Factbox-Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus
(Reuters) - The northern Chinese city of Tianjin tightened exit controls and is requiring residents to obtain approval from employers or community authorities before leaving town in an effort to block the spread of the highly transmissible Omicron variant.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
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* The UK's death toll rose above 150,000 on Saturday, with British health officials saying boosters still provided high levels of protection for older people and there was no need for now for people to get a fourth shot.
* French lawmaker Jose Evrard, whose vaccine-sceptic far-right party had opposed government measures to control the spread of COVID-19, has died after contracting the coronavirus.
* Swedish Crown Princess Victoria has tested positive and is experiencing cold symptoms, the Royal Court said, adding that the heir to the throne was fully vaccinated.
* Canadian PM Justin Trudeau is pushing ahead with a vaccine mandate for international truckers despite increasing pressure from critics who say it will exacerbate driver shortages and drive up the price of goods imported from U.S.
* Mexico's death toll breached the 300,000 mark on Friday, while the country's health regulator granted authorisation for emergency use of Merck's COVID-19 pill Molnupiravir.
* The United States has agreed to impose stricter COVID-19 measures at U.S. military bases in Japan, a U.S.-Japan joint statement said on Sunday, amid concerns that outbreaks at bases have fuelled infection in local communities.
* The Philippines ordered an increase in hospital beds and medical resources in and around the capital Manila as the country set another record for new cases.
* India began administering booster doses of COVID-19 vaccine to frontline workers and vulnerable elderly people, with the Omicron variant fuelling an almost eight-fold rise in daily infections since the start of the year.
* Australia surpassed 1 million COVID-19 cases, with more than half of them recorded in the past week, as the Omicron variant ripped through most of the country.
AFRICA AND MIDDLE EAST
* Doctors in one of the cities where Omicron was first identified say the surge driven by the variant has been marked by less serious disease than earlier waves of the pandemic and there are clear signs that case and hospital admission rates may decline over the next few weeks.
* Daily infection rates reported by Kuwait and Qatar have soared past previous peaks recorded in the summers of 2021 and 2020 respectively.
* India's Bharat Biotech said a booster dose of its COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin offered long-term protection from severe disease in a trial. Its booster dose was given to trial participants six months after they received their second dose.
* Two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine are highly protective against a rare but often serious condition in children that causes organ inflammation weeks after COVID-19 infections, a U.S. CDC report said.
* Major share markets made cautious gains as investors counted down to another U.S. inflation reading that could well set the seal on an early rate hike from the Federal Reserve, lifting bond yields yet further. [MKTS/GLOB]
* British manufacturers are optimistic that business conditions and productivity will improve this year despite most saying they have been hurt by Brexit and rising costs, according to an industry survey.
* Thailand's central bank said the country's economy could see lower growth in the first half of 2022 than a base case scenario due to uncertainties caused by the Omicron variant.
(Compiled by Shailesh Kuber, Valentine Baldassari, Jagoda Darlak and Uttaresh.V; Edited by Kirsten Donovan, Arun Koyyur and Shounak Dasgupta)
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