World Health Organisation (WHO) has said the coronavirus pandemic is ‘easily the most severe’ emergency that the agency has ever declared.
On January 30, WHO declared coronavirus as a global emergency, as the death toll from the disease rose to over 170 in China, where the virus started in 2019.
The global tally has now risen by a million in just four days, led by massive outbreaks in the United States, India and Brazil which are each piling up tens of thousands of new cases per day.
South Africa is also seeing more than 10,000 new cases a day while places such as Spain, Belgium and Hong Kong are facing second waves of the disease.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the number of cases doubled in just six weeks as he warned that the pandemic continues to accelerate.
However, while cases have been surging, global deaths have remained stagnant at around 30,000 to 40,000 per week.
Speaking nearly six months after the WHO first declared a global health emergency, Tedros said scientists are ‘still learning’ about how to tackle the virus.
This is the sixth time a global health emergency has been declared under the International Health Regulations, but it is easily the most severe.
Before cases crossed the 16million threshold, he said;
Almost 16million cases have now been reported to WHO, and more than 640,000 deaths. And the pandemic continues to accelerate. In the past six weeks, the total number of cases has roughly doubled.
According to WHO figures, the world passed one million confirmed cases on April 4, a time where most Western countries were on lockdown.
The world reached five million cases on May 23 – 114 days after the declaration of the health emergency – but the next five million took only 36 days until June 28.
The jump from 10million to 15million took only 26 days until July 23, and the latest million cases were recorded in the space of only four days.
The United States, India and Brazil – the three countries with more than a million confirmed cases by themselves contributed to latest surge.
As at Monday, India set a new record of 49,931 cases in 24 hours, while Brazil has averaged nearly 46,000 cases per day over the last week.