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Europe has become the epicenter of coronavirus pandemic, WHO chief says

More cases are now being reported in Europe every day than were reported in China, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus EPA-EFE/SALVATORE DI NOLFI
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

GENEVA, March 13. /TASS/. Europe has become the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated during Friday’s briefing in Geneva.

"Europe has now become the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, with more reported cases and deaths than the rest of the world combined, apart from China," he said. "More cases are now being reported every day than were reported in China at the height of its epidemic."

He informed that over 132,000 cases of COVID-19 had been documented in 123 states and territories. The majority of states have national plans in place for combating the virus, he noted. WHO continues to provide support to countries all over the world.

"We’re encouraged that many countries are now acting on the 8 pillars of WHO’s COVID-19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan," Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. "Most countries now have a national plan; most are taking a multi-sectoral approach and most have laboratory testing capacity."

"We’re continuing to support countries to prepare and respond. We have shipped supplies of personal protective equipment to 56 countries, we’re shipping to a further 28, and we’ve sent almost 1.5 million diagnostic tests to 120 countries," the WHO chief stated.

"Our message to countries continues to be: you must take a comprehensive approach. Not testing alone. Not contact tracing alone. Not quarantine alone. Not social distancing alone. Do it all," he stressed.

"The experience of China, South Korea, Singapore and others clearly demonstrates that aggressive testing and contact tracing, combined with social distancing measures and community mobilization, can prevent COVID-19 infections and save lives," the WHO director general said.

"This is a new virus and a new situation. We’re all learning and we must all find new ways to prevent infections, save lives, and minimize impact. All countries have lessons to share," he concluded.

In late December 2019, Chinese authorities notified WHO about an outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, central China. On March 11, WHO officially characterized the situation with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) as a pandemic. The disease has spread to over 110 countries. According to official data, over 134,000 people have been infected with the virus globally, and over 5,000 have died. There are 45 confirmed cases in Russia.