WHO confirms 2.5m cases, 160,000 deaths globally

“Globally, almost 2.5 million cases of COVID-19 have now been reported to WHO, and more than 160,000 deaths,” the organisation’s Director General, Tedros Gbebreyesus, said  in his opening remarks at a media briefing on COVID-19 in Geneva on Wednesday.

Gbebreyesus said the organisation had noticed different trends of the virus spread in different regions, saying most of the epidemics in Western Europe appear to be stable or declining.

He however painted a worrying picture of the situation in Africa, Eastern Europe and others.

He said, “Although numbers are low, we see worrying upward trends in Africa, Central and South America, and Eastern Europe.

“Most countries are still in the early stages of their epidemics.

“And some that were affected early in the pandemic are now starting to see a resurgence in cases.

“Make no mistake: we have a long way to go. This virus will be with us for a long time.”

Gbebreyesus said stay-at-home orders and other physical distancing measures put in place had successfully suppressed transmission in many countries.

He however said the virus remained “extremely dangerous.”

He noted that early evidence suggested most of the world’s population remained susceptible, meaning that epidemics could easily re-ignite.

The WHO boss spoke about the desire of many to see the lockdown orders lifted, saying, “One of the greatest dangers we face now is complacency. People in countries with stay-at-home orders are understandably frustrated with being confined to their homes for weeks on end.”