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Global COVID Cases Reach 250 Million as Eastern Europe Hits ‘Record’ Levels

Global COVID Cases Reach 250 Million as Eastern Europe Hits ‘Record’ Levels

Global COVID-19 cases surpassed 250 million on Monday as some countries in eastern Europe experience record outbreaks even as the Delta variant surge finally has begun to ease and many countries resume trade and tourism. More than half the world’s population has yet to receive a single dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to Our World in Data, a figure that drops to less than 5% in low-income countries.

The daily average number of cases has fallen by 36% over the past three months, according to a Reuters analysis, but the Coronavirus is still infecting 50 million people worldwide every 90 days due to the highly transmissible Delta variant. By contrast, it took nearly a year to record the first 50 million COVID-19 cases. Health experts say they are optimistic that many nations have put the worst of the pandemic behind them thanks to vaccines and natural exposure, although they caution that colder weather and upcoming holiday gatherings could increase cases.

But infections are still rising in 55 out of 240 countries, with Russia, Ukraine, and Greece at or near record levels of reported cases since the pandemic started two years ago, according to the Reuters analysis. Eastern Europe has among the lowest vaccination rates in the region. More than half of all new infections reported worldwide were from countries in Europe, with a million new infections about every four days, according to the analysis. On Monday, Russia reported 39,400 new COVID-19 cases, including nearly 5,000 in Moscow alone. In Germany, despite much higher levels of vaccination, the infection rate rose to its highest level since the start of the pandemic and doctors said they would need to postpone scheduled operations in the coming weeks to cope.

 

But in Asia, by contrast, Japan recorded no daily deaths from COVID-19 on Sunday for the first time in more than a year, local media said. Vaccinations have increased now to cover more than 70% of Japan’s population. China, the world’s most populous country where the pandemic first began, administered about 8.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines on Sunday, bringing the total number of doses given to 2.3 billion, data showed on Monday.

Improving vaccine access will be on the agenda of meetings of the powerful Asia-Pacific trade group APEC, hosted virtually by New Zealand this week. APEC members, which include Russia, China, and the United States, pledged at a special meeting in June to expand sharing and manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines and lift trade barriers for medicines.

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