Coronavirus cases surge globally, as countries impose additional restrictions
Coronavirus cases have surpassed 24 million in the United States. After the inauguration ceremony on January 20, United States President Joe Biden signed ten executive orders based on the government’s new 198-page plan to fight the spread of coronavirus, including vaccinating 100 million American citizens within 100 days and requiring international passengers travelling to the United States present a negative COVID-19 test result.
“We are still in a very serious situation. I mean, to have over 400,000 deaths is something that, you know, is, unfortunately, historic in the very — in the very bad sense. When you look at the number of new infections that we have, it’s still at a very, very high rate. Hospitalizations are up. There are certain areas of the country, as I think you’re all familiar with, which are really stressed from the standpoint of beds, from the standpoint of the stress on the healthcare system,” said Anthony Fauci. Chief Medical Adviser to the U.S. President at a January 21 press briefing.
The country has so far the biggest number of coronavirus infections with officials remaining warrant about the infection not slowing down, particularly after the holiday season.
The United Kingdom, which has more than 3.5 million cases and 94,450 coronavirus related deaths, is under a nationwide lockdown, though the restrictions vary across the country. In England, people must stay at home and can go outdoors only for groceries, exercise or work.
Children study remotely until February, except for children from vulnerable families and children of healthcare workers.
As of January 20, nearly 5 million people received their first dose of vaccine and nearly 500,000 got the second dose.
The government identified top priority groups that include frontline healthcare and social workers, people aged 80 and elder, as well as clinically extremely vulnerable people.
Germany extended its lockdown through February 14 that was initially supposed to end in January. Non-essential businesses and schools are closed at the moment. Companies are recommended to keep their workers work from home at least until March 15.
As of January 22, Germany reported more than 2 million cases and 49,783 deaths. The daily increase in coronavirus cases made 20,398.
"What we have to expect of people once again is tough, but the precautionary principle is our priority, and we have to take this into account now," said German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
In France, where the number of infections is close to 3 million, movement is restricted from 18.00 until 06.00 in the morning, after the nationwide curfew was tightened.
Non-essential businesses are closed, while schools remain largely open. The government also required passengers travelling to France from outside the European Union to present a negative COVID-19 test result and remain in self-isolation for a week after that.
South Korea reported 346 new cases over the past day bringing the total number of COVID-19 cases to 74,262.
The government maintained a 2.5 social distancing level in the capital area, the second highest in its five-tier system. Under this level, non-essential businesses, karaoke, bars and night clubs are closed and gatherings of more than 50 people will be banned.
Businesses in the country took a heavy toll from the pandemic. South Korea reported a record high unemployment rate over the past 11 years hitting 4.6 percent.
In Kazakhstan, the government officials remain warrant about the epidemiological situation. Speaking at the recent government meeting, Kazakh Healthcare Minister Alexey Tsoy said coronavirus infection may peak in March. The forecast was made by the ministry’s working group that prepared the projections through the end of 2021.
“Based on the optimistic scenario, up to 3,000 cases are expected daily, while the maximum capacity of hospital beds could reach 24,000. Stringent quarantine measures are not envisioned in this case,” said Tsoy addressing the government.
The officials urge citizens to remain vigilant and practice social distancing and frequent hand washing and wear masks.
Much effort is done to avoid another nationwide lockdown, though restrictions are tightened across the country’s 14 regions and three cities of national significance – Nur-Sultan, Almaty and Shymkent.
Mass vaccination by Russia’s Sputnik vaccine is expected to start in February.
173,842 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the first case emerged March 13. 2,403 people died from coronavirus.
Beginning Aug. 1, Kazakh healthcare officials started recording coronavirus pneumonia statistics, including cases showing coronavirus symptoms, but a negative COVID-19 test result. As of January 22, Kazakhstan reported 47,211 coronavirus pneumonia cases and 549 deaths.
Сurrently, companies are recommended to keep their employees work from home. Working hours of cafes, restaurants and trade malls are restricted, while nightclubs, bars, karaoke, computer clubs and children’s entertainment centers are closed.