WHO Europe sees ‘encouraging signs’ in coronavirus spread

Updated on Mar 26, 2020 04:59 PM IST

WHO Europe said that to date over 220,000 cases of COVID-19 had been reported on the continent, along with 11,987 deaths.

A girl and her dog look out from a window during one of the many flash mobs taking place these days in Rome, Sunday, March 15, 2020. The nationwide lockdown to slow coronavirus is still early days for much of Italy, but Italians are already showing signs of solidarity with flash mob calls circulating on social media for people to ''gather'' on their balconies at certain hours, either to play music or to give each other a round of applause. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some, it can cause more severe illness, especially in older adults and people with existing health problems. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)(AP)
A girl and her dog look out from a window during one of the many flash mobs taking place these days in Rome, Sunday, March 15, 2020. The nationwide lockdown to slow coronavirus is still early days for much of Italy, but Italians are already showing signs of solidarity with flash mob calls circulating on social media for people to ''gather'' on their balconies at certain hours, either to play music or to give each other a round of applause. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some, it can cause more severe illness, especially in older adults and people with existing health problems. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)(AP)
Copenhagen | ByAgence France-Presse

The World Health Organization’s European office said Thursday it saw “encouraging signs” as Italy reported a lower rate of infections of the new coronavirus, cautioning it was too soon to say whether the worst had passed.

“While the situation remains very serious, we are starting to see some encouraging signs,” WHO regional director for Europe, Hans Kluge, told a press conference.

“Italy, which has the highest number of cases in the region, has just seen a slightly lower rate of increase, though it is still too early to say that the pandemic is peaking in that country,” he added.

WHO Europe said that to date over 220,000 cases of COVID-19 had been reported on the continent, along with 11,987 deaths.

That means that globally, roughly six out of every 10 cases and seven out of 10 deaths have been reported in Europe, with the number of confirmed infections worldwide now over 400,000.

As the new coronavirus has spread across the continent, many European countries have adopted severe measures to curb the outbreak, including imposing lockdown measures and closing businesses and borders, as well as limiting public gatherings.

According to Kluge they will soon be able to determine the degree to which those measures have had an impact.

But Kluge also cautioned governments and citizens to be aware of the “new reality” created by the pandemic and prepare for the long term impact.

“This is not going to be a sprint, this is going to be a marathon,” Kluge said.

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