Welcome to the Finance Magnates live Coronavirus blog updates page. Keep up-to-date with the latest coronavirus news, focusing on the impact upon the financial, fintech and crypto worlds.

A Delay in Administering Corona Vaccines to UK Children Aged 5 to 11 Has Been Criticised

08:00 Plans to delay Covid jabs for UK children aged five to 11 have been criticised. Also, UK ministers press ahead with plans to wind down Covid testing as well as all remaining Covid-19 legal restrictions are to be lifted in Northern Ireland from 15 February and replaced with guidance. The UK recorded 41,648 new Covid cases on Monday, government figures showed, and a further 35 deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test. That is compared with 41,270 infections and 52 fatalities in the 24 hours prior

Boris Johnson May Deny Wrongdoing over Lockdown Parties at No.10

Boris Johnson is expected to deny wrongdoing over No 10 lockdown parties. Families bereaved by Covid in the UK want Boris Johnson to relinquish control over which issues will be investigated in the pandemic public inquiry, alleging he is compromised by allegations of lockdown-breaking at Downing Street.

The Duchess of Cornwall Tests Positive for Corona

The Duchess of Cornwall, 74, is self-isolating after testing positive for coronavirus. The announcement by Clarence House comes after it announced on Thursday that Prince Charles, 73, had tested positive for the virus.

Italy Announces Increase in Daily Corona Deaths

Italy has reported a rise in daily Covid-19 related deaths with 281 registered, the health ministry said. This compares with 191, the previous day. A further 28,630 Covid-19 daily related cases were recorded.

Kuwait Removes Ban on Foreign Travel and Other Restrictions

Kuwait’s cabinet has lifted many Covid-19 restrictions including a ban on foreign travel.

A Protest of around 500 Cars and Campervans Arrived in Brussels against Covid-19 Curbs

About 500 cars and campervans have arrived in Brussels, mainly from France, in a convoy to protest against Covid-19 restrictions. The vehicles were barred from the city. Police directed them to a parking place on the outskirts of Brussels, from where protesters continued on foot to a square in the city centre and the area housing European Union institutions.

Over 60 Charities, Campaigners and NGOs Accused Moderna of Trying to Upset WHO Plans to Provide More Vaccines for Africa

More than 60 charities, campaigners and non-governmental organisations have accused Moderna of attempting to derail World Health Organization (WHO) plans to manufacture more Covid-19 vaccines in Africa. In an open letter, they urged Moderna to “act in the interests of people, not profits” by withdrawing patents and patent applications in South Africa.

Germany Plans to End Covid Restrictions

Covid restrictions in Germany are set to end as case numbers have dropped slightly, according to a draft official plan seen by Agence France-Presse. The plan is expected to be approved by the German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, and the heads of the federal states on Wednesday.

Hong Kong Infections Overwhelm Capacity to Deal with the Virus

Hong Kong’s leader, Carrie Lam, has said an “onslaught” of Covid-19 infections has dealt a heavy blow and overwhelmed capacity to deal with the virus. Daily infections have multiplied by a factor of 13 over the past two weeks, from about 100 cases at the start of February to a record 2,071 on 14 February.

US-Canada Border Crossing Reopens after Protests Kept It Closed for Close to a Week

The busiest US-Canada border crossing has reopened after protests against Covid restrictions closed it for almost a week. The Sunday night reopening of the Ambassador Bridge between Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, Michigan came as Canadian officials held back from a crackdown on a larger protest in the capital, Ottawa.

A Court in Bologna Has Removed Parental Rights from one Couple Refusing Non-Vaccinated Blood for “Religious Reasons”

A court in Bologna has temporarily stripped the parental rights of a couple after they refused blood from Covid-vaccinated donors for their son in need of an urgent blood transfusion before undergoing delicate heart surgery. The couple had reportedly requested non-vaccinated blood for “religious reasons”.

Taiwan to Ease Up on Covid Quarantine Policy

Taiwan aims to ease its strict Covid quarantine policy from next month as it needs to gradually resume normal life and reopen to the world, the government said on Monday.

South Korea Delivers 4th Dose of Vaccine

South Korea will begin giving out fourth doses of Covid vaccines this month and supply millions of additional home test kits to ease shortages amid a surge in Omicron infections, authorities confirmed on Monday.

Tuesday 15 February

Downing St Reviews England’s Covid-19 Plan to Expand to Children Aged 5 to 11

The announcement of a plan to expand England’s Covid vaccinations to all children aged five to 11 has been delayed amid an apparent impasse between the government and its vaccinations watchdog. While the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) made its decision more than a week ago, Downing Street is reviewing the verdict. A decision is now expected to be announced on 21 February, when Boris Johnson unveils the government’s long-term Covid plan.

Scientists Warn of Potential More Dangerous Variant

A future variant of Covid-19 could be much more dangerous and cause far higher numbers of deaths and cases of serious illness than Omicron, leading UK scientists have warned. As a result, many of them say that caution needs to be taken in lifting the last Covid restrictions in England, as Boris Johnson plans to do next week.

France Abandons Its Corona Test Requirements for Vaccinated Traveller from the UK

France has dropped its Covid testing requirement for vaccinated travellers arriving from the UK. The French interior ministry said that from 12 February, travellers will not need to test as long as they are vaccinated according to European regulations. Additionally, anti-vaxxers in France are reportedly buying fake vaccine passes online to get around the country’s Covid restrictions, which are often promoted on mainstream social media platforms, research has revealed.

French and Netherland Demonstrators Protested against Covid-19 Restrictions on Saturday

Demonstrators against Covid-19 restrictions in France and the Netherlands staged protests on Saturday inspired by the ‘freedom convoy’ demonstrations in Canada. In France police fired teargas at demonstrators on the Champs Élysées in Paris shortly after a convoy protesting against restrictions made it into the capital. A convoy of vehicles from across the Netherlands also brought The Hague’s city centre to a standstill earlier in the day.

Germany Awaits the Arrival of 34 Million Novavax Doses in Hope That It Will Sway Many into Taking the Vaccine

Germany hopes the arrival of 34m Nuvaxovid (Novavax) doses in 2022 will convince many to get the Covid-19 vaccine. Around 4m doses should be delivered in the first quarter, a spokesperson for the health ministry said.

Hong Kong Authorities Scramble to Control an Overwhelming Outbreak

Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam has said an “onslaught” of Covid-19 infections has dealt a heavy blow and overwhelmed capacity to deal with the virus as daily cases surge to record highs. Daily infections have multiplied 13 times over the past two weeks, from about 100 cases at the start of February to more than 1,300 on 13 February, with authorities scrambling to control the deepening outbreak. Moreover, Hong Kong authorities also said supplies of vegetables and chilled poultry to the global financial hub may be temporarily disrupted after some mainland goods vehicle drivers preliminarily tested positive for Covid-19. Hong Kong imports 90% of its food, with the mainland its most important source, especially for fresh food.

Vietnam Dissolves Corona Restrictions on International Passenger Flights

Vietnam will remove its Covid-19 restrictions on international passenger flights with all markets starting 15 February with no limitation on the number of flights.

A Fourth Vaccine to Begin Being Administered in South Korea

South Korea will begin giving out fourth doses of Covid-19 vaccines by the end of the month and supply millions of additional home test kits to ease shortages amid a surge in Omicron infections, authorities confirmed on Monday.

Novavax Gains Singapore’s Health Sciences Authority Approval

Singapore has granted interim approval for Novavax’s Covid-19 vaccine with the first batch of the Nuvaxovid vaccine expected to arrive in the next few months, Singapore’s Health Sciences Authority (HSA) said on Monday.

The Chinese Medical Products Regulator Has Granted Approval of Pfizer’s New Corona Drug, Paxlovid

China’s medical products regulator has given conditional approval for Pfizer’s Covid-19 drug Paxlovid to treat adults who have mild to moderate Covid and high risk of progressing to a severe condition, making it the first oral pill specifically developed to treat the disease cleared in the country.

The Canadian Police Has Cleared Protestors from the US-Canada Border Crossing

The busiest US-Canada border crossing has reopened after protests against Covid-19 restrictions cumulated in a six-day blockade. Canadian police cleared protesters from the Ambassador bridge linking the country to the United States on Sunday allowing North America’s busiest trade route to reopen.

Monday 14 February

Prince Charles Tests Positive for Second Time

09:10 Prince Charles met the Queen two days before testing positive for Covid for the second time. A palace source said the monarch was not displaying any symptoms, but declined to say whether or not she had tested negative.

John Major Condemns Boris Johnson as a Lawbreaker

Elsewhere in the UK, Boris Johnson was condemned by former Conservative prime minister Sir John Major as a lawbreaker whose disregard for honesty and ministerial standards risks undermining the UK’s long-term democratic future, on another politically bruising day for the prime minister.

Brussel Authorities Ban Pan European ‘Freedom Convoy’ Protesting against Corona Curbs

Brussels authorities have banned a pan-European ‘freedom convoy’ of motorists protesting Covid restrictions from entering the Belgian capital, the regional government said in a statement. Reuters reports the convoy was expected to arrive at the home of European Union institutions and NATO on Monday. Authorities in Paris had earlier banned the convoy.

Spain Has Dropped Mandatory Use of Face Masks Outdoors

Spain dropped the mandatory use of face masks outdoors. Although they will remain compulsory at large open-air gatherings where social distancing is not possible, they will no longer be required in school playgrounds.

New Zealand Reaches New Daily Record on Infections

New Zealand has hit a new record daily of community Covid cases, with 446 announced on Friday. That is an increase of 140 cases from the previous record, which was set the previous day. Cases are expected to climb steadily now that Omicron is spreading within New Zealand.

The Dutch Govt Reported That It Plans to Reduce Corona Restrictions

The Dutch government has said it aims to drop most of its coronavirus restrictions by the end of the month, as record levels of infections in recent weeks have only had a limited effect on hospital numbers.

Wales Announces COVID-19 Passes Will Be Scrapped Along with Face Coverings at Certain Venues

Covid passes are to be scrapped and the need to wear face coverings in certain venues removed later this month as coronavirus cases continue to fall, the Welsh government has announced. The changes will be confirmed on Friday during the first three-week review of Wales’s alert level zero measures.

Africa Transitions from the Pandemic Phase of Corona to Managing the Virus Long Term

Africa is transitioning out of the pandemic phase of its Covid outbreak and moving towards a situation where it will be managing the virus long term, the World Health Organization’s regional head for Africa said. Dr Matshidiso Moeti added the number of Covid infections in Africa could be seven times higher than official data suggested, and deaths from the virus two to three times higher.

Friday 11 February

The Metropolitan Police Reviews Decision to Exclude Downing Street’s Christmas Quiz from Partygate Investigations

11:10 In the UK, The Metropolitan police is going to review its decision not to include the Christmas quiz in Downing Street on 15 December 2020 in its partygate investigation in the light of a new picture showing prime minister Boris Johnson with a bottle of prosecco and two staff members.

Boris Johnson Intends to Terminate the Last Corona Curbs in England

Boris Johnson plans to abolish the last domestic Covid restrictions in England, including the requirement for people with the virus to self-isolate, in less than two weeks, a month earlier than initially proposed, he announced.

Sweden Has Scrapped Almost All of Its Pandemic Restrictions

Sweden scrapped almost all of its few pandemic restrictions and stopped most of its testing for Covid, even as the pressure on the healthcare systems remained high and some scientists begged for more patience in fighting the disease.

Anti-Vaccine Protestors in New Zealand Have Been Evicted from Parliament Grounds

New Zealand’s anti-vaccine protestors are being evicted from parliament grounds on the third day of their protest, with more than 50 arrested after clashes with police.

Blockades between Canada and the US May Seriously Impact Both Countries Economies

Blockades on the busiest border bridge between Canada and the US to protest against coronavirus rules could have a serious impact on the economies of both countries, disrupting the automotive industry, agricultural exports and causing multimillion-dollar losses, the two countries’ governments have said.

The US Govt Will Administer COVID-19 Injections to Children under the Age of 5 as Soon as 21 February

The US government is planning to roll out Covid-19 jabs for children under the age of 5 as soon as 21 February. The US Food and Drug Administration is considering authorising the use of the Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE vaccine in the age group even though it did not meet a key target in a clinical trial of two- to four-year-olds.

Palestinian Authorities Have Increased Corona Testing and Giving Jabs in the West Bank and Gaza Strip

Palestinian authorities have ramped up Covid testing and vaccinations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and have warned that public indifference to calls for mask-wearing and social distancing is hampering efforts to fight the pandemic. The Palestinian Authority health ministry registered more than 64,000 active cases of Covid on Wednesday.

EU Officials Said Low Absorption of Vaccines in Africa Is the World’s Main Problem with the Vaccine Rollout

Top European Union officials said low absorption of Covid-19 vaccines in African countries has become the main problem in the global vaccine rollout following a recent increase in supplies of jabs.

Just Five Hospitals in Afghanistan Offer Treatment for Covid-19

Only five hospitals in Afghanistan still offer Covid treatment, with 33 others having been forced to close in recent months for lack of doctors, medicines and even heating, the Associated Press reports. It comes as the economically devastated nation is hit by a steep rise in the number of reported coronavirus cases.

King Felipe of Spain and Queen Margrethe II of Denmark Both Test Positive for Corona

Spain’s King Felipe has tested positive for Covid-19 on Wednesday after displaying mild symptoms overnight and will remain in isolation for seven days, the Royal Palace has said. Also, Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II has tested positive for coronavirus and is showing mild symptoms, the royal court said. The 81-year-old monarch received a third dose of the vaccine in November, the court said.

Covid-19 Restrictions in Tokyo and in 12 Prefectures Will Be Lengthened by 3 weeks

Japan is set to extend Covid restrictions in Tokyo and 12 prefectures by three weeks as the Omicron variant continued to spread. The country has been breaking daily records for coronavirus cases and deaths amid a surge in infections driven by Omicron.

Thursday 10 February

Traffic Halted at North America’s Border due to Canadian Truckers

Traffic has ground to a halt at the busiest border crossing in North America, as Canadian truckers and others angry with vaccine mandates spread their protest beyond Ottawa.

New Zealand Police Arrests Anti-Mandate Protestors

The police in New Zealand has arrested several anti-mandate protesters who have set up camp on the lawns of parliament.

At Beijing Winter Olympics Five Games-Related Personnel Have Contracted Corona

Organisers of the Beijing Winter Olympics said a total of five new Covid cases were detected among games-related personnel on Tuesday. Three of the cases were found among new airport arrivals.

Hong Kong Announces Its First Potential Corona Death in 5 Months

Hong Kong reported its first potential Covid death in five months after an elderly man who returned a positive test died on Tuesday. The global financial hub is expected to report a record of at least 1,160 new infections on Wednesday, broadcaster TVB reported.

Kathy Hochul, the New York Governor, Intends to Cease the Masked Mandate for Indoor Places

New York governor Kathy Hochul plans to end her state’s mask mandate for most indoor public places on Wednesday, according to the New York Times, joining several states lifting face-covering rules in the weeks ahead as the latest COVID-19 surge loosens its grip.

Pfizer Made Almost $37 Billion from Corona Last Year

The drugmaker Pfizer made nearly $37bn from its Covid-19 vaccine last year, making it one of the most lucrative products in history, but bringing accusations from campaigners of ‘pandemic profiteering’. The company forecast another bumper year in 2022, with a big boost coming from its Covid-19 pill Paxlovid.

France, Portugal and Greece Ease Off on Entry Requirements for Fully Vaccinated Travellers

France, Portugal and Greece have relaxed their entry requirements for fully vaccinated travellers, with changes coming into effect in time for half-term. Vaccinated tourists travelling to Portugal will no longer need to provide a negative test result to enter, although unvaccinated passengers will.

Qantas Witnesses a Bookings Surge as the Govt Will Lift the Ban on International Arrivals

Qantas has seen a surge of booking from people travelling to Australia after the government said the ban on international arrivals would be lifted soon. Australia’s national carrier said bookings doubled on the first day following Monday’s announcement that borders would open on 21 February.

Wednesday 9 February

Boris Johnson Is Attacked on All Sides by MPs after Accusing Keir Starmer of Protecting Paedophile Jimmy Saville

06:55 In the UK, MPs from all sides have angrily rounded on Boris Johnson and accused him of whipping up political poison after the Labour leader, Keir Starmer, was set upon by protesters who accused him of protecting the paedophile Jimmy Savile. Johnson provoked widespread fury last week when he falsely suggested Starmer had protected Savile during his time as Director of public prosecutions.

Sweden to Remove Travel Restrictions for Foreign Nationals

Sweden will lift its travel restrictions for foreign nationals travelling to Sweden from Nordic countries and the rest of the European Union and European Economic Area from Wednesday, the government has announced.

Germany Intends to Relax Corona Curbs after New Peak Passes

The German government is working on plans to relax coronavirus restrictions after the peak in new cases has passed, most likely by the end of February.

Australia to Fully Open Its Border from 21 February

Australia will open its border for fully vaccinated tourists and all visa holders on 21 February, almost two years after borders were first closed.

US Congress Commemorate 900,000 American Corona Deaths by Holding a Moments Silence

Democratic leaders in the US Congress are holding a moment of silence on Monday to commemorate the 900,000 American lives lost to the Covid-19 pandemic.

A Warrant Has Been Issued for Olympic Swimmer, Derya Buyukuncu by Turkey Prosecutors

Turkish prosecutors have issued an arrest warrant for former Olympic swimmer Derya Buyukuncu over tweets appearing to express relief that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tested positive for Covid-19.

Corona Infections Have Doubled in the English Premier League in a Week to 22

The number of positive Covid-19 cases in the English Premier League, the most-watched sports league in the world, has doubled in a week to 22 cases, but with a far higher number of tests being carried out.

An Oxford Scientist That Worked on AstraZeneca Vaccine Accused Scientists and Politicians of Probably Killing Hundreds of Thousands

Prof John Bell, an Oxford scientist who worked on the AstraZeneca vaccine, has accused scientists and politicians of having “probably killed hundreds of thousands of people” by damaging its reputation.

Hong Kong Will Stick to Its ‘Dynamic Zero’ Covid-19 Strategy

Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam has said the Asian financial hub will stick to a “dynamic zero” Covid-19 strategy to contain the virus a day after the city saw a “shocking” new record of over 600 infections. “We should contain the spread of the virus as much and as fast as possible,” she said. Hong Kong has reported a record 614 cases and many of its residents have begun to crowd supermarkets in an effort to stock up on food and other necessities. One vegetable vendor told Reuters supplies had dropped by 30%.

Canada’s Public Safety Minister Has Requested US Officials Stay Out of Canada’s Affairs

Canada’s public safety minister has said US officials should stay out of his country’s domestic affairs, joining other Canadian leaders in pushing back against prominent Republicans who offered support for demonstrators protesting Covid-19 restrictions who have besieged central Ottawa for more than a week.

Tuesday 8 February

Ottawa Declares State of Emergency as Protestors Paralyse the City

07:10 The mayor of Canada’s capital has declared a state of emergency as protesters opposed to Covid-19 restrictions continued to paralyse central Ottawa. Jim Watson said the declaration highlights the need for support from other jurisdictions and levels of government.

Over 17 Million Vietnamese Students Return to School after a Year

More than 17 million Vietnamese students are due to return to school for the first time in about a year, the health ministry has said, as authorities announced plans to start vaccinating children from as young as five against Covid-19.

Chinese City in Guangxi Is Locked Down due to Tiny Virus Outbreak

The Chinese city of Baise in Guangxi, population 3.57 million, has been locked down because of a Covid outbreak. The outbreak is tiny by global standards, but the curbs, including a ban on non-essential trips in and out, follow a national guideline to quickly contain any flare-ups. That news comes as China’s chief epidemiologist, Wu Zunyou, says that as long as there’s no other way to contain the spread of the virus, the country won’t adjust its “dynamic Zero Covid” pandemic control policy.

The President of Honduras Tests Positive for Corona

Xiomara Castro, the president of Central American country Honduras, has tested positive for Covid-19. In a tweet, she said she had mild symptoms.

The PM of Papua New Guinea also Tests Positive for Corona

Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister James Marape tested positive for Covid-19 upon arrival in Beijing on Thursday for the opening of the Winter Games and will not be travelling to France next week for an Indo-Pacific summit, his office has said.

India Has Approved Sputnik Light, a Russian One-Jab Vaccine

Authorities in India have approved Russia’s one-jab Sputnik Light Covid-19 vaccine. It will be the second Russian-developed jab to be approved by the country, after Sputnik V was allowed in April 2021.

UK Travellers Must Check Half-Term Holiday plans Meet Vaccination Rules

UK travellers have been warned to check their half-term holiday plans to make sure they meet Covid vaccination rules when travelling to EU destinations as a growing number of countries impose new restrictions.

Monday 7 February

India’s Covid-19 Death Toll Has Surpassed 500,000

08:45 India’s death toll from Covid-19 has crossed 500,000, a level many health experts say was breached last year but obscured by inaccurate surveys and unaccounted dead in the hinterlands, where millions remain vulnerable to the disease.

Frustration Builds in Ottawa over Truckers Protest against Vaccine Mandate

Frustrations are boiling over in Canada’s capital as the protest by truckers against Covid-19 vaccine mandates has clogged downtown Ottawa for a week and shows no sign of ending, with many residents angry at police for not breaking it up. In addition, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau has said a military response to the ongoing Ottawa protest against Covid-19 measures is “not in the cards right now” after the Ottawan Police Chief, Peter Sloly said that all options were on the table.

Africa Needs to Boost Its Corona Vaccination Rate 6x to Reach 70% Vaccine Coverage by Mid-2022

Africa must boost the vaccination rate against Covid-19 'six times' to reach the target of 70 percent vaccine coverage set for the end of the first half of 2022, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.

Adults Infected in Denmark May Be Double the Recorded Number

The number of adults in Denmark infected with Covid may be double the official tally, Danish scientists said on Thursday, after releasing data suggesting one-third of the adult population has been infected in the past three months.

Novavax Has Been Approved by the UK Regulator for People Aged 18+

The Covid-19 vaccine developed by Novavax has been approved by the UK regulator for use in people over the age of 18. Clinical trials suggest two doses of the Novavax jab have an efficacy of about 90% against symptomatic Covid, similar to the other approved UK vaccines.

Palestinians Face Winter Corona Surge

Palestinians are facing a winter coronavirus surge driven by the Omicron variant, placing stress on the medical system even though vaccines are widely available. More than 70,000 active cases in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, annexed East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip on Thursday, more than twice the number at the height of previous increases.

South Africa African Biologics Uses the Sequence of Moderna’s Covid mRNA Vaccine to Develop Its Own

South Africa’s Afrigen Biologics has used the publicly available sequence of Moderna’s Covid mRNA vaccine to make its own version of the shot, which could be tested in humans before the end of this year, Afrigen’s top executive has said.

Friday 4 February

New Zealand Plans to Reopen Its Border in Stages

08:20 New Zealand has announced it will reopen its border to visitors in stages, after its earlier plans to do so were derailed by Omicron. The country’s borders have been closed, apart from a short-lived travel bubble with Australia, for nearly two years.

More Conservative MPs Have Suggested That Boris Johnson Resign

Three more Conservative MPs have publicly called on the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson to resign, describing their shock and anger at his conduct since the publication of an interim report into parties held at Downing Street while the country was under strict lockdown measures. In addition, the UK Conservative MP, Mark Jenkinson has sparked a backlash after arguing on ITV that breaching Covid rules is equivalent to parking on a double-yellow line. Moreover, UK Covid infections have stopped falling, with levels holding steady or climbing, the ONS said. For England, one in 20 people had Covid in the week ending 29 January.

Serbia State Prosecutors Have Rejected that Novak Djokovic Used a Fake Positive Corona Test to Enter the Australian Open

Serbia’s state prosecutors on Wednesday rejected suggestions that Novak Djokovic used a fake positive test for Covid-19 to try to enter Australia and compete in the Australian Open.

The US Army Informed Soldiers Refusing to Get a Corona Vaccine Will Be Discharged Immediately

The US army has said soldiers that refuse to get a Covid-19 vaccine will be immediately discharged, maintaining the move is critical to maintain combat readiness.

Italy to Announce Its Schedule to Withdraw Its Covid-19 Curbs

Italy will soon announce a timetable to roll back its Covid curbs, the Prime Minister, Mario Draghi said today. It comes as the surge in cases fuelled by the highly contagious Omicron variant started to show signs of slowing.

Germany, with over 10 Million Infections, Hope to Remove Restrictions in March

Germany has recorded over 10 million total Covid cases, after detecting 208,498 new infections in the past 24 hours. Ministers said they hope to lift restrictions in March.

Ottawa Police in Canada Are Paralysed as Protestors against Vaccine Mandates May Have Guns

Police in Ottawa, Canada, have seen signs that guns have been brought into a truckers’ protest against vaccine mandates that has paralysed the Canadian capital, the police chief said.

Tokyo Reaches a Record-Breaking 21,576 Infections

In Japan, Tokyo detected a record-breaking 21,576 new cases, topping the previous record of 17,631, as the country battles Omicron.

Thursday 3 February

France Reduces Covid-19 Restrictions

07:35 France will begin lifting coronavirus restrictions including mandatory outdoor mask-wearing on Wednesday in a bid to ease citizens’ daily lives, dividing opinion as the country only last month reported record Covid-19 infections.

Tonga in Lockdown after Reporting Two Infections among Its Port Workers

Tonga has entered a lockdown after recording two Covid-19 cases among port workers helping distribute international aid in the wake of the volcanic eruption and tsunami that devastated the country last month.

Boris Johnson Attended a Leaving Do for a No.10 Aide during the Strict Christmas Lockdown

The UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson attended a leaving do for a No 10 aide during the strict post-Christmas lockdown, which is now under police investigation, the Guardian has learned. Prosecco is alleged to have been drunk by some staff, with Johnson understood to have given a speech thanking the official for their work and staying for around five minutes.

US Children under Five Years Old May Soon Be Eligible for Shots

In the US children under five, the last group of Americans still ineligible for vaccines against Covid-19, may soon receive emergency authorisation for the shots, but getting all children vaccinated remains a serious challenge.

32 New Infections Reported at the Beijing Olympics

Meanwhile, at the Winter Olympics in Beijing, 32 new Covid infections were detected among Games-related personnel on 1 February. Seventeen were in the ‘closed loop’ bubble that separates all event workers from the public. Additionally, China reported 63 confirmed coronavirus cases for 1 February, down slightly from 66 a day earlier, the country’s health authority said on Wednesday.

In India, Corona Health Workers State People Are Registered as Double Vaccinated without Receiving Both Jabs

Health workers on the frontline of the Covid vaccination programme in India say people are being officially registered as double vaccinated without receiving both doses because of pressure to meet government targets.

Australia Records 69 Corona Deaths

Australia recorded 69 Covid deaths as the country continues to battle the spread of the Omicron variant with worrying outbreaks in some remote communities.

In Kyoto, Japan, the Tourist Hotspot, Residents Learn to Embrace Life without Tourists

Two years into the pandemic in Japan, some residents in former tourist hotspot Kyoto admit that they have learned to embrace life without foreign visitors.

Wednesday 2 February

Denmark Lifts All Covid-19 Restrictions despite Record Case Numbers

08:25 Denmark on Tuesday becomes the first EU country to lift all of its Covid restrictions despite record numbers of cases, relying on its high vaccination rate to cope with the Omicron variant. After a first attempt at lifting all its restrictions between September and November, the country is once again ditching its face masks, Covid passes and limited opening hours for bars and restaurants. Also, a study in Denmark has suggested that the BA.2 subvariant of the Omicron coronavirus variant is more transmissible than the more common BA.1 and more able to infect vaccinated people.

The British Foreign Secretary Tests Positive for Corona

British foreign secretary Liz Truss has tested positive for Covid, shortly after sitting in a packed House of Commons without wearing a mask. Truss had been due to travel to Ukraine with the Prime Minister on Tuesday to meet the Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky.

UK Detectives Investigate 300 Photos and 12 Events at Downing Street

Boris Johnson has been left desperately trying to shore up his premiership as detectives were revealed to be investigating 300 photos and 12 events in Downing Street during the lockdowns, including a party in the UK prime minister’s private flat.

UK Ministers Scrap Order to Mandate All NHS Staff to Get Vaccinated

UK ministers have announced plans to scrap an order forcing all NHS staff in England to get vaccinated against Covid. Health secretary Sajid Javid said the U-turn would prevent the exodus of thousands of health workers.

Trudeau States That Canadians Were Disgusted by Anti-Vaccine Protestor Behaviour

Justin Trudeau has said that Canadians were disgusted by the behaviour of anti-vaccine protesters, and said he would not be intimidated by those who hurled abuse. His comments came shortly after he tweeted that he had tested positive for the virus.

The UK Govt Discuss Ending Mandatory Jabs for Health and Care Workers

The UK government will consult on ending mandatory jabs as a condition of employment in health and all social care settings, with a view to revoking the regulations.

Amnesty International Accuses Spanish Prosecutors of Failing to Investigate Dozens of Corona Deaths in Nursing Homes

Amnesty International has accused Spanish prosecutors of failing to properly investigate dozens of Covid-related deaths of residents of nursing homes. Amnesty’s Spain director, Esteban Beltrán, said that in some cases authorities closed the investigations without contacting staff or victims’ families.

Tuesday 1 February

Spotify Pledges to Put Content Notices Featuring Coronavirus Advise

07:41 Spotify has pledged to add content advisory notices to all podcasts featuring coronavirus. This comes after Neil Young and Joni Mitchell withdrew their music from the streaming platform in protest against Covid misinformation. Moreover, Harry and Meghan have expressed concerns about misinformation on Spotify, but have made it clear they plan to continue work on their lucrative contracts with the platform.

The UK Foreign Secretary Stated the Government Will Publish a Full Report on Lockdown-Breaking Parties

The UK’s foreign secretary, Liz Truss, has said it is the government’s “intention to publish the full report” into alleged lockdown-breaking parties in Downing Street. She also admitted: “It is a bit of a mess that we have the police investigation alongside the Sue Gray report.” In addition, there have been 62,399 new cases of Covid-19 in the UK, according to the latest government figures. This is the lowest number of daily Covid cases since mid-December.

Portugal’s Ruling Centre-Left Socialists Have Won the Parliamentary Majority

Defying all odds, Portugal’s ruling centre-left Socialists won an outright parliamentary majority in Sunday’s snap general election, securing a strong new mandate for the prime minister, Antonio Costa. The result was boosted by a higher than expected turnout despite the coronavirus pandemic, around a tenth of the population is currently thought to be isolating.

New Zealand PM Tests Negative for Corona

New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern has tested negative for Covid after she was deemed a close contact of a positive case. The prime minister’s office says Ardern will continue isolating until the end of Tuesday in line with the Ministry of Health guidance.

David Cameron Contracts Corona

The former British Prime Minister, David Cameron has caught the virus, New Zealand media are reporting. Cameron had been scheduled to open a retreat for the opposition National party in Queenstown this coming week.

Omicron Variant Hits a Record 17,532 New Infections in South Korea

New cases in South Korea’s have hit a record 17,532 as the highly infectious Omicron variant spreads. The daily count broke the record for the sixth consecutive day, rising from 8,570 on Tuesday.

Thousands Protest in Prague against Corona Curbs

Thousands have gathered in Prague to protest against Covid restrictions. They are opposed to harsher restrictions for the unvaccinated, including a ban on eating in restaurants.

Monday 31 January

England Returns to Plan A Corona Strategy

08:20 England is going back to its 'Plan A' Covid strategy by lifting virus restrictions, with commuters back to the office, masks no longer required in enclosed places and vaccine passports shelved.

Pfizer’s Antiviral Covid-19 Pill Has Received the Green Light

The EU’s drug regulator gave the green light to Pfizer Inc’s antiviral Covid-19 pill for treating adults at risk of severe illness.

Finland Plans to Ease Up on Restrictions from 1 February

Finland will begin gradually easing restrictions from 1 February instead of mid-February as initially planned.

Fierce Debate in Paris Hospital System about Unvaccinated People Being Allowed to Receive Public Health Treatment

The Head of the Paris hospitals system has set off a fierce debate by questioning whether people who refuse to be vaccinated should continue to have their treatment covered by public health insurance.

Catalonia in Spain Drops Covid-19 Passport

Spain’s north-eastern Catalonia region drops the need for a Covid passport to enter restaurants, bars and gyms.

The Health Authority in Sweden Will Not Advise Jabs for 5 to 11-Year-Olds

Sweden’s health authority says it will not recommend Covid-19 jabs for all five to 11-year-olds, the country again choosing a different Covid policy to much of Europe.

Wales Lifts Covid-19 Restrictions on Friday

Many more Covid restrictions are being lifted on Friday in Wales, allowing nightclubs to reopen and some rules on social distancing to be scrapped.

Hong Kong Reduces Quarantine Period for Incoming Travellers

Hong Kong will shorten its 21-day quarantine requirement to 14 days for incoming travellers starting from 5 February.

New Delhi Ends Weekend Curfew

New Delhi ends a weekend curfew, reopens restaurants and allows markets to operate at full capacity, as the Omicron variant outbreak slows.

Canadian Truck Drivers Protest Federal Govt. Vaccine Mandate in Ottawa

Canadian truck drivers are meeting in Ottawa to protest a federal government vaccine mandate. In addition, the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau says he has been exposed to Covid-19 and will isolate for five days, in accordance with health rules for vaccinated people.

A UAE Medical Convoy Has Reached the Gaza Strip with 1 Million Vaccines

A United Arab Emirates medical convoy of one million Covid-19 vaccines reached the Gaza Strip via the Rafah border crossing, state news agency WAM said.

Morocco Reopens Its Airspace for International Travel from 7 February

Morocco will reopen its airspace for international flights starting Feb. 7, the state news agency (MAP) reported on Thursday.

Friday 28 January

Italy Will Reduce Curbs on Visitors from the EU

07:25 Italy will ease Covid restrictions for all visitors from European Union countries starting from 1 February, its health ministry said on Wednesday.

Denmark to Dispense with Most of the Corona Restrictions Next Week

In Denmark, the government announced it will scrap most pandemic restrictions next week, even as neighbouring Sweden extended its own measures for another fortnight.

In Berlin Police Crack Down on Protestors Wearing Similar Yellow Star Badges to the Nazi Era

The police in Berlin have been authorised to crack down on protesters wearing badges resembling yellow star badges and other symbols associated with the Nazi era at demonstrations against vaccine mandates or other pandemic restrictions.

Sweden Extends Pandemic Measures by a Further Two Weeks

Sweden will extend its current pandemic measures by another two weeks, the Minister for Health said on Wednesday, as Omicron is spreading at record speed. The curbs mean bars and restaurants have to close at 11 pm and there is a cap of 500 people inside larger indoor venues.

Austria Will End the Lockdown of Unvaccinated People on Monday

As pressure on hospitals eases, Austria will end its lockdown for people not fully vaccinated against the coronavirus on Monday, though some restrictions on public life will remain.

Israel Widens the Eligibility for a 4th Vaccine Dose

Israel has broadened its eligibility for a fourth dose of the Covid vaccine to include adults under 60 with underlying medical conditions, their carers and others over 18 at significant risk of exposure to coronavirus.

The US Has Donated in Excess of 400 Million Vaccines to 112 Countries

The United States has donated more than 400m vaccine doses to 112 countries, marking a major milestone in the White House’s goal of donating 1.2bn vaccine doses under president Joe Biden’s direction.

Highest Number of Daily Infections Are Witnessed by the Americas

The Americas have seen their highest daily Covid caseloads since the pandemic began, and Omicron has clearly become the predominant variant, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said.

Thursday 27 January

Boris Johnson Welcomes a Police Inquiry into Downing Street

08:30 Boris Johnson said he welcomes a police inquiry into Downing Street parties and will help “draw a line” under matters. Earlier, Metropolitan police said they would begin investigating parties held at No 10 during coronavirus lockdowns. The development piles further pressure on the prime minister after fresh revelations of two more gatherings, including one to celebrate his birthday. Moreover, Sue Gray’s inquiry report is reportedly set to come this week after the Met said there is no need to hold material back.

77,000 NHS Workers Remain Unvaccinated

The UK’s health secretary, Sajid Javid, said 77,000 NHS workers remain unvaccinated, and Covid policies, including on mandatory jabs for NHS staff, should be kept ‘under review’. Also, the UK reported 439 deaths within 28 days of a Covid-positive test. That’s the highest tally since February 2021. Tuesday’s data showed 94,326 new daily cases. The figures are often higher on a Tuesday when most deaths at the weekend are included in the tally. Last Tuesday, 438 deaths were reported.

People to Return to Offices in Scotland from Monday

Scotland will allow people to return to offices from Monday, in a 'phased' plan announced by Nicola Sturgeon. The first minister asked employers to begin a phased return to work by introducing hybrid working next week after a continuing decline in Omicron variant cases in Scotland, in an update to MSPs at Holyrood.

Daily Infections in Italy Have Increased by 150% in One Day

Italy’s daily cases have more than doubled in a day to 186,740. This is up from 77,696 a day earlier, the health ministry said. The number of deaths jumped to 468 from 352, though more tests had been taken in the past day than on Monday.

The Anti-Vaccination Movement in Germany Ramps Up

In Germany, the anti-vaccination movement is ramping up, with thousands of people taking part in weekly protests across the country. More than 2,000 rallies were held on Monday.

Russia Reduces Isolation Time for Corona Contacts to 7 Days

Russia has cut the isolation time for Covid contacts from 14 days to seven, amid a surge in infections driven by the Omicron variant. On Tuesday, daily cases reached a record high of 67,809, official figures show.

Doctors Have Discovered a Method to Identify Patients Most at Risk

Doctors have discovered an 'antibody signature' that can help identify patients most at risk of developing long Covid. Malta Scraps Vaccine Certificate Requirement Malta will start to scrap a requirement for people to present a vaccination certificate for entry to restaurants and other venues from next month.

Despite Record Infections in the Netherlands, Bars, Restaurants and Theatres Reopen

Bars, restaurants and theatres in the Netherlands can reopen on 26 January, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said, further relaxing restrictions despite record infection levels.

The US Department of Labour Will Withdraw Its Vaccine and Testing Requirement for Large Employers

The US Department of Labor said it will withdraw its Covid-19 vaccine-and-testing requirement for large employers after the Supreme Court blocked the rule.

Mask Mandate Temporarily Restored in New York

An appeals judge has temporarily restored New York’s mask mandate on Tuesday, a day after a judge in a lower court ruled that Governor Kathy Hochul’s administration lacked the constitutional authority to order people to wear face coverings.

Elton John Postpones to Concerts in Dallas, Texas due to Corona

Elton John has postponed two farewell concert dates in Dallas, Texas, after contracting Covid-19. Daily Infections in South Korea Surpass 8,000 South Korea’s daily count of new cases topped 8,000 for the first time, despite the recent extension of strict social-distancing rules.

Japan Has Expanded It Curbs to Cover 70% of Its Population

Japan expanded regions subject to tighter curbs to cover 70% of the country, as the government tried to counter a record wave of Covid-19 cases caused by the Omicron variant.

A Government Advisory Panel in Israel Recommends a Fourth Vaccine to all Adults

An Israeli government advisory panel has recommended offering a fourth vaccine dose to all adults, on condition that at least five months have passed since they received the third or recovered from the illness.

Wednesday 26 January

The EU Drug Regulator to Decide on Approval of Pfizer’s COVID-19 Pill

08:30 The European Union’s drug regulator is set to decide whether to approve Pfizer’s Covid-19 pill at the end of this month, before doing a final review of Merck’s similar but less effective drug in February, a source with knowledge of the matter said.

The UK Announced to End Testing Rules for Doubly Vaccinated Travellers

The UK announced plans to end testing rules for all doubly vaccinated travellers from 11 February. Thus, fully vaccinated travellers arriving in Britain will no longer have to take a Covid-19 test. Also, British scientists will begin testing Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics’ antiviral pill molnupiravir as a possible treatment for patients hospitalised with Covid-19.

Norway Ends Mandatory Quarantine for Unvaccinated Travellers

Norway will end its system of mandatory quarantines for non-vaccinated travellers and close contacts of infected persons, replacing it instead with a daily test regime. Use of Public Transport and Entering Hospitality Businesses in France Requires a Vaccine Passport Rules requiring a vaccine passport to enter hospitality businesses and take public transport came into force in France.

Corona Deaths Escalated in Australia

Covid-related deaths surged in Australia and authorities warned numbers could rise further when schools return from holidays next week.

Japan Adds Further Restrictions to Tackle the Omicron Variant

Japan announced plans to extend coronavirus restrictions beyond the current 9pm curfew in a bid to tackle the spread of Omicron. The country is poised to double the number of regions subject to restrictions such as shortened restaurant opening hours in order to rein in a record surge in cases.

The Beijing Winter Olympics Organisers Relax Strict Corona Rules

Organisers of next month’s Beijing Winter Olympics slightly eased the strict Covid-19 requirements for participants. Additionally, one of China’s longest lockdowns in the northern city of X’ian comes to an end after its 13 million residents were confined to their homes on December 22.

Israel Does Not Plan to Offer a Fourth Vaccine to Most People

Israel’s Health Minister said he did not think Israel will offer a fourth Covid-19 vaccine dose to most people after the government made it available to over 60s and other high-risk groups.

3rd Booster of Covid-19 Vaccine Increases Antibody Levels Significantly

A third booster dose of a Covid-19 vaccine made by AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech or Johnson & Johnson increases antibody levels significantly in those who have previously received two doses of Sinovac’s CoronaVac shot, a study has found.

The Director-General of the WHO Warns That Conditions Remain Ideal for More Corona Strains to Emerge

The Director-General of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus gave a press conference in which he warned that conditions remain ideal for more coronavirus variants to emerge and said it was dangerous to assume Omicron was the last one but added that the acute phase of the pandemic could end this year if some key targets were met.

Tuesday 25 January

A Fourth Vaccine Dose Is Given to People over 60 in Israel

07:15 A fourth dose of the Covid-19 vaccine given to people over 60 in Israel made them three times more resistant to serious illness than thrice-vaccinated people in the same age group, Israel’s health ministry has said.

50,000 People in Belgium Protest against Corona Curbs

About 50,000 people protesting against Covid-19 restrictions in Belgium have been dispersed by police. The country is facing a fifth wave of Covid-19 infections, with the peak not expected for at least a couple of weeks.

The US Authorities Have Confidence That Most States Will Soon Pass the Omicron Peak

US authorities are confident most states will soon reach and pass a peak in coronavirus Omicron variant cases, even as hospitals struggle to cope with the current surge, Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser has said.

Swedish Study Claims the Corona’s 1st Wave of Patients May Have Long-Term / Permanent Changes to Sense of Smell

Nearly half of those who became ill with Covid in the first wave of infections may have long-term and even permanent changes to their sense of smell, according to preliminary research from Sweden.

Third World Countries Face Nurse Staff Shortages as Wealthy Countries Intensify Recruitment

The Omicron-fuelled wave of Covid-19 infections has led wealthy countries to intensify their recruitment of nurses from poorer parts of the world, worsening dire staffing shortages in overstretched workforces there, the International Council of Nurses has said.

In New Zealand, New Curbs Are Being Introduced to Restrict Spread of Omicron

New measures are being introduced in New Zealand as coronavirus cases could rise to more than 1,000 a day driven by the more transmissible Omicron variant. Also, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has postponed her planned wedding in response.

Britain Reported a Drop in Positive Corona Tests by 15.4% in the Last Week

Britain reported 74,799 new Covid-19 cases and 75 deaths within 28 days of a positive test on Sunday, government data showed. The number of positive tests has fallen by 15.4% to 641,687 in the last seven days, according to the data.

The Beijing Olympics Have Confirmed 72 Cases of Corona with No Cases among Athletes

Beijing Olympics organisers say they have confirmed 72 cases of Covid-19 among 2,586 Games-related personnel entering China from 4 January to 22 January, with no cases among 171 athletes and team officials arriving in that period.

The US Is Resisting Proposals to Make the WHO More Independent

The United States, the World Health Organization’s top donor, is resisting proposals to make the agency more independent, four officials involved in the talks said, raising doubts about the Biden administration’s long-term support for the UN agency.

2,200 Hamsters Have Been Culled in Hong Kong to Contain an Outbreak

Hong Kong authorities said on Sunday one hamster surrendered to authorities by pet owners had tested positive for Covid-19 and that more than 2,200 hamsters had been culled as the city struggled to contain an outbreak.

Monday 24 January

China Reports Its Lowest Number of Daily Infections in 2 Months

08:10 China has reported its lowest daily tally of local confirmed Covid-19 cases in nearly two months, after a national strategy to stamp out flare-ups and lock down affected cities. Though. despite the decrease in daily case counts, experts say China’s zero Covid policy ‘not sustainable’ in light of Omicron. Moreover, the Beijing Winter Olympics torch relay will be cordoned off from the public because of concern about the spread of the coronavirus, organisers said.

A Malaysian Clinic Injected People with Distilled Water Instead of the Vaccine

A clinic in Malaysia injected people with distilled water before providing fraudulent Covid vaccination certificates, according to local media reports.

A Zoo in India Plans a Corona Vaccine Trial on Lions and Leopards

A zoo in India is planning on rolling out a Covid vaccine trial on its resident lions and leopards, the Times of India is reporting.

Hong Kong Police Help Cull Hamsters to Curb Coronavirus

Hong Kong police will deal with pet lovers who try to stop people giving up their hamsters to be put down, or who offer to care for abandoned hamsters, authorities said, after they ordered a cull of the cuddly rodents to curb the coronavirus.

Omicron in Australia Has Peaked in NSW and Victoria

Australia’s Omicron wave has likely peaked in NSW and Victoria, according to experts. Also, an Australian aid flight en route to the South Pacific nation of Tonga recently devastated by a volcanic eruption and tsunami has been turned back to base due to a positive Covid-19 case onboard.

The World Bank Approved a $750 Million Development Policy Loan to South Africa

The World Bank has approved a Covid-19 linked $750m development policy loan to South Africa to protect the poor and support economic recovery from the pandemic.

Friday 21 January

Germany again Surpasses Its Record Number of Daily Infections

07:50 Germany reported another record rise of 133,536 daily new cases. It is the second consecutive day the European country has broken a pandemic record, with 234 deaths also reported, according to recently updated figures from the Robert Koch Institute.

Covid-19 Inspires Record Numbers of People Choosing to Become Nurses

The Covid pandemic has inspired record numbers of people to become nurses, with more than 56,000 signing up to nursing courses or apprenticeships in England since the outbreak in early 2020, according to a report. England to Scrap All Covid-19 Measures England will soon scrap virtually all Covid measures, the health secretary confirmed.

Australia Approves Oral Treatments for Corona

Australia’s drugs regulator has for the first time approved oral treatments for Covid-19 which should help address supply shortages of other treatments. Additionally, Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Association has given provisional approval to the protein-based Novavax Covid-19 vaccine.

Thailand to Resume Its ’Test & Go’ Quarantine Waiver for Vaccinated Arrivals

Thailand will resume its ‘Test & Go’ quarantine waiver for vaccinated arrivals starting on 1 February, the country’s coronavirus task force said on Thursday.

Japan’s Daily Rise of Infections Escalated by 10,000 on Wednesday

Japan recorded a daily rise of 41,377 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, shattering the record it set a day earlier by about 10,000 as the government puts more prefectures under a quasi-state of emergency.

Face-to-Face Teaching Is Being Suspended in Hong Kong

Hong Kong will likely suspend face-to-face teaching in secondary schools from 24 January, local media reports.

Beijing Ramps Up Efforts to Curb Corona Infections

China’s capital Beijing has ramped up efforts to curb Covid-19 infections, ordering checks among cold-chain firms and urging residents to cut unnecessary gatherings.

Biden Admits More Corona Testing Should Have Been Done Earlier in the Pandemic

The US president, Joe Biden has admitted that more should have been done in terms of Covid-19 testing availability earlier in the pandemic.

Thursday 20 January

Boris Johnson Will Meet with Cabinet to End Plan B Covid Measures in England

08:25 The British PM, Boris Johnson is to meet with his cabinet on Wednesday morning where he is expected to end Plan B Covid measures across England. A review of Covid restrictions will likely see ministers approve the end of current advice for people to work from home where possible and the use of vaccine certificates to enter venues like nightclubs and sports stadiums.

Germany Reaches Its Highest Daily infections on Tuesday

Germany has recorded 112,323 new coronavirus cases and 239 deaths on Tuesday, according to recently updated figures from the Robert Koch Institute. It is the highest recorded daily figure since the pandemic began. Omicron now accounts for more than 70% of new infections.

The Czech Republic Reported Record Covid-19 Cases on Wednesday

The Czech Republic has reported a daily Covid record of 28,469 new cases on Wednesday. Fatalities significantly decreased with 6 deaths recorded for Tuesday, a drop from Monday’s 23 fatalities, according to the ministry of health data.

Brazil Records a Record Number of 137,103 New Infections in One Day

Brazil has recorded a record 137,103 new cases of the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the health ministry reported on Tuesday. The number of deaths also rose by 351, the highest number since mid-November.

Beijing Authorities Report Another Piece of Infected Mail

Authorities in Beijing have announced another piece of infected international mail, the Beijing news has reported. In addition, China reported its lowest daily count of local Covid infections in two weeks after cities clamped down on high-risk areas, quarantined infections and conducted mass testing on residents. Mainland China reported a total of 55 domestically transmitted infections for Tuesday, lower than the 127 recorded a day earlier and marking the fewest since 1 January.

Japan Plans to Widen Corona Controls to Cover Half Its Population

Japan is poised to widen Covid-19 controls to cover half its population as the Omicron variant drives new infections to record levels, Reuters reports. Prime minister Fumio Kishida is expected to officially approve the plan after it was cleared by an expert panel on Wednesday.

Taiwan Expands Its Airport Testing for New Arrivals

Taiwan has expanded its airport testing for new arrivals after dozens of positive cases were detected despite a requirement that all travellers obtain a negative PCR result no more than two days before getting on their flight.

In Hong Kong, a Mass Hamster Cull Sparks Fears Among Animal Welfare Group

A mass hamster cull in Hong Kong has sparked fears among animal welfare groups that people will abandon their pets after 11 of the rodents from one pet shop in the city tested positive for Covid-19.

Australia Announces Financial Incentives to Lure in International Workers, Backpackers and Students

Australia has announced financial incentives in a bid to lure international workers, backpackers and students to the country to fill some of the critical workforce shortages being faced as a result of the Omicron surge.

Wednesday 19 January

Downing Street Has Denied That Boris Johnson Had Advance Notice of Drinks Party

07:25 Downing Street has denied claims by Dominic Cummings that Boris Johnson was told in advance staff were holding a drinks party in the No 10 garden in the midst of the first Covid lockdown.

Japan Plans to Halt the Implementation of Its Vaccine-and-Testing Package

Japan is set to halt implementation of its so-called vaccine-and-testing package, a government system that checks whether people have been vaccinated twice or have proof of a negative test in order to access a range of public activities, sources told the Japan Times.

China’s Postal Workers Have Been Ordered to Disinfect International Deliveries

China’s postal service has ordered workers to disinfect international deliveries and urged the public to reduce orders from overseas after authorities claimed mail could be the source of recent coronavirus outbreaks, Agence France-Press reports.

Hong Kong Police Arrested Two Former Cathay Pacific Flight Attendants for Breaking Corona Rules

Hong Kong police have arrested and charged two former Cathay Pacific flight attendants over allegations they broke the city’s coronavirus rules.

British Adults Believe the Govt Should Share Vaccines as Opposed to Delivering Domestic Boosters

Almost two-thirds of British adults feel the government should share coronavirus vaccines with the world rather than deliver additional boosters domestically, polling suggests.

Poland Experiences Its Fifth Wave

Poland is experiencing a fifth wave of Covid health minister said on Monday, warning that the spread of the Omicron variant could send daily case numbers soaring to levels not yet seen in the country.

Australia Reported Its Highest Daily Death Toll with 74 Deaths

Australia reported a record daily death toll on Tuesday with 74 deaths. It is the highest daily toll of the pandemic for Australia to date.

Moderna Plans to Launch a Single Booster to Protect against Covid and Flu

Moderna is aiming to launch a single booster vaccination that will protect against both Covid-19 and flu within two years, its chief executive said, adding that data for Omicron-specific jab will likely be available in March.

Tuesday 18 January

Signs Show That Plan B Covid Curbs in England Could Be Removed in 10 Days

08:10 Ministers are seeing ‘encouraging’ signs that plan B Covid restrictions in England could be lifted in 10 days’ time, the Chair of the Conservative party, Oliver Dowden, has said. Additionally, people in the UK may no longer be legally required to self-isolate after catching Covid, according to unsourced reports in the Telegraph. Moreover, a total of 70,924 people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland tested positive for coronavirus in the last 24 hours, the government reported on Sunday.

UK Labour Leader Keir Starmer says Boris Johnson Broke the Law by Attending at Least One of the Parties.

Starmer himself rejected accusations that he had broken Covid restrictions when he was photographed eating and drinking with others in late April 2021, saying “there was no party, no breach of the rules. There is absolutely no comparison with the prime minister.”

Hundreds March in Malta against the New Covid Entry Certificate

Hundreds of people marched in Malta against new measures requiring a Covid certificate to enter entry most venues including restaurants, gyms and bars.

Amnesty International Urges Italy to Change Corona Curbs and Avoid Discrimination

Amnesty International has urged Italy to change its strict anti-Covid-19 restrictions to avoid discriminating against unvaccinated people. In addition, Italian police arrested a nurse in Palermo for allegedly pretending to give Covid vaccines to anti-vaxxer activists so they could benefit from official health certificates to travel and access bars, restaurants and public transport in the country.

Final Approval Given in France Include Vaccine Pass Contested by Protesters

France’s parliament has given final approval to the government’s latest measures to tackle Covid-19, including a vaccine pass contested by anti-vaccine protesters.

Thousands of People Oppose Covid Measures in Amsterdam

Thousands of people have demonstrated in Amsterdam city centre in opposition to Covid-19 measures and the vaccination programme.

The Australian Federal Court Rejected Novak Djokovic’s Challenge against His Visa Cancellation

Novak Djokovic left Australia hours after the federal court rejected a challenge to the decision of the Australian immigration minister, Alex Hawke, to cancel the visa on the basis Djokovic’s presence in Australia might risk “civil unrest” as he is a “talisman of anti-vaccination sentiment.” Further, Serbia’s president said Djokovic was “harassed … but not humiliated” and the prime minister called his treatment “scandalous.”

New Zealand Has Begun Its Vaccine Rollout for Children Aged Five to 11

Cathay Pacific Is Being Blamed for Spread of Omicron in Hong Kong Last Week

Hong Kong’s flagship airline, Cathay Pacific, has been singled out as the government looks to shift blame over the spread of Omicron to at least 50 people in the last week.

India Is Developing an Omicron Specific Covid-19 Vaccine

India’s Gennova Biopharmaceuticals is reportedly working on an Omicron-specific Covid-19 vaccine while an mRNA vaccine candidate nears completion, sources say.

Monday 17 January

Boris Johnson Faces Anger and Ridicule after Admitting Attending a Drinks Party During 1st Lockdown

08:15 The British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson faces anger and derision after he admitted to attending a drinks party during the first lockdown on 20 May 2020, claiming that he believed it to be a work event that did not break the rules.

In France, Teachers Walk Out over Govt’s Failure to Manage Pandemic in Schools

Teachers in France will walk off the job en masse on Thursday over what they say is the government’s failure to adopt a coherent policy for schools to manage the Covid-19 pandemic, or properly protect pupils and staff against infection. In addition, the French Senate approved the government’s latest Covid measures, including a vaccine pass, on Thursday.

India Reports Close on 250,000 New Infections and 380 Deaths

India reported a daily rise of almost 250,000 new coronavirus cases and 380 deaths on Thursday, the highest single-day rise since May.

Novak Djokovic Is Confirmed for the Australian Open

Novak Djokovic has been confirmed in the official draw for the Australian Open, despite uncertainty over whether the government will cancel his visa for a second time. However, Djokovic could face a fine or even prison in Serbia after his admission that he broke isolation while he had Covid last month, lawyers have said, as the Serbian Prime Minister warned his behaviour appeared to be “a clear breach” of the rules.

South Korea Will Begin Distributing Antiviral Pills to Treat Corona Patients

South Korea will begin treating coronavirus patients with Pfizer’s antiviral pills on Friday, health officials said.

New Daily Corona Record in Infections in Germany for 2nd Day Running

Germany has broken a new daily Covid record for the second day in a row after reporting a daily rise of 81,417 coronavirus cases, according to the latest figures released by the Robert Koch Institute.

Israel Reports Daily Infection Record with 43,815 New Cases

Israel has also reported a new daily record of 43,815 Covid-19 cases on Wednesday, according to the ministry of health.

85% of People in Africa Have Not Yet Received a Single Vaccine

In Africa, more than 85% of people are yet to receive a single dose of vaccine, the WHO Chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated at a press conference on Wednesday. Further, the Omicron variant is especially dangerous for those who have not been vaccinated, the World Health Organization warned on Wednesday.

Quebec’s Proposal of Taxing Unvaccinated Is Unlawful

Quebec’s proposal to tax unvaccinated people may be lawful but may also go against the spirit of Canada’s universal public health system and rights, medical experts say.

The German Chancellor Proclaims That Covid-19 Vaccinations Should Be Mandatory for All Adults

The German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz has argued Covid vaccinations should be mandatory for all adults as the European country reported a record of 80,430 coronavirus infections on Wednesday.

Thursday 13th January

50% of Europe May Contract Corona in the Next 2 Months

07:10 More than half of people in Europe could contract the Omicron in the next two months if infections continue at current rates, the WHO added. Also, the WHO has warned that repeating booster doses of the original Covid vaccines is not a viable strategy against emerging variants.

People with Negative Lateral Flow Result May Still Be Infectious

One in seven people who have tested positive for Covid could still be infectious if released from isolation upon receiving a negative lateral flow result after five days, new data suggests.

Novak Djokovic Blames Agent for “Administrative Mistake”

Novak Djokovic has blamed his agent for an “administrative mistake” when declaring he had not travelled in the two weeks before his flight to Australia and acknowledged an “error of judgment” by not isolating after he tested positive for Covid.

India Recorded Almost 200,000 New Infections on Wednesday

India recorded 194,720 new Covid-19 cases on Wednesday, the health ministry data showed that this is the most since late May.

Germany Reports New Daily Record of Infections

Germany has reported 80,430 coronavirus cases, which is a new daily record, and 384 deaths, according to figures from the Robert Koch Institute.

Indonesia Begins Its Corona Booster Campaign for the Public

Indonesia kicked off its Covid-19 booster campaign for the general public, prioritising third shots for the elderly and people with compromised immune systems.

New Zealand’s Navy Retrieved Two People Stranded in Singapore

New Zealand’s navy has conducted an unusual mercy mission to retrieve two people stranded in Singapore for 18 months due to Covid-19.

Colombia Reduces Waiting Period between Booster Shots by 1/3

Colombia is set to reduce the waiting period for a Covid-19 booster vaccine from six to four months, the President, Ivan Duque has said.

Tianjin in China Has Started Testing Its 14 Million Residents for Covid-19 Today

The Chinese city of Tianjin has started a new round of Covid-19 testing today among its 14 million residents to block the spread of Omicron.

Quebec, Canada Will Impose a ‘Health Tax’ on Unvaccinated People

Quebec, Canada’s second-most populous province, has announced plans to impose a ‘health tax’ on residents who refuse to get the Covid-19 vaccination for non-medical reasons.

New South Wales, Australia Impose Fines on People Not Reporting for Positive Rapid Antigen Tests

Australia’s most populous state, New South Wales, suffered its deadliest day of the pandemic, with surging Omicron infections leading to staff shortages that have disrupted supply chains and hampered the economy’s recovery. Additionally, people in NSW, Australia are to report all positive rapid antigen tests (RAT) or face a $1,000 fine.

Wednesday 12th January

Police Investigate Boris Johnson for a ‘Breach of Lockdown Rules’

06:50 Boris Johnson was accused on Monday night of an ‘utterly outrageous’ breach of lockdown rules as a leaked email showed one of his top officials invited more than 100 Downing Street staff to a ‘bring your own booze’ party during the first lockdown. The police are now investigating. Additionally, the UK Prime Minister has ordered officials to examine plans to cut Covid isolation to five days in England as scientists urged caution over the lack of evidence to support a change. Moreover, NHS England has struck a deal with private healthcare providers under which their hospitals will be ready to start treating NHS patients who cannot get the Covid or non-Covid care they need because their local NHS hospital is under too much pressure.

France Relaxes Covid Rules for Schools

France announced an easing of Covid rules for schools as record-high case numbers shut down thousands of classes across the country.

Five Million People Are Confined to Their Homes in Anyang, China

The central Chinese city of Anyang has ordered five million people to begin home confinement today in a new lockdown to curb the spread of the Omicron variant. Residents are not to leave their homes or drive cars on the roads, while all non-essential businesses have been closed and outbound travel is restricted, state news agency Xinhua reports. In addition, Beijing will not adjust its Covid-19 prevention measures for the Winter Olympics unless there are many cases inside the “closed-loop”, an official said on Tuesday.

Taiwan Tightens Entry Requirements

Taiwan has tightened its entry requirements for new arrivals in the latest move to head off a large-scale Omicron outbreak.

Hong Kong Will Start Providing Vaccines to Children 5 and over

Hong Kong will begin offering Covid-19 vaccines for children over the age of five, as the city-state suspends classes in kindergartens and primary schools, its chief executive Carrie Lam said on Tuesday.

The Canadian PM Stated The Country Had Enough Vaccines for All Canadians

The Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau has said the government has secured enough Covid-19 vaccine doses for all eligible Canadians to receive a booster as well as a fourth dose.

The Mexican PM Has Tested Positive for Covid-19

The Mexican President, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador announced he has tested positive for Covid-19 for a second time, saying that he only has light symptoms.

Pfizer CEO Stated His Company Could Have a Vaccine That Targets Omicron Ready by March

The Pfizer Inc Chief Executive, Albert Bourla has said a redesigned Covid-19 vaccine that specifically targets the Omicron variant is likely needed and his company could have one ready to launch by March.

Tuesday 11th January

Greece Plans to Bar Unvaccinated People from Indoor Venues

06:30 Greece sets the 1st February as its deadline for booster jabs. Those who have not received their coronavirus booster jabs will be barred from most indoor venues.

France Advised Not to Impose Mandatory Vaccines

France should not impose mandatory vaccination and would not be the most efficient way to encourage people to get vaccinated, a government spokesperson said. In fact, more than 105,000 people took to the streets on Saturday in protest.

The UK Prime Minister Has Been Warned He Faces a Massive Revolt from His Own MPs over Corona Restrictions

Boris Johnson has been warned by a Conservative rebel ringleader he faces a massive revolt from his own MPs if he does not end all coronavirus restrictions this month. Also, Downing Street is facing calls to ensure that Boris Johnson will be personally interviewed by the Sue Gray inquiry about alleged No 10 gatherings during the first lockdown, after it emerged he may have been present at a “bring your own booze” party that month. Further, Covid-19 should be treated as an endemic virus similar to flu, and ministers should end mass vaccination after the booster campaign, the former Chairman of the UK’s vaccine task force has said. In addition, London’s public health chief said the Omicron variant “may have passed its peak” in the UK capital.

Testing of Tianjin’s 14 Million Residents Began after 20 Children and Adults Tested Positive for Covid-19

Tianjin, a major Chinese port city near the capital Beijing, has begun mass-testing its 14 million residents after a cluster of 20 children and adults tested positive for Covid-19, including at least two with the Omicron variant.

10 Million + Cases Have Been Recorded in Africa

Africa has registered a total of more than 10m cases since the start of the pandemic, according to figures from the Africa Centres for Disease Control. South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, Ethiopia and Libya are among the countries with the highest number of cases on the continent.

The Iranian Poet and Filmmaker, Baktash ABtin Died from Corona in Tehran

The dissident Iranian poet and filmmaker Baktash Abtin, 48, died after contracting Covid-19 in a hospital in Tehran after being released on a furlough from prison. Abtin was serving a six-year sentence for “anti-government propaganda” and “actions against national security.”

Brazil’s Health Regulator Has Asked the President to Retract Statements Criticising Corona for Children

Brazil’s health regulator Anvisa asked president Jair Bolsonaro to retract statements he made criticising the Covid vaccination for children.

Monday 10th January

Welcome to the Finance Magnates live Coronavirus blog updates page. Keep up-to-date with the latest coronavirus news, focusing on the impact upon the financial, fintech and crypto worlds.

A Delay in Administering Corona Vaccines to UK Children Aged 5 to 11 Has Been Criticised

08:00 Plans to delay Covid jabs for UK children aged five to 11 have been criticised. Also, UK ministers press ahead with plans to wind down Covid testing as well as all remaining Covid-19 legal restrictions are to be lifted in Northern Ireland from 15 February and replaced with guidance. The UK recorded 41,648 new Covid cases on Monday, government figures showed, and a further 35 deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test. That is compared with 41,270 infections and 52 fatalities in the 24 hours prior

Boris Johnson May Deny Wrongdoing over Lockdown Parties at No.10

Boris Johnson is expected to deny wrongdoing over No 10 lockdown parties. Families bereaved by Covid in the UK want Boris Johnson to relinquish control over which issues will be investigated in the pandemic public inquiry, alleging he is compromised by allegations of lockdown-breaking at Downing Street.

The Duchess of Cornwall Tests Positive for Corona

The Duchess of Cornwall, 74, is self-isolating after testing positive for coronavirus. The announcement by Clarence House comes after it announced on Thursday that Prince Charles, 73, had tested positive for the virus.

Italy Announces Increase in Daily Corona Deaths

Italy has reported a rise in daily Covid-19 related deaths with 281 registered, the health ministry said. This compares with 191, the previous day. A further 28,630 Covid-19 daily related cases were recorded.

Kuwait Removes Ban on Foreign Travel and Other Restrictions

Kuwait’s cabinet has lifted many Covid-19 restrictions including a ban on foreign travel.

A Protest of around 500 Cars and Campervans Arrived in Brussels against Covid-19 Curbs

About 500 cars and campervans have arrived in Brussels, mainly from France, in a convoy to protest against Covid-19 restrictions. The vehicles were barred from the city. Police directed them to a parking place on the outskirts of Brussels, from where protesters continued on foot to a square in the city centre and the area housing European Union institutions.

Over 60 Charities, Campaigners and NGOs Accused Moderna of Trying to Upset WHO Plans to Provide More Vaccines for Africa

More than 60 charities, campaigners and non-governmental organisations have accused Moderna of attempting to derail World Health Organization (WHO) plans to manufacture more Covid-19 vaccines in Africa. In an open letter, they urged Moderna to “act in the interests of people, not profits” by withdrawing patents and patent applications in South Africa.

Germany Plans to End Covid Restrictions

Covid restrictions in Germany are set to end as case numbers have dropped slightly, according to a draft official plan seen by Agence France-Presse. The plan is expected to be approved by the German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, and the heads of the federal states on Wednesday.

Hong Kong Infections Overwhelm Capacity to Deal with the Virus

Hong Kong’s leader, Carrie Lam, has said an “onslaught” of Covid-19 infections has dealt a heavy blow and overwhelmed capacity to deal with the virus. Daily infections have multiplied by a factor of 13 over the past two weeks, from about 100 cases at the start of February to a record 2,071 on 14 February.

US-Canada Border Crossing Reopens after Protests Kept It Closed for Close to a Week

The busiest US-Canada border crossing has reopened after protests against Covid restrictions closed it for almost a week. The Sunday night reopening of the Ambassador Bridge between Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, Michigan came as Canadian officials held back from a crackdown on a larger protest in the capital, Ottawa.

A Court in Bologna Has Removed Parental Rights from one Couple Refusing Non-Vaccinated Blood for “Religious Reasons”

A court in Bologna has temporarily stripped the parental rights of a couple after they refused blood from Covid-vaccinated donors for their son in need of an urgent blood transfusion before undergoing delicate heart surgery. The couple had reportedly requested non-vaccinated blood for “religious reasons”.

Taiwan to Ease Up on Covid Quarantine Policy

Taiwan aims to ease its strict Covid quarantine policy from next month as it needs to gradually resume normal life and reopen to the world, the government said on Monday.

South Korea Delivers 4th Dose of Vaccine

South Korea will begin giving out fourth doses of Covid vaccines this month and supply millions of additional home test kits to ease shortages amid a surge in Omicron infections, authorities confirmed on Monday.

Tuesday 15 February

Downing St Reviews England’s Covid-19 Plan to Expand to Children Aged 5 to 11

The announcement of a plan to expand England’s Covid vaccinations to all children aged five to 11 has been delayed amid an apparent impasse between the government and its vaccinations watchdog. While the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) made its decision more than a week ago, Downing Street is reviewing the verdict. A decision is now expected to be announced on 21 February, when Boris Johnson unveils the government’s long-term Covid plan.

Scientists Warn of Potential More Dangerous Variant

A future variant of Covid-19 could be much more dangerous and cause far higher numbers of deaths and cases of serious illness than Omicron, leading UK scientists have warned. As a result, many of them say that caution needs to be taken in lifting the last Covid restrictions in England, as Boris Johnson plans to do next week.

France Abandons Its Corona Test Requirements for Vaccinated Traveller from the UK

France has dropped its Covid testing requirement for vaccinated travellers arriving from the UK. The French interior ministry said that from 12 February, travellers will not need to test as long as they are vaccinated according to European regulations. Additionally, anti-vaxxers in France are reportedly buying fake vaccine passes online to get around the country’s Covid restrictions, which are often promoted on mainstream social media platforms, research has revealed.

French and Netherland Demonstrators Protested against Covid-19 Restrictions on Saturday

Demonstrators against Covid-19 restrictions in France and the Netherlands staged protests on Saturday inspired by the ‘freedom convoy’ demonstrations in Canada. In France police fired teargas at demonstrators on the Champs Élysées in Paris shortly after a convoy protesting against restrictions made it into the capital. A convoy of vehicles from across the Netherlands also brought The Hague’s city centre to a standstill earlier in the day.

Germany Awaits the Arrival of 34 Million Novavax Doses in Hope That It Will Sway Many into Taking the Vaccine

Germany hopes the arrival of 34m Nuvaxovid (Novavax) doses in 2022 will convince many to get the Covid-19 vaccine. Around 4m doses should be delivered in the first quarter, a spokesperson for the health ministry said.

Hong Kong Authorities Scramble to Control an Overwhelming Outbreak

Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam has said an “onslaught” of Covid-19 infections has dealt a heavy blow and overwhelmed capacity to deal with the virus as daily cases surge to record highs. Daily infections have multiplied 13 times over the past two weeks, from about 100 cases at the start of February to more than 1,300 on 13 February, with authorities scrambling to control the deepening outbreak. Moreover, Hong Kong authorities also said supplies of vegetables and chilled poultry to the global financial hub may be temporarily disrupted after some mainland goods vehicle drivers preliminarily tested positive for Covid-19. Hong Kong imports 90% of its food, with the mainland its most important source, especially for fresh food.

Vietnam Dissolves Corona Restrictions on International Passenger Flights

Vietnam will remove its Covid-19 restrictions on international passenger flights with all markets starting 15 February with no limitation on the number of flights.

A Fourth Vaccine to Begin Being Administered in South Korea

South Korea will begin giving out fourth doses of Covid-19 vaccines by the end of the month and supply millions of additional home test kits to ease shortages amid a surge in Omicron infections, authorities confirmed on Monday.

Novavax Gains Singapore’s Health Sciences Authority Approval

Singapore has granted interim approval for Novavax’s Covid-19 vaccine with the first batch of the Nuvaxovid vaccine expected to arrive in the next few months, Singapore’s Health Sciences Authority (HSA) said on Monday.

The Chinese Medical Products Regulator Has Granted Approval of Pfizer’s New Corona Drug, Paxlovid

China’s medical products regulator has given conditional approval for Pfizer’s Covid-19 drug Paxlovid to treat adults who have mild to moderate Covid and high risk of progressing to a severe condition, making it the first oral pill specifically developed to treat the disease cleared in the country.

The Canadian Police Has Cleared Protestors from the US-Canada Border Crossing

The busiest US-Canada border crossing has reopened after protests against Covid-19 restrictions cumulated in a six-day blockade. Canadian police cleared protesters from the Ambassador bridge linking the country to the United States on Sunday allowing North America’s busiest trade route to reopen.

Monday 14 February

Prince Charles Tests Positive for Second Time

09:10 Prince Charles met the Queen two days before testing positive for Covid for the second time. A palace source said the monarch was not displaying any symptoms, but declined to say whether or not she had tested negative.

John Major Condemns Boris Johnson as a Lawbreaker

Elsewhere in the UK, Boris Johnson was condemned by former Conservative prime minister Sir John Major as a lawbreaker whose disregard for honesty and ministerial standards risks undermining the UK’s long-term democratic future, on another politically bruising day for the prime minister.

Brussel Authorities Ban Pan European ‘Freedom Convoy’ Protesting against Corona Curbs

Brussels authorities have banned a pan-European ‘freedom convoy’ of motorists protesting Covid restrictions from entering the Belgian capital, the regional government said in a statement. Reuters reports the convoy was expected to arrive at the home of European Union institutions and NATO on Monday. Authorities in Paris had earlier banned the convoy.

Spain Has Dropped Mandatory Use of Face Masks Outdoors

Spain dropped the mandatory use of face masks outdoors. Although they will remain compulsory at large open-air gatherings where social distancing is not possible, they will no longer be required in school playgrounds.

New Zealand Reaches New Daily Record on Infections

New Zealand has hit a new record daily of community Covid cases, with 446 announced on Friday. That is an increase of 140 cases from the previous record, which was set the previous day. Cases are expected to climb steadily now that Omicron is spreading within New Zealand.

The Dutch Govt Reported That It Plans to Reduce Corona Restrictions

The Dutch government has said it aims to drop most of its coronavirus restrictions by the end of the month, as record levels of infections in recent weeks have only had a limited effect on hospital numbers.

Wales Announces COVID-19 Passes Will Be Scrapped Along with Face Coverings at Certain Venues

Covid passes are to be scrapped and the need to wear face coverings in certain venues removed later this month as coronavirus cases continue to fall, the Welsh government has announced. The changes will be confirmed on Friday during the first three-week review of Wales’s alert level zero measures.

Africa Transitions from the Pandemic Phase of Corona to Managing the Virus Long Term

Africa is transitioning out of the pandemic phase of its Covid outbreak and moving towards a situation where it will be managing the virus long term, the World Health Organization’s regional head for Africa said. Dr Matshidiso Moeti added the number of Covid infections in Africa could be seven times higher than official data suggested, and deaths from the virus two to three times higher.

Friday 11 February

The Metropolitan Police Reviews Decision to Exclude Downing Street’s Christmas Quiz from Partygate Investigations

11:10 In the UK, The Metropolitan police is going to review its decision not to include the Christmas quiz in Downing Street on 15 December 2020 in its partygate investigation in the light of a new picture showing prime minister Boris Johnson with a bottle of prosecco and two staff members.

Boris Johnson Intends to Terminate the Last Corona Curbs in England

Boris Johnson plans to abolish the last domestic Covid restrictions in England, including the requirement for people with the virus to self-isolate, in less than two weeks, a month earlier than initially proposed, he announced.

Sweden Has Scrapped Almost All of Its Pandemic Restrictions

Sweden scrapped almost all of its few pandemic restrictions and stopped most of its testing for Covid, even as the pressure on the healthcare systems remained high and some scientists begged for more patience in fighting the disease.

Anti-Vaccine Protestors in New Zealand Have Been Evicted from Parliament Grounds

New Zealand’s anti-vaccine protestors are being evicted from parliament grounds on the third day of their protest, with more than 50 arrested after clashes with police.

Blockades between Canada and the US May Seriously Impact Both Countries Economies

Blockades on the busiest border bridge between Canada and the US to protest against coronavirus rules could have a serious impact on the economies of both countries, disrupting the automotive industry, agricultural exports and causing multimillion-dollar losses, the two countries’ governments have said.

The US Govt Will Administer COVID-19 Injections to Children under the Age of 5 as Soon as 21 February

The US government is planning to roll out Covid-19 jabs for children under the age of 5 as soon as 21 February. The US Food and Drug Administration is considering authorising the use of the Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE vaccine in the age group even though it did not meet a key target in a clinical trial of two- to four-year-olds.

Palestinian Authorities Have Increased Corona Testing and Giving Jabs in the West Bank and Gaza Strip

Palestinian authorities have ramped up Covid testing and vaccinations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and have warned that public indifference to calls for mask-wearing and social distancing is hampering efforts to fight the pandemic. The Palestinian Authority health ministry registered more than 64,000 active cases of Covid on Wednesday.

EU Officials Said Low Absorption of Vaccines in Africa Is the World’s Main Problem with the Vaccine Rollout

Top European Union officials said low absorption of Covid-19 vaccines in African countries has become the main problem in the global vaccine rollout following a recent increase in supplies of jabs.

Just Five Hospitals in Afghanistan Offer Treatment for Covid-19

Only five hospitals in Afghanistan still offer Covid treatment, with 33 others having been forced to close in recent months for lack of doctors, medicines and even heating, the Associated Press reports. It comes as the economically devastated nation is hit by a steep rise in the number of reported coronavirus cases.

King Felipe of Spain and Queen Margrethe II of Denmark Both Test Positive for Corona

Spain’s King Felipe has tested positive for Covid-19 on Wednesday after displaying mild symptoms overnight and will remain in isolation for seven days, the Royal Palace has said. Also, Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II has tested positive for coronavirus and is showing mild symptoms, the royal court said. The 81-year-old monarch received a third dose of the vaccine in November, the court said.

Covid-19 Restrictions in Tokyo and in 12 Prefectures Will Be Lengthened by 3 weeks

Japan is set to extend Covid restrictions in Tokyo and 12 prefectures by three weeks as the Omicron variant continued to spread. The country has been breaking daily records for coronavirus cases and deaths amid a surge in infections driven by Omicron.

Thursday 10 February

Traffic Halted at North America’s Border due to Canadian Truckers

Traffic has ground to a halt at the busiest border crossing in North America, as Canadian truckers and others angry with vaccine mandates spread their protest beyond Ottawa.

New Zealand Police Arrests Anti-Mandate Protestors

The police in New Zealand has arrested several anti-mandate protesters who have set up camp on the lawns of parliament.

At Beijing Winter Olympics Five Games-Related Personnel Have Contracted Corona

Organisers of the Beijing Winter Olympics said a total of five new Covid cases were detected among games-related personnel on Tuesday. Three of the cases were found among new airport arrivals.

Hong Kong Announces Its First Potential Corona Death in 5 Months

Hong Kong reported its first potential Covid death in five months after an elderly man who returned a positive test died on Tuesday. The global financial hub is expected to report a record of at least 1,160 new infections on Wednesday, broadcaster TVB reported.

Kathy Hochul, the New York Governor, Intends to Cease the Masked Mandate for Indoor Places

New York governor Kathy Hochul plans to end her state’s mask mandate for most indoor public places on Wednesday, according to the New York Times, joining several states lifting face-covering rules in the weeks ahead as the latest COVID-19 surge loosens its grip.

Pfizer Made Almost $37 Billion from Corona Last Year

The drugmaker Pfizer made nearly $37bn from its Covid-19 vaccine last year, making it one of the most lucrative products in history, but bringing accusations from campaigners of ‘pandemic profiteering’. The company forecast another bumper year in 2022, with a big boost coming from its Covid-19 pill Paxlovid.

France, Portugal and Greece Ease Off on Entry Requirements for Fully Vaccinated Travellers

France, Portugal and Greece have relaxed their entry requirements for fully vaccinated travellers, with changes coming into effect in time for half-term. Vaccinated tourists travelling to Portugal will no longer need to provide a negative test result to enter, although unvaccinated passengers will.

Qantas Witnesses a Bookings Surge as the Govt Will Lift the Ban on International Arrivals

Qantas has seen a surge of booking from people travelling to Australia after the government said the ban on international arrivals would be lifted soon. Australia’s national carrier said bookings doubled on the first day following Monday’s announcement that borders would open on 21 February.

Wednesday 9 February

Boris Johnson Is Attacked on All Sides by MPs after Accusing Keir Starmer of Protecting Paedophile Jimmy Saville

06:55 In the UK, MPs from all sides have angrily rounded on Boris Johnson and accused him of whipping up political poison after the Labour leader, Keir Starmer, was set upon by protesters who accused him of protecting the paedophile Jimmy Savile. Johnson provoked widespread fury last week when he falsely suggested Starmer had protected Savile during his time as Director of public prosecutions.

Sweden to Remove Travel Restrictions for Foreign Nationals

Sweden will lift its travel restrictions for foreign nationals travelling to Sweden from Nordic countries and the rest of the European Union and European Economic Area from Wednesday, the government has announced.

Germany Intends to Relax Corona Curbs after New Peak Passes

The German government is working on plans to relax coronavirus restrictions after the peak in new cases has passed, most likely by the end of February.

Australia to Fully Open Its Border from 21 February

Australia will open its border for fully vaccinated tourists and all visa holders on 21 February, almost two years after borders were first closed.

US Congress Commemorate 900,000 American Corona Deaths by Holding a Moments Silence

Democratic leaders in the US Congress are holding a moment of silence on Monday to commemorate the 900,000 American lives lost to the Covid-19 pandemic.

A Warrant Has Been Issued for Olympic Swimmer, Derya Buyukuncu by Turkey Prosecutors

Turkish prosecutors have issued an arrest warrant for former Olympic swimmer Derya Buyukuncu over tweets appearing to express relief that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tested positive for Covid-19.

Corona Infections Have Doubled in the English Premier League in a Week to 22

The number of positive Covid-19 cases in the English Premier League, the most-watched sports league in the world, has doubled in a week to 22 cases, but with a far higher number of tests being carried out.

An Oxford Scientist That Worked on AstraZeneca Vaccine Accused Scientists and Politicians of Probably Killing Hundreds of Thousands

Prof John Bell, an Oxford scientist who worked on the AstraZeneca vaccine, has accused scientists and politicians of having “probably killed hundreds of thousands of people” by damaging its reputation.

Hong Kong Will Stick to Its ‘Dynamic Zero’ Covid-19 Strategy

Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam has said the Asian financial hub will stick to a “dynamic zero” Covid-19 strategy to contain the virus a day after the city saw a “shocking” new record of over 600 infections. “We should contain the spread of the virus as much and as fast as possible,” she said. Hong Kong has reported a record 614 cases and many of its residents have begun to crowd supermarkets in an effort to stock up on food and other necessities. One vegetable vendor told Reuters supplies had dropped by 30%.

Canada’s Public Safety Minister Has Requested US Officials Stay Out of Canada’s Affairs

Canada’s public safety minister has said US officials should stay out of his country’s domestic affairs, joining other Canadian leaders in pushing back against prominent Republicans who offered support for demonstrators protesting Covid-19 restrictions who have besieged central Ottawa for more than a week.

Tuesday 8 February

Ottawa Declares State of Emergency as Protestors Paralyse the City

07:10 The mayor of Canada’s capital has declared a state of emergency as protesters opposed to Covid-19 restrictions continued to paralyse central Ottawa. Jim Watson said the declaration highlights the need for support from other jurisdictions and levels of government.

Over 17 Million Vietnamese Students Return to School after a Year

More than 17 million Vietnamese students are due to return to school for the first time in about a year, the health ministry has said, as authorities announced plans to start vaccinating children from as young as five against Covid-19.

Chinese City in Guangxi Is Locked Down due to Tiny Virus Outbreak

The Chinese city of Baise in Guangxi, population 3.57 million, has been locked down because of a Covid outbreak. The outbreak is tiny by global standards, but the curbs, including a ban on non-essential trips in and out, follow a national guideline to quickly contain any flare-ups. That news comes as China’s chief epidemiologist, Wu Zunyou, says that as long as there’s no other way to contain the spread of the virus, the country won’t adjust its “dynamic Zero Covid” pandemic control policy.

The President of Honduras Tests Positive for Corona

Xiomara Castro, the president of Central American country Honduras, has tested positive for Covid-19. In a tweet, she said she had mild symptoms.

The PM of Papua New Guinea also Tests Positive for Corona

Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister James Marape tested positive for Covid-19 upon arrival in Beijing on Thursday for the opening of the Winter Games and will not be travelling to France next week for an Indo-Pacific summit, his office has said.

India Has Approved Sputnik Light, a Russian One-Jab Vaccine

Authorities in India have approved Russia’s one-jab Sputnik Light Covid-19 vaccine. It will be the second Russian-developed jab to be approved by the country, after Sputnik V was allowed in April 2021.

UK Travellers Must Check Half-Term Holiday plans Meet Vaccination Rules

UK travellers have been warned to check their half-term holiday plans to make sure they meet Covid vaccination rules when travelling to EU destinations as a growing number of countries impose new restrictions.

Monday 7 February

India’s Covid-19 Death Toll Has Surpassed 500,000

08:45 India’s death toll from Covid-19 has crossed 500,000, a level many health experts say was breached last year but obscured by inaccurate surveys and unaccounted dead in the hinterlands, where millions remain vulnerable to the disease.

Frustration Builds in Ottawa over Truckers Protest against Vaccine Mandate

Frustrations are boiling over in Canada’s capital as the protest by truckers against Covid-19 vaccine mandates has clogged downtown Ottawa for a week and shows no sign of ending, with many residents angry at police for not breaking it up. In addition, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau has said a military response to the ongoing Ottawa protest against Covid-19 measures is “not in the cards right now” after the Ottawan Police Chief, Peter Sloly said that all options were on the table.

Africa Needs to Boost Its Corona Vaccination Rate 6x to Reach 70% Vaccine Coverage by Mid-2022

Africa must boost the vaccination rate against Covid-19 'six times' to reach the target of 70 percent vaccine coverage set for the end of the first half of 2022, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.

Adults Infected in Denmark May Be Double the Recorded Number

The number of adults in Denmark infected with Covid may be double the official tally, Danish scientists said on Thursday, after releasing data suggesting one-third of the adult population has been infected in the past three months.

Novavax Has Been Approved by the UK Regulator for People Aged 18+

The Covid-19 vaccine developed by Novavax has been approved by the UK regulator for use in people over the age of 18. Clinical trials suggest two doses of the Novavax jab have an efficacy of about 90% against symptomatic Covid, similar to the other approved UK vaccines.

Palestinians Face Winter Corona Surge

Palestinians are facing a winter coronavirus surge driven by the Omicron variant, placing stress on the medical system even though vaccines are widely available. More than 70,000 active cases in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, annexed East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip on Thursday, more than twice the number at the height of previous increases.

South Africa African Biologics Uses the Sequence of Moderna’s Covid mRNA Vaccine to Develop Its Own

South Africa’s Afrigen Biologics has used the publicly available sequence of Moderna’s Covid mRNA vaccine to make its own version of the shot, which could be tested in humans before the end of this year, Afrigen’s top executive has said.

Friday 4 February

New Zealand Plans to Reopen Its Border in Stages

08:20 New Zealand has announced it will reopen its border to visitors in stages, after its earlier plans to do so were derailed by Omicron. The country’s borders have been closed, apart from a short-lived travel bubble with Australia, for nearly two years.

More Conservative MPs Have Suggested That Boris Johnson Resign

Three more Conservative MPs have publicly called on the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson to resign, describing their shock and anger at his conduct since the publication of an interim report into parties held at Downing Street while the country was under strict lockdown measures. In addition, the UK Conservative MP, Mark Jenkinson has sparked a backlash after arguing on ITV that breaching Covid rules is equivalent to parking on a double-yellow line. Moreover, UK Covid infections have stopped falling, with levels holding steady or climbing, the ONS said. For England, one in 20 people had Covid in the week ending 29 January.

Serbia State Prosecutors Have Rejected that Novak Djokovic Used a Fake Positive Corona Test to Enter the Australian Open

Serbia’s state prosecutors on Wednesday rejected suggestions that Novak Djokovic used a fake positive test for Covid-19 to try to enter Australia and compete in the Australian Open.

The US Army Informed Soldiers Refusing to Get a Corona Vaccine Will Be Discharged Immediately

The US army has said soldiers that refuse to get a Covid-19 vaccine will be immediately discharged, maintaining the move is critical to maintain combat readiness.

Italy to Announce Its Schedule to Withdraw Its Covid-19 Curbs

Italy will soon announce a timetable to roll back its Covid curbs, the Prime Minister, Mario Draghi said today. It comes as the surge in cases fuelled by the highly contagious Omicron variant started to show signs of slowing.

Germany, with over 10 Million Infections, Hope to Remove Restrictions in March

Germany has recorded over 10 million total Covid cases, after detecting 208,498 new infections in the past 24 hours. Ministers said they hope to lift restrictions in March.

Ottawa Police in Canada Are Paralysed as Protestors against Vaccine Mandates May Have Guns

Police in Ottawa, Canada, have seen signs that guns have been brought into a truckers’ protest against vaccine mandates that has paralysed the Canadian capital, the police chief said.

Tokyo Reaches a Record-Breaking 21,576 Infections

In Japan, Tokyo detected a record-breaking 21,576 new cases, topping the previous record of 17,631, as the country battles Omicron.

Thursday 3 February

France Reduces Covid-19 Restrictions

07:35 France will begin lifting coronavirus restrictions including mandatory outdoor mask-wearing on Wednesday in a bid to ease citizens’ daily lives, dividing opinion as the country only last month reported record Covid-19 infections.

Tonga in Lockdown after Reporting Two Infections among Its Port Workers

Tonga has entered a lockdown after recording two Covid-19 cases among port workers helping distribute international aid in the wake of the volcanic eruption and tsunami that devastated the country last month.

Boris Johnson Attended a Leaving Do for a No.10 Aide during the Strict Christmas Lockdown

The UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson attended a leaving do for a No 10 aide during the strict post-Christmas lockdown, which is now under police investigation, the Guardian has learned. Prosecco is alleged to have been drunk by some staff, with Johnson understood to have given a speech thanking the official for their work and staying for around five minutes.

US Children under Five Years Old May Soon Be Eligible for Shots

In the US children under five, the last group of Americans still ineligible for vaccines against Covid-19, may soon receive emergency authorisation for the shots, but getting all children vaccinated remains a serious challenge.

32 New Infections Reported at the Beijing Olympics

Meanwhile, at the Winter Olympics in Beijing, 32 new Covid infections were detected among Games-related personnel on 1 February. Seventeen were in the ‘closed loop’ bubble that separates all event workers from the public. Additionally, China reported 63 confirmed coronavirus cases for 1 February, down slightly from 66 a day earlier, the country’s health authority said on Wednesday.

In India, Corona Health Workers State People Are Registered as Double Vaccinated without Receiving Both Jabs

Health workers on the frontline of the Covid vaccination programme in India say people are being officially registered as double vaccinated without receiving both doses because of pressure to meet government targets.

Australia Records 69 Corona Deaths

Australia recorded 69 Covid deaths as the country continues to battle the spread of the Omicron variant with worrying outbreaks in some remote communities.

In Kyoto, Japan, the Tourist Hotspot, Residents Learn to Embrace Life without Tourists

Two years into the pandemic in Japan, some residents in former tourist hotspot Kyoto admit that they have learned to embrace life without foreign visitors.

Wednesday 2 February

Denmark Lifts All Covid-19 Restrictions despite Record Case Numbers

08:25 Denmark on Tuesday becomes the first EU country to lift all of its Covid restrictions despite record numbers of cases, relying on its high vaccination rate to cope with the Omicron variant. After a first attempt at lifting all its restrictions between September and November, the country is once again ditching its face masks, Covid passes and limited opening hours for bars and restaurants. Also, a study in Denmark has suggested that the BA.2 subvariant of the Omicron coronavirus variant is more transmissible than the more common BA.1 and more able to infect vaccinated people.

The British Foreign Secretary Tests Positive for Corona

British foreign secretary Liz Truss has tested positive for Covid, shortly after sitting in a packed House of Commons without wearing a mask. Truss had been due to travel to Ukraine with the Prime Minister on Tuesday to meet the Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky.

UK Detectives Investigate 300 Photos and 12 Events at Downing Street

Boris Johnson has been left desperately trying to shore up his premiership as detectives were revealed to be investigating 300 photos and 12 events in Downing Street during the lockdowns, including a party in the UK prime minister’s private flat.

UK Ministers Scrap Order to Mandate All NHS Staff to Get Vaccinated

UK ministers have announced plans to scrap an order forcing all NHS staff in England to get vaccinated against Covid. Health secretary Sajid Javid said the U-turn would prevent the exodus of thousands of health workers.

Trudeau States That Canadians Were Disgusted by Anti-Vaccine Protestor Behaviour

Justin Trudeau has said that Canadians were disgusted by the behaviour of anti-vaccine protesters, and said he would not be intimidated by those who hurled abuse. His comments came shortly after he tweeted that he had tested positive for the virus.

The UK Govt Discuss Ending Mandatory Jabs for Health and Care Workers

The UK government will consult on ending mandatory jabs as a condition of employment in health and all social care settings, with a view to revoking the regulations.

Amnesty International Accuses Spanish Prosecutors of Failing to Investigate Dozens of Corona Deaths in Nursing Homes

Amnesty International has accused Spanish prosecutors of failing to properly investigate dozens of Covid-related deaths of residents of nursing homes. Amnesty’s Spain director, Esteban Beltrán, said that in some cases authorities closed the investigations without contacting staff or victims’ families.

Tuesday 1 February

Spotify Pledges to Put Content Notices Featuring Coronavirus Advise

07:41 Spotify has pledged to add content advisory notices to all podcasts featuring coronavirus. This comes after Neil Young and Joni Mitchell withdrew their music from the streaming platform in protest against Covid misinformation. Moreover, Harry and Meghan have expressed concerns about misinformation on Spotify, but have made it clear they plan to continue work on their lucrative contracts with the platform.

The UK Foreign Secretary Stated the Government Will Publish a Full Report on Lockdown-Breaking Parties

The UK’s foreign secretary, Liz Truss, has said it is the government’s “intention to publish the full report” into alleged lockdown-breaking parties in Downing Street. She also admitted: “It is a bit of a mess that we have the police investigation alongside the Sue Gray report.” In addition, there have been 62,399 new cases of Covid-19 in the UK, according to the latest government figures. This is the lowest number of daily Covid cases since mid-December.

Portugal’s Ruling Centre-Left Socialists Have Won the Parliamentary Majority

Defying all odds, Portugal’s ruling centre-left Socialists won an outright parliamentary majority in Sunday’s snap general election, securing a strong new mandate for the prime minister, Antonio Costa. The result was boosted by a higher than expected turnout despite the coronavirus pandemic, around a tenth of the population is currently thought to be isolating.

New Zealand PM Tests Negative for Corona

New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern has tested negative for Covid after she was deemed a close contact of a positive case. The prime minister’s office says Ardern will continue isolating until the end of Tuesday in line with the Ministry of Health guidance.

David Cameron Contracts Corona

The former British Prime Minister, David Cameron has caught the virus, New Zealand media are reporting. Cameron had been scheduled to open a retreat for the opposition National party in Queenstown this coming week.

Omicron Variant Hits a Record 17,532 New Infections in South Korea

New cases in South Korea’s have hit a record 17,532 as the highly infectious Omicron variant spreads. The daily count broke the record for the sixth consecutive day, rising from 8,570 on Tuesday.

Thousands Protest in Prague against Corona Curbs

Thousands have gathered in Prague to protest against Covid restrictions. They are opposed to harsher restrictions for the unvaccinated, including a ban on eating in restaurants.

Monday 31 January

England Returns to Plan A Corona Strategy

08:20 England is going back to its 'Plan A' Covid strategy by lifting virus restrictions, with commuters back to the office, masks no longer required in enclosed places and vaccine passports shelved.

Pfizer’s Antiviral Covid-19 Pill Has Received the Green Light

The EU’s drug regulator gave the green light to Pfizer Inc’s antiviral Covid-19 pill for treating adults at risk of severe illness.

Finland Plans to Ease Up on Restrictions from 1 February

Finland will begin gradually easing restrictions from 1 February instead of mid-February as initially planned.

Fierce Debate in Paris Hospital System about Unvaccinated People Being Allowed to Receive Public Health Treatment

The Head of the Paris hospitals system has set off a fierce debate by questioning whether people who refuse to be vaccinated should continue to have their treatment covered by public health insurance.

Catalonia in Spain Drops Covid-19 Passport

Spain’s north-eastern Catalonia region drops the need for a Covid passport to enter restaurants, bars and gyms.

The Health Authority in Sweden Will Not Advise Jabs for 5 to 11-Year-Olds

Sweden’s health authority says it will not recommend Covid-19 jabs for all five to 11-year-olds, the country again choosing a different Covid policy to much of Europe.

Wales Lifts Covid-19 Restrictions on Friday

Many more Covid restrictions are being lifted on Friday in Wales, allowing nightclubs to reopen and some rules on social distancing to be scrapped.

Hong Kong Reduces Quarantine Period for Incoming Travellers

Hong Kong will shorten its 21-day quarantine requirement to 14 days for incoming travellers starting from 5 February.

New Delhi Ends Weekend Curfew

New Delhi ends a weekend curfew, reopens restaurants and allows markets to operate at full capacity, as the Omicron variant outbreak slows.

Canadian Truck Drivers Protest Federal Govt. Vaccine Mandate in Ottawa

Canadian truck drivers are meeting in Ottawa to protest a federal government vaccine mandate. In addition, the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau says he has been exposed to Covid-19 and will isolate for five days, in accordance with health rules for vaccinated people.

A UAE Medical Convoy Has Reached the Gaza Strip with 1 Million Vaccines

A United Arab Emirates medical convoy of one million Covid-19 vaccines reached the Gaza Strip via the Rafah border crossing, state news agency WAM said.

Morocco Reopens Its Airspace for International Travel from 7 February

Morocco will reopen its airspace for international flights starting Feb. 7, the state news agency (MAP) reported on Thursday.

Friday 28 January

Italy Will Reduce Curbs on Visitors from the EU

07:25 Italy will ease Covid restrictions for all visitors from European Union countries starting from 1 February, its health ministry said on Wednesday.

Denmark to Dispense with Most of the Corona Restrictions Next Week

In Denmark, the government announced it will scrap most pandemic restrictions next week, even as neighbouring Sweden extended its own measures for another fortnight.

In Berlin Police Crack Down on Protestors Wearing Similar Yellow Star Badges to the Nazi Era

The police in Berlin have been authorised to crack down on protesters wearing badges resembling yellow star badges and other symbols associated with the Nazi era at demonstrations against vaccine mandates or other pandemic restrictions.

Sweden Extends Pandemic Measures by a Further Two Weeks

Sweden will extend its current pandemic measures by another two weeks, the Minister for Health said on Wednesday, as Omicron is spreading at record speed. The curbs mean bars and restaurants have to close at 11 pm and there is a cap of 500 people inside larger indoor venues.

Austria Will End the Lockdown of Unvaccinated People on Monday

As pressure on hospitals eases, Austria will end its lockdown for people not fully vaccinated against the coronavirus on Monday, though some restrictions on public life will remain.

Israel Widens the Eligibility for a 4th Vaccine Dose

Israel has broadened its eligibility for a fourth dose of the Covid vaccine to include adults under 60 with underlying medical conditions, their carers and others over 18 at significant risk of exposure to coronavirus.

The US Has Donated in Excess of 400 Million Vaccines to 112 Countries

The United States has donated more than 400m vaccine doses to 112 countries, marking a major milestone in the White House’s goal of donating 1.2bn vaccine doses under president Joe Biden’s direction.

Highest Number of Daily Infections Are Witnessed by the Americas

The Americas have seen their highest daily Covid caseloads since the pandemic began, and Omicron has clearly become the predominant variant, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said.

Thursday 27 January

Boris Johnson Welcomes a Police Inquiry into Downing Street

08:30 Boris Johnson said he welcomes a police inquiry into Downing Street parties and will help “draw a line” under matters. Earlier, Metropolitan police said they would begin investigating parties held at No 10 during coronavirus lockdowns. The development piles further pressure on the prime minister after fresh revelations of two more gatherings, including one to celebrate his birthday. Moreover, Sue Gray’s inquiry report is reportedly set to come this week after the Met said there is no need to hold material back.

77,000 NHS Workers Remain Unvaccinated

The UK’s health secretary, Sajid Javid, said 77,000 NHS workers remain unvaccinated, and Covid policies, including on mandatory jabs for NHS staff, should be kept ‘under review’. Also, the UK reported 439 deaths within 28 days of a Covid-positive test. That’s the highest tally since February 2021. Tuesday’s data showed 94,326 new daily cases. The figures are often higher on a Tuesday when most deaths at the weekend are included in the tally. Last Tuesday, 438 deaths were reported.

People to Return to Offices in Scotland from Monday

Scotland will allow people to return to offices from Monday, in a 'phased' plan announced by Nicola Sturgeon. The first minister asked employers to begin a phased return to work by introducing hybrid working next week after a continuing decline in Omicron variant cases in Scotland, in an update to MSPs at Holyrood.

Daily Infections in Italy Have Increased by 150% in One Day

Italy’s daily cases have more than doubled in a day to 186,740. This is up from 77,696 a day earlier, the health ministry said. The number of deaths jumped to 468 from 352, though more tests had been taken in the past day than on Monday.

The Anti-Vaccination Movement in Germany Ramps Up

In Germany, the anti-vaccination movement is ramping up, with thousands of people taking part in weekly protests across the country. More than 2,000 rallies were held on Monday.

Russia Reduces Isolation Time for Corona Contacts to 7 Days

Russia has cut the isolation time for Covid contacts from 14 days to seven, amid a surge in infections driven by the Omicron variant. On Tuesday, daily cases reached a record high of 67,809, official figures show.

Doctors Have Discovered a Method to Identify Patients Most at Risk

Doctors have discovered an 'antibody signature' that can help identify patients most at risk of developing long Covid. Malta Scraps Vaccine Certificate Requirement Malta will start to scrap a requirement for people to present a vaccination certificate for entry to restaurants and other venues from next month.

Despite Record Infections in the Netherlands, Bars, Restaurants and Theatres Reopen

Bars, restaurants and theatres in the Netherlands can reopen on 26 January, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said, further relaxing restrictions despite record infection levels.

The US Department of Labour Will Withdraw Its Vaccine and Testing Requirement for Large Employers

The US Department of Labor said it will withdraw its Covid-19 vaccine-and-testing requirement for large employers after the Supreme Court blocked the rule.

Mask Mandate Temporarily Restored in New York

An appeals judge has temporarily restored New York’s mask mandate on Tuesday, a day after a judge in a lower court ruled that Governor Kathy Hochul’s administration lacked the constitutional authority to order people to wear face coverings.

Elton John Postpones to Concerts in Dallas, Texas due to Corona

Elton John has postponed two farewell concert dates in Dallas, Texas, after contracting Covid-19. Daily Infections in South Korea Surpass 8,000 South Korea’s daily count of new cases topped 8,000 for the first time, despite the recent extension of strict social-distancing rules.

Japan Has Expanded It Curbs to Cover 70% of Its Population

Japan expanded regions subject to tighter curbs to cover 70% of the country, as the government tried to counter a record wave of Covid-19 cases caused by the Omicron variant.

A Government Advisory Panel in Israel Recommends a Fourth Vaccine to all Adults

An Israeli government advisory panel has recommended offering a fourth vaccine dose to all adults, on condition that at least five months have passed since they received the third or recovered from the illness.

Wednesday 26 January

The EU Drug Regulator to Decide on Approval of Pfizer’s COVID-19 Pill

08:30 The European Union’s drug regulator is set to decide whether to approve Pfizer’s Covid-19 pill at the end of this month, before doing a final review of Merck’s similar but less effective drug in February, a source with knowledge of the matter said.

The UK Announced to End Testing Rules for Doubly Vaccinated Travellers

The UK announced plans to end testing rules for all doubly vaccinated travellers from 11 February. Thus, fully vaccinated travellers arriving in Britain will no longer have to take a Covid-19 test. Also, British scientists will begin testing Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics’ antiviral pill molnupiravir as a possible treatment for patients hospitalised with Covid-19.

Norway Ends Mandatory Quarantine for Unvaccinated Travellers

Norway will end its system of mandatory quarantines for non-vaccinated travellers and close contacts of infected persons, replacing it instead with a daily test regime. Use of Public Transport and Entering Hospitality Businesses in France Requires a Vaccine Passport Rules requiring a vaccine passport to enter hospitality businesses and take public transport came into force in France.

Corona Deaths Escalated in Australia

Covid-related deaths surged in Australia and authorities warned numbers could rise further when schools return from holidays next week.

Japan Adds Further Restrictions to Tackle the Omicron Variant

Japan announced plans to extend coronavirus restrictions beyond the current 9pm curfew in a bid to tackle the spread of Omicron. The country is poised to double the number of regions subject to restrictions such as shortened restaurant opening hours in order to rein in a record surge in cases.

The Beijing Winter Olympics Organisers Relax Strict Corona Rules

Organisers of next month’s Beijing Winter Olympics slightly eased the strict Covid-19 requirements for participants. Additionally, one of China’s longest lockdowns in the northern city of X’ian comes to an end after its 13 million residents were confined to their homes on December 22.

Israel Does Not Plan to Offer a Fourth Vaccine to Most People

Israel’s Health Minister said he did not think Israel will offer a fourth Covid-19 vaccine dose to most people after the government made it available to over 60s and other high-risk groups.

3rd Booster of Covid-19 Vaccine Increases Antibody Levels Significantly

A third booster dose of a Covid-19 vaccine made by AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech or Johnson & Johnson increases antibody levels significantly in those who have previously received two doses of Sinovac’s CoronaVac shot, a study has found.

The Director-General of the WHO Warns That Conditions Remain Ideal for More Corona Strains to Emerge

The Director-General of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus gave a press conference in which he warned that conditions remain ideal for more coronavirus variants to emerge and said it was dangerous to assume Omicron was the last one but added that the acute phase of the pandemic could end this year if some key targets were met.

Tuesday 25 January

A Fourth Vaccine Dose Is Given to People over 60 in Israel

07:15 A fourth dose of the Covid-19 vaccine given to people over 60 in Israel made them three times more resistant to serious illness than thrice-vaccinated people in the same age group, Israel’s health ministry has said.

50,000 People in Belgium Protest against Corona Curbs

About 50,000 people protesting against Covid-19 restrictions in Belgium have been dispersed by police. The country is facing a fifth wave of Covid-19 infections, with the peak not expected for at least a couple of weeks.

The US Authorities Have Confidence That Most States Will Soon Pass the Omicron Peak

US authorities are confident most states will soon reach and pass a peak in coronavirus Omicron variant cases, even as hospitals struggle to cope with the current surge, Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser has said.

Swedish Study Claims the Corona’s 1st Wave of Patients May Have Long-Term / Permanent Changes to Sense of Smell

Nearly half of those who became ill with Covid in the first wave of infections may have long-term and even permanent changes to their sense of smell, according to preliminary research from Sweden.

Third World Countries Face Nurse Staff Shortages as Wealthy Countries Intensify Recruitment

The Omicron-fuelled wave of Covid-19 infections has led wealthy countries to intensify their recruitment of nurses from poorer parts of the world, worsening dire staffing shortages in overstretched workforces there, the International Council of Nurses has said.

In New Zealand, New Curbs Are Being Introduced to Restrict Spread of Omicron

New measures are being introduced in New Zealand as coronavirus cases could rise to more than 1,000 a day driven by the more transmissible Omicron variant. Also, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has postponed her planned wedding in response.

Britain Reported a Drop in Positive Corona Tests by 15.4% in the Last Week

Britain reported 74,799 new Covid-19 cases and 75 deaths within 28 days of a positive test on Sunday, government data showed. The number of positive tests has fallen by 15.4% to 641,687 in the last seven days, according to the data.

The Beijing Olympics Have Confirmed 72 Cases of Corona with No Cases among Athletes

Beijing Olympics organisers say they have confirmed 72 cases of Covid-19 among 2,586 Games-related personnel entering China from 4 January to 22 January, with no cases among 171 athletes and team officials arriving in that period.

The US Is Resisting Proposals to Make the WHO More Independent

The United States, the World Health Organization’s top donor, is resisting proposals to make the agency more independent, four officials involved in the talks said, raising doubts about the Biden administration’s long-term support for the UN agency.

2,200 Hamsters Have Been Culled in Hong Kong to Contain an Outbreak

Hong Kong authorities said on Sunday one hamster surrendered to authorities by pet owners had tested positive for Covid-19 and that more than 2,200 hamsters had been culled as the city struggled to contain an outbreak.

Monday 24 January

China Reports Its Lowest Number of Daily Infections in 2 Months

08:10 China has reported its lowest daily tally of local confirmed Covid-19 cases in nearly two months, after a national strategy to stamp out flare-ups and lock down affected cities. Though. despite the decrease in daily case counts, experts say China’s zero Covid policy ‘not sustainable’ in light of Omicron. Moreover, the Beijing Winter Olympics torch relay will be cordoned off from the public because of concern about the spread of the coronavirus, organisers said.

A Malaysian Clinic Injected People with Distilled Water Instead of the Vaccine

A clinic in Malaysia injected people with distilled water before providing fraudulent Covid vaccination certificates, according to local media reports.

A Zoo in India Plans a Corona Vaccine Trial on Lions and Leopards

A zoo in India is planning on rolling out a Covid vaccine trial on its resident lions and leopards, the Times of India is reporting.

Hong Kong Police Help Cull Hamsters to Curb Coronavirus

Hong Kong police will deal with pet lovers who try to stop people giving up their hamsters to be put down, or who offer to care for abandoned hamsters, authorities said, after they ordered a cull of the cuddly rodents to curb the coronavirus.

Omicron in Australia Has Peaked in NSW and Victoria

Australia’s Omicron wave has likely peaked in NSW and Victoria, according to experts. Also, an Australian aid flight en route to the South Pacific nation of Tonga recently devastated by a volcanic eruption and tsunami has been turned back to base due to a positive Covid-19 case onboard.

The World Bank Approved a $750 Million Development Policy Loan to South Africa

The World Bank has approved a Covid-19 linked $750m development policy loan to South Africa to protect the poor and support economic recovery from the pandemic.

Friday 21 January

Germany again Surpasses Its Record Number of Daily Infections

07:50 Germany reported another record rise of 133,536 daily new cases. It is the second consecutive day the European country has broken a pandemic record, with 234 deaths also reported, according to recently updated figures from the Robert Koch Institute.

Covid-19 Inspires Record Numbers of People Choosing to Become Nurses

The Covid pandemic has inspired record numbers of people to become nurses, with more than 56,000 signing up to nursing courses or apprenticeships in England since the outbreak in early 2020, according to a report. England to Scrap All Covid-19 Measures England will soon scrap virtually all Covid measures, the health secretary confirmed.

Australia Approves Oral Treatments for Corona

Australia’s drugs regulator has for the first time approved oral treatments for Covid-19 which should help address supply shortages of other treatments. Additionally, Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Association has given provisional approval to the protein-based Novavax Covid-19 vaccine.

Thailand to Resume Its ’Test & Go’ Quarantine Waiver for Vaccinated Arrivals

Thailand will resume its ‘Test & Go’ quarantine waiver for vaccinated arrivals starting on 1 February, the country’s coronavirus task force said on Thursday.

Japan’s Daily Rise of Infections Escalated by 10,000 on Wednesday

Japan recorded a daily rise of 41,377 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, shattering the record it set a day earlier by about 10,000 as the government puts more prefectures under a quasi-state of emergency.

Face-to-Face Teaching Is Being Suspended in Hong Kong

Hong Kong will likely suspend face-to-face teaching in secondary schools from 24 January, local media reports.

Beijing Ramps Up Efforts to Curb Corona Infections

China’s capital Beijing has ramped up efforts to curb Covid-19 infections, ordering checks among cold-chain firms and urging residents to cut unnecessary gatherings.

Biden Admits More Corona Testing Should Have Been Done Earlier in the Pandemic

The US president, Joe Biden has admitted that more should have been done in terms of Covid-19 testing availability earlier in the pandemic.

Thursday 20 January

Boris Johnson Will Meet with Cabinet to End Plan B Covid Measures in England

08:25 The British PM, Boris Johnson is to meet with his cabinet on Wednesday morning where he is expected to end Plan B Covid measures across England. A review of Covid restrictions will likely see ministers approve the end of current advice for people to work from home where possible and the use of vaccine certificates to enter venues like nightclubs and sports stadiums.

Germany Reaches Its Highest Daily infections on Tuesday

Germany has recorded 112,323 new coronavirus cases and 239 deaths on Tuesday, according to recently updated figures from the Robert Koch Institute. It is the highest recorded daily figure since the pandemic began. Omicron now accounts for more than 70% of new infections.

The Czech Republic Reported Record Covid-19 Cases on Wednesday

The Czech Republic has reported a daily Covid record of 28,469 new cases on Wednesday. Fatalities significantly decreased with 6 deaths recorded for Tuesday, a drop from Monday’s 23 fatalities, according to the ministry of health data.

Brazil Records a Record Number of 137,103 New Infections in One Day

Brazil has recorded a record 137,103 new cases of the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the health ministry reported on Tuesday. The number of deaths also rose by 351, the highest number since mid-November.

Beijing Authorities Report Another Piece of Infected Mail

Authorities in Beijing have announced another piece of infected international mail, the Beijing news has reported. In addition, China reported its lowest daily count of local Covid infections in two weeks after cities clamped down on high-risk areas, quarantined infections and conducted mass testing on residents. Mainland China reported a total of 55 domestically transmitted infections for Tuesday, lower than the 127 recorded a day earlier and marking the fewest since 1 January.

Japan Plans to Widen Corona Controls to Cover Half Its Population

Japan is poised to widen Covid-19 controls to cover half its population as the Omicron variant drives new infections to record levels, Reuters reports. Prime minister Fumio Kishida is expected to officially approve the plan after it was cleared by an expert panel on Wednesday.

Taiwan Expands Its Airport Testing for New Arrivals

Taiwan has expanded its airport testing for new arrivals after dozens of positive cases were detected despite a requirement that all travellers obtain a negative PCR result no more than two days before getting on their flight.

In Hong Kong, a Mass Hamster Cull Sparks Fears Among Animal Welfare Group

A mass hamster cull in Hong Kong has sparked fears among animal welfare groups that people will abandon their pets after 11 of the rodents from one pet shop in the city tested positive for Covid-19.

Australia Announces Financial Incentives to Lure in International Workers, Backpackers and Students

Australia has announced financial incentives in a bid to lure international workers, backpackers and students to the country to fill some of the critical workforce shortages being faced as a result of the Omicron surge.

Wednesday 19 January

Downing Street Has Denied That Boris Johnson Had Advance Notice of Drinks Party

07:25 Downing Street has denied claims by Dominic Cummings that Boris Johnson was told in advance staff were holding a drinks party in the No 10 garden in the midst of the first Covid lockdown.

Japan Plans to Halt the Implementation of Its Vaccine-and-Testing Package

Japan is set to halt implementation of its so-called vaccine-and-testing package, a government system that checks whether people have been vaccinated twice or have proof of a negative test in order to access a range of public activities, sources told the Japan Times.

China’s Postal Workers Have Been Ordered to Disinfect International Deliveries

China’s postal service has ordered workers to disinfect international deliveries and urged the public to reduce orders from overseas after authorities claimed mail could be the source of recent coronavirus outbreaks, Agence France-Press reports.

Hong Kong Police Arrested Two Former Cathay Pacific Flight Attendants for Breaking Corona Rules

Hong Kong police have arrested and charged two former Cathay Pacific flight attendants over allegations they broke the city’s coronavirus rules.

British Adults Believe the Govt Should Share Vaccines as Opposed to Delivering Domestic Boosters

Almost two-thirds of British adults feel the government should share coronavirus vaccines with the world rather than deliver additional boosters domestically, polling suggests.

Poland Experiences Its Fifth Wave

Poland is experiencing a fifth wave of Covid health minister said on Monday, warning that the spread of the Omicron variant could send daily case numbers soaring to levels not yet seen in the country.

Australia Reported Its Highest Daily Death Toll with 74 Deaths

Australia reported a record daily death toll on Tuesday with 74 deaths. It is the highest daily toll of the pandemic for Australia to date.

Moderna Plans to Launch a Single Booster to Protect against Covid and Flu

Moderna is aiming to launch a single booster vaccination that will protect against both Covid-19 and flu within two years, its chief executive said, adding that data for Omicron-specific jab will likely be available in March.

Tuesday 18 January

Signs Show That Plan B Covid Curbs in England Could Be Removed in 10 Days

08:10 Ministers are seeing ‘encouraging’ signs that plan B Covid restrictions in England could be lifted in 10 days’ time, the Chair of the Conservative party, Oliver Dowden, has said. Additionally, people in the UK may no longer be legally required to self-isolate after catching Covid, according to unsourced reports in the Telegraph. Moreover, a total of 70,924 people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland tested positive for coronavirus in the last 24 hours, the government reported on Sunday.

UK Labour Leader Keir Starmer says Boris Johnson Broke the Law by Attending at Least One of the Parties.

Starmer himself rejected accusations that he had broken Covid restrictions when he was photographed eating and drinking with others in late April 2021, saying “there was no party, no breach of the rules. There is absolutely no comparison with the prime minister.”

Hundreds March in Malta against the New Covid Entry Certificate

Hundreds of people marched in Malta against new measures requiring a Covid certificate to enter entry most venues including restaurants, gyms and bars.

Amnesty International Urges Italy to Change Corona Curbs and Avoid Discrimination

Amnesty International has urged Italy to change its strict anti-Covid-19 restrictions to avoid discriminating against unvaccinated people. In addition, Italian police arrested a nurse in Palermo for allegedly pretending to give Covid vaccines to anti-vaxxer activists so they could benefit from official health certificates to travel and access bars, restaurants and public transport in the country.

Final Approval Given in France Include Vaccine Pass Contested by Protesters

France’s parliament has given final approval to the government’s latest measures to tackle Covid-19, including a vaccine pass contested by anti-vaccine protesters.

Thousands of People Oppose Covid Measures in Amsterdam

Thousands of people have demonstrated in Amsterdam city centre in opposition to Covid-19 measures and the vaccination programme.

The Australian Federal Court Rejected Novak Djokovic’s Challenge against His Visa Cancellation

Novak Djokovic left Australia hours after the federal court rejected a challenge to the decision of the Australian immigration minister, Alex Hawke, to cancel the visa on the basis Djokovic’s presence in Australia might risk “civil unrest” as he is a “talisman of anti-vaccination sentiment.” Further, Serbia’s president said Djokovic was “harassed … but not humiliated” and the prime minister called his treatment “scandalous.”

New Zealand Has Begun Its Vaccine Rollout for Children Aged Five to 11

Cathay Pacific Is Being Blamed for Spread of Omicron in Hong Kong Last Week

Hong Kong’s flagship airline, Cathay Pacific, has been singled out as the government looks to shift blame over the spread of Omicron to at least 50 people in the last week.

India Is Developing an Omicron Specific Covid-19 Vaccine

India’s Gennova Biopharmaceuticals is reportedly working on an Omicron-specific Covid-19 vaccine while an mRNA vaccine candidate nears completion, sources say.

Monday 17 January

Boris Johnson Faces Anger and Ridicule after Admitting Attending a Drinks Party During 1st Lockdown

08:15 The British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson faces anger and derision after he admitted to attending a drinks party during the first lockdown on 20 May 2020, claiming that he believed it to be a work event that did not break the rules.

In France, Teachers Walk Out over Govt’s Failure to Manage Pandemic in Schools

Teachers in France will walk off the job en masse on Thursday over what they say is the government’s failure to adopt a coherent policy for schools to manage the Covid-19 pandemic, or properly protect pupils and staff against infection. In addition, the French Senate approved the government’s latest Covid measures, including a vaccine pass, on Thursday.

India Reports Close on 250,000 New Infections and 380 Deaths

India reported a daily rise of almost 250,000 new coronavirus cases and 380 deaths on Thursday, the highest single-day rise since May.

Novak Djokovic Is Confirmed for the Australian Open

Novak Djokovic has been confirmed in the official draw for the Australian Open, despite uncertainty over whether the government will cancel his visa for a second time. However, Djokovic could face a fine or even prison in Serbia after his admission that he broke isolation while he had Covid last month, lawyers have said, as the Serbian Prime Minister warned his behaviour appeared to be “a clear breach” of the rules.

South Korea Will Begin Distributing Antiviral Pills to Treat Corona Patients

South Korea will begin treating coronavirus patients with Pfizer’s antiviral pills on Friday, health officials said.

New Daily Corona Record in Infections in Germany for 2nd Day Running

Germany has broken a new daily Covid record for the second day in a row after reporting a daily rise of 81,417 coronavirus cases, according to the latest figures released by the Robert Koch Institute.

Israel Reports Daily Infection Record with 43,815 New Cases

Israel has also reported a new daily record of 43,815 Covid-19 cases on Wednesday, according to the ministry of health.

85% of People in Africa Have Not Yet Received a Single Vaccine

In Africa, more than 85% of people are yet to receive a single dose of vaccine, the WHO Chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated at a press conference on Wednesday. Further, the Omicron variant is especially dangerous for those who have not been vaccinated, the World Health Organization warned on Wednesday.

Quebec’s Proposal of Taxing Unvaccinated Is Unlawful

Quebec’s proposal to tax unvaccinated people may be lawful but may also go against the spirit of Canada’s universal public health system and rights, medical experts say.

The German Chancellor Proclaims That Covid-19 Vaccinations Should Be Mandatory for All Adults

The German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz has argued Covid vaccinations should be mandatory for all adults as the European country reported a record of 80,430 coronavirus infections on Wednesday.

Thursday 13th January

50% of Europe May Contract Corona in the Next 2 Months

07:10 More than half of people in Europe could contract the Omicron in the next two months if infections continue at current rates, the WHO added. Also, the WHO has warned that repeating booster doses of the original Covid vaccines is not a viable strategy against emerging variants.

People with Negative Lateral Flow Result May Still Be Infectious

One in seven people who have tested positive for Covid could still be infectious if released from isolation upon receiving a negative lateral flow result after five days, new data suggests.

Novak Djokovic Blames Agent for “Administrative Mistake”

Novak Djokovic has blamed his agent for an “administrative mistake” when declaring he had not travelled in the two weeks before his flight to Australia and acknowledged an “error of judgment” by not isolating after he tested positive for Covid.

India Recorded Almost 200,000 New Infections on Wednesday

India recorded 194,720 new Covid-19 cases on Wednesday, the health ministry data showed that this is the most since late May.

Germany Reports New Daily Record of Infections

Germany has reported 80,430 coronavirus cases, which is a new daily record, and 384 deaths, according to figures from the Robert Koch Institute.

Indonesia Begins Its Corona Booster Campaign for the Public

Indonesia kicked off its Covid-19 booster campaign for the general public, prioritising third shots for the elderly and people with compromised immune systems.

New Zealand’s Navy Retrieved Two People Stranded in Singapore

New Zealand’s navy has conducted an unusual mercy mission to retrieve two people stranded in Singapore for 18 months due to Covid-19.

Colombia Reduces Waiting Period between Booster Shots by 1/3

Colombia is set to reduce the waiting period for a Covid-19 booster vaccine from six to four months, the President, Ivan Duque has said.

Tianjin in China Has Started Testing Its 14 Million Residents for Covid-19 Today

The Chinese city of Tianjin has started a new round of Covid-19 testing today among its 14 million residents to block the spread of Omicron.

Quebec, Canada Will Impose a ‘Health Tax’ on Unvaccinated People

Quebec, Canada’s second-most populous province, has announced plans to impose a ‘health tax’ on residents who refuse to get the Covid-19 vaccination for non-medical reasons.

New South Wales, Australia Impose Fines on People Not Reporting for Positive Rapid Antigen Tests

Australia’s most populous state, New South Wales, suffered its deadliest day of the pandemic, with surging Omicron infections leading to staff shortages that have disrupted supply chains and hampered the economy’s recovery. Additionally, people in NSW, Australia are to report all positive rapid antigen tests (RAT) or face a $1,000 fine.

Wednesday 12th January

Police Investigate Boris Johnson for a ‘Breach of Lockdown Rules’

06:50 Boris Johnson was accused on Monday night of an ‘utterly outrageous’ breach of lockdown rules as a leaked email showed one of his top officials invited more than 100 Downing Street staff to a ‘bring your own booze’ party during the first lockdown. The police are now investigating. Additionally, the UK Prime Minister has ordered officials to examine plans to cut Covid isolation to five days in England as scientists urged caution over the lack of evidence to support a change. Moreover, NHS England has struck a deal with private healthcare providers under which their hospitals will be ready to start treating NHS patients who cannot get the Covid or non-Covid care they need because their local NHS hospital is under too much pressure.

France Relaxes Covid Rules for Schools

France announced an easing of Covid rules for schools as record-high case numbers shut down thousands of classes across the country.

Five Million People Are Confined to Their Homes in Anyang, China

The central Chinese city of Anyang has ordered five million people to begin home confinement today in a new lockdown to curb the spread of the Omicron variant. Residents are not to leave their homes or drive cars on the roads, while all non-essential businesses have been closed and outbound travel is restricted, state news agency Xinhua reports. In addition, Beijing will not adjust its Covid-19 prevention measures for the Winter Olympics unless there are many cases inside the “closed-loop”, an official said on Tuesday.

Taiwan Tightens Entry Requirements

Taiwan has tightened its entry requirements for new arrivals in the latest move to head off a large-scale Omicron outbreak.

Hong Kong Will Start Providing Vaccines to Children 5 and over

Hong Kong will begin offering Covid-19 vaccines for children over the age of five, as the city-state suspends classes in kindergartens and primary schools, its chief executive Carrie Lam said on Tuesday.

The Canadian PM Stated The Country Had Enough Vaccines for All Canadians

The Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau has said the government has secured enough Covid-19 vaccine doses for all eligible Canadians to receive a booster as well as a fourth dose.

The Mexican PM Has Tested Positive for Covid-19

The Mexican President, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador announced he has tested positive for Covid-19 for a second time, saying that he only has light symptoms.

Pfizer CEO Stated His Company Could Have a Vaccine That Targets Omicron Ready by March

The Pfizer Inc Chief Executive, Albert Bourla has said a redesigned Covid-19 vaccine that specifically targets the Omicron variant is likely needed and his company could have one ready to launch by March.

Tuesday 11th January

Greece Plans to Bar Unvaccinated People from Indoor Venues

06:30 Greece sets the 1st February as its deadline for booster jabs. Those who have not received their coronavirus booster jabs will be barred from most indoor venues.

France Advised Not to Impose Mandatory Vaccines

France should not impose mandatory vaccination and would not be the most efficient way to encourage people to get vaccinated, a government spokesperson said. In fact, more than 105,000 people took to the streets on Saturday in protest.

The UK Prime Minister Has Been Warned He Faces a Massive Revolt from His Own MPs over Corona Restrictions

Boris Johnson has been warned by a Conservative rebel ringleader he faces a massive revolt from his own MPs if he does not end all coronavirus restrictions this month. Also, Downing Street is facing calls to ensure that Boris Johnson will be personally interviewed by the Sue Gray inquiry about alleged No 10 gatherings during the first lockdown, after it emerged he may have been present at a “bring your own booze” party that month. Further, Covid-19 should be treated as an endemic virus similar to flu, and ministers should end mass vaccination after the booster campaign, the former Chairman of the UK’s vaccine task force has said. In addition, London’s public health chief said the Omicron variant “may have passed its peak” in the UK capital.

Testing of Tianjin’s 14 Million Residents Began after 20 Children and Adults Tested Positive for Covid-19

Tianjin, a major Chinese port city near the capital Beijing, has begun mass-testing its 14 million residents after a cluster of 20 children and adults tested positive for Covid-19, including at least two with the Omicron variant.

10 Million + Cases Have Been Recorded in Africa

Africa has registered a total of more than 10m cases since the start of the pandemic, according to figures from the Africa Centres for Disease Control. South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, Ethiopia and Libya are among the countries with the highest number of cases on the continent.

The Iranian Poet and Filmmaker, Baktash ABtin Died from Corona in Tehran

The dissident Iranian poet and filmmaker Baktash Abtin, 48, died after contracting Covid-19 in a hospital in Tehran after being released on a furlough from prison. Abtin was serving a six-year sentence for “anti-government propaganda” and “actions against national security.”

Brazil’s Health Regulator Has Asked the President to Retract Statements Criticising Corona for Children

Brazil’s health regulator Anvisa asked president Jair Bolsonaro to retract statements he made criticising the Covid vaccination for children.

Monday 10th January