(Reuters) – Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:
Hong Kong says 20,000 hotel rooms earmarked for quarantine
Hong Kong has identified more than 20,000 hotel rooms for quarantine accommodation, leader Carrie Lam said on Friday, as property developers piled in to show support with the global financial hub battling a surge in COVID-19 cases.
Dozens of patients waited for treatment in the parking lot of a hospital in the working-class district of Cheung Sha Wan on the Kowloon peninsula on Thursday, after there was no more room inside the medical centre that serves 400,000 people.
S.Korea daily COVID cases top 100,000, curfew eased
South Korea’s new daily COVID-19 cases topped 100,000 for the first time amid its Omicron outbreak, with authorities saying social distancing measures would be only slightly eased ahead of the March 9 presidential election.
Authorities announced on Friday they would move a curfew on restaurants and cafes from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m., a nod to increasing criticism from business owners.
WHO says quarantine can be shortened
The World Health Organization said on Thursday countries struggling with surging COVID-19 infections may shorten the recommended quarantine duration of 14 days in some situations.
The U.N. agency said its new guidelines may be helpful for places where essential services are under pressure.
Japan’s COVID deaths mount in wave seen lasting till April
Japan set a new record for daily deaths from COVID-19 in a wave of Omicron-fuelled fatalities that a government-affiliated researcher estimated may stretch into April.
Newly recorded fatalities rose to 271 on Thursday, according to a tally by national broadcaster NHK, the third straight day over 200. There have been 2,446 deaths so far in February, already the second-deadliest month in the two-year pandemic.
California shifts gears to confront post-pandemic phase
California Governor Gavin Newsom presented a plan on Thursday to confront COVID-19 beyond its pandemic phase, focusing on readiness, vigilance and vaccines as the nation’s most populous state moves from a crisis approach to “living with this virus.”
Highlights of the strategy include more stockpiling of masks and other personal protective equipment, a “myth-busters” campaign to counter disinformation and greater wastewater virus surveillance to stay ahead of new outbreaks and new variants.
(Compiled by Karishma Singh; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)