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Worldwide Covid-19 deaths are rising once again, especially in Brazil and India. Health officials blame more infectious variants that were first detected in the United Kingdom and South Africa, along with public fatigue with lockdowns and other restrictions.
According to a Reuters tally, it took more than a year for the global coronavirus death toll to reach 2 million.
The next 1 million deaths were added in about three months.
Brazil is leading the world in the daily average number of new deaths reported and accounts for one in every four deaths worldwide each day, according to a Reuters analysis.
The World Health Organisation acknowledged the nation's dire condition due to coronavirus, saying the country is in a very critical condition with an overwhelmed healthcare system.
"Indeed there is a very serious situation going on in Brazil right now, where we have a number of states in critical condition," WHO epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove told a briefing last week, adding that many hospital intensive care units are more than 90% full.
India reported a record rise in Covid-19 infections on Monday, becoming the second nation after the United States to post more than 100,000 new cases in a day.
India's worst-affected state, Maharashtra on Monday began shutting shopping malls, cinemas, bars, restaurants, and places of worship, as hospitals are being overrun by patients.
The European region, which includes 51 countries, has the highest total number of deaths at nearly 1.1 million.
Five European countries including the United Kingdom, Russia, France, Italy and Germany constitute about 60% of Europe's total coronavirus-related deaths.
The United States has the highest number of deaths of any country at the world at 555,000 and accounts for about 19% of all deaths due to Covid-19 in the world. Cases have risen for the last three weeks but health officials believe the nation's rapid vaccination campaign may prevent a rise in deaths. A third of the population has received at least one dose of a vaccine.
At least 370.3 million people or nearly 4.75% of the global population have received a single dose of Covid-19 vaccine by Sunday, according to latest figures from research and data provider firm Our World in Data.
However, the World Health Organisation is urging countries to donate more doses of approved Covid-19 vaccines to help meet vaccination targets for the most vulnerable in poorer countries.
New Zealand and Australia will create a quarantine and Covid-testing free "travel bubble" from April 19, after effectively eradicating the virus by closing borders last year to stop more infections reaching their shores and stringent lockdowns.
Though most Australian states have allowed quarantine-free visits from New Zealanders for months, New Zealand has continued with enforced isolation for arrivals from its neighbour, citing concern about small Covid-19 outbreaks there.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Tuesday Australians would now have open access, allowing cross-border travel without mandatory Covid-19 testing - one of the first such agreements since the pandemic prompted countries to block foreign arrivals to stop the virus spreading.
"The Trans-Tasman travel bubble represents a start of a new chapter in our COVID response and recovery, one that people have worked so hard at," Ardern told reporters.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison called the agreement "the first of many more steps to come ... as we get back to a more normal position, not only over the course of this year but beyond".
The virus has effectively been eradicated in both countries, with minor outbreaks the result of leakage from quarantined returned travellers. Australia has recorded about 29,400 virus cases and 909 deaths since the pandemic began, while New Zealand has had just over 2100 confirmed cases and 26 deaths.