Health News Roundup: Australia suffers deadliest day of pandemic as Omicron drives up hospital cases; China urges caution opening overseas mail after Omicron case and more
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Australia suffers deadliest day of pandemic as Omicron drives up hospital cases
Australia suffered its deadliest day of the pandemic on Tuesday as a fast-moving Omicron outbreak continued to push up hospitalisation rates to record levels, even as daily infections eased slightly. Australia is dealing with its worst COVID-19 outbreak, fuelled by the Omicron variant of the coronavirus that has put more people in hospitals and intensive care than at any time during the pandemic.
China urges caution opening overseas mail after Omicron case
China is urging people to wear masks and gloves when opening mail, especially from abroad, after authorities suggested the first case of the Omicron coronavirus virus variant found in Beijing could have arrived via a package from Canada. Authorities vowed to step up disinfection of overseas mail and are insisting postal staff handling it are fully vaccinated.
Drugmaker Endo signs $65 million opioid settlement with Florida
Drugmaker Endo International plc said on Tuesday it had agreed to pay up to $65 million to resolve claims by the state of Florida and local governments that the drugmaker helped fuel the U.S. opioid epidemic. The deal is the latest in a string of settlements that Endo has struck in recent months to resolve similar cases, including a $63 million settlement with Texas in December.
Tianjin reports fewer COVID-19 cases; curbs affect some Boeing employees
The Chinese city of Tianjin reported fewer COVID-19 cases on Tuesday after measures such as conducting mass testing and locking down some areas to curb the highly transmissible Omicron variant, steps that have also affected the local operations of foreign firms such as Boeing
Israel sticks with 4th vaccine shot, sees Omicron wave waning next week
Israel will continue to offer a fourth COVID-19 vaccine shot despite preliminary findings that it is not enough to prevent Omicron infections, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday, predicting contagions stoked by the variant will wane in a week.
With his government scaling back Omicron counter-measures to ease the strain on the economy, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett sought to cast Israel's still-high case numbers primarily as a result of an en-masse testing drive rather than infection rates.
Hong Kong to cull hamsters after COVID-19 found in pet shop
Hong Kong ordered a cull of 2,000 hamsters on Tuesday and warned pet owners not to kiss animals after a cluster of COVID-19 cases was traced to a pet shop. The outbreak of Delta variant cases in humans linked to the shop worker prompted tests on hundreds of animals in the Chinese-ruled territory, with 11 hamsters showing up positive.
Nepal says COVID-19 cases may double as daily infections hit record level
Nepal recorded 10,258 new coronavirus infections on Tuesday, government data showed, the highest number reported in a single day as the government projected the tally could double by the end of the month. Total infections topped 972,198 and COVID-19-related deaths stood at 11,624. The previous daily record was 9,483 cases in May last year.
What you need to know about the coronavirus right now
Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus right now: Australia suffers deadliest day
Merck signs supply deal with UNICEF for 3 million courses of COVID-19 pill
Merck & Co Inc and partner Ridgeback Biotherapeutics said on Tuesday they had signed an agreement with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) to supply up to 3 million courses of their COVID-19 antiviral pill. Merck would supply the pill, molnupiravir, to UNICEF through the first half of 2022 for distribution in more than 100 low- and middle-income countries upon regulatory authorizations, the companies said.
Thailand to lower COVID-19 alert, ease curbs as infections slow
Thailand will lower its COVID-19 alert level and is considering easing more restrictions to boost its economy, its health minister said on Tuesday, in response to a slower infection rate. Among measures being considered are establishing more "sandbox" areas for tourists, who can skip quarantine if they stay in specified areas for seven days and undergo two COVID-19 tests.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)