Saturday 22 August 2020
Geneva – (BBC):
The Director of the World Health Organization expressed his hope that the Coronavirus pandemic will be over in less than two years.
Speaking in Geneva on Friday, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it took two years to overcome the Spanish flu, which began spreading in 1918.
But he added that current developments in technology may enable the world to stop the virus “in a shorter time.”
He pointed out that with the ease of communication between humans thanks to technology, “the virus has a better chance of spreading.”
“But at the same time we also have the technology (necessary) to stop it, and the knowledge (necessary) to stop it,” stressing the importance of “national unity and global solidarity.”
Spanish flu has killed at least 50 million people.
As for the Corona virus, it has so far killed about 800,000 people, and infected 22.7 million others.
Tedros also responded to a question about the existence of corruption related to personal protective equipment during the outbreak of the epidemic, which he described as a “criminal act.”
He said, “Any kind of corruption is unacceptable.”
He added, “However, corruption related to PPE … for me is actually a murder, because if health workers start their work without PPE, we risk their lives. This also threatens the lives of the people they serve.”
Although the question related to corruption allegations in South Africa, other countries faced similar issues.
On Friday, protests were held in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, over allegations of illegal gain during the spread of the epidemic, while doctors in several public hospitals in the city began a strike over unpaid wages and a lack of protective equipment.
On the same day, the head of the WHO’s health emergency program warned that what we know about the scale of the Coronavirus outbreak in Mexico is “less than it really is.”
Mike Ryan said that the equivalent of about three people out of every 100,000 people who undergo tests to detect the virus in Mexico, compared to about 150 per 100,000 people in the United States.
Mexico has recorded the third largest number of deaths in the world, with about 60,000 deaths since the start of the epidemic, according to Johns Hopkins University.
What is happening in the world?
The Democratic candidate in the US presidential election, Joe Biden, has attacked the way the President, Donald Trump, has dealt with the epidemic.
Biden said, “Our current president has failed in his primary duty to the nation. He has failed to protect us. He has failed to protect America.”
Biden has pledged to make the wearing of face coverings mandatory if elected.
And more than a thousand new deaths were announced in the United States on Friday, bringing the total death toll to 173,490.
Meanwhile, several countries announced the highest numbers of new infections in months.
South Korea recorded 324 new cases – the highest in a single day since March.
As with the previous wave of the virus, the new infections have been linked to churches. Authorities have closed museums, nightclubs and karaoke bars in and around the capital, Seoul.
Several European countries are also witnessing a new increase in the number of injuries.
On Friday, Poland and Slovakia reported unprecedented new daily infections, at a rate of 903 and 123, respectively, while Spain and France have seen significant increases in the past few days.
In Lebanon, a partial two-week lockdown – which includes a ban on night curfews – has come into effect, as the country has witnessed the largest number of cases since the outbreak began.
And the injuries have multiplied since a devastating explosion in the capital, Beirut, killing at least 178 people and wounding thousands of others on August 4.
The disaster left an estimated 300,000 people homeless and placed tremendous pressure on medical facilities.