Official cases in Africa pass 10m; London hospital chief says 10% of staff unvaccinated – as it happened | World news

Official cases in Africa pass 10m; London hospital chief says 10% of staff unvaccinated – as it happened | World news

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at 7.53pm EST


Here is a comprehensive recap of some of the main developments so far today.


  • Greece sets 1 February deadline for booster jabs. Those who have not received their coronavirus booster jabs will be barred from most indoor venues.
  • France should not impose mandatory vaccination and would not be the most efficient way to encourage people to get vaccinated, a government spokesperson said. More than 105,000 people took to the streets on Saturday in protest.
  • Downing Street is facing calls to ensure that Boris Johnson will be personally interviewed by the Sue Gray inquiry about alleged No 10 gatherings during the first lockdown, after it emerged he may have been present at a “bring your own booze” party that month.
  • Boris Johnson has been warned by a Conservative rebel ringleader he faces a massive revolt from his own MPs if he does not end all coronavirus restrictions this month.
  • Germany will study how reliable rapid antigen tests are in detecting the fast-spreading Omicron variant, the health minister, Karl Lauterbach, said on Sunday.
  • More than 150,000 people have died in the UK from coronavirus since the start of the pandemic.
  • Covid should be treated as an endemic virus similar to flu, and ministers should end mass vaccination after the booster campaign, the former chairman of the UK’s vaccine taskforce has said.
  • Lateral flow tests in the UK will remain free, education secretary Nadhim Zahawi insisted amid reports they could be scaled back despite soaring Covid cases.
  • London’s public health chief said the Omicron variant “may have passed its peak” in the UK capital.
  • The boss of one of London’s busiest hospitals has said he is worried about losing staff when new rules come in requiring them to be vaccinated, BBC News reports.


  • The US and Japan have reached an agreement to keep American troops within their bases amid concerns over a surge in Covid cases that has been linked to US military bases.
  • Three people were arrested for breaking India’s Covid measures after police raided a dog’s lavish birthday party in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad city.
  • The Philippines reported a record number of daily infections with 28,707 new cases, up from 26,458 cases the previous day.
  • Tianjin, a major Chinese port city near the capital Beijing, has begun mass-testing its 14 million residents after a cluster of 20 children and adults tested positive for Covid-19, including at least two with the Omicron variant.


  • Africa has registered a total of more than 10m cases since the start of the pandemic, according to figures from the Africa Centres for Disease Control.
  • South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, Ethiopia and Libya are among the countries with the highest number of cases on the continent.

Middle East:

  • The dissident Iranian poet and filmmaker Baktash Abtin, 48, died after contracting Covid-19 in a hospital in Tehran after being released on a furlough from prison. Abtin was serving a six-year sentence for “anti-government propaganda” and “actions against national security”.
  • Kuwait and Qatar reported record daily Covid cases over the weekend. Kuwait reported 2,999 new cases on Sunday and Qatar on Saturday reported 3,487 new cases.


  • Brazil’s health regulator Anvisa asked president Jair Bolsonaro to retract statements he made criticising the Covid vaccination for children.

Australia Covid infections hit 1m as Omicron drives record surge

Australia on Monday surpassed 1 million Covid cases, with more than half of them recorded in the past week, as the Omicron variant ripped through most of the country driving up hospitalisation numbers and putting a strain on supply chains.

Having successfully kept a lid on its virus caseload through aggressive lockdowns and tough border controls earlier in the pandemic, Australia is now suffering record infections as the country begins to live with the virus after higher vaccinations.

New South Wales and Victoria reported about 55,000 new cases between them, as total Covid-19 infections in Australia touched 1.03 million since the first case was recorded nearly two years ago. Other states and territories will report their numbers later in the day.

People wait for Covid-19 tests at a testing site in Sydney, Australia as infections hit 1m. Photograph: Xinhua/REX/Shutterstock

A total of 2,387 deaths have been registered so far, though the death rate during the Omicron wave has been lower than during previous virus outbreaks, with 92% of people over 16 double dosed and the booster programme picking pace.

The rising hospitalisation numbers forced officials to reinstate some restrictions in states, meanwhile staff shortages due to isolation rules or people out sick have hit businesses.

Authorities have cut mandatory isolation times for close contacts and narrowed the definition of close contacts but were still reviewing the rules for furloughing workers that have widened supply chain gaps.

From Monday, Pfizer’s Covid vaccines will be offered to 2.3 million children aged five to 11 years old, amid reports of stock shortage of shots, which authorities ruled out.

Samantha Lock back with you on the blog taking over from my colleague Helen Livingstone.

Here’s a quick snapshot of how Covid is unfolding across Australia.

The state of NSW has recorded 20,293 new Covid cases and 18 deaths including a child aged under five while Victoria reported 34,808 cases and two deaths.

The Covid vaccine for children aged five to 11 is also being rolled out across the nation.

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