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Coronavirus pandemic ‘accelerating’ as new cases hit single-day record

The World Health Organisation said nearly half of the newly reported cases were from the Americas.

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Relatives of admitted patients wearing face masks as a precaution against coronavirus talk outside a hospital in New Delhi, India, Thursday, June 18, 2020. India is the fourth hardest-hit country by the COVID-19 pandemic in the world after the U.S., Russia and Brazil. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

Relatives of admitted patients wearing face masks as a precaution against coronavirus talk outside a hospital in New Delhi, India, Thursday, June 18, 2020. India is the fourth hardest-hit country by the COVID-19 pandemic in the world after the U.S., Russia and Brazil. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

Relatives of admitted patients wearing face masks as a precaution against coronavirus talk outside a hospital in New Delhi, India, Thursday, June 18, 2020. India is the fourth hardest-hit country by the COVID-19 pandemic in the world after the U.S., Russia and Brazil. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

The head of the World Health Organisation has said the coronavirus pandemic is “accelerating” and that more than 150,000 cases were reported on Thursday — the highest single-day number so far.

In a media briefing on Friday, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said nearly half of the newly reported cases were in the Americas, with significant numbers in south Asia and the Middle East.

“We are in a new and dangerous phase,” he said, warning that restrictive measures are still needed to stop the pandemic.

“Many people are understandably fed up with being at home (and) countries are understandably eager to open up their societies,” he added, but warned that the virus is still “spreading fast” and that measures like social distancing, mask wearing and hand-washing are still critical.

He noted the toll would be especially great on refugees, of whom more than 80% live in mostly developing nations.

“We have a shared duty to do everything we can to prevent, detect and respond to the transmission of Covid-19 detected among refugees in hospitals.”

PA