Protests against curbs, new variant detected: Latest on Covid across the world

Protests against curbs, new variant detected: Latest on Covid across the world

The total number of cases of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) around the world have now gone past 307 million, as governments are racing against time to contain the spread of the fast-spreading Omicron variant, first detected in South Africa in November last year.

Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that Omicron may be less severe than the previous Delta variant, but it is not mild. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO’s director-general, said on January 7 that Omicron is hospitalising and killing people, just like previous variants.

Also Read| Omicron mild or less severe? What latest observations experts have made

Two more new variants - IHU and Deltacron - have emerged that have led to renewed concerns across the world. However, health experts have pointed out that both variants do not pose a threat at the moment.

Here are the latest updates on Covid-19 from across the world:

> Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Sunday that the country might see 2-4 million people getting infected in the ongoing Covid-19 wave as cases have nearly quadrupled over the past week compared to the previous one.

> Another new variant of Covid-19 Deltacron has been detected in Cyprus. According to media reports, it has a similar genetic background to the Delta variant and some of the mutations from Omicron. However, experts have said that Deltacron is not something to be worried about at present.

> In the United Kingdom, education minister Nadhim Zahawi has said that reducing the isolation period to five days from seven would be “helpful” for managing rising staff absences in schools and businesses. He is the first minister to request a cut in the isolation period.

Also Read| Cyprus finds Covid-19 infections that combine Delta and Omicron

> Scores of people in Belgium’s capital city Brussels protested against Covid-19 rules on Sunday. According to the police, as many as 5,000 protesters chanted “freedom, freedom!” and brandished banners denouncing what they called a “vaccine dictatorship”. No major incident of violence was reported but the police arrested over 40 protesters for carrying fireworks and projectiles.

> Another European country, the Czech Republic, saw widespread protests against mandatory vaccination for citizens above 60 and over age group along with people employed in police, firefighting and medical services. In Prague, protesters questioned the effectiveness of current vaccines and rejected the administration of doses to children.

> The Covid-19 task force in Nepal has announced a set of rules such as restrictions on gatherings, shutting down schools and making vaccination cards compulsory at public places to prevent the surge in cases.

> The total number of Covid-19 cases in Africa have topped 10 million including 231,157 deaths, according to data released by the Africa Centres for Disease Control on Sunday. Daily cases have been surging in the continent due to Omicron and the overall vaccination rate is low due to poor access to doses and hesitancy among people to take the jab.

(With agency inputs)

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