Coronavirus: Latest from around world - Friday, October 22

India celebrated the milestone of administering a billion COVID-19 vaccine doses on Thursday, with the government promoting the achievement in song and video even as a recent drop in inoculations worries healthcare providers.

India has so far reported 34.1 million COVID-19 cases and more than 452,000 deaths, most during a second wave of infections of the Delta variant between April and May.

As of Thursday morning, there have been 243 million cases of COVID-19 confirmed globally with 4.9 million deaths.

Here's the latest from around the world:



Parts of northern China are bracing for more COVID-19 curbs as a wave of cases raises concerns of a broader outbreak, with three areas enforcing lockdowns and some schools halting classes.

Alxa Left Banner, a small administrative division in the Chinese region of Inner Mongolia, said late on Wednesday it had imposed a lockdown and would test its population of 180,000, after the city of Erenhot and a division called Ejina Banner barred people from leaving amid local outbreaks. 


Thailand will allow visitors from 46 countries vaccinated against COVID-19 to forgo quarantine from next month, up from 10 previously announced, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said on Thursday.

The Southeast Asian country is poised to introduce the new quarantine-free travel arrangements on November 1 as it seeks to revive its vital tourism industry.

Last week, Prayuth said that at least 10 countries, including Britain, Singapore, Germany, China and the United States, would be exempt from quarantine.



Canada will not extend existing broad-based COVID-19 support programs for companies and individuals when they expire on Saturday because the economy is recovering well, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said on Thursday.

Instead, Ottawa will introduce more targeted and less expensive measures to help particularly hard-hit sectors such as the tourism industry.

These new programs will cost a total of C$7.9 billion (US$6.4 billion) between October 24 and May 7, 2022, compared with the C$289 billion Canada has already spent, Freeland said.

"Our economy is rebounding, and we are winning the fight against COVID," she told reporters.

United States

A panel of advisers to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday are considering several recommendations for rollout of COVID-19 vaccine boosters from Moderna Inc and Johnson & Johnson, expected to pave the way for additional shots for millions of Americans.

The US Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday authorised the booster doses, and said Americans can choose a different shot from their original inoculation.

The CDC is expected to sign off in the coming days on the recommendations of the panel for a rollout that health officials said could be confusing.



Moscow will reintroduce COVID-19 lockdown measures from October 28, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said on Thursday, with supermarkets and pharmacies the only shops allowed to stay open in an effort to cut soaring infection numbers and deaths.

The decision follows a statement from President Vladimir Putin who approved a nationwide week-long workplace shutdown from October 30 to November 7 and said regional leaders could introduce other measures at their discretion.

Russia on Thursday reported 1036 coronavirus-related deaths in the last 24 hours as well as 36,339 new infections, both record daily highs since the pandemic began. 


Ukraine on Thursday registered a record daily high of new coronavirus infections and related deaths.

Health ministry data showed 22,415 new cases over the past 24 hours, exceeding the previous high of 20,341 on April 3. There were also 546 new deaths, surpassing the October 19 record of 538. 

United Kingdom

The UK drug regulator added an extremely rare nerve-damaging disorder, Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), as a very rare side-effect of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, updates on the agency's website showed on Thursday.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency's (MHRA) decision came after the European medicines agency added GBS as a possible side-effect last month. 


Sub-Saharan Africa

A lack of access to vaccines is dampening economic recovery in sub-Saharan Africa and the region will lag behind developed nations for years, the International Monetary Fund said on Thursday.

Confirming its sub-Saharan Africa growth forecast of 3.7 percent for this year and 3.8 percent for 2022 in its regional economic outlook, the fund said rising commodity prices and favourable harvests had benefited some countries, though the overall picture was perilous.

"The outlook remains extremely uncertain, and risks are tilted to the downside," the IMF team led by Shushanik Hakobyan wrote in its report, adding much hinged on the trajectory of the pandemic and vaccinations, but disruptions in global activity and financial markets could also derail recovery.

Middle East


The Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is highly effective at preventing infection and symptomatic disease from the Delta variant among 12- to 18-year-olds, research conducted in Israel shows.

The findings, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, will likely provide further reassurance the shot is effective against the variant among younger people as the US drug watchdog considers authorising use of the vaccine on children as young as five.