Coronavirus: Latest on COVID-19 from around the world - Monday, January 24

Here's the latest on the pandemic from around the world.



France registered 389,320 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, after seeing four consecutive days with more than 400,000 new cases, but the number of COVID-19 patients went down for the fifth day in a row.

The health ministry reported there were 3,746 COVID patients in intensive care units, 46 fewer than on Friday. It also reported 167 new coronavirus deaths in hospital, taking the cumulative tally to 128,514. 


Italy reported 138,860 COVID-19 cases on Sunday, against 171,263 the day before, while the number of deaths fell to 227 from 333.

Italy has registered 143,523 deaths linked to COVID-19 since its outbreak emerged in February 2020, the second highest toll in Europe after Britain and the ninth highest in the world.

The country has reported 9.9 million cases to date.

Patients in hospital with COVID-19 - not including those in intensive care - stood at 19,627 on Sunday, up from 19,442 a day earlier. There were 132 new admissions to intensive care units, up from 121. The total number of intensive care patients rose to 1,685 from a previous 1,676.

Some 933,384 million tests were carried out in the past day, compared with a previous 1.04 million, the health ministry said. 


Britain reported 76,807 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, continuing a recent downturn in the number of infections, and 297 more deaths within 28 days of a positive test, official data showed.

The figures compared to 95,787 cases and 288 deaths reported on Friday. 


Police in Brussels fired water cannon and tear gas to disperse protesters near the European Commission's headquarters on Sunday, after a protest involving some 50,000 people opposing COVID-19 restrictions turned violent.

Although Belgium announced a slight easing of coronavirus restrictions on Friday, despite record infections, the government also said people must have booster shots after five months to maintain the COVID-19 passes which allow them to access bars or cinemas.

The passes, which are mandatory for anyone wishing to enter a restaurant, museum or many other public space, have sparked fierce opposition among some Belgians.

In scenes reminiscent of similar clashes last November, when around 35,000 protesters took part in demonstrations that started peacefully but later turned violent, some streets in the Belgian capital were soon filled with acrid tear gas.

The building housing the European diplomatic service and a sandwich shop were broken into, a Reuters witness said.

Some protesters let off fireworks as police advanced in force into a nearby park where large groups of demonstrators had gathered, the water cannon surrounded by officers wearing body armour, helmets and carrying riot shields.

One demonstrator, standing on a stage, told the others to put up their hands, saying the protesters would not give up.

"I'm angry about the blackmail that the government is doing, mostly for the young people but for everybody, but mostly for the young people, they are really blackmailing that everybody has to go for the vaccine", Caroline van Landuyt, who said she had been vaccinated against COVID-19 herself, said.

Belgium is in the midst of a fifth wave of COVID-19 infections, with the peak not expected for at least a couple of weeks.


Russia reported on Sunday a new record number of COVID-19 infections confirmed in the past 24 hours as the Omicron variant of the virus spreads across the country, the government coronavirus task force said.

Daily new cases jumped to 63,205 from the previous record of 57,212 a day earlier. The task force also reported 679 deaths. 



The local government in China's capital ordered more COVID-19 tests on Sunday as the city continued to report new local cases, less than two weeks before the start of the Winter Olympic Games.

Nine locally transmitted cases with confirmed symptoms were found in Beijing on Jan. 22, down from 10 a day earlier, the National Health Commission said on Sunday, adding that six out of the nine were in the city's Fengtai District.

Fengtai would organise nucleic acid tests for COVID-19 for all of its residents on Sunday, district health authorities said in a statement.

Beijing city also asked residents to proactively conduct nucleic acid tests if they find themselves with COVID-19 related symptoms within 14 days after receiving overseas deliveries, local authorities said in a statement dated Saturday.

South Korea

South Korea posted its second-highest daily number of coronavirus cases on Sunday, despite extended COVID-19 curbs and a high vaccination rate, raising concerns of further spread during the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday.

The country recorded 7,630 new cases on Saturday, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said, above the 7,009 cases reported a day earlier and near the mid-December record of 7,848 logged.

South Korea in mid-January extended tougher social distancing rules for three weeks, including a 9 p.m. curfew for restaurants, cafes and bars, and limits on private gatherings, ahead of the holiday that starts on Saturday.

Tens of millions of Koreans across the country typically travel during Lunar New Year for family gatherings during one of the country's main holidays.

South Korea has recorded 733,902 COVID-19 infections and 6,540 deaths, KDCA data showed, although nearly 95 percent of adults have been fully vaccinated and more than half having received a booster shot.


India reported over 300,000 new COVID-19 infections for the fourth straight day even though the caseload over the last 24 hours was slightly lower than a day before, data released by the government on Sunday showed.

India reported 333,533 new COVID-19 infections over the past 24 hours with 525 dead, according to the figures released by the government.

India's total death toll due to COVID-19 now stands at 489,409, the health ministry said. On Saturday, India had reported 337,704 new cases of COVID-19 and 488 dead.

The government in the statement said the recovery rate for infected people currently stands at 93.18 percent.

Since the start of this year, different parts of the country are under varying degrees of restrictions to contain infections caused by highly transmissible Omicron variant.

India's capital Delhi has imposed a weekend curfew and even though it was widely expected that Delhi will ease some restrictions, the local government decided on Friday to continue with the curfew.

The federal government said it tested 1.87 million people in the last 24 hours and it planned to continue to expand its testing through the country.


Australia reported 58 deaths from COVID-19 on Sunday, as the two most populous states, New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria, said students would be tested twice weekly for the Omicron variant when classes resume next week.

NSW reported 34 deaths of patients with COVID-19, while Victoria state saw 14 deaths, and Queensland reported 10 deaths.

Health officials said they believe an Omicron outbreak has peaked in NSW and Victoria, which reported 20,324 and 13,091 new cases respectively on Sunday.

Australian schools return after a summer holiday break in a week.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said parents will be asked to use rapid antigen tests twice a week to check their children for COVID-19, and report any positive result to the school and government.

Millions of the test kits are being distributed to 3,000 schools this week, and students need to be tested before attending the first day of classes, he told reporters in Sydney.

Teachers and high school students will be required to wear masks.

Victoria state has also recommended twice weekly testing of students under its return to school plan.

School staff in NSW and Victoria must be vaccinated for COVID-19, and teachers in Victoria have a deadline of the end of February to receive a booster shot, Victorian health officials said. 



Mexico's health ministry on Saturday reported 364 more deaths from COVID-19, bringing the country's total number of deaths since the start of the pandemic to 303,085.

The fatalities marked the highest daily death toll since late November.


Brazil recorded 157,393 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, with 238 deaths, the Health Ministry said on Saturday, as the Omicron variant sweeps the country.

Brazil has now recorded a total of nearly 24 million cases since the pandemic began, with 622,801 total deaths, Health Ministry data show.