The second year of the Covid-19 pandemic may be tougher than the first given how the new coronavirus is spreading, especially in the northern hemisphere as more infectious variants circulate, the World Health Organization (WHO) said. The worldwide death toll is approaching 2 million people since the pandemic began, with 91.5 million people infected. The WHO, in its latest epidemiological update issued overnight, said after two weeks of fewer cases being reported, some five million new cases were reported last week, the likely result of a letdown of defences during the holiday season in which people – and the virus – came together.
After the holidays, in some countries, the situation will get a lot worse before it gets better. Amid growing fears of the more contagious coronavirus variant first detected in Britain but now entrenched worldwide, governments across Europe on Wednesday announced tighter, longer coronavirus restrictions.