Tougher containment measures may be the way forward for countries like Italy and Iran, after seemingly proving effective on the mainland
The World Health Organisation (WHO) warned this week that the world is in “uncharted territory” as it struggles to contain the global spread of Covid-19.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the fact that that virus can spread through community transmission – which means people can get it even if they haven’t travelled to an infected area or been in contact with a known infected person – made it extra difficult to tackle.
However, he added that taking tough measures does work, as shown by the drop in new cases of infection on the mainland.
There are now more new cases of infection being reported outside China than inside. This is after Beijing took extreme measures to contain the virus, putting towns and cities on lockdown, imposing travel restrictions, and ordering people to stay indoors.
Most countries have avoided such a strict approach, instead cancelling large public events and banning direct flights from affected nations.
Outside the mainland, the worst-hit countries are South Korea, Italy, and Iran. The UN has sent medical experts to Iran, which lacks sufficient healthcare services to deal with an outbreak.
The US, which has so far played down the risks of an epidemic in the country, is now tightening its preventative measures. Still, it insists that a vaccine is just around the corner.
The global economy has also been affected by the outbreak, prompting representatives from the world’s top economies to hold an emergency meeting.