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Covid-19: Emergency in Canada capital over truckers’ protest, South Korea hits 1 million cases

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

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New Delhi: Covid-19 has so far infected 396,029,867 people and caused 5,758,896 deaths. While it continues to impact life around the world, vaccination appears to be easing the blow. 

The mayor of Ottawa in Canada has declared an emergency over a protest by truckers against Covid-19 restrictions. While South Korea has surpassed 1 million cumulative cases of Covid-19, vaccinations and an aggressive government campaign have kept deaths low. Meanwhile, Australia is set to reopen for fully-vaccinated people after almost 2 years. Moving to West Asia, around 50 Iranian lawmakers have tested positive for Covid-19. 

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

Ottawa declares emergency over truckers’ protest against Covid rules 

The mayor of Canadian capital Ottawa has declared a state of emergency following a week of protests against Covid restrictions, primarily driven by truckers. The mayor has said the city is “completely out of control”, with demonstrators outnumbering police, reports BBC

The agitation, “Freedom Convoy”, started as a protest against a government order calling for truckers crossing the US-Canada border to get vaccinated, but has since grown to oppose other Covid-related restrictions. 

Concerned about how the protest has “attracted far-right and extremist elements”, police Sunday said they would likely arrest those seeking to aid the protesters, the BBC reported. 

Local residents have also objected to the demonstrations, and there have been complaints about trucks impeding traffic and fears of harassment and violence. 

Canada has reported 3,125,330 Covid-19 cases and 34,722 deaths.

Also Read: Covid isn’t behind us, but the world’s next big health emergency is already here

South Korea surpasses 1 million cumulative Covid-19 cases

South Korea Sunday recorded 38,691 new Covid-19 infections, crossing 1 million cumulative cases (1,009,688), reports South China Morning Post (SCMP)

The new high is fuelled mainly by the spread of the Omicron variant. 

Having followed an aggressive strategy of tracking, tracing, masking and quarantining, South Korea had successfully managed to curb the disease spread during the first wave. 

However, with nearly 86 per cent of the country’s 52 million population fully-vaccinated, and with over 54.5 per cent having received booster shots, deaths have remained low with only 15 new deaths reported as of midnight Saturday, according to government data. 

Meanwhile, the administration has extended social distancing measures for at least another two weeks, including a 9 pm curfew on businesses and a six-person limit for private gatherings, the SCMP reported.

South Korea has registered 1,044,963 Covid-19 cases and 6,886 deaths.

Australia to reopen for fully vaccinated visitors

Australia announced Monday that it would reopen its borders to allow the entry of fully vaccinated tourists from 21 February, reports Al Jazeera. Its two-year border closure counts among the longest-running pandemic travel restrictions. 

Speaking to the media, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said, “It’s almost two years since we took the decision to close the borders to Australia. If you’re double vaccinated, we look forward to welcoming you back to Australia”. 

The decision to ease the border restrictions, which had left the country’s tourism industry struggling, was welcomed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which urged other governments in the Asia-Pacific to consider removing border restrictions “so as to enable aviation businesses to accelerate their much needed recovery and to bring maximum benefits to their economies”. 

The move comes as Australia begins experiencing a slowdown in daily infections and hospital admissions, with only over 23,000 new cases Monday, the lowest daily case count this year. 

Australia has reported 2,750,562 coronavirus infections and 4,243 fatalities. 

Around 50 Iranian lawmakers test positive for Covid-19

Around 50 Iranian lawmakers have tested positive for Covid-19 amid the current wave of the Omicron variant across the country, reports Middle East Monitor

The upcoming session of the Iranian Parliament will be held in accordance with health regulations, Iranian MP Alireza Salimi told the state-media linked Young Journalists Club (YJC) Saturday. 

In April last year, the Iranian parliament was suspended for two weeks due to a similar outbreak among MPs. Several lawmakers reportedly died of Covid in the early days of the pandemic. 

Iran is reported to be the country hit hardest by Covid in West Asia. 

It has reported 6,579,266 Covid-19 cases and 132,830 deaths. 

What else we’re reading 

Easing curbs in ‘Covid-zero regions’ could cause 2 mln deaths in a year – China study Reuters

Here’s how New York City’s hospitals withstood the Omicron surge The New York Times 

Also Read: ‘Karma strikes’, say Indian social media users as Canadian PM hides from anti-vax protests


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