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Corona Crisis: Number of COVID-19 cases double in 6 weeks: WHO

SwitzerlandSix months after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), it has received reports of nearly 16 million cases, and the pandemic continues to accelerate, said Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Monday.

Thursday marks the sixth month since WHO declared COVID-19 a public health emergency of international concern. This is the sixth time a global health emergency has been declared under the International Health Regulations, but it is easily the most severe. Almost 16 million cases have now been reported to WHO, with more than 640,000 deaths. And the pandemic continues to accelerate. In the past six weeks, the total number of cases has roughly doubled, said Tedros.

He recalled that when the PHEIC was declared on January 30, there were less than 100 cases outside of China, and no deaths. The Emergency Committee of the WHO will be reconvened later this week to re-evaluate the pandemic and make proposals to the Director-General.

Tedros stressed that although the world has changed, the fundamental pillars of the response have not, which refer to political leadership, and informing, engaging and listening to communities. And nor have the basic measures needed to suppress transmission and save lives, which means to find, isolate, test and care for cases, and trace and quarantine their contacts.

Tedros pointed out that the pandemic was under control in many countries including China, Canada, Germany, South Korea, because the countries strictly followed WHO's advice. "Where these measures are followed, cases go down. Where they are not, cases go up. Countries and communities that have followed this advice carefully and consistently have done well, either in preventing large-scale outbreaks, like Cambodia, New Zealand, Rwanda, Thailand, Vietnam, and islands in the Pacific and Caribbean, or in bringing large outbreaks under control, like Canada, China, Germany and the Republic of Korea," said Tedros.
"The bottom line is that one of the most fundamental ingredients for stopping this virus is determination, and the willingness to make hard choices to keep ourselves and each other safe. Over the past six months, WHO worked tirelessly to support countries to prepare for and respond to this virus. I am immensely proud of our organization, WHO, and its incredible people and their efforts," he said.

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