WHO warns of 'accelerating' pandemic, expects Olympics decision soon

By Stephanie Nebehay and Kate Kelland GENEVA/LONDON (Reuters) - The pandemic of disease caused by the coronavirus is accelerating, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday, with more than 300,000 cases now recorded and infections reported from nearly every country worldwide. While it took 67 days from the first reported case to reach the first 100,000 cases of COVID-19, it took only 11 days for the second 100,000 cases, and just four days for the third 100,000 cases, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said. 'But we are not prisoners to statistics.

Reuters March 24, 2020 00:10:34 IST
WHO warns of 'accelerating' pandemic, expects Olympics decision soon

WHO warns of accelerating pandemic expects Olympics decision soon

By Stephanie Nebehay and Kate Kelland

GENEVA/LONDON (Reuters) - The pandemic of disease caused by the coronavirus is accelerating, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday, with more than 300,000 cases now recorded and infections reported from nearly every country worldwide.

While it took 67 days from the first reported case to reach the first 100,000 cases of COVID-19, it took only 11 days for the second 100,000 cases, and just four days for the third 100,000 cases, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said.

"But we are not prisoners to statistics. We're not helpless bystanders. We can change the trajectory of this pandemic," Tedros told an online briefing for more than 300 journalists.

He called for global political commitment to change the trajectory of the pandemic, urging countries to take both defensive and attacking measures.

"Asking people to stay at home and other social distancing measures are an important way of slowing down the spread of the virus and buying time, but they are defensive measures," he said.

"To win we need to attack the virus with aggressive and targeted tactics - testing every suspect case, isolating and caring for every confirmed cases and tracing and quarantining every close contact."

Asked about the 2020 Olympics due to be held in Tokyo, Mike Ryan, head of WHO's emergencies programme, said the WHO was feeding into deliberations by the International Olympic Committee, the Japanese government and the Tokyo 2020 Committee.

Australia and Canada have already said they are withdrawing from the 2020 Games and organisers are facing increasing pressure to postpone them first time in their 124-year modern history.

"I believe a decision will be made very soon," Ryan said.

He said any decision to postpone the Games would be made by Japan and the IOC, adding: "We have every confidence that the Japanese government and the IOC will not proceed with any Games should they be dangerous to athletes or spectators."

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva and Kate Kelland in London; writing by Stephanie Nebehay; editing by Gareth Jones and Angus MacSwan)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.