Covid-19 has infected more than 279M people and killed over 5.4M worldwide. Here are some of the latest coronavirus-related developments:

Gaza, with a population of 2.2 million people, has registered 189,837 Covid-19 cases and 1,691 deaths. (Reuters)

Sunday, December 26, 2021

First Omicron case detected in Gaza

The Palestinian health ministry said it had identified the first case of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 in the Gaza Strip.

The carrier is a Gaza resident who was infected within the coastal territory, ministry official Majdi Dhair told a news conference.

Gaza, with a population of 2.2 million people, has registered 189,837 Covid-19 cases and 1,691 deaths.

Japan’s Aichi prefecture finds two community cases of Omicron 

Central Japan’s Aichi prefecture has confirmed two cases of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 resulting from community spread, Aichi Governor Hideaki Omura said.,51883181.html

The infections were found in a teenage girl and her mother, neither of whom had recently travelled abroad, while the transmission route was unclear, Omura told a news conference.

China’s local Covid case count driven to 21-month high by Xian outbreak

China has reported its highest daily rise in local Covid-19 cases in 21 months as infections more than doubled in the northwestern city of Xian, China’s latest Covid hot spot.

The city of 13 million, which entered its fourth day of lockdown, detected 155 domestically transmitted cases with confirmed symptoms for Saturday, up from 75 a day earlier, official data showed.

That drove the national daily count to 158, the highest since China managed to contain a nationwide outbreak in early 2020.

Australia’s New South Wales sets new daily Covid case record

Australia’s most populous state has reported a record number of new Covid-19 cases and a sharp jump in hospitalisations while thousands of people were isolating at home after contracting the virus or coming into contact with someone who has.

New South Wales reported 6,394 new infections, up from 6,288 a day earlier. Case numbers in the state have surged over the past two weeks but hospitalisations have lagged behind new infections.

More than 70 percent of cases in some Australian states are the omicron variant of the coronavirus but New South Wales does not routinely carry out genome testing to identify the variant.

France tops 100,000 daily cases

Covid infections in France hit six figures, health officials recording 104,611 cases over the previous 24 hours, the third consecutive day the numbers have been record highs.

The latest figures, from France’s public health agency, come ahead of a video-conference meeting Monday in which President Emmanuel Macron and key members of his government will discuss new Covid safety measures.

Officials are concerned about the effect of the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.

India to administer vaccines for aged 15 and up in Jan

India will open its Covid vaccination drive for adolescents and start administering booster doses to its at-risk adult population, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced.

“Omicron is a matter of discussion right now,” Modi said.

It is time to be “careful and cautious”, he added, announcing that vaccines will be available for children aged 15 and up from January 3.

Israel buys 100K Pfizer’s anti-Covid pills

Israel has ordered 100,000 units of Pfizer anti-viral Covid-19 pill Paxlovid for people aged 12 and older at risk of severe illness, an Israeli official said. 

Channel 12 TV said Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett agreed the deal in a phone conversation with Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla.

There was no immediate confirmation from the company.

The first oral and at-home treatment for Covid-19, Paxlovid was nearly 90 percent effective in preventing hospitalisations and deaths in patients at high risk of severe illness, according to data from Pfizer’s clinical trial.

China reports 206 new Covid-19 cases

China reported 206 new confirmed coronavirus cases for Dec. 25, up from 140 a day earlier, its health authority said.

Of the new infections, 158 were locally transmitted, according to a statement by the National Health Commission, compared with 87 a day earlier. Most of the new local cases were in the northwestern province of Shaanxi.

China reported 29 new asymptomatic cases, which it classifies separately from confirmed cases, up from 24 a day earlier.

There were no new deaths, leaving the death toll at 4,6 36. Mainland China had 101,077 confirmed cases as of Dec. 25.

Dominican Republic reports first Omicron case

The Dominican Republic has identified its first case of the Omicron variant of Covid-19, the health ministry of the Caribbean country said.

In a statement on Twitter, the ministry said Omicron had been identified in a person with mild symptoms who had arrived in the country from South Africa.

The ministry also said it had later been informed by Chilean authorities that a person who traveled to Chile from the Dominican Republic had tested positive for Omicron.

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