New figures have shown the sharp acceleration in global cases of Covid-19. It took 67 days from the first reported of Covid-19 to reach 100,000 cases, 11 days for the second 100,000, and just four days for the third 100,000.
Now WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has spoken out about the spiralling global pandemic.
Offering a glimmer of hope, the Director General said it was still possible to “change the trajectory”.
Speaking at a joint news conference with Fifa president Gianni Infantino, Mr Ghebreyesus urged countries to adopt rigorous testing and contact-tracing strategies.
The WHO Director General attended the conference to launch a “kick out coronavirus” campaign featuring world famous footballers.
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Dr Tedros said asking people to stay at home and other social-distancing measures were an important way of slowing down the spread of the virus.
However, he made it clear this would not be enough to beat the disease.
He described them as “defensive measures that will not help us to win”.
He said: “To win, we need to attack the virus with aggressive and targeted tactics – testing every suspected case, isolating and caring for every confirmed case, and chasing and quarantining every close contact.”
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Dr Tedros expressed alarm at reports from around the world of large numbers of infections among health workers.
This appeared to be the result of a shortage of adequate personal protective equipment.
“Health workers can only do their jobs effectively when they can do their jobs safely,” he warned.
“Even if we do everything else right, if we don’t prioritise protecting health workers many people will die because the health worker who could have saved their life is sick.”
He said the WHO has been working with its partners to rationalise and prioritise the use of protective equipment, and to address the global shortage of it.
However, the official noted measures put in place to slow the spread of the virus may have “unintended consequences of exacerbating shortages of essential protective gear and the materials needed to make them.”
The WHO chief called for “political commitment and political co-ordination at the global level.”
Dr. Tedros revealed he would ask G20 group of nations at the G20 summit this week to work together to boost production of protective equipment, avoid export bans and ensure equity of distribution on the basis of need.
This comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson made an address to the nation yesterday evening in which he ordered Britons to stay home.
Mr Johnson ordered all shops selling “non-essential goods” to close, as well as other premises including libraries, playgrounds, outdoor gyms and places of worship.
Mr Johnson said that “the time has now come for us all to do more.”
He also told the public that the police now has the power to fine those who do not abide by the news measures.
They may also break up public gatherings.
Last week the Prime Minister made an urgent plea for retired NHS workers to return to work.
In an unprecedented call-to-arms, NHS England are surveying those who have recently left the health service on what type of role they could take on either through NHS 111 or face-to-face.
Staff will be asked to “opt in” to a register to fill a range of clinical and non-clinical roles across the NHS based on their skills and time away from practice.
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