Marketplace in South Korea. Photo | Bloomberg
Marketplace in South Korea. (Representational image) | Bloomberg

New Delhi: The novel coronavirus pandemic continues to devastate countries across the world — the latest count being over 7.9 crore cases and more than 17 lakh deaths.

South Korea had received international praise earlier when it was rapidly able to contain the Covid-19 outbreak but now the country is facing a new surge of infections. In the last 24 hours, 962 people have died from Covid-19 in Germany and Northern Ireland.

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South Korea’s early Covid success leaves it ‘scrambling’ to contain next wave

South Korea had received international praise early this year when it was rapidly able to contain the Covid-19 outbreak but now it is scrambling to contain a new surge in infections, reports Reuters.

Earlier, the country had used an aggressive, high-tech contact tracing system, credit card records and CCTV footage to track infections.

But now “officials acknowledge the success of those earlier efforts helped fuel over-confidence that left them straining to contain a third wave and scrambling to defend a cautious vaccine timeline,” states the report.

South Korea has recorded 53,533 cases of Covid-19 and 756 deaths.

Also read: UK finds ‘more transmissible’ virus strain linked to South Africa, tightens lockdown

Germany witnesses record number of Covid deaths in last 24 hours

In the last 24 hours, 962 people have died from Covid-19 in Germany, according to the Robert Koch Institute, reports The Local. This has been the highest figure to have ever been recorded in the country since the beginning of the pandemic.

As a result, intensive care unit doctors in Germany are expecting an increase in the number of Covid-19 patients in emergency units.

“We predict the peak in the next two or three weeks,” Christian Karagiannidis of clinics in the city of Cologne was quoted as saying.

Germany has recorded 15,87,908 cases of Covid-19 and 29,127 deaths.

Northern Ireland confirms positive case of new Covid variant

Northern Ireland confirmed a positive case of the highly infectious Covid variant that has emerged in United Kingdom, reports Reuters.

“While virus mutation is not uncommon, the potential of this new strain to spread rapidly is cause for serious concern,” Northern Ireland’s Chief Medical Officer said in a statement.

Last week, Northern Ireland had imposed a high-level lockdown ahead of Christmas.

Northern Ireland has recorded 63,723 cases of Covid-19 and 1,240 deaths so far.

Also read: Brazil trial shows Sinovac vaccine above 50% effective, but researchers delay full results

Covid antibody drugs ‘unused’ even though need increases

The antibody drugs are “surprisingly” sitting unused in hospital refrigerators in the US, reports The New York Times. This is especially surprising when the drugs could be used to relieve the burden of overwhelmed hospitals.

The government had prepared nearly 5,32,000 doses of this drug and at least 55 per cent of them had been shipped out.

“But the early data collected from hospitals by the federal government suggest that they have given only about 20 per cent of their supply to patients,” notes the report.

The US has recorded 1,89,17,152 cases and 3,34,218 deaths.

Jordan launches website for registration of Covid vaccines

With countries beginning to administer populations with Covid-19 vaccines, Jordan has set up a website dedicated to registering citizens for vaccinations, reports Arab News.

Wail Hayajneh, Secretary General, Jordan Ministry of Health, has also urged citizens to sign up to the website and check if they are eligible to get vaccinated.

Jordan has reported 2,81,983 cases of Covid-19 and 3,652 deaths.

What else we are reading:

Millions of Sydney residents asked to ‘limit’ Christmas festivities to fight Covid cluster: Reuters

Four cases of new Covid-19 mutation found in Israel, Health Ministry says: The Jerusalem Post

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