People in 20s, 30s, 40s increasingly driving pandemic: WHO

People in 20s, 30s, 40s increasingly driving pandemic: WHO
A logo is pictured on the headquarters of the World Health Orgnaization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland, June 25, 2020. Reuters
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The spread of the coronavirus is being increasingly driven by people aged in their 20s, 30s and 40s and many are not aware that they have been infected, the World Health Organisation's regional director for the Western Pacific said on Tuesday.

"This increases the risk of spillovers to the more vulnerable: the elderly, the sick people in long-term care, people who live in densely populated areas and underserved areas," Dr Takeshi Kasai told a virtual briefing.

WHO sounds virus alarm for Western Pacific

The World Health Organisation said countries in the Western Pacific - a vast region comprising nearly 1.9 billion people - have entered a new phase of coronavirus pandemic response and urged regional governments to continue to promote behaviour that protects community health.

This is "the phase where governments will need to deal with multiple increases or surges, but in a sustainable way", he said.

He said governments will need to have earlier targeted responses to outbreaks, continue to improve health care systems, and promote healthy new normal habits that will help prevent the spread of the virus.

Approaches like this could be more effective and minimise social disruptions and impact on economies, Kasai said.

The WHO also warned that countries in the region - including Australia, the Philippines and Japan - are reporting increasing numbers of people under 40 contracting the virus.

Many are unaware they are infected with very mild symptoms, or none at all," Kasai said. This can result in them unknowingly passing on the virus to others.

(With inputs from Reuters and AP)

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