Covid-19: Here are the latest global developments as world grapples wi…

Medical staff wearing personal protective equipment.

Here are the latest developments in the Covid-19 crisis:

France to open flights from 10 southern African countries on Saturday

France said Wednesday it would allow in flights from ten southern African countries from Saturday, but with “drastic” restrictions permitting only French and EU residents to disembark, along with diplomats and flight crews.

These travellers must have a Covid test upon arrival, with a negative consequence nevertheless requiring a seven-day quarantine, while a positive test will prompt a 10-day quarantine, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said after a cabinet meeting.

EU floats compulsory jabs

It is time to “think about mandatory vaccination”, says European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen as infections soar across the bloc. German MPs are pondering making jabs compulsory by the end of the year.

Children’s shots in two weeks

BioNTech/Pfizer vaccines will be obtainable for children in the EU by 13 December, says Von der Leyen.

OECD: Omicron to slow growth

The OECD says the Omicron variant threatens global recovery as it lowers the economic growth outlook for 2021 to 5.6%. It calls for a swifter rollout of vaccines, fearing the emergence of “breeding grounds” for deadlier strains.

First Gulf case

Saudi Arabia records the Gulf’s first confirmed case of the Omicron variant in a citizen returning from North Africa.

Japan tightens travel ban

Japan asks airlines to stop taking incoming flight bookings for a month over Omicron concerns as a second traveller tests positive.

Djokovic jab ‘blackmail’

Australian Open organisers say they are not trying to “blackmail” tennis world number one Novak Djokovic by insisting all players are vaccinated. The Serbian refuses to say if he has been jabbed.

Fiji reopens

Grass-skirted traditional dancers welcome holidaymakers back to Fiji as the South Pacific nation opens its borders to travellers for the first time since the pandemic began.

Chinese city halts imports

The northern Chinese city of Manzhouli bordering Russia halts rail imports including coal and timber over fears of a fresh cluster of infections.

Rugby stars stranded

Fourteen of the touring Munster rugby squad are forced to quarantine in Cape Town, as the rest return to Ireland where they confront 10 days in isolation. Two members of the Cardiff touring party who test positive are also forced to stay behind.

More than 5.2 million dead

The coronavirus has killed at the minimum 5 214 847 people since the sudden increase emerged in China in December 2019, according to a tally from official supplies compiled by AFP at 11:00 on Wednesday.

The United States has suffered the most Covid-related deaths with 780 233, followed by Brazil with 614 681, India with 469 247, Mexico with 294 246 and Russia with 276 419.

The countries with the most new deaths are the US with 1 809, followed by Russia with 1 226 and Poland with 570.

Taking into account excess mortality connected to Covid-19, the World Health Organisation estimates the overall death toll could be two to three times higher.

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