Coronavirus

PNG Confirms 13 New Omicron cases

This were the results from the last two updates on Thursday, 17th and Friday, 18th February 2022. On the 17th, 13 new Omicron cases were reported from the samples that were sent down to Australia, raising the total number of this new variant to 14 so far.

These 13 new cases of Omicron were among 333 new cases of COVID-19 reported on this day.

Half of Europe to be infected with Omicron within weeks - World Health Organisation

Dr Hans Kluge said a "west-to-east tidal wave" of Omicron was sweeping across the region, on top of the surge of the Delta variant already present.

The projection was based on the seven million new cases reported across Europe in the first week of 2022.

The number of infections has more than doubled in a two-week period.

"Today the Omicron variant represents a new west-to-east tidal wave, sweeping across the region on top of the Delta surge that all countries were managing until late 2021," Dr Kluge told a news conference.

Europe sees record virus case rise

But France, with its 179,807 cases on Tuesday, was not alone in breaking records, as Italy, Greece, Portugal and England all reported record highs too.

The figures could be due in part to reporting delays over Christmas.

Countries had been reporting rises running up the festive period, driven by the more contagious Omicron variant.

White House hosted Covid 'superspreader' event, says Dr Fauci

Dr Fauci, a member of the White House's coronavirus task force, said the president's unveiling of his judicial nominee was a "superspreader event".

Dozens of White House aides and other contacts were reportedly infected.

President Donald Trump's doctors have just cleared him to hold public events as he himself recovers from Covid-19.

Mr Trump - who was discharged from hospital on Monday after three nights - was asked in an interview with Fox News on Friday evening about the symptoms he had experienced.

Covid pushes New Zealand into worst recession in years

The country's GDP shrank by 12.2% between April and June as the lockdown and border closures hit.

It is New Zealand's first recession since the global financial crisis and its worst since 1987, when the current system of measurement began.

But the government hopes its pandemic response will lead to a quick recovery.

The nation of nearly five million was briefly declared virus free, and although it still has a handful of cases, it has only had 25 deaths.

New South Wales premier apologises over cruise ship outbreak

Last week, an inquiry found New South Wales health authorities made "serious mistakes" in allowing about 2,650 passengers to disembark when the ship docked in Sydney in March.

Those people were not tested for the virus, despite suspected cases aboard.

The ship was ultimately linked to at least 900 infections and 28 deaths.

Prior to Australia's second wave of the virus - which emerged in Melbourne in June - the cruise ship had been the source of Australia's biggest coronavirus cluster.

Madonna's Instagram account flagged for spreading misinformation

In her post, the singer claimed a vaccine for COVID-19 had already been found, but was being hidden to "let the rich get richer".

Instagram blurred out the video with a caption saying: "False Information".

It also directed users to a page debunking the claims in the video, noting there is no coronavirus vaccine.

The video was later deleted from Madonna's Instagram page, but not before fans protested at her decision to share the post.

Hong Kong reports biggest one-day rise in cases

At a Sunday press conference, Ms Lam said there had been more than 100 new infections, and announced new restrictions to contain the spread.

She described the situation as "really critical" and said there was "no sign" it was coming under control.

Non-essential civil servants must work from home and testing will increase.

The chief executive promised that authorities would carry out 10,000 tests a day, and also made wearing face masks compulsory in indoor public spaces. Face coverings were already mandatory on public transport.

Jacinda Ardern explains why there's no Pacific travel bubble yet

Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna told Newshub earlier this month that without any cases of the disease, the Cook Islands poses no threat to New Zealand - and vice versa. Samoa, Kiribati, Nauru, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu and Tuvalu also haven't reported any cases.

New Zealand's last confirmed case was more than three weeks ago, and it's been four weeks since the last patient known to be infected via community transmission left self-isolation.

Iran fears second wave after surge in cases

The health ministry said 3,574 new Covid-19 infections were recorded on Wednesday - the third consecutive day the figure has exceeded 3,000.

Another 59 people with the disease died, raising the toll to 8,071.

The president has said restrictions may be re-imposed if people do not follow social distancing and hygiene rules.

Before Wednesday's new infections were reported, bringing the overall total to 164,270, the previous high was 3,186 on 30 March. The number of cases then declined steadily until 2 May, when 802 were recorded.