Health News Roundup: Exclusive-U.S. opposes plans to strengthen World Health Organization; UK records 76,807 new COVID cases, 297 deaths and more
The country recorded 7,630 new cases on Saturday, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said, above the 7,009 cases reported a day earlier and near the mid-December record of 7,848 logged. Two Australian states to test school students twice weekly for COVID Australia reported 58 deaths from COVID-19 on Sunday, as the two most populous states, New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria, said students would be tested twice weekly for the Omicron variant when classes resume next week.
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Exclusive-U.S. opposes plans to strengthen World Health Organization
The United States, the World Health Organization's top donor, is resisting proposals to make the agency more independent, four officials involved in the talks said, raising doubts about the Biden administration's long-term support for the U.N. agency. The proposal, made by the WHO's working group on sustainable financing, would increase each member state's standing annual contribution, according to a WHO document published online and dated Jan. 4.
UK records 76,807 new COVID cases, 297 deaths
Britain reported 76,807 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, continuing a recent downturn in the number of infections, and 297 more deaths within 28 days of a positive test, official data showed. The figures compared to 95,787 cases and 288 deaths reported on Friday.
Beijing introduces more COVID measures as cases mount before Olympics
Beijing's city government on Sunday introduced new measures to contain a recent outbreak of COVID-19, as China's capital continued to report new local cases of the virus less than two weeks before it hosts the Winter Olympic Games. Nine locally transmitted cases were found in Beijing on Jan. 22, the National Health Commission said on Sunday, of which six were in the city's Fengtai district.
Pfizer CEO sees annual COVID vaccine rather than frequent boosters
Pfizer Inc Chief Executive Albert Bourla said on Saturday that an annual COVID-19 vaccine would be preferable to more frequent booster shots in fighting the coronavirus pandemic. Pfizer/BioNtech's COVID-19 vaccine has shown to be effective against severe disease and death caused by the heavily-mutated Omicron variant but less effective in preventing transmission.
S.Korea reports second-highest COVID count ahead of holiday
South Korea posted its second-highest daily number of coronavirus cases on Sunday, despite extended COVID-19 curbs and a high vaccination rate, raising concerns of further spread during the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday. The country recorded 7,630 new cases on Saturday, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said, above the 7,009 cases reported a day earlier and near the mid-December record of 7,848 logged.
Two Australian states to test school students twice weekly for COVID
Australia reported 58 deaths from COVID-19 on Sunday, as the two most populous states, New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria, said students would be tested twice weekly for the Omicron variant when classes resume next week. NSW reported 34 deaths of patients with COVID-19, while Victoria state saw 14 deaths, and Queensland reported 10 deaths.
India's COVID-19 cases rise by 333,533 in last 24 hours - govt
India reported over 300,000 new COVID-19 infections for the fourth straight day even though the caseload over the last 24 hours was slightly lower than a day before, data released by the government on Sunday showed. India reported 333,533 new COVID-19 infections over the past 24 hours with 525 dead, according to the figures released by the government.
One surrendered Hong Kong hamster tests COVID positive as city lockdown grows
Hong Kong authorities said on Sunday one hamster surrendered to authorities by pet owners had tested positive for COVID-19 and that over 2,200 hamsters had been culled as the city struggled to contain an outbreak. On Tuesday, officials ordered the killing of hamsters from dozens of pet shops after tracing a coronavirus outbreak to a worker at a shop and asked people to surrender any bought on or after Dec. 22.
Taiwan on COVID alert as domestic Omicron cases spike
Taiwan's government ordered a tightening of controls on Saturday after a rare spike in domestic transmission of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, saying it needed to act now to prevent being overwhelmed even though overall numbers remain quite low. After months of no or few community infections, Taiwan has seen a small rise in local COVID-19 cases since the start of the month, almost all Omicron, mainly linked to workers at the main international airport in the northern city of Taoyuan who were infected by arriving passengers.
Tokyo hits record 10,000 COVID cases, Japan over 50,000 for first time
Tokyo recorded its fourth record number of daily COVID-19 infections on Saturday, breaking above 10,000, while Japan's exceeded 50,000 for the first time as the Omicron variant continues to spread rapidly. The capital had 11,227 new coronavirus cases, the local government said a day after it reinstated curbs on mobility and business activity through Feb. 13.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)