Omicron reported from Fukuoka, Japan; The top 100,000 COVID-19 infections in France

The Japanese prefecture of Fukuoka confirmed its first infection with the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, its governor Seitaro Hattori said on Saturday.

The case was the result of possible community transmission as the route of infection was unclear, Hattori said at a press conference.

France recorded a record 104,611 COVID-19 infections on Saturday, surpassing the 100,000 threshold for the first time since the start of the pandemic as the omicron variant continued its rapid spread.

Health officials said the number of COVID patients in intensive care increased by 28 to 3,282.

Meanwhile, Israel has ordered 100,000 units of Paxlovid, Pfizer Inc’s COVID 19 antiviral pill, for people aged 12 and older at risk of serious illness, an Israeli official said on Saturday, confirming a TV report.

Channel 12 TV said Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett accepted the deal during a phone conversation with Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla. There was no immediate confirmation from the company.

The first oral and home treatment for COVID-19, Paxlovid was nearly 90% effective in preventing hospitalizations and death in patients at high risk of serious illness, according to data from the Pfizer clinical trial. Recent lab data suggests the drug retains its effectiveness against the Omicron variant, he said.

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