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WHO Warns Coronavirus Outbreak Accelerating

WHO Warns Coronavirus Outbreak Accelerating

Monday, 23 March, 2020 - 18:15
Aerial view of empty roads in Medellin, Colombia. (AFP)
Asharq Al-Awsat

The head of the World Health Organization said the coronavirus outbreak is accelerating and has now been reported in nearly every country in the world.


WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it took 67 days from the first reported case to reach the first 100,000 cases; 11 days for the second 100,000 cases and just four days for the third 100,000 cases.


“But we are not prisoners to statistics. 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 commitment to change the trajectory of the pandemic, urging countries to take both defensive and attacking measures.


“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.”


Tedros said he would speak with heads of state and government from the G20 countries, saying he would ask them to help increase production, avoid export bans and ensure fair distribution of "lifesaving tools" that are facing a growing shortage.


He noted measures put in place to slow the spread of the virus may be exacerbating shortages of essential protective gear and the materials.


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