Pandemic is ‘accelerating’, WHO warns as cases pass 300,000
GENEVA/LONDON: World Health Organization warned on Monday that the coronavirus pandemic is escalating as more than 300,000 cases of COVID-19 from nearly every country in the world have been reported.
Dr Mike Ryan, the World Health Organization’s top emergency expert, said he had briefed Olympic and Japanese officials on public health threats and anticipated a “very early” decision on the Tokyo 2020 Games to be opened in July, in the midst of the demands for postponement.
Although reaching the first 100,000 cases of coronavirus disease took 67 days from the first confirmed case, it took just 11 days for the second 100,000 cases, and only four days for the third 100,000 cases, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said.
“We’re not helpless bystanders. We can change the trajectory of this pandemic,” Tedros told an online briefing for more than 300 journalists.
He called for global political action to shift the pandemic’s course, encouraging countries to take both protective steps and attacks.
“Asking people to stay at home and other social distancing measures are an important way of slowing down the spread of the virus and buying time, but they are defensive measures,” he said.
“To win we need to attack the virus with aggressive and targeted tactics: testing every suspect case, isolating and caring for every confirmed case and tracing and quarantining every close contact.”
Citing “alarming reports” of large numbers of infections among health workers around the world, Tedros said this week he would encourage members of the Group of 20 countries to improve protective gear production and avoid export bans.
The Group of 20, is a forum for the world’s 19 largest developed and developing economies, including the European Union, which Tedros said represented more than 80 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP). This year Saudi Arabia presides over it.