Coronavirus: what’s happening around the world on Thursday

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  • Africa CDC says a new variant of the virus appears to have emerged in Nigeria, but further investigation is needed.
  • The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Ukraine exceeds one million.
  • Mexico now has more people hospitalized for COVID-19 than it saw at the height of the first wave of the pandemic in late July.
  • Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines have been approved in Canada. Here’s what you need to know.
  • Ontario Premier Doug Ford says international travelers are at “extreme risk” of the spread of COVID-19. Here are the facts.

U.S. officials say they are on track to deliver 20 million doses of the vaccine by the first week of January. But how quickly those shots will enter the arms is unclear.

In a briefing with reporters on Wednesday, General Gus Perna, Operation Warp Speed ​​official, said states were administering doses at a “good rate” and “immunizing quite a few people.” But the chief scientific adviser for the American vaccination campaign added that the vaccination of people was going “slower than we thought”.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that about one million doses were given as of Wednesday morning out of the 9.5 million doses delivered. However, Perna says there is a lag in the administration’s reporting of the shots.

The shipments are for vaccines manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

A clinician cares for a COVID-19 patient at Providence St. Mary Medical Center in Apple Valley, Calif., Wednesday. The 213-bed capacity hospital in San Bernardino County is currently treating at least 140 hospitalized patients positive for COVID-19 while operating at about 250% of ICU capacity. (Mario Tama / Getty Images)

The United States has recorded more than 18.4 million cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic and more than 326,000 deaths, according to a tracking tool updated by Johns Hopkins University.

Despite calls from health officials to keep people at home, millions of Americans are traveling before Christmas and New Years, just as they did last month for Thanksgiving.

Hospitals in California and elsewhere have been pushed to the brink. They have hired additional staff, canceled elective surgeries, and set up outdoor tents to treat patients, all to increase capacity before cases contracted over Christmas and New Years emerge in the coming weeks.


What’s happening in Canada

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The last:

As of 7 a.m. ET Thursday, the number of COVID-19 cases in Canada stood at 528,354, of which 75,305 are considered active. A CBC News death tally stood at 14,597 people.

Health Canada approved a second COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday, paving the way for injections from the American biotech company Moderna to start arriving in the country.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau welcomed the move at a press conference in which he also announced that Canada would receive more doses of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine next month than expected, after its approval by Health Canada on the 9th. December.

Between the first doses already in the country and the shipments now planned, Canada is expected to have at least 1.2 million doses of Pfizer and Moderna delivered by Jan.31, Trudeau said. Rollout of the Moderna vaccine is expected to begin in days, and Health Canada has said it expects up to 168,000 doses to be administered by the end of December.


What is happening in the world

A boy stands near a Christmas tree with a coronavirus-themed decoration in Bali, Indonesia on Thursday. (Firdia Lisnawati / The Associated Press)

As of Thursday morning, more than 78.8 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, with more than 44.4 million cases considered cured or resolved, according to Johns Hopkins. The global death toll stood at over 1.7 million.

Another new variant of the coronavirus appears to have emerged in Nigeria, AfricaThe top public health official said Thursday, but further investigation is needed. “It’s a distinct lineage from the UK and South Africa,” African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Chief John Nkengasong told reporters.

He said the Nigerian CDC and the African Center of Excellence for Infectious Disease Genomics in that country – Africa’s most populous – will analyze more samples. “Give us some time… It’s still very early,” he said.

The alert over the apparent new variant was based on two or three genetic sequences, he said, but that and South Africa’s alert late last week were enough to spark a reunion of African CDC emergency this week. The news comes as infections are on the rise again in parts of the continent.

The new variant in South Africa is now the most predominant there, Nkengasong said, as confirmed infections in the country approach one million. While the variant is transmitted quickly and viral loads are higher, it is not yet clear whether this leads to more serious illness, he said.

Africa’s top public health official, John Nkengasong, said further investigation is needed into a new variant of the coronavirus that appears to have emerged in Nigeria. (Michael Tewelde / AFP / Getty Images)

“We believe that this mutation will have no effect” on the deployment of COVID-19 vaccines on the continent, he said of the South African variant. Late Wednesday, the South African Minister of Health announced an “alarming rate of spread” in that country, with more than 14,000 new cases confirmed in the last day, including more than 400 deaths.

The country has more than 950,000 infections and COVID-19 is “relentless,” Zwelini Mkhize said in a statement. The African continent now has more than 2.5 million confirmed cases, or 3.3% of global cases. Infections across the continent have increased 10.9% in the past four weeks, Nkengasong said, including an increase of 52% in Nigeria and 40% in South Africa.

In L’Europe , Denmark has identified 33 infections with the new variant of the coronavirus which has spread rapidly in parts of Britain.

Irish health chiefs believe a new variant of COVID-19 found in neighboring Britain is present in Ireland, but not only responsible for the rapid spread of the disease.

The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Ukraine surpassed one million on Thursday. Ukrainian health officials on Thursday reported 11,490 new infections, bringing the country’s total to 1,001,132. Ukraine has also reported 17,395 deaths in the pandemic.

The rapid increase in cases of the virus in Ukraine began in September and has put a strain on the country’s health system. In order to curb the spread of contagions, Ukrainian authorities decided to impose strict lockdown restrictions in January.

Russian authorities on Thursday reported 29,935 new cases of the coronavirus, the highest daily peak in the pandemic. This represents nearly 2,700 more infections than had been recorded the day before. Russia’s total of over 2.9 million remains the fourth highest number of coronavirus cases in the world. The government’s coronavirus task force has also recorded more than 53,000 deaths in total.

People wearing face masks to protect themselves against the coronavirus are walking in Moscow on Wednesday. The number of COVID-19 cases in Russia continues to rise. (Alexander Zemlianichenko / The Associated Press)

Russia was swept away by a rapid resurgence of the epidemic this fall, with the number of confirmed COVID-19 infections and deaths significantly exceeding those reported in the spring. The country’s authorities have resisted the imposition of a second nationwide lockdown or widespread business closures.

French President Emmanuel Macron has no more viral symptoms and is leaving isolation after a week with COVID-19, but urges the French public to limit contact and remain vigilant to keep infections under control during the holiday season .

Macron’s office said in a statement Thursday that he was completing a week of isolation at a presidential retreat in Versailles based on French health protocols, which recommend seven days of isolation after a positive viral test.

in the AmericasMexico now has more people hospitalized for COVID-19 than it saw at the height of the first wave of the pandemic in late July. The Department of Health says 18,301 people are hospitalized across Mexico and are being treated for the disease that can be caused by the coronavirus. This is 0.4% more than in July.

Mexico City is the epicenter of the current wave of infections, and 85% of its hospital beds are in service.

An Army National Guard soldier treats a line of cars filled with people undergoing COVID-19 testing in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Wednesday. (Cedar Attansio / The Associated Press)

in the Asia Pacific region, Singapore confirmed its first case of the novel coronavirus variant found in the UK, while 11 others who were already in quarantine had returned preliminary positive results for the new strain

Indonesia has banned travelers from Britain and tightened the rules for those arriving from Europe and Australia to try to limit the spread of a new variant of the coronavirus.

Taiwan’s tourism department on Wednesday canceled an annual New Year’s celebration at the northeastern tip of the
island, after a report of the first case of COVID-19 transmitted locally since April 12.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government reported 888 new cases of coronavirus on Thursday, an unprecedented daily record.

in the Middle East, Israel has detected four cases of the highly contagious new variant that has emerged in Britain. The country will impose a third national lockdown to fight escalating COVID-19 infections, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

Kuwait has started its vaccine rollout, with the first injections of Pfizer given to healthcare workers and essential workers, the elderly, and people with chronic health conditions.

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