Coronavirus Briefing: What’s Happening Around the World

By Emma Edwards

In recent COVID news United Kingdom became the first country to authorize Merck’s antiviral pill, balapiravir. Thousands of people celebrated Diwali in India despite COVID concerns. Hong Kong will start offering booster shots to high risk citizens.

The Biden administration said large companies have until Jan. 4 to make sure all their employees are vaccinated against COVID-19. This applies to companies with more than 100 employees and covers about 85 million private sector workers. Employers can offer two exemptions, medical and religious, which will require a doctor’s note. However, an employee who gets vaccinated will get paid for the time they missed for the vaccine. If they don’t get vaccinated they are at risk for being fired.

Europe is the epicenter of COVID again. It could experience half a million Covid related deaths in the next three months according to W.H.O. Last week Europe accounted for 59 percent of the world’s reported cases. In Germany on Wednesday, the nation recorded 33,949 new infections in 24 hours. In Italy protests spawned an outbreak.