More than 136,000 cases of the novel coronavirus were reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) on Sunday, the most reported in a single day so far during the pandemic, prompting a stark warning that the outbreak is getting worse globally.
Nearly 75 per cent of Sunday’s cases originated from 10 countries, mostly in the Americas and South Asia, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a media briefing in Geneva Monday, noting that countries in the African region are beginning to see an increase in cases.
“Almost seven million cases of COVID-19 have now been reported to WHO, and almost 400,000 deaths. Although the situation in Europe is improving, globally it is worsening,” Ghebreyesus said.
“We also see increasing numbers of cases in parts of Eastern Europe and central Asia. At the same time, we’re encouraged that several countries around the world are seeing positive signs.”
Yet, despite signs of improvement in some regions, the WHO urged global leaders to continue with their efforts to contain the disease, noting that the scale of the pandemic is worsening globally and has yet to peak in central America.
“More than six months into the pandemic, this is not the time for any country to take its foot off the pedal,” he said.
In countries like New Zealand, which declared its own outbreak eradicated on Monday with no current cases, Ghebreyesus says the biggest threat is complacency.
“Results from studies to see how much of the population has been exposed to the virus show that most people globally are still susceptible to infection,” he said during the online briefing.
“We continue to urge active surveillance to ensure the virus does not rebound, especially as mass gatherings of all kinds are starting to resume in some countries.”
As of Monday afternoon, Canada had reported 95,942 cases of the novel coronavirus, including 33,645 active cases and 7,824 deaths nationwide.
Ontario and Quebec, the provinces worst hit by the outbreak, reported positive numbers Monday, with Ontario reporting its lowest number of new cases in more than two months.
However, as restaurants, hair salons and malls prepare to reopen in parts of Ontario on Friday, the Greater Toronto Area is being excluded from further reopening phases thanks to the number of cases still being reported in the region.
While urging government officials to maintain measures to limit the spread of the disease, Ghebreyesus acknowledged that anti-racism protests worldwide have presented a shift in those measures.
“WHO fully supports equality and the global movement against racism. We reject discrimination of all kinds. We encourage all those protesting around the world to do so safely,” he said.
“As much as possible, keep at least one metre from others, clean your hands, cover your cough and wear a mask if you attend a protest.”