Biden vows virus action on ‘day one’ as Europe suffers under second wave

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The United States reported record new coronavirus cases for the third day in a row, as Joe Biden vowed to act against the pandemic on “day one” if he wins the presidential election in the world’s worst-hit nation.

Global infections have surged past 49 million and Europe has become the new pandemic epicenter in recent weeks with more than 300,000 deaths — nearly a quarter of the global total.

More than 127,000 new infections were reported in the US on Friday, the third straight day of record cases, as votes from the bitterly fought election were still being counted.

No winner has been declared but Biden promised he would not waste time in addressing the pandemic if he is victorious.

“I want everyone, everyone to know on day one we’re going to put our plan to control this virus into action,” the Democrat said.

The infection figures came as President Donald Trump, who survived a bout of Covid-19 in October and has been widely criticized over his handling of the crisis, trailed his Democratic challenger in the vote count.

US cases are fast approaching 10 million, with more than 236,000 deaths, and the pandemic has hammered the world’s biggest economy, leaving millions jobless.

Trump has been a vocal opponent of lockdown measures, citing their impact on the economy, and has repeatedly clashed with his own government’s experts over coronavirus policy.

Unlike Biden, Trump held massive campaign rallies ahead of the November 3 vote, insisting the US was “rounding the turn” despite the virus surges.

Senior members of his administration have contracted the virus recently with Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows the latest to test positive, media said late Friday.

The pandemic has been cited as one of the factors for the delay in US election results, with state authorities deluged with millions of ballots mailed by citizens not willing to risk infection by voting in person. (AFP)

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