A staff member checks a COVID-19 inactivated vaccine product at a packaging plant of the Beijing Biological Products Institute Co., Ltd. in Beijing, capital of China, Dec. 25, 2020. (Xinhua/Zhang Yuwei)
- The world finally sees the light at the end of the tunnel as an increasing number of countries started conducting mass vaccination.
- However, the pandemic situations around the world are still challenging as several variants of coronavirus reported in different countries pose new threats.
BEIJING, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- Global COVID-19 deaths just surpassed 2 million on Friday, with over 93.4 million cases recorded worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Scores of countries have started to conduct mass vaccination, however, the pandemic situations around the world are still challenging as several variants of coronavirus reported in different countries pose new threats.
Health workers wheel a patient on a stretcher out of an ambulance at the Maimonides Medical Center in New York, the United States, Jan. 5, 2021. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Xinhua)
GLOBAL CASES INCREASE
Less than a week ago, the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University reported on Sunday that COVID-19 cases around the world surpassed 90 million.
According to the latest data, the United States still had the most cases and deaths around the world, which stood at 23,491,421 and 391,540, respectively. India recorded 10,527,683 cases, ranking second and followed by Brazil with 8,393,492 cases and the world's second largest death toll of 208,246.
Countries with more than 2 million cases also include Russia, Britain, France, Turkey, Italy, Spain, and Germany while other countries with over 50,000 deaths include India, Mexico, Britain, Italy, France, Russia, Iran and Spain, according to the CSSE tally.
Global cases hit 60 million on Nov. 25, surpassed 70 million on Dec. 11 and reached 80 million on Dec. 26.
A medical worker receives inoculation of China's Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine at Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital in downtown Jakarta, capital of Indonesia, Jan. 14, 2021. (Xinhua/Ye Pingfan)
MASS VACCINATION UNDERWAY
The world finally sees the light at the end of the tunnel as an increasing number of countries started conducting mass vaccination.
Israeli Ministry of Health announced on Friday that the number of people vaccinated against COVID-19 in the country has exceeded 2 million, over 21.5 percent of its total population.
Also on Friday, data from the Turkish Health Ministry showed that over 600,000 health workers have received their first doses of vaccine developed by China's Sinovac company during the first two days of the country's vaccination program.
So far, 38 of the 46 countries that have started vaccinations are high-income countries, according to Mariangela Simao, Assistant Director-General for Drug Access, Vaccines and Pharmaceuticals at World Health Organization (WHO).
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Friday called for fair access to vaccines, stressing that more efforts should be made to ensure that middle and low-income countries are equally protected.
"I want to see vaccination underway in every country in the next 100 days, so that health workers and those at high-risk are protected first," he said.
Even in some developed countries, the public is not satisfied with the vaccination campaigns. In the United States, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday the region is out of COVID-19 vaccines and demanded the federal government to send additional doses. And the New York region is not alone in short of vaccine supply.
In France, where the first jab had been administered to more than 318,000 people by Friday, the government was criticized for a slow start of the campaign.
A man wearing a face mask walks past an advertising board reading "Stay Home Save Lives" in London, Britain, Jan. 10, 2020. (Xinhua/Han Yan)
NEW VARIANTS SPREADING
It has posed a new threat that the new variants of COVID-19 first detected in Britain, South Africa and Brazil are rapidly spreading across the world.
Researchers at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and College of Medicine have discovered two new COVID-19 variants likely originated in the United States.
Brazil's Health Ministry confirmed Friday the country's first case of reinfection with a new variant of COVID-19, detected in the northern state of Amazonas.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Friday that Britain will close all travel corridors to the country from 0400 GMT on Monday in a bid to keep out new coronavirus variants, just one day after the country imposed bans to arrivals from South American countries and Portugal.
Britain is not alone to impose travel bans over the new coronavirus variants. Earlier this week, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced that the entry of all non-resident foreign nationals into Japan will be suspended as the country reported four cases of a new variant on Sunday.
Countries including Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Iraq, Peru, Ireland, Russia and Germany have all upgraded or extended travel restrictions over concerns about new variants of the coronavirus. ■