“As we mark this sombre moment, the World Health Organization reminds all countries and communities that the spread of this virus can be significantly slowed or even reversed through the implementation of robust containment and control activities”, the UN agency said in a statement.
WHO urged countries to continue efforts that have been effective in limiting the number of cases and slowing the spread of the virus, first identified in Wuhan, China, last December.
Actions include identifying people who are sick with the respiratory disease and bringing them to care, as well as following up on contacts, preparing health facilities to manage a surge in patients, and training health workers.
“Every effort to contain the virus and slow the spread saves lives”, the statement said.
“These efforts give health systems and all of society much needed time to prepare, and researchers more time to identify effective treatments and develop vaccines”.
WHO will continue to work with countries and partners to coordinate international response to the disease, and to develop guidance, distribute supplies and inform people how to protect themselves and others.
“We must stop, contain, control, delay and reduce the impact of this virus at every opportunity”, said WHO, adding that everyone can contribute “whether in the home, the community, the health care system, the work place or the transport system”.