Global coronavirus cases reach 18 million as WHO warns of ‘response fatigue’


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                Le nombre de cas de coronavirus enregistrés dans le monde a dépassé la barre des 18 millions lundi, l'Organisation mondiale de la santé avertissant que les effets de la pandémie "se feront sentir pendant des décennies à venir".

Le virus à l'origine du Covid-19 a tué plus de 687000 personnes depuis son apparition en Chine à la fin de l'année dernière, selon un décompte de l'AFP établi à partir de sources officielles.

New clusters have been reported in countries that had previously brought their epidemics under control, forcing governments to reimpose lockdown measures despite concerns about further economic fallout.

The Australian state of Victoria on Sunday imposed sweeping new restrictions, including a curfew in Melbourne for the next six weeks, a ban on marriages and an order to bring schools and universities back online in the coming days.

“Failure to do this will see him drag on for months, months and months,” Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said of the outbreak.

Despite a lockdown, Melbourne continued to report hundreds of new cases per day, even as other states in Australia reported zero or a small number.

Many other parts of the world are struggling with much larger epidemics.

Health officials in South Africa, where an increase in the number of cases was expected after the gradual release of a strict lockdown, reported that infections were above the half-million mark.

The country is by far the hardest-hit in Africa, accounting for more than half of diagnosed infections, although President Cyril Ramaphosa has said the death rate is below the global average.

L'Amérique latine et les Caraïbes ont franchi une autre étape dimanche, le nombre de décès dans la région étant passé à plus de 200 000, le Brésil et le Mexique représentant près des trois quarts.

Iran – battling the deadliest epidemic in the Middle East – reported its highest number of day-to-day infections in nearly a month, warning that most of its provinces have been hit by a resurgence of disease.

As infections and deaths continue to rise six months after the declaration of a global health emergency, the World Health Organization has warned of possible “response fatigue.”

“The WHO continues to assess the global risk level of COVID-19 as very high,” the United Nations health agency said, adding that the effects of the pandemic “will be felt for decades to come. “.

The number of cases in Europe is climbing again

The deadly pandemic has sparked a vaccine race with several Chinese companies in the lead, while Russia has set a target date of September to roll out its own prophylaxis.

However, US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said the US is unlikely to use a vaccine developed in either country.

>> Dr Anthony Fauci: a lifeline for Americans through pandemics and presidencies

As part of its “Operation Warp Speed”, the US government will pay pharmaceutical giants Sanofi and GSK up to $ 2.1 billion for the development of a Covid-19 vaccine, the two companies said.

The United States has now had more than 4.6 million cases and 154,793 deaths, while neighboring Mexico has overtaken Britain to become the third country most affected by the virus – after Brazil and the United States – with more than 46,600 fatal cases.

En Europe, où de nombreux pays avaient espéré que leurs flambées avaient été maîtrisées, la Norvège a enregistré son premier décès par virus en deux semaines et la Suisse a signalé que le nombre de ses cas avait de nouveau augmenté.

Despite the resurgence, Europe has seen protests against the coronavirus brakes.

Thousands of people demonstrated in Berlin over the weekend to demand “a day of freedom” from the restrictions, with some protesters calling the pandemic “the biggest conspiracy theory”.

The protests, in which many protesters did not wear masks or abide by social distancing rules, sparked calls for tougher penalties against those violating the curbs.

At least 45 police officers were injured and more than 130 people were arrested.

The pandemic has also continued to wreak havoc in the travel, sports, culture and tourism sectors, with more and more airlines announcing massive job cuts and shrinking major festivals and cultural events.

Latin America’s largest airline, the Brazilian-Chilean group LATAM, has said it will lay off at least 2,700 crew, and British Airways pilots overwhelmingly voted in favor of a deal reducing wages by 20%, with 270 jobs lost.

Austria’s month-long Salzburg Festival is celebrating its 100th anniversary, but now with a reduced program and strict security measures, including masks for spectators until they are seated.

The 80,000 tickets for the event – compared to the usual 230,000 – have been personalized to allow contact tracing.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)



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