Im­mu­nity warn­ing as death toll tops 200k

The Advertiser - - WORLD -

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.

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