This handout file illustration image obtained February 27, 2020 courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows a transmission electron microscopic image of an isolate from the first US case of COVID-19, formerly known as 2019-nCoV, with the spherical viral particles, colorized blue, containing cross-sections through the viral genome, seen as black dots. US authorities warned healthcare and scientific researchers May 13, 2020 that Chinese-backed hackers were attempting to steal research and intellectual property related to treatments and vaccines for COVID-19. Organizations researching the disease were warned of "likely targeting and network compromise by the People's Republic of China," a statement from the FBI and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said."China's efforts to target these sectors pose a significant threat to our nations response to COVID-19," they said.
AFP/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Handout
WHO: Coronavirus may never go away
Robin Millard (Agence France-Presse) - May 14, 2020 - 7:50am

GENEVA, Switzerland — The new coronavirus may never go away and populations around the world will have to learn to live with it, the World Health Organization warned Wednesday.

As some countries around the world begin gradually easing lockdown restrictions imposed in a bid to stop the novel coronavirus from spreading, the WHO said it may never be wiped out entirely. 

The virus first emerged in Wuhan in China late last year and has since infected more than 4.2 million people and killed nearly 300,000 worldwide.

"We have a new virus entering the human population for the first time and therefore it is very hard to predict when we will prevail over it," said Michael Ryan, the WHO's emergencies director.

"This virus may become just another endemic virus in our communities and this virus may never go away," he told a virtual press conference in Geneva.

"HIV has not gone away — but we have come to terms with the virus."

More than half of humanity has been put under some form of lockdown since the coronavirus crisis began.

But the WHO warned there was no way to guarantee that easing the restrictions would not trigger a second wave of infections.

"Many countries would like to get out of the different measures," said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

"But our recommendation is still the alert at any country should be at the highest level possible."

'Long way to go'

Ryan added that there was a "long, long way to go" on the path to returning to normal, insisting that countries would have to stay the course.

"There is some magical thinking going on that lockdowns work perfectly and that unlocking lockdowns will go great. Both are fraught with dangers," the Irish epidemiologist said.

Ryan also condemned attacks on healthcare workers that were linked to the pandemic, saying more than 35 "quite serious" such incidents were recorded in April alone in 11 countries.

He said the attacks were often over-reactions from ill-informed communities — while others were more sinister.

"COVID-19 is bringing out the best in us, but it's also bringing out some of the worst," he said.

"People feel empowered to take out their frustrations on individuals who are purely trying to help.

"These are senseless acts of violence and discrimination that must be resisted."

But he insisted that in finding a way to conquer the virus was a chance for humanity to take major step forward by finding a vaccine and making it widely accessible.

"It's a massive opportunity for the world," Ryan said.

NOVEL CORONAVIRUS WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION
As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: June 3, 2020 - 7:43am

Follow this page for updates on a mysterious pneumonia outbreak that has struck dozens of people in China.

June 3, 2020 - 7:43am

Brazil surpasses 30,000 deaths from the coronavirus outbreak on Tuesday as the disease continued to rip through South America's worst-hit country.

Figures released by the health ministry shows 1,262 deaths in the previous 24-hours, as well as 28,936 new infections. 

The overall number of cases — 555,383 — makes Brazil the second most affected country by the crisis after the United States in terms of infections. — AFP

June 3, 2020 - 7:19am

The novel coronavirus has killed at least 377,213 people since the outbreak first emerged in China last December, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP at 1900 GMT on Tuesday. 

At least 6,320,480 cases of coronavirus have been registered in 196 countries and territories. Of these, at least 2,662,300 are now considered recovered.

The tallies, using data collected by AFP from national authorities and information from the World Health Organization (WHO), probably reflect only a fraction of the actual number of infections. — AFP

June 2, 2020 - 4:47pm

The Department of Health reports 359 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the national tally to 18,997.

There are 84 new recoveries and six new deaths.

June 2, 2020 - 10:27am

The novel coronavirus has killed at least 373,439 people since the outbreak first emerged in China last December, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP at 1900 GMT on Monday. 

At least 6,220,110 cases of coronavirus have been registered in 196 countries and territories. Of these, at least 2,599,500 are now considered recovered.

The tallies, using data collected by AFP from national authorities and information from the World Health Organization (WHO), probably reflect only a fraction of the actual number of infections. — AFP

June 1, 2020 - 9:39pm

South Africa's education minister apologizes on Monday for a week-long delay in reopening schools owing to a lack of "readiness".

Thousands of grade seven and grade 12 students had been preparing to attend the first classes in the country after two and a half months of home-schooling to limit the spread of coronavirus.

The education department announced late on Sunday that it had postponed the resumption date to June 8, saying the extra week would serve to better prepare facilities and train staff.

"It became clear that the sector was at different levels of readiness," Education Minister Angelina Motshekga said at a press briefing on Monday. — AFP

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