Covid-19 has infected more than 288M people and killed over 5.4M worldwide. Here are some of the latest coronavirus-related developments:
Saturday, January 1, 2022
UAE bans non-vaccinated citizens from travelling abroad
The United Arab Emirates will ban non-vaccinated citizens from travelling abroad from January 10.
The announcement came from the state news agency WAM, citing the foreign ministry and the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority.
The report said that fully vaccinated citizens would also require a booster shot to be eligible to travel.
The ban would not apply to those with medical or humanitarian exemptions.
New year brings more cancelled flights for air travellers
Over 2,400 US flights and nearly 4,200 worldwide have been cancelled, marking the highest single-day toll yet.
The numbers come from the tracking service FlightAware.
Since just before Christmas, airlines began blaming staffing shortages on increasing Covid-19 infections among crews.
More than 12,000 US flights alone have been canceled since December 24.
England reports 162,572 new cases
England has reported 162,572 new cases of Covid-19, up from 160,276 the previous day.
Official data also showed 154 new deaths from the virus in England within 28 days of a positive test, down from 178 on Friday.
The data normally also includes Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, but did not this time around because of differences in reporting schedules over the New Year weekend.
Britain’s health minister insisted that reimposing coronavirus restrictions in England would be “an absolute last resort” and that the country must “try to live with Covid”.
Liverpool manager Klopp tests positive for Covid-19
Jurgen Klopp will miss the Reds’ Premier League match against Chelsea after returning with a “suspected” positive Covid-19 test result.
“The Reds manager, who reported mild symptoms ahead of the fixture, is now isolating,” Liverpool said in a statement.
“Testing of the entire first-team set-up has revealed no further positive cases within the playing squad in addition to the three confirmed by Klopp,” it added.
Pepijn Lijnders, the Reds’ assistant manager, will lead the team against the Blues at Stamford Bridge.
Bahrain authorises use of Pfizer’s anti-Covid drug
Bahrain’s health authorities authorised Pfizer’s Paxlovid Covid-19 drug for emergency use in adults aged over 18.
The decision by the National Authority for Regulating Health Professions and Services was based on the review and evaluation of data provided by Pfizer, a state news agency statement said.
US colleges returning to online classes
With Covid-19 cases surging just as students are about to return from winter break, dozens of US colleges are moving classes online again for at least the first week or so of the semester.
Many colleges hope that an extra week or two will get them past the peak of the nationwide spike driven by the highly contagious omicron variant.
Still, some colleges warn the resort to online classes could stretch longer if the wave of infection doesn’t subside soon.
The surge is casting uncertainty over a semester many had hoped would be the closest to normal since the start of the pandemic.
Over 131.9M coronavirus vaccine shots given in Turkiye to date
Turkiye has administered more than 131.9 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines since it launched an immunisation drive in January 2021.
Over 56.9 million people have gotten a first jab, while over 51.6 million have been fully vaccinated, the Health Ministry said.
More than 19.1 million people have also gotten third booster shots.
The ministry also confirmed 36,731 new Covid-19 infections, 145 deaths, and 23,325 recoveries over the past day.
As many as 369,027 virus tests were done in the past 24 hours.
Russia sees additional 847 deaths
Russia has reported 847 deaths from Covid-19 in the past 24 hours.
A total of 19,751 new cases were also reported, according to official data released.
Russia is among the hardest-hit in the world by the pandemic.
Russia has overtaken Brazil to have the world’s second-highest death toll of over 658,000 from the Covid-19 pandemic, according to estimates.
India’s daily cases rise by 22,775
India has reported 22,775 new infections over the past 24 hours, adding to concerns for authorities around the country about the rising number of cases.
The data indicates that thickly populated cities, such as the national capital New Delhi, financial centre Mumbai and Kolkata in the east, are seeing some of the sharpest rises.
In the eastern state of West Bengal, infections rose to 3,450 in the last 24 hours with at least 1,950 cases reported in Kolkata.
New Year’s Rose Parade to proceed despite virus surge
A year after New Year’s Day passed without a Rose Parade due to the coronavirus pandemic, the floral spectacle celebrating the arrival of 2022 was set to proceed despite a new surge of infections due to the Omicron variant.
The 133rd edition of the Pasadena, California, tradition was scheduled to feature actor LeVar Burton as grand marshal, 20 marching bands, 18 equestrian units and dozens of floats reflecting the theme of “Dream. Believe. Achieve.”
Brazil records 72 more deaths
Brazil registered 72 deaths and 10,282 additional cases.
The South American country has now recorded a total of 619,056 coronavirus deaths and 22,287,521 confirmed cases.
Mexico adds 143 new fatalities
Mexico reported 143 more confirmed fatalities from Covid-19, bringing the official death toll in the country since the pandemic began to 299,428.
The ministry also reported 10,037 new cases, bringing the total to 3,979,723.
The ministry has previously said the real number is likely significantly higher.
Cases persist in China’s Xi’an despite lockdown
The Chinese city of Xi’an entered its 10th day of lockdown as the Covid-19 outbreak has yet to show any solid sign of easing in the country’s epicentre of the latest flare-up.
The city of 13 million people reported 174 new local cases with confirmed clinical symptoms for Dec. 31, National Health Commission data showed, up from 161 a day earlier.
That brings the tally of community transmissions to 1,451 since the first local infection of the outbreak was reported on Dec. 9.
Many people have been forbidden from leaving their residential compounds, but a city government official said on Friday curbs would be loosened in less risky compounds when the time was right.
Japan’s emperor prays for victims in New Year message
Japan’s Emperor Naruhito offered prayers for those who died during the pandemic, taking to video for the second straight year for his New Year’s greeting, having canceled public palace gatherings to curb coronavirus infections.
Sitting before a bonsai tree with his wife Masako, Naruhito praised and thanked doctors and other health care workers, and expressed concern for countries lacking access to vaccines and adequate hospital systems.
“By treasuring more than ever the connections among people, sharing our pain and supporting each other, I hope from the bottom of my heart that we will overcome these hard times,” he said.
Limited revelers return to Times Square to usher in 2022
New York City readied to embrace the new year — and bid good riddance to another pandemic-marred 12 months — as it revived its annual New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square, after forgoing a public event last year.
It did so as an uneasy nation tried to muster optimism that the worst days of the pandemic are now behind it — even as public health officials cautioned against unbridled celebrations amid surging Covid-19 infections from the Omicron variant.
The year marched across the globe, time zone by time zone, and thousands of New Year’s revelers stood shoulder to shoulder in a slight chill to await the festivities.
Europe ushers new year with reduced celebrations
Europe welcomed the New Year under reimposed restrictions against the spread of the omicron variant of the coronavirus.
As large-scale outdoor events with participants could not take place across Europe, residents had to do with watching live performances and firework shows on television.
For a second straight year, celebrations in Germany’s Brandenburg Gate, a symbolic location where more than 100,000 people gather annually to mark the end of the year, were not held.
Uganda reopens economy after two-year lockdown
Uganda’s president opened up the country’s economy from its Covid-19 lockdown in place since early 2020.
In a public address from his country home in Rwakitura, roughly 190 kilometers (118 miles) west of the capital Kampala, Yoweri Museveni said that though the coronavirus has yet to be wiped out, the government found new solutions of getting it under control, including mass vaccination.
Lifting a ban on public transport, Museveni announced that schools would open on January 10. “Performing artists, bars, discos, cinema halls are to open up two weeks after the opening of the schools,” he added.
Museveni said curfew measures would also be lifted after schools reopen, adding, however, that some measures could be revised if cases rise steadily.