- This daily news summary provides you with a selection of the latest news and updates on the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, as well as tips and tools to help you stay informed and protected.
- Top News Stories: Chinese President urges Hong Kong SAR leaders to control outbreak; US Treasury Secretary seeks G20 assistance to stop pandemic in developing countries; study says that vaccination of pregnant women protects babies against COVID-19.
1. How COVID-19 affects the globe
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 has passed 415.7 million globally, according to Johns Hopkins University. The number of confirmed deaths has now passed 5.83 million. More than 10.42 billion vaccination doses has been administered globally, according to Our World in Data.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has told the leaders of the Hong Kong SAR that their “overall mission” is to stabilize and control an exacerbated COVID-19 outbreak, media reported Wednesday as a rapidly rising wave of infections overwhelmed authorities.
South Korea’s daily count of new coronavirus cases has exceeded 90,000 for the first time. The 90,443 cases reported for Tuesday represent an increase from the 57,177 recorded a day earlier.
Singapore will expand its quarantine-free travel program to the Hong Kong SAR, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates this month, its health ministry said on Wednesday, and will gradually add more destinations under the scheme.
Canada will facilitate access for fully vaccinated international travelers from Feb. 28 as COVID-19 cases drop, allowing for a rapid antigen test instead of a molecular one, officials said Tuesday.
A new wave of infections moving toward Eastern Europe, the World Health Organization said Tuesday, urging authorities to improve vaccination and other measures. Cases of COVID-19 have more than doubled recently in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Russia and Ukraine, said WHO Regional Director for Europe Hans Kluge.
The Dutch government wants that lift most of its coronavirus restrictions on Fridayas the record level of infections triggered by the Omicron variant has not translated to a peak in admissions, Health Minister Ernst Kuiper said on Tuesday.
2. G20 to help developing countries stop pandemic: Yellen
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will urge her G20 colleagues to work to end the COVID-19 pandemic in developing countries and to ensure that these nations have the necessary resources to support a just recovery, a U.S. Treasury Department official said Tuesday.
Yellen will urge the G20 to tailor their policies to each country’s conditions to help ensure an inclusive recovery and close the gap in vaccine access for poorer countries, the official said.
This includes support from the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Health Organization and the World Trade Organization to address global bottlenecks in the spread of vaccines, therapy and diagnostics, the official said.
Yellen will also call on G20 countries to support a proposed World Bank-based global fund to invest in pandemic prevention and preparedness, calling its estimated $ 75 billion in costs a “coup” compared to COVID-19’s global economic and human costs.
3. COVID-19 Vaccination During Pregnancy Helps Protect Babies After Birth: US Study
Vaccination of pregnant women against coronavirus may help prevent COVID-19 hospitalizations in infants after they are born, especially if the expectant mothers received the shots later in their pregnancy, U.S. researchers reported Tuesday.
The results shed light on whether the benefits of vaccination during pregnancy include infants who would be too young to receive vaccines.
Researchers from several pediatric hospitals and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention examined children under six months between July 2021 and January 2022.
The study analyzed data from 379 hospitalized infants – 176 with COVID-19 and 203 who were hospitalized for other problems. It found that COVID-19 vaccines were 61% effective in preventing hospitalizations in children whose mothers were vaccinated during pregnancy.
That protection increased to 80% when mothers were vaccinated between 21 weeks and 14 days before birth. Vaccination efficacy decreased to 32% for infants whose mothers were vaccinated earlier in pregnancy.
However, the study’s authors warned that efficacy estimates earlier in pregnancy should be interpreted with caution due to the small sample size.