Global Covid cases near 108 million

Amid concern over the new coronavirus variant in some countries, the world is fast approaching the grim milestone of 108 million Covid cases.

According to Johns Hopkins University (JHU), the total case count reached 107,767,935 while the death toll from the deadly virus mounted to 2,367,856 on Friday morning.

The US remained the worst-hit country in the world, with 27,390,465 cases and 475,291 fatalities, as per the latest university data, report agencies.

More than 9,000 recovering coronavirus patients in New York state were released from hospitals into nursing homes early in the pandemic under a controversial directive that was scrapped amid criticism it accelerated outbreaks, according to new records obtained by The Associated Press.

The new number of 9,056 recovering patients sent to hundreds of nursing homes is more than 40% higher than what the state health department previously released. And it raises new questions as to whether a March 25 directive from Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration helped spread sickness and death among residents, a charge the state disputes.

Brazil, the largest economy in Latin America, has the world's second-highest Covid death toll after the United States, and the third-largest outbreak following the United States and India.

Brazil has registered 236,201 deaths and 9,713,909 cases so far, as per the university data.

Another worst-hit country, India has so far recorded 10,871,294 Covid cases and 155,360 deaths. These are the figures of the country's health ministry.

Besides, the United Kingdom registered 4,010,376, Russia 3,983,031 and France 3,465,964 cases.

The World health Organization's (WHO) Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) on Thursday reviewed all available data on the performance of the vaccine in the settings of variants of concern.

SAGE currently recommends the use of AZD1222 vaccine according to the WHO Prioritization Roadmap, even if virus variants are present in a country.

Preliminary findings highlight the urgent need for a coordinated approach for surveillance and evaluation of variants and their potential impact on vaccine effectiveness. As new data become available, WHO will update recommendations accordingly.