“We are approaching that the second year of this pandemic will be much more deadly than the first,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
Sentiment also deteriorated in Japan, where a coronavirus emergency hit three more regions just 10 weeks before the Olympics, while campaigners filed a petition with over 350,000 signatures calling for the Games to be canceled.
With emergency measures in place by the end of May in Tokyo and other regions, they will be joined by Hiroshima, Okayama and northern Hokkaido for the Olympic marathon.
Japanese public opinion is strongly opposed to hosting the Games this summer.
The great Swiss tennis player Roger Federer said on Friday that “athletes need a decision: is this happening or not?”
“I would like to play at the Olympics … But if this does not happen due to the current situation, I would be the first to understand,” he added.
The pandemic has killed at least 3,346,813 people worldwide since the virus first emerged in late 2019. AFP calculation of official data.
Sputnik vaccines reach India
Meanwhile, India has begun rolling out Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, the first foreign-made vaccine to be used in a country suffering from an explosion in cases of infection and death.
The first token shipment of Sputnik vaccines – reportedly 150,000 doses – arrived on May 1 and a second shipment is expected in the next few days.
A number of leading Indian drug manufacturers have entered into agreements to manufacture Sputnik V locally with the goal of producing over 850 million injection doses per year.
India has about the same number of new cases of Covid every day as the rest of the world combined.
More than 260,000 Indians died, according to official figures.
In Europe, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned that the arrival of Option B1.617.2, one of those believed to have boosted activity in India, could delay the opening of society and the economy.
“This new option could seriously hinder our progress,” Johnson said.
The UK Department of Health has tracked this option in the North West of England and London.
Germany has already added the UK to its list of “risk zones” requiring additional checks – but not necessarily quarantine – for arriving travelers.
Hot spots for tourists are opening up across the continent.
Greece kicked off the tourist season on Friday, hoping to reverse last year’s miserable summer.
“I hope to forget that damned Covid,” said Jill Virris, a 28-year-old student from Hanover, Germany, while packing her luggage in Crete.
“Everything is terrible in Germany … people are depressed … I am so happy to be here.”
France and Spain also launched travel campaigns this week.
But in the United States, many were confused a day after a leading health agency canceled all mask requirements for fully vaccinated people.
This step has raised questions about how to implement it – first of all, how do you know if a person is fully vaccinated?
This led to the emergence of many regulations throughout the country. Some states have never had mask mandates at all. Others raised them long before the new council. Some considered the idea, but others, such as Maryland and Virginia, were quick to implement it.
Large companies are weighing their options as well. Retailer giant Walmart was among those who said Friday it would lift its mandate for masks for fully vaccinated employees and customers.
But United Food and Commercial Workers, which represents 1.3 million people, was unequivocally opposed.
“Key workers continue to play masked police for shoppers who are not vaccinated and refuse to comply with local Covid safety measures. Are they supposed to become vaccination police officers now? ” he said.
“My initial reaction was favorable, but the more I think about it, I would like them to say, ‘Let’s do this on July 1st. If you are not yet vaccinated, this is your chance to do it, ”said Airborne. Disease Specialist Linsey Marr.
The WHO also said Friday that even those vaccinated should continue to wear masks in areas where the virus is spreading.
“Vaccination alone is not a guarantee against infection or the possibility of transmitting the infection to others,” said Sumya Swaminathan, WHO’s chief scientist.
More than 580,000 people have died from Covid-19 in the United States. But nearly 60 percent of adults in the United States have received one or more doses, while cases are rapidly declining and children are being vaccinated as well.
However, the WHO has called on rich countries to stop vaccinating children and donate doses to poorer countries instead.
“I understand why some countries want to vaccinate their children and adolescents, but right now I urge them to reconsider their decision and instead donate vaccines to Covax,” said WHO chief Tedros, referring to the global vaccine exchange scheme.
In the sport, the Turkish Grand Prix, which was added to the Formula 1 calendar only as a replacement for the canceled Canadian Grand Prix two weeks ago, was itself canceled on Friday.
Formula 1 executives have announced they will instead return to the sport’s Austrian safe haven.