INTERNATIONAL

We are in uncharted territory, says WHO

War on virus:South Korean government officials wearing protective gear spray disinfectant to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at a bus garage in Gwangju on Tuesday.AFP-

War on virus:South Korean government officials wearing protective gear spray disinfectant to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at a bus garage in Gwangju on Tuesday.AFP-  

Globally, COVID-19 has killed more than 3,155 people and infected over 92,723 in 78 countries

The world has entered uncharted territory in its battle against the deadly coronavirus, the UN health agency warned, as new infections dropped dramatically in China on Tuesday but surged elsewhere.

Globally, the virus has killed more than 3,155 people and infected over 92,723 in 78 countries and territories. A clear shift in the crisis emerges, with nine times as many new cases recorded outside China as inside, according to the World Health Organization.

“We are in uncharted territory,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. “We have never before seen a respiratory pathogen that is capable of community transmission, but which can also be contained with the right measures.”

China has imposed draconian quarantines and travel restrictions to people indoors — a strategy that appears to have paid off as new cases have been generally falling for days.

‘Safety gears’ supply hit’

“We are concerned that countries’ abilities to respond are being compromised by the severe and increasing disruption to the global supply of personal protective equipment... caused by rising demand, hoarding and misuse,” Mr. Ghebreyesus said, warning that “supplies are rapidly depleting.”

Italy on Tuesday put the death toll at 79, with more than 2,500 people infected — the most of any country in Europe. While Italy has locked down towns, other countries have stopped short of imposing mass quarantines and instead have discouraged large gatherings, delayed sporting events and banned arrivals from virus-hit nations.

With concern growing about the impact on the global economy, G7 Finance Ministers and central bank chiefs will hold talks on Tuesday.

South Korea, the biggest cluster outside China, reported 851 new cases, its biggest daily increase, sending its total past 5,000 while its death toll rose to 28. “The entire country has entered a war with the infectious disease,” South Korean President Moon Jae-in said.

By contrast, China reported 125 new cases — its lowest daily increase in six weeks — with all but 11 infections in Hubei province. The nationwide death toll rose to 2,943 with 31 more deaths, with 80,000 total cases.

China has even confirmed 13 imported infections, including eight Chinese nationals who worked at a restaurant in Italy’s Lombardy.

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