Covid-19 has infected more than 391M people and killed over 5.7M worldwide. Here are some of the latest coronavirus-related developments:

Organisers of the so-called
Organisers of the so-called "Freedom Convoy" said they expect their numbers to swell into the tens of thousands. (AFP)

Saturday, February 5, 2022

Canada protests against Covid measures gain steam

An occupation of Canada's capital by truckers opposed to vaccine mandates has gained steam as it entered its second week with more demonstrators piling onto the clogged streets of Ottawa, while protests kicked off in several other cities.

Police, who were out in force and erected barriers overnight to limit vehicle access to the city center, said they were expecting up to 2,000 protesters, as well as 1,000 counter-protesters, to join hundreds of truckers already clogging Ottawa streets.

But organisers of the so-called "Freedom Convoy" said they expected their numbers to swell into the tens of thousands. Similar protests were planned for Toronto, Quebec City and Winnipeg.

Turkiye reports new coronavirus cases

Turkiye has reported more than 98,700 new coronavirus.

The Health Ministry confirmed 98,715 infections, 221 related deaths, and 80,402 recoveries over the past day.

As many as 421,435 virus tests were also done in the country.

Italy reports 375 more Covid deaths, 93,157 cases 

Italy has reported 93,157 Covid-19 cases, down from 99,522 the day before, the health ministry said, while the number of deaths decreased to 375 from 433.

Italy has registered 148,542 deaths linked to Covid-19 since its outbreak emerged in February 2020, the second-highest toll in Europe after Britain and the ninth highest in the world. The country has reported 11.54 million cases to date.

Patients in hospital with Covid-19, not including those in intensive care, stood at 18,615, down from 19,000 a day earlier.

There were 104 new admissions to intensive care units, down from 114 on Friday. The total number of intensive care patients fell to 1,411 from a previous 1,440.

UK reports 259 more Covid deaths, 60,578 cases

Britain has reported 60,578 new cases of Covid-19 and a further 259 deaths within 28 days of a positive test, as numbers drifted lower following a wave of Omicron cases at the turn of the year.

The number of new cases in the past seven days was down 4.2 percent on a week before at 599,229, while the number of deaths was 5.4 percent down on the previous week at 1,729.

WHO chief discusses Covid origins with Chinese premier

The head of the World Health Organization has discussed with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang the need for stronger collaboration on the origins of Covid-19, a subject of controversy that has strained Beijing's relations with the West.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has previously pressed China to be more forthcoming with data and information related to the origin of the virus.

"Pleased to meet with Premier Li Keqiang," Tedros tweeted. 

"We discussed Covid-19 and the need for an aggressive effort on VaccinEquity this year to vaccinate 70 percent of all populations," he said, referring to the WHO campaign for fair access to vaccines around the world.

Brazil reports 493 Covid deaths, 184,311 cases

Brazil has recorded 184,311 new coronavirus cases and 493 Covid-19 deaths in the last 24 hours, although data was missing from the populous states of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.

Brazil has now registered over 26 million cases since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 630,494, according to ministry data.

Russia eases restrictions as daily cases hit record

Russia will ease some of its Covid-19 restrictions from Sunday, the consumer health watchdog announced, despite reporting a record daily number of cases as the Omicron variant spreads across the country.

The number of daily infections has been surging since January. But the highly transmissible Omicron variant has not led to a significant increase in deaths, and the Kremlin has recently dismissed concerns about the risk of new lockdowns.

According to the latest order from the consumer health watchdog, from Sunday people will no longer need to self-isolate after contacting those infected with Covid-19.

In Moscow, schools and nurseries may end isolation requirements for pupils from next week, the capital's coronavirus task force said.

The order to lift quarantine restrictions comes as new daily cases in Russia jumped to 177,282, from 168,201 a day earlier, and compared with less than 16,000 a day that Russia reported a month ago, the government coronavirus task force said.

It also reported 714 deaths in the past 24 hours, down from all-time high levels above 1,200 recorded in November. 

China reports 45 new infections among Olympics personnel

China has detected 45 new cases of Covid-19 among Olympic Games related personnel on February 4, up from 21 a day earlier.

Of the total infections, 26 were among new airport arrivals, including 20 athletes or team officials. 

The remaining 19 were already in the "closed loop" bubble that separates event personnel from the public, according to a notice on the Games' official website on Saturday.

Games organisers said that while cases within the loop could continue rising, there was no reason for concern.

New Zealand logs 243 cases

New Zealand reported a record 243 new Covid-19 cases on Saturday, as officials warned more cases of the highly transmissible Omicron variant are expected. However, they urged people in the highly vaccinated nation not to panic.

In neighbouring Australia, which has been struggling with an Omicron wave for weeks, 81 deaths were reported by late Saturday, with Queensland reporting 21, the state's highest in the pandemic.

An estimated 2,000 people protested in Canberra, Australia's capital, against vaccination mandates and other restrictions.

Germany sees over 170 more fatalities

Germany has reported 217,815 new Covid-19 and 172 more deaths in the past 24 hours, according to official data.

India reports over 1,000 deaths

India's coronavirus cases climbed to 42.08 million, its health ministry said. 

Daily fatalities rose by over 1,050 as the death toll reached 501,114. Daily cases were up by 127,952.

US death toll surpasses 900,000, sped by Omicron

Propelled in part by the wildly contagious Omicron variant, the US death toll from Covid-19 hit 900,334 less than two months after eclipsing 800,000.

The two-year total, as compiled by Johns Hopkins University, is greater than the population of Indianapolis, San Francisco, or Charlotte, North Carolina.

The milestone comes more than 13 months into a vaccination drive that has been beset by misinformation and political and legal strife, though the shots have proved safe and highly effective at preventing serious illness and death.

South Korea exceeds 30,000 cases for the first time

South Korea reported a record daily increase of 36,362 new Covid-19 cases, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said.

Daily infections exceeded 30,000 for the first time, as the country faces a wave of Omicron variant infections.

Mexico logs 688 more pandemic deaths

Mexico registered 37,063 confirmed cases and 688 more deaths from Covid-19, according to health ministry data, bringing the country's overall number of confirmed cases to 5,106,048 and the death toll to 308,829.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies