The virus has caused at least 2,537,686 deaths, with over 114.3 million known infections around the world
The coronavirus infection may become a seasonal disease in a year or two, Deputy Director for Clinical and Analytical Work at the Central Scientific Research Institute of Epidemiology Natalya Pshenichnaya, reports BSS citing Tass.
“Perhaps, it will happen in the next one to two years. Covid-19 has already started to show the signs of a seasonal illness. The rise in infections that was recorded in the fall of 2020 could be proof of that,” she told Tass.
According to the expert, cases of seasonal diseases usually surge in the fall and spring, so the number of Covid-19 patients may also rise during these seasons, Pshenichnaya noted.
The virus has caused at least 2,537,686 deaths, with over 114.3 million known infections around the world, since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019, according to an AFP tally compiled from official sources at 0700 GMT.
The US has the heaviest toll with 524,669 deaths, followed by Brazil with 254,263, Mexico with 185,257, India 157,087 and the United Kingdom 122,705.
In US, the House passes an enormous, $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. Four days after the Covid-19 death toll passed 500,000 in the United States, the sprawling measure backed by President Joe Biden heads to the Senate for consideration next week.
"I hope it will receive quick action," Biden says. "We have no time to waste. If we act now, decisively, quickly and boldly, we can finally get ahead of this virus."
New Zealand city back in lockdown
New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern orders the country's largest city back into lockdown as more Covid-19 cases are detected there.
The latest restrictions in Auckland will last at least seven days and come less than two weeks after a three-day shutdown in the city.
In France, 2 coastal cities, Dunkirk in the north and Nice in the south, enter weekend lockdowns in a bid to curb soaring infection rates there.
Prime Minister Jean Castex calls on the authorities in 20 regions across the country -- including the Paris region -- to tighten the enforcement of existing measures there to head off the need for a full, national lockdown.
Czechs tighten restrictions
The Czech government announces tighter restrictions, including a ban on people leaving their districts, from March 1 to halt a surge in coronavirus infections.
The country tops the world in terms of new infections per 100,000 people over the last 14 days and is second only to neighbouring Slovakia in deaths, according to an AFP tally.
In Brazil, cities and states impose a fresh round of restrictions to try to contain rising infections threatening to overwhelm their already stretched hospitals.
Intensive care units in the country are close to breaking point and the country's death toll passed 250,000 on Thursday -- second only to the US toll worldwide.
Chile sends oxygen to Peru
A first shipment of medical oxygen sent by Chile arrives in Peru, to help relieve a shortage for Covid-19 patients.
Almost 200 people a day have died from Covid-19 in Peru in February, four times more than in December, with the oxygen shortage hampering treatment for thousands of patients.
In South Africa, the country receives its second consignment of Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccines of some 800,000 doses. The country of almost 59 million people, which has seen nearly 50,000 succumb to the virus, has been widely criticised for a slow procurement of vaccines and lack of strategy.