- Russia, Eastern Europe see record number of infections
- Germany also sees a peak in cases despite vaccinations
- Delta variant easing fluctuation in many countries
- Japan to record no COVID deaths on Sunday
Nov. 8 (Reuters) – Global COVID-19 cases surpassed 250 million Monday as some countries in Eastern Europe experience record outbreaks even as the Delta variant wave wanes and many countries resume trade and tourism.
The daily average number of cases has fallen 36% in the past three months, according to a Reuters analysis, but the virus still infects 50 million people worldwide every 90 days because of its highly transmissible Delta strain.
In contrast, it took almost a year to register the first 50 million COVID-19 cases.
Health experts are optimistic that many countries have put the worst of the pandemic behind them thanks to vaccines and natural exposure, though they warn that colder weather and upcoming holiday gatherings could increase the number of cases.
“We think that between now and the end of 2022, this is the point where we can get this virus under control…where we can significantly reduce severe morbidity and mortality,” Maria Van Kerkhove, an epidemiologist who leads the World Health Organization, told Reuters. on November 3
Infections are still rising in 55 of the 240 countries, according to a Reuters analysis, with Russia, Ukraine and Greece at or near record levels of reported cases since the pandemic began two years ago.
Eastern Europe has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the region. More than half of all new infections reported worldwide came from countries in Europe, with about one million new infections every four days, according to the analysis.
Several Russian regions this week said they could impose additional restrictions or extend the workplace closure as the country witnesses a record number of deaths from the disease.
On Monday, Russia reported 39,400 new cases of COVID-19, including nearly 5,000 in Moscow alone. read more
Also in Germany, despite much higher vaccination levels, the infection rate rose to the highest level since the start of the pandemic and doctors said they would have to postpone planned surgeries in the coming weeks to cope.
By contrast, Japan recorded no daily deaths from COVID-19 for the first time in more than a year on Sunday, local media reported. The number of vaccinations has now been increased to cover more than 70% of the Japanese population.
China, the world’s most populous country where the pandemic first started, administered about 8.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines on Sunday, bringing the total number of doses administered to 2.3 billion, data showed on Monday .
Several world leaders have emphasized the need to improve vaccination programs, especially in the poorest countries.
According to Our World in Data, more than half of the world’s population has yet to receive a single dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, a figure that drops to less than 5% in low-income countries.
Improving access to vaccines will be on the agenda of the meetings of the powerful Asia-Pacific trade group APEC, which is being virtually hosted by New Zealand this week.
APEC members, including Russia, China and the United States, pledged at a special meeting in June to expand the sharing and manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines and remove barriers to trade in drugs.
“Together we maintain supply chains and support trade in critical medical supplies – including test kits, personal protective equipment and now vaccines,” New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Monday.
The World Health Organization and other aid agencies last month called on leaders from the world’s 20 largest economies to fund a $23.4 billion plan to deliver COVID-19 vaccines, tests and drugs to poorer people over the next 12 months. to bring countries.
Reporting by Roshan Abraham and Rittik Biswas in Bengaluru Editing by Lisa Shumaker, Jane Wardell and Gareth Jones
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