Coronavirus updates from around the world

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The Omicron variant has speeded up infections five-fold in a week in South Africa. File photo.
The Omicron variant has speeded up infections five-fold in a week in South Africa. File photo. 

PARIS: Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:

– S.Africa cases rocket –

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa urges citizens to get vaccinated fast as daily infections jump five-fold in a week because of the Omicron variant.

– NY vaccine mandate –

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announces a blanket Covid-19 vaccine mandate for the private sector in the United States’ biggest city, starting from December 27.

– French nightclubs shuttered –

Nightclubs in France are ordered to close for four weeks starting this weekend and the government imposes stricter social distancing and extends the use of face masks in schools to counter surging Covid cases.

– Cases in Namibia –

Namibia’s President Hage Geingob announces 18 cases of the Omicron Covid-19 variant have been detected in the country, which was forced to dispose of 150,000 expired vaccine doses.

– Russia, Argentina Omicron cases –

Russia registers its first two cases of Omicron in its nationals returning from South Africa.

And Argentina records its first case, also in a traveller from South Africa.

– Unjabbed Italians barred –

Unvaccinated Italians are now not allowed into theatres, cinemas, live music venues and major sporting events as new rules come into effect.

– Drug cleared –

The European Union’s drug regulator clears the arthritis treatment tocilizumab for use in patients hospitalised with severe Covid, saying it reduces the risk of death.

– Greece: Jabs for kids –

Greek health authorities green light vaccination for children aged 5-11 from December 15, as the country fights an upsurge in cases.

– More than 5.2 million dead –

The coronavirus has killed at least 5,253,726 people since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP at 1100 GMT on Monday.

The US has suffered the most Covid-related deaths with 788,364, followed by Brazil with 615,636, India with 473,537, Mexico with 295,203 and Russia with 282,462.

The countries with the most new deaths are Russia with 1,184, followed by Ukraine with 239 and India with 211.

Taking into account excess mortality linked to Covid-19, the World Health Organization estimates the overall death toll could be two to three times higher.



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