ANKARA – The global tally of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) infections surpassed 5 million Thursday, according to a running tally by US-based Johns Hopkins University.
The university’s data showed worldwide deaths reached 328,172 while the number of people who recovered stands at 1,899,350.
The US is the hardest-hit country by the pandemic with over 1.5 million confirmed cases and over 93,400 fatalities.
The UK has the second-highest death toll with 35,786, followed closely by Italy with 32,330.
China, ground zero of the virus, has registered more than 84,000 cases and 79,310 recoveries. The country’s death toll stands at 4,638.
Overall, the virus has spread to 188 countries since it first emerged in China in December.
Highest cases since outbreak
In Geneva, the World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday said that in the past 24 hours 106,000 Covid-19 cases were reported globally, the largest single-day figure since the start of the outbreak.
“We still have a long way to go in this pandemic,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. “We are very concerned about rising cases in low-and middle-income countries.”
He spoke to reporters at a video briefing a day after all WHO members agreed to open a probe into the global health body’s response to the virus.
Tedros dodged questions about a threatening tweet on Monday by US President Donald Trump, who gave the WHO 30 days to “commit to major substantive improvements” or else Washington will permanently freeze funding for the body and reconsider its membership.
Trump accused the WHO of ignoring reports of the novel coronavirus spreading in China in December and accused it of failing to share “critical information” regarding the outbreak, after having earlier accused the body of being China-centric.
Tedros said an assessment had already been made in another independent report.
“I think the resolution from the assembly is something that we have been saying that there should be an assessment that should be a review to understand everything to learn lessons, and then, to address if there are problems.
“And this is not new, it has been done after Ebola, and it has been done after SARS, and it has been done after other major outbreaks. So, this is in the WHO’s DNA,” said Tedros.
Dr. Mike Ryan, the WHO’s executive director for health emergencies program, spoke about the resolution adopted by the organization’s 194 member states, including the US, sponsored by the European Union on behalf of more than 100 countries, including Australia, Canada, China, Japan, Russia, South Africa, Ukraine, the UK and Turkey.
“I believe there were approximately 35 operative paragraphs in the resolution, one of which deals with the idea of evaluation, 34 of which dealt with how to end this pandemic, and how to do that fairly.
“The actual operative paragraph, just before the one relates to evaluation was actually focused on scaling up development manufacturing, distribution capacities needed for transplant equitable and timely access to safe, quality, affordable, and efficacious diagnostics therapeutics and medicines, and many others are quite similar,” said Ryan. (Anadolu)