Immunity warning as death toll tops 200k
GENEVA: The global death toll in the novel coronavirus pandemic soared past the 200,000 milestone yesterday, as the World Health Organisation warned against “immunity passports” for recovered patients, seen as a possible tool for countries set to reopen their economies.
The WHO opposes such “passports” because recovery from the virus might not protect a person from reinfection. “There is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from #COVID19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection,” the UN health body said in a statement.
Meanwhile, hundreds of millions of Muslims around the world spent the second day of the Ramadan holy month out of mosques and avoiding large family meals to break the fast because of sequestration and social distancing policies.
As governments began moving in the direction of partial reopening, the COVID-19 pandemic still had nearly half of humanity under some form of lockdown or confinement.
Total cases around the world rose to 2.86 million and deaths passed the 200,000 mark, doubling since April 10, according to an AFP tally. Europe, the hardest-hit region, has recorded 122,171 coronavirus deaths. The US toll has hit 53,511 deaths.
The world remained in wait as companies and governments raced to develop treatments and, eventually, a vaccine for the virus, which surfaced in China in late 2019.
The WHO warned that people who test positive and survive infection cannot be certain they will not be hit again by the coronavirus.
The warning came as some governments study measures such as “immunity passports” for those who have recovered as one way to get people back to work.
People holding such a “passport” may tend to ignore public health advice assuming they are not a danger to others, the WHO said.