First Covid deaths in China since Jan 2021; 12% rise in global daily cases | Top updates
The UK health security agency said that the daily Covid-19 cases in England could be growing each day as the estimated range of the country’s Covid reproduction "R" number is between 1.1 and 1.4.
China reported its first Covid-19 deaths since January 2021 as the highly contagious omicron variant continued to spread across the country, the first epicentre of the pandemic. The two deaths were both reported in Jilin on Friday, according to the National Health Commission said in a statement.
The global deaths related to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) plunged by a fifth despite the continued resurgence of the pandemic this week. The average number of daily infections globally increased by 12% over the week to 1.8 million as Western counties see a rebound, according to an AFP tally. Covid cases in France increased by 35% this week, while Italy and Britain were up 42% each.
Citing a rise in Covid cases, a World Health Organization spokesperson on Friday said that the end of the pandemic was a long way off. Days after Bloomberg reported that WHO was discussing how and when to call an end to the global Covid-19 crisis, the UN health agency said that the pandemic was “far from over”.
"We are definitely in the middle of the pandemic," the spokesperson added.
The UK health security agency on Friday said that the daily infection could be growing each day as the estimated range of England’s Covid-19 reproduction "R" number is between 1.1 and 1.4. This marks a rise R number as the previous week’s range was 0.8 to 1.1. An R number between 1.1 and 1.4 means 10 people infected with Covid will, on average, infect 11 to 14 other people.
As Canada began to lift Covid restrictions, the country’s chief public health officer called for more people to get booster shots. Theresa Tam told a press briefing that Canada’s Covid policies may soon shift from "an emphasis on requirements to recommendations", making it critically important for more people, especially the elderly, to get a booster dose.
"We're in a period of uncertainty where the virus is still undergoing evolution, so getting up to date with vaccines and wearing a mask is really a good idea," Tam said.
China, meanwhile, has started looking for an exit from Covid prevention strategy even as authorities lock down cities in the country's worst virus outbreak in two years, reported Associated Press. Citing a study, interviews and recent public messaging by government-affiliated public health experts, the report suggested that China is exploring ways of slowly easing its zero-tolerance approach.
(With inputs from AFP, AP, Reuters, Bloomberg)