- 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 COVID-19 News: UK Will End All Coronavirus Restrictions; South Africa changes rules to increase vaccine intake; India approves third COVID-19 vaccine for older children.
1. How COVID-19 affects the globe
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 has passed 426.1 million globally, according to Johns Hopkins University. The number of confirmed deaths has now passed 5.89 million. More than 10.57 billion vaccination doses has been administered globally, according to Our World in Data.
It has the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced an end to all coronavirus restrictions in the UK, including mandatory self-insulation and free COVID-19 testing. The announcement has drawn skepticism from some scientists and political opponents. Johnson said some virus monitoring would remain in place, allowing for a rapid response to new variants, and that this could be scaled up quickly.
Hong Kong SAR, China, reported 6,211 new COVID-19 infections Tuesday, and a further 9,369 positive cases in preliminary tests. The global financial hub is struggling to curb a coronavirus outbreak that has overwhelmed healthcare facilities.
South Africa has changed its COVID-19 vaccination rules in an effort to encourage more people to get jabs, health officials said Monday. Inoculations have declined in the country, which has registered more than 98,000 deaths and over 3.6 million positive cases in total. South Africa has abundant vaccine stocks.
People infected with the Omicron coronavirus variant are almost 75% less likely to develop serious illness or die than those contracting the Delta variant showed real-world data released Monday by South Korea’s health authorities.
Indian vaccine maker Biological E said Monday that its COVID-19 vaccine received an emergency use approval in the country for children aged 12 to 18. The syringe, called Corbevax, is the third vaccine approved for use in children aged 12 and over in India.
China reported 138 new COVID-19 cases in the mainland for Monday, down from 144 a day earlier, the health authority said.
Countries assess the need for COVID-19 booster shots
Many countries are expanding COVID-19 vaccine booster programs or shorten the distance between shots while governments struggle to ensure protection against the Omicron variant.
Some countries are also already using a fourth dose due to concerns about declining protection.
Studies have shown that an initial course of COVID-19 vaccines – typically given in two doses – may not be enough to stop Omicron infection, but a booster shot may help.
The World Health Organization has said in recent months that administering primary doses – rather than boosters – should be a priority, even if it has recommended boosters to those with health problems or who have received an inactivated vaccine.
3. EU, Germany expect Novavax deliveries to begin this week
The European Commission and the German government said on Monday that they expect deliveries of the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine Nuvaxovid to begin this week.
Novavax’s recombinant protein vaccine uses a more established technology than mRNA, the new method behind the two most common COVID-19 vaccines in Germany, made by Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna.
“We assume that over the coming week … vaccinations can begin in the federal states,” a spokesman for the German Ministry of Health said.
A spokesman for the European Commission said deliveries are expected to start this week.
That The Novavax vaccine was originally scheduled to be available in Januarybut has been subject to delays in legislation.
EU countries have ordered 27 million doses for the first quarter of this year, as part of a contract of 100 million vaccines with a further 100 million optional.
Public health executives have expressed hope that Novavax’s product could convince even unvaccinated people who are skeptical of the new mRNA technology to get a shot.