COVID-19: Here's what you need to know today

KINGSTON, Jamaica — The novel coronavirus has infected more than 261.4 million people, leaving more than 5.5 million dead across 196 countries and territories.

The majority of those infected have recovered and many countries have rolled out vaccine campaigns as economies start to recover from the pandemic.

— Jamaica reported 1,098 new cases of COVID-19 and four virus-related deaths on Tuesday, pushing the total number of cases of the virus since the start of the pandemic to 116,084 and the death toll to 2,555.

— St Lucia’s National Principals Association on Tuesday said it was surprised at the decision of the country’s education minister to allow face-to-face classes to continue despite a surge in coronavirus cases in recent days.

— In the United States, the government is to distribute some 400 million high-quality N95 masks for free to its citizen in an effort to rein in the pandemic.

— US biotech billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong on Wednesday opened a plant in Cape Town that will be the first in Africa to produce COVID-19 vaccines from start to finish.

— The World Health Organization on Wednesday revealed that the number of new coronavirus cases globally rose by 20 per cent last week to more than 18 million, marking a slowdown in the surge caused by the omicron variant's spread.

— The US has recorded the most COVID deaths with 854,074, followed by Brazil with 621,517, India with 487,202 and Russia with 323,376.

Read more:

Jamaica reports 1,098 new COVID cases, four deaths

President Biden to give away 400 million N95 masks starting next week

WHO counts 18 million virus cases last week as omicron slows

US biotech tycoon opens Africa's first end-to-end COVID-19 jab plant

ARE WE FLATTENING THE CURVE?here for interactive chart* with details on Jamaica's numbers.here for a look at the numbers globally.

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*Data mined from various sources around the world.

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