March 24: The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Monday warned that the COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating, Reuters reported.
According to the news agency, more than 300,000 cases have now been recorded and infections reported from nearly every country.
While it took 67 days from the first reported case to reach the first 100,000 cases of the disease caused by the coronavirus, it took only 11 days for the second 100,000 cases, and just four days for the third 100,000 cases, Reuters quoted WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus as saying.
“We’re not helpless bystanders. We can change the trajectory of this pandemic,” Tedros told an online briefing for more than 300 journalists.
According to Reuters, 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,” Reuters quoted him as saying.
“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, citing “alarming reports” of large numbers of infections among health workers around the world, said he would urge leaders of the Group of 20 countries this week to boost production of protective gear and avoid export bans.
The Group of 20, is a forum for the world’s 19 largest advanced and emerging economies, including the European Union, which Tedros said accounted for more than 80 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP). It is presided over by Saudi Arabia this year.
Meanwhile, India on Monday announced a halt to domestic flights and said the majority of the country was under complete lockdown to stop the spread of coronavirus.
According to Reuters, India has reported 471 cases but health experts have warned a big jump could be imminent, which would overwhelm the underfunded and crumbling public health infrastructure.
“The future of this pandemic to a greater extent will be determined by what happens with very large, densely populated countries,” said Dr Mike Ryan, the WHO’s top emergencies expert.
“So it’s really, really important that India continues to take aggressive action at the public health level and at the level of society to contain, control and suppress this disease and to save lives.”