A worker at a medical supply store organizes PFF-2 respirator mask that customers are buying as a precaution against the spread of the new coronavirus, the COVID-19, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Feb. 27, 2020.
COVID-19 hits 9 more countries, arrives in South America
Ratziel San Juan (Philstar.com) - February 28, 2020 - 10:20am

MANILA, Philippines — The coronavirus disease 2019 has breached nine new member states of the World Health Organization with the first confirmed case in South America.

Countries that reported COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours are Brazil in South America, Pakistan in Asia, and Europian nations Denmark, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Norway, North Macedonia, and Romania.

The virus has now arrived in 46 countries outside of China, according to the WHO situational report released Friday locally.

WHO Director-General doctor Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the new COVID-19-hit countries that the virus can be contained if right measures are taken. 

“My message to each of these countries is: this is your window of opportunity. If you act aggressively now, you can contain this virus. You can prevent people getting sick. You can save lives. So my advice to these countries is to move swiftly,” the health official said.

COVID-19 has now infected at least 82,294 globally with most (95.54%) of the cases reported in China.

However, more new cases were reported outside China for the second day in a row.

Ghebreyesus assured that Belgium, Cambodia, India, Nepal, the Philippines, Russia, Sri Lanka and Vietnam have not seen a new infection in more than two weeks.

“Each of these countries is different. And each shows that aggressive, early measures can prevent transmission before the virus gets a foothold,” he said.

“Of course, that doesn’t mean those countries won’t have more cases. In fact, as of Tuesday, both Finland and Sweden had reported no cases for more than two weeks, but unfortunately both had new cases yesterday.”

The WHO director-general said that a comprehensive approach must still be taken in response to the outbreak.

“No country should assume it won’t get cases. That could be a fatal mistake, quite literally,” he said.

“Every country must be ready for its first case, its first cluster, the first evidence of community transmission and for dealing with sustained community transmission. And it must be preparing for all of those scenarios at the same time.”

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