Coronavirus pandemic 'worsening' worldwide; WHO warns against complacency -- read details
More than 136,000 new cases were reported worldwide on Sunday, the most in a single day so far. Nearly 75% of them were reported from 10 countries, mostly in the Americas and South Asia. "Although the situation in Europe is improving, globally it is worsening," said WHO head.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has urged countries across the world to press on with efforts to contains the novel coronavirus as new cases had their biggest daily increase ever, with pandemic worsening globally. It has yet to peak in central America, the UN agency said as it warned against complacency.
More than 136,000 new cases were reported worldwide on Sunday, the most in a single day so far, said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus during an online media briefing in Geneva on Monday. Nearly 75% of them were reported from 10 countries, mostly in the Americas and South Asia.
"Although the situation in Europe is improving, globally it is worsening," Tedros said. "More than six months into the pandemic, this is not the time for any country to take its foot off the pedal," he said.
WHO SAFETY GUIDELINES TO US PROTESTERS
Speaking about the mass protests for racial justice in the US and beyond, the WHO head said the agency supports the current movement but urged anyone demonstrating to do so safely and wear masks during demonstrations.
"WHO fully supports equality and the global movement against racism. We reject discrimination of all kinds. We encourage all those protesting around the world to do so safely," Tedros said. He shared safety and precaution guidelines for protesters:
-- As much as possible, keep at least one metre from others
-- Clean your hands
-- Cover your cough
-- Wear a mask if you attend a protest.
-- Stay home if you are sick and contact a health care provider
Tedros added that countries where protests have been held should strengthen testing efforts and the tracking of potential COVID-19 cases.
"We also encourage countries to strengthen the fundamental public health measures that remain the basis of the response: Find, isolate, test and care for every case, and trace and quarantine every contact," Tedros said. "Contact tracing remains an essential element of the response."
During the conference, in response to a question on China, WHO's top emergencies expert, Dr Mike Ryan, said retrospective studies of how the outbreak has been addressed could wait, adding: "We need to focus now on what we are doing today to prevent second peaks."
Ryan also said infections in central American countries including Guatemala were still on the rise, and that they were "complex" epidemics.
"I think this is a time of great concern," he said, calling for strong government leadership and international support for the region.
Brazil is now one of the hotspots of the pandemic, with the second highest number of confirmed cases, behind only the United States, and a death toll that last week surpassed Italy's.
After removing cumulative numbers for coronavirus deaths in Brazil from a national website, the Health Ministry sowed further confusion and controversy by releasing two contradictory sets of figures for the latest tally of infection cases and fatalities.
Ryan said Brazil's data had been "extremely detailed" so far but stressed it was important for Brazilians to understand where the virus is and how to manage risk, and that the WHO hoped communication would be "consistent and transparent".
Maria van Kerkhove, a WHO epidemiologist, said that a "comprehensive approach" was essential in South America.
More than 7 million people have been reported infected with the coronavirus globally and over 400,000 have died. "This is far from over," van Kerkhove said.
At least half of Singapore's newly discovered coronavirus cases show no symptoms, the co-head of the government's virus taskforce said, reinforcing the city-state's decision to ease lockdown restrictions very gradually, according to a Reuters report.
Van Kerkhove said that many countries doing contact tracing had identified asymptomatic cases but were not finding that they caused further spread of the virus, adding: "It is very rare".
Ryan, asked about technical cooperation with the US after President Donald Trump's announcement 10 days ago that it was terminating its relationship with the WHO, said the agency relies heavily on experts from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health.
"We will continue to do that until we are otherwise instructed or informed," he added.
TOP 5 COUNTRIES WITH COVID-19 CASES
-- US -- 19,42,363 cases, 1,10,514 deaths
-- Brazil -- 6,91,758 cases, 36,455 deaths
-- Russia -- 4,76,043 cases, 5,963 deaths
-- United Kingdom -- 2,87,621 cases, 40,625 deaths
-- India -- 2,56,611 cases, 7,200 deaths