An excavator is seen during a collective burial at the Parque Taruma cemetery in Manaus, Brazil. File/Reuters
Gulf Today Report
The worldwide coronavirus death toll surpassed 2 million on Friday, with the World Health Organization (WHO) urging mass vaccinations as the pandemic progresses at a record pace.
As coronavirus death toll surpassed 2 million, nations worldwide try to procure multiple vaccines and detect new COVID-19 variants.
As of 1825 GMT on Friday, at least 2,000,066 people worldwide had been confirmed dead of the virus that first emerged in Wuhan, China, in late 2019, according to an AFP tally.
The grim milestone came as US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer said shipments of its vaccines would slow for a period in late January -- a blow to fledgling campaigns to immunize people against the virus.
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The WHO on Friday called for a worldwide acceleration in vaccine rollouts -- as well as a ramp-up in efforts to study the sequencing of the virus, in order to tackle troubling new strains emerging around the world.
"I want to see vaccination under way in every country in the next 100 days so that health workers and those at high risk are protected first," Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a press conference in Geneva.
His call came as infections snowballed, with 724,000 new cases recorded on average per day globally over the past week, according to AFP's tally -- a record 10 percent increase on a week earlier.
A patient arrives by ambulance to Wyckoff Hospital in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn in New York. File photo
While countries from Spain to Lebanon have announced record caseloads, the surge has been most marked in Latin America and the Caribbean, where confirmed cases leapt 26 percent this week.
US President-elect Joe Biden said on Friday he would harness the full strength of the federal government in a vaccine blitz: creating thousands of immunization sites, deploying mobile clinics and expanding the public health workforce."You have my word: we will manage the hell out of this operation," said Biden, five days before he assumes leadership of the world's hardest-hit country, where the death toll is approaching 400,000.
Governments around the world are trying to stop the spread of the disease while scrambling for ways to relieve pressure on their economies, which are facing a historic downturn with millions pushed into unemployment.
“We are seeing a roughly similar pattern everywhere — I suspect we have more immunity than estimated,” Professor Karol Sikora, who previously directed the WHO’s cancer programme, said.
Nearly 843,000 people have died of Covid-19 globally, and with no vaccine or effective treatment available yet, governments have been forced to resort to some form of social distancing and lockdowns to stop the spread of the virus.
The UAE’s annual literary extravaganza, the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature began on Wednesday with a starry mix of Hollywood celebrity, award-winning authors and experts leading the field on matters shaping the world. Across the week-long event, the festival will feature almost 300 sessions, ensuring there’s something for everyone, from live music and poetry performances to workshops, film screenings, and of course inspiring talks from some of the biggest names in literature.
The earthquake was recorded at 6:44 pm (10:44 GMT), near the Moncayo district in Davao de Oro province on the island of Mindanao.
Authorities are also probing the possibility that people inside the compound helped to coordinate the attack, the senior provincial police official told AFP on condition of anonymity.