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UN chief says declaration of coronavirus pandemic is call to action


Iranian firefighters disinfect streets and alleys to halt the spread of the new coronavirus, in southern Tehran, Iran, on March 11, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called on governments to immediately "scale up" their efforts to confront the new coronavirus in an attempt to stop the now-global pandemic.

"Todayís declaration of a pandemic is a call to action - for everyone, everywhere," Guterres said in a statement released on Wednesday, referring to the announcement earlier in the day by the World Health Organization (WHO) that the coronavirus outbreak is now a global pandemic.

"As we fight the virus, we cannot let fear go viral," Guterres added. "Together, we can still change the course of this pandemic - but that means addressing inaction. I call on every government to step up and scale up their efforts now."

He said the transmission of the virus could be much curtailed if countries tracked and isolated confirmed and suspected cases.

The WHO earlier on Wednesday described the deadly virus outbreak as a pandemic and blamed its spread on "alarming levels of inaction."

The coronavirus, which emerged in China in December last year, has spread around the world, halting industries, bringing travel to a standstill, closing schools, and forcing the cancellation of public events.

More than 126,000 people have been infected by the coronavirus across the world and 4,630 have died, the vast majority of them in China, according to a Reuters tally.

Chinaís Hubei sees single-digit increase for first time

Chinaís National Health Commission announced on Wednesday that Hubei Province, the epicenter of the Chinese outbreak, had for the first time recorded a single-digit increase in the number of new coronavirus infections in its daily tally.

The commission said only eight cases had been recorded, all of them in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei.

The development comes as more businesses reopened in the Chinese province, with local authorities cautiously easing strict containment measures that have been implemented to contain the outbreak.

Moreover, seven new cases were reported in mainland China on Wednesday, bringing the total daily tally combined with those in Hubei to 15, which showed a drop from 24 cases a day earlier.

The total number of confirmed cases recorded in mainland China now stands at 80,793, and the death toll has reached 3,169 people. As of Tuesday, 62,793 people have recovered and been discharged from hospital - nearly 80% of the overall infections.

While COVID-19 is spreading quickly across the globe, its progress in China has slowed markedly over the past seven days as a result of weeks of strict measures imposed to curb its outbreak, including the lockdown on Wuhan.

New coronavirus cases slow in South Korea, too

Meanwhile, South Korea reported 114 new cases of the coronavirus and six more deaths on Thursday, resuming a relative decline in new cases after a spike the day before.

The new cases bring the countryís total to 7,869, with 66 deaths.

The numbers are far lower than the peak of the deadly virus outbreak in South Korea on February 29, when 909 confirmed cases were reported.


SOURCE: PRESS TV

 

LINK: https://www.ansarpress.com/english/14546


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