COVID-19: Global death toll crosses 2 lakh; positive cases keep on rising in India | The Background

Saturday, November 28, 2020

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COVID-19: Global death toll crosses 2 lakh; positive cases keep on rising in India

The Background:

Across the world the death toll due to COVID-19 has crossed 200,000. The Coronavirus Resource Centre of Johns Hopkins University has put the number at 201,502. Confirmed cases stand at 2,868,539. In India, the confirmed cases are 24,942 and the toll rises to 780. This has been the lowest daily growth in the number of cases since the middle of March.

The highest numbers of cases have been reported from Maharashtra-6,817. In West Bengal the situation looks rather grim at this moment. Number of positive cases has reached 571 and the death toll, officially, is 18.

The government is allowing smaller neighborhood stores to reopen, bringing relief to residents after a month into the world’s biggest lockdown that’s restricting 1.3 billion people. The shops can deploy a maximum of 50% of their staff, all wearing masks and following social distancing rules, according to the order issued Friday night by the Home  Ministry. The order includes standalone stores in housing complexes in municipal areas, while shops in market places within municipal areas and all malls will remain closed until May 3.

World Health Organisation has published guidance on adjusting public health and social measures for the next phase of the COVID-19 response.  In a statement it has said, some governments have suggested that the detection of antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, could serve as the basis for an “immunity passport” or “risk-free certificate” that would enable individuals to travel or to return to work assuming that they are protected against re-infection. There is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection.

WHO continues to review the evidence on antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection.(2-17) Most of these studies show that people who have recovered from infection have antibodies to the virus. However, some of these people have very low levels of neutralizing antibodies in their blood suggesting that cellular immunity may also be critical for recovery. As of 24 April 2020, no study has evaluated whether the presence of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 confers immunity to subsequent infection by this virus in humans.

The scale of the pandemic has forced medical research on the virus to move at unprecedented speed, but effective treatments are still far away and the United Nations chief Antonio Guterres has said the effort will require cooperation on a global scale.

“We face a global public enemy like no other,” he said adding that a world free of COVID-19 requires the most massive public health effort in history.  According to Guterres, the vaccine should be safe, affordable and available to all.

Across the Muslim world, hundreds of millions of faithful opened the Ramzan holy month under stay-at-home conditions, facing unprecedented bans on prayers in mosques and on the traditional large gatherings of families and friends to break the daily fast.

In the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, the Grand Mosque, Masjid Al-Haram, usually packed with tens of thousands of people during Ramadan, was deserted.

Cover photo- A deserted Masjid-Al-Haram, Mecca, Saudi Arabia due to COVID-19 pandemic.

 

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