Jan 17 (Reuters) - Here's what you need to know about the
coronavirus right now:
Chinese cities on high COVID-19 alert
Several Chinese cities went on high COVID-19 alert as the
Lunar New Year holiday travel season started on Monday,
requiring travellers to report their trips days before their
arrival, as the Omicron variant reached more areas including
Authorities have warned the highly contagious Omicron adds
to the increased risk of COVID-19 transmission as hundreds of
millions of people travel around China for the Lunar New Year on
Tickets for the Winter Olympics, set to held in the Chinese
capital and neighbouring Hebei province from Feb. 4, will be
distributed to "targeted" groups of people and will not be sold
to the general public, the organising committee said on Monday,
in the latest setback to the Games inflicted by COVID-19.
Governors in Tokyo region to seek further measures to
counter COVID-19 surge
The governors of Tokyo and surrounding prefectures agreed on
Monday to request further measures from the central government,
including shorter opening hours for bars and restaurants, to
help counter rising COVID-19 infections.
The Omicron variant is driving a resurgence in coronavirus
cases, which are hovering near record levels, after new
infections exceeded 25,000 nationwide in the past two days.
India's main cities record sharp fall in infections
India's capital Delhi and financial hub Mumbai have reported
a big fall in COVID-19 infections in the past two days and most
of those who contracted the virus have recovered at home,
authorities said on Monday.
Mumbai's daily new infections fell below 10,000 on Sunday
for the first time since early this month, after touching an
all-time high of 20,971 on Jan. 7. It reported 7,895 infections
late on Sunday, Mumbai's municipal corporation said.
Nepal began giving COVID-19 vaccine booster shots on Monday
as coronavirus infections surged due to the spread of the
Omicron variant, officials said.
Australia's PM blames Omicron for testing woes
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday the
shortages of at-home antigen tests were "not unique" to the
country as authorities deal with a runaway Omicron outbreak that
has driven up hospitalisation rates and strains testing systems.
Australia is facing a shortage of at-home rapid antigen test
kits after asymptomatic close contacts were told to bypass
government-funded testing hubs, where high volumes delayed
results by several days, and take their own tests.
Pfizer to boost COVID-19 pill production
Pfizer will add a production facility for its
antiviral COVID-19 pill in France as part of a plan to invest
520 million euros ($594 million) in the country over the next
five years, the U.S. drugmaker said on Monday.
The decision is part of Pfizer's strategy to boost global
production of the pill, paxlovid, which was found to be nearly
90% effective in preventing hospitalizations and deaths in
patients at high risk of severe illness, according to clinical
Pakistan says trial of Chinese traditional medicine for
Pakistani health authorities on Monday announced the
completion of a successful clinical trial of Chinese traditional
herbal medicine for treating COVID-19, as the South Asian nation
enters a fifth wave of the pandemic driven by the Omicron
The Chinese medicine, Jinhua Qinggan Granules manufactured
by Juxiechang (Beijing) pharmaceutical Co, is already being used
in the treatment of COVID-19 patients in China.
(Compiled by Linda Noakes; Editing by Susan Fenton)