All countries should do more to prevent the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus and none should make the “fatal” mistake of assuming that it won’t be affected, UNhealth agency chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said on Thursday.
Issuing an appeal after a new crop of countries confirmed that they had identified cases of infection for the first time, Tedros said that it was the responsibility of all governments to ensure that they acted swiftly.
“Whether we get it wrong or right is in our hands… every country must be ready for its first case, its first cluster, the first evidence of community transmission and for dealing with sustained community transmission…These are four scenarios, and it must be preparing for all of those scenarios at the same time. No country should assume it won’t get cases; that could be a fatal mistake, quite literally. This virus does not respect borders.”
Citing the latest COVID-19 data, updated at 6am in Geneva on Thursday, the WHO Director-General said that China had confirmed 78,630 cases, including 2,747 deaths.
Outside China, there were 3,474 cases in 44 countries and 54 deaths, Tedros continued, highlighting with concern that for the past two days, the number of new cases in the rest of the world had exceeded the number of cases in China.