Factbox-Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus

·3 min read

(Reuters) - South Africa called on the world to resist what it said were unjustified and unscientific COVID-19 travel restrictions that mostly hurt developing nations, as more countries closed their borders and reported cases of the new heavily mutated Omicron coronavirus strain.

G7 health ministers meanwhile praised South Africa for its work in detecting the new variant and alerting others, and said they would work together to monitor it.

DEATHS AND INFECTIONS

* Eikon users, see COVID-19: MacroVitals https://apac1.apps.cp.thomsonreuters.com/cms/?navid=1592404098 for a case tracker and summary of news

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

* U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was deeply concerned about the isolation of southern African countries after travel restrictions were imposed by several countries.

* South Africa's daily infection rate could triple to more than 10,000 by the end of this week as the new variant spreads rapidly, an infectious disease expert said.

* The African Development Bank has postponed its planned Dec. 1-3 investment forum in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, due to the Omicron variant.

* Rights groups petitioned Israel's top court to repeal new measures that authorise the country's domestic intelligence service to use counter-terrorism phone tracking technology to contain the spread of the Omicron variant.

EUROPE

* The postponement of the World Trade Organization's ministerial conference this week all but guarantees months of deadlock on fishing subsidies and a bid to spread COVID-19 vaccines more widely.

* Russia said it would be ready to provide booster shots to protect against the Omicron variant if needed.

* Britain will offer a booster shot to all adults in a bid to accelerate its vaccination programme, as eight more Omicron cases were found in the country.

* Austria, Spain, Scotland and Sweden reported their first confirmed cases of the Omicron variant, while Switzerland reported a suspected case.

* Poland said it would ban flights to seven African countries, extend quarantines for some travellers and further limit numbers allowed into places like restaurants.

* A couple accused of trying to escape from quarantine in the Netherlands after testing positive have been transferred to a hospital where they were being held in isolation.

AMERICAS

* President Joe Biden urged Americans on Monday not to panic about the new COVID-19 Omicron variant and said the United States was making contingency plans with pharmaceutical companies if new vaccines are needed.

* The U.S. CDC said everyone aged 18 years and older should get a booster shot either six months after their initial Pfizer or Moderna vaccine doses or two months after their Johnson & Johnson shot.

* Quebec has discovered its first case of the COVID-19 Omicron variant, the Canadian province's health minister said on Monday, bringing Canada's total number of cases to three.

* Paraguay and Chile are imposing travel bans on passengers from certain African countries.

ASIA-PACIFIC

* China will deliver another 1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Africa and encourage Chinese companies to invest no less than $10 billion in the continent over the next three years, President Xi Jinping said.

* China said it backed strengthening compliance and sharing of information under amendments to the World Health Organization's 2005 International Health Regulations.

ECONOMIC IMPACT

* A semblance of calm returned to world markets on Monday as investors waited for more details to assess the severity of the Omicron coronavirus variant on the world economy, allowing battered stocks and oil prices to rebound. [MKTS/GLOB]

* Airlines are scrambling to limit the impact of the latest coronavirus variant on their networks, while delays in bookings are threatening an already fragile recovery for global tourism.

(Compiled by Krishna Chandra Eluri, Sarah Morland, Marta Frackowiak and Milla Nissi; Editing by Dan Grebler and Anil D'Silva)

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