18 January 2022,   01:59
Global coronavirus cases cross 1.5 million

COVID-19 has killed over 87 000 people and infected 1.5 million globally as of Wednesday, per Johns Hopkins data. Global recoveries have surpassed 317 800. Spain has reported the most cases outside the U.S. (more than 146 600), while Italy has reported the most deaths (over 17 600). Half the planet"s population is on lockdown.

Policy responses to the crisis have been every-country-for-itself and - in the case of the U.S. and China - tinged with geopolitical rivalry. But the scientific work under way to understand the virus and develop a vaccine has been globalized on an unprecedented scale.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson spent a second night in the intensive care unit of St. Thomas’ Hospital in London, where he is being treated following increasingly severe coronavirus symptoms.

China has lifted its lockdown of Wuhan, where the novel coronavirus outbreak was first reported.

Italy reported 542 additional deaths Wednesday, marking a two-day decline. However, new confirmed cases rose by 3 836, with fewer people entering ICU for the fifth day.

U.S. President Donald Trump escalated tension with the World Health Organization, once again criticizing the agency’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and threatening to withhold funding.

“So we’re going to do a study, an investigation, and we’re going to make a determination as to what we’re doing. In the meantime, we’re holding back”, - said Trump. It was not immediately clear from the President’s comment if he was “holding back” on the funding or probe of the WHO.