Home World Global Covid updates | US okays ‘breath test’, no respite for Shanghai, China

Global Covid updates | US okays ‘breath test’, no respite for Shanghai, China

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Shanghai is converting residential buildings into quarantine centres to house a growing number of Covid-19 cases, while South Korea is set to drop most restrictions next week as a surge in cases there subsides. France, Italy and Germany continue to report high numbers of single-day infections. The surge in Europe is attributed to the BA.2 variant or ‘stealth’ omicron. Meanwhile, in the US, where omicron now accounts for over 90 per cent of cases, a new ‘breath test’ for Covid-19 has received the approval of the country’s drug body, the FDA. Reuters estimates that over 500 million people have been infected by the novel coronavirus globally and over 6.5 million have died so far.

Here are the top updates on the global Covid-19 situation:

1. The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Germany went up by 37,568 on Friday to take the total tally of confirmed cases to 23.37 crore. 29 new Covid-linked fatalities were also reported as per Robert Koch Institute, which is a German federal government agency and research institute responsible for disease control and prevention.

2. France, which is currently battling an omicron-led surge coupled with high hospital fatalities, reported over 1.25 lakh new cases in the last 24 hours as per Reuters.

3. Italy reported 61,555 cases on Friday, against 64,951 the day before, the country’s health ministry said. 133 lives were lost in the last 24 hours in Italy due to Covid-19.

4. Struggling with its ‘worst-ever’ outbreak, China witnessed 24,791 new cases on Friday, of which 3,896 were symptomatic and 20,895 were asymptomatic, news agency Reuters reported quoting the National Health Commission of China.

5. China’s financial hub Shanghai alone accounted for more than 23,500 of the new cases in the country. More than 80 per cent of Shanghai’s cases were asymptomatic, the authorities told the media.

6. The US health body has given its nod to the country’s first Covid-19 ‘breath test’, which can provide results in less than three minutes. With 91.2 per cent accuracy, the ‘InspectIR Covid Breathalyzer’ is the first coronavirus diagnostic test that detects chemical compounds in breath samples associated with a SARS-CoV-2 infection, the FDA said on Friday.

7. Africa is experiencing its longest-running decline in weekly Covid-19 infections since the start of the pandemic, the World Health Organisation said on Friday.

8. Britain has approved a new coronavirus vaccine by the Austrian-French drugmaker Valneva. Valneva is the sixth coronavirus vaccine to be approved in the UK, after AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna, Janssen (Johnson & Johnson), and Novavax.

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