Coronavirus Global Death Toll Exceeds 3,000 as European Spread Continues
The global death toll from the Coronavirus COVID-19 has surpassed 3,000 as dozens of those infected in China where the disease originated, died over the weekend.
The spread of the disease continues in the European Union, with Ireland reporting its first confirmed case on Saturday.
Italy remains the most affected country in the EU and reported a 50% increase in cases on Sunday. The countries Civil Protection Authority reported the country now has 1,694 confirmed cases, up from the 1,128 cases reported on Saturday. Thirty-four people in Italy have died from coronavirus.
Italy remains the country with the highest level of cases outside of Asia. Behind Italy, France, Germany and Spain have the highest number of confirmed cases within the EU.
US$15 million UN Funding for ‘Vulnerable Countries’
Meanwhile, the United Nations has released US$15 million from its Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to assist global efforts to contain the COVID-19 virus.
A statement announcing the release of the funds said ‘The sudden increases of cases in Italy, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Korea are deeply concerning. There are now cases linked to Iran in Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait and Oman, along with cases linked to Italy in Algeria, Austria, Croatia, Germany, Spain and Switzerland.
The UN funding has been released to the WHO and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). It will fund essential activities including monitoring the spread of the virus, investigating cases, and the operation of national laboratories.’
The WHO has said there is still a chance of containing the virus if its chain of transmission is broken. That view was supported by UN Emergency Relief Coordinator and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Mark Lowcock who said, ‘We do not yet see evidence that the virus is spreading freely. As long as that’s the case, we still have a chance of containing it.’
He said, ‘But swift and robust action must be taken to detect cases early, isolate and care for patients, and trace contacts. We must act now to stop this virus from putting more lives at risk.’
The funding is specifically to help countries with what the UN has described as ‘vulnerable’ health systems to boost their detection and response operations.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said, ‘The potential spread of the virus to countries with weaker health systems is one of our biggest concerns. These funds will help support these countries get ready for detecting and isolating cases, protecting their health workers, and treating patients with dignity and appropriate care.’
Advise to Public
WHO is advising the public to inform themselves from reliable sources about what can be done on an individual level to stop the spread of the virus. WHO provides a list of FAQs including individual measures for protection from, and prevention of spreading the virus.
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