UNITED STATES recorded a record number of coronavirus cases in 24 hours for the third day.
Johns Hopkins University figures show the world’s worst-hit country – which has seen a dramatic recovery from the virus in recent weeks – recorded nearly 230,000 new infections and 2,527 Covid-related deaths yesterday.
In two weeks, the United States regularly exceeded 2,000 deaths a day, as it did in the spring at the height of the first wave of the country’s outbreak.
U.S. health officials have warned of a wave after millions of Americans traveled to celebrate Thanksgiving last week despite requests from authorities to stay home.
The coronavirus has now killed more than 1.5 million people and infected 66 million worldwide since it appeared in China last year, according to official AFP estimates.
In the United Kingdom, it was announced that the Queen would receive the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine within weeks of UK regulatory approval. Vaccine delivery will begin next week.
British health authorities need to use age and vulnerability criteria to decide who gets the vaccine first.
Residents of nursing homes and their carers will be inoculated first, followed by those aged 80 and over and health and care staff.
The UK has ordered a total of 40 million doses of vaccine in total, and is expected to receive an initial batch of 800,000 to begin distribution next week.
The World Health Organization has warned that vaccines are not a magic bullet for the coronavirus crisis, as Russia has begun vaccinating its high-risk workers and other countries ready for similar programs.
The WHO has warned of what it says is a misconception that the pandemic will soon end with vaccines in sight.
“Vaccines are not equal to zero Covid,” said WHO Director of Emergency Michael Ryan, adding that not everyone would be able to receive them early next year.
“Vaccination will add a big, big, powerful tool to the toolkit we have.” “But by themselves, they will not do the job.”
WHO Director-General Tedros Adanom Gebreizus also warned of a “growing perception that the pandemic is over”, as the virus was still spreading rapidly, putting enormous pressure on hospitals and healthcare workers.
Health officials in Moscow say they have opened 70 coronavirus vaccine centers in the Russian capital that will initially offer strokes to health, education and social workers.
The WHO says 51 candidate vaccines are currently being tested in humans, 13 of which have reached mass testing in the final phase.
No news is bad news
Support the newspaper
Yours contributions will help us continue to deliver stories that are important to you
Support us now
The United States is expected to give the go-ahead for vaccines later this month.
South Korea today raised its coronavirus alert to the second-highest level in Seoul and surrounding areas after new infections jumped from about 100 a day to more than 500 in recent weeks.
All gatherings of more than 50 people will be banned, and professional sports will be held behind closed doors without spectators.
Cafes will continue to serve only take-offs, while restaurants must be closed by 9pm, with only deliveries allowed afterwards. The intensified measures will be in force by the end of the year.
Italy is seeing a dramatic resurgence of infections, after greatly reducing its past rise with a severe blockade, while Latin America and the Caribbean have seen an 18% jump in cases in a week.
Other countries will also see restrictions on the holidays, with Switzerland banning Christmas carols on the streets and Madrid canceling most New Year’s Eve downtown events.
Portugal’s second wave began to subside, but authorities said they had decided to keep the restrictions in place so they could relax during the holiday season.