WHO warns Covid-19 is worsening – world news

The coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic has been worsening globally and now is not the time for any country to “take its foot off the pedal”, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) has said, citing what he said was the highest number of new cases seen in a day by the health agency.

More than 136,000 new cases were reported worldwide on Sunday, the most in a single day so far, and nearly 75% of them were reported from 10 countries, mostly in the Americas and South Asia, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told an online briefing on Monday.

“Although the situation in Europe is improving, globally it is worsening. More than 100,000 cases have been reported on nine of the past 10 days. Yesterday, more than 136,000 cases were reported – the most in a single day so far,” said Tedros. “More than six months into the pandemic, this is not the time for any country to take its foot off the pedal”.

Brazil, India, Russia, Chile, Pakistan, Peru and Mexico account for the highest number of cases after the US, which has continued to add the most number of new cases for close to a month.

WHO’s tally of cases are based on numbers that are reported to it by member countries. According to data sources used by HT, which include worldometer.info and the Coronavirus Resource Centre by Johns Hopkins University, the highest number of new cases was recorded at a little over 130,000 on Friday.

For the past two days, these set of countries added more than half of the daily new cases to the global tally. The larger Asian and South American regions contributed more than 76% of Monday’s new cases, becoming drivers of what may loosely be seen as a third spurt in the outbreak’s spread: the first was propelled by infections in China in late January. The second spike was driven by European countries such as Italy and Spain beginning in April.

The outbreak in the US coincided with the second spike, and the country has continued to remain at the top of the list of nations with the most number of new cases. As of Monday, the US accounted for 2 million of the over 7 million total infections. Brazil, where the outbreak began accelerating in May, now has the third highest number of cases at close to 700,000 cases. Among countries with large populations, the UK has the highest ratio of deaths per million people – 597 – followed by Spain (580) and Italy (561).

WHO chief Tedros said that in countries where the situation was improving, “the biggest threat is now complacency”, adding that “most people globally are still susceptible to infection”.

Experts also said that removing lockdown measures in these countries, which largely comprise of low-to-middle income countries (LMIC), would be dangerous. “Politicians may be desperate to get their economies going again, but that could be at the expense of having huge numbers of people die,” news agency Associated Press quoted Dr Bharat Pankhania, an infectious diseases expert at the University of Exeter in Britain as saying.

He also said reimposing recently lifted lockdown measures was equally dangerous.

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