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Omicron surges in Asia amid new WHO tech



LATEST global COVID-19 developments show that Asia is new hot spots for Omicron infection in both daily record cases and fatalities.

  The new wave is coming amid announcement of transfer of some technology by US officials to an international effort to speed and share new pandemic tools.

  In Hong Kong, where the peak is expected in the middle of March, cases reached a new daily record of 56,827. At a briefing today, health officials urged the public to stay home as much as possible.   They noted continued assistance from the mainland, including the arrival of Chinese medicines. The food supply to Hong Kong is steady, and people shouldn’t panic-buy in stores, the group added.

  South Korea’s cases today topped 240,000 for the first time, with more than 60% reported from the Seoul area, according to Yonhap News. The government has suspended vaccine passes due to lack of staffing, and health officials expect cases to peak in the middle of March.

  In Japan, among the countries reporting later Omicron variant surges, cases are starting to decline, though hospitals are still under pressure, according to Reuters. 15 prefectures are expected to ask for extensions of the quasi state of emergency. However, officials are expected to relax some border restrictions.

  Elsewhere, New Zealand’s surge continued, with 23,183 new cases today, and officials expect hospitalisation to rise and cases to peak sometime in the next two weeks, according to Radio New Zealand.

  A statement issued by United Nations Medicine Patent Pool welcomed said “voluntary sharing of technologies through non-exclusive agreements will not only help us put the pandemic behind us; it will also empower low- and middle-income countries to produce their own medical products and achieve equitable access.”

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