Scientific adviser urges further coronavirus restrictions to prevent “catastrophe” in England

Nurse Deborah Henley fills a syringe with the Moderna Covid vaccine as first responders are vaccinated on December 28, in Sterling, Virginia.
Nurse Deborah Henley fills a syringe with the Moderna Covid vaccine as first responders are vaccinated on December 28, in Sterling, Virginia. Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post/Getty Images

The coronavirus pandemic continues to rage around the world, with more than 81 million cases recorded globally, and 1.7 million dead, according to Johns Hopkins University.

So far, about 2.1 million vaccine doses have been administered in the US and more than 11.4 million doses have been distributed as of Monday, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Another 4.7 million will be distributed by the end of the week, Assistant Secretary for Health at the US Department of Health and Human Services Admiral Brett Giroir said.

But the number of patients in hospital with Covid-19 is the highest it’s ever been in the US, which reported 121,235 people hospitalized on Monday, the biggest figure since the start of the pandemic, according to the Covid Tracking Project.

ICU coronavirus patients have increased from 16% in September to 40% last week, and health experts anticipate holiday travel could mean a “surge on top of a surge.”

Here’s the latest from around the world:

Wuhan’s Covid-19 reality check: Nearly half a million residents in the Chinese city where the novel coronavirus first emerged may have been infected with Covid-19 — almost 10 times the official number of confirmed cases, according to a study by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Kamala Harris to receive vaccine: Vice President-elect Harris is expected to receive the first dose of a Covid-19 shot on Tuesday, live on camera from Washington DC, according to the Biden transition team.

Historic Dutch death toll: The Netherlands’ increased death toll in 2020 was the worst observed in the country since World War II, according to the government’s statistics body. “In 2020, up to and including week 51, around 162,000 people have died, 13,000 more than expected,” Statistics Netherlands said in a statement.

UK cases surge again: The UK’s National Health Service is “back in the eye of the storm,” NHS England chief Simon Stevens said Monday. His comments come a day after official figures revealed at least 20,426 hospital beds are now occupied by confirmed coronavirus patients — more than during the country’s first peak of the pandemic in April. 

British military to support mass testing at schools: Some 1,500 armed force personnel are set to assist high schools in England, as part of plans to implement a mass coronavirus testing program in schools ahead of the new term.

US Forces Korea begins vaccine distribution: United States Forces Korea started vaccinating military and civilian health care workers, first responders and the USFK command team at three of its medical facilities on Tuesday.

Philippines and Indonesia impose travel bans: The Philippines has banned inbound foreign travelers from 18 countries and Hong Kong, expanding a current ban on travelers from the UK put in place to stop new coronavirus variants being brought into the country. Meanwhile, Indonesia will close its borders to foreign travelers for two weeks, beginning January 1, to prevent the spread of the new variant.

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