Daily figures for UK are lowest since mid-December; Japanese infections set record for fifth consecutive day
Here’s a round-up of this evening’s Covid-19 news.
Another 522 people have died from Covid-19 in Mexico, Reuters reports.
It means that 305,762 have died from the virus during the pandemic. The country’s health ministry also reported 42,582 new cases, meaning more than 4.9 million people have tested positive for the virus since March 2020.
Former US presidential candidate Mitt Romney is isolating after testing positive for Covid-19.
The Utah senator, who is fully vaccinated and boosted, is working remotely. His wife, Ann, has tested negative, Associated Press reports.
Romney, 74, unsuccessfully ran against Barack Obama in 2012.
France has reported 332,398 new Covid-19 cases, the fifth day in a row the figures have fallen. The number of patients in intensive care with Covid also dropped by 22.
Another 178 people have died, as the country’s overall death toll stands at more than 130,000.
Some schools in the UK that stopped mask wearing in classrooms have reintroduced it because of a rise in Covid cases.
The Metropolitan police’s investigation into parties in Downing Street during Covid-19 lockdowns could “neuter” the inquiry and report being put together by senior civil servant Sue Gray in the eyes of some.
The Observer’s Mark Townsend has more:
Unmesh Desai recalls feeling righteous frustration as he sat opposite the head of the Metropolitan police on Tuesday morning. For months Cressida Dick’s force had refused to investigate what appeared to be unambiguous breaches of Covid regulations at Downing Street. “The perception is that you’re covering for those in power,” Desai told the commissioner.
Arms folded, Dick leant towards those assembled for the Greater London authority police and crime committee meeting in Southwark and responded: “We police without fear or favour.”
Moments later, at 10.08am, Dick dropped the bombshell that sent shock waves thundering a mile west to Downing Street and nearby parliament. Desai felt the room go quiet, with others clearly sharing his “total surprise,” at the commissioner’s revelation.
Italy reported 137,147 new coronavirus cases on Saturday.
The figure represents a drop compared with Friday, where 143,898 were recorded by its health ministry.
Its death toll stands as the second worst in Europe after the UK, with 145,914 deaths during the pandemic. Another 377 new deaths were registered on Saturday, one less than a day before.
Turkey’s health minister said the worst of the pandemic was over, despite the country joining others in breaking its daily Covid case record on Saturday.
Fahrettin Koca said that despite rising case figures, the illness caused by Covid is less severe and would reduce the impact of the virus. A total of 94,783 new cases were registered in the last 24 hours.
In comments reported by Reuters, he said: “The rise we see in case numbers should not be seen as disheartening. The virus is not at its old strength. The worrying part of the pandemic is over.”
Its health ministry reported the death toll rose by 174.
Ukraine has marked the 100,000th person to die from Covid-19 in the country since the start of the pandemic.
The country confirmed 149 more deaths on Saturday, meaning that 100,031 people have died with coronavirus.
The Kyiv Post – the country’s English language news website – said that while case numbers have remained high during a wave of infections caused by the Omicron variant, death numbers have tailed off due to vaccinations.
Four times in the last week, it has broken daily Covid case records, with 37,351 reported on Saturday. However the total number of deaths, 825, is lower than that of its highest number of deaths to take place on one day, 848, set in November 2021.
Chile has broken its record for daily Covid cases, with more than 29,000 confirmed in the last 24 hours.
Its the fourth day in a row that the country has broken its highest one-day number of new cases. The government’s reporting dashboard showed that nearly 100,000 people are confirmed to have the virus, with 33 people dying in the last 24 hours.
Informe Diario #COVID_19 – 29 de enero
🔸 29.175 casos nuevos
🔸 99.474 casos activos
🔸 33 fallecidos registrados (39.653 en total)
🔸 20,18% positividad nacional
🔸 132.299 exámenes 24 hrs (29.689.847 en total)
🔸 305 camas críticas disponibles
▶️ https://t.co/cVRjLOCSh4 pic.twitter.com/TlZ7XE1xcL
Another 72,727 cases were reported in the UK on Saturday, the lowest figure for more than a month. The previous low was on 14 December, when only 59,610 positive tests were logged at the start of a spike caused by the Omicron variant.
The figures don’t include Scotland’s case numbers, as figures for new positive PCR cases are not available at the weekend.
It means 16,406,123 positive tests have been registered since the beginning of the pandemic.
Latest government data shows that a further 296 deaths were recorded of people who had a positive Covid test within 28 days of dying.
I’m Harry Taylor, and I’ll be bringing you the latest coronavirus updates from the UK and around the world for the rest of tonight.
If you have any comments, tips or suggestions – drop me an email or get in touch via Twitter where my DMs are open.
Below is a roundup of all the latest Covid news from around the world:
Trucks rolled into Canada’s capital, Ottawa, on Saturday to stage what police say will be a massive protest against the prime minister Justin Trudeau’s Covid-19 vaccine mandates in front of parliament on a frigid winter day.
The so-called “Freedom Convoy” – coming from east and west – started out as a rally against a vaccine requirement for cross-border truckers, but has turned into a demonstration against alleged government overreach during the pandemic, with a strong anti-vaccination streak.
Portuguese election organisers were taking extra safety precautions on Saturday after the government decided to allow voters who are infected with the coronavirus to leave isolation and cast ballots in person along with everyone else.
With around a tenth of Portugal’s 10 million-strong population thought to be isolating due to Covid-19, the government decided last week to lift restrictions for Sunday’s vote.
In a press conference on Saturday, the electoral commission said: “All conditions have been met for the vote to take place in absolute safety.”
Like many European countries, Portugal is experiencing record-setting infections, although widespread vaccination has kept deaths and hospitalisations lower than in earlier waves.
Authorities have asked people with Covid to vote between 6pm and 7pm, but the time recommendation is not mandatory. There will be no designated areas for infected voters.
Staff setting up a polling station at an vehicle repair shop in the Lisbon parish of Santo Antonio were placing stickers on the floor on Saturday to encourage social distancing. Voters will receive a face mask before they enter.
Scotland has recorded 18 coronavirus-linked deaths and 6,679 new cases in the past 24 hours, according to recent figures.
It means the death toll under this measurement, of people who tested positive for the virus in the previous 28 days, has risen to 10,309.
There were 1,291 people in hospital on Friday with recently confirmed Covid-19, down 11 on the day before, with 35 in intensive care, up three.
So far 4,410,290 people have received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccination, while 4,122,152 have received their second dose, and 3,286,355 have received a third dose or booster, according to figures published by the Scottish Government on Friday.
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