Coronavirus pandemic still accelerating — World Health Organization chief

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The US has more known cases of the coronavirus than any other country, with more than 2.3 million people infected and more than 121,000 dead. "Its consequences will be felt in the coming decades", Ghebreyesus said.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) reported the largest daily increase in global coronavirus (COVID-19) cases on Sunday, registering more than 183,000 new infections in 24 hours.

World Health Organization reported the largest single-day increase in Coronavirus cases over the course of Sunday, registering more than 183,000 new infections in 24 hours.

Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesussaid Monday that "the pandemic is still accelerating" and that "the lack of global solidarity and global leadership" represents a greater threat to the world than the virus itself.

Many countries in the region have experienced 25-50 per cent increases in cases in the last week, he said. Others that had successfully suppressed transmission, are now seeing an upswing as they reopen their economies. They must be "careful and creative" in finding solutions so that people stay safe while getting on with their lives.

The agency said: "There are over 312,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases on the African continent - with more than 149,000 recoveries and 8,200 deaths".

"Unless we act now Africa is at risk of being left behind in the global vaccine race", John Nkengasong said.

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With a vaccine still far away, the World Health Organization has called for a rapid increase in production of the steroid dexamethasone, which has been shown to have life- saving potential.

"Demand has already surged following trials in the United Kingdom".

"Fortunately, this is an affordable medicine and there are many dexamethasone manufacturers worldwide, who we are confident can accelerate production".

But he reiterated that it should only be used for patients with severe or critical disease and under close clinical supervision.

"There is no evidence that dexamethasone works for patients who are only mildly affected, or as a preventative measure".

Dr Tedros added that until production of dexamethasone is ramped up, the stocks of the steroid should be "prioritised for countries where there are large numbers of critically ill patients". "The situation is definitely accelerating in a number of countries, including in South Asia and the Americas", he said.

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