A man receives a dose of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine at Babington Hospital in Belper on Dece 16, 2021 as the UK steps up the country's booster drive to fight a "tidal wave" of Omicron.  (OLI SCARFF / AFP)

RIGA / PARIS / NAIROBI / LONDON – More than 200,000 COVID-19 deaths have been recorded across Britain, showed the latest data released Wednesday from the Office for National Statistics.

In the week ending July 1, 2022, 11,828 deaths were registered in Britain, 12.1 percent above the five-year average (1,278 excess deaths), said the Office for National Statistics

The grim milestone has been reached in late June, but not revealed until Wednesday due to a delay in registration. Up to the start of July, a total of 200,247 COVID-19 deaths have occurred, the ONS said. The figures include deaths due to COVID-19 as well as those involving the virus.

In the week ending July 1, 2022, 11,828 deaths were registered in Britain, 12.1 percent above the five-year average (1,278 excess deaths), said the ONS.

By early January 2021, more than 100,000 COVID-19 deaths had been registered nationwide. It has taken more than a year and a half for the death toll to double, with vaccination uptake, better understanding of how to treat the virus and social distancing measures all contributing to fewer deaths, said British newspaper The Guardian.

According to figures from Our World In Data, as of July 12, Britain has one of the highest COVID-19 death tolls in Europe, with a death rate of about 2,689 per million people, compared with a rate of 2,295 deaths per million people for Spain, 2,230 for France and 1,704 for Germany.

The country's excess mortality rate is also higher than other European averages which stand at 2,070 per million people, more than twice that of Germany's which stand at 1,110.

A health worker poses with a syringe with dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at the Museum of Tomorrow where adults and children between the ages of five and eleven are being vaccinated against the novel coronavirus in Rio de Janeiro on Jan 18, 2022. (Carl DE SOUZA / AFP)


The Pan American Health Organization on Wednesday warned of the growing number of COVID-19 cases caused by the highly infectious BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants of the coronavirus even as overall cases dipped in the Americas.

There were 1,562,967 new COVID-19 cases in the Americas last week, a 0.9 percent decrease, PAHO said at a news conference, while deaths fell 3.5 percent to 4,789

There were 1,562,967 new COVID-19 cases in the Americas last week, a 0.9 percent decrease, PAHO said at a news conference, while deaths fell 3.5 percent to 4,789.

But PAHO Director Dr. Carissa Etienne cautioned that the Omicron subvariants, now dominant in the United States and several other countries, "is driving new infections across the Americas."

"The emergence of BA.4 and BA.5 is yet another reminder that the virus keeps evolving every time it is transmitted, and that we must remain vigilant," Etienne said.

ALSO READ: WHO: COVID-19 pandemic 'nowhere near over'

She urged countries in the Americas to reintroduce public health measures like the use of facemasks and social distancing when cases spike.

"This virus knows no borders, especially now that international travel has resumed. We must use every tool at our disposal to protect ourselves, particularly those of us most vulnerable to severe disease and death."

Compared to the previous week, COVID-19 cases increased by 2 percent in South America and by 55 percent in Central America. Cases decreased 5.2 percent in the Caribbean and 4.5 percent in North America.

COVID-19 related deaths jumped 14.2 percent in South America, while they decreased in the remaining three subregions in the Americas, PAHO said.

French President Emmanuel Macron talks with medical staff members and a long-term COVID-19 patient at the rehabilitation service of the Foch hospital in Suresnes near Paris, April 22, 2021. (CHRISTIAN HARTMANN / POOL PHOTO VIA AP)


France reported on Wednesday 127,642 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, one day ahead of the country's national day.

Health professionals are warning of a seventh wave of the pandemic in the country with the spread of Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5.

About 19,580 patients are currently being hospitalized, of whom 1,184 were admitted to critical care services.

A total of 104 COVID-19 related deaths were registered on Wednesday. The total death toll passed the 150,000 mark on July 8.

French national health authority HAS on Wednesday recommended extending the second booster dose to adults over 60 "identified as being at risk of a severe form of COVID-19."

Also on Wednesday, the National Assembly adopted a bill temporarily maintaining a monitoring and health security system in the fight against COVID-19.

The French government recommends the wearing of a face mask in public transport and is taking support actions with regard to COVID-19 related intensive care in hospitals.


Kenya's Ministry of Health said Wednesday it has administered 19 million COVID-19 vaccine doses as the country works to hit its target of vaccinating 27 million people.

The ministry said that it had issued 19.01 million vaccines in total and out of the doses, 16.8 million have been administered to adults while the rest to teenagers aged 15 to 18.

According to the ministry, a total of 535,000 booster doses have also been issued.

Latvia's Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins looks on prior to a meeting of the European Council at The European Council Building in Brussels on June 24, 2022.


Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins switched to working from home Wednesday after his COVID-19 test returned positive amid a fresh surge of coronavirus cases in the Baltic country.

The prime minister said on Twitter that he was feeling good but was following his doctor's advice and would work from home this week.

Karins also called on people to take care and follow epidemiological safety rules to protect themselves and others from getting COVID-19.

With COVID-19 infections on the rise again in Latvia, the Center for Disease Prevention and Control reported 908 new cases Wednesday as the country's cumulative two-week COVID-19 incidence rose to 420.3 cases per 100,000 residents.

No new COVID-19 death was reported in Latvia on Wednesday.

An illustration picture shows vials with COVID-19 Vaccine stickers attached and syringes with the logo of US biotech company Novavax on Nov 17, 2020.


The US Food and Drug Administration authorized the use of Novavax Inc's COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday, clearing the way for a shot whose more traditional technology has raised hopes of wider acceptance among vaccine skeptics.

Shares of Novavax rose 1.3 percent to $70.89 after its two-dose vaccine became the fourth COVID-19 shot to be authorized for use in adults in the United States.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still needs to sign off on the use of the vaccine before it can be made available to people.

A panel of CDC advisers on vaccines is expected to meet on Tuesday, but the agenda has not been released yet.

Earlier this week, the US government said it had secured 3.2 million Novavax vaccine doses, which it plans to release once the company finishes quality testing in the next few weeks.