Daily COVID-19 infections have reached record levels in the United States, across swathes of Europe and Australia as the new Omicron variant of the virus spirals out of control, keeping workers at home and overwhelming health centers. test.
Almost two years after China first reported a cluster of ‘viral pneumonia’ cases in the city of Wuhan, the steadily mutating coronavirus is wreaking havoc in many parts of the world, forcing governments to rethink quarantine and testing rules.
Although some studies have suggested that the Omicron variant is less lethal than some of its predecessors, the large number of people who test positive means hospitals in some countries may soon be overwhelmed, while businesses may struggle to keep operating. due to the quarantine of workers.
“Delta and Omicron are now twin threats that are pushing the number of cases to a record high, leading to spikes in hospitalizations and deaths,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Tedros said on Wednesday. a press conference.
“I am very concerned that Omicron, being highly transmissible and spreading at the same time as Delta, is leading to a tsunami of cases.”
France, Britain, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece and Malta all had record numbers of new cases on Tuesday.
Several Canadian provinces – including Quebec, Manitoba and two Atlantic provinces – recorded single-day highs of COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, with new highs in several provinces and territories on Wednesday.
Health officials in Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec and Ontario all reported single-day highs on Wednesday. Nunavut recorded 37 new cases, a single-day record for the territory, which has only one hospital.
The average daily number of COVID-19 cases in the United States has also reached an all-time high in the past seven days, according to a Reuters tally. The previous peak was in January of this year.
New daily infections in Australia hit nearly 18,300 on Wednesday, eclipsing the previous pandemic record of around 11,300 reached a day earlier.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said his country needs a “shift in gears” to deal with overcrowded labs, with long queues for people walking and driving reported in a number of areas.
Testing bottlenecks have also created in European countries, including Spain, where demand for free COVID-19 test kits provided by the Madrid regional government far exceeded supply on Tuesday, with long queues forming in front of pharmacies.
A number of governments were also increasingly concerned about the large number of people being forced into self-isolation because they had been in contact with someone with coronavirus.
“We just can’t take everyone off the road because they happen to be in a particular place at a particular time,” Australian Morrison told reporters.
Italy was due to relax some of its quarantine rules on Wednesday over fears the country would shut down soon given the number of people needing to self-isolate protectively, with cases doubling Tuesday from a day earlier to 78,313.
However, China has shown no slack in its zero tolerance policy for outbreaks, now 13 million people in Xi’an city under strict containment for a seventh day as new COVID-19 infections persist, with 151 cases reported Tuesday.
–From Reuters and CBC News, latest update 11:25 a.m.ET
What’s happening across Canada
For more details on the situation in your province and territory – including recent hospitalizations and intensive care capacity, as well as local testing issues – click on the local coverage below.
In the north, Nunavut On Wednesday, 37 new cases were reported, a new single-day record for the territory. The prime minister said the territory, which currently lives under strict restrictions, has active cases in eight communities. Health officials in yukonese and the Northwest Territories had not yet provided updated information for the day.
Nunavut Premier PJ Akeeagok said on Wednesday the territory was approaching a “breaking point” in terms of health care capacity. He said he was working with staff to request additional workers and supplies from the federal government, noting that the territory also urgently needs more housing to allow people to safely isolate themselves in their homes.
In central Canada, Quebec As of Wednesday, 13,149 new cases of COVID-19 were reported, a new high in a single day. The province has also reported 10 more deaths.
The update came a day after Health Minister Christian Dubé announced measures that would allow some healthcare workers to stay at work despite testing positive for the virus. The province had no choice but to change its isolation protocols, he said, due to the meteoric spread of the Omicron variant, which has created staff shortages.
“We have no choice,” Dubé said in a briefing, calling the government’s plan a “better alternative” to not having care.
Ontario Wednesday saw a single-day high of 10,436 new COVID-19 cases, along with three more deaths.
In Atlantic Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador Health officials reported 312 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, although they noted that there were still no COVID-19 patients in the hospital.
Provincial officials have said that when students return on Jan. 4, it will be virtual learning, with the situation to be reassessed every week.
“Now is the time to take precautions, not to panic,” Prime Minister Andrew Furey said in a briefing Wednesday.
Health officials in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island had not yet provided updated information for the day.
In the Prairie provinces, Manitoba on Tuesday recorded a daily record of 825 COVID-19 cases, with health officials reporting five more deaths. Saskatchewan, who had not released COVID-19 figures over the Christmas holidays, reported a total of 896 new COVID-19 cases and two deaths over a five-day period.
Alberta, meanwhile, reported a total of 8,250 cases during the same period, bringing the number of active cases in the province to more than 15,000.
“It is spreading so quickly and so far that managing individual cases will not substantially stop the spread,” said Dr Deena Hinshaw, the province’s chief medical officer of health.
In British Columbia, health officials on Tuesday reported 1,785 new cases of COVID-19, with details of deaths and hospitalizations expected on Wednesday.
-From CBC News and The Canadian Press, last updated at 12:30 p.m. ET
What is happening in the world
As of Wednesday morning, around 282.8 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 tracker. The death toll worldwide stood at more than 5.4 million.
In Europe, France’s health ministry will report 208,000 new COVID-19 infections on Wednesday in the past 24 hours – a national and European record, Health Minister Olivier Veran told lawmakers. He said every second two French people test positive for COVID-19. France on Tuesday reported a new record of nearly 180,000 new confirmed cases in a 24-hour period.
In the Americas, New York City will stop quarantining entire classrooms exposed to the coronavirus and instead prioritize an accelerated testing program so that asymptomatic students who test negative can stay in school, officials said.
In Africa, South Africa on Tuesday reported 7,216 new cases of COVID-19 and 25 more deaths.
Minister of Education now, classes for next week will start on January 4 but online.
“Our priority remains to bring the students back in person … as soon as it is safe”
There will be an update every Thursday (starting January 6) # covid19nfld
In the Middle East, Saudi Arabia reported 602 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, with one additional death.
Daily infections in the United Arab Emirates, the tourism and commercial hub of the Gulf region, topped 2,000 for the first time since June.
In the Asia Pacific region, Thai authorities have warned residents they should prepare for a potential increase in coronavirus cases after classifying the country’s first cluster of the Omicron variant as a “super-spreader” incident.
-From Reuters, The Associated Press and CBC News, last updated 8:25 a.m. ET
To date, the cumulative number of cases of # COVID19 identified in AS is 3,424,534 with 7,216 new cases reported. Today, 25 deaths have been reported bringing the total to 90,854 deaths. The cumulative number of recoveries now stands at 3,134,314 with a recovery rate of 91.5% pic.twitter.com/bFvS9hVfT3