The WHO warned that the COVID-19 pandemic would be lengthy and could lead to “response fatigue” as the case count in South Africa topped half a million.
Six months after the WHO declared a global emergency, the novel coronavirus has killed more than 685,000 and infected more than 17.8 million, according to Johns Hopkins University.
South Africa is by far the hardest hit country in the continent, accounting for more than half of its diagnosed infections, although South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said that the nation’s fatality rate is lower than the global average.
Nigeria on Saturday also announced it would ease a lockdown in the commercial capital, Lagos, allowing churches and mosques to reopen next week.
An emergency WHO committee reviewing the pandemic “highlighted the anticipated lengthy duration of this COVID-19 outbreak, noting the importance of sustained community, national, regional and global response efforts.”
“WHO continues to assess the global risk level of COVID-19 to be very high,” it said in its latest statement.
Mexico overtook the UK to become the third-hardest hit country in virus deaths — after Brazil and the US — with more than 47,400 deaths.
Although many Latin American countries have begun relaxing stay-at-home measures, the virus is still spreading quickly across much of the region, which has now recorded more than 4 million cases and almost 200,000 deaths.
Half of them are in Brazil, where Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said he believes “nearly everyone” will catch the virus eventually, after himself recovering from it.
The US, the hardest-hit country in the world, has tallied more than 4.6 million cases and more than 154,000 deaths.
The outlook was bleak in Asia as well, where India and the Philippines reported record increases in new daily infections.
“We are waging a losing battle against COVID-19, and we need to draw up a consolidated, definitive plan of action,” said an open letter signed by 80 Philippine medical associations.
Japan’s Okinawa declared a state of emergency after a record jump in cases on the islands — many linked to US military forces stationed there.
SECRET OUT: Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung yesterday accidentally revealed that the infections occurred at the ministry’s Taoyuan General Hospital The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported the fifth COVID-19 case in a cluster infection at a Taoyuan hospital, where four other medical workers were confirmed to have been infected over the past week. The latest case is a nurse who had tested negative on Tuesday last week, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC, told a news conference. However, on Thursday, she developed symptoms, such as nasal congestion and a cough, and a second test yesterday found that she was infected, Chen said. She is the head nurse of a ward where two
VIGILANCE: While two of the cases are family members of a nurse, there is no sign of community spread and the source of infection is identifiable, the CECC said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported four new domestic COVID-19 cases associated with a cluster infection at a Taoyuan hospital. Since the first case was identified on Tuesday last week, five healthcare workers — two doctors and three nurses — at the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Taoyuan General Hospital have tested positive for the virus. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that two of the four new cases are the husband and daughter of a nurse (case No. 863) who had earlier been confirmed to have COVID-19. The husband (case No. 864)
Don Quijote, the biggest discount store in Japan, is opening its first store in Taiwan today. The three-story Don Don Donki store in Taipei’s Ximending (西門町) area, which operates 24 hours a day, has already created 400 jobs, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said in a press release. Many Taiwanese, including Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊), consider a trip to Don Quijote an essential stop in Japan. “I have been to Don Quijote at least 10 times myself,” Huang said yesterday at a news conference announcing the store’s opening. “They are rendering an important service, because we cannot travel
‘CONTAINED’: The CECC is not considering locking down the hospital where the infections were detected, as their source has been found, Chen Shih-chung said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported one new domestic COVID-19 case, a doctor at a hospital in northern Taiwan where three other medical workers were confirmed to have the disease over the past week. The new case — No. 856 — is a doctor who had treated a COVID-19 patient together with case No. 838, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center. Case No. 838, confirmed as a locally infected COVID-19 case on Tuesday, was the first case in the hospital cluster, and later infected his partner, who is a nurse at the same