The coronavirus in Asia-Pacific region is being spread by young people between ages 20 and 40 who are unaware they are infected because they have no or mild symptoms, WHO warned on Tuesday.
Takeshi Kasai, the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) regional director based in Manila, said because many of the young people were asymptomatic or have mild symptoms of COVID-19, they unknowingly pass on the virus to others.
“This increases the risk of spillovers to the most vulnerable, the elderly, the sick people in long-term care, people who live in densely populated urban areas and underserved rural areas,” he told an online press conference.
“We must redouble our efforts to stop the virus from moving into the vulnerable communities,” Mr Kasai added.
According to the WHO, the Western Pacific region which covers 27 countries in Asia and the Pacific, has so far confirmed more than 400,000 coronavirus infections and almost 9,300 deaths.
The cases account for 2.3 per cent of global infections.
The WHO said Asia-Pacific countries have entered “a new phase of the pandemic” where governments are adopting new tactics and strategies that minimise large-scale disruptions to people’s lives and economies while responding to COVID-19.
“Many are now detecting outbreaks earlier and responding to them faster with more targeted interventions and an agile approach that brings back health to societies and economies at the same time,” Mr Kasai said.