COVID-19 cases and deaths rising, debt relief needed for poorest nations

The rapid spread of the coronavirus requires better capabilities and aggressive bulk testing

The rapid spread of the coronavirus requires better capabilities and aggressive bulk testing

"In the next few days we will reach 1 million confirmed cases, and 50 thousand deaths".

Worldwide, more than 900,000 people have been infected and more than 45,000 have died, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University, though the real figures are believed to be much higher because of testing shortages, differences in counting the dead and large numbers of mild cases that have gone unreported.

"As we enter the fourth month since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, I am deeply concerned about the rapid escalation and global spread of infection", WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a daily briefing, Xinhua reported.

Besides, Tedros called on governments to put in place social welfare measures to ensure vulnerable people have food and other life necessities during the crisis.

Emerging in Wuhan, China in late 2019, the COVID-19 outbreak has gone on to effect every region and virtually every country in the world, posing a threat not only to public health, but to economic and social stability as well.

Lung damage seen in recently asymptomatic coronavirus patient
A doctor at George Washington University Hospital created a virtual rendering of lungs from a patient being treated. Keith Mortman, Chief of Thoracic Surgery at the Hospital, in an interview for the HealthCast hospital podcast .

"Broad and expedited agreement on debt relief is essential to enable them to care for their people and avoid economic collapse".

"Many developing countries will struggle to implement social welfare programmes of this nature", he said.

"From data we've seen in particular from China, we know that about 75 percent of those identified and listed as asymptomatic actually develop symptoms", she said, describing them as in a "pre-symptomatic phase" The new coronavirus causes the respiratory disease COVID-19.

He said there were many "unknowns" about how COVID-19 will behave, as it is the "first-ever coronavirus pandemic in the world".

Dr Ghebreyesus said 74 countries had joined or were in the process of joining the WHO's Solidarity Trial, "which is comparing four drugs and drug combinations" against Covid-19, with more than 200 patients randomly assigned to undergo the trial.

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