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WHO hopes coronavirus pandemic can be over in two years

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“But at the same time we have also the technology to stop it and the knowledge to stop it. So we have a disadvantage of globalisation, closeness, connectedness but an advantage of better technology.

“So we hope to finish this pandemic (in) less than two years.”

He urged “national unity” and “global solidarity”.

“That is really key with utilising the available tools to the maximum and hoping that we can have additional tools like a vaccine.”

More than 22.73 million people have been reported to be infected by the coronavirus globally and 794,000​ have died, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

France reports more than 4500 new COVID-19 infections in a day

The French health ministry reported on Friday 4586 new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours after the country reached a post-lockdown record the previous day.

The ministry also said the total for coronavirus deaths in the country had risen by 23 in the past 24 hours to 30,503.

The number of patients in intensive care units was down by 1 to 379, the ministry also said.

Total confirmed infection cases have increased to 234,400 in France.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron agreed on Thursday to co-ordinate more closely on travel restrictions related to the coronavirus.

Madrid tells residents to stay home as cases soar

Authorities in Madrid on Friday advised residents in areas with a high level of coronavirus cases to stay at home as the Spanish health ministry reported more than 3000 new infections for the fourth day running.

The country logged 3650 coronavirus infections in the past 24 hours, bringing the cumulative total to 386,054. With 1199 infections, Madrid accounted for nearly a third of the new cases.

The region’s deputy health chief, Antonio Zapatero, urged people to avoid unnecessary trips and meetings, and said those in the worst-hit areas should stay at home, though he ruled out any mandatory confinement for now.

“Although we’re worried, I don’t think the situation merits targeted lockdowns,” he said.

After being criticised for failing to give details on when and how schools would reopen, Madrid’s education department said a full return to face-to-face classes would not be possible in September. Instead, students are likely to receive a mixture of in-person and online teaching.

“All teachers have a lot of uncertainty. There haven’t been clear guidelines,” said Rocio Penco Valenzuela, a teacher in Madrid. “We have no idea (about how schools will reopen) and we are a bit scared.”

Lebanon imposes new partial lockdown to fight COVID-19

Lebanon imposed a partial lockdown for two weeks starting on Friday in an effort to counter COVID-19 infections which have doubled since the catastrophic explosion at the Beirut port.

The spread of COVID-19 is compounding the woes of a country still reeling from the August 4 blast that killed at least 179 people and wounded 6000, and a financial meltdown that has devastated the economy.

“In this area those who escaped death have relatives who are wounded, there are no homes or cars, frankly we have forgotten corona,” said Nabil Nahed, 50, a teacher whose house in the Gemmayzeh area was badly damaged in the blast.

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“But we have to take precautions as much as we can because in the last two weeks everyone has been mixing, and corona certainly increased,” he said.

Lebanon recorded its highest number of new daily infections on Friday, with 628 new cases and three deaths. The infections have spread since the blast as hospitals were flooded with the casualties, medics say.

“We’ve gone back to square one,” said the caretaker government’s health minister on Friday, adding however that the government was better prepared than at the start of the pandemic.

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Reuters

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