100,000 infections in four days

 

The head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said the coronavirus pandemic is "accelerating" with 100,000 new infections worldwide in just four days.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that was in contrast to the 67 days that it took from the first reported case of COVID-19 to reach 100,000 people infected.

More "aggressive" action was needed, the United Nations agency chief warned on Tuesday, if the world was to get the virus under control.

More than 400,000 people worldwide have been infected with coronavirus leading to 18,500 deaths. In Australia, 2044 people have the disease with eight fatalities.

The initial case of COVID-19 was in late December last year in the Chinese city of Wuhan with the first person succumbing on January 11.

Following the 67 days it took to get to 100,000 cases, it then took just 11 days for another 100,00 people to become infected.

"(It was) just four days for the third 100,000 cases. You can see how the virus is accelerating," Dr Tedros said on Tuesday.

"But we're not prisoners to statistics. We're not helpless bystanders. We can change the trajectory of this pandemic."

He said governments globally needed to work together, pooling resources, to ensure there was enough equipment to fight coronavirus and it was being sent to the places that most needed it.

"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 tracing and quarantining every close contact," he said.

 

Numbers of new infections in Italy have been falling in recent days although the fatality rate has been seesawing. In China, millions of people in lockdown are having restrictions eased as the spread has slowed almost to a halt.

However, infections have crept up in recent days which Chinese officials have said is due to returning citizens bringing in the virus.

Dr Tedros said he wanted the G20 group of industrialised nations, including Australia, to increase production of equipment for healthcare workers. They should also ensure that equipment wasn't all kept domestically or stockpiled by citizens but, instead, went to those regions around the world where there was a desperate need of it to slow the spread of the virus.

"If we don't prioritise protecting health workers, many people will die because the health worker who could have saved their lives is sick."

Originally published as 100,000 infections in four days



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