The UK coronavirus variant has now been detected in at least 60 countries

The South African variant, which like the UK one is believed to be more infectious, has now also been reported in 23 countries and territories.

A woman walks past a COVID-19 sign inside Covent Garden, London

A woman walks past a COVID-19 sign inside Covent Garden, London Source: May James / SOPA Images/Sipa USA

The UK coronavirus variant has been detected in at least 60 countries, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday, 10 more than a week ago. 

With the global death toll now well past two million, and new variants of the virus causing deep concern, countries across the world are grappling with how to slow infections until vaccines become widely available.

The South African variant, which like the UK one is believed to be more infectious, has now been reported in 23 countries and territories, the WHO also announced in its weekly update.

It added that the number of new deaths climbed to a record high of 93,000 over the previous seven days, with 4.7 million new cases reported over the same period.

 

The arrival of mass vaccination campaigns in the US and Europe had brought hope that the end of the pandemic was in sight, with the European Union saying on Tuesday it was aiming to inoculate 70 per cent of its adult population before the end of August.

But many EU countries - and other nations including India and Russia - have struggled to get their inoculation programs off the ground.

The United States remains home to the world's worst outbreak in overall numbers, and US President-elect Joe Biden made clear he would be taking no chances following his inauguration on Wednesday.

Recent days have also seen a renewed focus on the initial outbreak a year ago, with China defending its handling of the virus on Tuesday after independent experts criticised the speed of its response.

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your jurisdiction's restrictions on gathering limits.

If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.

News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus

Please check the relevant guidelines for your state or territory: NSW, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia, Northern Territory, ACT, Tasmania


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Published 20 January 2021 at 4:31pm
Source: AFP - SBS