US cases fall, UK hits vaccine milestone

·2-min read

The average number of daily new coronavirus cases in the US has dipped below 100,000 for the first time in months, while the UK has reached a major vaccine milestone.

But experts in the US cautioned that infections remain high in the country and precautions to slow the pandemic must remain in place.

The seven-day rolling average of new infections had been well above 200,000 for much of December and went to roughly 250,000 in January as the pandemic came roaring back during the US winter.

That average dropped below 100,000 on Friday for the first time since November 4 and stayed below 100,000 on Saturday.

"It's encouraging to see these trends coming down, but they're coming down from an extraordinarily high place," Dr Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, told NBC.

She added that new variants, including the more infectious UK one, will likely lead to more cases and more deaths.

The US has recorded more than 27.5 million virus cases and more than 484,000 deaths.

Meanwhile in the UK, more than 15 million people have now had a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed the milestone on Sunday and described it as an "extraordinary feat".

He also said that in England jabs have been offered to everyone in the top four priority groups, including care home residents and carers, frontline health and social workers, those over 70 and the extremely vulnerable.

Japan on Sunday formally approved its first COVID-19 vaccine and said it would start nationwide inoculations within days.

But Vietnam recorded its first coronavirus death in five months after a 53-year-old man in Hanoi died.

Vietnam is battling a significant outbreak of the virus, with over 600 cases confirmed since late January.

And Germany imposed new border controls on its frontiers with the Czech Republic and Austria's Tyrol province in an effort to stem the spread of more contagious coronavirus variants.