Two million COVID-19 deaths 'likely' without collective action: WHO

Updated: 27 September, 2020 07:22 IST | Agencies | Geneva

'Are we prepared to do what it takes to avoid that number?' emergencies director Michael Ryan asked, calling on governments to do everything to contain the virus

Israeli border policemen patrol Jerusalem's main market during closure on September 25 as a series of measures to strengthen a second COVID-19 lockdown imposed last week takes effect. Pic/AFP
Israeli border policemen patrol Jerusalem's main market during closure on September 25 as a series of measures to strengthen a second COVID-19 lockdown imposed last week takes effect. Pic/AFP

Two million COVID-19 fatalities are "very likely" without relentless global action to combat the disease, the World Health Organisation said on Friday.

As the one million death toll looms in a pandemic that has surged around the planet, the WHO said the prospect of another million deaths was not unimaginable, if countries and individuals do not come together to tackle the crisis.

"One million is a terrible number and we need to reflect on that before we start considering a second million," the WHO's emergencies director Michael Ryan said, when asked if it was unthinkable that two million people could die in the pandemic. But he added: "Are we prepared collectively to do what it takes to avoid that number?

Unless we do it all, the numbers you speak about are not only imaginable, but unfortunately, and sadly, very likely." Ryan also reflected on the challenges ahead in producing any eventual vaccines against COVID-19.

New York to permanently switch to outdoor dining amid pandemic

New York is committed to making outdoor dining a permanent option for the thousands of restaurants that have embraced the concept since the Coronavirus pandemic struck in the spring, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Friday. The mayor made the announcement days before indoor restaurant dining is to resume in New York City on September 30, with a limit of 25 per cent occupancy. Authorities in Florida, too, have decided to lift all COVID-19 restrictions on restaurants and bars with immediate effect.

Japan intent on hosting Olympics

Japan is determined to host the postponed Olympic Games in 2021 despite the pandemic, the country's newly-elected prime minister told the United Nations General Assembly on Friday. "I will continue to spare no effort in order to welcome you to the Games that are safe and secure," said PM Yoshihide Suga.

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First Published: 27 September, 2020 07:27 IST

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