The virus had sickened over 3.6 million people and killed more than 76,000 in the region over the past nine months…said Ahmed Al-Mandhari…reports Asian Lite News

As winter nears and coronavirus cases surge across the Middle East, the regional director for the World Health Organization said Thursday that the only way to avoid mass deaths is for countries to quickly tighten restrictions and enforce preventative measures.Arab News reports

In a press briefing from Cairo, Ahmed Al-Mandhari, director of WHO’s eastern Mediterranean region, which comprises most of the Middle East, expressed concern that countries in the area were lowering their guard after tough lockdowns imposed earlier this year.

The fundamentals of pandemic response, from social-distancing to mask wearing, “are still not being fully practiced in our region,” he said, adding that the result is apparent throughout the region’s crowded hospitals.

Noting that the virus had sickened over 3.6 million people and killed more than 76,000 in the region over the past nine months, Al-Mandhari warned “the lives of as many people — if not more — are at stake,” urging action to “prevent this tragic premonition from becoming a reality.”

The overall number of global coronavirus cases has surpassed the 56 million mark, while the deaths have surged to more than 1.34 million, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

In its latest update on Thursday, the University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed that the current global caseload and death toll stood at 56,178,674 and 1,348,348, respectively.

The US is the worst-hit country with the world’s highest number of cases and deaths at 11,525,149 and 250,483, respectively, according to the CSSE.

India comes in second place in terms of cases at 8,912,907, while the country’s death toll soared to 130,993.

The other countries with more than a million confirmed cases are Brazil (5,945,849), France (2,115,717), Russia (1,975,629), Spain (1,525,341), the UK (1,434,004), Argentina (1,339,337), Italy (1,272,352), Colombia (1,218,003) and Mexico (1,015,071), the CSSE figures showed.

Brazil currently accounts for the second highest number of fatalities at 167,455.

The countries with a death toll above 20,000 are Mexico (99,528), the UK (53,368), Italy (47,217), France (46,772), Iran (42,941), Spain (42,039), Argentina (36,347), Peru (35,317), Colombia (34,563), Russia (34,068) and South Africa (20,556).

Also read:UAE extends grace period for visa violators

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