“Europe has now become the epicentre of the epidemic,” said WHO director-general Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. China’s outbreak, once the epicentre, has since peaked, WHO officials said.
As of Friday, there were more than 136,000 cases of COVID-19 reported in 117 countries, according to statistics compiled by Johns Hopkins University. There have been more than 5,000 deaths worldwide, something Tedros called “a tragic milestone.”
The WHO also announced that it is putting together a fund to aid the global fight against COVID-19.
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It anticipates that the world needs US$675 million through April alone for preparedness and response efforts. This new fund will be used to attract donations from corporations, philanthropists and individuals, it says.
“Until now, we have been mainly relying on governments to support the response,” Tedros said. “Now everyone can contribute.”
The money will be used to buy masks, gloves, gowns and goggles, as well as more diagnostic tests, he said. It will also be used to improve surveillance and research.
Interested parties can donate by visiting the WHO website.