Global toll tops 8 lakh

WHO hopes pandemic over in 2yrs

Agence France-Presse . Paris | Published: 10:47, Aug 22,2020 | Updated: 23:51, Aug 22,2020


The number of deaths from the new coronavirus has surpassed 8,00,000 around the world, according to an AFP tally based on official sources at around 1100 GMT on Saturday.

In total, 8,00,004 fatalities have been recorded globally, out of 2,30,03,079 declared infections.

Latin America and the Caribbean is the region the most affected with 2,54,897 deaths. More than half of global fatalities have been reported in four countries, the United States with 1,75,416, Brazil with 1,13,358, Mexico 59,610 and India 55,794.

The number of deaths has doubled since June 6, and 1,00,000 have been recorded in the last 17 days alone.

The toll had reached 4,00,000 deaths around the world 147 days after the announcement of the first fatality in China, while it has taken 77 days to reach 8,00,000.

Latin America and the Caribbean, which have a total of 65,75,960 declared cases, reported 17,095 new deaths over the past seven days, slightly below the previous week.

Asia reported 8,501 new deaths over the week, Canada and the United States 6,964, Europe 2,550, Africa 2,227, the Middle East 2,188 and Oceania 99.

After Latin America, Europe has 2,12,533 deaths from 36,81,448 cases, ahead of Canada and the United States 1,84,516 deaths, 57,49,093 infections, Asia 86,288, 44,10,622 and the Middle East 33,930, 13,89,619).

Africa, with 27,319 fatalities out of 11,69,204 declared cases, is the least affected continent after Oceania 521 deaths, 27,133 cases.

The United States is the country with the most reported new deaths over the past week with 6,927, followed by Brazil 6,835, India 6,809, Mexico 3,702 and Colombia 2,076.

Belgium remains the country with the greatest number of deaths per capita, with 86 deaths for every 1,00,000 inhabitants, followed by Peru 83, Spain 62, Britain 61 and Italy 59.

The world should be able to rein in the coronavirus pandemic in less than two years, the World Health Organisation said on Friday, as European nations battled rising numbers of new cases.

Western Europe has been enduring the kind of infection levels not seen in many months, particularly in Germany, France, Spain and Italy — sparking fears of a full-fledged second wave.

In the Spanish capital Madrid, officials recommended people in the most affected areas stay at home to help curb the spread as the country registered more than 8,000 new cases in 24 hours.

France also reported a second consecutive day of more than 4,000 new cases — numbers not seen since May — with metropolitan areas accounting for most of those infections.

But WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus sought to draw favourable comparisons with the notorious flu pandemic of 1918.

‘We have a disadvantage of globalisation, closeness, connectedness, but an advantage of better technology, so we hope to finish this pandemic before less than two years,’ he told reporters.

By ‘utilising the available tools to the maximum and hoping that we can have additional tools like vaccines, I think we can finish it in a shorter time than the 1918 flu’, he said.

The WHO also recommended children over 12 years old now use masks in the same situations as adults as the use of face coverings increases to stop the virus spread.

With no usable vaccine yet available, the most prominent tool governments have at their disposal is to confine their populations or enforce social distancing.

Lebanon is the latest country to reintroduce severe restrictions, beginning two weeks of measures on Friday including nighttime curfews to tamp down a rise in infections, which comes as the country is still dealing with the shock from a huge explosion in the capital Beirut that killed dozens earlier this month.

‘What now? On top of this disaster, a coronavirus catastrophe?’ said 55-year-old Roxane Moukarzel in Beirut.

Officials fear Lebanon’s fragile health system would struggle to cope with a further spike in COVID-19 cases, especially after some hospitals near the port were damaged in the explosion.

Further south, Latin American countries were counting the wider costs of the pandemic — the region not only suffering the most deaths, but also an expansion of criminal activity and rising poverty.

Without an effective political reaction, ‘at a regional level we can talk about a regression of up to 10 years in the levels of multidimensional poverty’, Luis Felipe Lopez-Calva of the UN Development Programme said.

But the WHO said the coronavirus pandemic appeared to be stabilising in Brazil — one of the world’s worst hit countries — and any reversal of its rampant spread in the vast country would be ‘a success for the world’.

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