Covid-19 has infected more than 265M people and killed over 5.2M worldwide. Here are some of the latest coronavirus-related developments:

New coronavirus infections in South Korea exceeded 5,300 in a day for the first time since the start of the pandemic as a delta-driven spread continues to rattle the country after it eased social distancing in recent weeks to improve its economy. (AP)

Saturday, December 4, 2021

Australia Omicron variant spreads, testing reopening plans

The Omicron coronavirus variant spread in Australia, testing plans to reopen the economy as a cluster in Sydney grew to 13 cases and an infection was suspected in the state of Queensland.
Federal authorities are sticking with a plan to reopen the economy on the hope that the new variant proves to be milder than previous strains, but some state and territory governments have moved to tighten their domestic border controls.
Australia reported its first community transmission of Omicron on Friday at a school in Sydney. Authorities are investigating the source.

S Korea reports record-high Covid-19 cases, deaths

South Korea reported a record daily 5,352 new Covid-19 infections and 70 deaths, while a nationwide total of nine cases of the Omicron variant have been confirmed, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.

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The government on Friday announced that people visiting restaurants, cinemas and other public spaces will have to show vaccine passes. It is also reducing the limit on private gatherings to six people in the greater Seoul area, from 10 currently, and to eight from 12 for those residing outside of the capital, starting next Monday.

The hospitalisation rate was rising rapidly, led by severe cases of Covid-19, with the number of serious and critical patients at 752 as of Friday, KDCA said.

Japan PM Kishida likely to cancel US visit due to Omicron

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is likely to cancel a planned trip to the United States for talks with President Joe Biden this month due to the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19, public broadcaster NHK said.

Kishida and Biden met in Glasgow last month on the sidelines of the United Nations climate summit, agreeing to meet formally by the end of the year to discuss issues of mutual concern, such as China, Japanese media reported at the time.

But given the rapid spread of the new coronavirus variant as well as the U.S. political situation, Kishida is considering rescheduling the meeting after the new year, NHK said, without citing sources for its information.

Covid booster urged for people 18 and over in Canada

A Canadian government immunisation advisory committee urged Covid-19 booster shots for people 18 and older who are at greater risk of infection, while also strongly recommending those 50 years-plus to get the third jab.

The updated guidance comes after two provinces – Ontario and Alberta, with half the population of Canada – this week said they would start offering third jabs to people 50 and 60 years and over, respectively, and planned to further expand eligibility in the new year, amid concerns over the Omicron variant.

Eleven cases of the Omicron variant have so far been recorded in Canada, linked to travel abroad, public health officials said.

“Decreasing protection against infection could contribute to increased transmission, since infected individuals may be a source of infection for others,” the National Advisory Committee on Immunization said in a report.

The Omicron coronavirus variant spread in Australia, testing plans to reopen the economy as a cluster in Sydney grew to 13 cases and an infection was suspected in the state of Queensland.
Federal authorities are sticking with a plan to reopen the economy on the hope that the new variant proves to be milder than previous strains, but some state and territory governments have moved to tighten their domestic border controls.

Australia reported its first community transmission of Omicron on Friday at a school in Sydney. Authorities are investigating the source.

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