Covid-19 has infected more than 424M people and killed over 5.9M worldwide. Here are some of the latest coronavirus-related developments:

Buckingham Palace said the queen would continue with “light” duties at Windsor Castle over the coming week.
Buckingham Palace said the queen would continue with “light” duties at Windsor Castle over the coming week. (Reuters)

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Queen Elizabeth catches 'mild' Covid

Queen Elizabeth II tested positive for Covid-19 and is experiencing mild, cold-like symptoms, Buckingham Palace has said, adding that the 95-year-old monarch will carry on working.

The palace said the queen would continue with “light” duties at Windsor Castle over the coming week.

“She will continue to receive medical attention and will follow all the appropriate guidelines," the palace said in a statement.

The queen has received three doses of coronavirus vaccine.

Meanwhile, the British government confirmed that people with Covid-19 won't be legally required to self-isolate starting next week, as part of a plan for “living with Covid” that is also likely to see testing for the coronavirus scaled back.

The United Kingdom has recorded 25,696 new cases and 74 new deaths.

Israel to allow in all tourists regardless of vaccination status

Israel will allow unvaccinated tourists entry for the first time since the pandemic began as infections and deaths caused by the coronavirus decline, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has announced.

"We are seeing a consistent decline in morbidity data," Bennett said.

Under new rules taking effect on March 1, tourists will need to take a PCR test before boarding a flight to Israel and a second one upon landing. 

Israeli citizens will only be required to take the test upon arrival.

Italy reports 42,081 cases, 141 deaths

Italy reported 42,081 new Covid-19 related cases, down from 50,534 the day before, the health ministry has said, while the number of deaths reported fell to 141 from 252.

Some 372,776 tests for Covid-19 were carried out in the past day, well below the previous day's figure of 492,045, the health ministry said.

China helps virus-ravaged Hong Kong build isolation units

Construction crews from mainland China were helping Hong Kong build two temporary isolation facilities to house thousands of coronavirus patients as a senior official declared the city "in full combat mode".

The units will be located at Penny's Bay, which already hosts a quarantine camp, and in Kai Tak where the city's old airport once stood.

Australia to welcome tourists for first time under Covid

Australia will welcome international tourists on Monday after nearly two years of sealing its borders, relying on high Covid-19 vaccination rates to live with the pandemic as infections decline.

"The wait is over," Prime Minister Scott Morrison told a Sunday briefing at the Melbourne International Airport.

Australia's opening to tourists is the clearest example yet of the government's shift from a strict zero-Covid approach to living with the virus and vaccinating the public to minimise deaths and severe illness.

Russia records 745 deaths

Russia reports 745 deaths and 170,699 new Covid-19 cases  in past 24 hours.

The infection number was 179,147 on previous day.

Germany records 118,032 further cases

Germany reports 118,032 Covid-19 cases and 73 mortalities, bringing the death toll to 121,275, Robert Koch Institute said.

Covid-related deaths in the country reached 121,275 people. 

China logs 195 new Covid-19 cases

China reported 195 new Covid-19 cases in the mainland for Feb. 19, up from 137 cases a day earlier, the health authority has said.

Ninety-four of the new infections were imported, the National Health Commission said in a statement, while 101 were locally transmitted, compared with 80 a day earlier. There were no new deaths.

China also reported 39 new asymptomatic patients, compared with 37 a day earlier. China does not classify asymptomatic cases as confirmed Covid-19 cases.

As of Saturday, mainland China had 107,707 confirmed coronavirus infections, while the Covid-19 death toll remained at 4,636, it said.

Hong Kong in "all-out combat" to contain Covid outbreak

Hong Kong is in "all-out combat" to contain a surge in coronavirus cases, with the ramping up of community isolation and treatment units helped by mainland Chinese construction teams.

Hong Kong health authorities reported 6,067 new cases and 14 deaths, after posting 6,063 confirmed cases on Saturday, with the city battling to contain an outbreak of coronavirus that has overwhelmed its healthcare system.

Health authorities say Covid-19 restrictions will be maintained or further tightened.

Brazil records 108,725 pandemic cases

Brazil has registered 851 Covid-19 deaths and 108,725 additional cases, according to data released by the nation's Health Ministry.

The South American country has now registered a total of 643,880 coronavirus deaths and 28,167,587 total confirmed cases.

Brazil has experienced a severe spike in Covid-19 cases in recent weeks due to the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, though the lethality of the current wave is much lower than previous waves due to relatively high vaccination rates.

Covid kills 315,525 people in Mexico since beginning

Mexico's health ministry has reported 470 new confirmed deaths from Covid-19, bringing the official death toll since the pandemic began to 315,525.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies