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

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

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New Delhi: The Covid-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc around the world, with the current count standing at 449,989,604 cases and 6,036,220 deaths. 

China claims the spread of the Omicron variant is responsible for rising asymptomatic infections in the country. Ukraine grapples with an oxygen shortage following the invasion by Russia. Kenya is going to host the first mRNA facility in Africa. 

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

Omicron fuels Covid infections in China 

China attributed the rise in asymptomatic cases of Covid-19 to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant in the country and imposed mass testing orders under its zero-Covid strategy, reported South China Morning Post

China’s National Health Commission (NHC) said that the country Monday reported 505 new local infections, out of which 330 were cases without symptoms. Of the 330 local asymptomatic infections reported in China, 129 were reported in Qingdao, in Shandong province in the nation’s eastern part.

Referring to infections caused by Omicron as “imported cases”, Chinese President Xi Jinping had earlier said, “Since last year, there were clusters in some regions of the country: Inner Mongolia’s Erenhot city, Ejina banner, Manzhouli city and Hohhot city all had outbreaks caused by imported cases. This alerts us that we must never relax efforts to prevent cases from the outside”. 

Similarly, the rapid spread of Omicron has also led to surge in Covid death rate in Hong Kong with hospitals hanging by a thread as the country fights a fifth wave of infections. 

China has reported 111,857 Covid-19 cases and 4,636 fatalities. 


Also read: Persisting with masks after vaccination has major economic, health benefits, Lancet study says


 

Kenya to host first mRNA facility in Africa 

American pharmaceutical company Moderna has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Kenya’s government for its first mRNA vaccine manufacturing facility in Africa, reported Al Jazeera

The pharmaceutical giant has vowed to produce up to 500 million doses of vaccines a year for the continent, with the facility also focusing on drug substance manufacturing and fill-and-finish work. 

Being the world’s least-vaccinated region against Covid, the African continent, according to the World Health Organization, relies on imports for about 99 per cent of its vaccine needs. 

However, Moderna’s first messenger RNA vaccine production facility in the continent does not resolve the demand of the African leaders to waive vaccine patents for faster development, production, and distribution of vaccines. 

South Africa has registered 3,686,556 Covid-19 infections and 99,625 deaths. 

Ukraine grapples with oxygen shortage

Ukraine’s healthcare system, while battling the adversities of the Russian invasion, is also grappling with Covid-19 pandemic with oxygen supply running short in the country, reported The New York Times

The World Health Organization has sent 500 oxygen concentrators to Ukraine, among other medical aid, to help stem oxygen shortages. 

While Ukraine reported 731 Covid deaths last week, it is argued that the actual Covid-19 tally has been underreported due to the disruption caused by the Russian invasion. 

“It is my deepest sorrow to see my region, emerging from two terrible pandemic years, being now confronted with the devastating impact of military hostilities on dozens of millions of its people in Ukraine and beyond,” the WHO regional director for Europe, Dr. Hans Kluge, said at a news briefing. 

Ukraine has reported 4,879,339 Covid-19 cases and 106,739 deaths. 

What else we’re reading:

Puerto Rico relaxes Covid-19 travel restrictions: CNN

Moderna Signals It May Enforce Covid-19 Vaccine Patents in Wealthy Nations: The Wall Street Journal 


Also read: Covid-19: Hong Kong starts mandatory testing, Uganda proposes to impose fine on anti-vaxxers


 

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