Global: The global death toll for Covid has passed 5.9 million, with a figure of 5,928,168 according to researchers Johns Hopkins University. Meanwhile, infections remain above 430 million to a worldwide figure of 431,415,270.
At least 5.2 million children have lost a parent or relatives of Covid, exposing them to the dangers of poverty, exploitation and abuse, and highlighting the lasting scars of the pandemic, a study shows. More than 1.2 million children under the age of nine were orphaned between March 2020 and October last year, along with 2.1 million children between the ages of 10 and 17, according to a new model study published in the journal Lancet Child and Adolescent Health.
The world’s first plant-derived The Covid vaccine was approved for use in Canada, creating a new immunization to fight the virus from a unit of Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corp. and Philip Morris International. The vaccine named Covifenz was developed jointly by Medicago Inc., a biopharmaceutical company owned by Mitsubishi Chemical and Philip Morris and based in Quebec City, and GlaxoSmithKline Plc. It will be available to adults ages 18 to 64, Health Canada said in a statement.
Several high-end countries have vaccinated 90% of their populations, while some African nations have completed only 10% of the inoculation, said World Health Organization (WHO) chief researcher Soumya Swaminathan. In a panel discussion as part of BioAsia 2022, she suggested that there was a need for a distributed production network across the globe.
News by region
U.S: Covid-19 infections have now passed 78.7 million. Meanwhile, the U.S. death toll from coronavirus has risen to more than 944,000 according to Johns Hopkins University data.
The pace of Covid-19 shooting in the United States has plunged to the lowest level since the start of the vaccination campaign, the latest sign that the nation can approach maximum uptake. The seven-day average of shots administered dropped to 337,874 on February 18, the lowest since December 2020, when vaccine distribution had just begun and the shots were only available to the most vulnerable. At the peak of the US campaign, in April 2021, about 3.5 million shots were fired a day.
New York Times Co. asked its employees to start returning to the office in the week of June 6th. Most Times employees will work in a “hybrid” environment that “balances the benefits of personal participation with the flexibility of working remotely,” Times Times HR manager Jacqueline M. Welch wrote in an internal memo obtained by Bloomberg News. “We are continuing with a gradual, gradual return that provides ample time to adjust to office life and to cope with a return that works for you and your family,” she wrote.
Most voters in California support mandate Covid-19 vaccinations and masking for students and teachers at K-12 schools, according to a new study by the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies. About two-thirds of the approximately 9,000 respondents said they wanted the precautions to include the virus, according to the study, which was co-sponsored and published by the Los Angeles Times on Thursday. Opinions differed by political affiliation: While about 85% of Democrats supported vaccine mandates for schools, about 70% of Republicans were against them. Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom last week unveiled a plan to move the most prosperous U.S. state into the next phase of dealing with the pandemic, as cases fall sharply.
Iceland: Iceland will lift all remaining coronavirus restrictions on Friday, including a 200-person indoor gathering limit, limited opening hours for bars and quarantine requirements for those infected with the virus.
United Kingdom: That valid The requirement for self-isolation with Covid ends today in England. Guidance will remain in place until April for those who test positive to stay home and avoid contact with others for at least five full days, but there will be no penalty for not doing so.
Most pregnant women in the UK still avoid Covid vaccines despite an increased chance of stillbirth, premature birth and risks to their own health, analysis shows. Data show that 73% of Asian women, 86% of black women and 65% of white women were unvaccinated at the time of birth in October 2021.
The British government’s health secretary, Sajid Javid, has defended the Covid response against accusations that MPs were unable to scrutinize controversial provisions in emergency legislation in the early stages of the pandemic. Ministers had to “act fast,” Javid said as he spoke to the Committee on Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs about the Coronavirus Act ahead of its two-year anniversary.
Asia and the Pacific
Hong Kong: The Hong Kong government has relied on it emergency powers to allow mainland Chinese doctors and nurses to practice in the financial center while struggling to tackle a spiraling coronavirus outbreak.
China: China’s Covid outbreak continued to swell, particularly in the north of the country, as Inner Mongolia discovered 30 new cases and Liaoning province found 18. A total of 82 domestic shipments were found in more than half of China’s provinces on Friday. , according to the National Health Commission. There were 22 additional infected who showed no symptoms. Wuhan, the central Chinese city where the pathogen first appeared over two years ago, appears to have successfully tackled a flare-up after reporting more than 20 cases recently.
South Korea: South Korea expects its current Omicron wave to peak in mid-March with daily cases reaching as high as 250,000, Yonhap News reported, citing Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum. Kim said Wednesday that the government will revise the rules on social distance if it assesses that serious cases and deaths can be controlled even if Omicron cases rise. Separately, the country unveiled 165,890 new cases on Friday.
Taiwan: Taiwan reopens for business travelers and shortens quarantine for all arrivals. From the beginning of March, foreigners will be allowed to enter for business purposes, including inspection, investment, employment or fulfillment of contractual obligations.
Singapore: Singapore companies face staff shortages after daily coronavirus infections rose to record earlier this week, causing temporary closures of some bank branches, restaurants and gyms, the Business Times reported. That increase in infections caused the government to push back plans to ease the boundaries of home collections and other pandemic restrictions after local cases violated 20,000 for two days in a row this week.
Australia: Western Australia exceeded 1,000 daily Covid cases for the first time during the pandemic, the state health chief told Australian Broadcasting Corp. The state was one of the world’s last Covid zero-political holdouts and must open its borders to vaccinated travelers from March 3. The number of cases and hospitalizations continues to fall in Australia’s two largest states, New South Wales and Victoria, which on Friday scrapped mask mandates for office workers and in most other areas.
Indonesia: Indonesia could start making its own mRNA vaccines after the World Health Organization chose it to receive a technology transfer to become Southeast Asia’s Covid vaccine hub. The state-owned company PT Bio Farma will begin producing doses of mRNA, according to a statement from the Ministry of State-owned enterprises, which did not name the brand. The company is one of the largest vaccine manufacturers in the region with the capacity to produce 3.2 billion doses per year.
Asia: Stimulations of a recovery in global travel are bringing airlines back from the brink, but the recovery may come too late for more airlines, which still face an increased risk of bankruptcy, shows a Bloomberg News analysis. Covid paralyzed international aviation as nations locked up their borders and imposed other restrictions, which are only now being phased out in some parts of the world. Asia is lagging, with China and Hong Kong almost completely shut down, and the financial position of some airlines in the region has deteriorated since Bloomberg made the same analysis in March and November 2020
Japan: The shares in Shionogi & Co. rose in Tokyo after the company said it was applying for approval of its Covid pill, becoming the first Japanese company to turn it into a coronavirus treatment in the country.
India: Indian economic activity showed mixed signals in January, with most indicators pointing to moderate growth, after an increase in Omicron cases brought back some of the pandemic-related restrictions. While five of the eight high-frequency indicators compiled by Bloomberg News were weak last month, the rest signaled a steady recovery. However, a three-month weighted average view of the readings helped keep the needle on a dial that measured the so-called ‘Animal Spirits’ unchanged at 5 in a seventh month.