Coronavirus: Latest Global Developments

Demonstrators hold placards as they protest near the House of Commons, where Britain's Prime Minister was taking part in the weekly session of Prime Minister Questions (PMQs) in central London on 12 January, 2022. (AFP Photo)

Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:

UK PM Johnson's Problems Deepen 

The United Kingdom (UK) government apologises to Queen Elizabeth II, after revelations Prime Minister Boris Johnson's staff broke coronavirus restrictions by partying on the eve of Prince Philip's funeral, where she had to sit alone in church.

Australia To Detain Djokovic

Australia says it will detain unvaccinated Novak Djokovic this weekend after again stripping him of his visa, in a dramatic setback to the tennis world number one's goal of winning a record 21st Grand Slam.

Dutch Relax Tough COVID Curb 

The Netherlands is to ease some of the toughest COVID restrictions in Europe, allowing shops, gyms, hairdressers and sex workers to reopen, Prime Minister Mark Rutte says.

Bars, restaurants, cafes and cultural locations will however remain closed until at least 25 January, Rutte tells the first news conference since a new government was sworn in earlier this week.

Hong Kong Transit Passenger Ban 

Hong Kong bans passengers from more than 150 nations from transiting through its airport, in the latest radical measure to conform with China's zero-COVID policy.

Jabs For 5-11s 

Norway says it will open COVID vaccinations to 5-11-year-olds on a voluntary basis but stops short of issuing an official recommendation.

Vaccinations of the same age group also start in Sao Paulo, Brazil, a month after the green light by health authorities in spite of criticisms from COVID-sceptic President Jair Bolsonaro.

Cases Receding In New York 

The record Omicron variant wave is beginning to recede in New York and other major United States (US) cities official data shows, with the downward trend following similar patterns seen in Britain and in South Africa.

Polish Medical Advisers Resign 

13 of the Polish prime minister's 17 medical advisers on coronavirus resign, accusing the populist conservative government of inaction in the face of the pandemic.

Rwanda Gets Tougher 

Rwandan authorities tell public sector workers to get vaccinated against COVID or resign, further tightening the strict pandemic measures which have seen people flee the country.

Tunisians Defy Protest Ban 

Tunisian police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse hundreds of demonstrators protesting against President Kais Saied's July power grab, in defiance of a ban on gatherings over COVID.

Swedish PM Positive 

Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson tests positive for COVID-19, her office says, making her the third party leader to catch the disease following a meeting earlier this week.

Six Nations Games To Go Ahead 

Rugby Union Six Nations matches in Wales will be able to go ahead after the Welsh government announces it is easing coronavirus restrictions in the coming weeks.

New Cases At Man City 

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says that his Premier League champions have been hit by fresh coronavirus cases ahead of their match with second placed Chelsea.

More Than 5.5 Million Dead 

The coronavirus has killed at least 5,519,380 people since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019, according to an AFP tally compiled from official sources on Friday.

The US has recorded the most COVID deaths with 846,488, followed by Brazil with 620,545, India on 485,350 and Russia 319,911.

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