Darren Adam 1am - 4am
Number of global Covid cases passes 100 million, latest figures show
26 January 2021, 20:06 | Updated: 26 January 2021, 20:49
The number of coronavirus cases recorded around the world has passed 100 million, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
It comes on the same day the UK passed the grim milestone of 100,000 Covid-related deaths, according to both the government's official figures and data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Leading the way in the total number of infections is the United States of America, which has so far recorded more than 25.3 million cases - or one-quarter of the world's cases.
The total number in the US is almost equal to the next four countries combined: India - 10,676,838; Brazil - 8,871,393; Russia - 3,716,228; and the UK - 3,700,235.
Meanwhile, the global death toll currently stands at more than 2.1 million, with the US also clearly ahead of other nations.
European nations make up the rest of the top 10 nations for cases - France, Spain, Italy, Turkey and Germany - while Colombia, Argentina and Mexico lie just outside that bracket.
The Covid pandemic's spread across Europe is increasingly being powered by the highly-transmissive variant first detected last year in south-east England, health experts have said.
Viggo Andreasen, an assistant professor in mathematical epidemiology at Roskilde University, west of Copenhagen, said the new variant is a game-changer.
"On the surface, things may look good but underneath, the (new) variant is looming," he said. "Everyone in the business knows that there is a new game on its way."
But other mutated versions of the virus have also surfaced in Brazil and South Africa.
Meanwhile, the European Union has warned pharmaceutical giants that develop coronavirus vaccines to honour their contractual obligations after slow deliveries of shots from two companies hampered the rollout in several nations.
The bloc had already hit out at AstraZeneca, accusing it of failing to guarantee the delivery of vaccines without a valid explanation, and expressed displeasure over delivery delays from Pfizer-BioNTech last week.
On Tuesday, EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen told the World Economic Forum: "Europe invested billions to help develop the world's first Covid-19 vaccines. To create a truly global common good.
"And now, the companies must deliver. They must honour their obligations."
In the US, senior aides to President Joe Biden have started talks with Republicans and Democrats over a 1.9 trillion dollar (£1.4 trillion) coronavirus relief package.
And in Africa, South African President and African Union chairman Cyril Ramaphosa has called on richer nations to release surplus vaccine doses to the rest of the world.
Addressing the virtual World Economic Forum, Mr Ramaphosa highlighted the African Union's efforts to secure vaccines for African nations and the impact of Covid-19 on the continent.
"We are deeply concerned about the problem of vaccine nationalism, which, unless addressed, will endanger the recovery of all countries," he said.
"Ending the pandemic worldwide will require greater collaboration on the rollout of vaccines, ensuring that no country is left behind in this effort."