Photo taken in Brussels of Belgium on March 16, 2020 shows World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaking at a virtual press conference held in Geneva, Switzerland.
Photo taken in Brussels of Belgium on March 16, 2020 shows World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaking at a virtual press conference held in Geneva, Switzerland. More cases and deaths of COVID-19 have now been reported in the rest of the world than in China, the chief of the WHO said here on Monday, noting that a rapid escalation of the coronavirus cases has been seen in the past week. (Xinhua/Zheng Huansong)

dpa/GNA – The World Health Organization warned on Tuesday that hospital resources in parts of North and South America are being severely stretched by climbing coronavirus infection numbers.

“Throughout our region, especially in North and South America, many hospitals are operating at or very close to capacity,” said Clarissa Etienne, director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). PAHO is the WHO’s regional body for the Americas.

Etienne cited high occupancy rates in intensive care units, oxygen shortages in some areas and a “sustained boom” in cases putting a strain on facilities.

“In the last week we saw more than 2.5 million new cases of COVID-19 in the region of the Americas – more than half of all global infections. In the same period, 42,000 people from the Americas have lost their lives to the pandemic,” she said.

The United States, Brazil and Mexico are some of the hardest-hit countries in the region.

“Our region, and our world, is failing to control coronavirus. In far too many places public policies are not congruent with the severity of the situation. And many of us have relaxed the control measures that we know work, which have helped us stay healthy and keep hospitals functional up to now.”

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