Covid-19 has infected more than 266M people and killed over 5.2M worldwide. Here are some of the latest coronavirus-related developments for December 5:
Sunday, December 5, 2021
Tunisia records its first case of the omicron variant
Tunisia has recorded its first case of the Omicron variant after health authorities in the North African country said a man travelling in from Turkey tested positive.
A member of Tunisia’s Covid-19 task force, Dr. Hachemi Louzer, said the man was from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
He tested positive Friday at the Tunis international airport after arriving from Istanbul and a subsequent screening of the sample at the Pasteur Institute for Public Health in the capital, Tunis, confirmed the omicron variant, Louzer said.
Several of his fellow travellers, including his brother, who tested negative for Covid-19 have been quarantined, he said.
Health authorities have restricted travel to Tunisia after the spread of the omicron variant in Africa and Europe over the past week.
Turkey reports 185 more deaths
Turkey has recorded 19,357 new coronavirus cases, 185 related deaths, and 24,278 recoveries from the virus over the past day.
Senegal detects first cases of Omicron
A first case of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 has been reported in Senegal, in a visitor who attended an international meeting, a research institute said, while another organisation detected two more.
The IRESSEF health body said that the 58-year-old patient arrived in Senegal by air from another West African country on November 22.
He had been vaccinated earlier this year with the AstraZeneca and Pfizer shots and had no symptoms by Saturday.
Although the man has now been quarantined in a medical centre, he stayed at a Dakar hotel and took part in an event with 300 people from different countries on November 24-25.
India detects seven more Omicron cases
India's tally of reported cases of the heavily mutated Omicron variant of the coronavirus has risen to 12 after the state of Maharashtra said it had detected seven new cases.
Local media also said a new case had been reported in New Delhi.
Britain reports 54 deaths
Britain has reported 43,992 new cases and 54 deaths within 28 days of a positive test for the virus.
That compares with 42,848 cases and 127 deaths reported on Saturday.
Earlier, Britain's health security agency said it had identified 86 new cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant, taking the total to 246.
Italy reports 43 deaths
Italy has reported 43 coronavirus-related deaths, compared to 75 the day before, the health ministry said, while the daily tally of new reported infections fell to 15,021 from 16,632.
India reports highest single-day fatalities since July
India has reported its highest single-day Covid-19 deaths since July after two states revised their death tolls.
The eastern state of Bihar added 2,426 unrecorded deaths while the southern state of Kerala added 263 deaths to their tallies on Sunday, a federal health ministry spokesperson told Reuters.
The revised figures took single-day deaths to 2,796, the highest since July 21, according to a Reuters tally.
A devastating second wave in March and April this year saw thousands of deaths and millions affected.
Indian states have continued to add unreported Covid-19 deaths in recent months, lending weight to some medical experts' opinions that such deaths are much higher than the reported number of 473,326.
Russia reports over 1,200 deaths
Russia has reported 1,206 deaths from Covid-19 in the past 24 hours.
The country also recorded 32,602 new coronavirus cases in a single day vs 32,974 cases on the previous day, according to official figures.
South Korea reports 3 more Omicron cases
South Korea has reported three more Omicron coronavirus variant cases, bringing its total confirmed so far to 12, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.
It reported 5,128 new Covid-19 cases for Saturday, a slight decline after reporting a record daily tally of 5,352 a day earlier.
The country has reported a total of 473,034 cases, with 3,852 deaths.
From Monday, people visiting 14 designated public spaces, including hospitality and entertainment venues, will have to show their vaccine passes, as the government sets out a plan to reduce the risk of community spread.
The public will have a grace period of a week to get used to the new rules.
Chile confirms first case of Omicron variant
Chile has found its first case of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 in a traveler who arrived late last month from Ghana.
The traveler had provided proof of a negative PCR test, but an additional mandatory test upon arrival at the airport proved positive, health authorities in the Valparaiso region said in a statement.
They said the passenger, who was not identified, had had two rounds of Pfizer vaccine and appeared in good health. The person has been in isolation since arriving.
Other passengers on the same flight are being retested.
Covid-19 has claimed more than 38,000 lives in Chile to date.
Omicron variant infection rises as US hospitals strain under Delta
New York has announced three more cases of the omicron variant of the coronavirus, bringing the number of state cases linked to the new variant to eight.
“The omicron variant is here, and as anticipated we are seeing the beginning of community spread," state Health Commissioner Mary Bassett said in a news release.
The arrival of omicron comes as hospitals statewide continue to strain under a surge in coronavirus cases, most traced to the delta variant, along with staffing shortages.
The number of people testing positive statewide each day for the virus has doubled in the last 30 days.
Gov. Kathy Hochul in recent days has authorised the Health Department to limit nonessential, non-urgent procedures at hospitals close to running out of beds and deployed National Guard teams to relieve healthcare workers at facilities dealing with staffing issues and surging caseloads.
Australia approves Pfizer vaccine for children 5-11
Australia's medicine regulator provisionally approved the Pfizer Inc coronavirus vaccine for children between the ages of 5 and 11, with the health minister saying the rollout could begin from January 10.
The Therapeutics Goods Administration "have made a careful, thorough assessment, determined that it is safe and effective and that it is in the interests of children and Australians for children 5 to 11 to be vaccinated," said Health Minister Greg Hunt.
After initial delays with its general Covid-19 inoculation programme, Australia has swiftly become one of the world's most-vaccinated countries, with nearly 88 percent of Australians over the age of 16 having received two doses.
Covid outbreak on cruise ship approaching New Orleans
Ten people aboard a Norwegian Cruise Line ship approaching New Orleans have tested positive for Covid-19, officials said.
The Norwegian Breakaway departed New Orleans on Nov. 28 and is due to return this weekend, the Louisiana Department of Health said in a news release. Over the past week, the ship made stops in Belize, Honduras and Mexico.
More than 3,200 people are on board the ship, officials said.
According to the statement, Norwegian “has been adhering to appropriate quarantine and isolation protocols as new cases and exposures have been identified aboard this vessel.”
Former Dutch queen Beatrix tests positive despite booster shot
Princess Beatrix, the 83-year-old former Dutch queen, has tested positive for the coronavirus, the royal house announced.
In a statement, the royal house said Beatrix got tested after feeling “mild cold symptoms.” It said she is in isolation at home and abiding by rules for people who have tested positive. The princess lives in a castle in the central Netherlands.
Beatrix was queen of the Netherlands for 33 years until abdicating in 2013, when her eldest son, Willem-Alexander, became king.
Last week she visited the Caribbean island of Curacao, which is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
At the time, she told reporters she had had her Covid-19 booster shot.