New Delhi: The Covid-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc around the world as cases rise amid ongoing vaccination drives, with the current count being 26,17,63,463 cases and 52,17,303 deaths.
While South African nationals have been hit hard by international travel bans due to the Omicron variant, Japan closed its borders to foreign nationals and the Philippines commenced an ambitious vaccination drive.
ThePrint brings you some important global stories on the coronavirus pandemic.
Japan closes international borders as Omicron variant fears grow
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida Monday announced the closure of the country’s international borders for foreign nationals, in view of the newly detected Omicron variant of Covid-19, The Japan Times reported.
Borders will remain open only for Japanese citizens and foreign residents trying to re-enter the country, but those travelling to Japan from any of the 14 countries in which Omicron variant cases have been recorded would be required to undergo quarantine, Kishida added.
With over 75 per cent of its population fully vaccinated against Covid-19, Japan has been administering doses at a faster pace than other G7 nations, who will hold an emergency Covid meeting Monday about the variant.
Japan has reported 17,27,062 total Covid cases and 18,358 deaths.
Philippines launches campaign to inoculate 9 million people in 3 days
The Philippines Monday began a massive drive to inoculate 9 million people within a three-day window, deploying security personnel and tens of thousands of volunteers t administer the campaign, Reuters reported.
While the 9 million target is a reduction from the initial goal of 15 million, the drive is intended to counter issues in the Southeast Asian nation around apparent vaccine hesitancy and “logistical hurdles”, the report added. Currently, less than 30 per cent of people in the country are fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
The Philippines’ vaccinations in-charge Carlito Galvez told CNN Philippines that the drive is targeted towards six regions in the country in particular, where many people are yet to receive their first dose.
The Philippines has recorded 28,31,807 Covid cases and 48,361 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
South Africans hard hit by ‘absolute chaos’ at airports
South African travellers have been “left in the lurch” amid growing uncertainty about a lockdown and “absolute chaos” at airports ever since the travel bans imposed due to the detection of the Omicron variant in the country, Al Jazeera reported.
Numerous flights scheduled to depart South Africa for the United States, United Kingdom and several European countries have been grounded in light of the travel ban.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa hit out at the countries that imposed the ban, labelling it as unjustified. “The only thing the prohibition on travel will do is to further damage the economies of the affected countries and undermine their ability to respond to, and recover from, the pandemic,” the BBC quoted Ramaphosa as saying.
South Africa has recorded 29,61,406 Covid cases and 89,797 deaths overall.
What else we are reading:
Covid-19 Vaccine Makers Assess Omicron Response: The Wall Street Journal
They Died From Covid. Then the Online Attacks Started: The New York Times