Gravediggers race to bury Covid-19 victims as ambulances carrying the dead line up at the Pedurenan Cemetery in Bekasi, east of the Indonesia capital. Indonesia has reported a daily record of 1,040 coronavirus deaths while fresh infections topped 34,000 as the Southeast Asian nation grapples with its deadliest Covid-19 wave since the pandemic began.
More than four million people have now died from Covid-19, the WHO said on Wednesday, as many rich nations prepare to loosen restrictions even as countries in Asia battle surging infections.
Millions are facing new lockdowns across Asia and Indonesia has emerged as a global hotspot with death rates rising tenfold in a month to a record 1,040 on Wednesday.
Tedros castigated rich countries for hoarding vaccines and protective equipment and accused them of acting “as though the pandemic is already over” by relaxing restrictions.
“I’m very scared about getting infected,” said Nesan Nusmana, who lives near a cemetery on Java where ambulances were queuing to deliver the dead.
– ‘Extreme caution’ –
Sydney’s five million residents, already two weeks into a lockdown, will be staying at home for another week after 27 new cases were detected.
“Hopefully this is going to be the last lockdown, but on the other hand anything that is needed, needs to be done.”
This is particularly true of the sporting world, where many events continue to be played with no spectators, postponed or cancelled altogether.
Just 16 days before the Games are due to kick off, officials scrapped the torch relay to stop crowds from gathering and are expected to announce that a state of emergency in place in Tokyo will continue during the Games.
By contrast, England and Denmark will contest football’s Euro 2020 semi-final on Wednesday in front of tens of thousands of fans.
Britain is facing a surge in cases, but mass vaccinations have helped to keep hospital admissions and deaths comparatively low.
But the World Health Organization warned that transmission of the virus would increase regardless of high vaccination rates.
As richer countries peel back their rules and regulations, many of the current outbreaks are hitting poorer nations.
“From a moral, epidemiological or economic point of view, now is the time for the world to come together to tackle this pandemic collectively,” he said.
However, illustrating the difficulties of a mixed approach to virus measures, one group of US teenagers in the United States caused outrage when they refused to wear masks on a flight to the Bahamas.
“They were being very obnoxious.”