Covid-19 has infected more than 360M people and killed over 5.6M worldwide. Here are some of the latest coronavirus-related developments:

The Oxford University trial was launched last April, three months after Britain became the first country to approve what are known as challenge trials for humans involving Covid-19.
The Oxford University trial was launched last April, three months after Britain became the first country to approve what are known as challenge trials for humans involving Covid-19. (AP)

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Volunteers are needed to catch Covid for science

The world's first medical trial authorised to deliberately expose participants to the coronavirus is seeking more volunteers as it steps up efforts to help develop better vaccines.

The Oxford University trial was launched last April, three months after Britain became the first country to approve what are known as challenge trials for humans involving Covid-19.

Its first phase, still ongoing, has focused on finding out how much of the virus is needed to trigger an infection while the second will aim to determine the immune response needed to ward one off, the university said in a statement.

US ships 400M vaccine doses worldwide

The United States has shipped 400 million Covid-19 vaccine doses to countries in need as part of its earlier pledge to donate more than 1.1 billion doses to low-income countries.

The latest batch includes 3.2 million doses of Pfizer Inc and BioNTech's vaccine to Bangladesh and 4.7 million doses to Pakistan.

Germany sees daily record of 164,000 new infections

Germany has reached another daily record of coronavirus cases as health officials reported more than 160,000 new infections.

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the country's disease control agency, confirmed 164,000 new Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours, and 166 coronavirus-related fatalities.

More than 1.53 million people are currently sick with Covid-19, the highest figure since the pandemic started.

Sweden extends virus restrictions; Danes likely to end them

Sweden announced that several coronavirus restrictions will be extended for another two weeks while neighbouring Denmark was expected to announce that it no longer considers Covid-19 as “a socially critical disease” as of next month and will remove most restrictions.

Sweden set a new daily record for Covid-19 cases, registering 44,944 cases on January 25, as a fourth wave of the virus mounted across the country.

Sweden's government announced new restrictions this month as the more contagious omicron variant has spread rapidly, putting strain on the country's healthcare system. 

French body sees no significant advantage from 4th jab

The French vaccine strategy council told the French government giving people a fourth Covid-19 vaccine dose would not bring significant advantages, French newspaper Le Monde reported.

"The data available at the moment does not urge for putting in place a second booster jab", the paper cited the council as saying.

Romania sees huge jump in cases, deaths climb

Romania recorded a huge jump in infections, hitting a pandemic record of nearly 35,000 daily cases, almost doubling its previous record set only a day earlier. Deaths have also begun to climb.

Daily coronavirus cases in Romania have dramatically surged over the past month, from about a 1,000 cases a day in mid-December to the pandemic record of 34,255 cases on Wednesday. 

Its daily death toll was 94, also the highest number of virus deaths in more than a month.

Romania has seen nearly 60,000 deaths since the pandemic began.

German Covid cases hit record as parliament debates vaccine mandate

Germany has reported a new record of 164,000 Covid-19 infections in one day as the lower house of parliament prepared to debate proposals to either require or robustly encourage residents to be vaccinated.

Around 75 percent of the population has received at least one dose of a vaccine - less than in other western European countries such as France, Italy or Spain, where the equivalent figures are 80 percent, 83 percent and 86 percent - and the vaccination campaign is stuttering.

The proposals being debated include requiring all adult residents to be vaccinated against Covid-19, or only those above 50, or merely requiring all those who have not been vaccinated to receive counselling.

Armenian PM self-isolating after positive test

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan is self-isolating after testing positive for the coronavirus, his government said.

"The prime minister of Armenia took a coronavirus test, which came back positive," the Armenian government said in a statement. 

It said Pashinyan was asymptomatic and self-isolating as required, and would continue to work remotely.

Pashinyan and his family also had coronavirus in June 2020. 

Hungary reports jump in new cases to record 20,174

Hungary's daily tally of new Covid-19 infections jumped to a record 20,174, but the number of patients treated in hospital has remained at a relatively low level.

In Hungary, a country of 10 million, 41,087 people have died of Covid-19. There are 3,145 coronavirus patients in hospital now, including 164 on ventilators, the government said.

Footballers suffering from Covid effects after initial recovery

Very few top-level footballers have suffered from life-threatening bouts of Covid, but the longer-term effects of the virus are now being seen in the game, with one study suggesting even players' passing quality can suffer.

There have been several high-profile cases of Covid-19 effects preventing players returning to the pitch immediately after testing negative for the virus.

Bayern Munich midfielder Joshua Kimmich, who was not vaccinated, missed two months of action due to lung damage, while Juventus forward Paulo Dybala said he struggled with a "shortness of breath" when he returned in 2020 after testing positive.

Elton John has Covid, postpones US tour dates

British singer and songwriter Elton John said he has Covid-19 and has been forced to postpone some US concerts although his symptoms were mild and he expected to be able to resume his farewelltour at the weekend.

The singer of hits such as "Rocket Man" and "Tiny Dancer" restarted his "Farewell Yellow Brick Road" tour last week, returning to the stage in New Orleans after a nearly two-year hiatus.

John said he would reschedule the postponed shows in Dallas this week but was expecting to recover in time for concerts in Arkansas this weekend.

France reports new daily cases record

France has posted 501,635 new cases of coronavirus for the past 24 hours, a new daily record, and the first time the headline number has surpassed half a million.

The country is currently recording the highest daily infection rates of any major European nation, with an average of more than 360,000 over the past week.

More than 30,000 people are in hospital with coronavirus across France in the highest such tally since November 2020, official figures showed.

IMF's Gopinath says time to 'recalibrate' restrictions

China should begin to "recalibrate" its aggressive anti-Covid policy as other countries are doing, to try to ease the negative impact the pandemic continues to have on global supply chains and economic growth, a senior IMF official has said.

Speaking in an interview with AFP news agency, Gita Gopinath, the newly-installed number two official at the global crisis lender, said with vaccines and treatments countries should be able to get back to more normal activity.

South Korea reports new daily infections record

South Korea's daily new Covid-19 count has exceeded 13,000 for the first time, Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum told a meeting.

The record came a day after the daily tally hit an all-time high at 8,571.

Omicron became dominant in South Korea last week and is likely to account for more than 90 percent of new infections over the next few weeks, with the daily numbers surging to 20,000 to 30,000 or more, health officials said.

Mexico reports highest daily death toll since October

Mexico has posted 475 more Covid-19 fatalities, the highest daily death toll since early October, bringing the total since the pandemic began to 303,776.

The country's Health Ministry also logged 44,902 more infections, pushing the overall number to 4,730,669 cases.

Brazil reports 183,722 new cases

Brazil has had 183,722 new cases of the novel coronavirus reported in the past 24 hours, and 487 deaths from Covid-19, the Health Ministry said.

The South American country has now registered 24,311,317 cases since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 623,843, according to ministry data. 

Source: TRTWorld and agencies