Photograph — Nieman

The World Health Organization has warned that the pandemic is accelerating as global COVID-19 infections topped nine million on Monday, according to data compiled by the John Hopkins coronavirus resource center.

Cases are still rising around the world, especially in Africa and Latin America with Brazil now registering more than 50,000 deaths. There are also fears of new clusters in Melbourne and Lisbon as well as renewed outbreaks in Beijing and other parts of Asia. “The pandemic is still accelerating,” WHO’s Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus said at a virtual health forum organized by Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

In spite of the surge in cases, Europe has been easing lockdowns. France is allowing millions of children to return to school while in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia has said it would allow a “very limited” number of pilgrims to the hajj next month.

The greatest threat facing the world was not the virus itself – which has killed over 480,000 people and infected more than nine million – but the “lack of global solidarity and global leadership,” Tedros noted. “We cannot defeat this pandemic with a divided world. The politicization of the pandemic has exacerbated it.”

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