US infections steady; South Africa registers 1,266 new cases

US infections steady; South Africa registers 1,266 new cases
The Meadowlands vaccination site on 29 November 2021 in Soweto, South Africa. (Photo: Gallo Images / Sharon Seretlo)

South Africa registered 1,266 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the cumulative total to 3,673,257. A further 38 Covid-19-related deaths were reported, taking total official deaths to 99,229. A total of 31,439,128 vaccines have been administered.

Hong Kong reported a record number of Covid-19 infections and a rising death count on Sunday that is straining its health infrastructure and morgues, with authorities warning that cases haven’t peaked yet.

US cases, meanwhile, were little changed as compared to the same time on Saturday at 78.9 million. 

The Philippines Metro Manila region plans to shift to the lowest alert level as infections stay low, while Indonesia will soon no longer require international passengers in Bali to isolate upon arrival.

Key developments 

US cases little changed 

Coronavirus cases in the US were little changed as compared to the same time on Saturday at 78.9 million, as of 12.01am New York time on Sunday, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg.

The national increase in cases was below the average daily increase of less than 0.1% over the past week.

Quarantine-free arrivals in Bali 

Indonesia will no longer require international passengers in Bali to isolate upon arrival under a trial programme that starts in March, with the intention to lift all quarantine requirements by April.

Arriving passengers will still have to take a PCR test and stay inside their pre-booked accommodation while waiting for the result, according to a briefing Sunday. 

Hong Kong registers record new cases  

Hong Kong has reported a record 26,026 new Covid-19 cases as the city struggles to contain its worst outbreak since the start of the pandemic.

Only seven of the infections were imported cases, health officials told a briefing on Sunday. There were 83 new deaths, with 67 of those coming in care homes. 

Manila region to shift to lowest alert 

The Philippines will further ease movement restrictions and remove capacity limits on most businesses in the capital region as daily coronavirus infections stay low.

Metro Manila, which accounts for a third of economic output, will shift to the lowest alert level from March 1 to 15, according to a statement Sunday. Under Alert Level 1, businesses including restaurants and gyms can operate at full capacity.

Hong Kong rental assistance calls 

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam and Financial Secretary Paul Chan renewed calls urging property developers to offer rental assistance to tenants impacted by the pandemic.

Lam urged landlords to waive rents, RTHK reported, citing a social media post. Lam said the government’s pandemic fund can’t make up for losses incurred by a wide range of businesses that have been affected by mandatory closures that are in place until at least April 20, the news outlet reported.

Chan also called on landlords to offer rental concessions to small- and medium-sized businesses. Chan is pushing for legislation that would allow rent payments to be postponed for up to six months.

Hong Kong to use electronic wristbands to monitor patients 

Hong Kong plans to use more than 100,000 electronic wristbands to monitor Covid-19 patients who are isolating at home, according to local media, who cited the technology minister. The wristbands, which would pair with a tracking app, will be given to patients who are in home self-isolation while awaiting admittance to hospitals. 

The city is battling a surge in Omicron cases, reporting a record 17,063 Covid cases on Saturday.

Thai cases hold near record high 

Thailand’s coronavirus daily cases held near an all-time high on Saturday, with 24,719 cases reported on Sunday. There were 42 new virus-related deaths reported. More than 25,600 infections were reported the day before. DM/MC

– With assistance from K. Oanh Ha, Prim Chuwiruch and Soraya Permatasari.


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