U.S. could be next ‘virus epicenter’, WHO warns

U.S. could be next 'virus epicenter', WHO wanrs
Philadelphia Medical Reserve Corps volunteer nurses prepare to work at a coronavirus testing site. Source: AP
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Daily US Times: The World Health Organization warns on Tuesday that the United States could be the next global virus epicenter of coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, India, the world’s second-most populous country goes quiet as 1.3 billion people told to stay home.

WHO said the case numbers in the US are rising quickly even Donald Trump talked of reopening the country for business.

A WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris said: “We are now seeing a very large acceleration in cases in the US. So it does have that potential [to become the center of the pandemic].”

As of noon, Wednesday, confirmed coronavirus cases around the world exceeded 422,989 across 194 countries and territories, according to a John Hopkins University tally, 18,916 of them fatal.

Confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the US

There have been 54,964 confirmed cases across the US so far but as the country is not testing as many people as it should, the true number of cases is likely to be significantly higher. Nearly 600 people have died so far from the virus.

Trump acknowledged the difficulty as he said that crucial healthcare supplies to protect frontline staff threating sick patients were becoming difficult to obtain.

The president tweets: “The world market for face masks and ventilators is crazy. We are helping the states to get equipment, but it is not easy.”

But while more US governors are asking people to stay at home and WHO warned a potential virus epicenter, Trump appeared to downplay the crisis.

On Monday night, he said he was reconsidering ways to restart the economy in the coming weeks and wanted to avoid the pandemic becoming “a long-lasting financial problem”.

It would not last as long as three or four months, he said.

“Our country was not built to be shut down,” Trump said. “This is not a country that was built for this.”

India goes silent as lockdown begins

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has imposed a 21-day nationwide lockdown, asking all 1.3 billion people to stay at home, started from midnight local time (18:30 GMT).

Mr Modi said in a televised address: “There will be a total ban on venturing out of your homes.”

“The entire country will be in lockdown, total lockdown.”

The Indian PM said it in an attempt ”to save India, to save its every citizen.”

He further warned that if India does not “handle these 21 days well, then it will go backward by 21 years”.

He urged people not to panic, but just after his address, people quickly mobbed stores in the capital, Delhi, and other cities.

The Indian government announces new measures after experiencing a sharp increase in cases in recent days. The country has been confirmed 519 cases across India and 10 reported deaths.

The world’s second-most populous country joins a growing list of countries that have imposed similar measures.

Crowdy places of capital Delhi and other big cities became emptly as police and other security forces aggressively implement the lockdown.