WHO on coronavirus situation ‘worsens’ worldwide | World News
The WHO said it had recorded its largest daily record of new infections, with Covid-19 in the Americas.
And as mass protests for racial justice spread across the United States and beyond, the United Nations health agency urged anyone who protested to do so safely.
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The new coronavirus has killed more than 403,000 people of at least seven million infected since the outbreak in China emerged last December, according to an official source count compiled by AFP.
After East Asia, Europe became the epicenter of the disease, but has now been overtaken by the Americas.
“Although the situation in Europe is improving, globally it is getting worse,” said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a virtual press conference in Geneva.
“More than 100,000 cases have been reported in nine of the last 10 days. Yesterday, more than 136,000 cases were reported, the most in a single day so far.”
He said that almost 75 percent of Sunday’s cases came from 10 countries, mainly in the Americas and South Asia.
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Tedros said that in countries where the situation was improving, “the biggest threat now is complacency,” adding that “most people worldwide are still susceptible to infection.”
“More than six months after this pandemic, this is not the time for any country to stop stepping on the pedal,” he said.
As for the wave of protests sparked by the murder of George Floyd on May 25, Tedros encouraged active surveillance of the virus to ensure that it does not recover, especially in the context of mass gatherings.
“The WHO fully supports equality and the global movement against racism. We reject discrimination of all kinds,” he said.
“We encourage all protesters around the world to do so safely.
“As much as possible, keep at least a meter away from others, wash your hands, cover your cough, and wear a mask if you attend a protest.”
“Stay home if you are sick and contact a health care provider,” he added.
The WHO has continuously emphasized the importance of tracking those who may have come into sustained and close contact with an infected person.
WHO emergency director Michael Ryan said someone who had been to a mass protest did not necessarily meet the technical definition of a contact.
“It comes down to local public health analysis and local risk management,” he said.
“There may be situations with mass meetings where local public health officials, based on great caution, may advise people to be quarantined or tested.”
Ryan added: “We hope that in any mass gathering now … people who have had four or five months to really internalize, that someone who is not well … really is home and does not participate in any public activity.”
“But we would always refer to national and sub-national authorities if they so wish and need to take the necessary public health actions based on risk assessment, based on scientific evidence.”
Meanwhile, Tedros said the WHO had so far shipped more than five million items of personal protective equipment to 110 countries.
The global health body aims to ship more than 129 million PPE items to 126 nations.