The number of new CCP virus cases, commonly referred to as coronavirus, saw its biggest global increase in a single day, Director-General of the World Health Organisation, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, announced on May 20.
“We still have a long way to go in this pandemic,” he said on Twitter. “In the last 24h, there have been 106,000 cases reported to WHO—the most in a single day since the outbreak began.”
Tedros added that almost “two-thirds of these cases were reported in just four countries.” According to the WHO’s daily report, the majority of new confirmed cases are coming from the Americas, followed by Europe. The United States reported 45,251 new cases on Tuesday, according to the agency, while Russia had the second-most reported new cases Tuesday at 9,263. On Monday, the United States reported 22,813 new cases.
There are now close to 5 million global cases and roughly 325,000 deaths since the virus emerged in Wuhan, China, less than five months ago, according to government data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, which is tracking the pandemic.
Speaking at a news conference in Geneva on Wednesday, Tedros said the WHO are “very concerned about rising cases in low- and middle-income countries.”
“The pandemic has taught and informed many lessons,” he added. “Health is not a cost. It’s an investment. To live in a secure world, guaranteeing quality health for all is not just the right choice. It’s the smart choice.”
Elsewhere at the briefing, Dr. Mike Ryan, head of WHO’s emergencies program, said the “tragic milestone of 5 million cases” would soon be hit.
He added that people should avoid using the malaria medicine hydroxychloroquine, except for conditions it is approved to treat, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
“At this stage, (neither) hydroxychloroquine nor chloroquine have been as yet found to be effective in the treatment of COVID-19 nor in the prophylaxis against coming down with the disease,” Ryan said. “In fact, the opposite, in that warnings have been issued by many authorities regarding the potential side effects of the drug.
The latest figures from WHO come amid an increase in testing throughout the globe along with a relaxation in lockdown rules in numerous countries from Europe to the United States, as well as middle and low-income economies such as Brazil, India and Indonesia, as pressure grows to reopen businesses and restore economies.
Earlier this month, Ghebreyesus warned against rushing to ease the restrictions put in place to help mitigate the spread of CCP virus, saying that countries needed to ensure they had adequate measures to control the spread of the virus, such as tracking systems and quarantine provision.
“The risk of returning to lockdown remains very real if countries do not manage the transition extremely carefully and in a phased approach,” he said at a virtual briefing in Geneva.
With reporting from Reuters.