The World Health Organization was due to hold an emergency meeting on May 20 to discuss the recent outbreak of monkeypox, a viral infection more common to west and central Africa, after more than 100 cases were confirmed or suspected in Europe.

The global vaccine alliance Gavi has secured $4.8 billion in funding pledges for the vaccine-sharing scheme COVAX, an official said on Friday, falling just shy of its target.

Bayer said the German drugmaker would invest around 2 billion euros ($2.23 billion) at pharmaceutical manufacturing sites over the next three years, mainly to bolster production of biotechnology products as well as cell and gene therapies.

A sub-variant of the highly transmissible Omicron version of coronavirus known as BA.2 is now dominant worldwide, prompting surges in many countries in Europe and Asia and raising concern over the potential for a new wave in the United States.

Negotiations on boosting the World Health Organization’s budget to help it prepare for future pandemics made mixed progress last week, with Washington withdrawing criticism but other donors voicing opposition, sources involved in the talks told Reuters.

Many countries around the world that appeared to have kicked COVID-19 are reporting surges, largely the result of the so-called “stealth” Omicron variant, BA.2.

The latest wave of COVID-19 infections has “overwhelmed” Hong Kong, the city’s leader said on Feb. 14, as daily cases have surged by some 20 times over the past two weeks, leaving hospitals short of beds and struggling to cope. South Korea will begin giving out fourth doses of COVID-19 vaccines during February and supply millions of additional home test kits to ease shortages amid a surge in Omicron infections, authorities confirmed on Feb. 14.

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Jan. 24 that it was dangerous to assume the Omicron variant would herald the end of COVID-19’s acutest phase, exhorting nations to stay focused to beat the pandemic.

Europe crossed 75 million coronavirus cases on December 3, according to a Reuters tally, as the region braces for the new Omicron variant at a time when hospitals in some countries are already strained by the current surge.

Germany decided on December 2 to bar the unvaccinated from all but the most essential business and the United States prepared further travel restrictions as the world scrambled to curb the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.