Global: The global death toll for Covid has passed 5.8 million, with a figure of 5,862,740 according to researchers Johns Hopkins University. Meanwhile, infections have run past 419 million to a worldwide figure of 419,693,180.
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen called on her colleagues from leading industrialized nations to support the establishment of a new World Bank fund to prevent and prepare for future global health crises. A new “financial intermediary fund” under the auspices of the World Bank will help close gaps in preparedness, especially among low-income countries, Yellen said according to prepared remarks she is scheduled to deliver virtually on Thursday to a meeting of finance ministers and central banks. bank directors from a group of 20 countries.
News by region
U.S: Covid-19 infections have now passed 78 million. Meanwhile, according to the coronavirus, the US death toll has risen to more than 931,000 Johns Hopkins University data.
All members of Congress are allowed to attend President Joe Biden’s first State of the Union speech, but they must follow Covid-19 health guidelines, including maskingor risk being thrown out of the event and fined.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper urged local governments and school districts to drop mask mandates. “It’s time to focus on giving our children a good education and improving our schools, no matter how you wear masks,” the Democratic governor tweeted. North Carolina has not had a nationwide mask mandate since mid-2021, although local governments and schools are allowed to impose their own rules. Cooper called lift-masking rules “a positive step” toward “a more normal everyday life.
The White House warns lawmakers that the United States does not have enough money ready to respond to future Covid-19 variants, stockpile vaccines or develop new technologies. Biden administration tools for pandemic response – including testing, vaccine distribution and other medical supplies – have either been used or already set aside for purchase, according to a document obtained by Bloomberg News. All funds provided so far have been used or earmarked for use.
Nearly three-quarters of people in the United States are now estimated to have some degree of immunity to the Omicron Covid variant, which created chaos after it erupted late last year, just as people hoped the pandemic was finally subsiding .
California will rely on wastewater testing and the ability to rapidly increase vaccinations to deal with future waves of coronavirus, according to a plan unveiled by officials Thursday. With the Omicron variant rapidly disappearing into the state, Governor Gavin Newsom is trying to lay the groundwork for a return to something like normal life after two years of lockdowns and mask mandates. The plan – given the abbreviation SMARTER – says the state will negotiate with manufacturers to maintain a supply of tests that can be quickly implemented in the event that wastewater scans detect new outbreaks. California, which lost more than 82,500 people to the virus, will also maintain a stockpile of 75 million high-quality masks for rapid distribution and wants to maintain the ability to administer 200,000 vaccine doses a day.
Canada: Police in the Canadian capital, Ottawa, have warned truck drivers blocking the city center to leave or be arrested in a crackdown trying to end a three-week protest over Covid restrictions. Police in the Canadian capital have begun blocking outside the center with barriers and fences, in a move against protesters who have occupied the streets for almost three weeks.
Dominican Republic: The Dominican Republic will drop all domestic restrictions introduced during the coronavirus pandemic after a successful vaccination campaign helped limit infection and death rates on the Caribbean island. President Luis Abinader said the required use of a face mask, social distance measures and Covid passports to enter public places will all be dropped immediately.
EU: EU drug regulators said they would discuss Merck & Co.’s antiviral pill next week amid a report that the drug faces potential rejection. A panel of the European Medicines Agency will consider the effectiveness of the drug at the meeting, Marco Cavaleri, the regulator’s head of biological health threats and vaccine strategy, said at a briefing on Thursday. He declined to comment on the robustness of the evidence to support the pill.
Germany: Most of Germany’s coronavirus restrictions must be lifted by March 20, a day that some commentators have already dubbed ‘Freedom Day’ in a nod to similar measures elsewhere.
Portugal: Portugal has announced that it will lift its coronavirus restrictions as the number of registered new daily Covid cases dropped to around 16,500 compared to more than 50,000 last month.
The government will no longer recommend that people work from home and the need to show a negative Covid-19 test to gain access to sports venues, bars and nightclubs will be dropped, Prime Minister Mariana Vieira da Silva said after a cabinet meeting on Thursday. The government plans to lift more restrictions as the number of deaths from Covid-19 falls, she said.
United Kingdom: In the UK, there have been cabinet divisions over the government’s “live with Covid” strategy, with Health Secretary Sajid Javid expected to push for some free testing and community surveillance of the virus in the wake of a Finance Ministry call for budget cuts .
Asia and the Pacific
India: India’s government ministers have rejected a recent study suggesting that the country’s pandemic death toll could be six to eight times higher than the official statement as “erroneous and completely inaccurate”.
Hong Kong: Authorities in Hong Kong said the city’s hospitals have reached 90% capacity and quarantine facilities are at their limit. To ease the strain on the city’s health system, officials said they would allow some patients to be discharged faster.
Hong Kong is planning one test flash of the entire city and implements a tactic used to eradicate Covid-19 cases on the mainland while the financial center struggles to gain control of its most challenging outbreak of the pandemic.
Solomon Islands: The Solomon Islands is experiencing its first major societal outbreak of coronavirus, and its fragile health system risks being overwhelmed, the Red Cross warned today.
Indonesia: Indonesia’s confirmed Covid case since the pandemic began crossed 5 million on Thursday, the highest in Southeast Asia.
Japan: Japan must ease its strict border controls from next month, media said, following criticism from students, workers and family members who have in effect been “locked out” of the country for up to two years.
Australia: Most Covid deaths in Australia have affected migrants, with people born in the Middle East suffering from the highest death rate, according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Africa and the Middle East
Israel: Israel’s prime minister says the country’s “green passport” system for coronavirus vaccination will be suspended as new daily cases of Covid continue to decline.
South Africa: Moderna has applied for patents in South Africa in connection with its Covid vaccine, which has given rise to fears that the company may eventually try to prevent a new African vaccine production center from making its own version of the mRNA shot.