Coronavirus: Latest Global Developments

People queue for COVID-19 tests in the Tuen Mun district of Hong Kong on 12 January, 2022, after the Omicron coronavirus variant was detected in the community. (AFP Photo)

Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:

Hong Kong Lockdown 

Nearly 3,000 residents at a Hong Kong housing estate are confined to their homes as authorities struggle to halt an outbreak of the Omicron variant.

Russia's Record Cases 

Russia reports a record number of new infections in one of the world's worst-hit countries by caseload.

Adele Pulls Plug On Show 

British singer Adele says she is "gutted" as she postpones her Las Vegas residency a day before it was due to begin with half her crew ill with COVID.

Mid-Air Mask Melee 

An American Airlines flight from Miami to London turns back mid-flight after a passenger refused to wear a mask.

US Demands Vaccination To Enter 

Foreigners entering a United States (US) land border must be vaccinated from Saturday, bringing requirements in line with air passengers.

India's Self-Test Fears 

Booming sales of self-test virus kits prompts India to tighten the rules fuelling long-held fears of underreporting as cases surge.

Antarctic Base Outbreak 

Nine unvaccinated staff are evacuated from the Argentine research base in Antarctica after testing positive. More than half of the staff at the remote base are infected.

Don't Save Hamsters 

Hong Kong warns animal lovers not to obstruct its ongoing cull of small animals after hamsters in a pet shop tested positive for the virus.

Rugby Clash Off 

Newcastle's European Challenge Cup game against Toulon is cancelled after a virus outbreak at the English Premiership club.

Omicron Dominant In EU

Omicron is now the dominant COVID-19 variant circulating in the European Union (EU), the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control says.

Vaccines Work 

COVID-19 vaccines and boosters continue to have very high efficacy against severe outcomes during the Omicron wave of the virus, a large real-world study from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows.

Lech Walesa Has COVID

Polish freedom icon Lech Walesa says he has contracted COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated and having received a booster shot, as Poland grapples with a record spike in infections.

Zero-COVID Aid For Tonga 

The United Nations (UN) says it will avoid contact with locals as it delivers food, fuel and clean water to Tonga after the volcano and tsunami disaster, to avoid bringing coronavirus to the remote Pacific Island nation.

In-Person Davos 

The Davos summit will be held in person for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, from 22-26 May, the World Economic Forum (WEF) announces.

Aid For South Africa 

The World Bank approves a US$750-million loan to support South Africa's COVID response and to bolster the economic recovery from the pandemic.

More Than 5.5 Million Dead 

The coronavirus has killed at least 5,572,224 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 860,248, followed by Brazil with 622,205, India on 488,396 and Russia 324,752.

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.