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Airborne transmission of coronavirus can occur during medical procedures, says WHO

GENEVA (Reuters): The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday airborne transmission of the novel coronavirus can occur during medical procedures that generate aerosols.

The agency said some outbreak reports related to indoor crowded spaces have suggested the possibility of aerosol transmission, combined with droplet transmission, such as during choir practice, in restaurants or in fitness classes.

The WHO on Tuesday acknowledged “emerging evidence” of the airborne spread of the novel coronavirus, after a group of scientists urged the global body to update its guidance on how the respiratory disease spread.

Earlier on Thursday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark will head a new panel tasked with giving “an honest assessment” of the global response to the coronavirus pandemic.

WHO whose agency is facing a US pullout following Trump administration complaints about its early handling of the virus emergency, announced the appointments to the newly created Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response.

More than 12 million coronavirus infections have now been recorded across the world, over half in the United States and Latin America, according to an AFP tally of official sources at 0955 GMT on Thursday.

At least 12,063,425 cases and 549,451 deaths have been recorded, with the number of infections doubling since May 31. About half of those who caught the virus have recovered.

With 3,055,101 cases and 132,309 deaths, the United States is the worst-hit country, with Brazil second having registered 1,713,160 cases and 67,964 deaths. The tallies probably reflect only a fraction of the number of infections as many countries test only the most serious cases.

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