WORLD / CROSS-BORDERS
US COVID-19 deaths hit daily record, Indonesia starts vaccine drive
Published: Jan 13, 2021 07:38 PM
Global coronavirus infections have soared past 91 million, and the spikes have forced governments around the world to reimpose restrictions such as unpopular and economically painful lockdowns, including in Europe which is battling a devastating second wave.

The US is the worst-hit nation, logging a record 4,470 deaths in 24 hours on Tuesday, as it reeled from a winter surge in infections that has overwhelmed hospitals and clinics in many areas even as vaccines are rolled out.

Coronavirus patients at the overstretched hospital were crammed into hallways, makeshift ICU beds and even the pediatric ward.

Authorities on Tuesday announced that starting January 26, all travelers entering the US by air will need a negative COVID-19 test before departure.

Canada also scrambled to contain a worrying outbreak, ordering residents in Ontario, its economic engine and most populous province, to stay home.

Japan was set to expand a coronavirus state of emergency on Wednesday beyond greater Tokyo to seven more regions to counter a surge in cases.

While Japan's outbreak remains comparatively small, with around 4,100 deaths overall, medics say hospitals are under heavy strain from the spikes in the worst-affected areas.

Governments worldwide are racing to acquire and deliver vaccines to help end the COVID-19 crisis, though the World Health Organization has warned that coverage is not expected to be wide enough for population-level immunity this year.

One of the Chinese-developed vaccines, CoronaVac, demonstrated a 50 percent efficacy following tests in Brazil, the organization in charge of its production in the South American country said.

Indonesia, one of the world's most populous nations, has kicked off a mass inoculation drive with it on Wednesday.

President Joko Widodo became Indonesia's first recipient of that shot on live TV.

While criticism and fears over slow vaccine rollouts are growing in North America and Europe, there was also some positive news as the European Union has started the approval process for the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot.
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