Coronavirus: Latest Global Developments

Demonstrators participate in a “Defeat the Mandates” march in Washington, DC, on 23 January, 2022. (AFP Photo)

Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:

Could Omicron End Europe Pandemic? 

The Omicron variant may bring the pandemic to an end in Europe, says the World Health Organization's (WHO) regional director Hans Kluge, exclusively telling AFP that "it's plausible that the region is moving towards a kind of pandemic endgame."

It Could End Within Year: WHO 

The COVID emergency could end this year, the global head of the WHO says, even though last week the virus killed someone every 12 seconds.

"We can end COVID-19 as a global health emergency and we can do it this year," Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus insists, if everyone has access to vaccines and treatment.

X'ian Lockdown Ends 

One of China's longest lockdowns in the northern city of X'ian comes to an end after its 13 million residents were confined to their homes on 22 December, 2021.

France Vaccine Pass Starts 

France's vaccine pass requiring people to be vaccinated to enter bars, restaurants, trains and planes comes into force after a fierce fight over details of the law in parliament.

Washington March 

Several thousand people demonstrate in the United States' (US) capital against what some described as the "tyranny" of vaccine mandates, with notorious anti-vaxxer Robert F Kennedy Jr comparing the mandates to the Holocaust.

Belgium Violence 

Police fire water cannon and tear gas at stone-throwing protesters after 50,000 march through Brussels against COVID rules.

Cathay Pacific Reels 

Cathay Pacific is set to lose nearly US$200 million a month from February, the embattled Hong Kong airline says, because cargo flights to the city have been slashed by its uber-strict COVID rules.

Nearly 5.6 Million Dead 

The coronavirus has killed at least 5,593,747 people since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019, according to an AFP tally compiled from official sources on Monday.

The US has recorded the most COVID deaths with 866,540, followed by Brazil with 623,097, India on 489,848 and Russia 326,112.

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.