GENEVA: The World Health Organisation said on Friday that it is still possible to bring coronavirus outbreaks under control, even though case numbers have more than doubled in the past six weeks.WHO...
GENEVA: The World Health Organisation said on Friday that it is still possible to bring coronavirus outbreaks under control, even though case numbers have more than doubled in the past six weeks.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the examples of Italy, Spain, South Korea and India’s biggest slum showed that however bad a outbreak was, the virus could still be reined in through aggressive action.
"In the last six weeks cases have more than doubled," Tedros told a virtual press conference in Geneva. However, "there are many examples from around the world that have shown that even if the outbreak is very intense, it can still be brought back under control," said Tedros.
"And some of these examples are Italy, Spain and South Korea, and even in Dharavi -- a densely packed area in the megacity of Mumbai -- a strong focus on community engagement and the basics of testing, tracing, isolating and treating all those that are sick is key to breaking the chains of transmission and suppressing the virus."
The novel coronavirus has killed at least 555,000 people worldwide since the outbreak emerged in China last December, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP on Friday.
Nearly 12.3 million cases have been registered in 196 countries and territories. "Across all walks of life, we are all being tested to the limit," Tedros said, "from countries where there is exponential growth, to places that are loosening restrictions and now starting to see cases rise.
"Only aggressive action combined with national unity and global solidarity can turn this pandemic around."Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump headed to coronavirus-stricken Florida on Friday to attend a campaign fundraiser, ignoring health advice about the dangers of large gatherings as he ramps up public appearances ahead of the election.
The virus has claimed more than 4,000 lives in the Sunshine State, where Republican governor Ron DeSantis downplayed the outbreak early on but has since been forced to pause reopening.
The US is by far the hardest-hit country in the world, with more than 3.1 million confirmed infections and 133,000 dead.
Florida was among at least six states that set single-day case records on Thursday, alongside Texas, Alabama, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, and Oregon. Florida and Texas also registered their highest daily death counts -- 98 and 120 respectively.
"The tsunami is here," said Richard Cortez, the chief executive of Hidalgo County in south Texas, after 1,274 cases were confirmed in the past 24 hours in the jurisdiction of fewer than 900,000 people. By way of comparison, Melbourne in Australia, a city of five million, reimposed a lockdown after 191 tested positive in a day.
"As a country, when you compare us to other countries, I don’t think you can say we’re doing great," Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease official told political analysis website FiveThirtyEight on Friday.
He went on to partly blame the atmosphere of political divisiveness in the country -- for example the way in which masks were initially shunned by right wing political leaders, many of whom have since shifted on the issue. "I think you’d have to make the assumption that if there wasn’t such divisiveness, that we would have a more coordinated approach," said Fauci.