Feb 23 (Reuters) - Here's what you need to know about the
coronavirus right now:
COVID vaccine supply for global programme outstrips demand
for first time
The global project to share COVID-19 vaccines is struggling
to place more than 300 million doses in the latest sign the
problem with vaccinating the world is now more about demand than
Last year, wealthy nations snapped up most of the available
shots to inoculate their own citizens first, meaning less than a
third of people in low-income countries have been vaccinated so
far compared with more than 70% in richer nations.
As supply and donations have ramped up, however, poorer
nations are facing hurdles such as gaps in cold-chain shortage,
vaccine hesitancy and a lack of money to support distribution
networks, public health officials told Reuters.
Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore cases hit record
Hong Kong reported a record 8,674 new infections on
Wednesday, as the city prepares for compulsory testing of its
residents after authorities extended the toughest social
restrictions imposed since the pandemic began.
Health authorities reported 24 deaths compared with
Tuesday's 32, as they step up measures, with assistance from
their mainland counterparts, to contain the outbreak. On
Tuesday, Hong Kong reported 6,211 new cases.
South Korea's prime minister on Wednesday called on people
not to panic about a major increase in infections as new daily
cases surged past 170,000 for the first time.
Serious cases and deaths are at manageable levels despite
record cases caused by the highly infectious Omicron variant,
Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum told a pandemic response meeting.
Singapore's health ministry reported a record 26,032
COVID-19 infections on Tuesday and said it may take a few weeks
before the current transmission wave peaks and subsides.
Beijing finds most daily local cases in nearly a month
Beijing reported on Wednesday the highest number of daily
local COVID-19 cases since late January, less than two weeks
before the opening of China's annual parliamentary meeting in
the capital on March 5.
The city of Beijing detected 10 domestically transmitted
COVID-19 cases with confirmed symptoms for Tuesday, data from
the National Health Commission showed on Wednesday. That marks
the highest daily count for Beijing since Jan. 29.
Cambodia vaccinates children aged three to five
Cambodia started vaccinating children as young as three
against COVID-19 on Wednesday, becoming one of the first
countries to cover the age group of those below five.
The Southeast Asian nation has vaccinated more than 90% of
its population of 16 million, for one of the highest rates in
the region, official data show. In January, it started rolling
out a fourth dose for high-risk groups.
World should send 60 million vaccines to North Korea, U.N.
The international community should form a strategy to
provide North Korea with at least 60 million doses of COVID-19
vaccines to head off humanitarian disaster, an independent U.N.
human rights investigator said on Wednesday.
The vaccines could be a way to persuade the country to ease
lockdowns that have left some of its 26 million people on the
verge of starvation, Tomas Ojea Quintana, U.N. special
rapporteur on human rights in the Democratic Peoples Republic
of Korea, told a briefing in Seoul.
(Compiled by Linda Noakes)