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.
At least 42,262,290 cases of coronavirus have been registered, of which at least 28,754,900 are now considered recovered. On Friday, 6,366 new deaths and 482,954 new cases were recorded worldwide.
The deal arrives just in time for a summit of world leaders hosted by the U.S. government on Thursday and Friday, where the EU and other global powers will promote their pledges to protect the planet.
Biden has invited 40 world leaders including Xi and Russia's Vladimir Putin to the meet starting on Earth Day, meant to mark Washington's return to the front lines of the fight against climate change after former president Donald Trump disengaged from the process.
As aviation industry players have become more optimistic on the resumption of international flights worldwide, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) recently signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with a leading European diagnostic service provider, for more ease to passengers required to secure negative Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) test results.
Sheikh Abdullah affirmed the depth and strength of relations between the UAE and Pakistan, which, he said, are longstanding and based on mutual trust and respect. He stressed the two nations’ determination to grow cooperation across all fields for the common good of both nations’ peoples.