Coronavirus: Latest global developments
Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:
– Worrying new variant –
Scientists in South Africa detect a new Covid-19 variant with “a very high number of mutations”, blaming it for a “exponential” surge in infections there.
– 1.5 million dead in Europe –
More than 1.5 million people have died from Covid-19 in Europe since the pandemic began, an AFP tally of official data shows, just as the continent is hit by another wave.
– EU approves Pfizer for kids –
The Pfizer/BioNTech jab gets the green light for children aged five to 11 from the European Medicines Agency (EMA), with kids to be given a third of the normal dose.
– Merkel sounds alarm –
German Chancellor Angela Merkel issues an urgent warning on pandemic management to the new government coming in to succeed her, imploring it to take quick, decisive measures as the country’s total death toll passes 100,000.
– Belgium uptick worse than feared –
Prime Minister Alexander De Croo says Belgium has recorded an increase in coronavirus cases and hospitalisations far worse than feared, after reimposing tougher Covid rules last week.
– Czech emergency –
The Czech government declares a 30-day state of emergency, closing Christmas markets as well as nightclubs in a bid to stem Covid-19 infections.
– Slovakia enters lockdown –
The streets of the Slovak capital Bratislava are deserted as a new partial Covid lockdown comes into effect in the country where new cases are soaring.
– Booster needed for EU pass –
The EU Commission recommends that the bloc’s vaccination certificate, which has largely allowed free travel of vaccinated Europeans, be valid only for nine months after the second dose.
– France booster for all adults –
France is to give booster shots to all adults from the weekend to counter a new wave of infections.
– Morocco suspends French flights –
Morocco suspends regular flights to and from France due to an upsurge in Covid-19 cases there.
– More than 5.1 million dead –
The coronavirus has killed at least 5,173,915 people since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP at 1100 GMT on Thursday.
The United States has suffered the most Covid-related deaths with 775,397, followed by Brazil with 613,339, India with 466,980, Mexico with 293,186 and Russia with 269,057.
The countries with the most new deaths are the US with 1,788, followed by Russia with 1,238 and Ukraine with 628.
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.