International

WHO warns COVID-19 pandemic accelerating

Geneva, March 24 (IANS) | Publish Date: 3/24/2020 10:14:36 AM IST

The global coronavirus pandemic was accelerating, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned, who urged the international community to pull together to tackle the outbreak.

“It took 67 days from the first reported case to reach 100,000 cases, 11 days for the second 100,000 cases, and just four days for the third 100,000 cases,” Efe news quoted WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus as saying at a daily press briefing on Monday.
As of Tuesday, a total of 381,499 coronavirus cases have been detected globally, with 16,557 deaths, according to John Hopkins University. At least 101,794 people have recovered.
But despite the pandemic’s rapid growth, Tedros remained optimistic that the situation can be reversed.
“We’re not prisoners to statistics,” he said. “We’re not helpless. We can change the trajectory of this pandemic.”
Tedros was speaking at a press conference, at which the WHO announced that it has teamed up with international football organization FIFA to launch a COVID-19 awareness campaign with five key steps to help stop the spread of the disease.
While he praised the efforts made and measures taken by national and local governments so far, including urging people to stay at home and practice social distancing, he said: “You can’t win a football game only by defending - you have to attack as well.
“Asking people to stay at home and other physical distancing measures are an important way of slowing down the spread of the virus and buying time.
“But they are defensive measures (...) To win, we need to attack the virus with aggressive and targeted tactics.”
He praised countries for mobilizing their resources and sending emergency medical teams and supplies to help other crisis-hit nations, and urged the WHO’s partners and nations around the world to “rationalise and prioritize” the use of personal protective equipment and cooperate to ease these issues.
“Addressing the global shortage of these life saving tools means addressing every part of the supply chain, from raw materials to finished products,” Tedros continued.
“Measures put in place to slow the spread of the virus may have the unintended consequence of exacerbating shortages of essential protective gear and the material needed to make them.
“Solving this problem requires political commitment and coordination at a global level.”
The WHO will be holding meetings with G20 leaders to ask them to work together to “increase production, avoid export bans and ensure equity of distribution on the basis of need”, he added.
“Commitment at the G20 level means a very strong solidarity that can help us move forward and fight this pandemic in the strongest terms possible.”

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