Fri. Jan 21st, 2022

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Twenty countries spanning four continents reported record numbers of Covid-19 cases last week, highlighting the strain that Omicron is exerting on the health systems of both rich and poor countries worldwide.

The World Health Organization has warned of an impending “tsunami” of infections since the highly transmissible coronavirus variant and the Delta strain circulate together.

At least five countries – including Australia, Denmark and the United Kingdom – have experienced a surge of more than double the previously recorded peak in cases, according to Financial Times analysis.

The U.S. daily average of seven days of business came close to 300,000 on Wednesday, the highest daily score since the start of the pandemic, according to the FT’s data tracker.

Countries are also now testing much more than in earlier stages of the pandemic, but the share of tests that yields a positive result is climbing across the board, indicating that the increase in cases is real.

Countries on four continents register record Covid-19 cases

Countries on four continents register record Covid-19 cases © FT Covid tracker

How well did you keep up with the news this year? Take we quiz.

1. Tesla Undertakes Its Largest Voluntary Vehicle Recall Ever Tesla has undertaken its largest voluntary recall ever to solve problems in rear-view cameras and boot locks in some 475,000 Model 3 and Model S vehicles. The recall brings a black dot to a company whose cars have consistently won among the highest official safety ratings.

2. After Ghislaine Maxwell, who’s next? Ghislaine Maxwell was found guilty on five of six criminal charges for aiding and abetting Jeffrey Epstein in the sexual abuse of girls. With as many as 65 years in prison, Maxwell can work with authorities and start naming, which brings new investigation into the powerful men who may have teamed up with Epstein.

Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein

Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein in an undated photo provided by US prosecutors © US Department of Justice via PA

3. Hong Kong and China defend police raid While the US police raid on Stand News, a pro-democracy media outlet, Hong Kong and Chinese authorities hit back. They claim the arrests have “nothing to do with so-called repression of press freedom” and insisted that “no country or organization has the right to interfere in Hong Kong affairs”.

Coronavirus consumed

  • Two doses of the Johnson and Johnson Covid-19 vaccine reduces the risk of hospitalization by up to 85 percent, according to a South African study.

  • A European row vaccinating children has divided worried parents, with governments calling for a significantly different approach to vaccinate the young.

  • France facilitate restrictions for Britons returning to their homes in other EU countries, following travel disruption caused by sudden new Covid measures.

  • The pandemic has a “fundamental shift” in global trade policies, South Korea’s Minister of Trade said.

What else are we reading

Car manufacturers are wary of going ‘all in’ on electric vehicles Companies such as Toyota, BMW and Stellantis are to resist the rush in EVs. While all three have plans to sell significant numbers of EVs over the next decade, they believe the green revolution will be gradual.

What are Putin’s options for Ukraine? After deploying 100,000 troops near Ukraine’s borders, Vladimir Putin is threatening possible military action in the country. Experts warn Russia’s president could consider a wide range of scenarios – from targeted missile attacks to a full-scale invasion.

Business trends, risks and people to watch in 2022 The pandemic could end in 2022 – or we could suffer renewed setbacks. With that uncertainty, companies will record new victories and failures in 2022. Here is what to look for next year across the corporate world, from pharmaceuticals and technology to travel and energy.

Our most read weekend article of the year

In February, Yuval Noah Harari looked back on a year of “scientific breakthroughs” and “political failures”, in search of lessons from the Covid-19 pandemic. What can we learn for the future? Read one of our most popular stories of 2021, written by the author of ‘Sapiens’.

“Fighting the epidemic is important, but is it worth it to destroy our freedom in the process? It is the job of politicians rather than engineers to find the right balance between useful supervision and dystopian nightmares. ”
– Yuval Noah Harari

Researchers at Munich's Bundeswehr Institute for Microbiology

Researchers at Munich’s Bundeswehr Institute of Microbiology, a military research facility that diagnosed the first German Covid-19 case © Rafael Heygster / Helena Manhartsberger

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