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Covid-19: Germany sees fresh spike days before curbs due to expire, China’s viral ‘bunny’ dance

ThePrint brings you some important global stories on the coronavirus pandemic.

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New Delhi: Although the surge in Omicron-fuelled infections may be going down in certain parts of the world, the virus has once again led to massive outbreaks in China and Germany, with the current global tally standing at 462,069,366 cases and 6,073,844 deaths.

Germany witnesses a slew of new infections days before curbs were due to expire, a ‘bunny’ dance featuring pandemic volunteers has become an internet sensation in China as it grapples with a fresh surge and British retail chain, Wilko, has apologised for sending out a memo telling infected staff they can return to work if they feel well enough.

ThePrint brings you some important global stories on the coronavirus pandemic.

Days before curbs due to expire, infections spike in Germany

Days before a scheduled easing of restrictions, Germany reported a record number of Covid-19 cases over a seven-day period Tuesday, reports Reuters.

According to the German federal government agency and research institute, the Robert Koch Institute, approximately 1.9 lakh new infections were registered — 42,000 higher than a week ago.

This spike in infections comes ahead of the government’s existing Covid-19 restrictions that were due to expire on Saturday, 19 March.

Germany has registered a total of 17,567,738 cases and 126,532 deaths.

‘Bunny’ dance becomes internet sensation in China 

A ‘bunny’ dance featuring pandemic volunteers has become an internet sensation, providing a much-needed morale boost for the country which is facing a new wave of Covid-19 outbreaks, reports South China Morning Post.

A video from early January, featuring a group of these volunteers – dressed in white hazmat suits and dancing and hopping like bunnies to the cheery tune “Penguin’s Game” in Xian, the capital of Shaanxi province – has gone viral. During this time, Shaanxi was under lockdown.

The viral video quickly became an online sensation featuring pandemic volunteers, now referred to as ‘The Big Whites’. These volunteers comprise a wide range of people from college students, social workers to cab drivers from across mainland China.

China’s current Covid-19 wave has affected 17 provinces and the municipalities of Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing and Tianjin, leading to more volunteers joining in to help.

According to government data, there are roughly 70,000 volunteers currently fighting the virus in Changchun in China’s Jilin province, which is one of the worst-hit areas.

Most volunteers stand outside the whole day, performing pandemic prevention work, while enduring freezing temperatures and taking a few bathroom breaks.

China has registered 122,456 cases and 4,636 deaths.

UK retail chain’s memo tells infected staff can return to work

Wilko, a British retail chain which sells homewares and household goods, has apologised for “some miscommunication” in which it allegedly told staff they could continue to work if they tested positive for the corona virus, reports BBC.

“When we get something wrong, we hold our hands up, admit it, and work to correct the situation,” the company said.

Wilko, which has over 400 stores in the UK, sent out a memo a day prior telling infected staff they could return to work in stores if they felt well enough to do so. The retail chain subsequently apologised for the message, blaming it on miscommunication.

Jerome Saint-Marc, Wilko chief executive, issued a clarification saying  he wanted to “reassure all our customers and team members” that the company’s advice to staff with Covid symptoms or those who test positive was to stay at home and avoid contact with others.

The UK has registered 19,820,181 cases and 163,095 deaths.

New Zealand to open borders to vaccinated tourists from April

With the pandemic leading to closure of borders for two years, New Zealand has decided to allow entry to vaccinated travellers starting next month, reports The Guardian.

“We’re ready to welcome the world back…New Zealand will be ready with open arms,” announced Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern Wednesday.

The opening of borders is set to happen in a phased manner. Starting 13 April, vaccinated tourists from Australia will be able to enter the country without quarantining. From 2 May onwards, vaccinated travellers from other visa-waiver countries, including the US, UK, Germany, Canada, Japan and Singapore, will be allowed entry.

In New Zealand, 95 per cent of citizens aged 12 and over are double-vaccinated, and 72% have had a booster jab.

New Zealand has registered 418,861 cases and 125 deaths.

What else are we reading:

Pets and COVID-19: Experts say vigilance needed but risks smallAl Jazeera
In impasse over new Covid relief aid, neither side is willing to bend: The New York Times

Also read: Covid-19: Omicron fuels virus spread in China, Ukraine grapples with oxygen shortage


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