‘Greatest threat we face now is not the virus itself’


World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has launched an extraordinary attack on government leaders as the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus infections continues to soar.

“The greatest threat we face now is not the virus itself, it’s the lack of global solidarity and global leadership,” said Dr Tedros during a videoconference for the World Government Summit in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. “We cannot defeat this pandemic with a divided world.”

Dr Tedros did not name any government leaders, having already earned the wrath of US President Donald Trump.

Many countries and regions are lifting lockdown measures to restart their economies and allowing people to leave their homes despite not eliminating the coronavirus. European countries have opened their borders and countries such as Germany are already seeing a daily increase in people having the coronavirus than before the borders were reopened.

In South Korea, the Head of the Korea Centers for Disease Control, Jung Eun-Kyeong, said the country was experiencing a second wave of coronavirus infections. On Monday, there were 17 new infections recorded in 24 hours from different clusters in large offices and warehouses. There were 46 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday.

Dr Jeong said the recent resurgence had led her to conclude that the country was in the grip of a second wave of the virus, and that she expected it to continue. She added that a holiday weekend in early May marked the beginning of a new wave of coronavirus infections focused in the greater Seoul area, which had previously seen only a few cases.

Alarming surges in coronavirus cases across the south and west in the US raised fears that the outbreak is spiralling out of control and that hard-won progress against the virus is slipping away because of resistance among many Americans to wearing masks and keeping their distance from others.

Coronavirus cases surpassed 100,000 in Florida, hospitalisations are rising dramatically in Houston and Georgia, and a startling one in five of those tested in Arizona are proving to be infected with the virus.

“It is snowballing. We will most certainly see more people die as a result of this spike,” Dr Marc Boom, CEO and President of Houston Methodist Hospital, told AP News, noting that the number of COVID-19 hospital admissions has tripled since Memorial Day to more than 1,400 across eight hospital systems in the Houston metropolitan area.

The number of new coronavirus cases across the US per day has reached more than 26,000, up from about 21,000 two weeks ago, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

In Australia, there were another 17 cases reported in the state of Victoria, with the most populous city being Melbourne. Victoria, which is sealed off from the rest of Australia, has had close to 90% of the country’s new infections in the past week.

New Zealand, which went for 24 days without a new case being confirmed, has had another 11 cases of coronavirus confirmed, all linked to overseas travel.

In China, where the virus originated last year, there have been 22 more confirmed cases of coronavirus, with 13 in Beijing, the National Health Commission stated.

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