Photo taken on Jan. 22, 2020 shows an exterior view of the headquarters of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland. The WHO on Wednesday night extended to Thursday its emergency talks on whether the novel coronavirus outbreak in China constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). (Xinhua/Liu Qu)

The World Health Organization (WHO) has urged a delicate balance between protection against COVID-19 and minimizing social, economic damage therewith, as global daily new cases keep hitting new record.

“It’s not a choice between lives and livelihoods. Countries can do both,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday noting that all countries are facing a “delicate balance between protecting their people, while minimizing the social and economic damage.”

The latest numbers from WHO show that more than 183,000 new cases of COVID-19 were reported on Sunday, which was easily the most in a single day so far.

Worldwide, more than 8.8 million cases have now been reported to WHO, and more than 465,000 people have lost their lives.

According to the WHO chief, some countries are continuing to see a rapid increase in cases and deaths, while some others that have successfully suppressed transmission are now seeing an upswing in cases as they reopen their societies and economies.

He urged countries to be careful and creative in finding solutions that enable people to stay safe while getting on with their lives, and to double down on the fundamental public health measures that have been known to work, including finding and testing suspected cases, isolating and caring for the sick, tracing and quarantining contacts, and protecting health workers.

He also urged every individual to take measures to protect themselves and others, such as maintain physical distance, cleaning hands and wearing a mask where appropriate.

The WHO chief also talked about the potential of steroid dexamethasone in treatment of COVID-19, saying “although the data are still preliminary, the recent finding that the steroid dexamethasone has life-saving potential for critically ill COVID-19 patients gave us a much-needed reason to celebrate.”

But he reiterated that it should only be used for patients with severe or critical disease and under close clinical supervision.

According to WHO, as of 3:50 p.m. CEST (1750 GMT), the COVID-19 pandemic had infected 8,860,331 people worldwide, causing a death toll of 465,740.


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