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Global COVID-19 cases surpass 131m, recurring waves sweep countries amid fatigue

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases around the globe surpassed 131 million on Monday, as an array of countries confronted fresh surges in contagion at the beginning of this month, despite continued efforts to tighten restrictions and administer vaccines.

The global death toll from the pandemic has also hit over 2.8 million, among which nearly 555,000 fatalities occurred in the United States, which also registered the most cumulative cases of over 30 million. Brazil follows with the second highest cases and deaths.

“Much of America’s recent progress against COVID-19 has been erased as new infections jump nationwide,” CNN said in a report last week, adding that the troubling B.1.1.7 variant strain is spreading more rapidly in the country, which health experts said is more infectious and deadlier.

Also worsening the situation are “young, carefree revelers” and the fact that many states discarded safety restrictions, CNN quoted Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, as saying.

Battling against a new wave of COVID-19 infections fueled by more transmissible variants, European countries are facing the unprecedented challenge of balancing disease control and public life with economic reopening.

Over the past week, many European countries, embracing a possible worst third wave of COVID-19, have tightened their lockdown measures in an attempt to build a “breakwater” ahead of the Easter holidays.

A total of 27 countries in the region have been in partial or full nationwide lockdown, with 21 of them imposing nighttime curfews, the World Health Organisation’s (WHO’s) European Region Office said last week.

In France, one of the worst-hit countries in the region, the accumulative COVID-19 cases reached 4,822,470 as of Sunday. The number of hospitalised COVID-19 patients in the country rose by 470 in a single day to a total of 29,356, showed the latest health authorities data.

The country entered its third national lockdown on Saturday as shops deemed non-essential have to close, people’s movement is limited to a radius of 10 kilometers from home while nurseries and schools will be closed for three to four weeks.

Another 2,297 people in Britain have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the country to 4,359,388, according to official figures released on Sunday.  -Xinhua

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