New Delhi: The new SARS-CoV-2 variant, Omicron, has brought in its wake a fresh surge in Covid cases, even as countries step up vaccination programmes. The total number of Covid cases reported globally has touched 308,009,342, with 5,507,353 deaths.
While China has enforced fresh travel restrictions following an Omicron outbreak in the port city of Tianjin, Germany has announced it will study the reliability of rapid antigen tests in detecting the Omicron variant and Australia’s Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has said the country must “push through” its ongoing surge in cases.
ThePrint brings you some of the important global stories on the pandemic.
China imposes travel curbs after 21 cases reported in Tianjin
China suspended ticket sales for passenger trains from the port city of Tianjin to the capital Beijing Monday after 21 Covid-19 cases were reported in the port city, the South China Morning Post reported Monday.
Tianjin has been at the centre of China’s Omicron outbreak after the first such case was detected there in December 2021, the report added.
On Sunday, Beijing’s health department had reportedly advised residents against travelling to Tianjin and expressed concerns over the outbreak disrupting preparations for next month’s Winter Olympics, which will take place in Beijing and surrounding areas.
China has so far reported 103,776 Covid cases, with 4,636 deaths.
Germany to study reliability of rapid antigen tests for Omicron
Germany will study the reliability of rapid antigen tests in detecting the Omicron variant, Reuters reported Monday.
According to the report, the country’s health minister Karl Lauterbach announced on the public broadcaster, ARD, Sunday that results of the study will be available in a few weeks and maintained that rapid antigen testing is still superior to the “dangerous” alternative of not conducting Covid tests.
Lauterbach’s announcement came amidst a surge in Omicron cases in the European nation. The report quoted data from the state-run Robert Koch Institute, according to which the variant currently accounts for 44 per cent of infections in Germany.
Germany has so far recorded 7,531,630 cases and 114,712 deaths.
Australia must ‘push through’ Omicron spike, says PM Morrison
Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Monday that the country must “push through” the ongoing Omicron wave that is putting pressure on the healthcare system, Al Jazeera reported Monday. According to the report, the statement came as the country crossed a total of one million cases, more than half of which were reported in the past week.
Referring to Omicron as a “gear change”, Morrison reportedly added that pushing through is one of two choices to respond to the wave, with the other choice being lockdowns, which Australia had imposed during previous Covid outbreaks.
While Australia’s vaccination rates reportedly increased, in a bid to “live with the virus”, hospitalisations have also gone up up from 2,000 to 3,500 in the space of a week.
Australia has reported 1,049,306 Covid cases and 2,389 deaths, since the beginning of the pandemic.
What else are we reading:
Labs Limit Covid-19 Test Access as Demand Soars: The Wall Street Journal
London Schools Are Determined to Stay Open. Staff Illnesses Make It Hard: The New York Times