The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday urged all countries to step up their testing programs to best slow down the progression of the coronavirus pandemic.
"We have a simple message to all countries – test, test, test," said WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a press conference in Geneva. "All countries should be able to test all suspected cases. You cannot fight this pandemic blindfolded," he added.
In the United States, the Trump administration has been attacked by critics for allegedly testing the new virus slowly.
US Vice President Mike Pence promised on Sunday that the Americans would have access to more than 2,000 laboratories that could conduct tests in the coming days. With limited testing available, US officials have registered nearly 3,000 cases and 62 deaths, and much of the daily activity has been turned upside down across the country.
Without testing, cases could not be isolated and the infection chain would not be broken, Tedros said. Even countries with advanced health systems are having trouble coping with the outbreak, Tedros said, adding that he is deeply concerned about the impact on low-income countries where people are already struggling with malnutrition and other health problems. The strategy to curb the disease by finding and quickly isolating people with infections is still the best approach, the WHO chief said. It has had positive effects in China, South Korea and Singapore, he added.
Meanwhile, Tedros said he was pleased with the response from governments that provided funds to fight the outbreak. "It's not just funding, it's the human spirit that we see that fights this virus, that gets stronger," he added.
"I have been very encouraged by the solidarity I see in the past week."
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)