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WHO expert says COVID-19 outbreak potentially stabilizing in Europe

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-03-31 09:25
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Michael J. Ryan, Executive Director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme attends the news conference on the novel coronavirus in Geneva, Switzerland, February 11, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

GENEVA - Given the latest growth curve of new coronavirus cases amid extensive lockdown measures, European countries, particularly the most affected countries like Italy and Spain, could see potential stabilization of COVID-19 outbreak, a senior World Health Organization (WHO) expert noted here Monday.

In the past 24 hours as of Monday morning, a total of 31,726 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Europe, which marked the lowest growth since last Friday, according to the WHO's daily situation report.

Meanwhile, Italy and Spain have seen the fewest new infections in 24 hours since last Wednesday, according to the report.

"We should start to see stabilization, because the cases we see today really reflect exposures two weeks ago," Michael Ryan, executive director of WHO Health Emergencies Program, said at a daily briefing.

Ryan said that the number of significant contacts per case in some European countries has dropped, which means fewer people have been exposed to one case than two weeks ago.

Fewer people in Europe are at risk for individual cases as they're distancing, said Ryan.

However, Ryan reminded physical distancing measures alone cannot push down the curve, stressing that making the curve go down after stabilization requires redoubling public health efforts.

Ryan urged countries to focus on how to better take care of people in the clinical environment and save more lives. "We have to push the virus down. It will not happen by itself," he added.

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