The pandemic at a glance – current developments
With the partial diminishing pandemic, the measures to contain the coronavirus are being eased – what other developments are happening at the moment?
Currently, there exist over 6. million reported cases of the illness worldwide, the virus has now spread to more than 185 countries. However: About 2.7 million people have already recovered from COVID-19.
In light of this, the corona pandemic is entering a new phase. After heads of government around the world have taken drastic measures to contain the corona virus, more and more of these restrictions are now being eased – many European countries are allowing entry again after temporary restrictions, but in some countries, quarantine is still compulsory.
It is clear that the risk of infection will again increase with the rising mobility – a fraction of people staying at home is declining again, but is still larger than before the crisis. For this matter, reproduction rates remain an important benchmark – they indicate how many more people an infected person infects on average. The German Robert Koch Institute (RKI) has repeatedly stressed that the pandemic will only abate if this figure is below 1, i.e. if each infected person infects on average less than one other person.
Many countries in Europe started further easing their corona measures in June. In France, Spain and Belgium, for example, a step towards normality is to be taken after almost two months. In France, around 400,000 shops and service companies are reopening. In Spain, about half of the population is allowed back on the streets under strict distance restrictions. Restaurants are to be allowed to open outdoors for limited operations. Belgium, which has been severely affected by the pandemic, is opening its shops. Restaurants, bars and cafes will remain closed, however.
In Russia, too, working life is expected to start again in many areas on Tuesday, despite massive growth of cases. This will officially mark the end of the work-free period, which Vladimir Putin announced more than a month ago. In Moscow, for example, construction sites and industrial plants will be allowed to reopen. But shops will remain closed. Despite the curfew that has been in place for more than a month, Russia already has almost 210,000 infections. The daily increase has been in the five-digit range for some time now.
Russia also wants to start using a novel corona drug soon, which was developed by the ChemRar group. Avifavir, as the drug is called, is based on the Japanese drug Avigan. However, it has not yet been approved there for the treatment of Covid-19 patients. According to Russian information, the efficacy of Avifavir has been proven in clinical trials involving several hundred participants. The patients’ fevers have decreased significantly and the treatment time has been shortened considerably.
There is cause for concern in parts of Asia. In the Chinese city of Wuhan, the starting point of the pandemic, the infection risk level in Dongxihu district was raised from “low” to “medium” after the first infection since April 3 occurred there. In South Korea, 34 new cases were recorded, the largest increase in four weeks. Many of these infections are thought to have occurred in bars and nightclubs.
Meanwhile, the epicenter of the pandemic is shifting to Latin America. There, the number of cases of infection exceeded the one million mark. Brazil accounts for half of all infected Latin Americans and has the fourth highest covid-19 death rate in the world, killing around 30,000 people. Peru also reported a sharp increase in infections: despite the restrictions on the outbreak of the disease that have been in place for weeks, the authorities registered 8800 new cases within one day.
Mexico has further opened its economy and at the same time exceeded the 10,000 mark in terms of fatalities as a result of the corona pandemic. According to the Ministry of Health on Monday evening (local time), the number of corona deaths rose by 237 to 10,167 compared to the previous day, and the number of confirmed infections was 93,435, 2771 more than on Sunday.
UN and WHO
Regarding travelling, the UN Aviation Organization proposes one-meter distance between passengers. It also suggests wearing masks and measuring temperatures. However, these have no binding character.
In addition, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned of an increase in the number of deaths in the corona crisis due to the excessive use of antibiotics. The sharp increase in antibiotic use will lead to increasing resistance of bacteria to these drugs, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in an online press conference on Monday. This would lead to an increase in illness and death from bacterial infections during the pandemic and afterwards.
Following the announcement of the US withdrawal from the World Health Organization (WHO), the latter nevertheless intends to continue working with the United States. US membership of the UN sub-organization has been very important over the past decades, said WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Monday at a virtual press conference in Geneva. Despite US President Donald Trump’s decision to resign, he said it was “WHO’s wish that this cooperation will continue”.