The World Health Organization (WHO) warned Wednesday COVID-19 cases would reach one million and death climb to 50,000 in the next few days.
During a daily briefing, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the death toll has more than doubled in the past week.
“As we enter the fourth month since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, I am deeply concerned about the rapid escalation and global spread of infection,” he said in Geneva.
As of Wednesday evening, the pandemic had killed 40,777 people worldwide while a total of 827,419 infections were reported by over 200 countries and regions, according to the WHO situation updates.
Outside China, the number of cases surged to 744,781, while 37,456 patients had died as of Wednesday afternoon.
The United States has seen 163,199 cases, including 2,850 deaths, while Italy has reported 105,792 cases, among which 12,430 patients lost their lives, the WHO figures showed.
Apart from countries with a vast number of cases, Tedros warned that Africa, Central and South America which had reported relatively fewer confirmed cases so far, could see serious social, economic and political consequences of COVID-19.
He also stressed the importance of ensuring that those countries and regions are well equipped to detect, test, isolate and treat cases, as well as identify contacts.
Tedros called on governments to put in place social welfare measures to ensure vulnerable people have food and other life necessities during the crisis.
“Many developing countries will struggle to implement social welfare programs of this nature,” Tedros said.
In Rwanda government inaugurated a support initiative for vulnerable families affected by the lockdown.
Food and other essentials are handed out by members of village committees that find beneficiaries in their homes in line with COVID-19 preventive measures.
Tedros noted that debt relief is essential to enable those countries to take care of their people and avoid economic collapse.