• Sunday, Mar 07, 2021
  • Last Update : 12:02 pm

Covid-19: Global caseload nearing 100m

  • Published at 01:56 pm January 25th, 2021
People wearing face masks as a preventive measure against the Covid-19 coronavirus walk along the promenade on the Bund in Shanghai on January 15, 2021. (Photo by Hector RETAMAL / AFP)
People wearing face masks as a preventive measure against the Covid-19 coronavirus walk along the promenade on the Bund in Shanghai on January 15, 2021 AFP

The total case count reached 99,177,542 with 2,129,134 fatalities as of Monday morning

More than 99 million people have been infected with Covid-19 across the world, according to Johns Hopkins University (JHU). 

The total case count reached 99,177,542 with 2,129,134 fatalities as of Monday morning, said the data.

The United States – the world’s worst-hit country – crossed the grim milestone of 20 million cases on New Year’s Day. The country’s infection tally reached 25,124,064 and fatalities stood at 419,204 on early Monday.

Brazil registered 592 deaths from Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing the national death toll to 217,037 - the second-highest death toll in the world- the country's Ministry of Health said on Sunday.

Brazil's outbreak is the third-largest in the world, after the US and India. The country is experiencing a second wave of Covid-19, with cases and deaths on the rise since December. India’s total tally reached 10,654,533 while the country’s death toll mounted to 153,339 on Monday.

The United Kingdom has been another raging hotspot for the pandemic over the winter, and the country now stands poised to become the first country in Europe, and only the fifth overall (after the USA, Brazil, India and Mexico), to reach 100,000 fatalities - despite a population (66 million) that is almost half that of the smallest among the other four (Mexico with a population of 127 million).

As of Monday, the UK has recorded a caseload of 3.62 million, and 97, 329 deaths from Covid-19. 

Apart from the high morbidity, UK has also been in the news throughout the winter for the identification of a new variant of the virus, which came to be known as the UK Variant, and is now the most common form of the virus, or dominant variant, in England and Northern Ireland, and has spread to more than 50 other countries.

While it was established quite early on that it is a more infectious form of the virus, transmitting more easily from person to person, this week it was revealed that it may even be deadlier than the original.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told a Downing Street briefing: "In addition to spreading more quickly, it also now appears that there is some evidence that the new variant - the variant that was first identified in London and the south east - may be associated with a higher degree of mortality."

Apart from the UK variant, variants emerging out of Brazil and South Africa are also causing headaches to policymakers, and causing governments to consider reimposing travel bans to or from those countries. 

Meanwhile, US was set to join France, Israel and Sweden in pulling up the drawbridge to certain arrivals, with special concern about new variants of the pathogen that originated in Britain and South Africa.

The stipulations came as Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador became the latest public figure to test positive for the disease, and New Zealand reported its first community case for more than two months.

In Washington, Biden will on Monday reimpose a ban on most non-US citizens who have been in Britain, Brazil, Ireland and much on Europe, as well as adding South Africa to the list, a senior White House official said.

On Sunday, France started demanding a negative PCR test for arrivals by sea and air from European Union neighbours.

Sweden said it would prohibit entry from neighbouring Norway for three weeks, after cases of the more infectious British variant were detected in Oslo.

Vaccination challenges

Scientists say the only way out of the pandemic is large scale vaccinations, but the roll-out has stuttered in many places.

Egypt began its program, with a doctor and a nurse getting the Chinese-made Sinopharm jab.

Health Minister Hala Zayed said Cairo had inked deals for vaccine shipments from British, Chinese and Russian firms, for a total of around 100 million doses -- enough for about half Egypt's population.

In India, around one-third of people are not turning up for vaccine appointments, with fear of side effects high after reports of a few cases of severe reactions spread widely through the media and messaging services.

Australia's medical regulator formally approved the Pfizer vaccine, with the first doses expected to be administered in late February, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday.

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