As the number of new coronavirus infections reported daily reached a record high, crossing 300,000, the World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday warned that Europe will face a rising death toll in October and November.
Israel, among countries battling a new spike, announced a three-week national lockdown starting Friday when people will not be allowed more than 500 metres from their homes. The announcement has sparked a wave of anger.
The WHO reported 307,930 new daily global infections on Sunday, a record since the pandemic began in China late last year, as total cases topped 29 million.
“It’s going to get tougher. In October, November, we are going to see more mortality,” WHO Europe director Hans Kluge said.
“We are by no means out of the woods,” the UN health agency’s chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a meeting of WHO Europe’s 55 members that began on Monday.
A Vatican spokesman meanwhile said Pope Francis was being “constantly monitored” after having met with a cardinal who later tested positive.
In Greece, 14 refugees tested positive for the virus after thousands of them were left without shelter after a massive fire in the Moria camp on Lesbos island.
Britain, France, Austria and the Czech Republic also reported spikes.
S’pore gives out devices to trace coronavirus
Singapore began handing out pocket-sized coronavirus contact-tracing devices to residents on Monday, part of a planned nationwide rollout. The box-shaped tokens use Bluetooth signals to record nearby devices and store encrypted data of a users’ close contacts.
If users test positive, the devices have to be handed over to the authorities to extract the data on other people they have potentially exposed to the virus.
In a report, the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board, an independent body created by the WHO and the World Bank, said the world is doing far too little to prepare for future, possibly even more damaging pandemics.