(Reuters) – Britain said on Tuesday it needed to recruit 6,000 more people for a trial of Merck’s COVID-19 antiviral pill molnupiravir to inform how the drug could be rolled out more widely.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
* Eikon users can find a case tracker and summary of what’s new at COVID-19: MacroVitals https://apac1.apps.cp.thomsonreuters.com/cms/?navid=1592404098.
* The US Food and Drug Administration has revised the emergency use authorizations for Regeneron and Eli Lilly COVID-19 antibody treatments to limit their use because the drugs are unlikely to work against the Omicron variant.
* In Brazil, 83,340 new cases of the novel coronavirus and 259 deaths from COVID-19 have been reported in the past 24 hours, the health ministry said on Monday.
* Chile, which already has one of the world’s highest COVID-19 vaccination rates, has agreed to buy 2 million doses of vaccine from Moderna, Chile’s interim Minister of Health Maria Teresa Valenzuela said.
* A New York judge overturned the state’s mask mandate a week before it expired, ruling that the governor exceeded her powers when she imposed a rule that had to be passed by the state’s legislature.
* The head of the World Health Organization warned it was dangerous to assume the Omicron variant would herald the end of the most acute phase of COVID-19 and urged nations to focus on fighting the pandemic.
* Germany has extended its current pandemic measures as the government-appointed panel of experts has warned the Omicron variant could bring critical infrastructure in Europe’s largest economy to a breaking point.
* South Korea’s daily tally of new coronavirus cases surpassed 8,000 for the first time as the Omicron variant spreads rapidly despite the recent extension of strict social distancing rules to slow the infection.
* Japan is expected to more than double the number of regions under heightened coronavirus restrictions on Tuesday, despite trying to change strategies to deal with the infectious Omicron variant that has resulted in a record number of cases.
* About two dozen cases of COVID-19 have been recorded among the crew of an Australian warship expected to arrive in coronavirus-free Tonga on Wednesday to deliver humanitarian aid, Australian authorities said.
AFRICA AND MIDDLE EAST
* Israel’s health minister said he doesn’t think Israel will offer a fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccine to most people after the government made it available for over-60s and other high-risk groups.
* Omicron can survive longer on plastic surfaces and human skin than previous versions of the coronavirus, Japanese researchers found in lab tests.
* A third booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech or Johnson & Johnson significantly increases antibody levels in those who previously received two doses of Sinovac’s CoronaVac shot, a study found.
* Australia’s core inflation hit its fastest annual pace since 2014 in the December quarter as fuel and housing costs triggered broad-based price pressures, a shock that will fuel market speculation of an imminent rate hike.
* South Korea’s economy grew at its fastest pace in 11 years in 2021, helped by a surge in export and construction activity, the decline in capital investment and a slow recovery in the service sectors hit by the coronavirus.
* A measure of Australian business confidence has slipped into the red as a surge in coronavirus cases hit consumer spending and wreaked havoc on staffing levels, though overall sales have proved resilient so far.
(Compiled by Sherry Jacob-Phillips; Edited by Shounak Dasgupta)