Paris, Aug 1 (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News – 1st Aug, 2020 ) :Southeast Asian countries reported record rises of new coronavirus cases on Saturday as the WHO warned the effects of the pandemic would be felt for decades and the scramble for a vaccine heated up.
As countries across Western Europe announced new lockdowns and reported historic economic slumps, the World Health Organization said the pandemic was a “once-in-a-century health crisis, the effects of which will be felt for decades to come.” The outlook was bleak in Asia as well.
India and the Philippines reported record increases in new daily infections at 57,000 and 5,000, despite tightened restrictions.
“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 Filipino medical associations.
Japan’s Okinawa declared a state of emergency after a record jump in cases on the island — many linked to US military forces stationed there.
Hong Kong meanwhile opened a new makeshift hospital to house COVID-19 patients after cases rose to new highs.
However US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said it was unlikely his country would use any vaccine developed in either country, where regulatory systems are far more opaque than they are in the West.
“I do hope that the Chinese and the Russians are actually testing the vaccine before they are administering the vaccine to anyone,” he said.
– Berlin ‘Day of freedom’ – France, Spain, Portugal and Italy all reported huge contractions in their economies for the April-June quarter, while Europe as a whole saw gross domestic product fall by 12.1 percent.
In a sign of the trade-offs being forced on European governments, Britain imposed new restrictions Friday on millions of households in northern England.
Norway, where infection numbers have been rising in recent days, recorded its first virus death in two weeks.
“We are the second wave,” shouted some, as marchers headed for the Brandenburg Gate while others called for “resistance”, dubbing the pandemic “the biggest conspiracy theory”.
Few protesters wore a mask or respected the 1.5-metre (five-foot) social distancing requirement, an AFP journalist reported, despite police calling on them via megaphone to do so.
His comments came as Brazil‘s death toll closes on 100,000.
People linked to Lee Man-hee’s Shincheonji Church of Jesus accounted for more than half of the South’s coronavirus cases in February and March, when the country was enduring one of the worst early outbreaks in the world.
The South has since been returning largely to normal, appearing to have brought the outbreak under control with an extensive “trace, test and treat” programme.
Latin America’s biggest airline, the Brazilian-Chilean group LATAM, said it would lay off least 2,700 crew.
British Airways pilots meanwhile overwhelmingly voted to accept a deal cutting wages by 20 percent with 270 jobs lost.
Hoping for more tourists to return, Greece reopened six of its main ports to cruise ships for the first time in the coronavirus-shortened tourism season.