Factbox-Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus
(Reuters) - Now that rich nations are sharing more shots with Africa, health officials across the continent are scrambling to overcome vaccine hesitancy and logistical problems to get the doses into arms fast enough before they expire.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
* Switzerland may have to impose another limited lockdown to break the momentum of rising cases that threaten to overwhelm its healthcare system, the government said.
* British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, which faced mounting pressure after his Conservatives lost their poll lead and it was revealed his communications chief attended a festive gathering in Downing Street during a lockdown last year, is not planning further restrictions in England to contain the growth of the Omicron variant, his spokesman said.
* The estimated range of England's COVID-19 weekly reproduction "R" number is steady at between 0.9 and 1.1, the UK Health Security Agency said.
* Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the Omicron variant was growing exponentially and would overtake Delta as the dominant strain within days.
* Cyprus has detected its first cases of the Omicron variant, its health ministry said.
* The Dutch Health Council advised the government to make it possible for children aged 5-11 to get shots.
* Across France, pharmacies say they have run short of COVID tests as cases rise and people scramble to make sure they do not risk contaminating loved ones as they meet up in the holiday season.
* Cases in Canada have started to increase again, health officials said, adding the Omicron variant had the potential to spread very quickly.
* New York Governor Kathy Hochul said that starting next week, face coverings must be worn inside businesses and venues unless they have implemented a vaccine requirement.
* Dozens of U.S. Navy medics have deployed to New Mexico to treat a Delta variant-fueled surge in patients.
* India has detected 25 cases of the emergent Omicron variant and all have shown mild symptoms, the health ministry said, adding that there was no immediate plan to authorise vaccine boosters.
* Japanese researchers have developed masks that use ostrich antibodies to detect COVID-19 by glowing under ultraviolet light.
* South Korea will further cut the interval for booster vaccines for all adults from four to five months to three, officials said.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* Ghana will vaccinate returning citizens and residents upon arrival at the airport from next Monday if they have not already received shots, its health service said.
* South African scientists flagged they see no sign that the Omicron variant is causing more severe illness. The country is preparing to offer people booster doses of the Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, a senior health official said.
* Moderna said it would supply an additional 20 million doses of its shots to the Gavi vaccine alliance for distribution through the COVAX vaccine sharing facility in the second quarter of 2022.
* AstraZeneca said it will supply Singapore with its antibody cocktail by the end of the year.
* U.S. stock futures indicated a higher Wall Street and oil rallied ahead of U.S. inflation data, although the mood was wary after a bumper week for many risky assets. [MKTS/GLOB]
* Oil prices were on track for their biggest weekly gain since late August, with market sentiment buoyed by easing concerns over the Omicron variant's impact on global economic growth and fuel demand.
* Norway's central bank is widely expected to raise its benchmark interest rate next week, a Reuters poll of economists showed.
(Compiled by Juliette Portala and Alexander Kloss ; Edited by Angus MacSwan)
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