Covid-19 has infected over 385 million people and killed over 5.7 million worldwide. Here are some of the latest developments related to the coronavirus:
Thursday, February 3, 2022
WHO: Africa’s Covid jab rate must ‘six times’
Africa must increase the rate of vaccination against Covid-19 “six times” to reach the target of 70% vaccination coverage set for the end of the first half of 2022, said the World Health Organization (WHO) .
Africa has received “more than 587 million doses of vaccines”, but it “is still struggling to expand the roll-out, with only 11% of the population fully immunized”, explained the WHO regional office for the ‘Africa.
“The world has finally heard our calls. Africa now has access to the vaccines it has been asking for for far too long. This is a dose of hope for this year,” said Matsh idiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.
US to cover cost of over-the-counter Covid tests through Medicare
People enrolled in the U.S. government’s Medicare program can get free over-the-counter Covid-19 tests starting in early spring, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said.
The Biden administration introduced plans last month that require private insurance companies to cover the cost of eight over-the-counter home tests per person each month, but said nothing about that coverage for Medicare beneficiaries. .
Under the new coverage plan announced Thursday, Medicare and Medicare Advantage beneficiaries will be able to access eight free over-the-counter Covid-19 tests per month.
Infections in Greece exceed 2 million
With 17,662 new cases of Covid-19 confirmed in the past 24 hours, the virus count in Greece topped 2 million, the National Public Health Organization (EODY) said.
With 106 additional deaths linked, the number of people who have succumbed to the virus has risen to 23,833, according to EODY.
As many as 547 new coronavirus patients have been hospitalized, while 568 patients have been admitted to intensive care units.
The number of confirmed cases in France exceeds 20 million
The cumulative number of confirmed Covid-19 cases since the start of the outbreak has topped 20 million, according to Health Ministry data.
The ministry recorded 274,352 new infections, bringing the total to 20.15 million.
New Zealand to start easing tough Covid border controls
New Zealand will begin easing some of the world’s toughest pandemic border restrictions this month, but will not fully reopen until October, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said.
Ardern announced a five-step plan to reconnect New Zealand to the rest of the world, starting with waiving hotel quarantine requirements for its nationals stranded abroad by the pandemic.
“It’s time to move again,” said Ardern, who has recently come under pressure to ease border policies that have remained largely unchanged since the Covid-19 crisis began nearly two years ago.
German vaccine commission suggests Novavax for adults
Germany’s Expert Group on Vaccine Use (STIKO) said it would recommend Novavax’s protein-based Covid-19 vaccine as the first vaccine for people over 18.
He said a booster should be given with an mRNA vaccine, and particularly vulnerable people should also be given a second booster with an mRNA vaccine.
STIKO has also updated its booster recommendation and now advises people at risk and healthcare workers to get a second coronavirus booster with an mRNA vaccine.
Meanwhile, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the country’s disease control agency, has confirmed 236,120 new cases and 164 coronavirus-related deaths in the past day.
Russia records new record number of daily cases
Russia reported a record daily number of Covid-19 cases as the Omicron variant of the coronavirus spread across the country, authorities said.
New daily cases rose to 155,768 from 141,883 a day earlier. The government’s coronavirus task force also reported 667 deaths in the past 24 hours.
Sweden to lift pandemic restrictions next week
Sweden will lift pandemic restrictions next week as the country, while still experiencing record levels of infections, relies on growing immunity from booster shots and past infections and manageable levels of hospitalization to keep Covid- 19 remotely.
“It is time to reopen Sweden,” Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson told a news conference.
Sweden extended its current pandemic measures, which include the early closing of bars and restaurants and a cap of 500 people in larger indoor venues, for another two weeks at the end of January, but signaled they could be scrapped after that. .
Filipino leader Duterte self-isolates after exposure
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is self-isolating after being exposed last weekend to a member of his household staff who had Covid-19, but Duterte tested negative twice following the exposure, said his spokesperson.
The 76-year-old leader continues to work during his quarantine and remains in communication with members of his cabinet to address pressing issues and concerns related to the pandemic, cabinet secretary Karlo Nograles said.
Nograles confirmed social media reports that Duterte had visited Cardinal Santos Medical Center in the capital region’s San Juan district, but said the visit was for a ‘routine medical check-up only’ .
He did not say when Duterte went to the hospital or provide other details. Duterte was fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and received his booster last month.
Poland surpasses 5 million infections mark
Poland reported 54,477 new Covid-19 infections on Thursday and the total number of cases passed the 5 million mark, the health ministry said.
The number of Covid-related deaths rose by 307 to a total of 106,060 in the country of 38 million, which recently faced record numbers of daily infections as the Omicron variant spreads.
Brazil reports over 890 Covid deaths
Brazil has reported 893 deaths from Covid-19 and 172,903 new cases of the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours, according to the health ministry.
The South American country has now recorded 25,793,112 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic, while the official death toll has risen to 628,960.
Major airlines urge US to end international travel testing rules
Major airlines, businesses and travel groups have urged the White House to end pre-departure Covid-19 testing requirements for vaccinated international passengers traveling to the United States.
In a letter to the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, Jeff Zients, Airlines for America, the United States Chamber of Commerce, the Association of Aerospace Industries, the Travel Association of the United States and Other groups urgently called for the change, saying that “surveys of air passengers indicate that pre-departure testing is a determining factor in the decision not to travel abroad.
Mexico records 573 more deaths
Mexico has recorded 573 new coronavirus deaths, according to government data, bringing the total death toll in the country to 307,493.
US military fires soldiers who refuse to be vaccinated
The US military has announced it will begin dismissing soldiers who refuse to comply with a mandatory Covid-19 vaccination rule.
As of January 26, six senior officers, including two battalion commanders, had been removed from their posts for refusing to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
More than 3,000 troops could be fired, the statement said.
The army had 482,000 men in active service at the end of 2021.
Czechs drop Covid pass despite rising infections
Czechs will no longer have to present vaccination certificates at restaurants, cultural and sporting events from next week despite a spike in coronavirus infections, the prime minister has said.
Czechs would still have to wear face masks indoors and the number of attendees at mass events would be limited.
This increase brought the total number of confirmed cases since the Covid-19 outbreak in early 2020 to 3.1 million with more than 37,000 deaths.
Fortress New Zealand will reopen in phases
New Zealand has announced a phased reopening of its border which was largely closed for two years, but the travel and airline industry said much more was needed to revive the nation’s ailing tourism sector Pacific Islander.
New Zealanders vaccinated in Australia can return home from February 27 without having to self-isolate in state quarantine facilities, while New Zealand citizens from the rest of the world can do so two weeks later said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
Vaccinated foreign backpackers and some skilled workers will be allowed to enter the country from March 13, while New Zealand will allow up to 5,000 international students to enter from April 12.
Source: TRTWorld and agencies