Coronavirus: David Miliband warns of a billion infections and 3 million deaths in poorest countries

Up to a billion people could be infected with coronavirus – with three million deaths – across crisis-affected countries, a leading humanitarian agency has warned.

The International Rescue Committee (IRC), headed by former UK foreign secretary David Miliband, is publishing a new report on Tuesday in which it estimates the devastating impact of Covid-19 in 34 countries in which it operates, including Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen.

In its new analysis, the IRC suggests – without swift action in the coming weeks – that between half a billion to one billion people could be infected with coronavirus in those countries, with between 1.5 million and 3.2 million deaths.

Suggesting the true impact could be even greater, Mr Miliband told Sky News those were “conservative estimates” and cautioned the world has “only weeks to prepare for this disease to go on the rampage in some of the poorest countries”.

The current impact of coronavirus in poorer countries is almost unknown due to “threadbare” testing regimes. There is so far a “massive underestimate” of only 25,000 cases in Africa, despite it being a continent of more than one billion people.

“We see this disease really taking off by around mid-May and so we can see it creeping forward.”We’ve got a few weeks left to do some essential precautionary preventative work; that means very basic hand washing stations, it means triaging people by testing them for fever and isolating high fever cases.

There is clearly a need for the G20 richest nations to coordinate an international response to assist the poorest nations. Many of the G20 countries have other things on their minds – i.e. how to end lockdown, which is understandable but short-sighted.

With vast economic packages to help businesses during their countries’ lockdowns, Mr Miliband said countries such as the US and UK had “found money when they needed it” as he claimed it was a “matter of morality” for richer nations to provide resources to others.

There needs to be greater strategic awareness that this is a global disease and will only be beaten when it is eradicated in all countries Worldwide. Covid-19 could become endemic in third world countries, particularly those with high numbers of refugees in sprawling camps with little or no access to basic running water and hand-washing. There is the the inherent danger that these countries could become the source of future flare ups and epidemic and pandemic waves of the virus.

Source full article and video : https://news.sky.com/story/coronavirus-david-miliband-warns-of-1bn-infections-and-3m-deaths-in-poorest-countries-11979729

Cox’s Bazaar refugee camp, Bangaldesh

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