Coronavirus epidemic 'far from over' in Asia - WHO official

Grant Boone
March 31, 2020

"Let me be clear - the epidemic is far from over in Asia and the Pacific".

The coronavirus will touch every part of the world, regardless of how individual countries have avoided it so far, a WHO official warned on Tuesday.

Even amidst strict restrictions, as long as the global epidemic exists, the risk of the Virus spreading in countries of the Asia-Pacific Zone will prevail.

East Asia was the first region to be hit by the virus but cases are now tapering off. Europe and the U.S. are now the focus of the epidemic.

He urged the authorities in countries where the spread has slowed not to let their guard down, and called on countries seeing their first cases to "stay strong, stick to tactics that work, and know that flattening the curve is within reach". If you do, the virus will come surging back.

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"It's a very tight - do you know how many people are in Seoul?" he asked. He later added: "You, me, we're all on the same team".

World Health Organization technical adviser Matthew Griffith said in the briefing that the global community can learn from the experiences of China on how to slow down the spread of the virus.

He said that countries with limited resources and with fragile health systems such as Pacific Island nations are the priority, stressing the need to help these countries by shipping samples for diagnoses.

To date the coronavirus has hit at least 178 countries and territories. "Rather, these measures can buy us valuable time to prepare for large scale community transmission".

Although the current situation in most of Asia is not as severe as in Europe and the U.S., Kasai said during a virtual media briefing that there will most likely be large-scale community transmissions in Eastern countries as well.

The full force of the coronavirus is now being felt in Europe, where Spain has reported a record new single-day death toll of 849 people between Monday and Tuesday.

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