PARIS: Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:
– No ’cause for panic’: Biden –
President Joe Biden tells Americans in a televised address from the White House that the newly identified Covid variant Omicron “is a cause for concern, not a cause for panic”.
He says he does not foresee new lockdowns or extending travel restrictions.
Biden is speaking after the World Health Organization warns that the new variant poses a “very high” risk, while G7 health ministers say it is highly transmissible and requires “urgent action”.
– One billion Chinese doses –
China’s President Xi Jinping pledges one billion Covid vaccine doses to Africa, in a speech made via videolink to a China-Africa summit in Senegal’s capital Dakar.
– UN concern for southern Africa –
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says he is “deeply concerned” as countries around the world impose travel restrictions on southern Africa in an attempt to stop the spread of the new Covid-19 variant discovered there.
– ‘Never again’ says WHO –
The world must make sure that Covid chaos does not happen again by striking a pandemic preparedness treaty, the WHO says as countries gather to build a new accord.
– Variant cases in Europe –
Dutch health authorities say they have found 14 cases of the new Omicron Covid-19 variant among passengers arriving from South Africa, while Spain and Sweden detect their first cases.
– German leaders act –
Chancellor Angela Merkel and her successor in waiting Olaf Scholz will hold talks on Tuesday with leaders of Germany’s 16 states on toughening restrictions to halt a surge of coronavirus infections.
– Dutch escapees –
Dutch authorities place a couple in isolation in hospital after they made a “not really wise” bid to abscond from a quarantine hotel for Covid-positive passengers from South Africa, officials say.
– UK extends booster programme –
Adults in Britain will now be able to get a third Covid jab, a government scientific advisory body says.
– Nearly 5.2 million dead –
The coronavirus has killed at least 5,197,718 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 United States has suffered the most Covid-related deaths with 776,639, followed by Brazil with 614,278, India with 468,790, Mexico with 293,897 and Russia with 273,964.
The countries with the most new deaths are Russia with 1,209, followed by Ukraine with 297 and India with 236.
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.