Germany sets new daily case COVID record

Germany reported more than 80,000 new coronavirus infections, the highest recorded in a single day since the pandemic began, as the contagious Omicron variant rips through a population with lower vaccination rates than other parts of Europes.

The European Medicines Agency says the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant across the continent is pushing COVID-19 towards being an endemic disease that humanity can live with.

Other major developments:

  • Red Cross says Omicron threatens to overwhelm South Asia’s health systems
  • The WHO predicts more than half of the people in Europe could catch Omicron by March.
  • The WHO also said repeating boosters is not a good strategy against emerging variants of the virus, and that more effort has to be made to ensure poorer countries get their first course of the vaccines.
  • Hungary’s daily tally of new COVID cases jumps as Omicron spreads

    Hungary’s daily tally of new COVID-19 cases jumped to 7,883 from 5,270 reported a week earlier, but the number of patients treated in hospital declined over the week, the government said.

    The government said 29 percent of the new infections were caused by the new Omicron variant, but some private labs have reported much higher figures.

    In Hungary, a country of 10 million, 40,083 people have died of COVID-19. There are 2,758 people coronavirus patients in hospital now, including 257 on ventilators.

  • France says early to tell if current COVID wave has peaked

    French Health Minister Olivier Veran said it was too early to say if the current, Omicron-fuelled wave of the new coronavirus had peaked in the country, which is currently reporting record numbers of daily new cases.

    “We still need a bit of time to work out whether or not we are near a current COVID peak, ” Veran told France info radio, adding that the more dangerous Delta variant was declining in France.

    French health authorities on Tuesday reported 368,149 new coronavirus cases, the highest single-day tally of the pandemic. And the seven-day moving average of new cases, which smoothes out reporting irregularities, rose to a record level of 283,394.

  • Kyrgyzstan reports first cases of Omicron

    Kyrgyzstan’s healthcare ministry said it had confirmed the Central Asian nation’s first cases of the Omicron COVID-19 variant.

  • Bulgaria’s daily coronavirus infections at record high

    Daily coronavirus infections in Bulgaria reached a record high of 7,062, largely fuelled by the highly contagious Omicron variant, official data showed.

  • New cases, on the rise since the beginning of the year, surpassed a previous peak set in late October, when the European Union’s least vaccinated member state grappled with the Delta variant.

    The virus has killed 89 people in the past 24 hours in the Balkan country, according to official figures, bringing the total death toll to 31,761.

    More than 5,200 people were in hospitals, including 580 in intensive care. In the capital, Sofia, planned operations have been suspended as hospitals prepared to expand wards for COVID-19 patients.

    Health authorities have said a surge in hospitalisations may mean new restrictions.

    Germany’s COVID cases hit daily record

    Germany reported 80,430 new coronavirus infections, the highest recorded in a single day since the pandemic began, as the contagious Omicron variant rips through a population with lower vaccination rates than some other parts of Europe.

    The previous daily record, on November 26, was more than 76,000.

    Germany’s tally of infections now stands at 7,661,811. The death toll also rose by 384 on Wednesday to reach 114,735.

    The seven-day incidence rate, a key yardstick in deciding coronavirus policy, has ticked up steadily since the start of the year, to stand at 407.5 cases per 100,000 people on Wednesday, versus 387.9 the day before.

    COVID infections in Japan’s Osaka to nearly triple

    Japan’s western prefecture of Osaka expects to record about 1,700 new coronavirus cases, roughly tripling from a day earlier in their first rise beyond 1,000 since mid-September, public broadcaster NHK said.

    The prefecture had 613 cases on Tuesday, NHK added.

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