Coronavirus, that killed over 500,000, isn't even nearing end: WHO
It has wreaked havoc on countries, destroyed economies, stripped thousands of their livelihoods, and pushed millions to poverty, but the coronavirus pandemic is still not nearing its end, WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a briefing on Monday. Tedros said the pandemic was, in fact, speeding up. Millions still remain susceptible and the virus has a lot of room to move, he added.
More than half a million fell prey to the virus
On Sunday, the death toll caused by the virus topped half a million. Since its outbreak in China in December 2019, COVID-19 has killed 508,228 and sickened 10,412,421. From June 1 to 27, one sick person died of this respiratory illness every 18 seconds, a report in Reuters said. The virus has claimed more lives than malaria's annual count.
Everyone wants to get on with their lives: Tedros
To deal with this pandemic, countries enforced sweeping restrictions, curbing movement, and suspending travel. In the last few weeks, the lockdowns were eased and it led to a spurt in cases. Hinting towards the interest shown by countries to return to normalcy, Tedros said everyone wants to get on with their lives. But the world is in for a long haul, he suggested.
Some progress made, but pandemic is speeding up: Tedros
"We all want this to be over. We all want to get on with our lives. But the hard reality is this is not even close to being over. Although many countries have made some progress globally, the pandemic is actually speeding up," he commented.
"No excuse as far as contact tracing is concerned"
Stressing on contact tracing, Tedros said countries like South Korea managed to take the battle head-on as they were concerned with finding the source of transmission. He said WHO did the same during the Ebola outbreak when 25,000 contacts were traced in remote areas on a single day. "If any country is saying contact tracing is difficult, it is a lame excuse," he said.
WHO's team will finally visit China to study virus's source
Tedros, who has been ridiculed for siding with China, announced that a team will visit the country to probe the outbreak's origins. Announcing the move, which came six months too late, Tedros said, "We can fight the virus better when we know everything about the virus, including how it started. We will be sending a team next week to China to prepare for that."
WHO noted vaccines being developed, but was unsure of success
Separately, Mike Ryan, head of WHO's emergency program, noted countries are working with dedication to find a vaccine, but underlined it's unclear if these efforts will finally pay off. To note, just recently, India announced that a potential vaccine, COVAXIN, has been cleared for human trials. The experimental shot is the first ever candidate from India to be approved for the clinical trial stage.