At least 44,265 people died in Russia in September due to the coronavirus and related causes, taking the toll to around 462,000 since the pandemic began, state statistics service Rosstat said on Friday. The figure was down from a peak of 51,044 in July, although infections and fatalities began to surge again in the second half of September and have repeatedly touched record levels this month, leading authorities to reintroduce stricter health restrictions.
29th Oct 2021 - Reuters


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Singapore probes unusual surge in COVID-19 cases after record

Singapore is looking into an "unusual surge" of 5,324 new infections of COVID-19, the city-state's health ministry said, its highest such figure since the beginning of the pandemic, as beds in intensive care units fill up. Ten new deaths on Wednesday carried the toll to 349, after 3,277 infections the previous day, while the ICU utilisation rate is nearing 80%, despite a population that is 84% fully vaccinated, with 14% receiving booster doses. "The infection numbers are unusually high today, mostly due to many COVID-positive cases detected by the testing laboratories within a few hours in the afternoon," the health ministry said in a statement.
28th Oct 2021 - Reuters

COVID infections, deaths dropping across the Americas -health agency

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said on Wednesday, reporting that last week the continent's death and infection figures were the lowest in over a year. Many of the larger Caribbean islands are seeing downward trends, including Cuba, the site of a major months-long COVID-19 outbreak. However, Paraguay saw a doubling of coronavirus cases in the last week and Belize a sharp jump in COVID-related deaths, the regional branch of the World Health Organization said in a briefing.
28th Oct 2021 - Reuters

UK reports 43941 more COVID-19 cases, 207 further deaths

Britain on Wednesday reported 43,941 more cases of COVID-19 and 207 further deaths within 28 days of a positive test, according to official data.
28th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Germany's COVID caseload makes biggest leap in two weeks

Germany's coronavirus caseload took its biggest jump in two weeks on Thursday, with over 28,000 new infections, the Robert Koch Institute said, adding heft to worries about restrictions this winter. The number of new infections per 100,000 people over seven days - one of the metrics used to determine policy measures - stands at 130.2, up 12.2 points from 118.0 the previous day. New infections have been steadily creeping up since mid-October
28th Oct 2021 - Reuters


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Russia reports record COVID-19 daily death toll

Russia on Wednesday reported 1,123 new COVID-19 deaths, its highest one-day toll of the pandemic amid a surge in cases that has forced officials to partially reimpose some lockdown measures. The coronavirus task force also said it had recorded 36,582 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, including 5,789 in Moscow. Russia will go into a nationwide workplace shutdown in the first week of November, and the capital Moscow will reimpose a partial lockdown from Thursday, with only essential shops like pharmacies and supermarkets allowed to remain open
27th Oct 2021 - Reuters

NSW records 304 COVID-19 cases as new law targeting anti-vaxxers come into effect

NSW has introduced a new law stopping people from using fake vaccine certificates after the state recorded 304 new local cases of COVID-19. As of today it is now illegal to present a fake proof of vaccination when attempting to enter venues in NSW. Health Minister Brad Hazzard signed off on the amendment to the public health order yesterday after concerns about people procuring forged certificates. Security experts have warned the federal government's COVID-19 vaccination certificates can be forged within 10 minutes as people can alter or copy versions of the certificates and then change the name shown.
27th Oct 2021 - ABC News

High Covid-19 case rates are 'partly down to more tests'

Do not “bash the UK” for its high Covid-19 case rates compared with other countries, the director of the Oxford Vaccine Group has said, as some of the difference is simply because of more testing. Professor Sir Andrew Pollard told MPs that while transmission rates were clearly high, comparisons with other nations did not take into account different testing regimens. This might partly explain why UK case rates are four times those in Germany and eight times those in France. “If you look across western Europe, we have about ten times more tests done each day than some other countries per head of population,” Pollard told the Commons science and technology committee. “We do have a lot of transmission at the moment but it’s not
27th Oct 2021 - The Times

China's growing COVID-19 outbreak tests vulnerable border towns

China has reported nearly 250 locally transmitted cases of COVID-19 since the start of the current outbreak 10 days ago, with many infections in remote towns along porous international borders in the country's northwest. China had 50 new local cases for Oct. 26, the highest daily count since Sept. 16, official data showed on Wednesday. The overall number is tiny versus many clusters outside the country. It is also modest compared with more than 1,200 local cases reported during China's July-August outbreak and the more than 2,000 cases in January during the last winter.
27th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Bulgaria hits record high daily coronavirus cases, hospitals stretched

Bulgaria's tally of coronavirus infections has risen by 6,813 in the past 24 hours, a record daily increase as the European Union's least vaccinated country grapples with a fourth wave of the pandemic, official data showed on Wednesday. The virus has killed 124 people in the past 24 hours, according to the figures, bringing the total death toll to 23,440. More than 7,300 people were in COVID-19 wards as hospitals across the Balkan country struggled to deal with the inflow of coronavirus patients amid a shortage of medical staff.
27th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Sturgeon: Cop26 does pose threat of increased Covid-19 infection

Nicola Sturgeon has announced almost £500 million of further funding to help in the fight against Covid – as she warned that the Cop26 international climate conference “inevitably” poses a risk of increased transmission of the virus. With delegates from across the world now starting to arrive in Scotland ahead of the UN climate summit, the Scottish First Minister said the coronavirus situation remained “fragile”. While cases in Scotland had been declining, Ms Sturgeon said this had now levelled off, with the most recent figures showing a “slight increase”.
26th Oct 2021 - Evening Standard


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Denmark’s Covid Contamination Rate Rises After Restrictions End

Denmark, which has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, has registered a rise in Covid-19 cases with several key indicators showing that the virus has accelerated in the past month. The reproductive rate of the virus, known as the R rate, is now 1.2, up from 1 a week ago, which means the virus is spreading, Health Minister Magnus Heunicke tweeted on Tuesday.
26th Oct 2021 - Bloomberg

Covid-19: with cases on the rise, will ‘plan B’ be enough in England?

Many experts have called for the reintroduction of some public health measures to reduce transmission rates. However, the government has repeatedly said it is not yet bringing in its ‘plan B’ for England. Madeleine Finlay speaks to science correspondent Nicola Davis about what it could entail and whether it would help us avoid the need for more stringent and longer-lasting measures down the line
26th Oct 2021 - The Guardian

Queensland records two new community COVID-19 cases, a Gold Coast teenager and woman in home quarantine

The Queensland Premier says the new COVID-19 cases detected outside hotel quarantine are a reminder the state is "not immune to the pandemic". Annastacia Palaszczuk said one of the new cases was an unvaccinated 17-year-old boy from the Gold Coast who had contact with a COVID-positive case that had travelled from New South Wales. Another was a woman in her 30s from Melbourne, who was in home quarantine. A third case — a truck driver from Gympie who travelled to Bundaberg — tested positive in NSW and will be counted as part of that state's figures.
26th Oct 2021 - ABC News

Ukraine registers record daily number of COVID-19 deaths

Ukraine reported another record daily number of COVID-19 deaths Tuesday as vaccinations in the nation of 41 million people lags. Ukraine's Health Ministry registered 734 deaths in 24 hours, raising the country's pandemic death toll to 64,936. Ukrainians can freely choose between the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna AstraZeneca and Sinovac vaccines, but just about 16% of the population has been fully vaccinated, Europe s second-lowest rate after Armenia
26th Oct 2021 - The Independent

COVID-19 cases spike in Belgium; govt poised for action

Coronavirus indicators are shooting upward in Belgium pushing the government on Tuesday to consider re-imposing some pandemic measures that it only relaxed a few weeks ago. Daily infections in the nation of 11 million increased 75% to reach 5,299 case on a daily basis last week. Hospitalizations have increased by 69% to reach 102 daily cases. Deaths have increased slightly, with an average of 13 a day. To turn around this trend, the government and regional officials are set to decide later Tuesday to boost measures again, although stopping well short of a going into a lockdown. Indications are that authorities are looking at increased mandatory use of face masks and virus passports.
26th Oct 2021 - The Independent

Half of children in hospital in Scotland with Covid-19 hospitalised 'because of' the virus

The figures, disclosed to The Scotsman via Freedom of Information legislation, stem from Public Health Scotland’s own analysis of patients in hospital who were considered Covid-19 patients. Over ten months between September 2020 and June this year, the average percentage of under-18s in hospital because of Covid-19 rather than simply with the disease sat at 52 per cent. This is defined as being an admission to hospital with Covid-19 being the “primary diagnostic position within the first episode of the stay”, with the figure rising to as high as 64 per cent in September and October, and as low as 33 per cent in February. In June, health secretary Humza Yousaf was criticised for allegedly “scaremongering” parents around the risk posed by Covid-19 to children after he claimed ten children had been hospitalised “because of Covid” during a row about the reopening of soft-play areas in Scotland. He later said he regretted if the statement had caused undue alarm among parents, and was slapped on the wrist by the statistics regulator for the use of “inaccurate” figures which were not available to the public.
26th Oct 2021 - The Scotsman


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Some Russian regions shut workplaces as daily COVID-19 cases hit new peak

Russia reported its highest single-day COVID-19 case tally since the start of the pandemic on Monday as some regions imposed a workplace shutdown to combat a surge in infections and deaths. Faced with worsening disease rates and frustrated by the slow take-up of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine by its own population, authorities are introducing stricter measures this week to try to slow the spread of the pandemic. President Vladimir Putin last week declared that Oct. 30 to Nov. 7 would be paid non-working days but said every region could extend that period or start it earlier depending on the epidemiological situation.
25th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Dutch consider new coronavirus curbs as infections soar

The Dutch government may impose new coronavirus restrictions to reduce pressure on hospitals struggling to deal with a swelling number of COVID-19 patients, Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said on Monday. Coronavirus infections in the Netherlands have been rising for a month and reached their highest level since July in recent days, after most social distancing measures were dropped in late September. The new wave of infections has driven up the number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals faster than predicted this month, De Jonge said, and many hospitals are already cutting back regular care again to deal with coronavirus cases.
25th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19: Cases could fall in November without the need to implement Plan B, modelling suggests

Coronavirus cases could fall in November without the need to implement Plan B, according to scientists. Modelling seen by the Government suggests cases could peak before falling sharply in the winter months - without having to introduce Plan B restrictions such as compulsory face masks, vaccine passports and working from home. It is understood ministers have seen forecasts by several groups, with cases dropping to around 5,000 a day before Christmas in one scenario, the Daily Telegraph reports. Professor John Edmunds, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and a member of Sage, said: "When we were doing the work about two weeks ago, the Health Secretary had made it very clear that the government was not planning to introduce Plan B in the near future.
25th Oct 2021 - Evening Standard

Russia's COVID-19 cases hit record as some regions impose curbs

Russia reported its highest single-day COVID-19 case tally since the start of the pandemic on Monday as some regions imposed a workplace shutdown to combat a surge in infections and deaths. Faced with worsening disease rates and frustrated by the slow take-up of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine by its own population, authorities are introducing stricter measures this week to try to slow the spread of the pandemic.
25th Oct 2021 - Reuters

New Zealand reports second-highest daily COVID-19 cases in pandemic

New Zealand reported 109 new locally acquired coronavirus cases on Monday, the bulk of them in its largest city, Auckland, as the country saw its second-worst day of daily infections since the pandemic began. Once the poster child for stamping out COVID-19, New Zealand has been unable to beat an outbreak of Delta variant of COVID-19 centred in Auckland, despite the city remaining under a strict lockdown for more than two months. The country over the weekend also reported the first community case of the virus in its South Island in nearly a year, a cause for further headache, though health officials said the risks of a further spread from the case remained low.
25th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Dutch government looking at reintroducing COVID-19 measures

The Dutch government is seeking advice from a panel of experts on whether it needs to reintroduce COVID-19 restrictions amid sharply rising infection rates, the health minister said Monday. The Netherlands has one of the fastest-rising infection rates in Europe. The 7-day rolling average of daily new cases increased over the past two weeks from 13.43 new cases per 100,000 people to 29.27 new cases per 100,000 people on Oct. 24. “It’s just going too fast. We have to face up to the fact that the numbers are rising faster and sooner than expected,” Health Minister Hugo De Jonge told reporters in The Hague. He said hospital admissions also are rising faster than anticipated when the government relaxed its lockdown last month.
25th Oct 2021 - The Associated Press

New Virus Cases Hitting Faster Than Ever Challenge China’s Covid-Zero Strategy

China has driven Covid-19 cases back to zero three times over the past five months, but outbreaks are flaring more frequently than ever before, raising questions about how long the nation can persist with a strategy that’s leaving it increasingly isolated. The gaps between major outbreaks in China have fallen from around two months in the second half of last year to as little as 12 days since May, when the country saw its first delta cases. While China is still able to drive locally-transmitted infections back to nil, the amount of time virus-free is getting shorter, data on daily cases compiled by Bloomberg News shows. It’s becoming a showdown between a containment regime that’s arguably the world’s most comprehensive -- featuring sealed borders, mass testing, exhaustive contact tracing and strict rules governing travel and movement -- and a pathogen that’s becoming more adept at penetrating those defenses designed to stop transmission.
25th Oct 2021 - Bloomberg

COVID cases in Eastern Europe surpass 20m as outbreak worsens

Coronavirus cases in Eastern Europe have surpassed 20 million, according to a Reuters tally on Sunday, as the region grapples with its worst outbreak since the pandemic started and inoculation efforts lag. Countries in the region have the lowest vaccination rates in Europe, with less than half of the population having received a single dose. Hungary tops the region’s vaccination rates with 62 percent of its population having received at least one shot, whereas Ukraine has given just 19 percent of its residents a single dose, according to Our World in Data. New infections in the region have steadily risen and now average at least 83,700 new cases per day, the highest level since November last year, Reuters data through Friday showed. Although it has just four percent of the world’s population, Eastern Europe accounts for roughly 20 percent of all new cases reported globally.
24th Oct 2021 - AlJazeera


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China warns of further spread in latest COVID-19 flare-up

China's latest COVID-19 outbreak is increasingly likely to spread further, a health official said on Sunday, as authorities urged all regions to step up monitoring and called for a reduction in travel across provinces. China has largely contained the virus but it is determined to stamp out any sporadic local outbreaks, particularly in the run-up to the 2022 Winter Olympics in February. More than 100 locally transmitted cases have been confirmed over the last week across 11 provincial areas, with most linked to 13 different tour groups.
24th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19: Five more deaths and 1,061 new coronavirus cases

Five Covid-19-related deaths have been reported in Northern Ireland on Sunday. Deaths are measured by recording those who died within 28 days of receiving a positive result in a test for coronavirus. The total number of deaths linked to Covid-19 in Northern Ireland since the start of the pandemic is 2,661. Another 1,061 cases of coronavirus were reported in Northern Ireland on Sunday, down from 1,323 on Saturday. That includes cases confirmed from samples taken in recent days, not necessarily just in the latest 24-hour reporting period.
24th Oct 2021 - BBC News

Singapore PM Lee rules out indefinite Covid-19 lockdown

Singapore cannot go into an indefinite lockdown and stand still, but also cannot “simply let go and let things rip”, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has said. "We have to travel this road to get to living safely with Covid-19. We want to get there with as few casualties as possible,” Lee said in a Facebook post on Saturday. Singapore’s multi-ministry task force announced on Saturday a slew of measures for the effective opening up of the affluent city-state. These include requiring vaccination for all staff returning to the workplace from Jan 1, 2022, as well as adding China's Sinovac to the national vaccination programme and expanding the home recovery scheme to certain pregnant women, The Straits Times newspaper reported. The task force is co-chaired by Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong, Finance Minister Lawrence Wong and Health Minister Ong Ye Kung.
24th Oct 2021 - Hindustan Times

New Zealand's coronavirus outbreak spreads to South Island

New Zealand reported 104 new coronavirus infections on Saturday, including the first community case of the virus in the country's South Island in nearly a year, health officials said. Most of the new infections were reported in Auckland, New Zealand's largest city that has been under a strict lockdown for more than two months. Looser restrictions are in place in most of the rest of the country of 5 million. The risks of a further spread from the case reported in Blenheim, in the north east of the South Island, remained low, health officials said, with the person likely in the late stage of infection.
24th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Britain reports highest weekly COVID-19 cases since July

Britain recorded the highest number of new cases of COVID-19 since July over the past week, government figures showed on Saturday, a day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson played down the prospect of a return to lockdown. Some 333,465 people in Britain tested positive for COVID-19 over the past seven days, up 15% on the previous week and the highest total since the seven days to July 21. Daily figures showed there were 44,985 new cases on Saturday, down from 49,298 on Friday. Daily death figures were only available for England, and showed 135 fatalities within 28 days of a positive test.
24th Oct 2021 - Reuters UK

COVID-19: Nigeria records five deaths, 176 new cases Friday

Nigeria has recorded five additional fatalities from the coronavirus pandemic with 176 fresh cases reported across 11 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). This was contained in an update shared on the Facebook page of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) late Friday night. The data indicates that Nigeria’s total infection from the pandemic currently stands at 210,136 while the fatality toll stands at 2,855.
24th Oct 2021 - Premium Times

Egypt records new 883 COVID-19 cases, 46 deaths - EgyptToday

Egypt recorded Thursday 883 COVID-19 infections, and 46 deaths as well as 819 recoveries at isolation hospitals. As such, the total figures became 321,967 infections, 18,151 deaths, and 271,792 recoveries. Egypt’s Health Ministry said citizens will receive a booster anti-COVID-19 vaccine jab a year or more after receiving the original two doses. President's Consultant for Health Affairs Awad Tag el-Din stated in a phone-in Wednesday that 21 million citizens got 32 million doses of the anti-COVID-19 vaccine as a portion of them have not received the second dose yet.
24th Oct 2021 - Egypttoday

Covid 19 Delta outbreak: Whole raft of new locations of interest - including in Blenheim after South Island's first Delta case

Ministry of Health officials have tonight released a raft of new locations of interest after the South Island received its first case of the Delta Covid-19 variant. They include flights, shops, and service stations across Auckland, Northland, Te Awamutu, Hamilton, Rotorua, Wellington and Blenheim.
24th Oct 2021 - The New Zealand Herald

New variant? No masks? Here's what's driving the U.K.'s Covid surge

What a difference three months can make. On July 19, Britons celebrated as England marked "Freedom Day," seeing a near-full lifting of Covid-19 restrictions. Covid-related hospitalizations and deaths were relatively low, even if cases continued to rise, and the country's vaccination rollout was largely lauded as a success internationally. On Thursday, there were more than 50,000 infections recorded in the U.K. in a single day — the highest daily count since mid-July and a higher number than reported in Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Portugal combined. The country also saw 115 deaths, with Tuesday marking a daily death toll of 223 people — the highest since March.
23rd Oct 2021 - NBC News

Covid-19 Australia: Victoria records 1,750 cases and nine deaths on first weekend out of lockdown

Victoria has recorded 1,750 new Covid-19 cases and nine deaths overnight as residents celebrated their first weekend out of lockdown. Residents have been taking full advantage of their new freedoms to visit hair salons, retail stores, and cafes on Saturday. It comes after stay-at-home orders were lifted at 11.59pm on Thursday after the beleaguered state passed its 70 per cent Covid vaccination target. Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed the state was on track to reach its 80 per cent double-jab target by next weekend, paving the way for further restrictions to ease. The new cases announced on Saturday marks a significant drop in infections after 2,189 were recorded on Friday.
23rd Oct 2021 - Daily Mail

New Zealand’s Covid outbreak spreads to South Island

New Zealand has reported 104 new coronavirus infections, including the first community case of the virus in the country’s South Island in nearly a year, health officials said. Most of the new infections reportedon Saturday were in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city that has been under a strict lockdown for more than two months. Looser restrictions are in place in most of the rest of the country of 5 million. The risks of a further spread from the case reported in Blenheim, in the north-east of the South Island, remained low, health officials said, with the person likely in the late stage of infection.
23rd Oct 2021 - The Guardian

As Russia's COVID-19 toll surges, a Siberian hospital struggles to cope

The beds at the intensive care unit at this Siberian hospital rarely stay empty for long. Doctors at Hospital No. 2 in the Russian city of Biysk are having to cope with an unprecedented surge of coronavirus patients, many of whom are unvaccinated. Doctors at the hospital have to work up to three 24-hour shifts in a row. The work is much harder than during the first wave of the pandemic last year, deputy chief doctor Olga Kaurova said. "Last year we kept the numbers at 23-24 people. Today we have 65 people in intensive care," Kaurova told Tolk Channel, a local media outlet, on Wednesday. "Most of our patients in the ICU are not vaccinated."
23rd Oct 2021 - Reuters

Analysis: Vaccinated Singapore shows zero-COVID countries cost of reopening

Few are left to inoculate in wealthy Singapore after a vigorous campaign achieved a level of coverage envied by many nations battling the coronavirus pandemic, but a record surge in deaths and infections gives warning of risks that may still lie ahead. Despite mask mandates, strict social curbs and COVID-19 booster doses available for over a month, infections in the Asian city-state's latest outbreak, driven by the Delta variant, took the death toll to 280, up from 55 early in September. "Singapore may potentially experience two to three epidemic waves as measures are increasingly relaxed," said Alex Cook, a disease modelling expert at the National University of Singapore (NUS).
23rd Oct 2021 - Reuters

German Covid-19 infections at highest since mid-May

Germany recorded the highest incidence of coronavirus infections since mid-May on Saturday, reaching the threshold of 100 cases per 100,000 in the past seven days that used to be the yardstick for imposing a strict lockdown. However, Health Minister Jens Spahn noted that Germany could cope much better now due to vaccination, although he said restrictions like mask wearing and limits on indoor activity for unvaccinated people would stay until next spring. The seven-day incidence rate of cases – which until August was used to decide whether to impose more stringent COVID-19 curbs – rose to 100 on Saturday from 95 on Friday, the Robert Koch Institute responsible for disease control said.
23rd Oct 2021 - Cyprus Mail

COVID-19 cases recorded in eastern Europe hit 20 million

The number of coronavirus infections recorded so far in eastern Europe surpassed 20 million on Sunday, according to a Reuters tally, as the region grapples with its worst outbreak since the pandemic started and inoculation efforts lag. Countries in the region have the lowest vaccination rates in Europe, with less than half of the population having received a single dose. Hungary tops the region's vaccination rates with 62% of its population having gotten at least one shot, whereas Ukraine has given just 19% of its residents a single dose, according to Our World in Data.
23rd Oct 2021 - Reuters

Russia Reports Another Day of Record Virus Deaths, Infections

Russia registered its highest number of daily coronavirus deaths and new cases since the start of the pandemic Friday as authorities across the country scramble to impose partial lockdowns and other restrictions to thwart the spread of the virus in the coming weeks. The government’s coronavirus information center reported a double record of 1,064 new fatalities and 37,141 new infections over the past 24 hours. Russia has repeatedly broken new all-time highs for Covid-19 deaths over the past month amid stubbornly low vaccination rates. It is currently reporting the second-highest number of daily fatalities in the world after the United States.
22nd Oct 2021 - The Moscow Times

A Resurgent Covid-19 Means Another Tough Winter Could Be Coming

Restaurants and hair salons are shut. Schooling is remote. People are stuck at home after 8 p.m. At least one country in Europe has already returned to full-on crisis mode as Covid flares anew from the U.K. to Russia to Singapore. Latvia’s response is the most extreme, but the Baltic nation isn’t alone in grappling with a coronavirus surge reminiscent of 2020. Britain, which inoculated residents early and dropped most Covid curbs, is now seeing the most cases since July. In Germany, they’re at the highest since May. In countries where vaccination rates are lagging behind, the situation is worse. With Covid deaths at record levels in Russia, Moscow is headed for a lockdown this month. Romania has run out of intensive-care beds.
22nd Oct 2021 - Bloomberg


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Covid-19: Four more deaths as 1,051 new cases recorded

Another four people have died after contracting Covid-19, the Department of Health has confirmed. The total number of deaths since the pandemic began now stands at 2,639. A further 1,051 cases of the virus were recorded in the latest 24-hour reporting period. As of this morning, there were 357 Covid-19 confirmed patients in hospital and 35 in intensive care. Of these, 25 are on ventilators. Hospitals in the north are over capacity by 224 beds.
21st Oct 2021 - The Irish News

New Zealand's COVID-19 cases hit record for second time this week

New Zealand reported record daily COVID-19 cases for the second time in three days on Thursday, as the Delta variant continued to spur a spike in infections in the country's biggest city, Auckland. Authorities reported 102 new COVID-19 infections, of which 94 were in Auckland, taking the total number of cases in the current outbreak to 2,260. There have been 28 deaths in total since the pandemic began and 46 people are currently hospitalised because of the virus. New Zealand had stayed largely virus-free for most of the pandemic until the Delta outbreak in mid-August that has spread across Auckland and neighbouring regions, prompting tight restrictions on some 1.7 million Aucklanders that were extended further this week.
21st Oct 2021 - Reuters

Singapore extends restrictions after reporting highest single-day Covid-19 deaths

Singapore will extend its Covid-19 restrictions for another month after the city-state reported 18 new deaths from the disease on Wednesday, its highest number of the pandemic. In a news release Thursday, Singapore's Ministry of Health said current measures would be extended to November 21, to help contain case numbers, which rose by more than 3,800 on Wednesday. "Unfortunately, given the continuing pressures on our healthcare system, more time is needed for the situation to stabilise," the ministry said in its statement, adding hospitals were braced for "a sustained, heavy patient load." "(The ministry) is doing whatever we can to support and bolster the hospitals," the statement said.
21st Oct 2021 - CNN

Belgium braces for another surge in COVID-19 cases

Belgium's government warned Thursday that the country could well be on the cusp of another major surge in COVID-19 cases despite its high vaccination rate. Though the government recently relaxed the mandatory use of facemasks, it is again starting to encourage the population to use them to counter a rise in cases reminiscent of the first three surges of the past 1 1/2 years. “We are clearly in a fourth wave,” Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke told the VRT network. “We will see a major increase in infections and, unfortunately, hospital admissions.” The government has this month loosened some restrictions, including allowing for more indoor events and dropping requirements for customers to wear masks in bars.
21st Oct 2021 - The Independent

Russia reports cases of more contagious COVID-19 Delta subvariant

Russia has reported "isolated cases" of COVID-19 with a subvariant of the Delta variant that is believed to be even more contagious, the state consumer watchdog's senior researcher said on Thursday. The researcher, Kamil Khafizov, said the AY.4.2 subvariant may be around 10% more infectious than the original Delta - which has driven new cases and deaths to a series of record daily highs in Russia - and could ultimately replace it. However, he said this was likely to be a slow process.
21st Oct 2021 - Reuters

Deep within the UK’s shocking Covid data, there may be reasons for optimism

John Edmunds, a member of Sage and professor in the faculty of epidemiology and population health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said while the epidemic has looked relatively stable over the past few months, “this has masked large changes under the surface, with rises and falls in levels of immunity in different age groups being generated by different processes – levels of immunity are rapidly increasing in children due to sky-high infection rates, whereas immunity is falling in older age groups who were vaccinated earlier in the year”.He added: “How these dynamics play out is very difficult to predict right now, but it is clear that speeding up the vaccine rollout in children and boosters in adults will help both in the short and longer term.”
21st Oct 2021 - The Guardian

Ukraine hits all-time death record amid vaccine hesitancy

Coronavirus infections and deaths in Ukraine surged to all-time highs Thursday amid a laggard pace of vaccination, with overall inoculations among the lowest in Europe. Ukrainian authorities reported 22,415 new confirmed infections and 546 deaths in the past 24 hours, the highest numbers since the start of the pandemic. Authorities have blamed a spike in infections on a slow pace of vaccination in the nation of 41 million. Ukrainians can choose between Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Sinovac vaccines, but only about 15% of the population is fully vaccinated, Europe’s lowest level after Armenia.
21st Oct 2021 - The Associated Press


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Russia Orders People Not to Go to Work as Covid-19 Deaths Mount

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered people to stay off work for at least a week while Latvia has introduced a monthlong Covid-19 lockdown as deaths climb, driving renewed fears of another wave of infections as winter sets in. Mr. Putin signed a decree Wednesday approving a period of nonworking days, as the government calls them, beginning Oct. 30 and stretching to Nov. 7 to encourage people to stay home and slow the spread of the virus. Regional governments where infection rates are especially virulent can speed up or prolong the measures, with employers continuing to pay their staffs as they stay home. Latvia, which until recently had outperformed other European countries in containing the virus, on Monday announced a slate of strict measures, including a nationwide 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew and closures of schools and nonessential retail after the seven-day average of deaths in the tiny Baltic state more than doubled last week.
20th Oct 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

New Covid Restrictions Cast Doubt on Bigger Russia Rate Hike

The Kremlin’s new stay-at-home order to curb surging cases of Covid-19 has raised questions about whether the Bank of Russia will deliver a big interest-rate increase at its meeting Friday. “There is a new uncertainty with those non-working days,” said Oleg Vyugin, a former senior central bank official. “I used to think they they will raise by 50 basis points, but now, with the new circumstances, I began to have doubts. It could be 25 basis points as well.” President Vladimir Putin Wednesday approved a government plan to declare Oct. 30 to Nov. 7 as “non-working days” nationally -- with some hard-hit regions starting a week earlier -- as new cases and deaths reach records. The restrictions would be the most sweeping since at least May and could be extended further.
20th Oct 2021 - Bloomberg

Expert blames reliance on AstraZeneca jab, waning immunity for UK case coronavirus rise

Waning immunity provided by coronavirus vaccines combined with the U.K.’s early reliance on the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine has contributed to the current spike in cases, which are close to reaching the 50,000-per-day mark, one of the county’s top epidemiologists said Tuesday. The U.K.’s speedy rollout of vaccines has meant that those vaccinated early on are now experiencing waning immunity, Neil Ferguson, director of Imperial College London’s MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis, told the BBC’s Today program. “How early we were means we were a little bit more vulnerable,” he said. The country’s reliance on the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine that “protects slightly less well than Pfizer against infection and transmission” is another factor in the increase in cases being seen in the country.
20th Oct 2021 - POLITICO Europe

Number of patients with Covid-19 in ICUs increases

The chair of the National Public Health Emergency Team's Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group has said there has been a very large number of admissions to intensive care. At a NPHET briefing, Professor Philip Nolan said 14 people were admitted to ICU in the last day, bringing the total number to 86. He said there has been a slow increase in the number in intensive care from 60 four weeks ago, to 74 on average over the last week. Case counts have continued to grow, with the seven-day moving average increased from around 1,100 coming into October, to 1,889 today.
20th Oct 2021 - RTE.ie

Senegal logs zero new COVID-19 cases for first time since pandemic began

Senegal recorded zero new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday for the first time since the pandemic began, the health ministry said. The West African country had its worst wave of coronavirus in July, when it was recording more than 1,000 new cases a day. The health ministry has registered 73,875 cases and 1,873 deaths since the outbreak began. Sixteen patients are still under treatment, the ministry said. Senegal has been seen as a positive example of a country managing COVID-19 well despite limited resources.
20th Oct 2021 - Reuters

The UK has more new Covid-19 cases than France, Germany, Italy and Spain combined

The UK's attitude towards Covid-19 has changed beyond recognition. Virtually all of England's restrictions were lifted in July, with the events and hospitality sectors returning to full capacity as Johnson urged Britons to "begin to learn to live with this virus." But the Delta variant -- more transmissible still than the Alpha strain which wrecked last year's festivities -- has not gone away. The country has quietly endured stubbornly high cases, hospitalizations and deaths when compared to the rest of Europe. Britain has registered nearly half a million cases in the past two weeks -- and almost 50,000 on Monday -- more than France, Germany, Italy and Spain combined. The UK reported 223 deaths on Tuesday, the highest daily figure since early March.
20th Oct 2021 - CNN

WHO: Europe the only region with rise in COVID-19 last week

The World Health Organization said there was a 7% rise in new coronavirus cases across Europe last week, the only region in the world where cases increased. In its weekly assessment of the pandemic released late Tuesday, the U.N. health agency said there were about 2.7 million new COVID-19 cases and more than 46,000 deaths last week, similar to the numbers reported the previous week. Britain Russia and Turkey accounted for the most cases. The biggest drop in COVID-19 cases were seen in Africa and the Western Pacific, where infections fell by about 18% and 16%, respectively. The number of deaths in Africa also declined by about a quarter, despite the dire shortage of vaccines on the continent. Other regions including the Americas and the Middle East, reported similar numbers to the previous week, WHO said.
20th Oct 2021 - The Independent

Another lockdown is possible if Government continues to ignore UK’s rising Covid cases, Sage scientist warns

The UK could be heading for another lockdown if ministers keep “ignoring Covid” and don’t put further restrictions in place, a Government adviser has warned. Stephen Reicher, professor of psychology at the University of St Andrews and a member of the Government’s Sage subcommittee advising on behavioural science – the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling operational sub-group (SPI-M-O) – slammed the Government’s current policy to fight Covid-19 as new daily infections reached 49,156 on Monday. He accused the Government of watching Covid “rage” in the UK as ministers “do nothing about it”.
20th Oct 2021 - iNews

Poland considers drastic steps to tackle COVID 'explosion'

Poland is facing an explosion of COVID-19 cases that may require drastic action, the health minister said on Wednesday, after more than 5,000 daily new infections were reported for the first time since May. Central Europe has suffered a surge in COVID-19 cases over recent days, fuelling fears that vaccination rates that are lower than in the west of the continent could fan a damaging fresh wave of infections. About 61% of adult Poles are fully vaccinated, below an EU average of just over 74%.
20th Oct 2021 - Reuters

UK hospitals on the edge as government resists fresh COVID measures

Britain's health minister Sajid Javid on Wednesday resisted calls from doctors for a return of restrictions to halt a rising wave of COVID-19 infections, but gave a stark warning they would be brought back if people did not take up vaccination offers. Britain reported 223 new deaths from COVID-19 on Tuesday, the highest daily figure since March, and cases are the highest in Europe, with nearly 50,000 new infections reported on Wednesday. The government's plan is to rely on vaccines and drugs to limit the impact of the virus this winter, instead of bringing in restrictions or any more lockdowns, having already shut the economy three times
20th Oct 2021 - Reuters UK


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Romania Reports Highest Daily Covid-19 Cases, Deaths on Record

Romania reported the highest number of deaths from Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic, forcing the country to seek assistance from the World Health Organization in an attempt to limit the burden on already overwhelmed hospitals. The country is paying the price for having the European Union’s second-lowest vaccination rate, reporting 561 fatalities in the past 24 hours. That brings the toll to more than 42,000. New infections, at almost 19,000 since Monday, also reached a new high. A crisis expert from the WHO will meet in the coming days with the Romanian authorities to try to find solutions to the escalating situation. President Klaus Iohannis, government officials and health experts will on Wednesday also discuss potential tougher restrictions to try to limit the spread of the virus and the loss of life.
19th Oct 2021 - Bloomberg

Ireland Slows Reopening Plan as Coronavirus Cases Increase

Ireland’s government moved to further loosen pandemic restrictions, though it will retain more rules than planned amid a surge in cases and hospitalizations. Bars and restaurants will be allowed to resume normal opening hours, but they will still be limited to table service only and customers will need to show proof of vaccination. Full attendance will be permitted at outdoor events and religious ceremonies, though indoor concerts must be all seated. Other restrictions -- including social distancing and masks -- are set to remain in place until at least February, while a full return to the office won’t happen until next year.
19th Oct 2021 - Bloomberg

China Outbreak Tied to Rule-Breaking Couple Reaches Beijing

China’s latest Covid-19 outbreak, centered around a rule-breaking elderly couple enjoying China’s tourist sites, has now spread to the closely-guarded capital city of Beijing and possibly beyond. The flareup that surfaced over the weekend has been tied to two retired university lecturers from Shanghai who started a road trip with several others through the nation’s scenic northwestern provinces in early October, according to media reports. The pathogen proliferated, sparking a handful of local cases in northwestern provinces in recent days. One traveler from Gansu -- a close contact of an infected patient -- was diagnosed in Beijing on Monday. It’s the city’s first case since a widespread outbreak caused by the highly infectious delta variant this summer prompted officials to scrap travel there to stop further transmission. Authorities have now sealed off apartment buildings and other related venues, according to a statement Tuesday from local health officials.
19th Oct 2021 - Bloomberg

As Covid cases drop in Georgia and Florida, some states with colder weather see an increase

Southern states, many of which have been hotspots, are now starting to see a decrease in Covid-19 cases while many states that have started experiencing cold weather -- mostly in the North and Midwest -- are seeing an uptick, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. New cases in Georgia and Florida are down 37% and 25%, respectively, compared to last week, JHU data showed. Both states had among the 10 lowest case rates in the past week. But a handful of states -- in regions where cold weather has set in -- are seeing an increase. This pattern is similar to what happened last year.
19th Oct 2021 - CNN

Romania's COVID-19 deaths hit record as intensive care beds run out

Romania reported record numbers of daily coronavirus deaths and infections on Tuesday, as a hospital system stretched to breaking point by the EU's second-lowest vaccination rate ran out of intensive care beds. New infections in the preceding 24 hours topped 18,800 while 574 people died of the virus, official data showed. With emergency beds fully occupied across the country, television footage from Bucharest hospitals showed patients lying on mattresses on the floor or holding oxygen tanks on crowded benches in hallways. Morgues were also running at full capacity.
19th Oct 2021 - Reuters

New Zealand reports record Covid cases as experts sound warning over health system

Case numbers in New Zealand are expected to continue to rise in the coming weeks. “We always know that a single day is just a point on a graph on a trend curve,” said epidemiologist prof Michael Baker. “But taken with the other points [we’ve seen], we’re going to be in three digits soon - if not tomorrow then this week, probably.” Health officials have so far been unable to link more than half of the cases announced on Tuesday to existing infections. The concerning rise in unlinked cases could indicate further, undetected spread in the community. Ardern said the outbreak had spread across the city, and there were now cases in 124 Auckland suburbs. “There’s not much margin for error at the moment, in terms of the race between our vaccination program and the outbreak,” said Shaun Hendy, an epidemiologist and modeler for Te Pūnaha Matatini, on whom the government has previously relied for outbreak modeling. “It could go either way at this stage. If we don’t see numbers starting to stabilize or pull down in a couple of weeks, it’s likely that we’re looking at a much longer outbreak.”
19th Oct 2021 - The Guardian

UK keeping a very close eye on rising COVID-19 infections - PM spokesperson

Britain's government is keeping a "very close eye" on rising level of COVID-19 infections, Prime Minister Boris Johnson's spokesperson said, after infections rose to the highest level since lockdown restrictions were eased in the summer. The number of cases in Britain are currently much higher than in other western European countries and have risen by more 60% in the last month. The spokesperson said Johnson told his cabinet that the government has a plan in place to deal with COVID and deaths from the disease are broadly flat.
19th Oct 2021 - Reuters UK

UK, Eastern Europe battle rising COVID

The UK government reported 49,156 cases today, up more than 15% from the previous week and the highest number since mid-July when the country was still in lockdown. Case rates are highest in those ages 10 to 19 and lowest in adults ages 80 and older, according to the country's Health Security Agency (HSA) weekly update. Hospital admissions rose slightly and were highest in people age 85 and older. In the HSA update, Incident Director William Welfare, MBBS, MPH, said case rates across the country are high are slowly rising. He urged people to take precautions as winter approaches, get vaccinated against COVID-19 and flu, and get tested if symptoms arise.
19th Oct 2021 - CIDRAP

New Zealand reports record daily cases as Delta spreads

New Zealand recorded on Tuesday the highest number of daily cases since the pandemic began last year, as the Delta variant of the coronavirus spreads in its biggest city Auckland. The South Pacific nation reported 94 new COVID-19 infections on Tuesday, of which 87 were in Auckland, taking the total number of cases in the current outbreak to 2,099. There have been 28 deaths in total due to COVID-19 and 38 people are hospitalised over the virus. Once the poster child for stamping out COVID-19, New Zealand has been fighting a Delta outbreak that has spread across Auckland and its neighbouring regions despite tough lockdown and border closures.
19th Oct 2021 - Reuters


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UK Covid cases near 50,000 in one day as No 10 warns of ‘challenging’ winter

Downing Street has warned of “challenging” months ahead as UK coronavirus cases reached their highest level since mid-July. The reported number of Covid cases in the UK increased steadily through October and reached 49,156 on Monday, the highest reported since 17 July and a 16% rise in new cases over the past week. The figure is only 19,000 cases short of the peak number of cases ever recorded in the UK. On 8 January 2021, 68,053 new cases were reported at the height of the most devastating wave of the pandemic last winter. The prime minister’s official spokesperson said a rise in coronavirus cases was expected over the winter and that the government would keep a “close watch” on the statistics.
18th Oct 2021 - The Guardian

Britain reports highest number of COVID-19 cases since mid-July

Britain reported the highest number of new COVID-19 cases in three months on Monday as the number of infections reached levels last seen when lockdown restrictions were in place in England during the summer. Infection numbers in Britain are currently much higher than in other western European countries and have risen more 60% in the last month. Government data showed there were 49,156 new cases of coronavirus, up from 45,140 on Sunday, and the highest daily total since July 17.
18th Oct 2021 - Reuters UK

Colin Powell dies of COVID-19 complications, was fully vaccinated

Colin L. Powell, the first Black secretary of state and a key figure in Republican administrations, died Monday of complications from COVID-19, his family said. The 84-year-old’s family announced the news on Facebook, saying he was “fully vaccinated.” “We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American,” the family said on Facebook about the retired four-star Army general.
18th Oct 2021 - Washington Times

Covid-19: India reports 13,596 fresh cases in 24 hours, lowest in 230 days

India reported 13,596 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, the lowest in 230 days, according to the latest Covid-19 bulletin of the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) on Monday. It was 3.9 per cent lower than what the country had witnessed a day before. The total caseload in India has now reached 3,40,81,315. The top five states which registered maximum cases are Kerala with 7,555 cases, followed by Maharashtra with 1,715 cases, Tamil Nadu with 1,218 cases, West Bengal with 624 cases and Odisha with 443 cases.
18th Oct 2021 - India Today

The ACT has recorded 17 new cases of COVID-19 as 80 per cent vaccination milestone is reached

The ACT has reached 80 per cent full vaccination coverage of Canberrans aged 12 and over. ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr made the announcement this afternoon, and said the high vaccination rate will trigger the next stage of the COVID-19 roadmap. "Details of the next step will be outlined tomorrow," he said. The milestone comes as 17 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases were recorded in the ACT. Eleven of today's cases can be linked to a known source. There are 17 people in hospital with the virus — nine of those are in intensive care, with seven people requiring ventilation.
18th Oct 2021 - ABC News

Covid-19 Australia: Victoria records 1,903 cases as state prepares to leave lockdown

Victoria has recorded 1,903 new Covid-19 cases and seven deaths overnight as the state prepares for an early exit from its long-running sixth lockdown. Phones will be running hot for pubs, hairdressers and restaurants on Monday as fully vaccinated Melburnians race for a taste of freedom. From 11.59pm on Thursday, all restrictions for leaving home will be abolished, along with the city's nightly curfew. The state is also preparing to scrap hotel quarantine for international travellers fully vaccinated against Covid-19. However, Premier Daniel Andrews says Victoria will not follow NSW in abolishing quarantine altogether for double-dosed international arrivals from November 1.
18th Oct 2021 - Daily Mail

Russia COVID-19 cases hit record daily high as deaths spike with infection surge and sluggish vaccine rollout

Russia has reported a record number of new coronavirus infections in the last 24 hours with cases hitting 34,303 - the highest since the pandemic began. It represents a hike of more than 70% when compared with last month's figure of 20,174. Meanwhile, the number of daily COVID deaths in Russia stood at 997 - just five fewer than the record-high of 1,002 seen the previous day.
18th Oct 2021 - Sky News

COVID-19: UK records 57 more coronavirus-related deaths and 45,140 new cases, daily figures show

The UK has recorded 45,140 new cases of COVID-19 and 57 virus-related deaths in the latest 24-hour period, government figures show. It marks the fifth consecutive day the number of people testing positive for coronavirus across the country has exceeded 40,000. On Saturday, official data showed 148 deaths and 43,423 infections had been recorded and this time last week 38 fatalities were reported along with 34,574 positive cases.
18th Oct 2021 - Sky News


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Fauci dismayed by Texas’ move to ban mandates

Dr. Anthony Fauci is saying Sunday that it is “really unfortunate” that Gov. Greg Abbott has moved to ban vaccine mandates in the state of Texas. The nation’s leading infectious disease doctor, speaking on Fox News Sunday, said that the Republican governor’s decision to block businesses from requiring inoculations would damage public health since vaccines are the “most effective means” to stop the spread of COVID-19. Fauci was largely encouraged by the downward trend of coronavirus hospitalizations and deaths across the nation and suggested that vaccinated individuals could have a normal holiday season with others who have received the shot. But he said that those who have not been vaccinated should continue to avoid gatherings and should wear a mask.
17th Oct 2021 - Associated Press

COVID cases in Melbourne detention hotel

An asylum seeker inside a Melbourne hotel being used as an "alternative place of detention" by the Australian Border Force says detainees are frustrated and scared after three of them tested positive for COVID-19. Mustafa Salah, 23, has spent the better part of eight years inside Australian detention facilities offshore and within its borders. He's now in the Park Hotel in Melbourne where he says detainees found out on Sunday that three people had tested positive for COVID-19 and others were also showing symptoms. "We don't know what to do," Mr Salah told AAP. "We are always together ... we sit together, eat together, we really don't know what to do."
17th Oct 2021 - The Canberra Times

NSW records 319 new COVID cases as state hits 80 per cent double-dose vaccination

NSW has recorded 319 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday as the state hit its 80 per cent double-dose vaccination target. Fully vaccinated NSW residents will on Monday have expanded freedoms, including being able to participate in community sport and having up to 20 visitors in their homes. Other relaxed restrictions at 80 per cent include the removal of a cap on guests at weddings and funerals, masks no longer being required in offices, being able to drink while standing and dancing being permitted indoors and outdoors at hospitality venues. However, regional travel is no longer on the cards for Sydneysiders at the 80 per cent vaccination level – it has been pushed back to November 1 to allow regional vaccination to catch up to the rate in Sydney.
16th Oct 2021 - Sydney Morning Herald

WA contacts still waiting for test results after coming into contact with COVID-19-infected truck driver

Eight people who came into contact with a COVID-positive truck driver while he was in WA have not yet returned negative test results. Contract tracers today said they were still waiting for the test results of eight of the 70 close or casual contacts. The 10 close contacts have been instructed to self-quarantine for 14 days. The truck driver was “potentially infectious” while in WA between September 30 and October 3. He has since travelled to South Australia and is no longer in WA — but the risk to local residents has been described as “low”.
16th Oct 2021 - PerthNow

U.S. administers 406.6 mln doses of COVID-19 vaccines - CDC

The United States has administered 406,570,875 doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the country as of Friday morning and distributed 493,139,295 doses, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
15th Oct 2021 - Reuters


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CDC predicts continued declines in Covid-19 hospitalizations and deaths over next 4 weeks

Covid-19 deaths and hospitalizations are expected to decline over the next four weeks, according to ensemble forecasts from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published Wednesday. The latest forecast predicts 740,000 to 762,000 reported deaths by November 6. It's third consecutive week of a projected decrease in newly reported deaths. There have been more than 717,000 Covid-19 deaths in the US, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
14th Oct 2021 - CNN

Covid-19 infections are declining in the US. But hospitalizations are still high in some hotspots

While the rate of Covid-19 infections nationwide is slowing, health care systems in some parts of the country are struggling with hospital wings still packed with patients. Montana, for instance, is facing new highs this week in coronavirus hospitalizations, with 533 Covid-19 patients in hospitals as of Wednesday, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services. This eclipses the high set in November, before vaccines were readily available, according to HHS and data from the Covid Tracking Project. The percentages of ICU beds used for Covid-19 patients in Montana, along with neighboring Idaho and Wyoming, are among the highest in the country, HHS data showed.
14th Oct 2021 - CNN

Russia's daily COVID-19 cases, deaths surge to record highs

Russia called on pension-age doctors who quit during the pandemic for safety reasons to return to their jobs on Thursday as the authorities reported a record one-day tally of COVID-19 cases as well as a record number of deaths. The Kremlin has blamed the rising toll on Russia's slow vaccination campaign and has appealed to people to get the shot. Take-up has been slow, with many Russians citing distrust of the authorities and fear of new medical products. "In a situation where infections are growing, it is necessary to continue to explain to people that they must get vaccinated," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
14th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Hungary's daily COVID-19 cases rise above 1000 for first time during fourth wave of pandemic

Hungary reported 1,141 new COVID-19 infections on Thursday, with the number rising above 1,000 for the first time during the fourth wave of the pandemic, the government said. The virus has infected 831,866 people in the country of 10 million so far and killed 30,341. Nearly 5.7 million people have been fully vaccinated in Hungary and 948,000 people have already received a third, booster shot as well.
14th Oct 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19 cases surge among children after schools reopen - but drop among adults

Coronavirus infections among children increased in England last month after schools reopened, a study has found. The surge kept overall cases high even as COVID-19's prevalence among adults fell, the research showed. The epidemic was estimated to be growing among those under 17, with an R number estimated at 1.18, according to the REACT-1 study led by Imperial College London.
14th Oct 2021 - Sky News

Britain's COVID-19 situation stable - health minister

Britain's defences against COVID-19 are working and the pandemic situation is currently stable, health minister Sajid Javid said on Thursday. "Overall things feel quite stable at this point. The numbers are a bit up, a bit down over the last few weeks," he told Times Radio. "Our primary defences against this virus are working." Britain reported 42,776 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, the highest number since mid-July, and 136 more deaths within 28 days of a positive test, official data showed.
14th Oct 2021 - Reuters UK

COVID-19 cases in Australia's Victoria hit record daily high

Melbourne will exit months of COVID-19 lockdown next week helped by a faster-than-expected vaccine uptake, Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews said on Thursday, ahead of schedule even though daily infections hit a record the same day. In the worst day of an outbreak of the Delta variant coronavirus that began in early August, Victoria logged 2,297 new cases on Thursday, up from 1,571 the day before and the highest for any Australian state or territory since the pandemic began. Eleven people died, bringing the total toll in the latest outbreak to 125. But the surge comes as Victoria also nears the 70% threshold for double-dose vaccination among eligible adults - the level at which authorities have promised to end strict stay-home restrictions. That target was originally expected to be met on Oct. 26, and the vaccination level was 62% as of Thursday.
14th Oct 2021 - Reuters Australia

New Zealand reports biggest rise in COVID-19 cases in six weeks

New Zealand reported on Thursday its biggest rise in COVID-19 infections in six weeks, with all cases detected in Auckland, raising prospects of a further extension of lockdown restrictions in the country's largest city beyond next week. Some 1.7 million people in Auckland are under strict stay-home orders until Monday as officials look to stamp out the highly infectious Delta outbreak, the first major spate of community cases in the country since early in the pandemic. Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson said the surge in case numbers in Auckland was not unexpected "but they are rising more quickly," and blamed illegal home gatherings for the spike.
14th Oct 2021 - Reuters


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COVID-19 cases in Australia's Victoria hit record daily high

COVID-19 infections in Australia's Victoria hit a pandemic record on Thursday as Melbourne, the state capital, looks to exit its lockdown next week, several days ahead of plan, helped by a faster-than-expected vaccine uptake. The surge in daily cases comes as Victoria nears the 70% threshold for double-dose vaccinations among eligible adults, when authorities have promised to end a months-long lockdown, against the original Oct. 26 forecast.
14th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Russia sets new daily COVID-19 deaths record

Russia on Wednesday reported a new record of daily coronavirus deaths amid a slow vaccination rate and authorities' reluctance to tighten restrictions. The government coronavirus task force reported 984 coronavirus deaths over the past 24 hours, the pandemic's new high. The country has repeatedly marked record daily death tolls over the past few weeks as infections soared to near all-time highs, with 28,717 confirmed new cases reported Wednesday. The Kremlin has attributed the mounting contagion and deaths to a laggard vaccination rate. Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said Tuesday that about 43 million Russians, or about 29% of the country's nearly 146 million people, were fully vaccinated.
13th Oct 2021 - The Independent

New Zealand reports 55 new local COVID-19 cases

New Zealand on Wednesday reported 55 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19, the majority in the country's largest city of Auckland, up from 43 a day earlier. New Zealand had been largely virus-free, excluding a small cluster of cases in February, until a Delta outbreak in mid-August forced officials to impose a lockdown in Auckland. Officials are looking to end strict lockdown measures once 90% of the country's population over 12 is fully vaccinated. Some 2.49 million, or 59%, have had two doses so far.
13th Oct 2021 - Yahoo News


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Sydney COVID-19 cases ease further as focus shifts to reviving economy

Sydney's COVID-19 cases fell to the lowest in two months on Tuesday as authorities rolled out support measures for businesses, shifting their focus to rejuvenating the economy after the city exited a nearly four-month lockdown a day earlier. Pubs, cafes and retail stores reopened in New South Wales (NSW), home to Sydney, on Monday after vaccination levels in the state's adult population crossed 70%. New daily infections in the state fell to 360 on Tuesday, the majority in Sydney, marking a steady downward trend.
12th Oct 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19: 'Surges of illness' for 'months and perhaps even years to come', WHO expert warns

"Surges of illness" caused by COVID-19 are going to continue for "months and perhaps even years to come", the World Health Organization's (WHO) special envoy for the disease has warned. Speaking to Kay Burley, Dr David Nabarro said "the pandemic is very much with us all over the world right now", and those who have not been vaccinated will be particularly affected by spikes in illness. With government data showing the UK is recording more than 30,000 COVID-19 cases a day, Dr Nabarro warned that the "virus has not gone away" and is "continuing to mutate". "It's capable probably of causing all sorts of future problems", he said. He appeared on Sky News following the release of a highly critical report by MPs that found thousands of lives have been lost due to delays and mistakes by both government ministers and scientific advisers.
12th Oct 2021 - Sky News

California coronavirus death count tops 70,000 as cases fall

California’s coronavirus death toll reached another once-unfathomable milestone — 70,000 people — on Monday as the state emerges from the latest infection surge with the lowest rate of new cases among all states. Last year at this time, cases in the state started ticking up and by January California was in the throes of the worst spike of the pandemic and was the nation’s epicenter for the virus. Daily deaths approached 700. The latest surge started in summer and was driven by the delta variant that primarily targeted the unvaccinated. At its worst during this spike, California’s average daily death count was in the low 100s. Data collected by Johns Hopkins University showed the state with 70,132 deaths by midday Monday. It’s the most in the nation, surpassing Texas by about 3,000 and Florida by 13,000, although California’s per capita fatality rate of 177 per 100,000 people is well below the overall U.S. rate of 214.
12th Oct 2021 - The Associated Press


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60 Covid deaths, 10,035 new cases

Thailand logged 60 new Covid-19 fatalities and 10,035 new cases during the previous 24 hours, the Public Health Ministry announced on Monday morning. On Sunday, 10,590 Covid-19 patients were discharged from hospitals after recovering from the coronavirus. The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) on Monday afternoon welcomed the dip in the death toll, which has dropped by almost half from Sept 29.
11th Oct 2021 - Bangkok Post

Covid Vaccine and Pregnancy: 1 in 5 England Patients Are Unvaxxed Mothers To Be

Pregnant women who haven’t been vaccinated against Covid-19 account for almost 20% of critically ill coronavirus patients in England’s hospitals, according to the National Health Service. One in five patients receiving treatments through a special lung-bypass machine since July were expectant mothers who have not had their first shots, the NHS said in a statement Monday. Even though women will have concerns about having the vaccine during pregnancy, there exists no link between getting jabbed and an increased risk of miscarriage, premature birth or illness, according to Edward Morris, president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. “There is robust evidence showing that the vaccine is the most effective way to protect both mother and baby against the possibility of severe illness,” Morris said. Over 81,000 pregnant women in England have so far received their first dose, with 65,000 being fully vaccinated.
11th Oct 2021 - Bloomberg

1 in 5 critically ill coronavirus patients is pregnant, unvaccinated, England says

Unvaccinated pregnant women account for nearly 20 percent of the most critically ill coronavirus patients requiring lifesaving care in England in recent months, according to the country’s National Health Service. “Since July, one in five covid patients receiving treatment through a special lung-bypass machine were expectant mums who have not had their first jab,” the NHS said in a statement Monday. Out of all women between the ages of 16 and 49 being treated with a therapy called Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation — used only when a patient’s lungs are so damaged by the virus that a ventilator cannot maintain oxygen levels — pregnant women make up almost a third, up from just 6 percent at the start of the pandemic.
11th Oct 2021 - The Washington Post

Some children's hospitals see another surge in rare Covid-19 complication MIS-C

Scientists still don't know a lot about a rare and serious Covid-19 complication that impacts children, but what they do know is that when there is a surge of Covid-19 cases in their area, MIS-C cases will typically follow. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday it has seen a 12% increase in reports of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C, since late August. Doctors at a handful of children's hospitals around the country say they are still treating more MIS-C cases than they had been earlier in the year, even though MIS-C is considered rare. "We had a nice long break from those cases over the summer and even into the fall where we could get an occasional MIS-C case here and there, but in the last three or four weeks, there has definitely been an uptick.
11th Oct 2021 - CNN on MSN.com

Vietnam reports 3,619 new COVID-19 cases, 843,281 in total

Vietnam reported 3,619 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, including 3,617 locally transmitted and two imported, according to the country's Ministry of Health. Most of the community cases were detected in southern localities, including 1,527 in Ho Chi Minh City, 499 in Dong Nai province and 446 in Binh Duong province. The new infections brought the country's total tally to 843,281, with 20,670 deaths, the ministry said. Nationwide, as many as 784,748 COVID-19 patients have so far recovered, up 2,549 from Sunday, while over 54 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered, according to the ministry. As of Monday, Vietnam has registered a total of 838,653 locally transmitted COVID-19 cases since the start of the current wave in late April, the ministry said
11th Oct 2021 - Xinhua

Queensland records zero local cases of COVID-19, one in hotel quarantine, as state reaches 70pc first-dose mark

Queensland has recorded zero locally acquired cases of COVID-19, with just one case detected in hotel quarantine. It comes after a passenger who flew into Queensland without a valid border pass tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday. The area is not in lockdown, but some hospitality businesses are opting to return to takeaway in fear of rising cases. The local government area recorded 18 new cases on Monday, following 31 cases on Sunday, 13 on Saturday and 11 on Friday. The area takes in the regional cities of Drouin and Warragul, and neighbours the Latrobe Valley.
11th Oct 2021 - ABC News

COVID-19 cases rise in west Gippsland, as some cafes return to takeaway only

COVID-19 cases have jumped in Baw Baw in west Gippsland, with 62 cases since Friday. The area is not in lockdown, but some hospitality businesses are opting to return to takeaway in fear of rising cases. The local government area recorded 18 new cases on Monday, following 31 cases on Sunday, 13 on Saturday and 11 on Friday. The area takes in the regional cities of Drouin and Warragul, and neighbours the Latrobe Valley.
11th Oct 2021 - ABC News

The rate of Covid-19 cases is dropping nationally but rising in these 5 states

The big picture for Covid-19 in the US is looking a little brighter as new infections and hospitalizations decline. "That's the good news. And hopefully it's going to continue to go in that trajectory downward," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "But we just have to be careful we don't prematurely declare victory in many respects. We still have around 68 million people who are eligible to be vaccinated that have not yet gotten vaccinated," Fauci said Sunday. "If you look at the history of the surges and the diminutions in the cases over a period of time, they can bounce back."
11th Oct 2021 - CNN

Russia's new COVID-19 infections, deaths near all-time highs

Russia’s daily coronavirus infections and deaths hovered near all-time highs Monday amid sluggish vaccination rates and the Kremlin s reluctance to toughen restrictions. Russia s state coronavirus task force reported 29,409 new confirmed cases — the highest number since the year’s start and just slightly lower than the pandemic record reached in December. After registering the highest daily death toll since the start of the pandemic at 968 over the weekend, it reported 957 new deaths on Monday.
11th Oct 2021 - The Independent

COVID-19: Unvaccinated pregnant women make up one fifth of most critically ill coronavirus patients in England

Almost a fifth of the most critically ill COVID patients in England in recent months have been pregnant women, according to NHS England, which is urging expectant mothers to get their jabs. Figures show that between July 1 and September 30, 17% of patients receiving treatment through a lung-bypass machine were unvaccinated pregnant women. Expectant mothers accounted for 32% of all females aged between 16 and 49 in intensive care on ECMO - a medical technique used when a patient's lungs are so badly damaged that a ventilator cannot maintain oxygen levels.
11th Oct 2021 - Sky News


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