New Delhi: The Covid-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc around the world, with the current count at over 38 crore cases and more than 57 lakh deaths.
A tenth of England’s Covid-19 cases reported in 2022 so far are suspected reinfections, the Pacific island nation of Tonga announced lockdown after detecting its first two cases since the start of the pandemic, and Denmark has officially become the first country in the European Union (EU) to lift all Covid-19 restrictions
ThePrint brings you some important global stories on the coronavirus pandemic.
Nearly 10% of England’s 2022 Covid cases suspected reinfections
A tenth of England’s Covid-19 cases reported so far this year are suspected reinfections, according to a Reuters analysis of the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA)’s coronavirus data.
Before 6 December, the proportion of daily cases in England suspected to be reinfections had been under two per cent for about six months. That rate has increased to 9.9 per cent so far in 2022, the analysis suggests.
On Monday, the UK began incorporating possible coronavirus reinfections into its daily data.
The UKHSA said there had been 5.8 lakh possible reinfections in England to date, taking the total number reported in Britain to 173 lakh.
“Reinfection remained at very low levels until the start of the Omicron wave. It is right that our daily reporting processes reflect how the virus has changed,” said Steven Riley, UKHSA’s Director General of Data and Analytics.
The UK has registered 17,428,345 cases and 156,875 deaths.
Tonga under lockdown after recording 2 Covid cases
The Pacific island nation of Tonga, recently hit by a volcanic explosion, went into national lockdown Wednesday after recording two community transmissions of Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic, reports Al Jazeera.
Tonga Prime Minister Siaosi Sovaleni made the announcement days after the nation received aid from an Australian ship where cases of coronavirus had been detected on board.
A week ago, the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano erupted triggering an ocean tsunami that caused damage as far away as the West Coast of the US.
On 21 January, Tonga turned back an aid flight from Australia, due to a Covid case on board.
Tonga had been Covid-free since the beginning of the pandemic, with a strict border control policy.
Residents in Japan’s Kyoto learn to live without foreign tourists
Residents in the ancient Japanese city of Kyoto have learned to embrace life without foreign visitors, who were once welcomed for the money they ploughed into the local economy.
Kyoto, once the capital of Japan, is famous for its numerous classical Buddhist temples, as well as gardens, imperial palaces, Shinto shrines and more. However, just 2.45 lakh foreign visitors arrived in Japan in 2021, according to the tourism agency, a drop of 99.2 per cent from pre-pandemic levels.
Despite the loss of revenue, Kyoto residents are divided over the eventual return of foreign visitors, according to a report in The Guardian.
“It feels very different now,” said the owner of an ice-cream shop near Kiyomizu temple. “There used to be lots of foreign tourists, but now it’s almost empty.”
Japan has registered 2,811,050 cases and 18,871 deaths.
Denmark becomes first EU country to lift all Covid restrictions
Denmark has officially become the first country in the European Union (EU) to lift all Covid-19 restrictions, reports CNN.
This means that an indoor mask mandate, “Covid passes” for entertainment venues, and the legal obligation to self-isolate if you test positive are no longer required.
“No one can know what will happen next December. But we promised the citizens of Denmark that we will only have restrictions if they are truly necessary and we’ll lift them as soon as we can,” Danish Health Minister Magnus Heunicke told CNN Monday. “That’s what’s happening right now.”
This decision comes after the government deemed that the virus is no longer a “socially critical sickness”.
The country, however, is still registering record infections and a high vaccination rate amid the spread of the Omicron variant.
Denmark has registered 1,710,619 cases and 3,770 deaths.
What else are we reading:
U.S. Has Far Higher Covid Death Rate Than Other Wealthy Countries: The New York Times
Source: The Print