Covid-19 positivity rate shoots up as Delhi and Mumbai register thousands of new cases
From CNN’s Swati Gupta in New Delhi
The cities of Mumbai and New Delhi have collectively recorded at least 25,831 new Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours, according to officials.
On Tuesday evening, both cities had recorded a total of 16,341 new cases.
Delhi currently has a positivity rate of 11.88% with 10,665 new cases.
The positivity rate is the percentage of people who test positive for the virus of those overall who have been tested.
India recorded its first death due to the Omicron variant Wednesday. According to the health ministry, the individual had diabetes and other pre-existing conditions and was confirmed to have contracted the Omicron variant.
The Mumbai municipal corporation confirmed Wednesday that 15,166 new cases were recorded in the city in the past 24 hours. The city currently has more than 61,000 active cases.
India is expected to start administering booster shots on Jan. 10 to health care workers, frontline workers and people above the age of 60 years with pre-existing medical conditions.
Data shows 1 in 15 people in England had Covid-19 in the last week of 2021
From CNN's Amy Cassidy
An estimated 1 in 15 people across England tested positive for Covid-19 in the week ending Dec. 31, 2021, the Office for National Statistics reported Wednesday, up from 1 in 25 the week before.
This is around 3,270,800 people, with London having the highest percentage of cases at a rate of 1 in 10, according to the data.
Infections increased “rapidly” across the UK, with Omicron as the dominant variant, according to the ONS. Scotland and Wales recorded 1 in 20 people with Covid-19 and Northern Ireland recorded 1 in 25.
The statistics account for infections occurring in private households and exclude infections reported in hospitals, care homes and other communal establishments, the ONS noted.
France will slightly ease travel restrictions with the UK
From CNN’s Joseph Ataman in Paris
France will widen the list of “compelling reasons” required for travel between the UK and France, easing travel between the two countries, French government spokesperson Gabriel Attal told journalists Wednesday.
At the moment, travelers cannot go for merely tourist reasons.
This new widening would impact professional travel across the Channel, Attal said, without providing additional details.
He added that the Defense Council had agreed to discuss a wider loosening of border restrictions with the UK at the council’s next meeting. Those meetings are typically held weekly.
Omicron variant will dominate Germany in just a few days, health ministry says
From Chris Stern in Berlin
Omicron will be the dominant variant in a few days, the German Health Ministry spokesperson said Tuesday.
“At the moment, we believe Omicron has a share of 25% throughout Germany," Spokesperson Sebastian Guelde warned.
He noted the variant was already dominant in Northern Germany, and said: “We have reason to believe that shortly, in a few days, Omicron will actually be the dominant variant nationwide.”
CDC vaccine advisers are scheduled to meet Wednesday after FDA backed Pfizer's boosters for children 12-15
From CNN's Deidre McPhillips
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is scheduled to meet Wednesday.
The meeting follows Monday’s announcement by the US Food and Drug Administration that the emergency use authorization for the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine was expanded to include boosters for adolescents ages 12 to 15.
They also reduced the time between completing an initial series and recommended booster from six months to five months, and allowing for a third dose of the primary series for some immunocompromised children ages 5 to 11.
The CDC’s vaccine advisers are scheduled to meet from 1 to 5 p.m. ET Wednesday.
Detroit schools extend virtual learning through next week
From CNN's Davis Shortell
Public schools in Detroit are extending a virtual return to winter break through next week as the city’s Covid-19 infection rate continues to climb.
Schools had returned from the holidays online Monday and were set to shift back to in-person on Thursday under an original plan. Now, they will stay virtual through Jan. 14, according to a statement from superintendent Nikolai Vitti that was posted on the district’s website.
In remarks published by WDIV, Vitti said that opening schools while the city has a 40% infection rate is an “operational nightmare” for the district.
Liverpool shut training ground amid "rapidly growing" suspected Covid-19 cases
From CNN’s Aleks Klosok in London
English Premier League club Liverpool has temporarily closed its training ground amid a “rapidly growing number of suspected positive Covid-19 cases,” the team said Wednesday.
Liverpool confirmed “multiple” suspected new cases among players and staff had been reported. Assistant manager Pepijn Lijnders returned a suspected positive Covid-19 case and is now isolating.
Lijnders was in charge of the team during Sunday's 2-2 Premier League draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Manager Jürgen Klopp was isolating after he had returned a suspected positive test.
The announcement comes just a day before Liverpool are due to face Arsenal away in the first leg of their English League Cup semifinal encounter.
Liverpool on Tuesday lodged an application with the English Football League to reschedule Thursday’s match. The outcome is still pending.
Poland's President tests positive for a second time
From CNN's Amy Cassidy
Poland President Andrzej Duda has tested positive for Covid-19 and is self-isolating, the country's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Wednesday.
This is the second time Duda, who is 49 years old, has caught the virus. He also tested positive in October 2020.
The president is fully vaccinated and received a third vaccine dose last month, according to the official website of the presidency.
"The president is fine, has no severe symptoms and is under constant medical care," Secretary of State Paweł Szrot tweeted on Wednesday.
The latest government data in Poland shows 17,196 cases recorded across the country on Wednesday, with 632 deaths.
Chicago Public Schools cancels class after union votes to go virtual amid Covid surge
From CNN’s Omar Jimenez, Bill Kirkos and Elizabeth Stuart
The Chicago Teachers Union voted late Tuesday night to move to virtual instruction as the city sees a Covid-19 surge, triggering the cancellation of classes Wednesday that the school district warned would happen.
The school district — the third-largest in the country — called it an “unfortunate decision” in communication sent out to all Chicago Public Schools families.
Chicago Public Schools had resumed in-person learning Monday and has said its conditions are safe for in-person instruction.
The passing union vote means members would refuse in-person work until Jan. 18 or until the two sides are able to reach an agreement.
Additionally, teachers will not be compensated for refusing to report in person, Chicago Public Schools CEO Pedro Martinez announced at a press conference late Tuesday.
CPS additionally says it considers this move a “work stoppage” and any CTU members that do not report to school Wednesday won’t be paid. The school district said it will update the plan for resuming learning to families and students by the end of Wednesday.