Covid-19 update: ‘Risky assumption of pandemic’
Covid-19 update: ‘Risky assumption of pandemic’

Covid-19 update: ‘Risky assumption of pandemic’

Global: The global Covid death toll has passed the grim milestone of 6 million, with a figure of 6,093,876 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Meanwhile, infections remain above 472 million to a worldwide figure of 472,127,529.

News by region

America

U.S: Covid -19 infections have now passed 79.7 million. Meanwhile, according to the coronavirus, the US death toll has risen to more than 972,000 Johns Hopkins University data.

Omicron subvariant BA.2 continues to gain ground in the United States according to Covid-19 tests sequenced over the past two weeks. Helix, a San Diego-based genomics company, has seen the BA.2 variant since it first appeared in the United States in early January. Although initially slow to catch up, Helix now estimates that 50% to 70% of all Covid cases nationwide are BA.2.

U.S. government advisers will meet early next month to discuss the use of additional Covid-19 booster shots as states and corporations lower preventive safety measures such as masking and work at home. The Advisory Committee on Vaccines and Related Biological Products will meet on April 6, at which the FDA will convene to assist in deciding which populations, such as the elderly or immunocompromised, may need boosters and when to administer them.

Europe

Europe is facing a revival of a revival of virus risks as the case spread rapidly, accelerated by the emergence of the more transmissible BA.2 Omicron strain. Germany now sets fresh records for infection rates almost daily, while Austria has also reached new heights, and cases in the Netherlands have doubled since the abolition of curbs on 25 February.

“The message from politicians is encouraging many people who took precautions to mingle with others,” said Martin McKee, a professor of public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. “It seems very courageous, and in fact risky, to assume that the pandemic is over.”

However, most authorities have shrugged off the increase and shown little appetite to reintroduce curbs after easing measures just a few weeks ago. Germany has stuck to plans to let most nationwide restrictions expire. Austria last week suspended a law making coronavirus vaccinations mandatory and withdrew from one of Europe’s most stringent measures. In France, millions of high school students and teachers dropped masks for the first time in almost two years last week.

United Kingdom: Data from the United Kingdom – where BA.2 has already caused cases to increase – show that the country’s increase in infections began around the same time as BA.2 exceeded 50% of the total cases.

Asia and the Pacific

China: Chinese medical clinics will be able to buy Pfizer’s Covid antiviral Paxlovid at a price agreed between its manufacturer and the government, and expenses will be covered by health insurance, the country’s National Healthcare Security Administration said. China will also temporarily include rapid antigen tests and kits on its list of health insurance reimbursements.

In the meantime Shanghai saw 896 Covid-19 cases on Monday, CCTV reported, posting a record for the second day in a row. The flare-up came after authorities extended tests to more residents to eradicate silent transmission chains. The city last week ruled out imposing a broad blockade, but officials said Monday that some areas will remain blocked for further testing.

Japan: The Japanese government virtually lifted emergency measures in Tokyo and elsewhere in the country on Monday, ending the steps introduced in early January to help curb an increase in Omicron cases. Cases have fallen in the capital since the peak in early February, with Tokyo averaging about 7,500 cases a day from Monday. A Kyodo News survey found that 53% said the time to complete the steps was appropriate, while 32% said it was too early. A further 11% thought the move came too late. The quasi-state of emergency was used in practice to urge bars and restaurants to close early, with eateries following the largely voluntary steps in Tokyo closing at 1 p.m.

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