Picture used for illustrative purpose.
Between 80,000 and 180,000 health and care workers may have died from COVID-19 between January of 2020 and May of this year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said.
That grim estimate features in a new WHO working paper based on the 3.45 million coronavirus-related deaths reported globally to the UN health agency up to May; a figure that WHO said may well be at least 60 percent lower than the actual number of victims.
To highlight the need for better protection, WHO was joined by global partners working to end the pandemic, to issue an urgent call for concrete action on behalf of workers in the sector.
Speaking to journalists in Geneva, WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, reiterated that "the backbone of every health system is its workforce."
"COVID-19 is a powerful demonstration of just how much we rely on these men and women, and how vulnerable we all are when the people who protect our health are themselves unprotected," he added.
WHO and partners said that apart from huge concern over deaths, an increasing proportion of the workforce continue to suffer from burnout, stress, anxiety and fatigue.
They are calling on leaders and policy makers to ensure equitable access to vaccines so that health and care workers are prioritised.
By the end of last month, on average, two in five of these workers are fully vaccinated, but with considerable difference across regions.
"In Africa, less than one in ten health workers have been fully vaccinated. Meanwhile, in most high-income countries, more than 80 per cent of health workers are fully vaccinated", Tedros informed.
For him, more than 10 months since the first vaccines were approved, "the fact that millions of health workers still haven’t been vaccinated is an indictment on the countries and companies that control the global supply of vaccines."
In 10 days’ time, the leaders of the G20 leading industrialised nations will meet. Between now and then, roughly 500 million vaccine doses will be produced.
That’s the number needed to achieve the target of vaccinating 40 percent of the population of every country, by the end of the year.
Currently, 82 nations are at risk of missing that target. For about 75 percent of those countries, it’s a problem of insufficient supply. The others have some limitations that WHO is helping solve.
The Wuhan Institute of Virology has collected extensive virus samples, leading to unproven allegations that it may have caused the original outbreak by leaking the virus into the surrounding community. China has strongly denied that possibility and has promoted unproven theories
The team arrived in Wuhan on Jan.14 and after two weeks of quarantine, visited key sites like the Huanan seafood market, the location of the first known cluster of infections, as well as the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which has been involved in coronavirus research.
Six months after the World Health Organization declared a global emergency, the novel coronavirus has killed more than 680,000 people and infected more than 17.5 million, according to an AFP tally.
Lengthy pandemic school closures have cost students trillions of dollars in lifetime earnings, the World Bank and UN agencies said on Monday, warning that the crisis has worsened since last year.
The Iraqi Security Media Cell said in a post on its official account on Facebook: “With high professionalism and extensive intelligence work, the Federal Intelligence and Investigation Agency in the Ministry of Interior continues to perform its duties, as it was able to uncover a mysterious murder of a burnt and charred man of unknown identity and features, lying on the edge of a river in Al-Haritha district, Basra Governorate.”
Khawla Abdul Rahman Bin Hadda confirmed that the scholarship programmes for outstanding Emirati male and female students come within the framework of the directives of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, to support outstanding students, especially national service graduates.
Prof. Sarah Gilbert, one of the scientists behind the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, is warning that the next pandemic may more contagious and more lethal unless more money is devoted to research and preparations to fight emerging viral threats.