GENEVA: The World Health Organization on Wednesday said, last week, over 21 million new COVID cases were reported, while UN spokesperson said that the Un is supporting India's vaccination drive.
Meanwhile, France reported over five lakh cases in 5,01,635 new cases of coronavirus for the past 24 hours
Here are the top 9 COVID-19 developments around the globe.
1. Record weekly cases last week but deaths stable; Omicron risk remains very high: WHO
Over 21 million new coronavirus cases were reported around the world last week, representing the highest number of weekly cases recorded since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the World Health Organization. The global health body also emphasised that the Omicron variant is becoming dominant due to its significant growth advantage, higher secondary attack rate and observed reproduction number as compared to the Delta.
WHO also said the risk level related to the Omicron variant remains very high, with the numbers of new COVID-19 cases hitting another record.
2. We support India's vaccination drive: UN spokesperson
The United Nations is supporting India's vaccination drive, which is the largest in the world, and the global body and its partners have reached some 600 million people in the country with COVID prevention and mitigation messages, spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said. Stephane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General, at the daily press briefing said the UN team in India led by Resident Coordinator Shombi Sharp continues to support authorities to curb the spread of the virus.
3. France posts new daily case record
France posted 5,01,635 new cases of coronavirus for the past 24 hours, a new daily record and the first time the headline number has surpassed half a million. The country is currently recording the highest daily infection rates of any major European nation, with an average of more than 360,000 over the past week.
More than 30,000 people are in hospital with coronavirus across France in the highest such tally since November 2020, official figures showed. But only a little more than 3,700 were in intensive care, less than during previous periods of high infection. The highly contagious Omicron variant that is fuelling the latest wave is believed to be less dangerous than the previous dominant strain Delta. Some 364 people died of the virus in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of deaths from COVID in France to 1,29,489.
4. Two-thirds of Omicron cases in England reinfections: study
Nearly two-thirds of people in England who tested positive in January previously had the virus or suspected they had it, a large long-running infection survey revealed. The finding, in the latest report on coronavirus transmission by Imperial College London, is seen as further evidence of the Omicron variant's ability to dodge the immune systems of those previously infected with the virus. As part of its regular assessment, Imperial received around 100,000 valid swap tests self-administered by a random sample of people across England between January 5 and 20.
5. COVID-19 vaccine booster drive is faltering in US
The COVID-19 booster drive in the US is losing steam, worrying health experts who have pleaded with Americans to get an extra shot to shore up their protection against the highly contagious Omicron variant.
Just 40 per cent of fully-vaccinated Americans have received a booster dose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And the average number of booster shots dispensed per day in the US has plummeted from a peak of one million (10 lakh) in early December to about 4.9 lakh as of last week.
Also, a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that Americans are more likely to see the initial vaccinations -- rather than a booster -- as essential.
6. China ignores IMF warnings on zero-tolerance COVID approach
Beijing shrugged off IMF warnings about the economic impact of its aggressive anti-COVID policy, saying that China has achieved "significant results" and is a key driver of global growth. The International Monetary Fund lowered its growth outlook for China and the rest of the world on Tuesday and said Beijing's zero-Covid policy -- which has seen entire cities locked down over a handful of cases -- has spurred a slowdown in the world's second-largest economy.
7. Sweden extends virus restrictions; Danes likely to end them
Sweden announced that several coronavirus restrictions will be extended for another two weeks while neighbouring Denmark was expected to announce that it no longer considers COVID-19 as "a socially critical disease" as of next month and will remove most restrictions. "We have an extremely record high spread of infection," Sweden's Social Affairs Minister Lena Hallengren said. "The assessment is that existing measures need to remain in place for another two weeks." "If the situation allows it, the restrictions will be lifted after that," she said.
8. Average deaths in US reaches level of Delta wave
Data from Johns Hopkins University finds the number of deaths in the US due to the current wave of COVID infections has reached the same level as the peak of the Delta wave, BBC reported. The data reports, the average number of people dying in America every day is over 2,000, nearly as much as the figures during September.
9.South Korea crosses 13,000 daily cases for first time
According to Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency data, South Korea has, for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, recorded over 13,000 COVID cases, The Guardian reported.