(CNSNews.com) – For the first time since the coronavirus outbreak began, the number of new confirmed cases outside of China has exceeded the number of new cases within the country where the epidemic originated, and for two consecutive days.
China still accounts for 95 percent of the number of COVID-19 cases worldwide – 78,598 out of a total of 82,294, according to World Health Organization (WHO) figures updated on Thursday.
But on Wednesday and Thursday this week, for the first time, the number of new confirmed cases reported each day was higher outside of China than inside the country: On Wednesday there were 412 new cases in China and 459 cases elsewhere, while on Thursday there were 439 new in China, compared to a total of 746 in other countries.
Outside of China, there are now 47 countries around the world with reported cases, with nine new ones, mostly in Europe, added to the list on Thursday. They are Brazil, Denmark, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, North Macedonia, Norway, Pakistan, and Romania.
COVID-19 deaths have been reported in seven of those 47 countries – Iran (22 deaths), South Korea (13), Italy (12), Japan (3), France (2), Philippines (1), and Taiwan (1). The cluster of cases associated with the Diamond Princess cruise ship berthed in Japan has also accounted for 4 deaths.
“It’s what is happening in the rest of the world that is now our greatest concern,” WHO Secretary-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a briefing in Geneva on Thursday. “Outside China, there are now 3,474 cases in 44 countries, and 54 deaths,” he added.
“We’re at a decisive point,” he continued. “For the past two days, the number of new cases reported in the rest of the world has exceeded the number of new cases reported from China.”
“And in the past 24 hours, seven countries have reported cases for the first time: Brazil, Georgia, Greece, North Macedonia, Norway, Pakistan and Romania.”
(Tedros appeared to be using non-updated figures; WHO in its daily update Wednesday reported 3,664 cases in 46 countries – WHO counts Taiwan as part of China, not as a separate country – and 57 deaths. It also reported nine, not seven, newly-affected countries.)
“My message to each of these countries is: This is your window of opportunity. If you act aggressively now, you can contain this virus,” Tedros said. “You can prevent people getting sick. You can save lives. So my advice to these countries is to move swiftly.”
In other observations about the outbreak, Tedros noted that eight coronavirus-affected countries – Belgium, Cambodia, India, Nepal, Philippines, Russia, Sri Lanka and Vietnam – had not reported any new cases for more than two weeks.
Of those countries, Vietnam has 16 cases, India and the Philippines 3 each, Russia 2, and the rest one case each.
On the other hand, Finland and Sweden had no new cases for more than two weeks, but both had new cases to report on Wednesday, he said. Finland and Sweden now have 2 cases each.