Coronavirus: Latest Global Developments

A police personnel takes a selfie with other police officers at a roadblock on the East Coast Expressway on the final day of a partial lockdown at Bentong in the Malaysian state of Pahang on 10 October, 2021. (AFP Photo)

Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:

106 Days Later  

Elated Sydney residents emerge from almost four months of COVID lockdown in Australia's largest city, designed to limit the march of the highly transmissible Delta variant. With new infections now falling – New South Wales state recorded 477 cases on Sunday – and more than 70 percent of over-16s double vaccinated, Sydney was dusting off the cobwebs.

There will still be limits on mass gatherings and schools will not fully reopen for a few weeks yet. But otherwise, with infection rates falling, daily life will look more like normal.

Malaysia Relaxes 

Malaysia eases domestic and international travel curbs for the fully vaccinated, as a fierce outbreak slows and inoculation rates rise. Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob says 90 percent of adults have been vaccinated, enabling businesses to reopen and workers to slowly return to offices. 

According to the ministry of health, the vaccination rate for the adult population... has reached 90 per cent," he said to explain the move that takes effect on Monday.

But Ismail Sabri warned people to continue abiding by rules such as mask-wearing to keep the virus in check.

Bronchitis Fears 

Countries in the northern hemisphere should prepare for an epidemic of bronchitis "on a major scale", warns the Scientific Council, which advises the French government.

Anti-COVID measures also blocked other viruses, meaning populations are now less immune, particularly youngsters and babies.

Bomb Scientist  

Abdul Qadeer Khan, the scientist behind Pakistan's nuclear weapons programme, dies after being hospitalised with COVID-19. Khan had long been hailed a national hero for transforming Pakistan into the world's first Islamic nuclear weapons power and strengthening its clout against rival and fellow nuclear-armed nation India. 

But he was declared by the West a dangerous renegade for sharing technology with rogue nuclear states.

Over 4.8 Million Dead  

The coronavirus has killed at least 4,843,739 people since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019, according to an AFP compilation of official data on Sunday. 

The United States (US) has suffered the most Covid-related deaths at 712,974, followed by Brazil with 600.829, India (450,589), Mexico (281,958) and Russia (216,415).

Taking into account excess mortality directly and indirectly linked to COVID-19, the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates the overall death toll could be two to three times higher. – AFP