COVID-19 is worsening: World Health Organisation head

Updated: 10 June, 2020 07:42 IST | Agencies | Geneva

Warns WHO chief as some nations return to 'normal' even as the virus continues to kill and infect thousands every day in many other countries

Displaced Syrians flee Ariha in the rebel-held Idlib, which was pounded by 45 airstrikes, believed to be carried out by Russia, in violation of a ceasefire signed three months back. Over 5,800 civilians have fled so far. Syria has 144 COVID-19 cases and six deaths. Pic/AFP
Displaced Syrians flee Ariha in the rebel-held Idlib, which was pounded by 45 airstrikes, believed to be carried out by Russia, in violation of a ceasefire signed three months back. Over 5,800 civilians have fled so far. Syria has 144 COVID-19 cases and six deaths. Pic/AFP

The head of the World Health Organisation warned that the new coronavirus pandemic is worsening globally, even as the situation in Europe is improving. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Monday noted that about 75 per cent of cases reported to the WHO on Sunday came from 10 countries in the Americas and South Asia. He said over 1,00,000 cases have been reported on nine of the past 10 days " and that the 1,36,000 cases reported on Sunday was the biggest number so far. He said most countries in Africa are still seeing an increase in cases, including in new geographic areas even though most countries on the continent have fewer than 1,000 cases. "At the same time, we're encouraged that several nations are seeing positive signs. In these countries, the biggest threat now is complacency," he added.

COVID-19 may have hit Wuhan in Aug: Harvard

China on Tuesday dismissed as "incredibly ridiculous" a Harvard study, which pointed to a surge in traffic outside Wuhan hospitals from August 2019 suggesting that the new Coronavirus hit the area far earlier than reported. A whitepaper on COVID-19 released by China on Sunday said the virus was first noticed on December 17 and Chinese virologists confirmed human-to-human transmission on January 19. The new study by Harvard researchers says satellite images show an increase in traffic outside five hospitals in Wuhan from late August to December.

The traffic spike coincided with a rise in online searches for information on symptoms like "cough" and "diarrhoea". Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the study was "ridiculous" and based on "superficial" information, Reuters reported. Satellite data from the same time in 2019 showed 285 vehicles in the same place, an increase of 67 per cent. The study has not been peer-reviewed.

Ramon Magsaysay awards cancelled

A Philippine peace award has been cancelled this year due to the pandemic. The Manila-based foundation that hands out the Ramon Magsaysay awards, the annual prize regarded as an Asian Nobel, said on Tuesday it has no choice. The nation is a COVID-19 hotspot in Southeast Asia, with about 22,400 infections, including over 1,000 deaths.

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First Published: 10 June, 2020 07:28 IST

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