World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a daily press briefing on COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, at the WHO heardquaters in Geneva on March 11, 2020. (FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP)
GENEVA — Calling it "a second window of opportunity", the chief of the World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday urged countries to use this critical window now to suppress and stop transmission of COVID-19.
This window of opportunity was created by those countries and regions which introduced unprecedented "lockdown" measures to contain COVID-19 pandemic, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus noted at a daily briefing, reminding that these measures will not extinguish epidemics on their own.
These measures are the best way to suppress and stop transmission, so that when restrictions are lifted, the virus doesn't resurge
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, WHO
Tedros recommended six key actions to enable the more precise and targeted measures.
Specifically, Tedros called on countries to expand, train and deploy health care and public health workforce, implement a system to find every suspected case at community level, and ramp up the production, capacity and availability of testing.
He also suggested identifying, adapting and equipping facilities for treating and isolating patients, developing a clear plan and process to quarantine contacts, as well as refocusing the whole of government on suppressing and controlling COVID-19.
"These measures are the best way to suppress and stop transmission, so that when restrictions are lifted, the virus doesn't resurge," said Tedros.
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The situation dashboard by WHO showed a total of 416,686 cases of COVID-19 were reported worldwide as of 18:00 CET (1700 GMT) Wednesday, as the virus spread to 196 countries and regions.
The global death toll from COVID-19 has climbed to 18,589.
Outside China, the number of confirmed cases has risen to 334,817, among which over 190,000 cases were reported by the four most affected countries with over 30,000 cases each -- Italy, the United States, Spain and Germany.
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