- Ukraine Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov tested positive for Covid-19.
- Uganda wants to make vaccination mandatory.
- Italy dropped outdoor mask mandates as cases declined.
The European Union is pushing for a global deal aimed at preventing new pandemics that could include a ban on wildlife markets and incentives for countries to report new viruses or variants, an EU official told Reuters.
* Italy's government lifted an obligation to wear masks outdoors under most circumstances in response to an improving coronavirus situation, and said it aimed to raise attendance limits at stadiums.
* Ukraine's Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov said he had tested positive for the coronavirus but was continuing to work remotely.
* Brazil recorded 177 027 new coronavirus cases and 1 189 Covid-19 deaths in the last 24 hours, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday.
* The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention stands by its mask-wearing guidance for public K-12 schools with Covid-19 cases still high nationwide, even as some states plan to relax masking rules, CDC Director Dr Rochelle Walensky told Reuters.
* China's "zero-Covid" restrictions could weigh on world growth by prolonging supply chain disruptions and global inflationary pressures, a Bank of Japan policymaker said on Wednesday.
* An elderly man who returned a positive test for Covid-19 in Hong Kong died on Tuesday, the city's Hospital Authority said, the city's first death potentially linked with the virus in five months as it struggles to cope with a worsening outbreak.
* The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics Organising Committee said on Wednesday that a total of five new Covid-19 cases were detected among games-related personnel on 8 February.
* Hundreds of people protesting vaccine mandates and pandemic restrictions blocked streets outside New Zealand's parliament with trucks and campervans, inspired by similar demonstrations in Canada.
Africa and Middle East
* Uganda is preparing legislation to make Covid-19 jabs mandatory in a country with low levels of vaccination, a senior health official said.
* A global initiative to get Covid-19 tests, treatments and vaccines to poorer nations has only received 5% of the donations sought to deliver on its aims this year, according to the World Health Organisation and other aid groups.
* The discovery of the Omicron variant in white-tailed deer in New York has raised concerns that the species, numbering 30 million in the US, could become hosts of a new coronavirus strain, a lead researcher said on Tuesday.
* Protests in Canada against vaccine mandates have disrupted two key US border crossings, and are snarling hundreds of millions of dollars daily of trade, ranging from cattle to car parts.
* Asian shares advanced on Wednesday with tech stocks particularly catching a lift following a strong session on Wall Street, while US treasury yields held near multi-year highs ahead of closely watched inflation data this week.
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