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The fight against the coronavirus will be long, warns the WHO at a time when impatience is growing in the United States and when Europe is preparing for its deconfinement, against a backdrop of economic worries.
“Make no mistake: we still have a long way to go. This virus will be with us for a long time,” warned WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus from Geneva on Wednesday.
The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) particularly fears a relaxation in the fight against this new virus, which has already killed more than 180,000 people worldwide since its appearance in China in December.
“One of the greatest dangers facing us today is complacency” in the face of the pandemic, he insisted, stressing that “the first elements indicate that the major part of the world population remains susceptible” d ‘be contaminated.
In the United States, where anti-containment protests continue, authorities recorded 1,738 deaths from coronavirus in 24 hours on Wednesday, a toll down from the previous day, according to the Johns Hopkins University count.
This daily report brings to 46,583 the total number of deaths recorded since the beginning of the pandemic in the United States, country officially the most bereaved in the world by the Covid-19.
Despite these figures, and the dire situation in hospitals in some particularly affected regions, President Donald Trump decided last week that it was time to “restart America”. However, he let each of the governors make the decision based on the severity of the epidemic in his state.
Some quickly began to relax the rules of distancing. In the states still under containment, Americans have been mounting protests for several days to call for a recovery in the economy.
On the same wavelength, Donald Trump signed a decree on Wednesday temporarily suspending immigration to the United States, which will no longer issue green cards for two months, in order to protect American workers.
On the other side of the Atlantic, several European countries are preparing to gradually break out of the confinement that their populations have been forced to respect since last month.
And there is a great temptation to revive certain economic activities in the face of the specter of recession.
But “going too fast would be a mistake,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday, whose country has, among other things, decided to reopen certain supermarkets.
Berlin and ten of the 16 German federal states have decided to impose the wearing of masks on public transport. Bars, restaurants, cultural places, sports grounds remain closed. Schools and high schools will gradually reopen.
In addition to Germany, Austria, Norway and Denmark are on the way to relaxing their containment measures, while retaining measures of “social distancing”.
Italy, France, Switzerland, Finland and Romania are also preparing cautious deconfinement.
Car maker Renault has started to boost production in France, which was halted on March 16.
Despite signs of deceleration, the threshold of 112,000 dead has been exceeded on the Old Continent. Italy (25,085 dead) and Spain (21,717) are the most affected countries in Europe, followed by France (21,340) and the United Kingdom (18,100).
While 759 deaths have been recorded in Britain in the past 24 hours, bringing the nation’s death toll to 18,000, British health chief Chris Whitty has showered the hopes of those hoping that London will follow suit. European tendency to lighten containment measures in the coming weeks.
“In the long term, we will get by (…) ideally with a very effective vaccine (…) or very effective drugs which will allow people to no longer die from this disease, even if they catch it “, he said.
The global race to develop a vaccine, in which all nations and all major laboratories and pharmaceutical companies are taking part, was relaunched on Wednesday with the green light given by the German federal authority responsible for the certification of vaccines to a clinical trial on humans by the BioNTech laboratory, based in Mainz, in association with the American giant Pfizer.
Currently, five vaccine projects around the world are in human trials, but the development of an effective and safe formula should take no less than twelve to 18 months, experts say.
While waiting for this vaccine, which the whole world will want to have at the same time and which obtaining risk of giving rise to fierce competition, the pandemic will continue to fuel a global economic crisis with unprecedented repercussions.
In a world that has come to a standstill, leaders are still trying to curb the effects of an economic crisis that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the International Labor Organization (ILO) describe as the worst since 1945.
European leaders find themselves in front of their screens on Thursday for a videoconference summit supposed to find the solutions to get the European Union out of the recession, but their deep divisions risk forcing them to postpone any major decision.
However, the crisis is worsening in certain sectors. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) estimates that the coronavirus could reduce the number of passengers in the sky by 1.2 billion by September, compared to a normal year.
South Korea announced on Thursday a 1.4% contraction in economic activity in the first quarter compared to the previous year, and authorities fear a further slowdown in the coming months.
The UN, for its part, was alarmed by a “global humanitarian catastrophe”: the number of people suffering from famine is likely to double to reach “more than 250 million by the end of 2020”, according to her.
Fear of a second wave also remains very strong
In the United States, a senior public health official, Robert Redfield, said he feared for next winter an episode “even more difficult than the one we just experienced”, due to a possible coincidence with the seasonal flu .
Cradle of the coronavirus, which left Wuhan at the end of 2019, China also fears a second epidemic wave. In the crosshairs: people from abroad. Faced with this threat, the metropolis of Harbin, close to Russia, on Wednesday tightened its restrictive measures.
burs / ob / roc
04/23/2020 05:42:29 – Geneva (AFP) – © 2020 AFP