The second year of the COVID-19 pandemic could be more difficult than the first given the spread of the coronavirus, particularly in the northern hemisphere as more infectious variants circulate, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday. .
“We are entering a second year, it might even be more difficult given the dynamics of transmission and some of the issues we are seeing,” Mike Ryan, senior WHO emergency officer, said at an event on social networks.
The worldwide death toll has approached two million people since the start of the pandemic, with 91.5 million people infected.
The WHO, in its latest epidemiological update released overnight, said that after two weeks of fewer reported cases, some five million new cases were reported last week, the likely result of a downgrade in defenses during the holiday season when people – and the virus – have come together.
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“Certainly in the northern hemisphere, especially in Europe and North America, we’ve seen this kind of perfect storm of the season – coldness, people coming in, increased social mixing and a combination. factors that have led to increased transmission in so many countries, ”Ryan said.
Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO technical officer for COVID-19, warned: “After the holidays, in some countries the situation will get much worse before it gets better.”
Amid growing fears of the more contagious variant of the coronavirus first detected in Britain but now entrenched around the world, governments across Europe on Wednesday announced tighter and longer coronavirus restrictions.
This includes demands for home offices and store closures in Switzerland, a prolonged Italian state of emergency for COVID-19 and German efforts to further reduce contact between people, who have been blamed for the unsuccessful efforts, until ‘now, to bring the coronavirus under control.
“So far, 350,000 SARS-CoV-2 sequences have been shared publicly, but most come from only a handful of countries. Improving the geographic coverage of sequencing is essential for the world to have eyes and ears on the virus changes. ” < br> – @mvankerkhove # COVID19 pic.twitter.com/MphC6W1ErP
“I’m afraid we’re going to stay in this peak and trough and peak and trough pattern, and we can do better,” Van Kerkhove said.
She called for maintaining physical distance. “The farther away, the better … be sure to keep this distance from people outside of your immediate household.”
What’s happening across Canada
At 2:45 p.m. ET as of Wednesday, Canada had reported 679,934 cases of COVID-19, of which 79,917 were considered active. A TBEN News death tally stood at 17,348.
Saskatchewan recorded 247 new cases of COVID-19 and two deaths on Wednesday.
Manitoba announced 158 new cases and five deaths.
Ontario, which on Wednesday recorded 2,961 new cases and 74 additional deaths, announced plans to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to all high-risk nursing homes and retirement homes by February 15.
Members of the province’s vaccine distribution task force said residents, workers and essential caregivers at those facilities would receive their first doses on that date.
Quebec reported 2,071 new cases and 35 additional deaths. The province also said more than 1,500 residents are currently hospitalized due to COVID-19.
New Brunswick added 19 more cases. Meanwhile, a third death has been recorded at the Shannex Parkland nursing home in Saint John. The outbreak now reports 25 active cases, involving 14 residents and 11 employees
Newfoundland and Labrador saw no new cases for the third day in a row and, with another upturn, the province’s active workload has now fallen to three – its lowest level since Nov. 4.
New Scotland reported eight new cases, including three university students.
In the North, the Yukon The government has launched a website where residents of the territory can book their COVID-19 vaccination appointments, while Northwest Territories health officials have released more details on when residents of the territory can start receiving doses.
What is happening in the world
As of Wednesday, more than 91.8 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, of which more than 50.7 million were considered recovered or resolved, according to the University’s COVID-19 case tracker Johns Hopkins. The global death toll stood at over 1.9 million.
In AsiaJapan extended the coronavirus state of emergency to seven other prefectures on Wednesday, affecting more than half of the population amid an outbreak of infections across the country.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga also said Japan will suspend early entry exceptions for business visitors or other residence permit holders, completely banning foreign visitors while the state of emergency is in place.
in the Americas, coronavirus deaths in the United States reached another single-day high with 4,327 deaths. The country’s overall death toll from COVID-19 has eclipsed 380,000, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Deaths have risen sharply in the past 2.5 months and the country is in the deadliest phase of the epidemic to date, even as the vaccine is rolled out.
In EuropeSwiss authorities are tightening restrictions to fight the coronavirus, ordering the closure of all stores selling non-essential goods and stricter rules on private gatherings.
The Federal Council ruled on Wednesday that a previous extension of measures announced last month had not coincided with a significant drop in the number of cases. The new measures come into force on Monday.
In AfricaSudan has lifted the ban on travelers from Britain, the Netherlands and South Africa until April 11, the country’s civil aviation authority said in a statement.
The country imposed the ban on December 23 due to the discovery of a new variant of the coronavirus in all three countries.