WHO: World faces shortage of virus protective equipment

Death toll from coronavirus outbreak in China rises to 637, more than 31,000 confirmed cases reported so far

Busra Nur Bilgic Cakmak   |

World is facing a shortage of protective equipment against novel coronavirus, the head of the World Health Organization said on Friday.

“The world is facing a chronic shortage of personal protective equipment. This afternoon I will be speaking to the Pandemic Supply Chain Network to identify the bottlenecks and find solutions, to push the fairness of the distribution of equipment,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Twitter.

Earlier, speaking at the 146th session of the WHO Executive Board, Tedros said: “So far we have received pledges for $110 million. Several donors have already come forward, and we are expecting more announcements in the coming days.”

He also called for a joint action in battling the novel coronavirus.

“We are mobilizing the full power of the UN system and bringing together partners to support countries respond to the #2019nCoV outbreak,” the WHO chief said on Twitter.

“No one country or organization can stop this outbreak alone. Our best hope – and our only hope – is to work together,” he added.

On early Friday, WHO announced the death toll from coronavirus — which originated in central Wuhan city in December last year — climbed to 637, with 31,211 confirmed cases in China.

The virus is said to have been transmitted to humans from animals, particularly bats.

Besides China, the virus has spread to more than 20 countries, including the U.S., the U.K., Singapore, France, Russia, Spain and India.

There are 270 confirmed cases of coronavirus in 24 countries, with one death.

Many countries have evacuated their citizens from the city of Wuhan — the epicenter of the virus — and other affected areas of China, placing them in isolated medical care.

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak an international emergency.

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