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WHO Predicts Lengthy Pandemic; Another US Lawmaker Tests Positive

A young man disguised as the death walks at the beach of Puerto Morelos inviting tourists and locals to return to their homes -as the beaches are still closed to visitors- in Puerto Morelos, state of Quintana Roo, on August 1, 2020 amid the COVID-19…

The coronavirus pandemic, declared by the World Health Organization on March 11, will be a lengthy one, the WHO said Saturday.

Citing the likelihood of response fatigue, the health organization’s emergency committee anticipates the COVID-19 pandemic will be long and the global risk level of COVID-19 very high, it said in a statement.

So far worldwide, at least 17.7 million people have been infected and at least 681,000 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

"It's sobering to think that six months ago,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said before entering the meeting as it began Friday, “there were less than 100 cases and no deaths outside China."

In the United States, which leads the world in confirmed cases, 4.6 million, and deaths, more than 145,000, another member of the U.S. Congress has tested positive for the virus.

Rep. Raul Grijalva, 72, a Democrat from Arizona, on Saturday became at least the 11th member of Congress to test positive for the coronavirus. Grijalva is the chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, where he sat close to Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert, who earlier this week tested positive for the virus. It is unclear where Grijalva was exposed to the virus, and like Gohmert, he has no symptoms.

“While I cannot blame anyone directly for this, this week has shown that there are some members of Congress who fail to take this crisis seriously,” Grijalva said in the statement. “Numerous Republican members routinely strut around the Capitol without a mask to selfishly make a political statement at the expense of their colleagues, staff, and their families.”

Lawmakers for the Navajo Nation, another area hit hard by the pandemic, passed nearly $651 million in spending to fight the coronavirus. The funds came from more than $714 million the tribe received as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.

About 175,00 people live on the reservation that spreads across parts of New Mexico, Arizona and Utah. About one-third of the homes lack running water, and quarantining is an unfamiliar concept.

As of Friday, the tribe reported more than 9,000 people infected and 456 deaths.

On Saturday, Vietnam said it plans to test everyone in Danang, a city of 1.1 million, for the coronavirus.

The country had been a success story, passing 100 days without a new case of coronavirus, when a cluster of cases surfaced in the popular resort city.

Forty new cases were reported Saturday and four more Sunday, for a total of nearly 600 confirmed cases of coronavirus and three deaths.

Up to 800,000 visitors to Danang have left for other parts of the country since July 1, the Health Ministry said Saturday, adding that more than 41,000 people have visited three hospitals in the city since.

New coronavirus cases in other cities, including Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, have links to Danang.

Also Saturday, France began testing travelers for the coronavirus when they arrive at airport or port from one of 16 countries. Travelers can skip the test if they have proof of a negative test within 72 hours.

France is not allowing most travel to or from those 16 countries, which include the U.S. and Brazil.

Daily confirmed cases of COVID-19 have increased in France recently to more than 225,000 and more than 30,200 deaths. It is now mandatory to wear a face mask in indoor public spaces.