WHO urges nations to test every suspected coronavirus case

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has described the coronavirus pandemic is the “defining global health crisis of our time”, and urged countries to test all suspected cases of COVID-19.

“We have a simple message to all countries – test, test, test,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference in Geneva on Monday. “All countries should be able to test all suspected cases. They cannot fight this pandemic blindfolded.”

The United States and countries across Europe, Asia and the Middle East have closed schools, entertainment venues and all but essential services, in an effort to combat the virus.

Governments are limiting travel – inward and outward – to curb the movement of people. The Philippines has put the entire island of Luzon under lockdown, while Malaysia will effectively close off the country from March 18. South Korea and China, wary of imported infections, have also tightened requirements for international arrivals.

Globally, the virus has now infected more than 168,000 people and killed at least 6,610, according to the WHO.