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COVID-19 across the world: US logs highest single-day rise in cases, France sees record hospitalisations

Reeling under the new wave of coronavirus caused by the Omicron variant, the US reported at least 1.13 million new Covid-19 cases on Monday, according to Reuters. This is the highest single-day rise in Covid-19 cases reported by any country in the world.

France, on the other hand, registered its biggest jump in hospitalisations since April 2021. On Monday, the number of people in hospital with Covid-19 in France rose by 767 to 22,749.

As the highly transmissable Omicron variant spreads rapidly across the globe, several countries are forced to tighten their travel rules. The spread of the Omicron variant has put strain on hospital systems as they are opting out of elective surgeries to handle staff shortages.

Here's a rundown of how countries around the world are dealing with the latest Covid surge:

United States

On Monday, the US reported a record 1.13 mn new Covid-19 cases. The previous record was 1.03 mn cases on January 3. Meanwhile, the number of Covid-related hospitalisations also hit an all-time high in the country with more than 1,35,500 people hospitalised with Covid. The previous record of 1,32,051 was set in January last year.

Facing staff crunch amid record hospitalisations, hospitals in the US are allowing nurses and other Covid-19 infected workers to stay on the job if they have mild symptoms or none at all, reported the Associated Press.

France

The number of people in hospital with Covid-19 in France rose by 767 to 22,749 on Monday. Health Minister Olivier Veran said that the Omicron variant, even as it is less threatening, is highly infectious and pushing hospital numbers up quickly.

Even with increased hospitalisations, the net new hospital admissions remained well below peaks set in November-December last year. The peak hospitalisation stood over 700 for nearly a month and Covid-19 hospitalisations peaked at 33,497 on November 16, 2020, according to Reuters.

United Kingdom

Facing a shortage of hospital staff, the UK government on Monday ordered the biggest private health companies in the country to provide crucial treatments if hospitals are overwhelmed with Covid-19 patients.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid ordered England's National Health Service (NHS) to strike a three-month deal with private health companies to allow patients to get treatments such as cancer surgery.

"Millions of patients have already got their tests and treatment quicker thanks to our existing deal with independent providers," Reuters quoted David Sloman, NHS England chief operating officer, as saying.

"It also places independent health providers on standby to provide further help should hospitals face unsustainable levels of hospitalisations or staff absences," Sloman added.

Italy

Taking a strict stand against those not getting vaccinated against Covid-19, the government in Italy on Monday imposed several new restrictions for the unvaccinated.

In an order, the government said that one needs to show proof of vaccination or recent recovery from Covid-19 in order to visit restaurants, hotels, ski lifts, trade fairs, ride on local or long-distance trains, and buses.

Italy has also made Covid-19 vaccination mandatory for anyone 50 and older. Those defying the order would be fined 100 euros.

Australia

As the Omicron variant rips through the country, Australia on Monday surpassed one million Covid-19 cases. More than half of these one million were recorded in the past week, Reuters reported

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrision said the country must "push through" the fast-moving Omicron outbreak. "Omicron is a gear change and we have to push through," Reuters quoted Morrision as saying.

"You've got two choices here: you can push through or you can lock down. We are for pushing through," he added.

China

China reported fresh outbreaks of Omicron on Monday, as more cases were reported in cities of Xi'an and Tianjin. Resultantly, China has tightened exit controls in Tianjin and has made it mandatory for residents to obtain approval from employers or community authorities before leaving town.

China is also conducting a massive Covid-19 testing scheme in Tianjin to prevent the Omicron variant from spreading to other provinces.

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