Coronavirus live news: Hong Kong orders partial lockdown; UK variant concerns mount

A year since Wuhan lockdown

The Chinese city of Wuhan marks one year since the start of its traumatic 76-day coronavirus lockdown. On 23 January 2020, Wuhan shocked the globe by confining its 11 million anxious citizens to their homes, starting a cycle that would spread across the world.

But China largely brought its outbreak under control and Wuhan is nothing like the ghost town of a year ago, with traffic humming, sidewalks bustling, and citizens packing public transport and parks.

Hong Kong and Oslo tighten measures

Thousands of people in one of Hong Kong’s poorest and most densely packed districts have been ordered to stay in their homes.

Norway’s government, meanwhile, has imposed the strictest restrictions seen in the region of the capital, Oslo, since March after the discovery of the British variant in a retirement home.

French lockdown ‘likely’

A French government source has told AFP that “the hypothesis of confinement is more and more likely,” citing projections of a surge in cases due to the more transmissible British strain.

Fabric masks still work, says WHO

The World Health Organization says it has no plans to change its guidance recommending fabric facemasks as new coronavirus variants spread because the mutated strains are transmitted in the same way.

The statement comes after Germany and Austria made medical masks mandatory on public transport and in shops, allowing only surgical or FFP2 masks rather than fabric.

Oxygen race in Mexico

With Mexico City’s hospitals overwhelmed, relatives are queueing for hours to buy oxygen for the growing number of people fighting the virus at home. The country has recorded 146,174 Covid-19 deaths so far.

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Brazil vaccine shortages

Brazil has just started its vaccination campaign but scientists are already warning the hard-hit country will quickly run out of doses and even syringes, some blaming the government for the shortages.

Deaths top 2.1 million

More than 2.1 million people have died of the virus since it first emerged in China in late 2019, according to a tally compiled by AFP based on official figures.

The US has suffered the highest death toll, with 414,107 fatalities, followed by Brazil with 215,243 and India with 153,184.

More than 60m vaccination doses have been administered in about 64 countries or territories, with 90% of those jabs taking place in 13 nations.

The number of deaths globally is broadly under-estimated. The toll is calculated from daily figures published by national health authorities and does not include later revisions by statistics agencies.


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