Connect with us

Health

Worldwide COVID-19 cases surpass 500 million as omicron variant BA.2 surges 

Global COVID-19 cases surpassed 500 million on Thursday, according to a Reuters tally, as the highly contagious BA.2 sub-variant of omicron surges in many countries in Europe and Asia.
The rise of BA.2 has been blamed for recent surges in China as well as record infections in Europe. It has been called the “stealth variant” because it is slightly harder to track than others.
South Korea leads the world in the daily average number of new cases, reporting more than 182,000 new infections a day and accounting for one in every four infections globally, according to a Reuters analysis.
Read the latest updates in our dedicated coronavirus section.
New cases are rising in 20 out of more than 240 countries and territories tracked, including Taiwan, Thailand and Bhutan.
Shanghai is fighting China’s worst COVID-19 outbreak since the virus first emerged in Wuhan in late 2019, with almost 25,000 new local cases reported, although the city’s quarantine policy is criticized for separating children from parents and putting asymptomatic cases among those with symptoms.
“Shanghai’s epidemic prevention and control is at the most difficult and most critical stage,” Wu Qianyu, an official with the municipal health commission, told a briefing.

Europe, US still affected

Some European countries are now seeing a slower uptick in new cases, or even a decline, but the region is still reporting over one million cases about every two days, according to the Reuters tally.
In Germany, the seven-day average of new infections has fallen and is now at 59 percent of its previous peak in late March. New cases are also falling in the United Kingdom and Italy, while they are holding steady in France.
Overall, COVID-19 cases in the US have dropped sharply after hitting record levels in January, but the resurgence of cases in parts of Asia and Europe has raised concerns that another wave could follow in the US.
The US national public health agency said on Monday the BA.2 sub-variant of omicron was estimated to account for nearly three of every four coronavirus variants in the country.
The BA.2 variant now makes up about 86 percent of all sequenced cases globally, according to the World Health Organization. It is known to be more transmissible than the BA.1 and BA.1.1 omicron sub-variants. Evidence so far, though, suggests BA.2 is no more likely to cause severe disease.
Scientists continue to emphasize vaccines are critical for avoiding the devastation the virus can cause.
Roughly 64.8 percent of the world population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, although only 14.8 percent of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose, according to figures from Our World in Data.
While cases have flared in Europe and Asia recently, the US still has the highest total COVID-19 infections since the start of the pandemic with 80.41 million, followed by India with 43.04 million and Brazil with 30.14 million.
Since 2020, about 37 percent of the world’s COVID-19 cases have been in Europe, 21 percent in Asia and 17 percent in North America.
About 6.5 million people have lost their lives to COVID-19 since the pandemic began. The US has reported the highest number of deaths, followed by Russia, Brazil and India.
Russia overtook Brazil to have the world’s second-highest death toll from COVID-19, data from Russia’s state statistics service and Reuters calculations showed on Thursday.
Read more:

Italian police bust $430 mln COVID support fraud

New Zealand welcomes Australian visitors as COVID-19 curbs ease

Shanghai warns COVID-19 lockdown violators will be punished as cases hit 25,000

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Health

WHO: Over 4.1 million new COVID-19 cases reported globally, 18 pct increase 

The number of new coronavirus cases rose by 18 percent in the last week, with more than 4.1 million cases reported globally, according to the World Health Organization.

The UN health agency said in its latest weekly report on the pandemic that the worldwide number of deaths remained relatively similar to the week before, at about 8,500. COVID-related deaths increased in three regions: the Middle East, Southeast Asia and the Americas.

For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

The biggest weekly rise in new COVID-19 cases was seen in the Middle East, where they increased by 47 percent, according to the report released late Wednesday. Infections rose by about 32 percent in Europe and Southeast Asia, and by about 14 percent in the Americas, WHO said.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said cases were on the rise in 110 countries, mostly driven by the omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5.

“This pandemic is changing, but it’s not over,” Tedros said this week during a press briefing.

He said the ability to track COVID-19’s genetic evolution was “under threat” as countries relaxed surveillance and genetic sequencing efforts, warning that would make it more difficult to catch emerging and potentially dangerous new variants.

He called for countries to immunize their most vulnerable populations, including health workers and people over 60, saying that hundreds of millions remain unvaccinated and at risk of severe disease and death.

Tedros said that while more than 1.2 billion COVID-19 vaccines have been administered globally, the average immunization rate in poor countries is about 13 percent.

“If rich countries are vaccinating children from as young as 6 months old and planning to do further rounds of vaccination, it is incomprehensible to suggest that lower-income countries should not vaccinate and boost their most at risk (people),” he said.

According to figures compiled by Oxfam and the People's Vaccine Alliance, fewer than half of the 2.1 billion vaccines promised to poorer countries by the Group of Seven large economies have been delivered.

Earlier this month, the United States authorized COVID-19 vaccines for infants and preschoolers, rolling out a national immunization plan targeting 18 million of the youngest children. American regulators also recommended that some adults get updated boosters in the fall that match the latest coronavirus variants.

Read more:

France’s new wave of COVID-19 infections expected to peak end of July

Shanghai Disneyland theme park re-opens after three-month COVID-19 closure

China’s Xi warns against ‘herd immunity,’ says COVID-Zero policy works best

Continue Reading

Health

France’s new wave of COVID-19 infections expected to peak end of July

A new wave in France of COVID-19 infections fueled by emerging variants of the disease should peak toward end-July, the French government’s top scientific adviser Jean-Francois Delfraissy said on Thursday.
“The peak is not yet here, this peak of infections will probably be for end-July,” Delfraissy told RTL radio.
“Then the BA.5 variant will reappear, if it is not overtaken by another variant… in autumn,” he added.
For more coronavirus news, visit our dedicated page.
France reported new 124,724 coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, against 77,967 a week ago.
The French government also recommended this week that people should start wearing face masks again in crowded areas, especially in public transport, to counter the latest surge in COVID-19 cases.
Read more:

Pfizer says omicron-fighting COVID-19 shots prompt strong immune response

China’s Xi warns against ‘herd immunity,’ says COVID-Zero policy works best

Shanghai Disneyland theme park re-opens after three-month COVID-19 closure

Continue Reading

Health

Shanghai Disneyland theme park re-opens after three-month COVID-19 closure 

More than a thousand visitors streamed in on Thursday as Walt Disney Co’s Shanghai Disney Resort theme park opened after a closure of three months, with face masks and social distancing the order of the day.
The park shut on March 21 as cases rose in the Chinese business hub, leading to a two-month-long citywide lockdown that eased on June 1. Just over a week later, the resort began opening some areas, with the theme park the last to re-open.

For more coronavirus news, visit our dedicated page.

Among the first of Thursday's visitors was Zhang Yudong, a 19-year-old student wearing a Mickey Mouse wizard hat and T-shirt donned for the occasion.
“It really feels like coming back home. I was so excited,” said Zhang, who holds a Disneyland annual pass. “I had been looking forward to the day. One question I would ask everyday is, ‘When will it reopen?’”
Before its March closure, the park had enforced COVID-19 measures required by the authorities, such as face masks and regular disinfection.
After the re-opening, it requires guests to show proof of a negative COVID test taken within the last 72 hours, in line with rules for public areas in Shanghai and other cities.
The park has also said it will limit capacity, but gave no details, adding that some attractions, such as Marvel Universe, will stay closed.
Shanghai Disneyland is a joint venture with Chinese state-owned Shendi Group, which holds a 57 percent stake.

Read more: China’s Xi warns against ‘herd immunity,’ says COVID-Zero policy works best

Continue Reading

Trending