Russian Emergency Situations Ministry workers on Sept. 16 prepare to sanitize Belorussky railway station in Moscow as part of the campaign to prevent the spread of the COVID-19. Photo by Maxim Shipenkov/EPA-EFE
Sept. 26 (UPI) -- Russia remains a coronavirus hotspot as deaths have surpassed 700 every day since early July while the world toll dropped 10% and cases were down 12% in one week.
The nation of 146 million people last week rose past Peru into fifth place in the world with 203,900 deaths, which is a 4% increase of 5,464, second in the world behind the United States with 11,268. And cases were 7,240,913 with a rise of 143,661 at 8%, which was fifth worldwide.
The death toll was 4,760,883 and cases were 232,549,204 so far Sunday, according to tracking by Worldometers.info. The United States remains the world leader with 706,299 deaths and 43,745,886 cases.
Russia was last below 700 fatalities on July 5 with 654. Until July the record was 635 on Dec. 24, 2020.
Russia recorded a record 828 on Friday, then added 822 Saturday and 805 Sunday, the sixth day in a row of 800 or more. Cases rose 22,498 with the record 29,935 on Dec. 24.
Also, Moscow's Covid response center said Wednesday that hospitalizations rose 15% in a week.
And Rospotrebnadzor, which oversees nationwide efforts against the coronavirus, warned of "serious" growth in new infections in 36 of Russia's 85 regions, the Moscow Times reported.
But the Kremlin said Thursday it was not considering bringing back restrictions nationwide.
At least six regions started restrictions Sunday, according to Mozhem Obyasnit, an investigative outlet that previously operated as Open Media until authorities declared it a "foreign agent" and blocked its website.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has been vaccinated, had been in self-isolation as a precautionary measure against COVID-19 after several in his entourage tested positive.
Russia has inoculated only 32.3% of its population with only one vaccine dose. The nation administers its own vaccines, including Sputnik 5.
Worldwide, vaccination doses grew by 200 million in one week to 6.12 billion with the world's population of 7.9 billion, according to tracking by Bloomberg.
Russia is part of Europe, which leads in the vaccination effort with 105 doses administered per 100 people, followed by North America at 102, South America at 99, Asia at 88, Oceania at 77 and Africa at 10, according to tracking by The New York Times. Most vaccines require two shots with boosters also occurring.
In Europe, deaths increased 4% and cases rose 2% in the past week -- the only continent to report rises in both categories.
Europe has the most deaths of the continents at 1,215,914 and ranks second in cases with 58,474,410.
Besides Russia, two other nations are in the top 10 for fatalities: Britain eighth with 136,168 and Italy ninth with 130,697. Also, France is 12th with 116,463, Germany 14th with 93,979, Spain 16th with 86,229, Poland 17th with 75,572 and Ukraine 19th with 55,626.
In the past week, deaths decreased in Britain by 4% to 965, and 58 Sunday. Cases roses 16% with 32,417 Sunday.
Romania posted the third-most deaths over seven days at 774, rising 57% for a total of 36,341 in 22nd.
Italy reported 44 deaths on Sunday, while France added 14, Germany four, Ukraine 69 and Poland one. Spain doesn't release data on the weekend.
England has relaxed its travel rules.
Those fully vaccinated with Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna or Janssen shots in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea or an European Union country will be exempt from quarantine.
But people in Africa or Latin America, as well as other countries including India, will be forced to quarantine for 10 days on arrival.
"To me, this is just another layer of COVID-19 vaccine inequity," Ifeanyi Nsofor, a doctor and chief executive of a public health consultancy in Nigeria, told The Guardian. "We've been dealing with the fact that richer nations are hoarding vaccines, even when poorer countries can afford them they can't access enough."
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.
Britain's vaccination rate for the population is 72.9% with at least one dose.
In the European Union, it is 67.1%, including 80.8% in Spain, 77.2% in France, 74.1% in Italy, 67.7% in Germany. Also in Europe, it's 52.0% in Poland and 29.1% in Ukraine.
On Saturday, Norway lifted its restrictions that began last year at the beginning of the pandemic.
"It is 561 days since we introduced the toughest measures in Norway in peacetime ... Now the time has come to return to a normal daily life," Prime Minister Erna Solberg told a news conference.
Norway will no longer require social distancing. Culture and sports venues, as well as restaurants and nightclubs, can return to full capacity.
The Scandinavian nation had these measures in place despite only 850 deaths and 186,554 cases. Also, Norway has vaccinated 77% of its population.
Asia has recorded the most cases of the continents at 75,276,649, far ahead of No. 2 Europe and No. 3 North America. In deaths, Asia is behind Europe and North America with 1,113,973.
Asia's deaths declined 20% and cases 12% in one week.
In Asia, two nations are in the top 10 for deaths: India third at 446,918 with a rise of 260 Sunday and Indonesia seventh at 141,467 with an increase of 86, way down from a record 2,069 on July 27.
India's cases are second in the world at 33,652,741, including 28,326 Sunday. India has the world daily records of 4,529 deaths and 414,188 cases.
Iran is 11th at 119,360, including 288 Sunday, but the most one-week gain on the continent at 2,281.
The second-most deaths were in Malaysia with 2,092, and 30th overall at 25,437, including 278 Sunday. Last week deaths increased by 2,648.
Vaccinations have been accelerating in India, the second-most populous country with 1.4 billion people and the prime manufacturer of vaccines worldwide. India has administered around 53 million in one week and is second overall in the world at 859.9 million, behind No. 1 China with 2.2 billion but ahead of the United States with 387.0 million, according to Johns Hopkins tracking.
Vaccination rates are 69.4% in Malaysia and 35.5% in Iran.
In Japan, cases are returning to levels before the Summer Olympics that began in late July. On Sunday, infections grew by 2,134 for a total of 1,695,477 with a record 25,492 six 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 21 to 17,499 in 38th place.
Japan's case percentage is lower than elsewhere. Japan has 13,411 infections per million and 138 deaths per million. Worldwide, it's 29,796 cases per million and 610.2 per million deaths. The United States' figures are 2,118 fatalities per million and 131,153 infections per million.
Japan has accelerated its vaccination program with 68% of the population getting at least one dose.
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.
Japan is planning to shorten the period of quarantine for people fully inoculated from 14 to 10 days and allow them to immediately self-isolate at home, even from higher-risk locations, the health ministry said Friday.
The pandemic began in late 2019 in Mainland China, but the nation with the world's largest population of 1.5 billion, has reported only a few deaths in the past 12 months and stands in 76th at 4,636 behind Lithuania with 4,913. China added 29 cases Sunday.
The state health authority doesn't want people to travel during the upcoming week-long National Day holiday, especially not to Xiamen, a popular tourist destination. Outbreaks earlier were reported in Putian, a city of 2.9 million people in Fujian province south of Shanghai city. And a later outbreak was in Harbin in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang.
In South Korea, social distancing restrictions are in place through at least Friday.
Chuseok, a weeklong festival to celebrate the harvest and honor ancestors, lasts from Monday through Wednesday.
Cases rose a record 3,273 Saturday, more than 1,000 above the previous mark, with 2,770 added Sunday. The nation has 2,450 deaths, including 9 more Sunday.
The nation's vaccination rate among the total population is 73% with at least one shot.
Turkey is sixth in the world for cases, rising past France last week, at 7,039,500, including 25,861 reported Sunday and 18th in deaths at 63,166, including 228 most recently.
Israel, which is considered part of Asia, has a death toll of 7,675 with 26 reported Sunday, and 2,733 cases most recently with the record 20,523 Sept. 1.
Despite a vaccination rate of 67.2%, Israel has one of the world's highest infection rates: 135,524 per million people. Worldwide it is 29,823 and United States with 131.160.
Unvaccinated people make up 70% of Israel's severe coronavirus cases,
On Saturday, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett reiterated said "the government's policy is an open Israel," despite an expert coronavirus panel urging to impose further restrictions this week. He is opposed to "quarantines, lockdowns, and more and more restrictions -- this is the easy way out."
Bennett noted he is concerned about the "economy, education, the parents that need to work and the kids that need to study."
In North America, the death toll was 1,067,522 with a weekly decline of 9% and cases were down 24% to 52,587,833.
The United States' deaths dropped 14% and cases 24%. On Sunday, the United States reported 259 deaths and 24,343 cases though most states don't report data on weekends.
The United States is at 64.2% for one shot and 55.2% complete series.
Mexico is fourth in the world in deaths at 275,299 with a 6% weekly increase and 596 recorded Sunday. The nation's cases rose 11% with 9,697 most recently for 15th at 3,628,812.
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 27,649, including 9 on Sunday, and 27th in cases with 1,602,279, including 1,478 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 29% over seven days but only 254 were reported.
Canada's rates per million: 725 for deaths and 41,999 for cases.
Canada has the best one-shot vaccination rate of the three largest countries in North America at 76.2%. Mexico's percentage is 49.5%, though it was the first Latin American nation to begin vaccinating people.
On Thursday, Mexico state Health Minister Francisco Javier Fernandez Clamont said his state is close to switching to low-risk green on the stoplight map. The state, which was high-risk orange before Monday, is the most populous and includes capital Toluca.
Mexico City, which passed 50,000 deaths on Thursday, will remain at medium-risk yellow.
The United States' non-essential travel ban with Canada and Mexico was extended last week through Oct. 21. It began one year ago in March. Earlier, Canada announced it was reopening to vaccinated Americans.
The U.S. government plans to ease air travel restrictions on all fully vaccinated foreign visitors starting in November.
In South America, there have been 1,152,094 deaths, decreasing 16% and 37,706,764 cases, going down 8%.
Brazil decreased 5% in deaths to 594,484, which is second in the world, and 7% in cases to 21,351,972, which ranks third. Brazil reported 238 deaths and 8,668 cases Sunday.
Also in the top 10 for deaths. Peru is sixth at 199,292 and Colombia 10th at 126,145. Argentina is 13th with 114,862 deaths and Chile 20th with 37,440.
On Sunday, Chile reported eight deaths, Peru gained 64, Colombia added 43, and Argentina added 13. These numbers are way down from records: Peru with 1,154, Colombia with 754, Argentina with 791, Chile with 316.
Chile has the highest vaccination rate on the continent at 78% with Brazil at 70.7%, Argentina 65.4%, Colombia at 50.7% and Peru 45.5%.
Brazilian Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga tested positive for COVID-19 while in New York City for the U.N. General Assembly.
Low- and middle-income countries in South America and Africa are slated to receive more than 1 billion of a total of 3 billion doses to be delivered by Pfizer/BioNTech this year. They include distribution by the global effort Covax.
The United States pledged to share 1.1 billion doses to low-income countries over the next year, including 500 million agreed upon at the United Nations last week. The goal is to fully vaccinate 70% of Africans by September 2022.
Africa has 16.72% of the world's population but its share of vaccinations is less than 3%.
"The global COVID-19 summit was a dose of hope for Africa and we commend pledges to share more vaccines, save lives and build back better. It is the kind of international solidarity that will help to end the pandemic. This is about life and death for potentially millions of Africans so there is no time to waste in getting these shipments moving," Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization regional director for Africa, said in a statement.
South Africa has vaccinated just 20.6% of its population with at least one shot.
In the continent, deaths dropped 9% for the week with a total of 209,300 and cases were down 27% at 8,312,506.
South Africa is 15th with 87,052 deaths, including 51 Saturday. And cases rose 967 most recently.
Tunisia has the second-most deaths with 24,732 ahead of Egypt with 17,187.
Oceania, with only 42.3 million people, has 2,777 deaths with an increase of 8%, or 186 in one week, and cases are 218,846 up 16465 with an increase of 2%.
New Zealand's deaths remain at 27. Australia's toll increased to 1,231, with 11 reported Sunday and 72 in a week.
New Zealand reported 21 cases Sunday and Australia was up 1,733.
Australia has a vaccination rate of 61.8% with New Zealand at 64.8% among the entire populations.
Victoria, which includes Melbourne, has been under a lockdown since July 15 but some restrictions will be lifted Tuesday, including allowing "contactless" outdoor activities such as tennis and golf. Premier Daniel Andrews said Victoria is set to meet a vaccination milestone of 80% of eligible residents having their first vaccine dose by Tuesday.
New South Wales, which includes Sydney, has been under a lockdown of some kind since June 26. New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the government is close to a roadmap out of restrictions for vaccinated and unvaccinated people. NSW, like Victoria, is heading toward the 70% rate.
Fiji, with a 65.7% vaccinated rate, has 590 deaths, a rise of 15 in the past week after none the week before and zero Sunday. On May 3 there were four fatalities. Cases have climbed from 121 on May 3 to 50,755, including 54 most recently. Fiji has 903,457 residents.
Guam, a territory of the United States with fewer than 200,000 residents, has 184 deaths with none Sunday and 14,279 cases, including 31 most recently.