WHO calls for unity as COVID-19 cases top 9 million

Confirmed coronavirus cases around the world have surpassed 9 million on Monday, 22 June. The news comes as the World Health Organisation (WHO) called for unity in addressing the crisis.

“The pandemic is still accelerating,” said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a virtual conference. He also hit the “politicisation” of the crisis, and said that the greatest threat to the world right now is not the virus that has killed 465,000 people and counting, but “the lack of global solidarity and global leadership.”

“We cannot defeat this pandemic with a divided world. The politicisation of the pandemic has exacerbated it,” Tedros stressed.

Some vocal world leaders have actively downplayed the risks of the disease and the measures meant to curb its spread. For instance, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has repeatedly criticised lockdowns for its economic impact and has been spotted in public multiple times without wearing a face mask.

Brazil has the second highest caseload worldwide, second only to the United States. Political infighting in Brazil has prevented a unified policy in addressing the situation.

Countries have slowly eased restrictions in a bid to salvage economies reeling from the pandemic. France has allowed millions of children back into schools. Other European countries have also relaxed border controls and other restrictions.

However, fears of new clusters in Lisbon, Melbourne, Beijing and other parts of Asia threaten the progress of certain countries that have been relatively successful in fighting COVID-19. The continuous rise of cases in Latin America has also become worrying for experts.

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