The global count of coronavirus infections has crossed 90 million, according to the data released by the US-based Johns Hopkins University. The news comes as health workers worldwide push against the spread of new and more virulent mutations of the disease.
The tally of COVID-19 cases has doubled in just 10 weeks, the Johns Hopkins data showed.
In late October, the number of infections worldwide stood at 45 million compared to 90 million on Sunday.
The pandemic has also claimed nearly 2 million lives around the world in little more than one year.
Britain is opening seven large-scale vaccination centers on Monday to step up its vaccine campaign.
The country, which aims to immunize all vulnerable people by mid-February, is currently administering shots to 200,000 people in a day.
The rate of inoculation needs to be at 2 million a week to meet the target.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock is expected to set out his coronavirus immunization plan later on Monday.
“The UK vaccine delivery plan will be the keystone of our exit out of the pandemic, but we all must continue to play our part by staying at home, following the rules and keeping hands, face, space at the forefront of our minds when out and about,” he said in a statement.
The immunization plan will be the biggest vaccination program in British history.
Meanwhile, Northern Ireland’s health minister said on Sunday that COVID-19 was putting the region’s health care system under extreme stress.
“Our health service is under pressure, like never before, please play your part, follow guidance, you know what to do!” Robin Swann said on Twitter.
His statement came shortly after a hospital in the British-run region took to social media to appeal for help from all off-duty healthcare workers.
Northern Ireland is battling a high coronavirus caseload despite being in and out of different levels of lockdown since October.
Thousands of people in the Czech Republic assembled in capital Prague’s Old Town Square on Sunday to protest against an ongoing vaccine rollout and strict government anti-virus restrictions.
Former prime minister and president Vaclav Klaus was also among the protesters, who said that the closure of restaurants, businesses and schools was taking an economic and mental toll.
Nearly 3,000 people waved Czech flags and banners saying, “We’re not sheep,” and “No to vaccination”.
Many demonstrators were seen without face masks, flouting social-distancing measures.
In Greece, people ignored a coronavirus lockdown and gathered in parks and on beaches as a heatwave sent the temperatures soaring on Sunday.
Police officials, who were deployed to avoid overcrowding, could be seen reminding people of social distancing rules on loudspeakers.
Those without masks were fined.
Greece was put under a lockdown in early November as authorities attempted to avoid a third wave of the outbreak after the holidays.
The restrictions, scheduled to end on January 11, were extended by a week on Friday.
Africa surpassed the milestone of 3 million confirmed cases on COVID-19 on Sunday, with over 72,000 deaths.
Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune is back in Germany, where he spent two months in hospital after a coronavirus infection, for treatment.
Tebboune is facing post COVID-19 complications in his foot.
He reached Germany on Sunday, less than two weeks after he came back to Algiers.
The treatment was planned before he left for his country in December but was delayed due to “urgent matters” at home, state television reported.
Algeria on Sunday also became the first country in Africa to register Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine for use.
Scores more have tested positive for coronavirus in China’s Hebei province, the center of one of the country’s most serious outbreaks in recent months.
The National Health Commission said on Monday that another 82 people in the region had tested positive and were showing symptoms.
The spike in infections comes amid attempts to curb a further spread during the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday in February.
Authorities have urged citizens in the province, that borders capital Beijing, to avoid travel.
Schools have been closed a week early and testing is being carried out on a massive scale.
In Australia, a hospital closed its emergency department after a man tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday.
The shutdown in a Sydney hospital prompted ambulances to be diverted to other facilities, local media reported.
Health officials said the unit opened on Monday and they are now tracing the man’s movements.
Meanwhile, Australia’s third-largest city of Brisbane lifted its virus lockdown after mass testing and tracing found no new cases of infection.
The city of over two million people was put under a snap lockdown on Friday after a staff member at a quarantine hotel contracted the UK variant of the virus from a traveler.
dvv/dj (AFP, AP, Reuters, dpa)
Coronavirus digest: Global infections top 90 million The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ Deutsche Welle.