GENEVA: The World Health Organization (WHO) said Monday that the coronavirus pandemic situation was worsening around the globe, as it warned against complacency.
The WHO said it had recorded its highest daily tally of new infections, with COVID-19 raging in the Americas.
And as mass protests for racial justice sweep across the United States and beyond, the United Nations’ health agency urged anyone demonstrating to do so safely.
The novel coronavirus has killed more than 403,000 people out of at least seven million infected since the outbreak emerged in China last December, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP.
After East Asia, Europe became the epicentre of the disease, but has now been overtaken by the Americas.
“Although the situation in Europe is improving, globally it is worsening,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual news conference in Geneva.
“More than 100,000 cases have been reported on nine of the past 10 days. Yesterday, more than 136,000 cases were reported — the most in a single day so far.
He said that almost 75 percent of Sunday’s cases came from 10 countries — mostly in the Americas and South Asia.
Tedros said that in countries where the situation was improving, “the biggest threat is now complacency”, adding that “most people globally are still susceptible to infection”.
“More than six months into this pandemic, this is not the time for any country to take its foot off the pedal,” he said.
Turning to the wave of protests sparked by killing of George Floyd on May 25, Tedros encouraged active surveillance of the virus to ensure it does not rebound, especially in the context of mass gatherings.
“WHO fully supports equality and the global movement against racism. We reject discrimination of all kinds,” he said.
“We encourage all those protesting around the world to do so safely.
“As much as possible, keep at least one metre from others, clean your hands, cover your cough and wear a mask if you attend a protest.”
“Stay home if you are sick and contact a health care provider,” he added.