The coronavirus epidemic is “far from over” in the Asia-Pacific region, and current measures to curb the spread of the virus are buying time for countries to prepare for large-scale community transmissions, a WHO official has said.
Even with all the measures, the risk of transmission in the region will not go away as long as the pandemic continues, said Takeshi Kasai, regional director for the western Pacific at the World Health Organization.
His warning came as the World Bank said the economic fallout of the pandemic could drive large parts of east Asia into poverty, and as the United States recorded its deadliest day yet, with another 540 deaths taking its fatalities past 3,000.
“Let me be clear. The epidemic is far from over in Asia and the Pacific. This is going to be a long-term battle and we cannot let down our guard,” Kasai told a virtual media briefing. “We need every country to keep preparing for large-scale community transmission.”
The new coronavirus first surfaced in central China in late 2019. Infections have now exceeded 770,000 cases worldwide, with the US, Italy and Spain overtaking mainland China in confirmed cases.