Global Covid-19 death toll passes two million

PARIS (AFP) – The global death toll from Covid-19 surpassed two million on Friday, with the World Health Organization (WHO) urging mass vaccinations as the pandemic progresses at a record pace.

As of 1825 GMT on Friday, at least 2,000,066 people worldwide had been confirmed dead of the virus that first emerged in Wuhan, China, in late 2019, according to an AFP tally.

The grim milestone came as United States (US) pharmaceutical giant Pfizer said shipments of its vaccines would slow for a period in late January – a blow to fledgling campaigns to immunise people against the virus.

The WHO on Friday called for a worldwide acceleration in vaccine rollouts – as well as a ramp-up in efforts to study the sequencing of the virus, in order to tackle troubling new strains emerging around the world.

“I want to see vaccination under way in every country in the next 100 days so that health workers and those at high risk are protected first,” Director General of WHO Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a press conference in Geneva.

His call came as infections snowballed, with 724,000 new cases recorded on average per day globally over the past week, according to AFP’s tally – a record 10-per-cent increase on a
week earlier.