Coronavirus: Latest Global Developments

This photo shows a medical worker preparing a dose of the Sinovac COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine in Rongcheng, in China's eastern Shandong province. (AFP Photo)

Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:

Half Of Europe To Catch Omicron

More than half of Europeans are likely to catch the Omicron COVID variant in the next two months if infections continue at the current rate, the World Health Organization (WHO) says.

Repeated Boosters Not 'Viable'

WHO experts warn that repeating booster doses of the original COVID vaccines is not a viable strategy against emerging variants and call for new jabs that better protect against transmission.

Economic Growth Dampened

Omicron variant related economic disruptions could substantially reduce world economic growth to as low as 3.4 percent this year from an estimated 5.5 percent in 2021, the World Bank says.

End Economic Stimulus

US central bank chief Jerome Powell says that raising interest rates and removing the extraordinary stimulus the Federal Reserve provided to the US economy during the pandemic will not harm the labour market.

Djokovic's Open In Balance

Tennis world number one Novak Djokovic trains at the Australian Open venue for his attempt to win a record 21st Grand Slam but the government again ponders cancelling his visa on COVID health grounds.

China Confines Third City

Five million residents of the central Chinese city of Anyang are confined to their homes - the third city to be completely locked down - as the country pursues a strict zero-COVID policy.

Swedish Officials To Miss Olympics

Sweden will not send any government representatives to the Beijing Winter Olympics due to the COVID-19 pandemic, its sports minister says, stressing: "This is not a diplomatic boycott."

'End Of The Tunnel'? 

The spread of the Omicron variant is pushing COVID towards being an endemic disease that humanity can live with, although it remains a pandemic for now, The European Medicines Agency (EMA) says.

New Johnson Party Scandal

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is hit again by revelations of another lockdown drinks party at Downing Street after an email emerged inviting 100 staff to 'bring your own booze'.

German Police Under Fire

German police draw criticism for using an app to trace contacts from bars and restaurants in the fight against the pandemic as part of an investigation. 

Vaccine Divide

Unequal access to COVID-19 vaccines is widening the gap between rich countries and the developing world, threatening the cooperation needed to tackle common challenges such as climate change, the World Economic Forum warns.

Nearly 5.5 Million Dead

The coronavirus has killed at least 5,494,101 people since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019, according to an AFP tally compiled from official sources on Tuesday.

The United States has recorded the most COVID deaths with 839,500, followed by Brazil with 620,091, India on 484,213 and Russia 317,687.

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