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Showing posts with label WHO. Show all posts
Showing posts with label WHO. Show all posts

OGUN COVID-19 RESPONSE: PRESS RELEASE ON DELTA VARIANT OF SARS COV-2

OGUN COVID-19 RESPONSE: PRESS RELEASE ON DELTA VARIANT OF SARS COV-2

The Federal Ministry of Health through the Nigeria Centre Disease Control (NCDC) has recently alerted the country of the confirmation of the virulent Delta variant of SARS Cov-2 in the country. 



The Delta variant is recognised by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a variant of concern, given its increased transmissibility. It has been detected in over 90 countries and is expected to spread to more countries. It has also been linked to a surge in cases in countries where it is the dominant strain in circulation.


NCDC has also announced increase in the number of cases being recorded in the country in the last one week. Over 120 cases daily were recorded by NCDC in the last 48 hours as opposed to less than 50 before now. Over 60% of these are from neighboring states such as Lagos.


Ogun State has experienced a gradual rise in cases with 15 new cases in the last two weeks compared to two cases in the whole month of June 2021 while four persons are currently being managed in the isolation Centre that have been empty in the last one month. Also we have recorded two new deaths in the last three weeks.  


Given that our many lands cross one another, and the fact that eight of our local government areas (LGAs) share boarder with Lagos State with a major international airport and the highly mobile community between them, it becomes pertinent to proactively curtail the spread of COVID-19 virus among our people.


While NCDC is currently working frantically to ensure surveillance of the variants in the country, Ogun State Government is re-energizing her response team at State and LGA level for prompt and effective response. Risk communication is being embarked upon at community level through the LGA rapid response team.  We are working with the Federal Port Health Authority to ensure passengers are screened at the land crossings in the State.  Infection, Prevention and Control (IPC) focal persons in our health facilities have been alerted to step up IPC measures while we have deployed Rapid test Kits to major secondary and tertiary Health facilities to test patients who are to undergo surgeries, patients with symptoms suggestive of COVID 19 and persons who want to know their status. 


We are also embarking on mobilization for test at our five-high burdened LGAs (Abeokuta South, Ado-Odo/Ota, Ikenne, Obafemi Owode and Sagamu).


We urge all Ogun State residents to ensure strict adherence to public health and social measures in place.


 Proven public health and social measures such as physical distancing, frequent hand washing, and proper use of face masks, prevent infections and save lives.

 

We enjoin our community leaders, religious leaders, media houses and other stake holders to join hands with the State Government to encourage strict compliance to proper hand washing. Regular and correct use of face mask, two meters physical distancing in public places and avoid crowded gatherings.


Let me also use this forum to encourage our people to avail themselves of the opportunity of getting vaccinated for COVID-19.


 The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective and offers protection against the disease.

The Ogun State Ministry of Health is monitoring the trend and shall continue to update our esteemed residents from time to time. 


Signed:

Dr. Tomi Coker

Hon. Commissioner for Health,

Ogun State.

The Federal Ministry of Health through the Nigeria Centre Disease Control (NCDC) has recently alerted the country of the confirmation of the virulent Delta variant of SARS Cov-2 in the country. 



The Delta variant is recognised by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a variant of concern, given its increased transmissibility. It has been detected in over 90 countries and is expected to spread to more countries. It has also been linked to a surge in cases in countries where it is the dominant strain in circulation.


NCDC has also announced increase in the number of cases being recorded in the country in the last one week. Over 120 cases daily were recorded by NCDC in the last 48 hours as opposed to less than 50 before now. Over 60% of these are from neighboring states such as Lagos.


Ogun State has experienced a gradual rise in cases with 15 new cases in the last two weeks compared to two cases in the whole month of June 2021 while four persons are currently being managed in the isolation Centre that have been empty in the last one month. Also we have recorded two new deaths in the last three weeks.  


Given that our many lands cross one another, and the fact that eight of our local government areas (LGAs) share boarder with Lagos State with a major international airport and the highly mobile community between them, it becomes pertinent to proactively curtail the spread of COVID-19 virus among our people.


While NCDC is currently working frantically to ensure surveillance of the variants in the country, Ogun State Government is re-energizing her response team at State and LGA level for prompt and effective response. Risk communication is being embarked upon at community level through the LGA rapid response team.  We are working with the Federal Port Health Authority to ensure passengers are screened at the land crossings in the State.  Infection, Prevention and Control (IPC) focal persons in our health facilities have been alerted to step up IPC measures while we have deployed Rapid test Kits to major secondary and tertiary Health facilities to test patients who are to undergo surgeries, patients with symptoms suggestive of COVID 19 and persons who want to know their status. 


We are also embarking on mobilization for test at our five-high burdened LGAs (Abeokuta South, Ado-Odo/Ota, Ikenne, Obafemi Owode and Sagamu).


We urge all Ogun State residents to ensure strict adherence to public health and social measures in place.


 Proven public health and social measures such as physical distancing, frequent hand washing, and proper use of face masks, prevent infections and save lives.

 

We enjoin our community leaders, religious leaders, media houses and other stake holders to join hands with the State Government to encourage strict compliance to proper hand washing. Regular and correct use of face mask, two meters physical distancing in public places and avoid crowded gatherings.


Let me also use this forum to encourage our people to avail themselves of the opportunity of getting vaccinated for COVID-19.


 The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective and offers protection against the disease.

The Ogun State Ministry of Health is monitoring the trend and shall continue to update our esteemed residents from time to time. 


Signed:

Dr. Tomi Coker

Hon. Commissioner for Health,

Ogun State.

Oxford researchers: Risk of rare blood clotting HIGHER for Covid-19 than for VACCINES

Oxford researchers: Risk of rare blood clotting HIGHER for Covid-19 than for VACCINES


Researchers at the University of Oxford say Covid-19 leads to a risk of rare blood clots that's several-times higher than that of current vaccines, amid concerns that the jabs may be to blame for the potentially deadly condition.

The report released on Thursday says the risk of the rare condition known as cerebral venous thrombosis (CVT) following Covid-19 infection is “around 100 times greater than normal” and “several times higher” than it is post-vaccination or after flu.

Researchers looked at health records of 500,000 Covid-19 patients to estimate the absolute incidence of CVT in the two weeks following Covid-19 diagnosis, flu, or vaccination against coronavirus. They found that clotting is around eight times more likely to occur after contracting Covid-19 than after immunization with the AZ-Oxford Covid-19 vaccine. Compared to the vaccines made by Pfizer or Moderna, the risk of a CVT from Covid-19 is about 10 times greater.

The researchers, however, call for a cautious interpretation of the comparisons since data is still coming in.

“There are concerns about possible associations between vaccines, and CVT, causing governments and regulators to restrict the use of certain vaccines. Yet, one key question remained unknown: ‘What is the risk of CVT following a diagnosis of Covid-19?’” says Professor of Psychiatry and Head of the Translational Neurobiology Group at the University of Oxford Paul Harrison.


Some countries have restricted the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine – which was renamed Vaxzevria – to certain age groups after the European Medicines Agency confirmed the vaccine’s possible links to cases of blood clotting, several of which were fatal. Denmark halted the use of the jab altogether.

Meanwhile, another EMA-approved vaccine, Johnson & Johnson's, is being investigated in the US and Europe following cases of blood clotting and at least one death.

Both vaccines are based on a similar method, known as adenoviral vectors. Regulators and researchers are working to find out whether the incidences of blood clotting are caused by an immune response to the adenovirus vaccines.




Researchers at the University of Oxford say Covid-19 leads to a risk of rare blood clots that's several-times higher than that of current vaccines, amid concerns that the jabs may be to blame for the potentially deadly condition.

The report released on Thursday says the risk of the rare condition known as cerebral venous thrombosis (CVT) following Covid-19 infection is “around 100 times greater than normal” and “several times higher” than it is post-vaccination or after flu.

Researchers looked at health records of 500,000 Covid-19 patients to estimate the absolute incidence of CVT in the two weeks following Covid-19 diagnosis, flu, or vaccination against coronavirus. They found that clotting is around eight times more likely to occur after contracting Covid-19 than after immunization with the AZ-Oxford Covid-19 vaccine. Compared to the vaccines made by Pfizer or Moderna, the risk of a CVT from Covid-19 is about 10 times greater.

The researchers, however, call for a cautious interpretation of the comparisons since data is still coming in.

“There are concerns about possible associations between vaccines, and CVT, causing governments and regulators to restrict the use of certain vaccines. Yet, one key question remained unknown: ‘What is the risk of CVT following a diagnosis of Covid-19?’” says Professor of Psychiatry and Head of the Translational Neurobiology Group at the University of Oxford Paul Harrison.


Some countries have restricted the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine – which was renamed Vaxzevria – to certain age groups after the European Medicines Agency confirmed the vaccine’s possible links to cases of blood clotting, several of which were fatal. Denmark halted the use of the jab altogether.

Meanwhile, another EMA-approved vaccine, Johnson & Johnson's, is being investigated in the US and Europe following cases of blood clotting and at least one death.

Both vaccines are based on a similar method, known as adenoviral vectors. Regulators and researchers are working to find out whether the incidences of blood clotting are caused by an immune response to the adenovirus vaccines.



WHO Teams probing COVID-19 origins in Wuhan set to brief media

WHO Teams probing COVID-19 origins in Wuhan set to brief media


An expert team from the World Health Organisation (WHO) that has spent the last four weeks in the Chinese city of Wuhan, investigating the origins of the coronavirus disease, is expected to brief the media on Tuesday.

The WHO team is set to present its findings at a news conference that begins at 08.00 GMT at the Hilton Optics Valley Hotel in Wuhan.

During their visit to Wuhan, which was the world’s first COVID-19 hotspot, WHO experts toured the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the Huanan market where the first known cases were identified.

The team also visited a hospital where the first COVID-19 patients were treated.

Participants in the WHO visit spent 14 days in quarantine upon their arrival in the Chinese city one month ago.

Vladimir Dedkov, a Russian expert participating in the WHO mission, said this past week that it was unlikely the disease could have spread from Wuhan’s virology institute.

(NAN)

An expert team from the World Health Organisation (WHO) that has spent the last four weeks in the Chinese city of Wuhan, investigating the origins of the coronavirus disease, is expected to brief the media on Tuesday.

The WHO team is set to present its findings at a news conference that begins at 08.00 GMT at the Hilton Optics Valley Hotel in Wuhan.

During their visit to Wuhan, which was the world’s first COVID-19 hotspot, WHO experts toured the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the Huanan market where the first known cases were identified.

The team also visited a hospital where the first COVID-19 patients were treated.

Participants in the WHO visit spent 14 days in quarantine upon their arrival in the Chinese city one month ago.

Vladimir Dedkov, a Russian expert participating in the WHO mission, said this past week that it was unlikely the disease could have spread from Wuhan’s virology institute.

(NAN)

COVID-19: Russia's Health Watchdog Says Clinical Trials of Virus Vaccine Developed by Vektor to Wrap Up in September

COVID-19: Russia's Health Watchdog Says Clinical Trials of Virus Vaccine Developed by Vektor to Wrap Up in September

Profile Picture

The world's First and newly registered Russian COVID-19 vaccine named Sputnik V which was developed by the Gamaleya Institute. Phase 3 of the vaccine trial, involving around 2,000 people, is currently underway.

According to the Russian Sputnik report on Friday citing Rospotrebnadzor, the Russia's consumer rights protection and human well-being watchdog, Russian Research Centre Vektor intends to complete clinical trials of its COVID-19 vaccine in September.

The watchdog also said that all the volunteers taking part in the clinical trials of the COVID-19 vaccine are feeling fine. "14 persons were vaccinated during the first phase, and 43 more during the second phase.


"Forty-three more volunteers from the placebo control group received a placebo", Rospotrebnadzor said.

Rospotrebnadzor went on to say that the volunteers only experienced sensitivity at the injection site, but other than that they did not have any side effects.

Last week, Russia registered the world’s first COVID-19 vaccine, named Sputnik V and developed by the Gamaleya Institute. The vaccine has been tested on 76 volunteers separately at two institutions — the Moscow-based Sechenov University and the Russian DefenĐüe Ministry's Burdenko Main Military Clinical Hospital. Phase 3 in the trial of the Russian vaccine, involving around 2,000 people, is currently underway.

Though several Western states voiced reservations about the vaccine's safety, the Russian Health Ministry underlined that Sputnik V underwent all the necessary checks and was proven to be capable of building immunity against the virus.
Profile Picture

The world's First and newly registered Russian COVID-19 vaccine named Sputnik V which was developed by the Gamaleya Institute. Phase 3 of the vaccine trial, involving around 2,000 people, is currently underway.

According to the Russian Sputnik report on Friday citing Rospotrebnadzor, the Russia's consumer rights protection and human well-being watchdog, Russian Research Centre Vektor intends to complete clinical trials of its COVID-19 vaccine in September.

The watchdog also said that all the volunteers taking part in the clinical trials of the COVID-19 vaccine are feeling fine. "14 persons were vaccinated during the first phase, and 43 more during the second phase.


"Forty-three more volunteers from the placebo control group received a placebo", Rospotrebnadzor said.

Rospotrebnadzor went on to say that the volunteers only experienced sensitivity at the injection site, but other than that they did not have any side effects.

Last week, Russia registered the world’s first COVID-19 vaccine, named Sputnik V and developed by the Gamaleya Institute. The vaccine has been tested on 76 volunteers separately at two institutions — the Moscow-based Sechenov University and the Russian DefenĐüe Ministry's Burdenko Main Military Clinical Hospital. Phase 3 in the trial of the Russian vaccine, involving around 2,000 people, is currently underway.

Though several Western states voiced reservations about the vaccine's safety, the Russian Health Ministry underlined that Sputnik V underwent all the necessary checks and was proven to be capable of building immunity against the virus.

WHO Urges Countries To Invest On Shared Vaccine Search

WHO Urges Countries To Invest On Shared Vaccine Search

The WHO on Thursday urged countries to invest billions of dollars in searching for COVID-19 vaccines and treatments — calling it a snip compared to the vast economic cost of the coronavirus crisis.

The World Health Organization insisted it was a smarter bet than the trillions of dollars being thrown at handling the consequences of the global pandemic.

The UN agency’s chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus pleaded for investment into the WHO-led ACT-Accelerator programme, which aims to share global research and development, manufacturing and procurement in a bid to beat COVID-19.

Citing the International Monetary Fund’s predictions of the pandemic wiping out $12 trillion over two years, he urged countries to spend on shared solutions.

“It’s the best economic stimulus the world can invest in,” Tedros told a virtual press conference.

Funding the ACT-Accelerator, with $31.3 billion needed immediately, “will cost a tiny fraction in comparison to the alternative, where economies retract further and require continued fiscal stimulus packages”.

He said spreading the risk and sharing the reward is a better bet than the option some countries have taken, of going it alone in backing one of the dozens of vaccines in development.

“Picking individual winners is an expensive, risky gamble,” he said,

“The development of vaccines is long, complex, risky and expensive The vast majority of vaccines in early development fail.”

Tedros said multiple vaccine candidates, of different types, were needed in order to identify the best one.

– Access to the winner –

Russia on Tuesday declared itself the first country to approve a vaccine, even though final stage testing involving more than 2,000 people was only due to start on Wednesday.

Bruce Aylward, who heads up the ACT-Accelerator, said the WHO was still awaiting more details from Moscow.

“We’re currently in conversation with Russia to get additional information, understand the status of that product, the trials that have been undertaken, and then what the next steps might be,” he said.

The WHO says 168 candidate vaccines are being worked on around the world, of which 28 have progressed to being tested on humans.

Nine of those 28 — not including the Russian vaccine — are in the ACT-Accelerator programme.

WHO access to medicines chief Mariangela Simao said that with so many vaccine candidates being worked on, backing just one or two could not be the best bet.

“We don’t know which one will be the front-runner, which one will actually prove to be safe and effective,” she said.

“We are encouraging countries to join a global facility, because you will have access to more candidates, and you have a better chance to have concrete access… to procure one of the successful candidates.”

The European Union said earlier Thursday that it has reserved up to 400 million doses of a potential new coronavirus vaccine being developed by US giant Johnson & Johnson.

On July 31, the European Commission said it had reserved 300 million doses of another potential vaccine being developed by French firm Sanofi.

– Eye of the storm? –

The coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 750,000 people and infected more than 20.6 million worldwide since it first emerged in China in December, according to an AFP tally compiled from official sources.

WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan warned that only a small proportion of the global population had actually been exposed to the virus.

“This virus has a long way to burn, if we allow it,” he said.

“The vast majority of people remain susceptible to this infection.

“We may be in the eye of the storm and we don’t know it.”

Meanwhile, Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s COVID-19 technical lead, said there were examples from some countries suggesting that an individual may have been reinfected the virus, but “its still not confirmed”.

She said experts would need to look for false positive or negative cases, immune response after infection, and sequencing.

AFP
The WHO on Thursday urged countries to invest billions of dollars in searching for COVID-19 vaccines and treatments — calling it a snip compared to the vast economic cost of the coronavirus crisis.

The World Health Organization insisted it was a smarter bet than the trillions of dollars being thrown at handling the consequences of the global pandemic.

The UN agency’s chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus pleaded for investment into the WHO-led ACT-Accelerator programme, which aims to share global research and development, manufacturing and procurement in a bid to beat COVID-19.

Citing the International Monetary Fund’s predictions of the pandemic wiping out $12 trillion over two years, he urged countries to spend on shared solutions.

“It’s the best economic stimulus the world can invest in,” Tedros told a virtual press conference.

Funding the ACT-Accelerator, with $31.3 billion needed immediately, “will cost a tiny fraction in comparison to the alternative, where economies retract further and require continued fiscal stimulus packages”.

He said spreading the risk and sharing the reward is a better bet than the option some countries have taken, of going it alone in backing one of the dozens of vaccines in development.

“Picking individual winners is an expensive, risky gamble,” he said,

“The development of vaccines is long, complex, risky and expensive The vast majority of vaccines in early development fail.”

Tedros said multiple vaccine candidates, of different types, were needed in order to identify the best one.

– Access to the winner –

Russia on Tuesday declared itself the first country to approve a vaccine, even though final stage testing involving more than 2,000 people was only due to start on Wednesday.

Bruce Aylward, who heads up the ACT-Accelerator, said the WHO was still awaiting more details from Moscow.

“We’re currently in conversation with Russia to get additional information, understand the status of that product, the trials that have been undertaken, and then what the next steps might be,” he said.

The WHO says 168 candidate vaccines are being worked on around the world, of which 28 have progressed to being tested on humans.

Nine of those 28 — not including the Russian vaccine — are in the ACT-Accelerator programme.

WHO access to medicines chief Mariangela Simao said that with so many vaccine candidates being worked on, backing just one or two could not be the best bet.

“We don’t know which one will be the front-runner, which one will actually prove to be safe and effective,” she said.

“We are encouraging countries to join a global facility, because you will have access to more candidates, and you have a better chance to have concrete access… to procure one of the successful candidates.”

The European Union said earlier Thursday that it has reserved up to 400 million doses of a potential new coronavirus vaccine being developed by US giant Johnson & Johnson.

On July 31, the European Commission said it had reserved 300 million doses of another potential vaccine being developed by French firm Sanofi.

– Eye of the storm? –

The coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 750,000 people and infected more than 20.6 million worldwide since it first emerged in China in December, according to an AFP tally compiled from official sources.

WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan warned that only a small proportion of the global population had actually been exposed to the virus.

“This virus has a long way to burn, if we allow it,” he said.

“The vast majority of people remain susceptible to this infection.

“We may be in the eye of the storm and we don’t know it.”

Meanwhile, Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s COVID-19 technical lead, said there were examples from some countries suggesting that an individual may have been reinfected the virus, but “its still not confirmed”.

She said experts would need to look for false positive or negative cases, immune response after infection, and sequencing.

AFP

WHO halts hydroxychloroquine, HIV drugs in COVID trials

WHO halts hydroxychloroquine, HIV drugs in COVID trials

Coronavirus cases keep rising in Eurasia 
WHO reports record daily increase in global coronavirus cases


The WHO said that it was discontinuing its trials of the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine and combination HIV drug lopinavir/ritonavir in hospitalised patients with COVID-19 after they failed to reduce mortality.

"These interim trial results show that hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir produce little or no reduction in the mortality of hospitalised COVID-19 patients when compared to standard of care. Solidarity trial investigators will interrupt the trials with immediate effect," the WHO said in a statement, referring to large multi-country trials that the agency is leading.

The UN agency said that the decision, taken on the recommendation of the trial's international steering committee, does not affect other studies where the drugs are used for non-hospitalised patients or as a prophylaxis.


In Azerbaijan, health officials reported that the total number of cases to date rose to 19,801 with 534 new additions in the past 24 hours.

The tally of recoveries neared 11,300 and the death toll climbed to 241.

Health authorities in Belarus announced that they observed 273 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total to over 63,000. While more than 50,000 people have recovered in the country, fatalities totalled 418.

As for Moldova, officials stated that official cases topped 17,650 with 227 new additions in the last 24 hours. 

The death toll stands at 580 in the country, where more than 2,500 health personnel have contracted the virus.

The WHO has reported a record increase in global coronavirus cases, with the total rising by 212,326 in 24 hours.

The biggest increases were from the United States, Brazil and India. The previous WHO record for new cases was 189,077 on June 28.

Deaths remained steady at about 5,000 a day.

Coronavirus cases keep rising in Eurasia 
WHO reports record daily increase in global coronavirus cases


The WHO said that it was discontinuing its trials of the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine and combination HIV drug lopinavir/ritonavir in hospitalised patients with COVID-19 after they failed to reduce mortality.

"These interim trial results show that hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir produce little or no reduction in the mortality of hospitalised COVID-19 patients when compared to standard of care. Solidarity trial investigators will interrupt the trials with immediate effect," the WHO said in a statement, referring to large multi-country trials that the agency is leading.

The UN agency said that the decision, taken on the recommendation of the trial's international steering committee, does not affect other studies where the drugs are used for non-hospitalised patients or as a prophylaxis.


In Azerbaijan, health officials reported that the total number of cases to date rose to 19,801 with 534 new additions in the past 24 hours.

The tally of recoveries neared 11,300 and the death toll climbed to 241.

Health authorities in Belarus announced that they observed 273 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total to over 63,000. While more than 50,000 people have recovered in the country, fatalities totalled 418.

As for Moldova, officials stated that official cases topped 17,650 with 227 new additions in the last 24 hours. 

The death toll stands at 580 in the country, where more than 2,500 health personnel have contracted the virus.

The WHO has reported a record increase in global coronavirus cases, with the total rising by 212,326 in 24 hours.

The biggest increases were from the United States, Brazil and India. The previous WHO record for new cases was 189,077 on June 28.

Deaths remained steady at about 5,000 a day.

Trump terminates US relationship' with World Health Organisation, announces new measures aimed against China

Trump terminates US relationship' with World Health Organisation, announces new measures aimed against China

After accusing the World Health Organization (WHO) of being under ‘total control’ of China, President of United States, Donald Trump has severed all ties to the WHO and said US funding will be redirected to other public health efforts.
According to the American President in an announcement on Friday at a press conference in the White House Rose Garden: “We will today be terminating our relationship with the WHO,” He said that the WHO was “pressured” by China to mislead the world about the novel coronavirus, hampering the US and global response and resulting in over a million deaths worldwide – including more than 100,000 Americans.

Trump cited a WHO advice against banning travel earlier this year, and criticism of his decision to halt incoming flights from China. 

Almost every country eventually stopped air travel, in addition to Chinese-style lockdown tactics intended to slow the spread of the respiratory disease.

“The world is now suffering as the result of malfeasance of the Chinese government,” Trump added. 

In addition to exiting the WHO, Trump announced a new set of measures aimed against China, from restricting the entry of Chinese students and scholars to reviewing the ability of Chinese companies to do business in the US.

LNP
After accusing the World Health Organization (WHO) of being under ‘total control’ of China, President of United States, Donald Trump has severed all ties to the WHO and said US funding will be redirected to other public health efforts.
According to the American President in an announcement on Friday at a press conference in the White House Rose Garden: “We will today be terminating our relationship with the WHO,” He said that the WHO was “pressured” by China to mislead the world about the novel coronavirus, hampering the US and global response and resulting in over a million deaths worldwide – including more than 100,000 Americans.

Trump cited a WHO advice against banning travel earlier this year, and criticism of his decision to halt incoming flights from China. 

Almost every country eventually stopped air travel, in addition to Chinese-style lockdown tactics intended to slow the spread of the respiratory disease.

“The world is now suffering as the result of malfeasance of the Chinese government,” Trump added. 

In addition to exiting the WHO, Trump announced a new set of measures aimed against China, from restricting the entry of Chinese students and scholars to reviewing the ability of Chinese companies to do business in the US.

LNP

Dutch Mink Workers May Be First Known Humans Infected By Animals: WHO

Dutch Mink Workers May Be First Known Humans Infected By Animals: WHO

(AFP) The World Health Organization said Tuesday that Dutch workers apparently infected with the coronavirus by minks could be the first known cases of animal-to-human transmission.

The WHO told AFP that it was in close contact with Dutch researchers investigating three cases where the virus appears to have been passed to humans from minks. "This would be the first known cases of animal-to-human transmission," the UN health agency told AFP in an email.

"But we are still collecting and reviewing more data to understand if animals and pets can spread the disease," it said.

Dutch Agriculture Minister Carola Schouten said Monday that a second worker had likely contracted COVID-19 on a mink farm, while stressing that the risk of further contagion remained low. An initial infection was reported last week on one of two farms near the southern city of Eindhoven, where the disease was discovered in April among mink that are bred for their valuable fur.

The infection happened before it was known that the mink were carrying the virus, meaning that workers did not wear protective clothing at the time. The health ministry said that three people on the farm tested positive for the virus, but said that it remained unclear if more than one of the cases had come directly from a mink.

The exact source of the virus, which first appeared in China late last year, remains unknown, and there is growing pressure for an international probe to determine its origin. In a matter of months, the virus has infected more than 5.5 million people, killing nearly 350,000 of them.

Most scientists believe the virus jumped from animals to humans, possibly in a market that sells exotic animals for meat in the city of Wuhan.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus indicated Monday that China had agreed that an investigation of the origin was needed, but did not say when one might begin. "All stakeholders understand the importance of studying the origin, because it's by studying the origin that we can prevent it from happening in the future," he told a virtual press conference.

Since the initial jump to humans, there have been no previous reports of animals being the source of infections. The WHO said however that there have been some instances of COVID-19 patients infecting their pets.

"A number of susceptibility studies have shown that other animal species are also susceptible to the virus and can be infected, including cats, ferrets," it said. The agency stressed that necessary precautions should be taken to avoid infection of pets from close contacts with humans with COVID-19, but insisted that "there is no reason or justification to take measures against companion animals."

bur-nl/rjm/wai

(AFP) The World Health Organization said Tuesday that Dutch workers apparently infected with the coronavirus by minks could be the first known cases of animal-to-human transmission.

The WHO told AFP that it was in close contact with Dutch researchers investigating three cases where the virus appears to have been passed to humans from minks. "This would be the first known cases of animal-to-human transmission," the UN health agency told AFP in an email.

"But we are still collecting and reviewing more data to understand if animals and pets can spread the disease," it said.

Dutch Agriculture Minister Carola Schouten said Monday that a second worker had likely contracted COVID-19 on a mink farm, while stressing that the risk of further contagion remained low. An initial infection was reported last week on one of two farms near the southern city of Eindhoven, where the disease was discovered in April among mink that are bred for their valuable fur.

The infection happened before it was known that the mink were carrying the virus, meaning that workers did not wear protective clothing at the time. The health ministry said that three people on the farm tested positive for the virus, but said that it remained unclear if more than one of the cases had come directly from a mink.

The exact source of the virus, which first appeared in China late last year, remains unknown, and there is growing pressure for an international probe to determine its origin. In a matter of months, the virus has infected more than 5.5 million people, killing nearly 350,000 of them.

Most scientists believe the virus jumped from animals to humans, possibly in a market that sells exotic animals for meat in the city of Wuhan.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus indicated Monday that China had agreed that an investigation of the origin was needed, but did not say when one might begin. "All stakeholders understand the importance of studying the origin, because it's by studying the origin that we can prevent it from happening in the future," he told a virtual press conference.

Since the initial jump to humans, there have been no previous reports of animals being the source of infections. The WHO said however that there have been some instances of COVID-19 patients infecting their pets.

"A number of susceptibility studies have shown that other animal species are also susceptible to the virus and can be infected, including cats, ferrets," it said. The agency stressed that necessary precautions should be taken to avoid infection of pets from close contacts with humans with COVID-19, but insisted that "there is no reason or justification to take measures against companion animals."

bur-nl/rjm/wai

5.5 MILLION Covid-19 cases recorded worldwide – AFP tally

5.5 MILLION Covid-19 cases recorded worldwide – AFP tally

The number of Covid-19 infection cases has now topped 5.5 million across the globe, according to a report by news agency AFP. 

More than one million new cases have been reported in the past 10 days.


The world passed this somber milestone on Tuesday, with more than two-thirds of all confirmed cases recorded in Europe and the United States. Europe has been the continent hardest hit by the outbreak of the virus, with the UK recording the highest number of both infections and Covid-19 deaths.

This latest tally comes as nations across the globe cautiously begin to ease lockdown measures. Critics say the figures may be a conservative estimate, as the widespread lack of sufficient testing has hindered countries’ ability to confidently report the real number of infections.
The number of Covid-19 infection cases has now topped 5.5 million across the globe, according to a report by news agency AFP. 

More than one million new cases have been reported in the past 10 days.


The world passed this somber milestone on Tuesday, with more than two-thirds of all confirmed cases recorded in Europe and the United States. Europe has been the continent hardest hit by the outbreak of the virus, with the UK recording the highest number of both infections and Covid-19 deaths.

This latest tally comes as nations across the globe cautiously begin to ease lockdown measures. Critics say the figures may be a conservative estimate, as the widespread lack of sufficient testing has hindered countries’ ability to confidently report the real number of infections.

China plans to issue 141 billion USD of government bonds for #COVID19 control: report

China plans to issue 141 billion USD of government bonds for #COVID19 control: report

More than 4.5 million coronavirus cases have been detected worldwide, according to an AFP tally

More than 4.5 million coronavirus cases have been detected worldwide, according to an AFP tally

AFP news agency

@AFP
#BREAKING More than 4.5 million coronavirus cases have been detected worldwide, according to an AFP tally
AFP news agency

@AFP
#BREAKING More than 4.5 million coronavirus cases have been detected worldwide, according to an AFP tally

WHO warns Covid-19 may ‘never go away’ as President Trump clashes with Fauci over US reopening

WHO warns Covid-19 may ‘never go away’ as President Trump clashes with Fauci over US reopening

RT: US President Donald Trump has pushed for reopening schools, against the advice of his chief epidemiologist. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization has warned that the coronavirus may become endemic and never really disappear.

After meeting with governors of Colorado and North Dakota in the White House on Wednesday, Trump said he won’t consider any state fully open until the schools are back up and running.

“I think you should absolutely open the schools. Our country has got to get back and it’s got to get back as soon as possible, and I don’t consider our country coming back if the schools are closed,” Trump said.

On Tuesday, however, his chief epidemiologist Dr Anthony Fauci argued before the Senate that opening the schools this fall might be premature, saying that children might be affected by the virus after all.

“He wants to play all sides of the equation,” Trump said when asked about Fauci’s testimony. “I was surprised by his answer, actually, because, you know, it’s just to me it’s not an acceptable answer, especially when it comes to schools.”

Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) – a physician who recovered from the virus himself - also clashed with the head of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the hearing, criticizing Fauci for offering advice based on models that ended up being wrong.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization essentially backed Fauci’s position on Wednesday, urging against prematurely relaxing the lockdowns or hoping that the pandemic will peter out.

“It is important to put this on the table: this virus may become just another endemic virus in our communities, and this virus may never go away,” WHO emergencies director Mike Ryan said in a news briefing. “I think it is important we are realistic and I don’t think anyone can predict when this disease will disappear.”

“We need to get into the mindset that it is going to take some time to come out of this pandemic,” said epidemiologist Maria van Kerkhove.

It is unlikely Trump and his administration will be swayed by the WHO, having accused the organization of siding with China in suppressing information about the virus and halting all US funding earmarked for it.

First officially recorded in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019, the virus has infected almost 4.3 million people across the globe, and nearly 300,000 deaths have been attributed to it. It has spread to almost every corner of the world despite the harsh lockdown measures that have led to mass unemployment and economic disruptions.

(RT)
RT: US President Donald Trump has pushed for reopening schools, against the advice of his chief epidemiologist. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization has warned that the coronavirus may become endemic and never really disappear.

After meeting with governors of Colorado and North Dakota in the White House on Wednesday, Trump said he won’t consider any state fully open until the schools are back up and running.

“I think you should absolutely open the schools. Our country has got to get back and it’s got to get back as soon as possible, and I don’t consider our country coming back if the schools are closed,” Trump said.

On Tuesday, however, his chief epidemiologist Dr Anthony Fauci argued before the Senate that opening the schools this fall might be premature, saying that children might be affected by the virus after all.

“He wants to play all sides of the equation,” Trump said when asked about Fauci’s testimony. “I was surprised by his answer, actually, because, you know, it’s just to me it’s not an acceptable answer, especially when it comes to schools.”

Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) – a physician who recovered from the virus himself - also clashed with the head of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the hearing, criticizing Fauci for offering advice based on models that ended up being wrong.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization essentially backed Fauci’s position on Wednesday, urging against prematurely relaxing the lockdowns or hoping that the pandemic will peter out.

“It is important to put this on the table: this virus may become just another endemic virus in our communities, and this virus may never go away,” WHO emergencies director Mike Ryan said in a news briefing. “I think it is important we are realistic and I don’t think anyone can predict when this disease will disappear.”

“We need to get into the mindset that it is going to take some time to come out of this pandemic,” said epidemiologist Maria van Kerkhove.

It is unlikely Trump and his administration will be swayed by the WHO, having accused the organization of siding with China in suppressing information about the virus and halting all US funding earmarked for it.

First officially recorded in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019, the virus has infected almost 4.3 million people across the globe, and nearly 300,000 deaths have been attributed to it. It has spread to almost every corner of the world despite the harsh lockdown measures that have led to mass unemployment and economic disruptions.

(RT)

WHO thrashes ‘brutal arithmetic’ of herd immunity to beat Covid-19 pandemic

WHO thrashes ‘brutal arithmetic’ of herd immunity to beat Covid-19 pandemic

In the absence of a vaccine, the increasingly discussed idea of beating the novel coronavirus pandemic through achieving so-called herd immunity could be a disastrous miscalculation, a senior WHO official has warned.

“This is a really dangerous, dangerous calculation,” Michael Ryan, head of the World Health Organization’s health emergencies program, said at a briefing on Monday.

This idea that maybe countries that had lax measures and haven't done anything will all of a sudden magically reach some herd immunity – and so what if we lose a few old people along the way?

“Humans are not herds,” Ryan said, warning that applying the same standards to humans “can lead to a very brutal arithmetic which does not put people and life and suffering at the center of that equation.”

The term originated from veterinary medicine and initially referred to a concept focusing on the overall health of the population, with little regard to individual animals. The idea is based on a premise that when a large part of the population is immune to an infectious disease, it is less likely to spread to the individuals who aren’t. However, without a vaccine, that means that most people have to beat the illness to develop such immunity – and the price could be too high.

Herd immunity is only applicable to humans when scientists need to calculate how many individuals should be vaccinated for a society to reach proper herd immunity, Ryan said. The assumption that a large portion of the global population has already been infected and had gone through a mild form of Covid-19 have been proven wrong by preliminary epidemiological studies, he added.

“The proportion of severe clinical illnesses is actually a higher proportion of all those that have been infected,” Ryan said, warning that the novel coronavirus turned out to be much more “serious” than initially thought.

The WHO official did not call out any state in particular, but his statements were seen as a dig at Sweden and other nations that had been reluctant to impose strict lockdown measures, because local health experts argued that herd immunity could be achieved instead.

The idea of herd immunity remains popular in some US media outlets, with no shortage of articles discussing the concept, and some even calling on state governments to drop all restrictions and push populations to develop natural immunity to the disease in lieu of a vaccine.

Aaron Rupar
✔@atrupar
TRUMP: "So many people have died. That's the one thing we can't do anything about, unfortunately. What I can say is if we did it the different way -- if we went 'herd,' if we just said 'let's wing it' -- we would've been talking about numbers that would've been unsustainable."


Washington remains reluctant to take up the idea, however, with President Donald Trump recently saying the country would have faced “unsustainable and unacceptable” losses had it pursued herd immunity over a lockdown. The US is currently the world’s worst Covid-19 hotspot, with over 1.3 million cases and more than 80,000 fatalities.


In the absence of a vaccine, the increasingly discussed idea of beating the novel coronavirus pandemic through achieving so-called herd immunity could be a disastrous miscalculation, a senior WHO official has warned.

“This is a really dangerous, dangerous calculation,” Michael Ryan, head of the World Health Organization’s health emergencies program, said at a briefing on Monday.

This idea that maybe countries that had lax measures and haven't done anything will all of a sudden magically reach some herd immunity – and so what if we lose a few old people along the way?

“Humans are not herds,” Ryan said, warning that applying the same standards to humans “can lead to a very brutal arithmetic which does not put people and life and suffering at the center of that equation.”

The term originated from veterinary medicine and initially referred to a concept focusing on the overall health of the population, with little regard to individual animals. The idea is based on a premise that when a large part of the population is immune to an infectious disease, it is less likely to spread to the individuals who aren’t. However, without a vaccine, that means that most people have to beat the illness to develop such immunity – and the price could be too high.

Herd immunity is only applicable to humans when scientists need to calculate how many individuals should be vaccinated for a society to reach proper herd immunity, Ryan said. The assumption that a large portion of the global population has already been infected and had gone through a mild form of Covid-19 have been proven wrong by preliminary epidemiological studies, he added.

“The proportion of severe clinical illnesses is actually a higher proportion of all those that have been infected,” Ryan said, warning that the novel coronavirus turned out to be much more “serious” than initially thought.

The WHO official did not call out any state in particular, but his statements were seen as a dig at Sweden and other nations that had been reluctant to impose strict lockdown measures, because local health experts argued that herd immunity could be achieved instead.

The idea of herd immunity remains popular in some US media outlets, with no shortage of articles discussing the concept, and some even calling on state governments to drop all restrictions and push populations to develop natural immunity to the disease in lieu of a vaccine.

Aaron Rupar
✔@atrupar
TRUMP: "So many people have died. That's the one thing we can't do anything about, unfortunately. What I can say is if we did it the different way -- if we went 'herd,' if we just said 'let's wing it' -- we would've been talking about numbers that would've been unsustainable."


Washington remains reluctant to take up the idea, however, with President Donald Trump recently saying the country would have faced “unsustainable and unacceptable” losses had it pursued herd immunity over a lockdown. The US is currently the world’s worst Covid-19 hotspot, with over 1.3 million cases and more than 80,000 fatalities.


#COVID19: WHO warns, coronavirus could kill up to 190,000 in Africa

#COVID19: WHO warns, coronavirus could kill up to 190,000 in Africa

COVID-19 could kill as many as 190,000 people in Africa during the first year of the pandemic if containment measures fail, the World Health Organization warned on Thursday.

Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO Regional Director for Africa said in a statement that “while Covid-19 likely may not spread as exponentially in Africa as it has elsewhere in the world, it likely will smoulder in transmission hotspots,”

“Coronavirus could become a fixture in our lives for the next several years unless a proactive approach is taken by many governments in the region. We need to test, trace, isolate and treat.”

The WHO predicted that between 29 million to 44 million Africans could be infected in the first year. 

As many as 5.5 million of these people could require hospital treatment, a number that would overwhelm the medical capacity of most places on the continent.

A survey done in March of health services in Africa found an average of nine intensive care unit beds per 1 million people in 47 African countries. “These would be woefully inadequate,” the WHO said.


CNN
COVID-19 could kill as many as 190,000 people in Africa during the first year of the pandemic if containment measures fail, the World Health Organization warned on Thursday.

Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO Regional Director for Africa said in a statement that “while Covid-19 likely may not spread as exponentially in Africa as it has elsewhere in the world, it likely will smoulder in transmission hotspots,”

“Coronavirus could become a fixture in our lives for the next several years unless a proactive approach is taken by many governments in the region. We need to test, trace, isolate and treat.”

The WHO predicted that between 29 million to 44 million Africans could be infected in the first year. 

As many as 5.5 million of these people could require hospital treatment, a number that would overwhelm the medical capacity of most places on the continent.

A survey done in March of health services in Africa found an average of nine intensive care unit beds per 1 million people in 47 African countries. “These would be woefully inadequate,” the WHO said.


CNN

COVID-19 death toll tops 250,000 worldwide as cases exceed 3.5mn - Reuters tally

COVID-19 death toll tops 250,000 worldwide as cases exceed 3.5mn - Reuters tally



According to Reuters' tally, the total number of Covid-19 fatalities has surpassed 250,000, marking yet another dark milestone for the pandemic’s global death toll as cases around the world continue to surge past 3.5 million.
The fatality count hit 250,687 on Monday, increasing by some 3,200 deaths in the last 24 hours.

Also, nearly 67,000 new infections were counted in the same period, bringing the global total to 3,573,864, according to data gathered by Johns Hopkins University.

The United States – still the top Covid-19 hot spot – and Europe drove the surge in new cases and deaths.

The US accounted for fewer than 1,000 of the new fatalities, adding 760 between Sunday and Monday evening, the data showed, while the bulk of the rest occurred in Europe, where outbreaks have infected in excess of 100,000 people in at least seven nations – some, like Italy and Spain, crossing 200,000 cases.

In total, the US has counted 68,442 deaths.

Accounting for the eased lockdowns, the new forecast puts the total fatality count far higher than 74,000, the number offered in the White House’s latest projection.

Another alarming projection attributed to the Centers Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was published on Monday by the New York Times, suggesting that new infections in the US could reach 200,000 per day by June, with fatalities expected to jump from 1,750 per day currently to around 3,000.

The Trump administration has challenged the report, however, insisting it was not a “White House document” and had not gone through an “interagency vetting” process. The author of the model has since denied that it was ever meant to be a projection.

“I had no role in the process by which that was presented and shown,” Justin Lessler, an associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told the Washington Post, noting that he provided unfinished data to health officials as a courtesy but “it was not in any way intended to be a forecast.” RT


According to Reuters' tally, the total number of Covid-19 fatalities has surpassed 250,000, marking yet another dark milestone for the pandemic’s global death toll as cases around the world continue to surge past 3.5 million.
The fatality count hit 250,687 on Monday, increasing by some 3,200 deaths in the last 24 hours.

Also, nearly 67,000 new infections were counted in the same period, bringing the global total to 3,573,864, according to data gathered by Johns Hopkins University.

The United States – still the top Covid-19 hot spot – and Europe drove the surge in new cases and deaths.

The US accounted for fewer than 1,000 of the new fatalities, adding 760 between Sunday and Monday evening, the data showed, while the bulk of the rest occurred in Europe, where outbreaks have infected in excess of 100,000 people in at least seven nations – some, like Italy and Spain, crossing 200,000 cases.

In total, the US has counted 68,442 deaths.

Accounting for the eased lockdowns, the new forecast puts the total fatality count far higher than 74,000, the number offered in the White House’s latest projection.

Another alarming projection attributed to the Centers Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was published on Monday by the New York Times, suggesting that new infections in the US could reach 200,000 per day by June, with fatalities expected to jump from 1,750 per day currently to around 3,000.

The Trump administration has challenged the report, however, insisting it was not a “White House document” and had not gone through an “interagency vetting” process. The author of the model has since denied that it was ever meant to be a projection.

“I had no role in the process by which that was presented and shown,” Justin Lessler, an associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told the Washington Post, noting that he provided unfinished data to health officials as a courtesy but “it was not in any way intended to be a forecast.” RT

German politician says WHO should debunk ‘conspiracy theorist’ Pompeo with independent Covid-19 probe

German politician says WHO should debunk ‘conspiracy theorist’ Pompeo with independent Covid-19 probe

Leading member of Germany’s Green Party J├╝rgen Trittin called on the World Health Organization to investigate the origins of the coronavirus so as to counter ‘conspiracy theorists’ such as the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Trittin reacted on Monday to claims by the top US diplomat that there was “enormous evidence” the Covid-19 pathogen originated in a Chinese laboratory, calling Pompeo a “conspiracy theorist” and demanding a WHO-led independent probe to clear the air.

Verschw├Ârungstheoretikern wie @SecPompeo und seinen Unterst├╝tzern bei der @rupertmurdoch Presse kommt man nur durch eine unabh├Ąngige Untersuchung bei. Es ist Zeit daf├╝r @WHOhttps://t.co/sVU9lmJ5ai
— J├╝rgen Trittin (@JTrittin) May 4, 2020

“Secret services with their political interests are obviously unsuitable as [sources of enlightenment] in the corona crisis,” Trittin said in a letter demanding answers from the German federal government. Greens have been an opposition party since 2015.

He was skeptical of media reports that Pompeo’s alleged evidence was obtained through the ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence network, which includes the US, UK, Canada, New Zealand and Australia – but not Germany, a NATO ally of Washington.

Pompeo and US President Donald Trump have both blamed Beijing for the spread of the virus, which was first registered in Wuhan, in China’s Hubei province, last December. Since then, the virus has spread to almost every corner of the world, infecting 3,5 million people and killing almost 250,000.

Lockdown measures implemented in Wuhan and Hubei have since been replicated elsewhere. While Beijing claims they were entirely successful in eliminating the virus, the US has suffered more than a million infections and almost 70,000 deaths, while its economy has ground to a standstill.

During a TV appearance on Sunday, Pompeo claimed that that “best experts so far seem to think it was man-made,” though the US intelligence community said last week that it agreed with the scientific consensus about the virus probably originating in nature.

Scientists around the world have argued that the virus’s structure proves it was not genetically engineered in a laboratory but must have evolved naturally in an animal species before jumping to humans, but there has been no satisfactory explanation yet as to which animal is the “reservoir” species.

There is no official explanation where the virus originated, either, with the original theory that it came from an animal sold at a “wet market” in Wuhan now widely rejected for lack of evidence. Trump, Pompeo and others have pointed the finger at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which researched bat coronaviruses, and suggested a sample may have accidentally escaped the lab.

In his condemnation of “conspiracy theories,” Trittin has called on the WHO to launch an impartial and independent investigation of the virus’s origins. It is unlikely that Washington would accept WHO’s findings, however, given Trump’s accusations that the world body has followed Beijing’s lead in misinforming humanity about the virus, which he cited as the reason to freeze US funding for the organization last month.



Leading member of Germany’s Green Party J├╝rgen Trittin called on the World Health Organization to investigate the origins of the coronavirus so as to counter ‘conspiracy theorists’ such as the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Trittin reacted on Monday to claims by the top US diplomat that there was “enormous evidence” the Covid-19 pathogen originated in a Chinese laboratory, calling Pompeo a “conspiracy theorist” and demanding a WHO-led independent probe to clear the air.

Verschw├Ârungstheoretikern wie @SecPompeo und seinen Unterst├╝tzern bei der @rupertmurdoch Presse kommt man nur durch eine unabh├Ąngige Untersuchung bei. Es ist Zeit daf├╝r @WHOhttps://t.co/sVU9lmJ5ai
— J├╝rgen Trittin (@JTrittin) May 4, 2020

“Secret services with their political interests are obviously unsuitable as [sources of enlightenment] in the corona crisis,” Trittin said in a letter demanding answers from the German federal government. Greens have been an opposition party since 2015.

He was skeptical of media reports that Pompeo’s alleged evidence was obtained through the ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence network, which includes the US, UK, Canada, New Zealand and Australia – but not Germany, a NATO ally of Washington.

Pompeo and US President Donald Trump have both blamed Beijing for the spread of the virus, which was first registered in Wuhan, in China’s Hubei province, last December. Since then, the virus has spread to almost every corner of the world, infecting 3,5 million people and killing almost 250,000.

Lockdown measures implemented in Wuhan and Hubei have since been replicated elsewhere. While Beijing claims they were entirely successful in eliminating the virus, the US has suffered more than a million infections and almost 70,000 deaths, while its economy has ground to a standstill.

During a TV appearance on Sunday, Pompeo claimed that that “best experts so far seem to think it was man-made,” though the US intelligence community said last week that it agreed with the scientific consensus about the virus probably originating in nature.

Scientists around the world have argued that the virus’s structure proves it was not genetically engineered in a laboratory but must have evolved naturally in an animal species before jumping to humans, but there has been no satisfactory explanation yet as to which animal is the “reservoir” species.

There is no official explanation where the virus originated, either, with the original theory that it came from an animal sold at a “wet market” in Wuhan now widely rejected for lack of evidence. Trump, Pompeo and others have pointed the finger at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which researched bat coronaviruses, and suggested a sample may have accidentally escaped the lab.

In his condemnation of “conspiracy theories,” Trittin has called on the WHO to launch an impartial and independent investigation of the virus’s origins. It is unlikely that Washington would accept WHO’s findings, however, given Trump’s accusations that the world body has followed Beijing’s lead in misinforming humanity about the virus, which he cited as the reason to freeze US funding for the organization last month.



As At 1100 GMT Sunday, Coronavirus has kills at least 243,637 people - AFP Tally

As At 1100 GMT Sunday, Coronavirus has kills at least 243,637 people - AFP Tally

(AFP) The novel coronavirus has killed at least 243,637 people since the outbreak first emerged in China last December, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP at 1100 GMT on Sunday.

More than 3,441,540 cases were registered in 195 countries and territories. Of these, at least 1,055,500 are now considered recovered.

The tallies, using data collected by AFP from national authorities and information from the World Health Organization (WHO), probably reflect only a fraction of the actual number of infections.

Many countries are testing only the most serious cases.

The United States has the highest number of total deaths with 66,385 out of 1,133,069 cases. At least 175,382 have been declared recovered.

Italy has the second highest toll with 28,710 deaths out of 209,328 cases, followed by Britain with 28,131 deaths from 182,260 cases, Spain 25,264 deaths and 217,466 cases and France with 24,760 deaths and 168,396 cases.

Belgium has the highest proportion of fatalities per population with about 67 deaths per 100,000 people, followed by Spain with 54, Italy with 47, Britain with 41 and France 38.

China -- excluding Hong Kong and Macau -- has to date declared 4,633 deaths and 82,877 cases. It has 77,713 recovered cases.

Europe has a total of 142,611 deaths from 1,535,203 cases, the United States and Canada have 70,018 deaths and 1,189,649 cases, Latin America and the Caribbean have 13,156 deaths and 246,581 cases, Asia has 9,061 deaths and 237,852 cases, the Middle East has 6,929 deaths and 181,730 cases, Africa has 1,740 deaths from 42,408 cases, and Oceania 122 deaths from 8,125 cases.

bur-rg/bp/txw
(AFP) The novel coronavirus has killed at least 243,637 people since the outbreak first emerged in China last December, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP at 1100 GMT on Sunday.

More than 3,441,540 cases were registered in 195 countries and territories. Of these, at least 1,055,500 are now considered recovered.

The tallies, using data collected by AFP from national authorities and information from the World Health Organization (WHO), probably reflect only a fraction of the actual number of infections.

Many countries are testing only the most serious cases.

The United States has the highest number of total deaths with 66,385 out of 1,133,069 cases. At least 175,382 have been declared recovered.

Italy has the second highest toll with 28,710 deaths out of 209,328 cases, followed by Britain with 28,131 deaths from 182,260 cases, Spain 25,264 deaths and 217,466 cases and France with 24,760 deaths and 168,396 cases.

Belgium has the highest proportion of fatalities per population with about 67 deaths per 100,000 people, followed by Spain with 54, Italy with 47, Britain with 41 and France 38.

China -- excluding Hong Kong and Macau -- has to date declared 4,633 deaths and 82,877 cases. It has 77,713 recovered cases.

Europe has a total of 142,611 deaths from 1,535,203 cases, the United States and Canada have 70,018 deaths and 1,189,649 cases, Latin America and the Caribbean have 13,156 deaths and 246,581 cases, Asia has 9,061 deaths and 237,852 cases, the Middle East has 6,929 deaths and 181,730 cases, Africa has 1,740 deaths from 42,408 cases, and Oceania 122 deaths from 8,125 cases.

bur-rg/bp/txw

WHO says hoping China will invite it to take part in its investigations into the animal origins of the novel coronavirus

WHO says hoping China will invite it to take part in its investigations into the animal origins of the novel coronavirus

The World Health Organization says it is hoping China will invite it to take part in its investigations into the animal origins of the novel coronavirus
The World Health Organization says it is hoping China will invite it to take part in its investigations into the animal origins of the novel coronavirus

COVID-19: Half of world’s workforce could lose livelihood due to Covid-19, UN agency warns

COVID-19: Half of world’s workforce could lose livelihood due to Covid-19, UN agency warns

The International Labour Organization (ILO) has warned that around half of the world’s workforce, or 1.6 billion workers, are at imminent risk of losing their livelihood because of the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. RT reported.

In its latest report, the UN agency stated that those hardest hit by the financial effects of the Covid-19 outbreak have been ‘informal economy’ workers, including the self-employed and those on a short-term contract.

“The first month of the crisis is estimated to have resulted in a drop of 60 percent in the income of informal workers globally,” the ILO said of the economic damage already caused by the pandemic.

The deepening crisis in many parts of the world has left more than 436 million businesses facing financial hardship and possible closure, the ILO stated, which will inevitably hurt workers. The report listed the worst-hit sectors as manufacturing, accommodation and food services, wholesale and retail trade, and real estate.

“For millions of workers, no income means no food, no security and no future,” ILO Director-General Guy Ryder said of the stark impact of an economic dip.

He added that, according to ILO data, there is expected to be a “massive” rise in poverty levels worldwide, unless governments recognize the need to reconstruct their economies around better working practices and “not a return to the pre-pandemic world of precarious work for the majority.”

Since the novel coronavirus emerged in China late last year, over 3.1 million cases have been confirmed around the world, and more than 216,000 people have died. Drastic lockdowns to limit its spread have taken a dire toll on the global economy, prompting market turmoil and numerous projections of the heavy recession to strike this year.
The International Labour Organization (ILO) has warned that around half of the world’s workforce, or 1.6 billion workers, are at imminent risk of losing their livelihood because of the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. RT reported.

In its latest report, the UN agency stated that those hardest hit by the financial effects of the Covid-19 outbreak have been ‘informal economy’ workers, including the self-employed and those on a short-term contract.

“The first month of the crisis is estimated to have resulted in a drop of 60 percent in the income of informal workers globally,” the ILO said of the economic damage already caused by the pandemic.

The deepening crisis in many parts of the world has left more than 436 million businesses facing financial hardship and possible closure, the ILO stated, which will inevitably hurt workers. The report listed the worst-hit sectors as manufacturing, accommodation and food services, wholesale and retail trade, and real estate.

“For millions of workers, no income means no food, no security and no future,” ILO Director-General Guy Ryder said of the stark impact of an economic dip.

He added that, according to ILO data, there is expected to be a “massive” rise in poverty levels worldwide, unless governments recognize the need to reconstruct their economies around better working practices and “not a return to the pre-pandemic world of precarious work for the majority.”

Since the novel coronavirus emerged in China late last year, over 3.1 million cases have been confirmed around the world, and more than 216,000 people have died. Drastic lockdowns to limit its spread have taken a dire toll on the global economy, prompting market turmoil and numerous projections of the heavy recession to strike this year.

UN launched a global push for coronavirus vaccine as Trump disinfectant theory sparks uproar

UN launched a global push for coronavirus vaccine as Trump disinfectant theory sparks uproar

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Washington (AFP) - The United Nations on Friday launched a global push for a coronavirus vaccine as President Donald Trump triggered an uproar by suggesting patients be treated with disinfectant and the US death toll passed 50,000.

Across the Muslim world, hundreds of millions of faithful opened the Ramadan holy month under stay-at-home conditions, facing bans on prayers in mosques and on the traditional large gatherings of families and friends to break the daily fast.

With effective medical treatments still far away, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said defeating the pandemic will require global organizations and world leaders joining forces with the private sector to develop and distribute a novel coronavirus vaccine.

"We face a global public enemy like no other," Guterres said. "A world free of COVID-19 requires the most massive public health effort in history."

The UN chief's appeal came a day after the US president prompted an outcry with his suggestion that industrial cleansers could be used internally by humans to fight the infection.

"Is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning?" Trump mused during a televised briefing. "It sounds interesting to me."

As experts -- and disinfectant manufacturers -- rushed to caution against any such dangerous experiment, the president tried to walk back his comments claiming he had been speaking "sarcastically."

- 'Irresponsible, dangerous' -

Confirmed coronavirus cases hit 2.77 million worldwide Friday, with deaths 193,930 -- more than a quarter of which are in the United States, the country hardest hit.

New reported cases seem to have leveled off at about 80,000 a day, as distancing measures have taken root and the daily death toll in Western countries appeared to be falling -- a sign hopeful epidemiologists have been looking for.

Yet other nations are still in the early stages of the fight and the World Health organization has warned strict measures should remain in place.

New cases were accelerating in countries with low testing or late and limited mitigation like Russia, Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria, Maldives, and Guatemala.

In Geneva the WHO hosted a virtual conference on global cooperation to develop a vaccine, together with French President Emmanuel Macron, Germany's Angela Merkel, the wealthy Gates Foundation and GAVI, the global vaccine alliance.

"The world needs the development, production and equitable delivery of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics," Guterres said.

"Not a vaccine or treatments for one country or one region or one-half of the world, but a vaccine and treatment that are affordable, safe, effective, easily-administered and universally available, for everyone, everywhere," he said.

Notably absent from the group were leaders of China, where the virus surfaced, and the United States, which has accused the WHO of not warning the world quickly enough about the original outbreak in China.

- Mecca's Grand Mosque deserted -

The pandemic put a damper on the opening of Ramadan, during which Muslims around the world pass the daylight hours fasting and then, after evening prayer, dining with families and friends.

In the Saudi holy city of Mecca, the Grand Mosque, usually packed with tens of thousands of pilgrims during Ramadan, was deserted as religious authorities suspended the year-round umrah pilgrimage.

"We are used to seeing the holy mosque crowded with people during the day, night, all the time... I feel pain deep inside," said Ali Mulla, the muezzin who gives the call to prayer at the Grand Mosque.

But clerics and conservatives in some countries including Bangladesh, Pakistan and Indonesia -- the world's largest Muslim-majority nation -- have pushed back against social distancing rules, refusing to stop gatherings in mosques.

Several thousand people attended evening prayers on Thursday at the biggest mosque in the capital of Indonesia's conservative Aceh province, and there were similar scenes at many sites in Pakistan.

- Economic contraction -

The economic devastation wreaked by the global lockdown is huge, with the world facing its worst downturn since the 1930s Great Depression.

Russia's central bank said its economy would shrink up to six percent this year, hit doubly by the coronavirus and the plunge in oil prices.

In the United States, the Congressional Budget Office forecast GDP will contract by 12 percent in the April-June quarter and the federal deficit, due to massive stimulus spending, will explode to $3.7 trillion in 2020.

Trump on Friday signed the newest financial support package, $483 billion for small businesses on the brink of bankruptcy and hard-pressed hospitals.

Across the United States individual state leaders were weighing whether to start gradually lift lockdown measures.

But the governor of Georgia was under attack for going so far as to declare a wide range of businesses where social distancing is difficult, like gyms, hair salons and tattoo parlors, able to open.

"If I don't cut hair I don't make money," said mask-wearing Atlanta barber Chris Edwards, as he trimmed the hair of an unmasked client. "We're being safe, we're being clean, it's all you can do."

- Europe -

In Europe -- the hardest-hit continent with over half the global number of deaths -- leaders haggled by video conference over their own package that could top one trillion euros, as the European Central Bank chief warned of the risk of "acting too little, too late".

The 27-nation European Union has agreed to ask the bloc's executive arm to come up with a rescue plan by May 6, sources told AFP.

The crucial economic discussions come as parts of Europe slowly loosen restrictions after progress on reducing the number of new infections.

But experts have warned of a possible second wave, and authorities are ramping up their capacity to deal with it in Germany -- where curbs on public life have been eased recently.

Virologist Christian Drosten of Berlin's Charite hospital warned that the coronavirus could return with a "totally different force".


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Washington (AFP) - The United Nations on Friday launched a global push for a coronavirus vaccine as President Donald Trump triggered an uproar by suggesting patients be treated with disinfectant and the US death toll passed 50,000.

Across the Muslim world, hundreds of millions of faithful opened the Ramadan holy month under stay-at-home conditions, facing bans on prayers in mosques and on the traditional large gatherings of families and friends to break the daily fast.

With effective medical treatments still far away, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said defeating the pandemic will require global organizations and world leaders joining forces with the private sector to develop and distribute a novel coronavirus vaccine.

"We face a global public enemy like no other," Guterres said. "A world free of COVID-19 requires the most massive public health effort in history."

The UN chief's appeal came a day after the US president prompted an outcry with his suggestion that industrial cleansers could be used internally by humans to fight the infection.

"Is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning?" Trump mused during a televised briefing. "It sounds interesting to me."

As experts -- and disinfectant manufacturers -- rushed to caution against any such dangerous experiment, the president tried to walk back his comments claiming he had been speaking "sarcastically."

- 'Irresponsible, dangerous' -

Confirmed coronavirus cases hit 2.77 million worldwide Friday, with deaths 193,930 -- more than a quarter of which are in the United States, the country hardest hit.

New reported cases seem to have leveled off at about 80,000 a day, as distancing measures have taken root and the daily death toll in Western countries appeared to be falling -- a sign hopeful epidemiologists have been looking for.

Yet other nations are still in the early stages of the fight and the World Health organization has warned strict measures should remain in place.

New cases were accelerating in countries with low testing or late and limited mitigation like Russia, Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria, Maldives, and Guatemala.

In Geneva the WHO hosted a virtual conference on global cooperation to develop a vaccine, together with French President Emmanuel Macron, Germany's Angela Merkel, the wealthy Gates Foundation and GAVI, the global vaccine alliance.

"The world needs the development, production and equitable delivery of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics," Guterres said.

"Not a vaccine or treatments for one country or one region or one-half of the world, but a vaccine and treatment that are affordable, safe, effective, easily-administered and universally available, for everyone, everywhere," he said.

Notably absent from the group were leaders of China, where the virus surfaced, and the United States, which has accused the WHO of not warning the world quickly enough about the original outbreak in China.

- Mecca's Grand Mosque deserted -

The pandemic put a damper on the opening of Ramadan, during which Muslims around the world pass the daylight hours fasting and then, after evening prayer, dining with families and friends.

In the Saudi holy city of Mecca, the Grand Mosque, usually packed with tens of thousands of pilgrims during Ramadan, was deserted as religious authorities suspended the year-round umrah pilgrimage.

"We are used to seeing the holy mosque crowded with people during the day, night, all the time... I feel pain deep inside," said Ali Mulla, the muezzin who gives the call to prayer at the Grand Mosque.

But clerics and conservatives in some countries including Bangladesh, Pakistan and Indonesia -- the world's largest Muslim-majority nation -- have pushed back against social distancing rules, refusing to stop gatherings in mosques.

Several thousand people attended evening prayers on Thursday at the biggest mosque in the capital of Indonesia's conservative Aceh province, and there were similar scenes at many sites in Pakistan.

- Economic contraction -

The economic devastation wreaked by the global lockdown is huge, with the world facing its worst downturn since the 1930s Great Depression.

Russia's central bank said its economy would shrink up to six percent this year, hit doubly by the coronavirus and the plunge in oil prices.

In the United States, the Congressional Budget Office forecast GDP will contract by 12 percent in the April-June quarter and the federal deficit, due to massive stimulus spending, will explode to $3.7 trillion in 2020.

Trump on Friday signed the newest financial support package, $483 billion for small businesses on the brink of bankruptcy and hard-pressed hospitals.

Across the United States individual state leaders were weighing whether to start gradually lift lockdown measures.

But the governor of Georgia was under attack for going so far as to declare a wide range of businesses where social distancing is difficult, like gyms, hair salons and tattoo parlors, able to open.

"If I don't cut hair I don't make money," said mask-wearing Atlanta barber Chris Edwards, as he trimmed the hair of an unmasked client. "We're being safe, we're being clean, it's all you can do."

- Europe -

In Europe -- the hardest-hit continent with over half the global number of deaths -- leaders haggled by video conference over their own package that could top one trillion euros, as the European Central Bank chief warned of the risk of "acting too little, too late".

The 27-nation European Union has agreed to ask the bloc's executive arm to come up with a rescue plan by May 6, sources told AFP.

The crucial economic discussions come as parts of Europe slowly loosen restrictions after progress on reducing the number of new infections.

But experts have warned of a possible second wave, and authorities are ramping up their capacity to deal with it in Germany -- where curbs on public life have been eased recently.

Virologist Christian Drosten of Berlin's Charite hospital warned that the coronavirus could return with a "totally different force".


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