WHO sees 10-millionth coronavirus case next week, says UK tests system ‘capable’

UNTV News   •   June 25, 2020   •   266

World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday (June 24) he expected the number of novel coronavirus cases around the world, now at about 9.3 million, to reach 10 million next week.

Tedros also told a news briefing he backed Saudi Arabia’s decision to ban pilgrims from abroad from attending the annual Haj pilgrimage to help limit the spread of the virus.

Dr. Mike Ryan, head of the WHO emergencies programme, said the pandemic for many countries in the Americas had not yet peaked, and that it was “still intense”, especially in Central and South America.

Britain’s coronavirus testing programme could help to give a picture of how the virus spread of the virus in the country, Ryan said, adding that many countries including Britain had “fought hard” and were making a “steady” exit from lockdown. (Reuters)

(Production: Yiming Woo)

No return to “old normal” for foreseeable future: WHO chief

UNTV News   •   July 14, 2020

There will be no return to the “old normal” for the foreseeable future as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the chief of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday.

At a press conference held in Geneva, Switzerland, on Monday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned of the grim epidemic situation the world is still facing in the near term, and called for continuing efforts to control the disease and get on with people’s lives.

“There will be no return to the old normal for the foreseeable future, but there is a roadmap to a situation where we can control the disease and get on with our lives. But this is going to require three things. First, a focus on reducing mortality and suppressing transmission. Second, an empowered, engaged community that takes individual behavior measures in the interest of each other. And third, we need strong government leadership and coordination of comprehensive strategies,” said Tedros.

Tedros stressed that no matter where the country is in its epidemic curve, it is never too late to take decisive action.

Speaking at the same press briefing, Michael Ryan, executive director of WHO Health Emergencies Program, said it is unrealistic to expect that the virus will be eliminated, or an effective COVID-19 vaccine will be available to all in the next few months.

The good news is that mortality rates of the disease have dropped in many countries, Ryan added, noting there are also better ways now to give early diagnosis and treatment. (Reuters)

Coronavirus crisis may get “worse and worse and worse,” warns WHO

UNTV News   •   July 14, 2020

The new coronavirus pandemic raging around the globe will worsen if countries fail to adhere to strict healthcare precautions, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Monday (July 13).

“Let me be blunt, too many countries are headed in the wrong direction, the virus remains public enemy number one,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual briefing from the U.N. agency’s headquarters in Geneva.

Global infections stand at 13 million, according to a Reuters tally, with more than half a million deaths.

Tedros, whose leadership has been heavily criticised by U.S. President Donald Trump, said that of 230,000 new cases on Sunday (July 12), 80% were from 10 nations, and 50% from just two countries. The United States and Brazil are the countries worst hit.

Tedros said the WHO had still not received formal notification of the U.S. pullout announced by Trump. The U.S. president says the WHO pandered to China, where the COVID-19 disease was first detected, at the start of the crisis. Trump, who wore a protective face mask for the first time in public at the weekend, has himself been accused by political opponents of not taking the coronavirus seriously enough, something he denies.

A WHO advance team has gone to China to investigate the origins of the new coronavirus, first discovered in the city of Wuhan. The team’s members are in quarantine, as per standard procedure, before they begin work with Chinese scientists, WHO emergencies head Mike Ryan said. (Reuters)

(Production: Ardee Napolitano)

WHO reports one-day record of COVID-19 cases as infections surge

UNTV News   •   July 13, 2020

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported a record one-day increase for global coronavirus cases on Saturday, with the United States, Brazil, India and South Africa posting the highest increases.

The WHO received reports of 230,370 confirmed COVID-19 infections around the world, marking a new high in infections over a 24-hour period, and bringing the total to 12,552,765 cases, including 561,617 deaths, as of 16:49pm CEST on Sunday.

The United States saw 59,904 new cases and 442 new deaths in 24 hours.

The total confirmed infections in the country reached 3,301,820 and the death toll rose to 135,171 as of 19:34 EST (23:34 GMT) on Sunday, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.

The state of Florida reported 15,299 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, shattering not only its own previous single-day records, but also those of any other state as the pandemic continued to rage in the country.

The mind-boggling number brought the total infections to 269,811 in the Sunshine State, with the death toll reaching 4,346, according to the Florida Department of Health.

The recent surge was the result of increased testing and widespread transmission as the state prematurely loosened lockdown measures, as a result of which people were seen gathering in crowds, no longer heeding anti-virus guidelines such as maintaining social distance or wearing face coverings.

Apart from Florida, the infections in states such as Texas, California and Arizona are surging as well, replacing New York state as the new epicenters.

Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb predicted on Sunday that the southern states will reach the apex in the next two or three weeks and will experience a high number of infections for a while.

Brazil on Sunday said its nationwide COVID-19 death toll reached 72,100, with 631 more patients having succumbed to the novel coronavirus in the previous 24 hours.

The country reported 24,831 new cases in the same period, bringing the total number of infections to 1,864,681, the health ministry said.

Brazil registers a mortality rate of 3.9 percent, and 1,123,204 people have recovered from COVID-19 in the past four months, according to the ministry’s daily updated COVID-19 dashboard.

The most populous state of Sao Paulo is the epicenter of the pandemic, with 371,997 cases of infection and 17,848 deaths.

India reported the highest single day spike in the number of fresh cases in the country, India’s federal health ministry said on Monday morning.

India’s federal health ministry said 500 new deaths due to COVID-19 and 28,701 new positive cases were reported during the past 24 hours across the country, taking the number of deaths to 23,174 and total cases to 878,254.

The number of COVID-19 cases in the country reached 849,553 and the death toll 22,674 on Sunday morning.

According to ministry officials, so far 553,471 people have been discharged from hospitals after showing improvement.

The country has entered its Unlock 2.0 phase, though restrictions remain in full force inside the COVID-19 Containment Zones. Commercial international flights to and from India are suspended until July 31.

Last week, the government of Uttar Pradesh, the country’s biggest state in terms of population, had decided to impose a weekend lockdown from Friday night until Monday morning, to cut the chain of transmission of COVID-19.

The state decided on Monday it would continue with similar lockdowns every weekend.

Russia registered 6,615 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, taking its total to 727,162, the country’s coronavirus response center said in a statement on Sunday.

The country’s death toll has risen by 130 to 11,335, while 501,061 people have recovered, including 3,615 over the last 24 hours, according to the statement.

Data also showed that Russia had conducted over 23 million tests nationwide by Sunday.

The confirmed COVID-19 cases in Japan increased by 407 to 21,991 on Sunday, while the deaths stood at 983, according to the latest figures from Japan’s national broadcasting organization NHK.

The data also showed that Tokyo reported 206 new infections on Sunday, topping the 200 mark for the fourth straight day. So far, Tokyo had a total of 7,927 infections.

Yukio Edano, the leader of Japan’s largest opposition party – the the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan – said that the government should issue a state of emergency again for Tokyo and the surrounding areas.

South Korea reported 62 more cases of COVID-19 as of 00:00 on Monday local time compared to 24 hours ago, raising the total number of infections to 13,479.

The daily caseload rose above 60 in five days amid the continued small cluster infections and imported cases.

Of the new cases, 43 were imported from overseas, lifting the combined figure to 1,872. It continued to increase in the double digits for 18 straight days.

Small cluster infections were found linked to religious gatherings and door-to-door sales businesses.

No more death was confirmed, leaving the death toll at 289, and its total fatality rate stood at 2.14 percent.

South Korea ended its mask ration system on Sunday after a four-month operation, as the supply of face masks stabilized. With the termination of the scheme, citizens are able to buy an unlimited number of masks at market prices.

South Korea will re-apply the ration system if there is a sudden rise in demand. Meanwhile, South Korea will punish mask stockpiling.

Also on Sunday, Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kang Min-seok said that South Korea will form an inter-agency organization this month for the so-called Korean-version New Deal project aimed at creating jobs and fostering economic growth against the impact of the pandemic. (Reuters)

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