The global coronavirus caseload has topped 260.5 million, while the deaths have surged to more than 5.18 million and vaccination to over 7.55 billion, according to Johns Hopkins University, while the news of new variant Omicron has sent shivers across the world.

In its latest update on Saturday morning, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed that the current global caseload, death toll and the total number of vaccine doses administered stood at 260,573,629, 5,188,428 and 7,553,094,809, respectively.

COVID-19 re-infection
COVID-19 (Representational Picture)Flick/ Prachatai

The US continues to be the worst-hit country with the world's highest number of cases and deaths at 48,177,907 and 776,349, respectively according to the CSSE.

The second worst hit country in terms of cases is India (34,555,431 infections and 467,468 deaths), followed by Brazil (22,067,630 infections and 613,957 deaths).

US to restrict travel from southern Africa amid new Covid variant scare

Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden has announced that the US will impose travel restrictions on eight African countries as a new variant of the coronavirus has been detected on the continent.

As per advice from his chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci, Biden said on Friday that from Monday, his administration will restrict air travel from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi as a "precautionary" measure to prevent the newly discovered Omicron variant of coronavirus from spreading into the US.

The administration was still gathering more information of the variant, according to Biden, who also urged Americans and people around the world to get vaccinated against the virus, Xinhua news agency reported.

The announcement came on the heels of similar restrictions announced by other countries including Britain, Canada and France.

The US restrictions do not apply to US citizens and lawful permanent residents, who nonetheless still need to show proof of negative test before entering the US, according to US media reports citing senior administration officials.

Other countries

The other worst countries with over 5 million cases are the UK (10,125,945), Russia (9,337,575), Turkey (8,702,611), France (7,654,128), Iran (6,102,056), Germany (5,695,472), Argentina (5,324,039), Spain (5,131,012) and Colombia (5,060,557), the CSSE figures showed.

Nations with a death toll of over 100,000 are Mexico (293,449), Russia (265,134), Peru (200,987), the UK (145,036), Indonesia (143,796), Italy (133,537), Iran (129,462), Colombia (128,343), France (119,818) and Argentina (116,505).