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Hong Kong “overwhelmed” by COVID surge

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S.Korea to allow special voting for COVID patients
Belgium interceps COVID vehicle convoy
Prince Charles’ wife Camilla tests positive
Trudeau invokes Emergencies Act against truckers
People wearing masks enter a Hong Kong metro station.

HONG KONG, SOUTH KOREA,UK, CANADA: The latest wave of COVID-19 infections has “overwhelmed” Hong Kong, the city’s leader said on Monday as daily cases surged by some 20 times over the past two weeks, leaving hospitals short of beds and struggling to cope.

Carrie Lam, the head of the administration issued a grim update for residents already subjected to tight restrictions on social gatherings as health authorities reported a record 2,071 infections on Monday, with 4,500 separate preliminary positive cases.

“The situation is highly undesirable and the Government feels worried and sorry about it,” she said. As the caseload soared, Lam said her administration would coordinate with Chinese officials to tackle the “aggravating situation”.

South Korea’s Parliament on Monday approved plans to provide a special time for COVID-19 patients to vote during the March 9 Presidential election as the country grapples with a record-breaking Omicron surge.

Germany will end most government restrictions to fight the coronavirus pandemic in March, according to a draft official plan released on Monday, as new infection rates ease. Sweden is recommending a fourth COVID-19 vaccine dose to people over age 80 and those living in nursing homes or getting home care, authorities said on Monday.

Belgian authorities said on Monday they had intercepted 30 vehicles as police scrambled to stop a Canada-style protest convoy against COVID regulations from reaching Brussels.

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, has tested positive for COVID-19 four days after her husband Prince Charles was confirmed to be infected with the coronavirus, the couple’s office said Monday.

Clarence House said Camilla was self-isolating. Charles has been isolating since he tested positive on Thursday, but Camilla had continued with public engagements while taking daily tests.

Both Charles, 73, and 74-year-old Camilla are triple-vaccinated. Charles, who is heir to the British throne, previously contracted the coronavirus in March 2020, during the first wave of the pandemic.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Monday he will activate rarely used emergency powers in an effort to end protests that have shut some border crossings and paralyzed parts of the capital.

“The blockades are harming our economy and endangering public safety,” Trudeau told a news conference. “We cannot and will not allow illegal and dangerous activities to continue.”

Protesters blockaded the Ambassador Bridge, a vital trade route to Detroit, for six days before police cleared the protest on Sunday.

The “Freedom Convoy” protests, started by Canadian truckers opposing a Covid-19 vaccinate-or-quarantine mandate for cross-border drivers, have drawn people opposed to Trudeau’s policies on everything from pandemic restrictions to a carbon tax.


Wednesday, February 16, 2022 – 01:00

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