A medical worker wearing an Easter themed headband gives Easter eggs to a patient suffering from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the San Filippo Neri hospital in Rome, Italy, April 4, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

ROME-As Europe inches toward the grim milestone of 1 million deaths from COVID-19, an Italian top infectious disease specialist said it was important to keep the pandemic’s global reach in mind.

“No country will be completely secure against the virus until it is eliminated everywhere,” said Massimo Galli, the director of the Institute for Biomedical Science at Sacco Hospital in Milan.

“There is no such thing as a long-term solution in just one country. It has to be confronted everywhere and the world is still doing too little in the poorest countries.”

Galli stressed the importance of international cooperation when asked what he sees as the biggest pandemic-related challenge for European governments. This is particularly true in terms of sharing information.

He said the need to develop, produce and distribute vaccines is the central factor governments should be focusing on.

“We aren’t going to permanently move beyond this pandemic until enough people are vaccinated and anything countries can do to collaborate to make that happen faster should be done,” he said.

Galli said the high mortality rate in the region in general and Italy in particular should not distract from the global nature of the virus.

Though global mortality figures from the pandemic are inexact, it is clear the death toll in Europe is far above global averages.

World Health Organization data showed that as of Wednesday, Europe has recorded just over 990,000 deaths or nearly 35 percent of the global total of 2.87 million deaths. That is from a continent with just 10.2 percent of the world’s total population, said data firm Statista.

Curbs backed

Elsewhere, German Chancellor Angela Merkel supports demands for a short, tough lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus, a government spokeswoman said on Wednesday. “Every call for a short, uniform lockdown is right,” said Ulrike Demmer, the deputy government spokeswoman.

Merkel pressed regional leaders on March 28 to step up efforts to curb rapidly rising infections, adding a thinly veiled threat she would otherwise have to consider what steps could be taken on a nationwide basis.

Xinhua – Agencies