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People's Daily Online

WHO chief says COVID-19 pandemic "accelerating" as global cases top 300,000

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 09:12, March 24, 2020

GENEVA, March 23 (Xinhua) -- More than 300,000 cases of COVID-19 have been reported from almost every country and region in the world, the chief of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday, noting "the pandemic is accelerating."

Speaking at a daily briefing, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it took 67 days from the first reported case of COVID-19 to reach the first 100,000 cases worldwide, while the second and the third 100,000 cases were reported just within 11 days and 4 days respectively.

"Numbers matter, because they're not just numbers," Tedros said, reminding that behind the numbers are people whose lives and families have been turned upside down.

According to the WHO situation dashboard, a total of 332,935 coronavirus cases, including 14,510 deaths, have been reported as of 10:00 CET (09:00 GMT) Monday, as the virus spread to 189 countries and regions.

Outside China, the most affected countries with 10,000 cases each -- Italy, the United States, Spain, Germany, Iran and France -- have reported over 180,000 cases in total.

Tedros called on countries to make use of both defensive and offensive strategies to combat the epidemic.

As defensive strategies, physical distancing measures like asking people to stay at home is important for slowing down the spread of the virus and buying time, said Tedros.

"To win, we need to attack the virus with aggressive and targeted tactics," he stressed, urging all countries and regions to test every suspected case, isolate and care for every confirmed patient, and to trace and quarantine every close contact.

Noting that some countries are struggling with the capacity to carry out these offensive measures, Tedros suggested that those countries should mobilize resources internally from less-affected regions to increase capacity.

Besides, the chief of WHO thanked countries for sending emergency medical teams to care for patients and train health workers in other countries that need support.

"This is an incredible example of international solidarity," Tedros added.

In its efforts to support the global battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, China has sent several medical expert teams abroad and provided medical supplies to many countries and regions.

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