World reports largest ever increase in daily coronavirus cases

Click to play video: 'Major outbreaks in countries that first downplayed the crisis' Major outbreaks in countries that first downplayed the crisis
WATCH: Major outbreaks in countries that first downplayed the crisis – May 20, 2020

The World Health Organization expressed concern on Wednesday about the rising number of new coronavirus cases in poor countries, even as many rich nations have begun emerging from lockdown.

The global health body said 106,000 new cases of infections of the novel coronavirus had been recorded in the past 24 hours, the most in a single day since the outbreak began.

“We still have a long way to go in this pandemic,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference. “We are very concerned about rising cases in low and middle income countries.”

READ MORE: India becomes 11th country to cross 100K coronavirus cases, matching number of ICU beds

Dr. Mike Ryan, head of WHO’s emergencies program, said: “We will soon reach the tragic milestone of 5 million cases.”

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The WHO has come under fire from U.S. President Donald Trump, who accuses it of having mishandled the outbreak and of favoring China, where the virus is believed to have emerged late last year. This week Trump threatened to withdraw from the WHO and permanently withhold funding.

Tedros acknowledged receiving a letter from Trump, but declined to comment further.

READ MORE: Trump mulls travel ban for Brazil as country’s coronavirus cases rise to 3rd in world

Tedros said he was committed to accountability and would carry out a review into the response to the pandemic. Such a review was demanded by member states in a resolution this week that was passed by consensus, although the United States expressed reservations about some elements of it.

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“I said it time and time again that WHO calls for accountability more than anyone. It has to be done and when it’s done it has to be a comprehensive one,” Tedros said of the review, while declining to say when it would start.

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus outbreak: Trump considering travel ban for Brazil amid rise in COVID-19 cases' Coronavirus outbreak: Trump considering travel ban for Brazil amid rise in COVID-19 cases
Coronavirus outbreak: Trump considering travel ban for Brazil amid rise in COVID-19 cases – May 20, 2020

Ryan said such assessments are normally conducted after an emergency is over.

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“I for one would prefer, right now, to get on with doing the job of an emergency response, of epidemic control, of developing and distributing vaccines, of improving our surveillance, of saving lives and distributing essential PPE to workers and finding medical oxygen for people in fragile settings, reducing the impact of this disease on refugees and migrants,” he said.

READ MORE: COVID cases in Canada tracker: How many new cases of COVID-19 today?

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Tedros said he had long been looking for other sources of funding for the WHO, saying its $2.3 billion budget was “very, very small” for a global agency, around that of a medium sized hospital in the developed world.

Click to play video: 'Trump defends use of hydroxychloroquine' Trump defends use of hydroxychloroquine
Trump defends use of hydroxychloroquine – May 19, 2020

In comments that could further annoy Trump, Ryan, said people should avoid using the malaria medicine hydroxychloroquine to treat or prevent coronavirus infection, except as part of a clinical trial to study it.

Trump has said he is taking hydroxychloroquine to prevent coronavirus infection.

“At this stage, (neither) hydroxychloroquine nor chloroquine have been as yet found to be effective in the treatment of COVID-19 nor in the prophylaxis against coming down with the disease,” Ryan said. “In fact, the opposite, in that warnings have been issued by many authorities regarding the potential side effects of the drug.”


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