The Coronavirus epidemic is predicted to infect every country in the world eventually, a World Health Organization (WHO) expert warned on Tuesday.
East Asia was the first region to be hit by the virus but cases are now tapering off. Europe and the US are now the focus of the epidemic.
But WHO technical adviser Matthew Griffith said COVID-19 “will eventually get everywhere,” Reuters reported. This includes places where outbreaks have so far been contained.
To date the coronavirus has hit at least 178 countries and territories. It has infected over 800,000 people and killed almost 40,000 worldwide.
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The coronavirus will touch every part of the world, regardless of how individual countries have avoided it so far, a WHO official warned on Tuesday.
WHO technical adviser Matthew Griffith said at a press conference Tuesday that the realities of how the virus spreads means that no country can hope to be passed by, according to Reuters.
Speaking at a briefing in Beijing on the Asia-Pacific region’s strategy to combat the virus, Griffith said:”Whereas countries and areas in this region have shown how to flatten the curve, outbreaks continue to pop up in new places and importation remains a concern.”
There are now only 18 countries where COVID-19 has not been reported. Small nations like some in the Pacific islands are especially at risk, the WHO said, because they have more limited medical resources.
Another official, Western Pacific Regional Director Takeshi Kasai, warned at the same briefing that countries in the region which have initially done well in suppressing the virus cannot afford to let their guards down.
Such nations include South Korea, Japan, and China, which is now reporting very few daily cases.
Kasai said: “The epidemic is far from over in Asia and the Pacific. This is going to be a long-term battle and we cannot let down our guard.”
“We need every country to keep preparing for large-scale community transmission.”
The full force of the coronavirus is currently being felt in Europe, where Spain has reported a record new single-day death toll of 849 people between Monday and Tuesday.
In the same period some 500 people in the US died from the virus.
To date the virus has hit at least 178 countries and territories.
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