World Health Organization says COVID-19 pandemic ‘accelerating’

World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that the new coronavirus pandemic is “accelerating” but said that it was still possible to “change the trajectory” of the outbreak.

The WHO on Monday reported 334,981 confirmed infections and 14,652, worldwide.

“The pandemic is accelerating,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told journalists in a virtual news briefing.

The number of cases is believed to represent only a fraction of the true number of infections, with many countries only testing the most severe cases in need of hospitalisation.

Tedros said the trajectory of the pandemic can be changed. He called for a mixed approach, which he likened to a football match, after he and FIFA chief Gianni Infantino jointly launched a campaign aimed at spreading the message of how to protect against infection.

He said: “You can’t win a football game only by defending. You have to attack as well. Asking people to stay at home and other physical distancing measures are an important way of slowing down the spread of the virus and buying time, but they are defensive measures that will not help us to win. To win, we need to attack the virus with aggressive and targeted tactics.”

He reiterated a call for testing every suspected case, isolating and caring for every confirmed case and tracing and quarantining every close contact.