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Pandemic getting worse - WHO

Friday July 10th 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is "getting worse," the World Health Organisation has warned, as the global curve shows little sign of flattening.

WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that in most of the world the virus was not under control.

Countries around the world have now reported more than 12 million cases of infection and more than 550,000 deaths.

In the USA the daily reported number of cases continues to pass 60,000 – although only Brazil is reporting more than 1,000 deaths a day. Dr Tedros's comments came a few days after the US formally withdrew from WHO.

Iran suddenly reported an increase in deaths – of 222 – after months of reporting totals of a little over 100. India also reports a rising curve of cases – with 479 new deaths reported yesterday.

Meanwhile, with lockdown easing and death rates falling, the UK continues to show the highest death rate of any large country. Its deaths per million population is only surpassed by Belgium, Andorra and San Marino.

Dr Tedros said yesterday: “The virus has upended health systems in some of the world’s wealthiest nations, while some countries that have mounted a successful response have been of modest means.

“We know that when countries take a comprehensive approach based on fundamental public health measures – such as find, isolate, test and treat cases, and trace and quarantine contacts – the outbreak can be brought under control.

“But in most of the world the virus is not under control. It is getting worse.

“And the pandemic is still accelerating. The total number of cases has doubled in the last six weeks.”

In the UK heath leaders expressed disappointment as the test and tracing system showed "little improvement."

Contact tracers managed to reach 77.4% of the 4,347 diagnosed with the virus and then found 70.8% of their close contacts. Nearly a quarter said they had not close contacts. This led to 10,547 people being asked to self-isolate.

Dr Layla McCay, from the NHS Confederation, said: “We know this will take time to perfect, but the fact remains, this system has been in place for five weeks, and we have yet to see any real movement in the right direction.

“This is a far cry from the world-beating service we were promised, and it raises serious questions about how safe it will be to continue easing lockdown and for the NHS to restart normal services."

Tags: Asia | Flu & Viruses | North America | UK News | World Health

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