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WHO: Coronavirus Expanding Rapidly to Growing Number of Countries

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a daily press briefing on COVID-19 at the WHO headquarters on March 6, 2020, in Geneva.

The World Health Organization said Friday that the coronavirus was expanding rapidly across the globe and that the world was on the verge of reaching 100,000 confirmed cases of the disease.

The organization said there were 2,746 new cases of COVID-19 in 47 countries and territories.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus didn’t hide his concern. He said he was deeply worried by the spread of the coronavirus around the world.

He urged countries to make containment of the disease their highest priority. He said governments should spare no effort to find, test, isolate and care for every case, and to trace every contact.

“Slowing down the epidemic saves lives and buys time for preparedness and for research and development,” Tedros said. “Every day we can slow the epidemic is another day hospitals can prepare themselves for cases.”

Tedros said slowing down the epidemic would provide more time for developing vaccines and therapeutics. This, he said, can prevent infections and save lives. He said there was a lot of activity in this area. He noted that so far, 20 vaccines were in development and many clinical trials of therapeutics were underway.

He said it would take many months or more before these vaccines and drugs became available for use. Therefore, he said, governments must devise other ways of protecting their people from becoming infected with this deadly disease.

“We encourage every country to review WHO’s disease commodity package for COVID-19 to ensure it has the supplies it needs, including protective equipment and medical devices,” Tedros said.

The WHO chief said fighting the epidemic would require all countries working together in solidarity. He said the entire world was in this together, and that everyone had a role to play in defeating this disease.