COVID-19 accelerating at a rapid pace – WHO Director General

–Over 300,000 cases reported worldwide

– “aggressive and targeted tactics” needed to defeat the virus

DPI, Guyana, Monday, March 23, 2020

The World Health Organization (WHO) today reported that the Novel Coronavirus pandemic is accelerating at a rapid pace and aggressive and targeted tactics are needed to defeat the virus.

The WHO is reporting a total of 332,935 confirmed cases with 14,510 deaths from 189 countries, areas or territories with reported cases

During a media briefing, Director-General of WHO Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus noted the rapidity with which the virus has spread.

“It took 67 days from the first reported case to reach 100,000 cases, 11 days for the second 100,000 cases and just four days for the third 100,000 cases. You can see how the virus is accelerating,” he underscored.

However, Dr. Ghebreyesus urged that persons not be held prisoner by the virus but to fight against the pandemic. “What matters most is what we do,” he said.

“To win we need to attack the virus with aggressive and targeted tactics. Testing every suspected case, isolating and caring for every confirmed case and tracing and quarantining every close contact,” he stated.

The Director-General reminded that there is currently no treatment that has been proven to be effective against COVID-19.

Countries such as China with 81,601 cases, Italy 59,130 cases, United States of America with 31,573 cases and Spain 28,572 cases. They are followed by Germany that has 24,774 cases, Iran with 21,638 cases and France with 15,821.

The number of confirmed cases in the Caribbean remains relatively low but still a concern for health officials. Here in Guyana, there are five confirmed cases of the virus with one death.

Additionally, it was revealed that FIFA, the international governing body of football, and the WHO have partnered to fight the spread of COVID-19 with the “Pass the message to kick our coronavirus” campaign.

The drive will promote five key steps for persons to follow hand washing, coughing etiquette, not touching your face, physical distance and staying home if feeling unwell. Twenty-eight players have participated in the video campaign, which is being published in 13 languages.

As it relates to the rest of the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic leads with a total of 72 confirmed cases. Trinidad and Tobago now have a reported 50 cases, Jamaica 19 cases and Barbados 5 cases. Dominica, Montserrat, Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Antigua and Barbuda all have one confirmed case each.

Persons are being urged to take all the necessary precautions to protect themselves. These include washing their hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and water or sanitizing with an alcohol-based hand rub.

Maintaining social distancing is also very important. Stay home and only go out to conduct essential business or report to work; maintain at least three feet distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

Persons are encouraged to ensure they cover their mouth and nose with bent elbow or tissue whenever they cough or sneeze after which the used tissue must be disposed of properly. Avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth.

Some of the symptoms of the COVID-19 includes having a cough, fever, tiredness and difficulty breathing. It is important to note that these symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure.

However, if you think you may have been exposed to COVID-19, you are advised not to visit the hospital but call the Ministry of Public Health’s COVID-19 hotline. The numbers to contact are 231-1166, 226-7480, 624,6674, 624-2819 and 624-3067. Calls to the numbers are free.

Additionally, it is important to note that the National Public Health Reference Laboratory is the only authorized facility in Guyana to test for COVID-19.



COVID-19 Alert!

Coronavirus disease spreads primarily through contact with an infected person when they cough or sneeze. It also spreads when a person touches a surface or object that has the virus on it, then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth. We urge citizens to practice good hygiene and social or physical distancing also adhere to the guidelines provided by the Ministry of Health, Guyana.