The United States endured its worst day of the pandemic, with three Americans dying every minute, as Japan and China on Wednesday joined other nations in tightening virus restrictions and Russia prepared to begin its mass vaccination campaign.
Global 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 United States is still 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. "It’s most definitely the darkest period of my entire career," said Kari McGuire, a palliative care supervisor at the St Mary hospital in Apple Valley, a small rural town in California.
"I’ve personally had to watch people that I know, that I care for, watch their loved ones die. It’s been very difficult."
Authorities also announced that starting January 26, all travelers entering the United States by air will need a negative Covid-19 test before departure.
Neighboring Canada also scrambled to contain a worrying outbreak, ordering residents in Ontario — its economic engine and most populous province — to stay home. Ontario Premier Doug Ford warned that the healthcare system was "on the brink of collapse." Japan was also set to expand its state of emergency in greater Tokyo from Thursday to seven more regions including the major cities of Osaka and Kyoto, and also to tighten border restrictions as cases surge.
"We continue to see a serious situation," […]