Factbox: Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in France
People wearing face masks walk in Nantes amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in France, December 9, 2021. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

Dec 31 (Reuters) - Twenty twenty-one crept off with farewell celebrations around the world mostly muffled by the pandemic. But good news from South Africa - where authorities lifted a curfew and said Omicron had crested - brought hope for a happy New Year. read more


* Eikon users, see COVID-19: MacroVitals https://apac1.apps.cp.thomsonreuters.com/cms/?navid=1592404098 for a case tracker and summary of news


* More than 2 million people in Britain tested positive for COVID-19 in the week before Christmas, Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates published on Friday showed, with the highest ratio of around one in 25 people seen in England. read more

* Italy reported a record 144,243 COVID-19 related cases on Friday, following 126,888 the day before, the health ministry said, while the number of deaths fell slightly to 155 from 156. read more

* The risk of hospitalisation with the Omicron variant of coronavirus is about one-third that of the Delta variant, according to British analysis of more than a million cases of both types in recent weeks. read more


* Alberta and British Columbia are halving the required self-isolation period for vaccinated people with COVID-19 to five days, as the Canadian provinces adapt to workforce shortages and other challenges brought about by the Omicron coronavirus variant. read more

* Thousands of flights within the United States and internationally were delayed or canceled on Friday, adding to the travel disruptions during the holiday week due to adverse weather and rising cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant. read more


* The Philippines will impose tighter curbs in the capital region for the next two weeks, the acting presidential spokesperson said on Friday, to try to limit infections by the Omicron coronavirus variant that is spreading globally. . read more

* Hong Kong's health officials said on Friday the Omicron variant of the coronavirus has made its way past some of the world's toughest COVID 19 restrictions, with the city reporting its first cases outside its strict quarantine system. read more


* Israel is extending its offer of a fourth COVID-19 vaccine dose to elderly people in care facilities, Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz said on Friday, citing their high exposure and vulnerability to infections. read more


* Sinovac's two-dose COVID-19 vaccine followed by a booster Pfizer-BioNTech shot showed a lower immune response against the Omicron variant compared with other strains, according to a study by researchers. read more

* Novavax Inc (NVAX.O) will submit a request to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to authorize its COVID-19 vaccine next month, further delaying the submission it had expected by the end of this year. read more


* Gold discounts in India widened to the highest level in five months this week as consumers in major Asian countries held back purchases into the year-end holidays as new virus-related restrictions were imposed. read more

Compiled by Devika Syamnath and Shinjini Ganguli; Edited by Shounak Dasgupta and Maju Samuel

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