President Donald J. Trump vowed to sign Wednesday an order partially blocking immigration to the United States, as health experts warned a second US coronavirus wave could be even more destructive.
Trump said his action was being taken “to protect American workers” after 22 million people lost their jobs in the United States alone in the devastating economic backlash sparked by unprecedented measures taken to halt the spread of the virus.
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And the United Nations warned that the world is facing an “a humanitarian catastrophe” with millions on the brink of starvation.
Nations around the world have been scrambling to fight the pandemic — which has killed almost 178,000 people and infected more than 2.5 million worldwide — while desperately seeking ways to limit the colossal damage inflicted on the global economy.
Worst-hit region Europe saw its death toll climb to another grim milestone of 110,000, with Spain reporting a slight increase for a second day running in the number of people who succumbed to the disease.
But Germany, which this week cautiously began allowing shops to reopen, offered another glimpse of hope when it approved the launch of trials on human volunteers for a vaccine.
The trial, which was only the fourth to have been authorised worldwide, was a “significant step” in making a vaccine “available as soon as possible”, regulator the Paul Ehrlich Institut said.
Brink of starvation
But with months to go before a viable vaccine can be rolled out, more than half of humanity remains under some form of lockdown.
Singapore extended its confinement for a month to June 1, as the Asian city-state which managed to keep its outbreak in check early on is hit by the onslaught of the second wave of infections.
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The director of the US Centers for Disease Control also warned Americans to prepare for a more ferocious second wave.
“There’s a possibility that the assault of the virus on our nation next winter will actually be even more difficult than the one we just went through,” Robert Redfield told the Washington Post.