The new variants discovered initially in the UK and South Africa are rapidly spreading globally
Worldwide coronavirus cases surpassed 90 million on Monday, according to Reuters tally, as nations around the globe scramble to procure vaccines and continue to extend or reinstate lockdowns to fight new coronavirus variants.
The new Covid-19 variants discovered initially in the United Kingdom and South Africa are rapidly spreading globally.
The novel coronavirus has picked up pace in the past few months with about one-third of total cases registered in the last 48 days, according to a Reuters tally.
Europe, which became the first region to report 25 million cases last week, remains the worst-affected area in the world, followed by North and Latin Americas with 22.4 million and 16.3 million cases respectively. Europe has reported around 31% of about 1.93 million coronavirus-related deaths globally.
The United Kingdom, the worst-affected European country, crossed 3 million cases last Friday. The nation is on course to have immunized its most vulnerable people against Covid-19 by mid-February and plans to offer a shot to every adult by autumn.
To control the spread of new coronavirus variant, countries across the globe have started to extend movement and business restrictions.
On Sunday, the new variant of the coronavirus first detected in Britain has been confirmed in northern Mexico, health officials said. Also, Moscow on Sunday confirmed its first case of the new UK coronavirus variant.
Meanwhile, Japan's Health Ministry said on Sunday that a new coronavirus variant has been detected in four travellers from Brazil's Amazonas state, the latest new mutation of the virus discovered.
A ministry official said studies were underway into the efficacy of vaccines against the new variant, which differs from highly infectious variants first found in Britain and South Africa that have driven a surge in cases.
More than half a million people are under lockdown in Beijing as the government tries to avoid an outbreak in the city of 20 million ahead of the Chinese New Year holiday next month.
The United States, world's worst affected country, reported its highest death toll on Wednesday, with over 4,000 fatalities in a single day.
The nation has recorded more than 22 million cases since the pandemic started, reporting on average 245,000 new infections a day over the last seven days, according to a Reuters analysis.
In Asia, India crossed 150,000 deaths last Tuesday, becoming the third nation to reach the grim milestone.
The south Asian nation has approved two Covid-19 vaccines and will start its vaccination drive from January 16 with priority given to about 30 million healthcare and frontline workers.
Monday marks a year since China announced the first Covid-19 death in Wuhan. The virus has gone on to claim more than 1.9 million lives.
A World Health Organization (WHO) team of 10 scientists will visit China from Thursday to investigate the origins of the pandemic after a last-minute delay earned Beijing a rare rebuke from the head of the WHO.