‘Death toll may hit 2mn even with vaccine’


The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that the global coronavirus death toll could cross the two-million figure before an effective vaccine is widely used.

Dr. Mike Ryan, the WHO’s emergencies head, said the figure could be higher without concerted international action, reports the BBC.

The number of Covid-19 deaths is fast approaching one million — nearly nine months after the outbreak started in China.

The Covid-19 infections continue to rise, with 32 million cases confirmed globally, led by the US and India.

The US, India and Brazil have confirmed the most coronavirus cases, recording more than 15 million between them.

Kathmandu, Aug. 12, 2020 (Xinhua) — Nepalese army health workers get disinfection at a crematorium in Kathmandu, Nepal, Aug. 12, 2020. The Nepali government on Wednesday confirmed the record-high single day fatality of eight deaths due to COVID-19 , bringing the death toll to 91. (Photo by Sulav Shrestha/Xinhua/IANS)

Ryan also urged Europeans to ask themselves whether they had done enough to avoid the need for lockdowns.

“He questioned whether all the alternatives had been implemented, like testing and tracing, quarantine, isolation, social distancing, wearing masks and hand-washing,” the report said late on Friday.

Virus infections continue to rise, with 32 million cases confirmed globally.

The start of a second surge of coronavirus infections has been seen in many countries in the northern hemisphere as winter approaches.

“Overall within that very large region, we are seeing worrying increases of the disease,” Dr. Ryan said about the spike in cases in Europe.

“Lockdowns are almost a last resort — and to think that we’re back in last-resort territory in September, that’s a pretty sobering thought,” he told reporters at the WHO’s headquarters in Geneva.

Asked whether two million fatalities worldwide was possible before a vaccine became available, Dr. Ryan said: “It’s not impossible.”

“Unless we do it all, the number you speak about is not only imaginable, but unfortunately and sadly, very likely”.

Earlier, Spain’s capital Madrid brought another eight districts under tougher coronavirus restrictions, which now affect a million people in the city.

In France, staff from bars and restaurants in the southern city Marseille protested against the closure of their workplaces which was brought in on Saturday.

In the UK, tougher restrictions were announced in several regions as new daily infections went up.

Global tally

The overall number of global coronavirus cases has topped 32.7 million, while the deaths have increased to more than 992,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

As of Sunday morning, the total number of cases stood at 32,746,134 and the fatalities rose to 992,946, the University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update.

The US is the worst-hit country with the world’s highest number of cases and deaths at 7,077,450 and 204,485, respectively, according to the CSSE.

India comes in the second place in terms of cases at 5,903,932, while the country’s death toll soared to 93,379.

The other top 15 countries with the maximum amount of cases are Brazil (4,717,991), Russia (1,138,509), Colombia (806,038), Peru (794,584), Mexico (726,431), Spain (716,481), Argentina (702,484), South Africa (669,498), France (552,454), Chile (455,979), Iran (443,086), the UK (431,816), Bangladesh (357,873), Iraq (345,969) and Saudi Arabia (332,790), the CSSE figures showed.

Brazil currently accounts for the second highest number of fatalities at 141,406.

The countries with a death toll above 10,000 are Mexico (76,243), the UK (42,060), Italy (35,818), Peru (32,037), France (31,675), Spain (31,232), Iran (25,394), Colombia (25,296), Russia (20,140), South Africa (16,376), Argentina (15,543), Chile (12,591), Ecuador (11,236) and Indonesia (10,308).

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