The global number of confirmed cases of the new coronavirus disease, COVID-19, has surpassed 100,000, the World Health Organisation (WHO) reported on Saturday.
Italy, on Sunday, announced an unprecedented quarantine on its northern region of Lombardy and other badly affected areas as the country struggles to contain the virus’s spread, with 1,247 new cases detected in the last 24 hours.
WHO chief, Tedros Ghebreyesus, said the increasing cases is a “sombre moment,” and reminds all countries that the spread of this virus can be significantly slowed or even reversed through the implementation of robust containment and control activities”.
The disease, first detected in Wuhan, China in December, has spread to all continents except Antarctica.
As at Saturday, cases reported rose to over 100,000 and the death toll has also steadily increased.
Mr Ghebreyesus urged countries to continue efforts that have been effective in limiting the number of cases and slowing the spread of the virus.
Actions include identifying people who are sick with the respiratory disease and bringing them to care, as well as following up on contacts, preparing health facilities to manage a surge in patients, and training health workers.
“Every effort to contain the virus and slow the spread saves lives”, the statement said.
Mr Ghebreyesus said all efforts are aimed at buying time for researchers working tirelessly on cure and vaccines to contain the disease.
“These efforts give health systems and all of society much needed time to prepare, and researchers more time to identify effective treatments and develop vaccines”
He said “we must stop, contain, control, delay and reduce the impact of this virus at every opportunity.”
Allowing uncontrolled spread should not be a choice of any government, as it will harm not only the citizens of that country but affect other countries as well.
“Everyone can contribute “whether in the home, the community, the health care system, the workplace or the transport system”.
As the outbreak continues to spread throughout the globe, Italy, on Sunday announced an unprecedented quarantine on its northern region of Lombardy and other badly affected areas.
The action will be affecting about 16 million people. Italy has become a hotspot for the ongoing Covid-19 as the disease has spread from the European country to other countries in Europe and Africa, including Nigeria.
The steps being taken by Italian authorities are towards tackling Europe’s largest outbreak of coronavirus.
Aljazeera reported that the Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, early on Sunday issued a decree that severely restricts the movement of individuals in the northern region and surrounding areas.
The move comes as the country struggles to contain the virus’s spread, with 1,247 new cases detected in the last 24 hours.
Another 36 people also died as a result of the virus, taking the total to 233.
In another development, the Czech Prime Minister, Andrej Babiš, urged Italy to ban its citizens from travelling to Europe or abroad to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
“I think it’s important that Prime Minister (Giuseppe) Conte calls on all Italians not to leave Italy at all,” Mr Babis said in a televised address.
He said it’s clear that Italy unfortunately doesn’t have it under control. They (Italians) shouldn’t travel to Europe because most of the cases in Germany, France, Spain… have originated in Italy”.
Nigeria also recorded its only case of coronavirus in an Italian businessman who had flown into the country for business.
Mr Babiš also urged Czechs who are currently in Italy to return home.
Meanwhile, Moldova confirmed its first case in a 48-year-old woman who recently returned from a trip to Italy.
“The person was taken from the airport… with bilateral pneumonia, acute respiratory failure, fever, cough, general weakness,” a health ministry statement said late on Saturday.