Cases Surge Globally; China Battles Local Outbreak: Virus Update

Author of the article: Bloomberg News Bloomberg News Bloomberg News (Bloomberg) — Coronavirus infections surged across the globe with China reporting the highest number of local cases since January, darkening the year-end holiday period. Authorities began widespread disinfection measures in the western city of Xi’an, where an outbreak presents one of China’s biggest challenges yet…
Cases Surge Globally; China Battles Local Outbreak: Virus Update

Author of the article:

Bloomberg News

Bloomberg News

Bloomberg News

(Bloomberg) —

Coronavirus infections surged across the globe with China reporting the highest number of local cases since January, darkening the year-end holiday period.

Authorities began widespread disinfection measures in the western city of Xi’an, where an outbreak presents one of China’s biggest challenges yet to its Zero Covid policy. 

U.S. airlines scrapped more than 2,800 flights for the holiday weekend because of personnel shortages linked to a spike in virus cases.

Australia reported more than 10,000 daily cases for the first time since the start of the pandemic, and New South Wales reimposed crowd limits in pubs and restaurants.

Key Developments: 

Virus Tracker: Cases near 280 million; deaths top 5.4 millionVaccine Tracker: More than 8.95 billion shots givenCoronavirus can persist for months after traversing entire bodyThe quest for a disposable mask that won’t polluteAll you need to know about rapid test kitsWhat we know about omicron, the new virus variant: QuickTake

Chinese City Begins Widespread Disinfection (5:50 p.m. HK)

The western Chinese city of Xi’an has started widespread disinfection measures to counter a rise in Covid infections that forced the lockdown of 13 million residents.

Authorities are spraying disinfectants across the city and asking residents to close windows. Private cars are not allowed on roads. The move came as daily infections spiked to around 150 on Sunday and Monday, as health authorities seek to uncover more cases with a fourth round of mass testing.

Bangladesh to Start Covid Booster Doses (5:50 p.m. HK)

People aged 60 and above and frontline workers will receive vaccine booster doses starting Tuesday, Health Services Secretary Lokman Hossain Miah said. Those who received a second dose six months ago or earlier will be notified by mobile text message. Bangladesh will limit the booster dose program to the capital Dhaka for now.

U.K. Consumers Avoid Sales on Covid Fears (5:30 p.m. HK)

British consumers largely stayed away from the traditional Boxing Day sales on Sunday amid concern over omicron, the Guardian reported. Visits to high streets, shopping malls and retail parks were down more than 45% on pre-pandemic levels, it said, citing figures from Springboard. The situation was also affected by some major retailers keeping their stores closed. 

S. Korea Signs Deals to Buy Covid-19 Pills (2:37 p.m. HK)

South Korea signed deals to buy Merck & Co.’s and Pfizer’s pills to treat Covid-19, according to Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency. The Pfizer pills could be imported as early as mid-January.

Separately, South Korea reported 4,207 new cases Monday, the fewest since Nov. 29, as the country tightened social-distancing rules and limited public activities of unvaccinated people. The number of severe cases was at 1,078, little changed from the average the past week.

Australia’s Daily Covid Cases Surge Past 10,000 (2:28 p.m. HK)

Australia reported more than 10,000 daily Covid-19 cases amid the rapid spread of the omicron strain.

New South Wales on Monday recorded 6,324 cases, with 55 in intensive care among 520 people in hospital. The most populous state also reported its first known death from omicron — a man in his 80s with underlying health issues who had received two doses of vaccine and became infected in his nursing home.

In NSW, mandatory QR code check-ins and density limits in hospitality venues including pubs and restaurants were reinstated from Monday.

India Daily Infection Rates Climb in Key Provinces (2:01 p.m. HK)

Adjusted daily infection growth rates exceed 5% in Delhi, Haryana, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, researchers at Cambridge Judge Business School said Dec. 24. 

India added 6,531 new cases and 315 Covid-related deaths in a day, according to data released by the government. Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced last week India will start vaccinating teenagers from the ages of 15 to 18 and administering booster shots for health care workers next month.

NYC Trains to Run Less Often This Week (11:38 a.m. HK)

New York City trains will run less frequently than usual Monday through Thursday as the recent surge in Covid-19 cases impact crews, the MTA said in a tweet. 

The agency is reducing service to reallocate crews where they’re needed and working to implement New York State’s revised quarantine guidelines for essential workers to help with staff shortages.

Singapore Adjusts Vaccination Approach (11:09 a.m. HK)

Singapore will require foreigners seeking to work, study or reside in the country to be vaccinated, as the business hub tightens some restrictions.

From Feb. 1, applicants who wish to work on a long-term basis or permanently live in the city-state, as well as those looking to renew existing employment visas, will have to be inoculated against Covid-19, the health ministry said.

Those without a vaccination are already barred from most public spaces including restaurants, attractions and malls, and required to foot their own medical bills. Authorities are expecting more omicron infections than for delta, and a “rapid doubling of cases” in coming days and weeks. 

Thailand’s Daily Covid Cases Drop (10:03 a.m. HK)

Thailand reported 2,437 new Covid cases, the lowest daily tally since June 16, as the Southeast Asian nation ramps up vaccination efforts. The country also reported 18 Covid deaths on Monday, the least since June 14.

U.S. College Football Team Pulls Out of Game (9:43 a.m. HK)

The Miami Hurricanes football team has pulled out of the Sun Bowl, citing a Covid outbreak within the team that left them without enough players to safely compete in the Dec. 31 game.

Several college football bowl games have been canceled as omicron spreads around the U.S., including the Fenway Bowl in Boston, Military Bowl in Annapolis, Maryland, and Hawaii Bowl. Texas A&M pulled out of the Gator Bowl in Florida last week, though that game found a replacement team in Rutgers. 

New York State Sets New Record for Covid Cases (5:15 p.m. NY)

New cases of coronavirus in New York State surged to an all-time high Dec. 24 before retreating on Christmas Day.

Governor Kathy Hochul’s office reported 49,708 new Covid-19 cases as the Omicron variant extend its spread worldwide. The number of new cases in New York slowed to 36,454 Dec. 25, probably because of the holiday.

Colleges Cancel Fenway Bowl, Military Bowl (1:30 p.m. NY)

The University of Virginia and Boston College called off their post-season football plans due to coronavirus outbreaks, the Associated Press reported. 

The game scheduled for Wednesday at Fenway Park was to pit the Cavaliers against SMU, while the Military Bowl scheduled for Monday at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium between Boston and East Carolina was scuttled because of positive Covid tests at BC, AP said.

South Africa Covid Rates Climb (1:15 p.m. NY)

The number of people hospitalized for Covid in South Africa rose to 9,114 on Sunday, according to data from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases. The daily positive rate also increased to 27.2% from 25.7% a day earlier.

The biggest share of new cases was recorded in coastal Western Cape province, at 28%, followed by KwaZulu Natal at 26%, both popular destinations for domestic tourists during the current summer holiday period. 

Ontario Cases Hit Pandemic High (11:39 a.m. NY)

Ontario reported a pandemic-high of 10,412 new cases on Christmas, Health Minister Christine Elliott said in a tweet Dec. 26. The new figure marks the first time that Canada’s most populous province recorded more than 10,000 infections in one day. The count is probably an underestimate, public health officials warn, due to the increased demand for testing.

Fauci Warns Covid Complacency Will Fill Hospitals (10 a.m. NY)

Americans should stay vigilant against the omicron variant despite evidence its symptoms may be less severe because the volume of cases can still overwhelm hospitals, President Biden’s top medical adviser said Sunday.

“When you have such a high volume of new infections it might override a real diminution in severity,” Anthony Fauci told ABC’s Chief Washington Correspondent Jonathan Karl on “This Week.”

Germany Hits Interim Vaccination Target (9:55 a.m. NY)

Germany has reached a target of administering 30 million Covid-19 vaccines between mid November and the end of the year as it tries to ward off the fast-spreading omicron strain, said Health Minister Karl Lauterbach.

“We’re now going into the second round,” Lauterbach, who wants 30 million booster shots to be given in January, told news agency DPA. “It’s our goal to continue the booster campaign over the next few weeks at such a high speed that we can significantly reduce the number of hospital admissions due to the omicron variant.”

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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