Speaking at a virtual news conference in Geneva on Friday WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “Yesterday, Wuhan reported no new cases for the first time since the outbreak started. “Wuhan provides hope for the rest of the world that even the most severe situation can be turned around.
“Of course, we must exercise caution: the situation can reverse. But the experience of cities and countries that have pushed back this coronavirus gives hope and courage to the rest of the world.”
This comes as the city of Wuhan registered no new cases of Covid-19 in 24 hours for the first time since reporting their initial case in December.
Coronavirus has infected more than 250,000 people around the world – killing about 11,000 of them.
The WHO added that they were now using the term “physical distancing” rather than “social distancing” to describe the importance of maintaining space between people in order to avoid the spread of the virus.
This change of terminology was done to stress that although people may need to go into physical isolation, they do not need to become socially isolated, says WHO.
They highlight the importance of maintaining good mental health during the crisis.
Maria Van Kerkhove, the head of the WHO’s emerging disease unit, said: “We want people to still remain connected.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered all pubs, restaurants, cinemas and gyms to close in a surge of new restrictions to combat the spread of Covid-19.
On Friday Mr Johnson said those venues, including nightclubs, leisure centres and theatres, must close and not reopen until further notice.
He advised people who are considering one last trip out on Friday night not to commenting: “Please don’t.”
“These measures are intended to be temporary. I am confident, in time, the UK economy is going to bounce back, of course, it is.
“We need to now push down further on that curve of transmission between us,” Mr Johnson added.
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“But I must be clear with you, the speed of our eventual recovery depends entirely on our ability to get on top of the virus now.
“That means we need to take the next step on scientific advice and follow our plan.”
Restaurants can continue to serve takeaway food and the prime minister said the situation would be reviewed each month to check if measures can be relaxed.
In Italy the death toll has passed 4,000 as a record 627 new deaths were reported on Friday.
The pandemic gathered pace despite government efforts to stop the spread and the country has the highest number of coronavirus fatalities in the world.
The Italian government is considering even more restrictions on its current locked-down society.
Italy’s minister of regional affairs, Francesco Boccia, said on Friday: “In the next 24 to 48 hours, new restrictions are possible.”
He cited the potential of banning open-air activities.
The presidents of regions in the north of Italy have been urging Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte to press down even harder on the movement of people – calling for the deployment of the army to enforce the measures.
Lombardy’s president, in the northwest of Italy, Attilio Fontana, told a press conference on Friday: “Unfortunately, even today the statistics aren’t going in the right direction, neither in terms of new infections or in terms of deaths.”
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