Number of global coronavirus cases to top 1,000,000 ‘in days’

Number of global coronavirus cases could reach 1 million in next few days, says the WHO
Director-General of the WHO Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he was concerned by the ‘near exponential growth’ in the number of confirmed cases (Picture: Rex/Reuters/Getty)

The number of people infected with coronavirus across the globe will exceed one million in the next few days, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned.

Speaking at a press conference in Geneva on Wednesday, Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, highlighted the number of deaths had doubled in the last week alone.

The WHO said it was concerned by the ‘near exponential’ growth in the number of confirmed cases across the world, with180 countries affected. A total of 921,924, people have been infected with the virus, with more than 46,000 deaths.

Dr Ghebreyesus said: ‘As we enter the fourth month since the start of the pandemic, I am deeply concerned about the rapid escalation and global spread of infection.

MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 01: Firemen are seen helping a patient at the entrance of Sports Centre Carlos Sastre at the town of Leganes, which is being used as a field hospital from today, treating patients with coronavirus (COVID-19) from University Hospital Severo Ochoa on April 01, 2020 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Eduardo Parra/Europa Press via Getty Images)
Firemen are seen helping a patient at the entrance of Sports Centre Carlos Sastre at the town of Leganes in Madrid (Picture: Europa Press)

CHESSINGTON, ENGLAND - MARCH 30: A nurse adjusts her face mask before taking swabs at a Covid-19 Drive-Through testing station for NHS staff on March 30, 2020 in Chessington, United Kingdom. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 30,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
A nurse adjusts her face mask before taking swabs at a Covid-19 Drive-Through testing station for NHS staff (Picture: Getty)

‘Over the past five weeks, we have witnessed a near exponential growth in the number of new Covid-19 cases, reaching almost every country, territory and area.

‘The number of deaths has more than doubled in the past week. In the next few days we will reach one million confirmed Covid-19 cases and 50,000 deaths.’

Dr Ghebreyesus said 74 countries had now joined, or were in the process of joining, the WHO’s Solidarity Trial, ‘which is comparing four drugs and drug combinations’ against the virus.

More than 200 patients have been randomly assigned to undergo the trial in a bid to find a vaccine.

Dr Ghebreyesus said the WHO’s priority was for frontline health workers to be able to access personal protective equipment (PPE), including medical masks and respirators.

Dr Ghebreyesus said the most important thing was to get frontline workers the correct PPE (Picture: AFP)

His comments come after a continued warnings from NHS staff that they do not have adequate PPE to treat coronavirus-stricken patients.

The Doctors’ Association UK claimed many NHS medics had been ‘gagged’ by health bosses against revealing the true extent of shortages on the frontline.

On Sunday, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said the government ‘cannot and should not ask people to be on the frontline without the right protective equipment’.

‘That’s why we are continuing to work with governments and manufacturers to step-up the production and distribution of personal protective equipment, including masks,’ he added.

HUESCA, SPAIN - APRIL 01: A volunteer from the Spanish Red Cross wearing personal protective equipment transfers covid-19 patients to the La Albubilla nursing home where patients who have tested positive at Covid-19 remain on April 1, 2020 in Huesca, Spain. Spain ordered all non-essential workers to stay home for two weeks to help slow the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which has killed more than 9,000 people in the country. (Photo by Alvaro Calvo/Getty Images)
The WHO said it is a united international effort to fight this virus (Picture: Getty)

Dr Ghebreyesus said there was an ongoing debate about the use of masks at a community level and recommended they be used by people who were sick, or those who were looking after them.

 He highlighted that there are many developing countries that could not support their society, especially those with people who ‘work for the daily bread’ as it fights the pandemic.

The director general called on the international community to have debt relief to support these countries ‘to enable them to take care of their people and avoid economic collapse’.

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