Covid-19 has infected more than 394M people and killed over 5.7M worldwide. Here are some of the latest coronavirus-related developments:

The new figures from Russia show a tenfold spike from a month ago.
The new figures from Russia show a tenfold spike from a month ago. (AFP)

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Russia hits new Covid record, 10 times more than a month ago

Russia has reported a record daily count of new coronavirus infections, a tenfold spike from a month ago as the highly contagious Omicron variant spreads through the country.

The 189,071 new infections logged by the state coronavirus task force was about 2,800 cases more than the previous day and continued a surge that began in mid-January, when daily new cases were around 17,000.

Although infections increased dramatically, the task force reported that daily deaths from Covid-19 are holding steady or marginally declining, with 661 more deaths recorded, compared with 796 on January 6.

For the entire course of the pandemic, the task force has reported 12.8 million infections and 335,414 deaths, the highest death toll by far in Europe.

Despite the soaring infections, Russian President Vladimir Putin told Russia's top business association last week that authorities are not planning any lockdowns or other additional restrictions.

Moreover, the government lifted the seven-day self-isolation restrictions for those who come into contact with Covid-19 patients.

Turkiye reports nearly 88,000 new coronavirus cases

The Turkish Health Ministry has confirmed 87,934 infections, 201 related deaths, and 76,552 recoveries over the past day. As many as 412,352 virus tests were also done across the country.

To counter the spread of the virus, Turkiye has administered over 142.91 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines since it launched an immunisation drive in January last year.

More than 57.49 million people have received a first jab, while over 52.5 million are fully vaccinated. Third booster shots have also been given to more than 25.57 million people.

Meanwhile, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar announced that he has tested positive for Covid-19, a day after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and First Lady Emine Erdogan contracted the virus.

"I tested positive for Covid-19. Thankfully, I am in good health and continue to work by taking the necessary precautions," the National Defence Ministry quoted Akar as saying on Twitter.

India approves one-shot Sputnik Light coronavirus vaccine

India has given regulatory approval to Russia's one-shot Sputnik Light Covid-19 vaccine after it authorised Russia's main vaccine - the two-dose Sputnik V - last year, the Russian Direct Investment Fund announced.

Sputnik Light, the first component of the Sputnik V vaccine, can be used as a booster shot with other vaccines, RDIF said.

Head of the fund Kirill Dmitriev called Sputnik Light "the solution to increase efficacy and duration of other vaccines, including against Omicron variant," in a statement.

RDIF struck deals with seven Indian pharmaceutical companies to make a total of 1 billion Sputnik doses both for export and for use in India.

Italy reports new coronavirus cases, deaths

Italy has reported 77,029 Covid-19 cases, down from 93,157 the day before, the health ministry said, while the number of deaths decreased to 229 from 375.

Italy has registered 148,771 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 11.62 million cases to date.

Patients in hospital with Covid-19 - not including those in intensive care - stood at 18,498, down from 18,615 a day earlier.

There were 105 new admissions to intensive care units, edging up from 104 the previous day. The total number of intensive care patients rose to 1,431 from a previous 1,411.

Some 686,544 tests for Covid-19 were carried out in the past day, compared with a previous 846,480, the health ministry said.

Britain reports Covid cases and deaths fell in last week

Britain has reported 54,095 Covid-19 cases and 75 deaths in its daily official data, with the seven-day figure for both falling compared with the week before.

In the last week, infection numbers were down 5 percent, while deaths fell by 7 percent on the seven days before. 

Australian PM signals reopening borders 

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said that the reopening of the country's borders to international tourists may not be far away, adding that the parliament will debate the matter this week.

Australia, which shut its borders in March of 2020, has been going through a staggered reopening in recent months, allowing in only its citizens and residents, skilled migrants, international students and certain seasonal workers.

While the highly transmissible Omicron variant keeps spreading, hospitalisations and deaths have been stabilising, with News Corp newspapers over the weekend quoting unnamed sources as saying that Australia may reopen its borders within two or three weeks.

China reports 10 new cases among Olympics personnel

China detected 10 new cases of Covid-19 among Olympic Games-related personnel on February 5, down from 45 a day earlier, the organising committee of the Beijing 2022 Winter Games said.

Of those, four were among new airport arrivals, including two athletes or team officials.

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

Schools in Nepal demand reopening 

Schools in Nepal demanded the government open up physical classes that were shut down for weeks as the number of Covid-19 cases began to decline. 

Teachers say online education was limited to only a small part of the population living in the urban parts of the Himalayan country while a majority of students were being deprived of their chance to learn. 

The number of coronavirus cases fuelled by the Omicron variant has peaked in the past weeks but was declining in the last few days.

Portugal eases travel curbs for jabbed EU arrivals

Portugal has announced an easing of its travel restrictions for holders of European Covid-19 certificates by scrapping a requirement to test negative before entering the country.

Travellers with an EU digital health pass or other recognised vaccine passes will be exempt from having to prove a recent negative test result from Monday.

The EU Covid certificate proves a traveller is fully vaccinated, has recently tested negative or has recovered from a Covid infection within the past six months.

South Korea surpasses 1M cases

South Korea has surpassed one million cumulative Covid-19 cases since the pandemic began, as health officials reported a daily record of 38,691 new infections driven by an Omicron variant outbreak.

South Korea saw its first confirmed Covid-19 case on January 20, 2020, and soon became the first country outside China to battle a major outbreak.

An aggressive strategy of tracking, tracing, masking and quarantining helped South Korea to blunt that initial wave and keep overall cases and deaths low without widespread lockdowns, but the spread of the Omicron variant is driving case numbers to new highs.

Deaths have remained low in the highly vaccinated country, however, with 15 new deaths reported as of midnight Saturday, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency.

Brazil logs highest death number since last July

Brazil has registered 1,308 new Covid-19 deaths over the last 24 hours and 197,442 new cases, the Health Ministry said.

The number of Covid deaths is the highest since July 29 last year. Over the last weeks two cases of the Omicron subvariant BA.2 were identified in the Sao Paulo state, the state health agency said.

Mexico's death toll tops 309K

Mexico's health ministry registers 588 new Covid-19 mortalities, bringing the death tally to 309,417.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies