June 18 (Reuters) – Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:
Global COVID-19 death toll exceeds 4 mln, Reuters tally shows
Coronavirus-related deaths worldwide passed a grim milestone of 4 million on Thursday, according to a Reuters tally, as many countries struggle to procure enough vaccines to inoculate their populations.
It took over a year for the COVID-19 death toll to hit 2 million, while the next 2 million were recorded in just 166 days, according to a Reuters analysis.
The top five countries by total number of deaths – the United States, Brazil, India, Russia and Mexico – represent about 50% of all deaths in the world, while Peru, Hungary, Bosnia, the Czech Republic and Gibraltar have the highest death rates when adjusted for population.
England invites all adults to get their COVID-19 vaccines
The health service in England will open up COVID-19 vaccinations to everyone aged over 18 on Friday, a big step towards the government’s target of giving every adult who wants a vaccine a first shot in the next month.
“Offering all adults a jab less than 200 days after the programme launched is one of our country’s greatest collective achievements, saving over 14,000 lives so far,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, referring to Public Health England estimates of the impact of the vaccine rollout. Britain has given a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to more than 42 million people, almost 80% of adults, while well over a half have received both shots.
No spectators is the least risky Olympics option
Japan’s top medical experts warned on Friday that holding the Olympics during the COVID-19 pandemic could increase infections, and said banning all spectators was the least risky option, setting up a possible collision with organisers.
The report, led by top health adviser Shigeru Omi, was released after Tokyo 2020’s organising committee chief told the Sankei newspaper she wanted to allow up to 10,000 spectators at stadiums for the global sport extravaganza. read more
White House to finish allocating U.S.-made shots to ship abroad
The White House will finish allocating 80 million U.S.-made COVID-19 shots that it has pledged to ship abroad in the coming days, with shipments going out as soon as the countries are ready to receive them, a top U.S. official said on Thursday.
The United States has already begun shipping doses, said White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients, adding that some shots were meant to go to Canada on Thursday and some will go to Brazil in the coming weeks. read more
Moscow facing new aggressive coronavirus variant, mayor says
Moscow is facing a new coronavirus variant that is more aggressive and infectious, and the situation in the city is rapidly deteriorating, its mayor said on Thursday.
Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said Friday’s caseload would be more than 9,000, which would be the most recorded in Moscow since the pandemic began. Until the beginning of June, daily new infections had been mostly below 3,000 for months. The head of the consumer health watchdog said the number of coronavirus cases attributed to the Delta variant, which was first identified in India, was rising significantly across the country.