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One million coronavirus death toll is a ‘mind-numbing figure’: UN

Deaths should spur the planet into fighting back against the disease: WHO chief

GENEVA: The global coronavirus death toll rose past a million yesterday, a grim statistic in a pandemic that has devastated the global economy, overloaded health systems, and changed the way people live.

"Our world has reached an agonising milestone," UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a statement.

"It is a mind-numbing figure. Yet we must never lose sight of each and every individual life.

"They were fathers and mothers, wives and husbands, brothers and sisters, friends and colleagues."

World Health Organisation (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the deaths should spur the planet into fighting back against the disease, adding that it was "never too late to turn things around".

"One million people have now been lost to Covid-19 and many more are suffering because of the pandemic," Dr Tedros said in an article in the British online newspaper The Independent.

"This milestone is a difficult moment for the world, but there are glimmers of hope that encourage us now and in the near future.

"No matter where a country is in an outbreak, it is never too late to turn things around."

Dr Tedros outlined four essential steps to get the pandemic under control, starting with preventing amplifying events and protecting vulnerable groups.

He stressed the need for individual responsibility in washing hands, wearing masks and keeping a distance; and for governments to find, isolate, test and care for cases, then trace and quarantine their contacts.

MILESTONE

"While today's milestone gives us pause for reflection, this is a moment for us all to come together, in solidarity, to fight back against this virus," Dr Tedros said.

"History will judge us on the decisions we do and don't make in the months ahead. Let's seize the opportunity and bridge national boundaries to save lives and livelihoods."

Meanwhile, nine in 10 patients reported side effects such as fatigue, psychological after-effects and loss of smell and taste after they recovered, according to a preliminary study in South Korea.

In an online survey of 965 recovered patients, 879 people, or 91.1 per cent, said they were suffering at least one side effect from the disease, Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency official Kwon Jun-wook said.

Fatigue was the most common side effect with 26.2 per cent, followed by difficulty in concentration which had 24.6 per cent. - REUTERS, AFP

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