The number of new cases of COVID-19 is easing in some parts of Europe, including Italy and Spain, but outbreaks are still growing in Britain and Turkey, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday.
“The overall world outbreak, 90 per cent of cases are coming from Europe and the United States of America. So we are certainly not seeing the peak yet,” WHO spokeswoman Dr. Margaret Harris told a briefing in Geneva.
The WHO will issue guidance to member states later in the day listing six steps that they need to ensure they have in place before starting to ease any restrictions, she said.
“The most important one is, is your transmission controlled?”
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he has instructed his administration to halt funding to the WHO over its handling of the pandemic while his administration reviews its response to the global crisis.
Earlier, Dr. Harris said the U.S. had been a “fantastic partner” in addition to being the largest donor to the WHO.
“There will always be criticisms of organizations, it’s important to listen criticism – especially constructive criticism,” she said. “And our work will go on regardless of any kind of issues.”
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, voiced confidence before Trump’s announcement that the U.S. would continue funding his UN agency.
Russia has become China’s largest source of imported cases, with a total of 409 infections originating in the northern neighbour.
“China in fact is now really focusing on looking at – apart from making sure that there are not new local cases – but their biggest threat is imported cases,” Dr. Harris said.
On vaccines, Dr. Harris said: “We really shouldn’t be expecting to see the vaccine at least for 12 months or longer.”
With a report from Reuters
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