Paris, Jan 15 (AFP/APP): Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:
Two million dead
The pandemic has killed more than two million people worldwide, according to a tally compiled by AFP on Friday at 1825 GMT based on official figures. At least 2,000,066 people have died of the virus since it first emerged in China in late 2019, out of 93,321,070 cases. The United States has suffered the highest death toll with 389,581 fatalities, followed by Brazil with 207,095 and India 151,918. The number of deaths globally is broadly under-estimated. The toll is calculated from daily figures published by national health authorities and does not include later revisions by statistics agencies.
Drugmaker Pfizer says it expects lower coronavirus vaccine deliveries for a stretch beginning in late January due to works at its key plant in Belgium. European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen says Pfizer’s CEO has guaranteed the delivery of all doses of the vaccine ordered by the bloc for the first quarter of 2021.
The World Health Organization’s emergency committee calls for globally-ramped up coronavirus sequencing studies in order to combat new variants. It also comes out against countries requiring proof of vaccination from incoming international travellers, in a meeting brought forward by two weeks to discuss the emerging strains of the virus behind the Covid-19 pandemic.
WHO vaccination call
The WHO’s director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says he wants Covid-19 vaccination campaigns taking place in every nation across the globe within the next 100 days. At least 35.61 million doses of anti-Covid vaccines have been injected in some 58 countries and territories around the world, according to an AFP tally on Friday.
Chancellor Angela Merkel brings forward a meeting to Tuesday with leaders of the 16 German states to discuss tougher restrictions, after the country records more than two million cases since the start of the pandemic.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says that all arrivals to the UK will have to quarantine and show negative virus tests from next week, as hospitalisations and deaths continue to soar but new cases fall.
Three Italian regions — Lombardy, Sicily and South Tyrol — will go under lockdown next week, as the country says it has administered more than a million doses of coronavirus vaccine.
Portugal enters lockdown
Portugal’s ten million people enter a new lockdown, though the curbs are less strict than during the first lockdown, with schools, courts, churches and florists remaining open.
Chinese media reports over 20,000 residents from villages around Shijiazhuang — about 294 kilometres (180 miles) southwest of Beijing — have been sent to state-run quarantine facilities.
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