Europe Now ‘Epicentre’ Of COVID-19 Pandemic: WHO

World Well being Group (WHO) Director-Normal Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a day by day press briefing on COVID-19 virus on the WHO headquaters on March 11, 2020 in Geneva./ AFP


The World Well being Group mentioned Friday that Europe was now the “epicentre” for the worldwide coronavirus pandemic — and warned it was unattainable to know when the outbreak would peak.

The continent had now “extra reported circumstances and deaths than the remainder of the world mixed, other than China”, mentioned WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

“Europe has now develop into the epicentre of the pandemic,” he mentioned.

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Tedros was talking at a information convention held nearly to keep away from any potential unfold of the virus amongst journalists.

“Extra circumstances at the moment are being reported each day than have been reported in China on the top of its epidemic,” he mentioned, referring to the worldwide numbers.

The virus, which first surfaced in China in December, has now killed greater than 5,000 individuals, with circumstances world wide topping 134,000, in accordance with an AFP tally.

The dying toll passing 5,000 was “a tragic milestone”, mentioned Tedros.

Maria Van Kerkhove, who heads the WHO’s rising ailments unit, in the meantime warned it was “unattainable for us to say when this can peak globally.”

“We hope that it’s sooner somewhat than later.”

Their feedback got here as international locations in Europe and past launched dramatic measures to halt the unfold of the virus, together with closing colleges and limiting public occasions.

Tedros mentioned that whereas such so-called social distancing measures may assist, international locations wanted to take “a complete method”.

“Not testing alone. Not contact tracing alone. Not quarantine alone. Not social distancing alone. Do all of it,” he mentioned.

‘Lethal Mistake’

“You’ll be able to’t struggle a virus in case you don’t know the place it’s,” mentioned Tedros, calling on international locations to “discover, isolate, take a look at and deal with each case, to interrupt the chains of transmission.”

“Don’t simply let this fireplace burn,” he mentioned.

“Any nation that appears on the expertise of different international locations with giant epidemics and thinks ‘that received’t occur to us’ is making a lethal mistake.”

Michael Ryan, who heads the WHO’s emergencies programme, burdened that measures like banning public gatherings “will not be a panacea”.

“Social distancing measures will not be going to cease this pandemic,” he mentioned, although some may have “a constructive impression”, he added.

An important factor, he mentioned, was to behave.

“The best error is to not transfer. The best error is to be paralysed by the worry of failure,” he mentioned.

The World Well being Group additionally introduced the creation of a brand new fund, focused at drawing donations from corporations, organisations and people towards serving to struggle the pandemic.

The COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, which will likely be run by the UN Basis in the US and the Swiss Philanthropy Basis, kicked off Friday with a variety of multi-million-dollar donations from Fb, Google and others.

“We’d like all palms on deck,” UN Fund chief Elizabeth Cousens instructed reporters.

“It’s not too late, so regardless of the place you reside we’d like your assist to struggle this virus for all of our communities.”

The WHO initially estimated that efforts to rein within the virus would value $750 million for the primary three months alone.

Scott Pendergast, the WHO’s head of emergencies, technique, programmes and partnerships, nonetheless, instructed reporters on Thursday that because the scenario advanced, it was probably the true value by way of the top of this yr would require “no less than a 10-fold improve in that ask”.


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