covid19 india

A senior World Health Organization (WHO) official has said that coronavirus pandemic is likely to be “one big wave” as they warned people to remain vigilant despite lockdowns being eased.

Margaret Harris, the WHO spokesperson, said the idea of a “second wave” is flawed since infection rates do not seem to be affected by the seasons.

Instead, Harris said, people should think about the virus as a single wave – since the danger remains the same throughout the year.

“People are still thinking about seasons,” she told a press conference on Tuesday.

“What we all need to get our heads around is this is a new virus and it is behaving, even though it is a respiratory virus, even though respiratory viruses in the past did tend to this different seasonal waves, this one is behaving differently.

“There seems to be this persistent belief that summer is not a problem.

“Summer is a problem. This virus likes all weathers, but what it particularly likes is jumping from one person to another when we come in close contact.

“So let’s not give it that opportunity. The second wave idea, we are in the first wave. It’s going to be one big wave.

Harris said social distancing was still the best method to prevent transmission and manage widespread infections.

“It’s going to go up and down a bit,” she continued, “Now, the best thing is to flatten it and turn it into just something lapping at your feet.

“The season does not seem to be affecting the transmission of this virus currently.

“What is affecting the transmission of this virus is mass gatherings, it is people coming together and people not social distancing, not talking the precautions to ensure they are not in close contact.

“So, where people are in close contact, we are seeing intense transmission.”

Death toll passes 654,000

COVID

(PA Graphics)

The WHO has warned that the virus did not appear to be affected by seasonality, as the global death toll from the pandemic passed 654,000 Tuesday – nearly a third of the dead in Europe, according to an AFP tally.

More than 100,000 deaths have been recorded since July 9 and the global toll has doubled in just over two months.

It is summer in the U.S., which with nearly 148,000 deaths and close to 4.3 million cases is the hardest-hit country.

The second most affected country Brazil has recorded more than 87,000 deaths.

Boris Johnson warns of second wave of coronavirus from Europe

Boris Johnson, the British prime minister, has warned of a “second wave” of coronavirus coming from Europe and said he is ready to impose new restrictions on movements from further countries if necessary.

The prime minister was speaking just days after imposing a controversial 14-day quarantine on holidaymakers returning from Spain, denounced as “unjust” by the country’s prime minister.

Speaking during a visit to Nottingham, Johnson defended the government’s action, saying: “What we have to do is take swift and decisive action where we think that the risks are starting to bubble up again.

“Let’s be absolutely clear about what’s happening in Europe, amongst some of our European friends, I’m afraid you are starting to see in some places the signs of a second wave of the pandemic.”

Amid speculation that Belgium, France or Germany may be the next countries to be removed from the list of exemptions from quarantine, the British PM said it was up to individuals to decide whether they wanted to take the risk of going abroad in the present circumstances.

“These are decisions for families, for individuals, about where they want to go,” he said.

Johnson said the quarantine measures were aimed at stopping cases being brought in to the UK.

“It’s vital that when people are coming back from abroad, if they are coming back from a place where I’m afraid there is another outbreak, they must go into quarantine.

“That’s why we have taken the action that we have and we will continue, throughout the summer, to take such action where it is necessary.”

Virus curbs tightened over fears of a second wave

Spain and Germany were among the countries tightening restrictions on Tuesday in a bid to cool coronavirus hotspots that have sparked fears of a second wave.

Madrid insisted that Spain was still a safe destination for tourists despite tackling 361 active outbreaks and more than 4,000 new cases, and updating its mask rules to make them obligatory at all times in public.

Several countries have nonetheless imposed quarantines on people returning from Spain, including its biggest tourist market, Britain.

Spanish tourism is hardly alone in feeling the devastating impact of the pandemic.

Germany, which has registered an average of 557 new cases a day over the past week, also tweaked its mask rules, saying they must be worn outdoors wherever social distancing was not possible.

“We must prevent that the virus once again spreads rapidly and uncontrollably,” its disease control agency said Tuesday.

Greece

Greece said it would reopen six of its ports, including Piraeus in Athens, to cruise ships at the weekend. But responding to a recent rise in infections, it made masks compulsory again in shops and public services.

Iran

Iran suffered its worst day yet of the pandemic, reporting 235 new deaths on Tuesday, a record toll for a single day in the Middle East’s hardest-hit country.

“The situation is worrying,” health ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said, with Tehran, the most populous province, hitting the highest category on the country’s coronavirus risk scale.

Officials have made masks mandatory in enclosed public spaces and allowed Tehran and other hard-hit provinces to reimpose the restrictions progressively lifted since April to reopen Iran’s sanctions-hit economy.

China

In China, officials moved to head off the possibility of a second wave after a new cluster in the northwest port city of Dalian spread to other provinces.

Health authorities said the Dalian cluster had now spread to nine cities in five regions across the country, including as far away as the southeast coastal province of Fujian.

China has tightened measures in the affected region, introducing mass testing in Dalian and heightened scrutiny of travelers arriving in the city.

China had largely brought the virus under control since it first emerged in the country late last year, through a series of strict lockdowns and travel restrictions.

But small outbreaks have since raised concerns, with China reporting 68 new infections on Tuesday – the highest daily number since April.

China Southern on Tuesday became the latest Chinese airline to offer ultra-cheap, all-you-can-fly deals aimed at reigniting air travel following lockdowns.

Lebanon

Lebanon also raised fears for its crisis-hit health sector after recording 175 cases on Saturday, its highest daily tally.

On Tuesday, it announced a full lockdown over the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha from July 30 until August 3, and limits on bar and restaurant capacity.

Trump retweets ‘misinformation’

Twitter removed a video retweeted by Donald Trump, the U.S. president, in which doctors made allegedly false claims about the pandemic, saying it was in violation of its “COVID-19 misinformation policy”.

Earlier, Facebook had also withdrawn the video, which claimed masks and lockdowns were not necessary to counter the pandemic.

World tourism revenue loss $320 billion

The UN’s World Tourism Organization said the sector lost $320 billion in revenue globally during the first five months of 2020, threatening millions of livelihoods.

This is “more than three times the loss during the Global Financial Crisis of 2009”, the Madrid-based body said in a statement.

It came as the International Air Transport Association warned that global air traffic will not return to levels seen before the coronavirus pandemic until at least 2024.


SIGN UP FOR COUNTERCURRENTS DAILY NEWSLETTER


 


Countercurrents is answerable only to our readers. Support honest journalism because we have no PLANET B. Subscribe to our Telegram channel


GET COUNTERCURRENTS DAILY NEWSLETTER STRAIGHT TO YOUR INBOX


Comments are closed.