The new coronavirus could “never disappear”, warned the World Health Organization (WHO), whose alarming message comes at a time when more and more countries are in the process of lifting the restrictions imposed on their populations.
As COVID's global balance sheet – 19 approached Thursday 300 000 dead (for 4.3 million cases), the director of health emergencies at WHO , Michael Ryan, said on Wednesday that it was “very difficult” to say when she could be defeated, which means that she may have to live with it, as do other illnesses.
“This virus could become endemic in our communities, it could never disappear”, including if a vaccine is discovered, insisted Mr. Ryan, in the middle of a race to try to find a cure for the disease discovered in the city of Wuhan, China, in December.
More than 100 projects are in the running around the world and a dozen clinical trials are underway. A competition not without tensions
While the European Medicines Agency (EMA) estimated Thursday that in an “optimistic” scenario, a vaccine could be available in a year, the United States has accused China of seeking to spy on their researchers to try to steal their work.
The French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi for its part threw a chill by announcing that it would distribute in priority in the United States a possible vaccine, because the American authorities invested financially to support its research. The advance could be a few days or weeks, said general manager Paul Hudson.
Such a possibility was deemed Thursday “unacceptable” by the French Secretary of State for the Economy, Agnès Pannier-Runacher
“The Americans are effective at this time. The EU must be as effective in helping us to make this vaccine available very quickly, “replied Sanofi France president Olivier Bogillot, refraining from denying Mr. Hudson.
Pending treatment, governments are forced to choose between measures to stop the spread of the disease and decisions to revive their economies and normalize the lives of citizens.
Hence deconfinement measures which continue to advance step by step around the world, with sometimes, here or there, a pause or a retreat.
On Thursday, the Japanese government announced that it was lifting the state of emergency sooner than expected in most regions of the country in the face of a sharp decline in the number of new cases of COVID – 19.
“We have confirmation that the number of new cases has dropped back below its levels from mid-March, when the infections had started to spread,” said Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura.
In total, Japan registered some 16 000 case of COVID – 19 on its soil since the start of the health crisis, for 687 death.
In Europe, which pays a heavy price for the disease with more than 160 000 dead, most countries are committed to a more or less progressive deconfinement.
The European Commission on Wednesday wanted a “concerted” and “non-discriminatory” reopening of the EU's internal borders in order to prevent the sinking of the tourism sector, which represents there 10% of GDP and 12% of jobs.
The German football championship will resume on Saturday, and its English, Spanish and Italian competitors are about to imitate it.
The United Kingdom, the second most bereaved country in the world (more than 33 000 dead), slightly raised the screed on England alone, where it is again possible to go to work, sunbathe or play golf.
Although Russia became Tuesday, according to an AFP count, the second most contaminated country in the world (more than 242 000 case), President Vladimir Putin, whose spokesperson and Prime Minister were hospitalized, gave the green light for a start deconfinement, depending on the epidemiological situation in each region. Mortality remains low compared to other countries, with 2212 victims officially identified. But Moscow, the main focus of the epidemic, extended its confinement until 31 May.
In the United States, the most affected country in the world, a total of 84 000 dead, banned for six weeks, the beaches around Los Angeles, California, have reopened, without his being allowed to put down his towel or play a volleyball match .
Conversely, the capital Washington, where the pandemic is slow to recede, has extended the confinement of its population until June 8.
The Chilean authorities for their part reinstated this measure in Santiago, where the cases increased by 60% in 24 hours.
“Dose of realism”
In China, the vast agglomeration of Jilin, in the eponymous province bordering North Korea, placed its residents on Wednesday in partial confinement after new cases of coronavirus raising fears of a second epidemic wave.
Africa has so far been relatively unscathed by the pandemic, which officially killed less 2500 there. But there are increasing indications that this assessment is greatly underestimated.
Thus, the significant increase in mostly unexplained deaths in northern Nigeria, the most populous country on the continent, raises fears of a strong spread of the coronavirus in this region among the poorest in the world.
The country is also weakened by its heavy dependence on oil production, the prices of which have dropped dramatically since the start of the global health crisis. “Nigeria is losing colossal sums of money at the moment, it is a real disaster,” the president of the African Chamber of Energy, NJ Ayuk, based in Johannesburg, told AFP.
Recession threatens many countries, while the coronavirus has put tens of millions of people out of work.
Wednesday, the boss of the American Central Bank, Jerome Powell, warned that the damage of the pandemic on the first world economy could be “lasting” and that it would be necessary new aid, in addition to the some 2900 billion dollars of support already released.