Status Of Coronavirus Spread Worldwide

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Negotiations on new rules for dealing with pandemics will begin at the World Health Organization on Thursday, with a target date of May 2024 for a treaty to be adopted by the U.N. health agency’s 194 member countries, says an article published in Reuters.

Europe

Queen Elizabeth has postponed two scheduled virtual audiences but will continue with light duties, a Buckingham Palace spokesman said as the 95-year-old British monarch recovers from COVID-19.

The Italian government will end the COVID-19 state of emergency on March 31, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said on Wednesday.

America

A three-week-long protest in Canada against pandemic measures that snarled trade and shuttered Ottawa’s core likely cost billions in trade delays, tens of millions in lost sales for businesses, and left behind a hefty policing and clean-up tab.

Black women in the United States were nearly three times as likely to die during or shortly after pregnancy over the first year of the pandemic than white women, according to a government report published on Wednesday.

Mexico on Wednesday reported 449 new confirmed deaths from COVID-19, bringing the official death toll since the pandemic began to 316,941.

Asia-pacific

Japan said international travellers showing proof of a COVID-19 vaccination with the Johnson & Johnson shot would be allowed in and be eligible for a shorter time in quarantine when border controls are eased next month.

South Africa’s biggest construction firm Wilson Bayly Holmes – Ovcon Ltd said it is pulling out of Australia, saying the country’s “hardline” COVID-19 response had impacted its property market and created business uncertainty.

Hong Kong rolled out vaccine passports requiring people aged 12 and above to have at least one COVID-19 jab and paved the way for mainland China manpower to help bring a worsening outbreak under control.

Thailand reported a record daily increase of 23,557 new infections.

New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern was rushed out of a school event in Christchurch after protesters opposed to COVID-19 restrictive measures thronged the venue and chased her car, while daily infection numbers hit record levels.

Africa and the middle east

The Omicron BA.2 sub-variant appears to be more infectious than the original BA.1 sub-variant but does not cause more severe disease, the head of Africa’s top public health body said.

Medical developments

Psychological stress from the pandemic may be widespread, but those who have had COVID-19 are at much higher risk for new mental health problems than individuals who have managed to avoid the virus, according to a new study.

Extending the interval between the first two doses of the most widely used COVID-19 vaccines in the country to eight weeks for young men can reduce the rare risk of heart inflammation, U.S. health officials said.

Antibodies triggered by a third dose of Sinopharm’s COVID-19 shot given to those who completed its primary two-dose regimen dropped sharply after six months, and a fourth shot did not significantly boost them against Omicron, a Chinese study showed.

Economic impact

More than half of Britons are finding it harder to meet their monthly household budget than they were a year ago, the highest share in almost 10 years, as inflation mounts, an opinion poll showed.

Hong Kong private home prices dropped for a fourth month in January to the lowest since February 2021, official data showed on Thursday, as the financial city was hit by a new wave of COVID-19 cases.

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Source: Reuters

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