Friday 14 August 2020
According to WHO, the pandemic is a once-in-a-century health crisis, the effects of which will be felt for decades to come. Photo: AFP
Paris and a number of other French cities require people to wear masks in crowded outdoor areas, like the western town of Locronan. A sign instructing passersby to put on masks asks whether they prefer a lockdown or liberty. Photo: AFP


The pandemic rages on

The world surpassed 20 million recorded cases of infection from the tiny killer . The number was 20,002,577 cases, with 733,842 deaths recorded on 11 August, according to an AFP tally of official sources.

In yet another staggering landmark, the death toll is expected to surpass 750,000 in a matter of days as the global health crisis that began late last year in China rages on.



As more things once unthinkable became harsh reality – having to wear a face mask in touristy spots in Paris, or reserve a spot on Copacabana beach in Rio via an app and then social distance on the sand – the WHO urged people not to despair. “Behind these statistics is a great deal of pain and suffering… But I want to be clear: there are green shoots of hope,” Ghebreyesus said. “It’s never too late to turn the outbreak around.”

He gave examples of countries that had successfully clamped down on COVID-19, such as Rwanda and New Zealand, which said Monday it plans to open a virus-free “travel bubble” with the Cook Islands. However, New Zealand has just reported new infections after no new cases for 102 days and has announced a country lockdown for at least three days.


Crowds flocked to beaches in Germany and in other parts of western Europe despite health warnings about the risk of infection. Photo: AFP


With much of the world caught in a cycle of dispiriting outbreaks and economically crushing lockdowns, all eyes are on the race for a vaccine. A WHO overview said 165 candidate vaccines are being worked on around the world, with six reaching Phase 3 of clinical evaluation. But the WHO’s emergencies director Michael Ryan warned that a vaccine was “only part of the answer,” pointing to polio and measles as diseases with vaccines that have not been fully eradicated.

“You’ve got to be able to deliver that vaccine to a population that want and demand to have that vaccine.”


Questions unanswered 


“Although vaccine development is happening at record speed, we must learn to live with this virus, and we must fight it with the tools we have,” said WHO chief Tedros. Photo: AFP


Source: AFP Relax News