Solidarity in the time of COVID-19 -- MS Supplement
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World Roundup: WHO warns of school opening too soon

The World Health Organization says opening schools and businesses too early could cause a resurgence of the coronavirus.

“We understand that these countries are now trying to assess when and how they will be able to ease these measures,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

“The answer depends on what countries do while these population-wide measures are in place,”

Speaking on Wednesday, Tedros said: “Asking people to stay at home and shutting down population movement is buying time and reducing the pressure on health systems. But on their own, these measures will not extinguish epidemics.

“These measures are the best way to suppress and stop transmission, so that when restrictions are lifted, the coronavirus doesn’t resurge.

Crisis talks

World leaders are to hold online crisis talks Thursday on the coronavirus pandemic that has forced three billion people into lockdown and claimed more than 21,000 lives.

With the disease tearing around the globe at a terrifying pace, warnings are multiplying over its economic consequences, with experts saying it could cause more damage than the Great Depression.

And amid squabbling between the leaders of China and the US over who is to blame, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for the world to act together to halt the menace.

Humanity at risk

The coronavirus pandemic is threatening the entire human race, the United Nations warned Wednesday as it launched a humanitarian response plan featuring a $2-billion appeal for the world’s poorest people.

“COVID-19 is threatening the whole of humanity―and the whole of humanity must fight back. Global action and solidarity are crucial. Individual country responses are not going to be enough,” Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in announcing the initiative.

Just last week, as the pandemic spread to more and more countries, killing thousands and infecting many more, Guterres warned that unless the world came together to fight the virus, millions of people could die.

Seasonal cycles

There is a strong chance the new coronavirus could return in seasonal cycles, a senior US scientist said Wednesday, underscoring the urgent need to find a vaccine and effective treatments.

Anthony Fauci, who leads research into infectious diseases at the National Institutes of Health, told a briefing the virus was beginning to take root in the southern hemisphere, where winter is on its way.

“What we’re starting to see now... in southern Africa and in the southern hemisphere countries, is that we’re having cases that are appearing as they go into their winter season,” he said.

“And if, in fact, they have a substantial outbreak, it will be inevitable that we need to be prepared that we’ll get a cycle around the second time.

“It totally emphasizes the need to do what we’re doing in developing a vaccine, testing it quickly and trying to get it ready so that we’ll have a vaccine available for that next cycle.” 

Rescue package

The US Senate unanimously passed the nation’s largest-ever rescue package late Wednesday, a $2-trillion lifeline to suffering Americans, critically depleted hospitals and an economy all ravaged by a rapidly spreading coronavirus crisis.

The measure cleared the Senate 96-0 after days of tumultuous, sometimes bitter negotiations and debate, as the US death toll for the pandemic soared past 1,000, with 68,000 confirmed infections.

Outbreaks have grown nationwide, but with particular fear that New York could be the next epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Let us tell them tonight that help is on the way, that they are not truly alone, that this country, that this Senate, that this government is here for them in a time of dire need,” top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer said moments before the vote.

Clergyman has virus

An Italian employee of the Holy See who lives in the same residence as Pope Francis was reported Thursday to have tested positive for COVID-19 and had been hospitalized.

Several Italian newspapers with reputable sources in the Vatican said the clergyman had lived for years in Saint Martha’s guest house. 

Pope Francis has remained largely secluded at his residence since coming down with a cold at the end of last month.

The 83-year-old pontiff has a small apartment in the building and takes his meals there. 

READ: COVID-19 shutters schools: 300 million affected

READ: Suspend classes? Let school heads decide—Palace

READ: Safety in schools vs. virus pushed

Topics: World Health Organization , Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus , Great Depression , Pope Francis , economy , COVID-19 , National Institutes of Health
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