Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals

What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

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Passengers wearing protective face masks are pictured at a train station, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Tokyo, Japan, January 7, 2022. REUTERS/Issei Kato

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Jan 19 (Reuters) - Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:

Cases surge in central Europe

Germany reported a record 112,323 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, after the health minister said the peak had not been reached yet and compulsory vaccination should be introduced by May.

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Germany also recorded 239 deaths in the space of 24 hours, for a cumulative total of 116,081, the Robert Koch Institute for infectious disease said. read more

The Czech government is due to decide on Wednesday whether to retain mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for workers in key professions and people over 60 as the daily tally of new coronavirus cases hit a record high. read more

Polish state employees will move to remote working and private sector companies should follow suit as the country faces another surge in daily COVID-19 cases, which could soon top 50,000, the health minister said. read more

Switzerland will extend until the end of February coronavirus quarantine and work-from-home rules and plans to keep until the end of March other curbs on public life it tightened last month while trying to avoid another lockdown, the government said on Wednesday. read more

Johnson drops COVID rules in England

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the end of COVID-19 measures introduced to curb the rapid spread of the Omicron variant in England as he looks to live with the virus after a peak in cases.

Britain was the first country to limit international travel over the Omicron variant, raising alarm bells about its mutations, and in December introduced work-at-home advice, more mask-wearing and vaccine passes to slow its spread. read more

India's new cases hit eight-month high

India reported new coronavirus infections at an eight-month high on Wednesday and a government scientist warned it will take weeks before data on hospitalisations and deaths will show how severe the latest wave driven by the Omicron variant will be.

The federal authorities have said Omicron was causing fewer hospitalisations and deaths than the Delta variant, which killed hundreds of thousands last year.

Japan widens curbs

Japan on Wednesday widened COVID-19 curbs to the capital Tokyo and a dozen regions covering half the population as the Omicron variant of coronavirus drove record new infections.

Already in effect in three regions, the measures, set to run from Friday until Feb. 13, were made official by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida after getting the sign-off from an expert panel earlier in the day. read more

China reports fewest daily local confirmed cases in two weeks

China reported the lowest daily count of local confirmed COVID-19 infections in two weeks on Wednesday after cities sealed up areas of virus risk, quarantined infections and conducted mass testing.

Mainland China reported a total of 55 domestically transmitted infections with confirmed symptoms for Tuesday, according to official data on Wednesday, lower than 127 a day earlier and marking the fewest since Jan. 4. read more

Brazil reports record daily infections

Brazil reported a record 137,103 new cases in the past 24 hours as the Omicron variant spreads in the South American country, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday.

The number of deaths has also risen, to 351 reported on Tuesday, the highest number since mid-November. read more

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Compiled by Linda Noakes; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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