LONDON: On Sunday, Britain rushed against the clock to vaccinate as many individuals as possible, while Germany warned of the “hardest” days yet to come with Europe struggling to control rising coronavirus infections.
January 11 marks one year after China reported the first death of Covid-19, a 61-year-old man who was a regular on the market in Wuhan City, where the pandemic happened before spreading across the world.
The pandemic is already thriving nearly two million deaths later, with fresh strains again causing governments from Israel to Australia to enact lockdowns, curfews and bans, and with mass inoculation drives ongoing.
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Sunday that a jab will be provided to every adult in Britain by autumn, with officials vaccinating 200,000 people a day in a race to reach the 15 million most affected target by mid-February.
The vaccination push comes as Britain reported another 1,035 virus casualties, bringing its deaths to almost 81,000, one of Europe’s highest tolls.
Soaring cases push UK medical chiefs to try to keep hospitals from being overrun and the government to improve its drive to comply with stay-at-home directives for persons.
We are all tired of restraints, of course, but we need to find the common courage to get through this crucial stage and save as many lives as we can,’ wrote Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer of England, in the Sunday Times.
On Sunday, Germany surpassed 40,000 deaths, the centre for disease control reported. In a weekly video clip, Chancellor Merkel cautioned that the nation has not yet noticed the full effect of Christmas and New Year socialisation.
The coming weeks, she added, would be “the hardest stage of the pandemic” so far, with hospitals reaching to their limits. So far, more than 1.9 million people have been sick, with almost 17,000 new cases since Saturday in Germany.
On Sunday, Belgium also reached a big milestone, topping 20,000 casualties, more than half in retirement care homes, health officials reported.
Governments around the globe are growing inoculations despite being forced to reintroduce economically painful shutdowns and prohibitions to curb the transmission of the epidemic, with vaccination considered the best way to end the health crisis.
As authorities aim to tackle cynicism about jabs produced in record time, Pope Francis and Queen Elizabeth of Britain are the first high-profile personalities to join the global vaccine movement.
Pope Francis encouraged people to get the vaccine and said that when the Vatican starts its programme next week, he will inoculate himself while condemning resistance to the jab.
“There is a suicidal denial that I can not clarify, but we have to be vaccinated today,” the pontiff told Canale 5 in an interview. Next Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, India will launch one of the world’s most ambitious free vaccination campaigns for coronavirus, hoping to hit 300 million people by July. After Tehran banned imports of proven US and British-produced vaccines, Cuba said it would try the most advanced Covid vaccine candidate in Iran
Although more vaccination campaigns are being launched, countries are being forced to reintroduce regulations that last year helped limit the spread of the virus, but have seriously affected their economies.
As new regulations were imposed to tighten the third national coronavirus lockout, which was announced last month, Israel started its first work week on Sunday.