The UN health agency says ‘majority of the world remains at risk’, calls for collective action against the pandemic.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has said hundreds of millions of people may have already been infected with the new coronavirus, far more than the current tally of more than 35 million.
“Our current best estimates tell us that about 10 percent of the global population may have been infected by this virus,” Mike Ryan, the WHO’s emergency operations chief, told the global health agency’s executive board on Monday.
“This varies depending on the country. It varies from urban to rural. It varies between different groups,” Ryan said in Geneva. “But what it does mean is that the vast majority of the world remains at risk.”
Ryan said COVID-19 cases and deaths were surging across Europe, Southeast Asia and the eastern Mediterranean, while the situation in Africa and the Western Pacific “is currently rather more positive”.
He added the pandemic will “continue to evolve” but said the world had the tools to help suppress transmission of the coronavirus and save lives.
“The future depends on the choices we collectively make about how we use those tools, develop, scale up and distribute others,” he added.
According to a tally by Johns Hopkins University, there have been some 35.2 million coronavirus cases confirmed so far, with more than one million deaths. Confirmed recoveries stand at 24.5 million.