The World Health Organization expressed concern on Wednesday about the rising number of new coronavirus cases in poor countries, even though many rich nations have emerged from the ban.
The global health agency said 1.06,000 new cases of the novel coronavirus infection have been registered in the last 24 hours, most in a single day since the onset of the outbreak.
"We still have a long way to go," said WHO Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a press conference. "We are very concerned about increasing cases in low and middle income countries."
Dr. Mike Ryan, head of the WHO emergency program, said: "We will soon reach the tragic milestone of 5 million cases."
WHO has come under fire from US President Donald Trump, who accuses her of maltreating the outbreak and favoring China, where the virus was believed to have appeared at the end of last year. This week, Trump threatened to withdraw from WHO and hold funding permanently.
Tedros admitted to receiving a letter from Trump, but declined to comment.
Tedros said he was accountable and would review the response to the pandemic. Such a review was requested by Member States in a resolution this week that was adopted by consensus, even though the United States expressed reservations about some elements of it.
"I have repeatedly said that WHO is more accountable than anyone else. It has to be done, and when it is done, it has to be comprehensive," Tedros said of the review, but declined to say when she would start.
Ryan said such assessments are usually done after an emergency is over.
"In any case, I would now prefer to do the job of an emergency response, disease control, vaccine development and distribution, improving our surveillance, saving lives, and distributing essential PPE to workers and the search for medical oxygen for people in fragile environments that reduce the impact of this disease on refugees and migrants, "he said.
Tedros said he had been looking for other funding sources for WHO for a long time, saying that their $ 2.3 billion budget was "very, very small" for a global agency, such as that of a medium-sized hospital in developed countries.
In comments that could further upset Trump, Ryan said people should avoid using the hydroxychloroquine malaria drug to treat or prevent coronavirus infections, except as part of a clinical trial to investigate it.
Trump has said he is taking hydroxychloroquine to prevent coronavirus infection.
"At this stage, (neither) hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have so far been shown to be effective in treating COVID-19 or preventing the disease," said Ryan. "On the contrary, many authorities have issued warnings about the possible side effects of the drug."
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)