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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will have to defend his premiership on Wednesday after it was revealed a “bring your own booze” gathering was held at his official residence during the first coronavirus lockdown.

EUROPE

* Russia has recorded nearly 700 cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant and will prepare new measures to combat the rise in cases by the end of the week, its deputy prime minister said.

* Germany reported 80,430 new infections on Wednesday, the highest recorded in a single day since the pandemic began, while Bulgaria also saw record daily cases.

AMERICAS

* The Biden administration announced a new set of measures to keep U.S. schools open, including increasing access to COVID-19 tests.

* Mexico posted a record 33,626 new confirmed cases on Tuesday, while Brazil reported 70,765 new cases.

* Some members of Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s family and cabinet were isolating and taking COVID-19 tests on Tuesday after he announced he was diagnosed with COVID-19 a day earlier for the second time .

* The Central American Bank for Economic Integration said it would give Cuba a loan of $53.1 million to help bolster its vaccine program as it seeks to ramp up production for both domestic use and export.

* Colombia will let people get their booster vaccines four months after completing their initial vaccination course.

ASIA-PACIFIC

* Tennis champion Novak Djokovic said “human error” was behind a mistake on his documents for entry to Australia that breached its strict laws on reporting recent travel, as the government weighs whether to deport the player.

* Japan recorded a surge in new coronavirus cases, with infections reaching four-month highs in the major metropolitan areas of Tokyo and Osaka as the Omicron variant spreads.

* South Korea is turning to additional pharmaceutical tools, authorizing the use of Novavax’s vaccine and preparing to distribute the first of Pfizer’s antiviral pills.

* About 70 South Korean nationals who attended the giant CES tech trade show in Las Vegas last week tested positive.

* Central Asian neighbors Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan reported jumps in new cases as both countries said the Omicron variant was now spreading on their territories.

* China’s northeast city of Tianjin said on Wednesday it will postpone its annual parliamentary sessions due to an outbreak of COVID-19.

* China’s aviation regulator, which has ordered the cancellation of over 60 scheduled flights from the United States in recent weeks after passengers tested positive, will suspend a further six flights.

AFRICA AND MIDDLE EAST

* Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi has left isolation just over a week after testing positive for COVID-19 without symptoms, the government said.

* Saudi Arabia has registered its highest daily number of new infections so far, breaking through 5,000 cases on Wednesday.

MEDICAL DEVELOPMENTS

* The U.S. Food and Drug Administration amended the fact sheet for Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine to include a rare risk of immune thrombocytopenia, a bleeding disorder.

ECONOMIC IMPACT

* Oil hit its highest since the Omicron outbreak, world stocks rose to one-week peaks and the dollar plumbed six-week lows on Wednesday after U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell sounded less bullish on rates than expected in testimony to Congress.

* The Bank of Japan offered its most optimistic view of the country’s regional economy in more than eight years, in a sign of its confidence that a recent resurgence in infections would not derail the country’s fragile recovery.

(Compiled by Alexander Kloss, Sarah Morland and Shailesh Kuber; Edited by Frank Jack Daniel)

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SourceReuters

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