Saturday, 29 January 2022

Countries ease lockdown measures while global COVID-19 cases hit 7.1 million

AFP via Getty Images

PARIS: The number of coronavirus infections across the world has risen to over 7.4 million while the pandemic has so far claimed over 419,000 lives.

The United States is at the top with more than two million cases and over 112,000 deaths followed by Brazil with over 775,000 infections and over 39,000 deaths.

In Russia, number of cases have risen to more than 493,000 and over six thousand people have died so far.

EUROPE

* European officials aim to speed up trials for coronavirus vaccines containing genetically modified organisms, two EU sources told Reuters.

* British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the decision on the timing of the lockdown was made on the basis of scientific evidence and it was too early to say whether restrictions were brought in too late.

* Denmark said the spread of COVID-19 has not accelerated since it entered its second phase of reopening society last month.

* France will end special government powers brought in to deal with the pandemic on July 10 though it will retain the ability to curb gatherings and freedom of movement for four months.

* A team of Polish scientists has designed a remote-controlled ventilator they hope will allow doctors to help critically ill patients breathe, but from a distance.


AMERICA


* Johnson & Johnson said it would start human trials of its potential COVID-19 vaccine in the second half of July, two months earlier than planned.

* U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he would seriously consider more direct payments to individuals in the next phase of coronavirus rescue legislation.

* Canada’s political consensus over help for those hit by the outbreak began to fray when opposition legislators blocked a government move to approve a proposed expansion of benefits.

* The World Health Organization hopes to work “side by side” with the U.S. to contain an outbreak of Ebola in Congo, its chief said, despite their differences over the new coronavirus.

ASIA-PACIFIC

* A potential COVID-19 vaccine being developed by Chinese researchers showed promise in trials in monkeys, researchers said, and a human trial with more than 1,000 participants is under way.

* Singapore approved the use of Gilead Sciences Inc’s antiviral drug remdesivir for the treatment of severely ill patients with COVID-19 infection.

* Japanese biotech AnGes Inc expects its coronavirus vaccine to be ready as early as the first half of 2021, if it can overcome supply chain and production hurdles, the company’s founder said.

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

* Ghana’s Incas Diagnostics expects the country’s regulator to approve its new COVID-19 antibody test by the end of July.

* Nigerian Minister of Women Affairs Pauline Tallen called on law enforcement to expedite rape cases as they spiked during lockdowns.

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