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Virus death toll to top 1M next week: WHO

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned of a massive increase in fatalities from the novel coronavirus pandemic, expecting the global death toll to reach one million next week.

Further, a figure of two million deaths is unimaginable, "but not impossible," the organisation's emergency aid coordinator Mike Ryan said on Friday in Geneva.

This increase in deaths is avoidable, Ryan said.

All measures must be implemented rigorously and globally to achieve this, he said: Hygiene, wearing masks, keeping distance, testing, contact tracing, quarantine and more.

"The question is: are we willing to take the multilateral action, the collective global action to take control of this virus rather than this virus controlling our destinies?," he said.

The WHO has established an international partnership called COVAX, in which more than 150 countries participate - however, not the US and China.

The aim is to provide financial support for the research of nine vaccine candidates as well as drugs and to ensure that successful funds are distributed fairly to all those in need, regardless of the ability of their governments to pay.

© DPA 2020