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Countries are rushing to immunize more citizens and expand vaccine mandates as an increase in COVID-19 cases caused by Omicron is straining health systems and disrupting businesses and events. DEATHS AND INFECTIONS

* Eikon users, see COVID-19: MacroVitals https://apac1.apps.cp.thomsonreuters.com/cms/?navid=1592404098 for case tracking and a summary of EUROPE news

* German cities have asked authorities to “fly by the seat of your pants” less and more “forward-thinking” as the country looks likely to miss its January vaccination target. * France reported 261,481 new coronavirus infections on Thursday, lower than the record of over 332,000 set on Wednesday, but the seven-day moving average of new cases has passed 200,000 for the first time since the start of the health crisis.

* Italy reported a record number of new COVID-19 cases on Thursday at 219,441 compared to 189,109 the day before, the health ministry said, while the daily number of coronavirus-related deaths fell from 231 to 198 * Norwegian cruise and travel operator Hurtigruten The group will cut short a trip to the Antarctic region following a coronavirus outbreak, the company said Thursday.

AMERICAS * The White House said Thursday that the decision to adopt vaccination mandates for schools rested with local school districts.

* Chile will begin offering a fourth injection of the coronavirus vaccine next week to immunocompromised citizens, the government, the first country in Latin America and one of the first in the world to offer the additional dose, said on Thursday. * Peru, which has one of the world’s highest COVID-19 death rates by population, has raised its pandemic alert level in various cities and tightened some restrictions due to a third wave of infections caused by the spread of the Omicron variant.

ASIA-PACIFIC * Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Thursday that people who had not taken COVID-19 vaccines would be arrested if they disobeyed stay-at-home orders as infections peaked in three months.

* Hong Kong’s flagship carrier Cathay Pacific Airways on Thursday said it would cut more passenger flights and operate reduced cargo capacity after the city tightened restrictions amid fears of a fifth wave of the COVID pandemic. 19. * More and more cities in central China’s Henan Province have imposed restrictions as infections have risen sharply there.

* Indian megalopolises Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata are seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases, albeit without a corresponding increase in hospitalizations, but fears are growing that it will spread to rural areas in the coming days. AFRICA AND MIDDLE EAST

* Iraq has identified more than five cases of Omicron, the health ministry said in a statement. * Africa’s top public health official said on Thursday that severe lockdowns were no longer the best way to contain COVID-19, praising South Africa for taking this approach when responding to its latest wave of infection caused by the Omicron variant.

MEDICAL DEVELOPMENTS * The more infectious Omicron variant of COVID-19 appears to produce less severe disease than the globally dominant Delta strain, but should not be classified as “mild,” World Organization officials said Thursday health (WHO).

* GlaxoSmithKline PLC announced Thursday that it has signed agreements with the Canadian government to provide 20,000 doses of the COVID-19 drug Sotrovimab. ECONOMIC IMPACT

* A group of institutional investors with $ 3.5 trillion in assets under management on Thursday called on drug companies to tie executive compensation to the availability of COVID-19 vaccines around the world. (Compiled by Shailesh Kuber, Jagoda Darlak and Uttaresh.V; edited by Shounak Dasgupta, Mark Potter and Arun Koyyur)

(This story was not edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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