COVID-19: Global coronavirus deaths pass two million - just over a year since outbreak began

·2-min read

Global deaths linked to coronavirus have passed two million - just over a year since it was first identified in China.

The US has recorded the highest number at over 389,000 - and more than 23 million cases, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.

Brazil - where several new variants have recently been identified - is second with over 207,000 deaths.

India and Mexico are next, with roughly 152,000 and 137,000 respectively.

The UK has recorded the fifth-highest death toll - and the highest in Europe - with more than 87,000 deaths recorded within 28 days of a confirmed positive test. Italy follows closely behind with around 80,000.

Global deaths from coronavirus hit one million on 29 September - it has taken 108 days to reach two million.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said the death toll had been "made worse by the absence of a global coordinated effort" on vaccination.

"Science has succeeded, but solidarity has failed," he said.

While wealthy nations have already given millions of doses, things have barely got off the ground in poorer countries with large populations - meaning deaths from the virus are likely to remain high for a long time.

"Behind this terrible number are names and faces - the smile that will now only be a memory, the seat forever empty at the dinner table, the room that echoes with the silence of a loved one," said Mr Guterres.

It is little over a year since the World Health Organisation (WHO) put out its first bulletin on COVID-19, warning that a "pneumonia of unknown cause" had been identified in China.

At that stage, it said the country had reported 44 patients of which 11 were severely ill, and that the outbreak had been linked to a wet market in the sprawling city of Wuhan.

Thailand confirmed the first case outside China on 13 January, and France reported three cases - the first in Europe - on 24 January.

America's first case was in Washington state on 21 January - in a man who had recently been to Wuhan.

By the end of January, the WHO's emergency committee declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).

The first UK cases were confirmed on 31 January - in two Chinese nationals at a York hotel - one of whom was a student at the city's university.