People walk around a park in Putrajaya, Malaysia, on Sunday. Public recreational parks were allowed to reopen for leisure activities under Malaysia's National Recovery Plan in an effort to reduce stress amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic restrictions. Photo by Ahmad Yusni/EPA-EFE
Sept. 19 (UPI) -- Malaysia has become a coronavirus hotspot with the sixth-most deaths among nations last week despite overall being only 31st as the world's fatalities declined 5% and cases 9%.
The Asian nation of 32.9 million people recorded 2,648 deaths in the past week, which is a 4% increase for a total of 23,067 and cases were up 122,376 to 20,082,876 with a 10% decline. On Saturday, Malaysia reported 324 deaths and 15,549 cases.
The death toll was 4,705,073 and cases were 229,263,441 through Sunday, according to tracking by Worldometers.info.
The United States continues to lead with 691,880 deaths and 42,900,906 cases. In the past week, the nation posted the most fatalities at 11,065 for a 7% gain and 944,318 infections for a 9% decline. On Sunday, the United States reported 311 deaths and 32,731 cases though most states don't report data on weekends.
Asia has recorded the most cases of the continents at 74,119,476, far ahead of No. 2 Europe and No. 3 North America. In deaths, Asia is behind Europe and North America with 1,098,146.
Asia's deaths declined 14% and cases 12% in one week.
But coronavirus is spiking in Malaysia, especially among children with schools scheduled to reopen in two weeks.
COVID-19 cases involving children in Malaysia rose to 310,074 by the end of August, which is 25 times more than the whole of last year when it was 12,620. And 41 children have died so far this year compared with six in 2020, the health ministry said on Sept. 2.
Like worldwide, children are not eligible to be vaccinated and vaccination of teenagers didn't officially begin until Sept 8.
"The vaccination roll-out for teens is too slow," Amanda Sanusi, whose five unvaccinated children aged between 12 and 17 have contracted coronavirus, told The Straits Times. "They should have looked at other countries which started earlier with no adverse effects, and vaccinated kids here before opening up the economic sectors."
Malaysia has fully vaccinated 76.8% of its adult population. Among the overall population, it is 67.1% for one shot and 55.7% complete series.
Those figures are above many nations. The United States is at 63.7% for one shot and 54.5% complete series. In India, the rates are 42.9% for one shot and 14% fully vaccinated despite being a prime manufacturer of the vaccines.
Worldwide, vaccination doses grew by 230 million in one week to 5.92 billion with the world's population of 7.9 billion, according to tracking by Bloomberg.
Europe leads in the vaccination effort with 104 doses administered per 100 people, followed by North America at 100, South America at 94, Asia at 85, Oceania at 71 and Africa at 9.5, according to tracking by The New York Times. Most vaccines require two shots with boosters also occurring.
In Asia, two nations are in the top 10 for deaths: India third at 444,838 with a rise of 309 Sunday and Indonesia seventh at 140,468 with an increase of 145. Iran is 11th at 117,182, including 391 Sunday.
India's cases are second in the world at 33,448,163, including 30,773 Sunday. India has world daily records of 4,529 deaths and 414,188 cases.
Vaccinations have been accelerating in India, the second-most populous country with 1.4 billion people.
On Friday, the health ministry said that a record 25 million shots were administered in one day. It was the birthday of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his 20 years in public office. That is 2 1/2 times its previous daily record - 9.3 million shots on Sept. 2 and more than seven times the level reported three months ago, according to the Our World in Data Project at Oxford University.
"Good health is indeed wealth and a great way to celebrate [Modi's] birthday," India's federal health minister, Mansukh Mandaviya, wrote on Twitter.
India has administered the second-most doses in the world at 807.6 million, behind No. 1 China with 2.18 billion but ahead of the United States with 383.5 million, according to Johns Hopkins tracking.
Coronavirus is subsiding in Indonesia, which reported 145 deaths and 2,234 cases Sunday. Fatalities are down 50% and cases dropped 38%. Its daily records were 56,757 cases and 2,069, both in July.
Indonesia's vaccination rate is 29% for one dose.
Iran's vaccination rate is 27.6% for one dose. Iran's deaths declined 21% though it moved past France for most deaths, and cases dropped 23% with 15,975 Sunday.
In Japan, cases are returning to levels before the Summer Olympics that began in late July. On Sunday, infections grew by 3,401 for a total of 1,677,810 with a record 25,492 five weeks ago.
Until late July, cases hadn't gone above 10,000 in one day. Before then, the record was 7,855 on Jan. 9.
Deaths increased 41 to 17,227 in 37th place.
Japan's case percentage is lower than elsewhere.
Japan has 13,278 infections per million and 136 deaths per million. Worldwide, it's 29,386 cases per million and 603.0 per million deaths. The United States' figures are 2,075 fatalities per million and 128,591 infections per million.
But Japan is lagging in vaccinations with 65.4% of the population getting at least one dose, according to tracking by Bloomberg.
Japan has a 14-day quarantine request for travelers from overseas and began issuing vaccine passports in late July. The certificate is not accepted in the U.S. mainland, a major destination for Japanese business travelers.
A state of emergency, including a soft lockdown, is still in effect until the end of the month in Tokyo and 21 of the 47 prefectures.
The pandemic began in late 2019 in Mainland China, but the nation has reported only a few deaths in the past 12 months and stands in 76th at 4,636 behind Lithuania with 4,793. China added 66 cases Sunday. All 43 of the locally transmitted cases were in Jujian province.
Putian, a city of 2.9 million people in Fujian province south of Shanghai city, last week suspended bus and train service, with cinemas, bars and other businesses.
In South Korea, social distancing restrictions are in place through at least Oct. 3 with a Thanksgiving holiday later this month.
The nation has 2,404 deaths, including 10 more Sunday, and a rise of 1,909 cases after a record 2,219 Aug. 11.
The nation's vaccination rate among the total population is 69.8% with at least one shot.
Turkey is seventh in the world for cases at 6,847,259, including 26,398 Sunday and 18th in deaths at 61,574, including 213 most recently.
Israel, which is considered part of Asia, has a death toll of 7,511 with none reported Sunday, and 197 cases most recently with the record 20,523 Sept. 1. Until late last month, Israel only twice exceeded 10,000.
Now there is an average of 8,000 new infections each day, with occasional peaks over 10,000, he said,
"That is a record that did not exist in the previous waves," Health Ministry Director-General Nachman Ash said last week. "A week ago we were in a clear downward trend; in recent days we've been seeing that decline stop."
Israel has one of the world's highest infection rates: 131,001 per million people. Worldwide it is 29,386 and United States with 128,591.
The nation has a high vaccination rate despite the surge: 67% of its population with at least one dose.
Israel has a Green Pass that enables only those who have been vaccinated against COVID-19, recovered from the disease, or recently tested negative for the virus to access most indoor public places and crowded outdoor attractions.
In Europe, deaths increased 5% but cases were down 6% in the past week.
Europe has the most deaths of the continents at 1,203,563 and second in cases with 57,634,319.
Europe has three nations in the top 10 for deaths. Russia is sixth with 198,218, Britain eighth with 135,203, Italy ninth with 130,310. Also, France is 12th with 116,030, Germany 14th with 93,577, Spain 16th with 85,783, Poland 17th with 75,488 and Ukraine 19th with 54,875.
In the past week, deaths rose in Britain: by 2% to 1,003. Also spiking were Ukraine at 44% by 509 and Poland by 35% to 63. In cases, Britain dropped 20% Ukraine rose 64% and increased Poland by 40%.
Deaths reported Sunday: Russia 793, Britain 56, Italy 26, France 28, Germany 22, Ukraine 46 (Sunday) and Poland one . Spain doesn't release data on the weekend.
On Wednesday, Britain gained 211 deaths with the record 1,824 on Jan. 20. The infections weekly high was 32,4125 Friday, which is much lower than the record 67,775 on Jan. 8.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled a blueprint in England to prevent going into a full lockdown, including offering vaccines for those 12-15 years old and beginning a booster program for others. Businesses will be encouraged to consider using the NHS Covid Pass on vaccinations or test status of customers.
Britain's vaccination rate for the population is 72.7% with at least one dose.
He said the vaccination efforts would "give us the confidence that we don't have to go back to the lockdowns of the past".
Most of the restrictions were lifted on July 19.
In the 27-nation European Union's vaccine certificate program, people who have been fully vaccinated can visit England without needing to quarantine. Each nation can implement restrictions.
The EU has recommended removing the United States from its "safe travel" list, meaning American travelers would face restrictions that include quarantine and testing.
Coronavirus remains at a high level in Russia with more than 700 deaths reported daily since July 5.
Cases were 20,174 compared with the record 29,935 in December.
Russia had the most deaths in Europe last week: 5,464, also second behind the United States.
Russia has vaccinated only 31.6% of its population. In the European Union, it is 66.6%, including 80.4% in Spain, 76.7% in France, 73.1% in Italy, 67.1% in Germany. Also in Europe, it's 51.7% in Poland and 27.2% in Ukraine.
The United States continues to have a travel ban for European travelers since one year ago March with a quarantine, including being fully vaccinated.
In North America, the death toll was 1,046,935 with a decline of 3% and cases were down 11% to 51,498,657.
Mexico is fourth in the world in deaths with 271,503 with a 20% weekly decline and 200 recorded Sunday after 1,046 Tursfday. The nation's cases declined 34% with 11,711 most recently for 15th at 3,569,677.
Deaths are way down in Mexico from a one-day record of 1,803. The cases record of 28,953 was set Aug. 19.
Canada ranks 26th worldwide in deaths with 27,395, including 11 Sunday, and 27th in cases with 1,573,359, including 2,032 most recently. Canada's deaths record is 257 on Dec. 29 and the cases mark is 11,383 on Jan. 3.
Canada's deaths rose 21% over seven days but only 195 were reported.
Canada's rates per million: 718 for deaths and 41,195 for cases.
Canada has the best one-shot vaccination rates of the three largest countries in North America at 75.4%. Mexico's percentage is 48.3%, though it was the first Latin American nation to begin vaccinating people.
Mexico has a stoplight system for coronavirus risk.
Mexico City remains at the medium-risk yellow, two weeks after switching from high-risk orange. Yucatan, which includes tourist-heavy Cancun and Cozumel, also is yellow.
The United States' non-essential travel ban with Canada and Mexico has been extended through Tuesday. It began one year ago in March. Earlier, Canada announced it was reopening to vaccinated Americans.
In South America, there have been 1,147,029 deaths, increasing 14% and 37,545,479cases, going up 11%. It is the only continent with rises in both categories, except for Oceania.
Brazil leads the way with a rise of 22% in deaths to 590,786, which is second in the world, and 23% in cases to 21,239,783, which ranks third. Brazil reported 239 deaths and 9,458 cases Sunday.
Brazil is among three South American nations in the top 10 for deaths. Peru is fifth at 199,006 and Colombia 10th at 125,895. Argentina is 13th with 114,428 deaths and Chile 20th with 37,359.
On Sunday, Peru gained 30 deaths, Colombia reported 35, Argentina added 61 and Chile had 20.
Chile has the highest vaccination rate on the continent at 76.8% with Brazil 69.1%, Argentina 64.4%, Colombia at 49.1% and Peru 42.0%.
Brazil didn't begin vaccinations until January.
On Thursday, Pfizer and BioNTech unveiled an alliance with Eurofarma Laboratories of Brazil to produce their Comirnaty vaccine for distribution in Latin America.
Of the more than 3 billion doses the companies planned to be delivered worldwide, about one-third are slated for low- and middle-income countries. Earlier this month, the Pan American Health Organization said it would begin supplying COVID-19 vaccines to Latin America this fall.
Last month the countries announced an agreement to manufacture their COVID-19 vaccines in South Africa.
South Africa has vaccinated just 19.3% of its population with at least one shot.
Africa has 16.72% of the world's population but its share of vaccinations is 2%.
The World Health Organization is warning more vaccines are needed in Africa to prevent the continent from turning into a breeding ground for new variants, including those resistant to existing vaccines.
"The staggering inequity and severe lag in shipments of vaccines ... could end up sending the whole world back to Square 1," said Matshidiso Moeti, WHO's Africa director said at a Thursday news briefing. "As long as rich countries lock COVAX out of the market, Africa will miss its vaccination goals. The huge gap in vaccine equity is not closing anywhere near fast enough. It is time for vaccine manufacturing countries to open the gates and help protect those facing the greatest risk."
The WHO's goal is to have 70% vaccination by the middle of next year.
The international COVAX initiative recently announced that it was being forced to slash planned deliveries to Africa, by around 150 million doses this year to deliver 470 million. These will be enough to protect just 17% of the continent, far below the 40% target,
In the continent, deaths dropped 9% for the week with a total of 206,560 and cases were down 20% at 8,230,973.
South Africa passed Spain in the past week to 86,174 deaths, including 58 Sunday. And cases rose 2,281 most recently.
Tunisia has the second most deaths with 24,490 ahead of Egypt with 16,970.
Oceania, with only 42.3 million people, has 2,582 deaths with an increase of 6%, or 160 in one week, and cases are 202,381, up 16,435 with an increase of 17%.
New Zealand's deaths remain at 27 after one each the past two weeks, the first reported since Feb. 16. Australia's toll increased to 1,162, with 14 reported Sunday and 64 in a week.
New Zealand reported 22 cases Sunday and Australia was up 1,116, one day after a record 2,043 on Sept. 11. New Zealand's vaccination rate is 61.2.
In Australia, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said restrictions will only ease when 70% of eligible residents receive at least one vaccine dose. So far, it's 56% of people aged 16 older with the total population at 57.9%.
Victoria has been under a lockdown since June 26.
On Saturday in Melbourne, at least 235 people were arrested and 10 police officers injured after an anti-lockdown protest. About 2,000 police officers were in the city's central business district.
"What we saw today was a group of protesters that came together, not to protest freedoms, but simply to take on and have a fight with the police," Victoria Police Commander Mark Galliott told reporters. "That's what we saw were angry, aggressive young males, they had to fight the police not to protest about freedom."
New South Wales reported 55 deaths in the past five days, but the government will ease restrictions in western Sydney where the rules were harsher. Sydney has been under a lockdown since mid-June.
"They have led the way in our vaccination rates, they have shown us the way, and what it means to be resilient and strong," Premier Gladys Berejiklian said Sunday.
Fully vaccinated adults in those areas can exercise outdoors with no time limits and gather in groups of five outdoors within 3 miles of their home.
Restrictions will be lifted for fully vaccinated people in New South Wales once 70% of the nation 16 and older reaches that status, which is projected in late October.
Fiji, with a 63.7% vaccinated rate, has 566 deaths, a rise of 31 in the past week with none Sunday, and four by May 3. Cases have climbed from 121 on May 3 to 49,959, including 79 most recently. Fiji has 903,457 residents.
Guam, a territory of the United States with fewer than 200,000 residents, has 179 deaths with none Sunday and 13,438 cases, including 94 most recently. Guam, which added 20 deaths in the past week, is on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's highest travel risk level of 4 along with the U.S. Virgin Islands with 67 deaths and 6,458 cases. Countries include Brazil, Britain, France, Iran, Israel, South Africa.