Europe, which became the first region to report 25 million cases, remains the worst-affected area, followed by North America and Latin America
Coronavirus infections have now surpassed 90 million confirmed cases, as more countries braced for wider spread of more virulent strains of a disease that has now killed nearly 2 million worldwide.
The number of infections worldwide has doubled in just 10 weeks, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University on Sunday. Covid-19 infections had hit 45 million as recently as late October. As of early Monday, Johns Hopkins counted 90,260,464 infections confirmed by government and other entities tracking cases.
The United States, now with more than 22.2 million infections, has confirmed the most cases and most deaths in the world. The number of US cases was more than double that of India, which has recorded nearly 10.5 million infections.
Europe, which became the first region to report 25 million cases last week, remains the worst-affected area in the world, followed by North America and Latin America with 22.4 million and 16.3 million cases respectively. Europe has reported around 31 per cent of about 1.93 million coronavirus-related deaths globally. The United Kingdom, the worst-affected European country, crossed 3 million cases last Friday.
Arizona remains a US Covid-19 hotspot with health officials on Sunday reporting more than 11,000 new cases for the third consecutive day, plus 105 more deaths.
That pushed the state’s grim figures to 618,546 cases and 10,141 known deaths since the pandemic began. Arizona Department of Health Services officials reported 11,021 new Covid-19 cases on Sunday. There were 11,650 cases and 197 more deaths reported on Friday with 11,094 additional cases and 98 deaths on Saturday.
As of Saturday, Arizona had the second-highest coronavirus case rate and death rate per capita nationally in the last seven days, according to the US Centers for Disease Control.
The highly infectious variant of the novel coronavirus first discovered in Britain has now been detected in Russia, according to a top public health official.
Russia overall has reported over 3.3 million cases of infection and 61,800 deaths. The number of daily new cases and fatalities has been declining since the start of 2021.
The variant, first found in England late last year, has been blamed by the British government for a surge in cases threatening to overrun British hospitals in the last month.
Thousands of people 80 and older have started receiving invitations to get the coronavirus vaccine in England, officials said on Sunday, as Britain ramps up its national vaccination programme in a bid to meet its target of inoculating about 15 million people by the middle of February.
The British government’s chief medical adviser Chris Whitty told the BBC on Monday that the country was currently at the worst point in the pandemic and that the death toll of 81,431 was “absolutely appalling”.
Asked if life would ever return to normal, Whitty said: “I am confident we will go back to life as it was before at some point, that’s not in doubt, that’s the life we all want to lead.”
Once vaccines are rolled out, he said, “people will be able to have the restrictions lifted. It won’t happen in one go, and at a certain point, hopefully you’ll get back to a life that is basically exactly the same as it was before”.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, meanwhile, said Britain was in “a race against time” to roll out Covid-19 vaccines as deaths hit record highs and hospitals run out of oxygen.
Meanwhile, French authorities said on Sunday they were racing to contain the new strain, which has now been detected in France’s Mediterranean port of Marseille and in the Alps.
Marseille Mayor Benoit Payan said seven to eight people had tested positive for the new variant in the city, while tests were under way on 30 others who may also have been exposed to it. In response to the discovery of the variant in Marseille, the city imposed moved the start time of an evening curfew two hours earlier to 6pm.
President Emmanuel Macron’s government has said it will not rule out stricter measures if the Covid-19 situation worsens in France. France has the seventh highest Covid-19 death toll in the world at 67,885, with a total of more than 2.8 million infections.
Italy added 18,627 new Covid-19 cases on Sunday, raising to 2,276,491 the nation’s number of confirmed coronavirus infections in the pandemic. Since the previous day, 361 deaths of patients with Covid-19 were registered, boosting the overall known death toll to 78,755, according to the Health Ministry.
The latest infections follow a period of year-end holiday restrictions, including limits on residents’ travel but with some allowances for visiting family or friends. Starting on Monday, Italy returns to a three-tier system, with economic and social activity limits determined by how each region is faring in terms of rate of contagion, availability of ICU beds and other factors.
In Germany, which has seen 40,741 deaths and over 1.9 million cases, Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that the coming weeks will be the most difficult in the pandemic. However, the chancellor also said mass vaccinations, which started in late December, will eventually bring relief.
“A few hundred thousand have been vaccinated and it will become more every day. The speed will pick up,” Merkel said in her weekly podcast.