On Friday, the United Nations launched a global campaign to accelerate the production of a vaccine against the new coronavirus when US President Donald Trump was criticized for suggesting injecting patients with a disinfectant.
The pandemic has disrupted life around the world as nations try to stop the spread of the disease that has killed more than 190,000 people, infected nearly three million people and hammered the global economy.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said defeating the pandemic will require the greatest health effort ever, the United Nations has partnered with world leaders and the private sector to develop, produce and distribute a vaccine against COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.
“We are facing a global public enemy like no other,” said António Guterres in a virtual briefing. “A world free of COVID-19 requires the most massive public health effort in history. “
“None of us are safe until we are all safe,” said the UN chief. “COVID-19 respects no boundaries. COVID-19 anywhere is a threat to people everywhere. “
While the disease appears to be peaking in Europe and the United States, other nations are still in the early stages of control and the WHO has warned that strict measures should remain until treatment or a viable vaccine.
The race has started worldwide to develop one, with Oxford University launching a human trial, while Germany has announced that similar trials will begin next week.
During a briefing in the White House, scientists said they discovered that the virus had been quickly destroyed by sunlight, which suggests that the pandemic may ease as summer approaches. ‘northern hemisphere.
This prompted Trump to suggest that researchers investigate the possibility of injecting light and disinfectant into the body to cure the disease – comments that sparked outrage from experts and health care professionals.
“Is it possible to do something like that, by injecting inside or almost cleaning? Said Trump. “It seems interesting to me. “
But his suggestion was met with disbelief by many experts who cautioned against such an experience.
“This notion of injecting or ingesting any type of cleansing product into the body is irresponsible and dangerous,” said Vin Gupta, pulmonologist and health expert at NBC News.
The United States is now the most affected nation in the world, with approximately 50,000 deaths from coronaviruses.
In an effort to revive its economy, the US state of Georgia will lift restrictions more than most on Friday when it authorizes the reopening of businesses such as gymnasiums and hair salons – a move seen by some as too far.
“This is an irresponsible decision that rests only on dollars rather than science,” Randy Adler, owner of Babs Midtown restaurant, told AFP. “It is not the right thing to do. “
Ramadan locked out
Around the world, more than four billion people are still in some form of foreclosure or home support even as governments begin to relax restrictions, weighing the risk of more infections against growing economic fallout.
On Friday, Muslims around the world began to mark the holy month of Ramadan under internment orders, with bans on prayers in mosques and large gatherings of families and friends to break the daily fast – a centerpiece of the holy month.
In the Saudi holy city of Mecca, the Great Mosque, usually filled with tens of thousands of pilgrims during Ramadan, was deserted while religious authorities suspended the Umrah pilgrimage all year round.
“We are used to seeing the holy mosque crowded with people during the day, at night, all the time … I feel deep pain,” said Ali Mulla, the muezzin who calls to prayer at the Great Mosque.
But despite the threat from the coronavirus, clerics and conservatives in some countries, including Bangladesh, Pakistan and Indonesia – the largest Muslim-majority nation in the world – have pushed back the rules of social distancing, refusing to stop the gatherings in mosques.
Thousands of people attended evening prayers Thursday in the largest mosque in the capital of Indonesia’s conservative Aceh province, and similar scenes occurred at many locations in Pakistan.
WHO has called for a halt to certain Ramadan activities to reduce the risk of infections, and authorities in several countries have explicitly warned of the threat of large religious gatherings.
Distancing measures and the severe economic impact of the pandemic have also caused many charitable activities during Ramadan, particularly the distribution of food and other donations, to be hard hit.
Massive economic stimulation
The economic devastation caused by internal blockages is enormous, with the world facing its worst recession since the Great Depression.
US lawmakers covered their faces and voted in small groups to approve a $ 483 billion stimulus package, in addition to an already adopted $ 2.2 trillion package.
The money will support bankrupt small businesses and struggling hospitals as the world’s largest economy slows, with more than 26 million people losing their jobs since the start of the pandemic.
In Europe – the hardest hit continent – leaders haggled through videoconference over their own package which could exceed one trillion euros, while the head of the European Central Bank warned of the risk of “acting too little , too late “.
The European Union, made up of 27 countries, has agreed to ask the bloc’s executive arm to come up with a rescue plan by May 6, AFP sources said.
Critical economic talks come as parts of Europe are slowly easing restrictions after progress in reducing the number of new infections.
But experts have warned of a possible second wave, and authorities are strengthening their ability to deal with it in Germany – where barriers to public life have been eased recently.
Virologist Christian Drosten of Charite Hospital in Berlin warned that the coronavirus could return with “a totally different force.”
The German Football League says it is ready to resume the Bundesliga from May 9, but without supporters in the stadiums and with strict hygiene measures for the players. A final government decision is expected next week.