WHO warns of 'lengthy' pandemic as global Covid-19 cases cross 18 million mark
US, the hardest-hit country, accounts for over 4.6 million cases and 154,320 deaths.
The number of global Covid-19 infections surged past 18 million on Sunday, August 2, while the death toll has crossed 688,939, according to global trackers. (Live: Coronavirus cases in UAE and across the world).
As of Sunday morning, the overall number of cases stood at 18,023,357 (9:10am, UAE time), while the total recoveries rose to 11,332,014, according to Worldometer in its latest update.
Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019. The number of cases is now growing at an alarming rate as hard-hit countries ease lockdowns.
The World Health Organisation referred to it as a pandemic on March 11, 2020.
WHO warns of drawn out pandemic
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that the coronavirus pandemic would be lengthy and could lead to "response fatigue", as the case count in South Africa topped half a million.
In emergency WHO committee reviewing the pandemic "highlighted the anticipated lengthy duration of this Covid-19 pandemic", noting the importance of sustained community, national, regional, and global response efforts.
"WHO continues to assess the global risk level of Covid-19 to be very high," it said in its latest statement. The agency also said the effects of the pandemic "will be felt for decades to come".
Mexico overtook Britain to become the third hardest hit country in virus deaths - after Brazil and the United States - with more than 46,600 fatal cases.
Although many Latin American countries have begun relaxing stay-at-home measures, the virus is still spreading quickly across much of the region, which has now recorded more than four million cases and almost 200,000 deaths.
Half of them are in Brazil, where President Jair Bolsonaro said he believes "nearly everyone" will catch the virus eventually, after himself recovering from it.
The US, the hardest-hit country in the world, has now tallied more than 4.6 million cases and 154,319 deaths.
The outlook was bleak in Asia as well, where India and the Philippines reported record increases in new daily infections.
Japan's Okinawa declared a state of emergency after a record jump in cases on the islands - many linked to US military forces stationed there.
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 per cent.
Daily case numbers in Switzerland have crept up again in recent weeks, while Norway recorded its first virus death in two weeks. At least 36 crew members confined to a Norwegian cruise ship have tested positive for the new coronavirus, the operator Hurtigruten said on Saturday.
Despite the resurgence in cases, there have been demonstrations in Europe against the curbs. Thousands protested in Berlin on Saturday urging "a day of freedom" from the restrictions, with some demonstrators dubbing the pandemic "the biggest conspiracy theory".
In South Korea, the elderly leader of a secretive sect at the centre of the country's early coronavirus outbreak was arrested for allegedly hindering the government's effort to contain the epidemic.
The pandemic has also continued to cause mayhem in the travel and tourism sectors, with more airlines announcing mass job cuts.
Latin America's biggest airline, the Brazilian-Chilean group Latam, said it would lay off least 2,700 crew, and British Airways pilots overwhelmingly voted to accept a deal cutting wages by 20 per cent, with 270 jobs lost.
With inputs from AFP
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