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Global coronavirus death toll surpasses 800,000, WHO hopes it will be over in two years

Global coronavirus deaths topped 800,000 Saturday, hours after the World Health Organization said it hoped the pandemic would be finished in two years.

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Global coronavirus deaths surged past 800,000 people on Saturday, according to Johns Hopkins University data, which came less than 24 hours after the World Health Organization said it hoped the pandemic would last for less than two years.

Cases took an upward turn in eastern European countries Saturday as Ukraine recorded 2,328 new cases and 37 deaths between Friday and Saturday, figures from the national council of security and defense showed.

It prompted President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to urge people on Saturday to adhere to health advice, wear masks and maintain social distancing as data showed daily infections had risen to a record level.

“Please help doctors, be careful,” Zelenskiy said in a televised interview. “We really did not have the first wave (of infections) when it happened in Europe. Now it is coming.”

The head of Israel’s coronavirus task force also urged Ukraine on Saturday to ban an annual pilgrimage in which tens of thousands of Hasidic Jews descend on the central Ukrainian town of Uman, for the Jewish New Year in September.

Fearing it could become a virus hotspot, the two governments have already issued a joint statement pleading with pilgrims to cancel their trips, although huge crowds are still expected to fly in.

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