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Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus

Jan 26 (Reuters) – Germany reported 164,000 new COVID-19 infections in one day, one of many European countries to post fresh record numbers driven by the Omicron variant, as the lower house of parliament prepared to debate proposals to either require or robustly encourage residents to be vaccinated.


* Eikon users, see COVID-19: MacroVitals for a case tracker and summary of news.


* The U.S. State Department is weighing whether to authorize departures for American diplomats and their families in China who wish to leave due to the U.S. government’s inability to prevent Chinese authorities from subjecting them to intrusive pandemic control measures, sources told Reuters.

* The Omicron variant appears to result in less severe COVID than seen during previous periods of high coronavirus transmission including the Delta wave, with shorter hospital stays, less need for intensive care and fewer deaths, according to a new U.S. study.

* An appeals court judge granted a stay in an appeal over mask mandates in New York, keeping the rule in effect during the legal process, New York Attorney General Letitia James said.


* British Prime Minister Boris Johnson must change the culture of Downing Street after a series of revelations that staff partied while ordinary people were grappling with lockdowns, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said.

* Denmark aims to scrap all remaining domestic restrictions next week despite high numbers of Omicron infections in Europe.

* Austria’s lockdown for people not fully vaccinated will end on Monday because the pressure on hospitals has eased, the government said.

* Poland reported a record number of new cases, with the daily count rising above 50,000 and expected to climb in coming days, deputy health minister said.

* Hungary’s daily tally of new infections jumped to a record 20,174, but the number of patients treated in hospital has remained at a relatively low level.

* Russia and Romania also reported new records in daily cases.


* South Korea’s daily new cases exceeded 13,000 for the first time, as the government seeks to revise its anti-virus response scheme to focus on Omicron.

* Hong Kong may not reopen until early 2024 because of its strict COVID-19 policies, which could trigger an exodus of foreign firms and staff and jeopardise the city’s role as a financial hub, its European Chamber of Commerce said in a draft report.

* Beijing reported 14 local confirmed cases, the highest daily count in its current outbreak, less than two weeks before the Winter Olympic.


* Uganda wants to curb its borrowing and boost exports in sectors such as meat and dairy as the East African country lifts restrictions triggered by the pandemic, President Yoweri Museveni and government officials told Reuters.


* Swiss drug contract manufacturer Lonza is on track to start new production lines for Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine this quarter, Lonza’s chief executive said.


* World stocks edged up and the dollar was flat ahead of the outcome of the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting on Wednesday, while oil rose towards recent seven-year highs on tension between Russia and Ukraine.

* Expected interest rate hikes by the U.S. Federal Reserve may delay emerging Asia’s economic recovery and keep pressure on policymakers to guard against the risk of capital outflows, a senior International Monetary Fund official said.

* The International Monetary Fund lowered its economic forecasts for the United States, China and the global economy, and said uncertainty about the pandemic, inflation, supply disruptions and U.S. monetary tightening posed further risks.

(Compiled by Boleslaw Lasocki and Sherry Jacob-Phillips; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Milla Nissi)

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