Coronavirus News Brief – October 29: Cases in Europe increase, Britain removes all countries from red list


While the number of new coronavirus cases is on the decline in many parts of the world, that number is increasing in Europe. The World Health Organization reported that between October 18 and 24, more than half of the new confirmed cases worldwide were in Europe.

The low vaccination rates in many parts of Eastern Europe are largely to blame. The majority of the adult population in Western Europe is fully immune to Covid.

“The global number of reported cases and deaths from Covid-19 is now increasing for the first time in two months, driven by a continued increase in Europe which outweighs declines in other regions”, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus , director-general of the WHO, told reporters on Thursday. “It’s another reminder that the Covid-19 pandemic is far from over.”

Meanwhile, UK officials have said they are removing all remaining countries from the so-called “red list”. As a result, fully vaccinated travelers arriving from Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru and Venezuela will no longer need to self-quarantine in a hotel. The transport ministry is keeping the red list program in place, however, and officials have warned that countries could be added to it if warranted.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said Britain has been “able to do it now because the worrying variants we are tracking are no longer of concern to chief medical officers.”

As of Friday morning, the world had recorded 246.5 million cases of Covid-19 and more than 4.99 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks this information. In addition, 223.3 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus.

The average daily number of new coronavirus cases in the United States over the past 14 days is 72,569, a change of -16%. The average number of deaths per day over the same period is 1,381, a variation of -13% over the same period.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic, the United States has recorded more than 46.7 million cases on Friday, a figure higher than any other country, and a death toll of 763,784. India has the second-highest number of officially recorded cases in the world, more than 34.2 million, and a death toll of 457,221, although experts believe the two figures are actually significantly higher. Finally, Brazil recorded the second highest number of deaths from the virus, 607,125, and recorded 21.8 million cases.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said as of Friday, 221.3 million people in the United States – or 66.7% – had received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of this population, 57.6%, or 191.2 million people, are now fully vaccinated, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 417.8 million. Breaking down further, 79.8% of the population over the age of 18 – or 206.1 million people – received at least one first vaccination and 69.2% of the same group – or 178.6 million people – are fully vaccinated.

More than 3.87 billion people around the world have received a dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, a figure equivalent to about 50.4% of the world’s population, an increase of 0.2 percentage point over the last 24 hours. However, there are still countries such as Canada, China, Denmark, France, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States, where at least 65% of the population has received at least one dose of vaccine against the coronavirus, and countries like Ethiopia, Haiti, Syria, Senegal, Tanzania and Uganda, for example, where vaccination rates are single-digit or even lower.

Figures from the World Health Organization show that wealthy countries immunize people at the rate of one person per second, while the majority of poor countries have yet to administer a single dose to their citizens.

It is essential that the world does a better job of sharing vaccines with the poorest countries.

Sharing vaccines is not just a form of charity. On the contrary, equitable distribution of vaccines is in the health and economic interests of each country and no country will be able to overcome the pandemic until other countries have recovered as well.

Jonathan Spira contributed to this story.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)


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