COVID cases top 200 mln worldwide as China vows massive vaccine boost
The number of COVID-19 infections recorded worldwide passed 200 million on Aug. 5, an AFP count showed, as China pledged to provide two billion vaccine doses this year to combat surging infections caused by the Delta variant.
The more infectious strain is driving a resurgence in the pandemic, especially in the Asia-Pacific region where Thailand, Indonesia and Japan continued to see new records and the city of Melbourne entered yet another lockdown.
The number of daily new cases globally has jumped 68 percent since mid-June, AFP's tally shows.
But as more of the world gets vaccinated - particularly in wealthy countries - deaths have risen at a slower rate, up 20 percent since July, the data show.
China "will strive to deliver two billion doses of vaccines to the world" this year and pledges $100 million (85 million euros) to the Covax system for distributing jabs to the poorest countries, President Xi Jinping said in remarks reported by state broadcaster CCTV.
After months in which Beijing could boast of its success in containing infections, authorities there are again battling a rise in cases - including in Wuhan, the city of 11 million people where the first mass COVID-19 outbreak occurred.
In Thailand, new cases hit 20,000 for the first time on Wednesday - and then again on Aug. 5.
Overwhelmed mortuaries are renting refrigerated containers to store bodies, while medical and other frontline workers are exhausted.
"We're almost at our limits," forensic scientist Thanitchet Khetkham told AFP.
"I've seen our personnel faint quite a few times lately so fatigue is definitely starting to set in."
Indonesia's total COVID death toll passed 100,000 on Wednesday after it recorded...