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What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

01/17/2022 | 12:35am EST

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 Beijing.

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 Feb. 1.

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 trial data.

Pakistan says trial of Chinese traditional medicine for COVID-19 successful

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 variant.

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)


© Reuters 2022
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
ON SEMICONDUCTOR CORPORATION -4.79% 63.03 Delayed Quote.-7.20%
PFIZER, INC. -1.53% 54.11 Delayed Quote.-8.37%
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