PARIS: Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:
– Pandemic Christmas 2 –
The world rings in a second pandemic Christmas — and a third since the first outbreak in China — as the fast-spreading Omicron virus brings the prospect of yet more Covid restrictions.
– Thousands of flights cancelled –
At least 5,700 flights have been cancelled worldwide over the long Christmas weekend and thousands more are delayed, tracking website Flightaware.com says.
– Pope prays for vaccines –
Pope Francis in his Christmas Day blessing prays for God “to ensure that necessary medical care — and vaccines in particular — are provided to those peoples who need them most”.
– France tops 100,000 daily cases –
France notches up record positive cases for the third day in a row, with more than 100,000 positive cases of Covid-19 in 24 hours.
– Vaccines for Christmas in the UK –
England presses ahead with its Covid-19 immunisation campaign, in the race to inoculate as many people possible while the number of cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant soars.
– Portugal says Omicron dominant –
Omicron has become the dominant strain of coronavirus in Portugal, with more than 10,000 daily Covid-19 cases Saturday.
– China coronavirus cases surge –
China reports its highest number of new coronavirus cases in four months as officials rush to contain outbreaks in several regions, including Xi’an city where millions are still under lockdown.
– K-pop stars test positive –
Three members of K-pop sensation BTS test positive for Covid-19 since returning from the United States, where they held their first in-person concerts since the pandemic began.
– More than 5.3 million dead –
The coronavirus has killed at least 5,392,347 people since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019, according to a tally Saturday from official sources compiled by AFP.
Overall, the United States has recorded the most Covid deaths, with 816,436, followed by Brazil on 618,392, India on 479,520 and Russia 303,250.
Peru has lost the most people to the virus relative to its population, followed by Hungary and Bosnia.
Record numbers of new infections since the start of the pandemic have been passed this week so far in the UK, Denmark, Spain, France, Canada, Finland, Australia, Kenya, Malta, South Sudan, Iceland and Monaco.
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.