The World Health Organization said Friday that it is still possible to bring coronavirus outbreaks under control, even though case numbers have more than doubled in the past six weeks.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the examples of Italy, Spain, South Korea and India's biggest slum showed that however bad a outbreak was, the virus could still be reined in through aggressive action.
"In the last six weeks cases have more than doubled," Tedros told a virtual press conference in Geneva.
However, "there are many examples from around the world that have shown that even if the outbreak is very intense, it can still be brought back under control," said Tedros.
"And some of these examples are Italy, Spain and South Korea, and even in Dharavi -- a densely packed area in the megacity of Mumbai -- a strong focus on community engagement and the basics of testing, tracing, isolating and treating all those that are sick is key to breaking the chains of transmission and suppressing the virus."
The novel coronavirus has killed at least 555,000 people worldwide since the outbreak emerged in China last December, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP on Friday.
Nearly 12.3 million cases have been registered in 196 countries and territories.
"Across all walks of life, we are all being tested to the limit," Tedros said, "from countries where there is exponential growth, to places that are loosening restrictions and now starting to see cases rise.
"Only aggressive action combined with national unity and global solidarity can turn this pandemic around."