The Biden administration marked the "tragic milestone" of one million deaths by lowering the flag at half mast whereas in Europe the toll has touched two million.

The US administration seeks to re-prioritise combating Covid-19 warning that the pandemic is far from over.
The US administration seeks to re-prioritise combating Covid-19 warning that the pandemic is far from over. (Reuters)

President Joe Biden has commemorated the death of one million people in the United States from Covid-19, marking what he called "a tragic milestone" and urging Americans to "remain vigilant" amid the ongoing pandemic.

In a statement, Biden acknowledged the loss' impact on families left behind and urged the country not to "grow numb to such sorrow," noting "a nation forever changed."

The United States on Wednesday recorded more than one million Covid-19 deaths, according to a Reuters tally, crossing a once-unthinkable milestone about two years after the first cases upended everyday life.

The loss represents about one death for every 327 Americans, or more than the entire population of San Francisco or Seattle.

US marked the grim milestone by ordering flags to be flown at half-staff, said the White House, which will on Thursday also host a second global Covid Summit.

READ MORE: WHO triples Covid death toll estimate to up to 15M in last two years

The Democratic president has urged Congress to fund billions more in COVID aid to continue fighting the virus as new variants emerge, but this week decoupled the request from separate Ukraine aid that is set to pass in the coming days.

"We must remain vigilant against this pandemic and do everything we can to save as many lives as possible, as we have with more testing, vaccines, and treatments than ever before," Biden said on Thursday. "It’s critical that Congress sustain these resources in the coming months."

Europe's own milestone

Similarly, Europe marked its own grim milestone. The number of people who have died from Covid-19 in Europe, the long-time epicentre of the pandemic, has passed two million, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday.

"A devastating milestone has passed as reported confirmed Covid-19 deaths from countries in the WHO European Region have exceeded more than 2 million people," the UN health agency said in a statement.

The WHO's European region comprises 53 countries and regions, including several in central Asia.

READ MORE: EU removes mask requirement for air travel as Covid cases decline

According to the health body, 2,002,058 people have died from Covid-19 out of the 218,225,294 registered cases in the region.

Meanwhile, after a resurgence in the first two weeks of March, the number of infections is falling in Europe.

The number of new cases and deaths have declined by 26 per cent and 24 per cent in the last seven days.

More than two years after the first restrictions, most European countries have eased their restrictions intended to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

READ MORE: North Korea confirms first Covid outbreak, orders nationwide lockdown

Source: TRTWorld and agencies