Accra, April 2, GNA – The global Covid-19 confirmed case count passed one million on Thursday, with 181 countries and regions recording cases.
According to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus map, as at 2130 hours GMT, there were also more than 51,480 deaths.
The United States, Italy, Spain and Germany are the hardest hit.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) at a briefing on Thursday morning, cautioned that the world would in the next day or two, reach more than one million confirmed cases, with 50,000 deaths.
“We have to prepare our health systems for large numbers of cases, even as we maintain essential health services, we know that when health systems are overwhelmed, mortality from vaccine-preventable and other treatable conditions will increase dramatically,” he said.
Dr Ghebreyesus said in his opening remarks at the mission briefing on the respiratory disease, which has disrupted social and economic life across the globe.
“As I said at yesterday’s press conference, this is a new virus, and the first pandemic caused by a coronavirus – two firsts.
He cautioned that gaps in essential care could result in many more deaths than the novel coronavirus itself.
Dr Ghebreyesus said the coronavirus had exposed the weaknesses and inequities in health systems and societies, the lack of preparedness, and the gaps in supply chains and other essential systems across the globe.
“Together, with UNICEF and the International Federation of the Red Cross, the WHO is calling for countries to provide free public hand hygiene stations in areas without access to water and sanitizer.
” It is also calling on governments to provide a social safety net, so that vulnerable people have food and other essentials during this crisis”.
He urged countries to implement the WHO’s recently published guidance on maintaining essential health services while responding to COVID-19.
Research and development efforts were, however, moving quickly as about 74 countries had joined in the solidarity trial, he said.
The trial is assessing potential treatments for COVID-19, with more than 200 patients randomly assigned to one of the study arms.
On funding, the Director-General said: “Two months ago, we issued our first Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan, with an initial ask of $675 million for the first three months of the response.
” I am delighted to say that $677 million has been pledged or received as of yesterday”.
On experience sharing, he said, the health body planned to hold a session in a few weeks to have more experiences shared from Europe and elsewhere.
“We are learning as we go, reviewing the evidence and adapting our recommendations as necessary,” he stated.
“The WHO and partners will require much more support over the coming weeks and months, and will rely on continued support from governments, the private sector and the global community”.