Covid-19 has infected more than 243M people and killed over 4.9M globally. Here are the virus-related developments for October 22.

Belgium's seven-day daily average of Covid-19 infections stood at more than 3,600, a rise of nearly 60 percent from the previous week.
Belgium's seven-day daily average of Covid-19 infections stood at more than 3,600, a rise of nearly 60 percent from the previous week. (Reuters Archive)

Friday, October 22, 2021

Belgium enters fourth infection wave as cases jump

Belgium's daily cases have jumped to the highest level in almost a year, prompting health experts to say that a fourth wave of infections has begun.

Data from the Sciensano health institute showed that the country registered nearly 6,500 new cases on October 18. That is as many as on November 10, 2020, a few days before the government imposed a second lockdown.

Over 115M vaccine jabs given in Turkey to date

Turkey has administered over 115.05 million doses of vaccines since it launched an immunization drive in January, according to official figures released.

The ministry recorded 28,192 new cases, 228 fatalities, and 30,302 recoveries over the past 24 hours.

Canada scraps advisory to avoid foreign travel

Canada has scrapped an official advisory urging its citizens to shun non-essential foreign travel, given the successful campaign to inoculate people, the country's top medical officer said.

The warning was issued in March 2020, when the pandemic erupted.

Italy reports over 3,800 new cases

Italy has reported 39 deaths against 36 the day before, the Health Ministry said, while the daily tally of new infections rose to 3,882 from 3,794.

Italy has registered 131,763 deaths since its outbreak emerged in February last year, the second-highest toll in Europe after Britain and the ninth-highest in the world. The country has reported 4.73 million cases to date.

Britain's new cases below recent peak

Britain has reported 49,298 new cases, government data showed, down from more than 52,000 reported on Thursday which was the highest figure since the previous wave of new cases in mid-July, official data showed.

A further 180 people were reported as having died within 28 days of a positive test, also below a recent peak.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said rising levels of  infections were predicted in government models, and they did not herald a return of stringent lockdown measures.

Pfizer says vaccine 90% effective in younger children

Pfizer's vaccine is more than 90 percent effective in preventing symptomatic forms of the disease in children aged 5 to 11.

The new data were published on Friday on the website of the Food and Drug Administration, which has called an advisory panel of independent experts to meet on Tuesday to decide whether to authorise the vaccine in this age group.

Amnesty presses Italy on Covid probe as parliament stalls

Italy should urgently launch a public inquiry into its handling of the pandemic, the Amnesty International rights group has said, as lawmakers in Rome dithered over the issue.

"It is vital that the Italian parliament approves an independent inquiry so that lessons can be learned, similar mistakes can be prevented and justice can be provided to those people who died unnecessarily and those who were wrongly dismissed," said Debora Del Pistoia, researcher at Amnesty International Italy.

Germany warns of 'escalation' in cases

Germany's Health Ministry has said the country was seeing a surge in infections and warned that the situation was likely to worsen as winter approaches.

Germany recorded 19,572 new cases over the past 24 hours on Friday, according to the RKI, up 70 percent on a week earlier.

Friday's figure was the highest since early May, when far fewer Germans were vaccinated.

Beijing launches mass testing wave after four new cases

Beijing has plans to test tens of thousands of people after four new cases were found in a suburban district, as a new outbreak prompts school closures and flight cancellations across the country.

Officials in northwestern Beijing's Changping district have ramped up contact tracing and tightened safety protocols, state media reported on Friday, with 35,000 people due to be tested.

Sri Lanka orders booster shots for frontline workers, tourism industry

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has ordered frontline workers and tourism staff to be given a third booster shot of vaccine next month, part of a bid to reopen the travel industry and revive the economy.

More than 1 million people including security personnel, healthcare staff and tourism industry workers will be given third shots of the Pfizer vaccine beginning November 1, the president's office said in a statement.

Fauci: Americans can mix and match boosters, original vaccine recommended

Americans can choose a booster shot that is different from their original inoculation but the recommendation is to stick with the vaccine they got first if it is available, White House chief medical adviser Dr Anthony Fauci has said.

"It's generally recommended that you get the booster that is the original regimen that you got in the first place," Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in an interview with CNN.

Tehran's Friday prayers resume after nearly two-year hiatus 

Mass Friday prayers have resumed in Tehran after a 20-month hiatus due to the pandemic, state TV reported.

The prayers at Tehran University, a gathering of religious and political significance, came as authorities warned of a sixth wave, which has so far claimed 124,928 lives in Iran and afflicted more than 5.8 million.

Russian deaths hit fourth straight record a week 

Russia has reported a fourth straight daily record of deaths, with still a week to go before the start of a nationwide workplace shutdown ordered by President Vladimir Putin to try to curb a rise in infections.

Authorities said 1,064 people had died in the previous 24 hours, with new infections hitting a second successive daily record at 37,141.

Ukraine posts record deaths, cases for second day

Ukraine's capital has reimposed restrictions to curb the spread of the virus as the ex-Soviet nation reported record Covid-19 deaths and cases for the second day in a row.

A government tally registered a record 23,785 new infections and 614 daily deaths in the ex-Soviet nation, which has an under-resourced public health service.

New Zealand sets 90 percent vaccination target to end lockdowns

New Zealand's government set an ambitious target of fully vaccinating 90 percent of all eligible people to end virus lockdowns.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had been under pressure to provide a pathway to freedom for people living in Auckland, who have been in lockdown for more than two months.

Under the new framework, people living in the largest city will regain many of their freedoms once 90 percent of people 12 and older across each of three districts are fully vaccinated.

Mexico's death toll rises to 285,669

Mexico registered 322 more confirmed deaths and 4,798 new cases, bringing the overall death toll to 285,669 and the total number of cases to 3,772,556, the Health Ministry said.

Brazil has 16,853 cases – ministry

Brazil has had 16,853 new cases of the novel coronavirus reported in the past 24 hours, and 451 deaths from Covid-19, the Health Ministry said.

The South American country has now registered 21,697,341 cases since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 604,679, according to ministry data, in the world's third worst outbreak outside the United States and India and its second-deadliest.

CDC expands booster rollout, OKs mixing shots

Millions more Americans can get a booster and choose a different company’s vaccine for that next shot, federal health officials said.

Certain people who received Pfizer vaccinations months ago already are eligible for a booster and now the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says specific Moderna and Johnson & Johnson recipients qualify, too. And in a bigger change, the agency is allowing the flexibility of “mixing and matching" that extra dose regardless of which type people received first.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies