Since first being reported in Wuhan City, China, in December 2019, the global number of Covid-19 deaths now surpasses one million; the majority of those (one-fifth) being in the US (over 205,160), Brazil (over 142,050), India (over 96,310), Mexico (over 76,600) and the UK (over 42,090) as of the end of September 2020 – incidentally, numbers from the US, Brazil and India make up nearly half of the total number of deaths worldwide.
After being declared a global pandemic in March, Covid-19 has now spread to 188 countries, with over 33.4 million global case numbers and, while Covid tracing has advanced drastically over the last few months, the World Health Organization (WHO) warns that the death toll figure is likely much larger than that given by Johns Hopkins.
“When you count anything, you can’t count it perfectly, but I can assure you that the current numbers are likely an underestimate of the true toll of Covid,” WHO’s Mike Ryan said in a briefing on Monday.
Working together to overcome Covid-19
With so many deaths now recorded, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres stressed the world had reached an ‘agonising milestone’, but that ‘we must never lose sight of each and every life’. He wrote on Twitter: “As the hunt for a vaccine – affordable and available to all – continues, let’s honour their memory by working together to defeat this virus.”
Indeed, as many countries continue to battle the first wave of coronavirus, some are now gearing up for a second, but positive public engagement and co-operation is proving to have some effect on quelling virus numbers. However, as Sanjaya Senanayake, Associate Professor of Infectious Diseases at the Australian National University, told news agency Al Jazeera, in countries where there is much public anger towards governmental policies, whether Covid-19-related or not, there is evidence of some surges in case numbers.
Rapid tests being produced for low- and middle-income countries
Meanwhile, testing and tracing efforts are picking up. On 28 September, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced that thanks to an agreement between WHO and partners, 120 million rapid Covid-19 tests, which provide reliable results in approximately 15 to 30 minutes, would be made available to low- and middle-income countries – an important landmark considering that, US aside, these are often the countries leading in terms of total new cases and Covid-19 deaths.
Ultimately, as Guterres highlights, the hunt for a vaccine remains a priority, but adaptive measures, including health screening and tracing, are an invaluable method of helping to control the spread of Covid-19. Those that are currently being deployed by the travel industry are helping people to continue with their travels while also reinforcing that public health and safety is a top priority. The new visitor management platform in the Seychelles is a great example of this.