Africa’s Covid-19 caseload now exceeds 10 million cases, while Mexico and Peru reported record numbers over the last 24 hours. Meanwhile, protests continue in Belgium.
Here’s what you need to know.
Covid-19: Global developments
14 million people tested in China’s Tianjin
The northern Chinese port city of Tianjin advises its nearly 14 million residents to stay at home while authorities conduct mass Covid-19 testing.
This after a spate of recent cases, including two caused by the Omicron variant.
Record Covid-19 case numbers in Mexico and Peru
Mexico reports more than 30,000 new coronavirus cases, setting a new 24-hour record and prompting some states to close schools, as experts warn the total case numbers are far higher than official statistics given the low testing rates.
Peru, which has the world’s highest Covid-19 death rate, also registers all-time high case numbers, with more than 16,000 new infections recorded in 24 hours.
More than 10 million cases in Africa
Africa registered more than 10 million coronavirus cases, as per figures from the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
Data released by the CDC show that as of Saturday there have been 10,028,508 cases reported by the African Union’s 55 member states since the outbreak of the pandemic.
Infections have soared since the highly contagious Omicron variant was discovered in South Africa in late November, prompting a number of countries on the continent to impose new restrictions.
However, vaccine uptake in Africa, home to nearly 1.2 billion people, has been low, due to poor access to jabs and some vaccine hesitancy.
Covid-19 protests in Belgium
Some 5,000 protesters march in Brussels to oppose anti-Covid-19 regulations, brandishing banners denouncing what they call a “vaccine dictatorship”.
During a television interview, Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke called for a parliamentary debate on tighter rules as new infection rates soar.
He said a year ago, he was of the belief that “compulsory vaccination is not a good idea”.
Now, however, knowing that Belgium has to “vaccinate 100% of the population, we still need some sort of generalised take-up.”
France to strengthen testing capacity
France announced plans to bolster its testing capacity as long queues form outside testing centres amid a fresh wave of the virus fuelled by the Omicron variant.
Private clinics and laboratories are now offering Covid-19 tests despite public hospitals still being far from offering widespread screening to citizens.
More than 5.4 million Covid-19 deaths
The coronavirus has killed at least 5,484,468 people since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019, according to an AFP tally compiled from official sources at 1930 GMT on Sunday.
The United States has recorded the most Covid-19 deaths with 837,384, followed by Brazil with 619,937, India with 483,790, Russia with 316,163 and Mexico with 300,303.
Taking into account excess mortality linked to Covid-19, the World Health Organization estimates the overall death toll could be two to three times higher.
© Agence France-Presse. Additional reporting by Cheryl Kahla.