Europe has surpassed 100 million cases of coronavirus since the pandemic began nearly two years ago, according to data from the John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. Worldwide, nearly 290 million cases have been recorded.
Nearly 5 million of Europe’s cases were reported in the last seven days, with 17 of the 52 countries or territories that make up Europe setting single-day new case records thanks to the highly contagious omicron variant, Agence France-Presse reported Saturday.
More than 1 million of those cases were reported in France, which has joined the U.S., India, Brazil, Britain and Russia to become the sixth country to confirm more than 10 million cases since the pandemic began, Reuters reported.
India’s health ministry reported 22,775 new cases of the coronavirus Saturday, saying the new cases bring the country’s omicron variant count to 1,431. Public health officials, however, have warned that the country’s COVID-19 tallies are likely undercounted.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported Saturday that paramedics in the Australian state of New South Wales had a “record breaking” level of calls overnight, resulting in its busiest night in 126 years, as the omicron variant of coronavirus sweeps across the globe.
New South Wales Ambulance Inspector Kay Armstrong told the newspaper the telephone calls included, “the usual business of New Year’s Eve—alcohol-related cases, accidents, obviously mischief—and then we had COVID on top of that.” The Herald reported paramedics also received “time-wasting calls from people wanting COVID-19 test results.”
Matthew Taylor, chief executive of Britain’s NHS Confederation, said the omicron variant will “test the limits of finite NHS [National Health Service] capacity even more than a typical winter.” Taylor also predicted that hospitals will be forced to make “difficult choices” because of the variant.
CNN reports that more than 30 colleges and universities have changed the starting date of their spring semesters as the omicron variant crosses the United States.
The Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center on Saturday reported more than 289 million global COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began. The center said 9.1 billion vaccinations have been administered.
Some information for this report was provided by Reuters and Agence France-Presse.