Today’s global news at Gikuyu Bulletin

It is vital that you are updated with the news around the world since it gives you the opportunity to learn and become aware of other cultures. So, take a look at the most important global issues and events today by reading below:

India reports their third Covid-19 Omicron variant case

India detected its third case of Covid-19 Omicron variant, making their Covid–19 cases nearing the 35 million mark. 

As per the western state of Gurajat, the patient who tested positive for Omicron lived in Zimbabwe for decades before returning to India on November 28. The first detected Omicron case was a South African national while the second one is an Indian physical.

After recording the third Omicron-positive patient, the country recorded 415 deaths, raising the death toll to 470,530. As of December 4, 2021, India had 8,603 new Covid-19 cases for a total of 34.62 million.

Last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked countries to focus on Omicron after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared it to be a variant of concern. Omicron was first detected in South Africa and is proven to spread quicker than the other viruses.

However, India expects Omicron to be less severe due to the increase of vaccination rates and higher exposure to the Delta variant that infected almost 70% of its population back in July. 

India suffered a second surge of deaths and infections from April to May due to the Delta variant. Now, only half of its 944 million adults have been fully vaccinated while more than 125 million are still due for their second shot.

An Italian man used a fake arm to dodge the Covid-19 vaccine

A 50-year old Italian man who wanted to get a vaccine certificate without getting the vaccine tried to cheat the system by making the health workers inject it on his fake arm. However, the health workers were not fooled by the man’s silicone limb and were reported to the local police.

The head of the Piedmont regional government, Alber Cirio posted a statement on Facebook stating that such an act was unacceptable as the entire community has paid for the social and economic cost just to get everybody vaccinated.

Since August, Rome is urging everyone to have a ‘Green Pass’ which proves you have been vaccinated, have a negative Covid-19 test result or have recovered from the virus. This pass is required for those who want to go to indoor dining restaurants, museums, cinemas or sports events.

However, starting December 6, the mentioned activities can only be done by those who hold a ‘Super Green Pass’. This pass will only be available to those who have been recently vaccinated or recovered with Covid-19. Although the Green Pass will not be used for such activities, it remains valid in workplaces as proof showing that you have tested negative from the virus. 

Almost 85% of people aged 12 and above have been fully vaccinated and the country is now extending the option of a booster dose for them this week.

Global supply chain takes massive strain due to Covid-19

Due to the emergence of the Omicron variant, there is a possibility of higher prices and fewer choices caused by the global supply chain crisis.

As per the South China Morning Post, the global supply chain has been severely affected since the start of the pandemic as it affects the flow of goods from China, leading to more costly shipment expenses. This results in a shortage of items such as chemicals, paint and microchips.

An article from the New York Times explained the scarcity caused by the spike in prices. This started when manufacturing companies were forced to shut down or reduce production due to lockdown restrictions. As a result, shipping companies have no choice but to cut their schedules. 

Meanwhile, many people prepare for the ‘new normal’ by creating their home offices and gyms, thus the demand for printers, gaming consoles, machinery and paint has increased. Now, as many factories slowly reopened, they began to ramp up their production and make up for the backlog. 

However, the finished products could not be delivered to other countries due to a shortage of containers caused by the prioritization of masks and protective gear. As a result, most of the products are being piled up in warehouses scattered across Asia. This ripple effect caused many companies to place large orders, resulting in one of the biggest supply chain crises ever recorded.

Geneva quarantined 2,000 people after recording 2 Omicron case

Geneva placed 2,000 people consisting mostly of children under quarantine after detecting 2 cases of Covid-19 Omicron variant at an international school. As per the Geneva authorities, 1,600 of the quarantined individuals in Geneva were students. Due to this, the parents and siblings are also required to take Covid-19 tests.

After the 2 confirmed cases, another one tested positive and was found to have attended the Châtaigneraie campus of the International School of Geneva the week he tested positive. The cantonal medical services of Geneva has then decided to place all the students and campus staff under quarantine for 10 days.

The country is the home of the World Health Organization (WHO) which classified Omicron as a ‘variant of concern; last month. WHO previously recorded 2 cases of the Omicron variant: one from an individual returning from South Africa and the other one is his close contact.

Switzerland has also identified a number of Omicron variants spread across 5 cantons which led to them banning travels from South Africa and imposing quarantine requirements on those arriving from countries such as Japan, Canada and Britain.

Germany imposes new regulations to tackle Covid-19 surge

Following the latest surge in Covid-19 cases, Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Germany will start imposing new regulations targeting those who are still not vaccinated against Covid 19. 

Starting this month, all culture and leisure will only be limited to those who have been vaccinated or recently. This rule will also be applied to non-essential shops. Merkel also spoke out about compulsory vaccinations, saying that she thinks it is appropriate to adopt this kind of system due to the alarming increase in the number of Covid-19 cases.

Merkel, together with the leaders of 16 states tightened Covid-19 restrictions last November due to the danger of the Omicron variant but met again to discuss stricter measures. The tougher measures include banning those who have not been vaccinated for Covid-19 from entering bars, cinemas and restaurants.

People who are not yet fully vaccinated will be also banned from markets and will be limited to the number of people they can interact with personally. In addition, large gatherings such as Bundesliga football matches and nightclubs will be restricted in areas where there are  350 recorded positives for every 100,000 people every week.

Moreover, fireworks will be banned this coming New Year’s Eve to prevent large crowds from forming. Hens Spahn, the country’s Health Minister stated that Germany needed a lockdown for those who are still unvaccinated.

Recently, the number of people infected with Covid-19 continues to increase, with 73,209 new cases being recorded in the past 24 hours. The country is now calling for a drastic tightening of restrictions as the pandemic has never been as serious and dangerous as it is these days.

In fact, various German regions have already closed or banned those who are still unvaccinated from entering closed public spaces such as gyms and other leisure facilities to prevent the pandemic from further spreading. 

Experts believe that Germany’s fourth wave of the Covid-19 surge is due to its low vaccination rate, standing only at 68%. This is lower than its fellow European countries such as Spain which is at 79% and Portugal at 86% already. 

Germany initially was not in favour of mandatory vaccination but it is now being backed by many politicians. The country has already announced plans this month that it will require all health workers and soldiers to be vaccinated against Covid-19.

The general public will possibly see Germany follow the steps of Austria which are planning to impose mandatory vaccination starting February 2022. Greece, on the other hand, has already imposed compulsory vaccination for those aged 60 and above. Those Greece nationals who will not comply with the new regulation are facing fines.

Malaria cases and deaths began increasing amid a pandemic

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, an increasing number of malaria cases is being recorded for the first time in 3 years. 95% of malaria cases are being recorded in sub-Saharan Africa, killing about 400,000 people per year. Most of the deaths recorded are children under 5 years old.

There are still no effective vaccines created against Malaria which is vital in fighting the infection. The vaccine alliance Gavi stated that it would fund a vaccine rollout that is developed by GlaxoSmithKline. It is said to be effective and safe based on a large late-stage trial.

Last 2020, an estimated number of almost 627,000 lives were lost due to mosquito-borne disease which is the highest number in almost a decade. The advocacy director of Malaria No More UK, Gareth Jenkins said that this number must serve as a wake-up call.

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