We're in a 'New and Dangerous' Phase of Pandemic, Says WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a grim warning that we're entering “a new and dangerous phase” of the pandemic. WHO Director Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in an online press briefing last Friday, that almost half of the cases are coming from the Americas, and large numbers are being reported from South Asia and the Middle East.

In the United States, "Coronavirus cases spiked sharply across the American South and West, particularly in states that loosened restrictions on businesses several weeks ago," The NY Times reports. Meanwhile, Beijing and South Korea have also reported new surges.

"The pandemic is accelerating," he warns the world. "The world is in a new and dangerous phase." While this remains true, WHO's top official also acknowledges that people are getting tired of being in quarantine, and that economies are also struggling. "Many people are understandably fed up being at home. Countries are understandably eager to open up their societies and economies."

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As restrictions ease, Dr. Ghebreyesus reiterates that "the virus is still spreading fast, still deadly, and most people are still susceptible." He warns that "as the pandemic gathers pace, it is the most vulnerable who will suffer the most." Therefore, he stresses this call on countries around the world: "Focus on the basics: find, isolate, test, and care for every case. Trace and quarantine every contact."

He also asked each and everyone of us to be extremely vigilant, reiterating safety measures we must remember:

1. "Continue maintaining your distance from others."

2. "Stay home if you feel sick."

3. "Keep covering your nose and mouth when you cough."

4. "Wear a mask when appropriate."

5. "Keep cleaning your hands."

WHO's Dr. Michael Ryan clears that while "having clusters do not mean a second wave," it is vital to jump on the emerging clusters to avoid the use of intense measures like a lockdown. He urges countries to be more agile, react quickly and more precise, and depend on data to target and battle clustered cases.

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In the Philippines, President Rodrigo Durtete has placed Metro Manila under General Community Quarantine (GCQ). Meanwhile, he placed Cebu City back to Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases. Both are in effect until June 30, 2020.

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