Coronavirus: Latest Global Developments

In this file photo taken on 2 March, 2021 Nurse Salome Nkoana, acting operational manager of the COVID-19 ward at the Tembisa Hospital, puts on her personal protective equipment (PPE) in Tembisa, South Africa. (AFP Photo)

Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:

Germany To Lock Down Unjabbed 

Germany will impose sweeping curbs on people not vaccinated against COVID-19, to combat the latest surge in cases, Chancellor Angela Merkel says, including bans from culture and leisure and non-essential shops.

Tougher US Travel Rules 

President Joe Biden is to announce tougher rules for virus testing for travellers to the United States (US) after the first cases of the Omicron variant are discovered there.

Omicron Could Become Dominant Strain 

The Omicron variant of COVID-19, believed to be more contagious than previous strains, could cause more than half of all COVID infections in Europe in coming months, the European Union (EU) health agency ECDC says.

'Health Apartheid' 

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa warns against the risk of "health apartheid" as he takes aim at travel bans imposed on his country after it detected the new Omicron variant of COVID.

Oil Producers Defy Variant Jitters 

Major oil producers decide to keep raising output levels in January, despite the Omicron coronavirus variant raising fresh questions over demand.

Norway Tightens Up In Oslo 

Norway introduces new anti-COVID measures in greater Oslo after a suspected cluster of Omicron cases emerges among dozens of vaccinated people at a Christmas dinner.

Canadian Deer Infected 

Canada confirms its first cases of coronavirus in wildlife – in three white-tailed deer.

More Than 5.2 Million Dead  

The coronavirus has killed at least 5,223,072 people since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP at 1100 GMT on Thursday. 

The US has suffered the most COVID-related deaths with 782,100, followed by Brazil with 614,964, India with 469,724, Mexico with 294,428 and Russia with 277,640.

The countries with the most new deaths are the US with 2,015, followed by Russia with 1,221 and Ukraine with 525.

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