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US could be next virus epicentre – WHO

The US could soon replace Italy as the global epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said.

WHO Spokeswoman Margaret Harris, who was addressing a press conference in Geneva on Tuesday, was commenting hours after India imposed a total lockdown on its 1.3 billion people due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ms. Harris said infections in the US had greatly increased.

Over the previous twenty-four hours, 85% of new cases were in Europe and the US, and of those, 40% were in that country, she said.

As of Monday, the virus had infected more than 42,000 people there, killing at least 559.

Asked whether the United States could become the new epicenter, Ms. Harris replied: “We are now seeing a very large acceleration in cases in the US. So it does have that potential.”

Some state and local officials in the US have complained about what they consider a lack of coordinated federal action. They say allowing localities to act on their own only puts them in competition for supplies.

President Donald Trump acknowledged the difficulty in a tweet on Tuesday when he said: “The World market for face masks and ventilators is Crazy. We are helping the states to get equipment, but it is not easy.”

Meanwhile, India on Tuesday joined the ranks of the UK, Italy, Spain and others to announce a twenty-one-day lockdown in order to hold back the deadly covid-19 as business activity collapsed from Japan to the US at a record pace in March.

Worldwide, confirmed coronavirus cases exceeded 377,000 across 194 countries and territories as of early Tuesday, according to a Reuters tally. It says over 16,500 of that figure have been fatal.

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