COPENHAGEN, Denmark, September 15 ------ Europe will face a rising death toll from the coronavirus during autumn, the World Health Organization warned on Monday as the number of daily infections around the world hit a record high. Israel is among the countries battling a new spike, announcing a three-week lockdown from Friday when people will not be allowed more than 500 meters from their homes. The announcement sparked anger.
“It’s unfair!” said Eti Avishai, a 64-year-old seamstress. “They didn’t stop the big gatherings in synagogues, the weddings and the other events, and now I can’t be with my children and grandchildren during the holidays?” The World Health Organization reported 307,930 new cases worldwide on Sunday, the highest daily figure since the beginning of the pandemic in China late last year, as global cases rapidly topped 29 million.
“It’s going to get tougher. In October, November, we are going to see more mortality,” WHO Europe director Hans Kluge told AFP in an interview. “COVID-19 has brought to light the weaknesses and strengths of European society. It has bluntly revealed the reality of our health systems.” Kluge also said the pandemic had disrupted services for noncommunicable diseases, including monitoring of diabetes, hypertension and cancer screening in 68 percent of the member states.
WHO Europe’s 53 members started a two-day online meeting Monday focusing on their virus response as the global death toll crossed 925,000. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the meeting by video-link: “We are by no means out of the woods.” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, watching cases rise, echoed the WHO chief’s words exactly and called for vigilance. In France, the cities of Marseille and Bordeaux announced a series of measures to limit public gatherings as Covid-19 infections soar.