WHO director Tedros expects world to hit 10 million coronavirus cases next week

Reuters Geneva, Switzerland Jun 24, 2020, 09.39 PM(IST)

Director General of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a news conference on the situation of the coronavirus  Photograph:( Reuters )

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He said WHO is now supporting many countries in dealing with difficulties obtaining oxygen concentrators, devices that boost the flow of oxygen to support the breathing of COVID-19 sufferers.

World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom said on Wednesday he expected the number of novel coronavirus cases around the world, now at about 9.3 million, to reach 10 million next week.

Tedros also told a news briefing he backed Saudi Arabia's decision to ban pilgrims from abroad from attending the annual Haj pilgrimage to help limit the spread of the virus.

Also read: Amid coronavirus pandemic, Saudi Arabia to hold 'very limited' hajj this year

He said WHO is now supporting many countries in dealing with difficulties obtaining oxygen concentrators, devices that boost the flow of oxygen to support the breathing of COVID-19 sufferers. "Demand is outstripping supply," he said.

Dr Mike Ryan, head of the WHO emergencies programme, said the pandemic for many countries in the Americas had not yet peaked, and that it was "still intense", especially in Central and South America.

Also read: Latin America and Caribbean pass 100,000 coronavirus deaths: Report

"I would characterise the situation as still evolving, not having reached its peak yet, and likely to result in sustained numbers of cases and deaths in the coming weeks," Ryan said.

Many countries in the region have experienced 25-50 per cent increases in cases in the last week, he said.