Mon, 08 Mar 2021

World Surpasses 100 Million Coronavirus Cases

Voice of America
27 Jan 2021, 22:35 GMT+10

As countries deal with coronavirus vaccine access, supply and distribution difficulties, the world surpassed 100 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 with more than 2.1 million deaths.

It took about 11 months for worldwide infections to reach 50 million, and three more months to hit 100 million.

Five nations have suffered more than 100,000 deaths, including Britain, which crossed that threshold on Tuesday.

Public health officials have urged people to take steps such as wearing masks, keeping distance from others, and avoiding large gatherings in order to stop the spread of the virus. Governments have turned to various levels of lockdowns amid spikes in infections.

Peru announced late Tuesday a lockdown of its capital and nine other regions as hospitals struggled to deal with a big increase in cases.

FILE PHOTO: A medical worker takes notes near a patient at the intensive care unit (ICU) of the Emergencias de Villa El... FILE - A medical worker takes notes near a patient at the intensive care unit (ICU) of the Emergencias de Villa El Salvador hospital, during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Lima, Peru, Dec. 22, 2020.

President Francisco Sagasti said non-essential shops would close, regional travel would be suspended, and a ban on incoming flights from Brazil and Europe would be extended until at least February 14.

Sagasti said the first batch of vaccine doses made by Sinopharm would arrive in Peru "in the coming days," with inoculations set to begin in February.

South Korea is also trying to control its latest outbreak.

A health official said 297 cases had been traced to six churches and schools run by a Christian organization, which has been ordered to test everyone at 32 of its 40 sites in the country.

In Australia, health officials reported progress with the country's tenth consecutive day without any new local COVID-19 infections.

In response, authorities are set to ease restrictions regarding mask wearing and the number of people allowed to gather for parties, weddings and at places of worship beginning Friday.

People line up to enter a grocery store before an impending lockdown due to an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)... FILE - People line up to enter a grocery store before an impending lockdown due to an outbreak of the coronavirus disease in Brisbane, Australia, Jan. 8, 2021.

"They both go hand in hand, you can't have an open economy unless you make sure you get the health settings right," New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian said, while urging people to get tested for COVID-19 even for the "mildest of symptoms."

After a race by numerous companies to develop effective COVID-19 vaccines, about 56 countries have begun vaccinating their populations.

But with many large countries placing huge orders, the World Health Organization and others have warned of the dangers of "vaccine nationalism" with people in other countries left out.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said Tuesday wealthy countries should not hold onto excess stockpiles of COVID-19 vaccines, and that the world needs to work together to fight the pandemic.

Ramaphosa told a virtual meeting of the World Economic Forum that those who have hoarded vaccines need to release them "so that other countries can have them."

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