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WHO chief warns infection rate approaching highest level so far

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World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a press conference organised by the Geneva Association of United Nations Correspondents (ACANU) amid the COVID-19 outbreak, caused by the novel coronavirus, on July 3, 2020 at the WHO headquarters in Geneva.

FABRICE COFFRINI | AFP | Getty Images

LONDON — The head of the World Health Organization on Friday said an alarming trend of rising Covid cases has resulted in global infections now approaching their highest level since the start of the pandemic.

“Around the world, cases and deaths are continuing to increase at worrying rates,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a briefing focused on Papua New Guinea and the western Pacific region.

“Globally, the number of new cases per week has nearly doubled over the past two months. This is approaching the highest rate of infection that we have seen so far during the pandemic,” he continued.

“Some countries that had previously avoided widespread transmission are now seeing steep increases in infections,” Tedros said, citing Papua New Guinea as one example.

Tedros said the United Nations health agency would continue to assess the evolution of the coronavirus crisis and “adjust advice accordingly.”

Under international health regulations, Tedros said WHO’s emergency committee convened on Thursday and he expected to receive their advice on Monday.

“Globally, our message to all people in all countries remains the same. We all have a role to play in ending the pandemic,” he said.

To date, more than 139 million Covid cases have been reported worldwide, with 2.9 million deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

The WHO declared the coronavirus a global pandemic on March 11 last year.

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