WHO official says coronavirus pandemic in Asia 'far from over'

Japanese doctor warns of inevitable large-scale community transmissions in Asia

WHO Regional Director of Western Pacific Takeshi Kasai. (Facebook photo)

WHO Regional Director of Western Pacific Takeshi Kasai. (Facebook photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Dr. Takeshi Kasai, World Health Organization (WHO) regional director of the Western Pacific, warned Tuesday (March 31) that the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Asia-Pacific is "far from over."

Although the current situation in most of Asia is not as severe as in Europe and the U.S., Kasai said during a virtual media briefing that there will most likely be large-scale community transmissions in Eastern countries as well. He added that all the preventive measures being adopted are only buying time for Asian countries to prepare for the inevitable escalation of the outbreak.

The Japanese doctor emphasized that these measures "will not make the risk go away" as long as the pandemic continues. He went on to predict that the battle against the coronavirus will last longer than expected and that no nation should let its guard down, reported CNA.

Kasai warned that countries that have seen a decline in their number of COVID-19 cases should continue to monitor the health of all their citizens and prevent the virus from surging back. He said the global health authorities will continue to provide assistance to areas with limited resources, such as the Pacific Islands.

According to Reuters, WHO Technical Adviser Matthew Griffith also pointed out that no countries are safe at this point. He said "importation remains a concern" and that travelers are the main channel through which the coronavirus is spreading across the globe.