Mixed messaging from governments has steered “too many countries” in the wrong direction to suppress transmission of the coronavirus, the World Health Organisation warns.
Without naming any country in particular, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus raised serious concern about nations facing waves of infection after lifting lockdowns.
“Many countries are losing gains made as proven measures to reduce risk are not implemented or followed,” Dr Tedros said on Tuesday morning (Australian time).
He said hospital wards were filling up again in several countries where there had been a dangerous increase in coronavirus cases.
“Let me be blunt, too many countries are headed in the wrong direction – the virus remains public enemy No.1,” Dr Tedros said.
“If basics are not followed, the only way this pandemic is going to go – it is going to get worse and worse and worse.”
WHO’s warning to the world comes as NSW teeters on the edge of a second surge of the virus – much like Victoria.
On Tuesday, the NSW government will announce a return to stricter requirements for pubs after authorities revealed 10 coronavirus cases linked to Sydney’s Crossroads Hotel and a further 11 indirectly connected.
But, according to reports from the ABC, the casino will not be affected by tighter restrictions to be imposed on NSW pubs.
There are concerns infections could soar, with NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant revealing on Monday that other venues across Sydney might have been exposed to the virus between June 27 and July 10, after visits from people linked to the pub outbreak.
They include Picton Hotel, Planet Fitness gym in Casula, Canterbury Leagues Club, Narellan Town Centre and Zone Bowling in Villawood.
Under the new rules, pubs will have to take patrons’ contact details and will not be allowed to have more than 300 people inside, irrespective of venue size, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
The new measures are tipped to also include tougher cleaning regulations.
Meanwhile, new outbreaks have popped up in Melbourne, with Victoria already recording eight consecutive days of triple-digit increases in COVID cases.
Of 177 new cases reported on Monday, 151 remain under investigation.
Victorian chief health officer Brett Sutton said there were four-five new outbreaks in Victoria each day.
Premier Daniel Andrews would, therefore, not rule out imposing stage four restrictions.
“If you don’t want stage four, if you don’t want the lockdown to last a moment longer, then please follow the rules,” he said on Monday.
Police cracking down on ‘nonsensical’ rule-breakers
Krispy Kreme Australia made following the rules all the more difficult after giving away 420,000 doughnuts across Australia.
Police in NSW slammed the company for urging customers whose birthdays fell between March 13-July 13 to visit nearby outlets to get free packs of doughnuts.
Pictures posted to social media on Monday showed long lines of people ignoring social distancing.
“This is nonsensical and defies logic,” NSW police acting assistant commissioner Tony Cooke said.
“We have people in NSW who have lost jobs, people who have missed the opportunity to farewell their loved ones at funerals, and of course, people who have lost their lives due to COVID-19.”
Australia’s total number of cases stands at 9980, with 2103 active and 7769 people recovered.
The national death toll is 108: NSW 49, Victoria 24, Tasmania 13, Western Australia nine, Queensland six, South Australia four, ACT three. (Two Queensland residents who died in NSW are included in the official tolls of both states)
Some parts of the world are still recording huge increases in a first wave of COVID-19 infections. That includes the US, which has more than 3.3 million confirmed cases.
The US had a daily global record of 69,070 new infections on July 10. Reuters said coronavirus infections are rising in about 40 US states.
Meanwhile, parts of England are implementing a second round of shutdowns.