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WHO says confirmed COVID-19 cases, deaths outside China exceed those inside

Updated: 2020-03-17



GENEVA -- More cases and deaths of COVID-19 have now been reported in the rest of the world than in China, the chief of the World Health Organization (WHO) said here on Mar 16, noting that a rapid escalation of the coronavirus cases has been seen in the past week.

As of Monday morning, a total of more than 83,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported outside China, exceeding the cumulative number of infections in China, and over 6,400 patients have died of COVID-19 worldwide, according to WHO.

"We have seen a rapid escalation in social distancing measures, like closing schools, canceling sporting events and other gatherings." WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a daily briefing.

However, Tedros warned escalation in testing, isolation and contact tracing is not urgent enough, stressing these measures are the backbone of the COVID-19 response.

The most effective way to prevent infections and save lives is breaking the chains of COVID-19 transmission, said Tedros, highlighting the necessity of testing and isolating cases in response to the pandemic.

"You cannot fight a fire blindfolded and we cannot stop this pandemic if we don't know who is infected," he said, calling for every suspected case testing.

Moreover, Tedros said WHO advises that all confirmed COVID-19 cases, even mild cases, should be isolated in health facilities to prevent transmission.

He added countries and regions, which have exceeded their capacity to care for mild cases in dedicated health facilities, should prioritize older patients and those with underlying conditions.