'Exponential growth' as world prepares for 1mn cases, 50K deaths
With new coronavirus cases set to breach the 1-million mark, the world is witnessing an "exponential growth" which is a bad sign as the number of deaths has more than doubled in the past week, the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned on Thursday.
According to latest data from Johns Hopkins University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE), there were 9.56 lakh cases globally, with over 48,000 deaths in 180 countries.
"As we enter the fourth month since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic I'm deeply concerned about the rapid escalation and global spread of infection," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a virtual media conference on Thursday.
"Over the past five weeks, we have witnessed a near exponential growth in the number of new cases, reaching almost every country," he added.
"As we enter the fourth month since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, I am deeply concerned about the rapid escalation and global spread of infection," he said during the virtual news conference.
As per the CSSE data, the highest number of cases in the world was recorded in the US at 216,515, while Italy accounted for the largest death toll at 13,155.
The pandemic was showing no sign of abating in Europe, where the confirmed cases were approaching 500,000 and the death toll swelled to 30,000 on Wednesday, reports Xinhua.
Spain became the third country with the highest number of cases at 104,118, after the US and Italy (110,574).
In Italy, a further 727 deaths from COVID-19 were reported in the 24 hours from Tuesday to Wednesday, taking the death toll to 13,155.
But that was the lowest daily tally of fatalities since March 26.
In France, 509 more COVID-19 patients died in the past 24 hours, bringing the death tally to 4,032 on Wednesday, said General Director of Health Jerome Salomon.
The cumulative number of infection cases in the country rose to 57,763.
Across the Atlantic, the US became the first nation with more than 200,000 COVID-19 infections on Wednesday, according to a new tally from Johns Hopkins University.
It has recorded a total of 5,119 deaths.
Meanwhile, UN agencies continued to help countries contain the virus and limit its social-economic impact.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said it has provided $78.8 million in responses to the pandemic.
It includes $75 million from the UN's Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), with the rest coming from country-based, pooled funds.
Programs in 15 countries have been supported through these funds and additional countries were being identified under the global CERF allocation of $60 million -- one of the largest ever made.
So far, according to the OCHA, close to $374 million in donor funds have been made available for the global plan.-IANS