KEY COVID NOS. WORLDWIDE
Pos / Country / New Daily cases / Total Deaths / Daily Deaths / Active Cases / Deaths/1M Pop.
World 26,53,172 / 55,20,521 / 7,691 / 4,66,58,730 / 708.2
1 USA 5,72,687 / 8,63,704 / 2,048 / 1,97,72,088 / 2,586
2 France 3,68,149 / 1,26,059 / 341 / 37,74,894 / 1,925
3 UK 1,20,821 / 1,50,609 / 379 / 36,36,111 / 2,201
4 Spain 1,34,942 / 90,383 / 247 / 23,01,805 / 1,932
5 Italy 2,20,532 / 1,39,559 / 294 / 21,34,366 / 2,313
6 India 1,94,720 / 4,84,655 / 165 / 9,55,319 / 346
7 Argentina 1,34,439 / 1,17,595 / 52 / 7,61,294 / 2,566
8 Australia 90,847 / 2,416 / 27 / 7,60,143 / 93
9 Germany 61,205 / 1,15,274 / 387 / 7,23,879 / 1,369
10 Turkey 74,266 / 83,980 / 137 / 6,39,885 / 980
11 Russia 17,525 / 3,17,687 / 783 / 6,34,499 / 2,175
12 Netherlands 29,039 / 21,106 / 18 / 5,19,632 / 1,228
13 Mexico 11,052 / 3,00,412 / 78 / 4,82,305 / 2,293
14 Switzerland 16,208 / 12,492 / 4 / 4,36,106 / 1,427
15 Canada 21,346 / 30,947 / 84 / 3,98,088 / 809
16 Greece 32,694 / 21,559 / 80 / 3,97,842 / 2,084
17 Ireland 19,290 / 5,952 / / 3,97,680 / 1,185
18 Poland 11,406 / 1,00,254 / 493 / 3,94,335 / 2,653
19 Brazil 71,447 / 6,20,281 / 139 / 3,83,025 / 2,887
20 Norway 9,622 / 1,350 / / 3,70,228 / 246
29 Philippines 28,007 / 52,511 / 219 / 1,81,016 / 470
89 Pakistan 1,467 / 28,974 / 2 / 18,947 / 127
90 Bangladesh 2,458 / 28,107 / 2 / 18,895 / 168
107 Sri Lanka 944 / 15,149 / 15 / 10,563 / 703
WHO BODY SAYS COVID VACCINES ‘MAY NEED TO BE UPDATED’ FOR OMICRON
A technical advisory group established by the World Health Organization said on Tuesday that current Covid-19 vaccines may need to be updated to ensure they are effective against new variants like Omicron.
The statement comes after several real-world studies found the variant, highly resistant to antibodies from a past infection as well as those elicited by vaccination, reduced the efficacy of most used doses to under 40%.
“The composition of current Covid-19 vaccines may need to be updated, to ensure that Covid-19 vaccines continue to provide WHO-recommended levels of protection against infection and disease by VOCs, including Omicron and future variants,” the body of independent experts said in a statement.
The WHO set 50% efficacy as the minimum bar for coronavirus vaccines, which each of them met when tested against the variant that first spread in 2020, but has since been reduced by the Sars-CoV-2’s evolution.
The WHO panel, called TAG-CO-VAC, asked vaccine makers to generate and provide data on the performance of Omicron-specific vaccines for now.
Several companies, including Moderna and Pfizer, are testing Omicron-specific vaccines, while some others have begun testing pan-coronavirus vaccines in clinical trials. Pan-coronavirus vaccines are difficult to design.
US WORRIED ABOUT BEIJING'S ATTEMPT TO INTIMIDATE ITS NEIGHBOURS: WHITE HOUSE
US President Joe Biden's administration is closely monitoring the India-China border dispute, informed White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Monday (local time), adding that the US is "concerned" by China's attempt to intimidate its neighbours. “We continue to closely monitor the situation. We continue to support dialogue and peaceful resolution of these border disputes. We have been pretty clear how we view Beijing's behavior in region around the world: White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on India-China border dispute,” she added.
US-RUSSIA STALEMATE PERSISTS OVER UKRAINE
Russia and the US held their first of the three meetings in Geneva with both sides stating their maximalist positions. The Russian interlocutor and Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Rybakov said it was "absolutely mandatory to make sure that Ukraine never, never, ever" became a member of NATO.
The Russia-US talks are being held in three formats. The first was the Geneva meeting which will be followed by a NATO-Russia Council (NRC) meeting on Wednesday and Russia-OSCE consultations on Thursday.
US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, who is leading the US diplomatic engagement with Russia, arrived in Brussels from Geneva to meet and consult with NATO allies before the NATO-Russia meeting. Rybakov said Russia would decide the next steps only after NRC and OSCE meetings and Ukraine will be is at the top of the agenda.
US State Department said after the first round of meeting between Sherman and Rybakov that the US came up with several ideas of reciprocal actions that both sides can take to improve strategic stability.
U.S. ANNOUNCES $308 MN IN AID FOR AFGHANISTAN
The White House has announced $308 million in additional humanitarian assistance for Afghanistan, offering new aid to the country as it edges toward a humanitarian crisis since the Taliban takeover nearly five months ago.
White House spokesperson Emily Horne said in a statement on Tuesday that the new aid from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will flow through independent humanitarian organisations and will be used to provide shelter, healthcare, winterisation assistance, emergency food aid, water, sanitation and hygiene services.
The USAID called on the Taliban to allow “all aid workers, especially women ... to operate independently and securely” as humanitarian groups look to assist those suffering.
UN’s biggest appeal
Meanwhile, the United Nations said on Tuesday it needed $5 billion in aid for Afghanistan in 2022 to avert a humanitarian catastrophe and offer the ravaged country a future after 40 years of suffering.
In its biggest-ever single-country appeal, the UN said $4.4 billion (3.9 billion euros) was needed within Afghanistan, while a further $623 million was required to support the millions of Afghans sheltering beyond its borders.
PAK’S ECONOMIC CONDITION BETTER THAN THAT OF MANY OTHERS IN THE REGION: IMRAN
Faced with the challenge of getting a controversial legislation passed to meet the IMF’s requirements ahead of a bailout package of $1 billion, Pakistan PM Imran Khan said on Tuesday that the country’s economic condition, under his government, was still better than many countries of the region, particularly India. “Pakistan is still one of the cheapest countries compared to (many countries of) the world… they (opposition) call us incompetent, but the fact is that our government has saved the nation from all crises,” Khan said while addressing the inaugural ceremony of the International Chambers Summit 2022 arranged by the Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Islamabad. He said that oil prices in the country are still lower than other countries.
His claims coincided with a fiery debate over a finance bill that the government has introduced in the parliament. The bill is one of the requirements Pakistan has to meet under the programme agreed with the IMF in July 2019. If passed, the legislation will pave the way for the disbursement of a $1-billion tranche. The controversial finance bill included complete autonomy of the State Bank of Pakistan.
As the matter was taken up for debate in the National Assembly, leader of the opposition and PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif questioned how it was possible for the country to be an atomic power on one hand and be holding a begging bowl on the other. Sharif said that the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf had drowned the country’s economy. He called on the government to withdraw the controversial finance bill.