June 9, 2020 - Although the numbers of new COVID-19 cases and deaths have improved in some countries, the risk of infection is still high — and increasing — globally, the World Health Organization reported.
More than 136,000 new coronavirus cases were reported Sunday, which was the highest day on record so far, and 131,000 new cases were reported Monday, WHO said in a daily update. Last week, more than 100,000 new cases were reported almost daily.
About 75% of new cases are coming from 10 countries, particularly the U.S., Brazil, India and Pakistan. Cases are also increasing in Africa, Eastern Europe and central Asia.
“More than 6 months into this pandemic, this is not the time for any country to take its foot off the pedal,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO, said during a Monday press briefing.
At the same time, Tedros said, several countries are seeing positive signs. New Zealand announced on Monday that it was free of the coronavirus and that the last active case has recovered. The country will keep borders closed, though restrictions within the country are now lifted.
As countries reopen, the emphasis should be placed on finding new cases, isolating them and tracing contacts, Tedros said. Some countries have a strong contact tracing program, but others don’t. Digital tools will help health care workers and volunteer contact tracers to find cases, but they may also pose challenges in terms of data privacy or the digital divide for those who don’t have access to phones or the internet.
“We emphasize that digital tools do not replace the human capacity needed to do contact tracing,” he said.
Most people worldwide are still susceptible to infection, Tedros added, saying that the “biggest threat now is complacency.”
“This is the time for countries to continue to work hard, on the basis of science, solutions and solidarity,” he said.