PARIS: Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:
– Biden to address nation –
US President Joe Biden addresses the nation, as the White House announces plans to distribute 500 million free Covid tests and mobilise military medical personnel if needed in the face of surging Omicron cases.
– Omicron-tweaked shots? –
There is “no answer yet” on whether vaccine makers will have to adapt their Covid shots to counter the Omicron variant, Europe’s medicines watchdog chief says.
– New German curbs –
Germany caps private New Year’s Eve parties at 10 vaccinated or recovered guests, and announces a ban on spectators at large sporting events from December 28 to slow Omicron’s spread.
– UK aid package –
Britain launches a £1.0 billion ($1.3 billion, 1.2 billion euro) aid package to help UK businesses hardest hit by the Omicron variant over Christmas.
– Israel bans travel from US –
Israel’s parliament bans travel from the United States, adding it to a blacklist of 50 countries now off limits as it tries to contain the Omicron variant.
– WHO approves Novavax –
The World Health Organization (WHO) approves the Covid vaccine made by US pharma giant Novavax for emergency use, a day after the European Union gave it the green light.
– Omicron dominant in Denmark –
The highly transmissible Omicron variant is now dominant in Denmark, its health minister says.
And it accounts for one fifth of cases in France, the government spokesman says.
– Nigeria cases rocket –
Nigeria says Covid cases have shot up by 500 percent over the past two weeks, as it enters a fourth wave of the coronavirus.
– Sweden adopts measures –
Sweden announces a slew of measures, including an expanded use of vaccine certificates, as Covid cases mount.
– Romanians protest pass –
Up to 2,000 Romanians protest in front of the parliament against a proposed workplace Covid-19 green pass.
– Hogmanay street party off –
Edinburgh’s New Year’s Eve street party is cancelled due to surging Covid cases, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announces.
– Africa Cup of Nations on –
The Africa Cup of Nations will go ahead as planned in Cameroon next month, African football chief Patrice Motsepe confirms, dispelling rumours that it could again fall victim to the Covid-19 pandemic.
– More than 5.3 million dead –
The coronavirus has killed at least 5,359,858 people since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019, according to a tally Tuesday from official sources compiled by AFP.
The United States has suffered the most Covid-related deaths with 807,952, followed by Brazil with 617,873, India with 478,007 and Russia with 299,249.
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.