Geneva (Switzerland) | Jagran News Desk: With a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases in the United States (US), the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that the country could become the new epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic.

Addressing a press conference, WHO spokesperson Margaret Harris on Tuesday said that about half of the new cases over the past 24 hours were from Europe, while 40 per cent were from the US.

“Europe is still the centre of the pandemic, but there had been ‘a very large acceleration’ in cases in the US,” Harris said, as quoted by news agency ANI.

Harris further said that as of last Saturday, 75 per cent of new infections around the world were from Europe, and 15 per cent from the United States.

The death toll from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the United States has risen above 600, with more than 50,000 cases of infection confirmed, the John Hopkins University of Medicine said on Tuesday.

Amid the alarming situation, US President Donald Trump has said that he would like to have the country open up by Easter holidays, amid the coronavirus global pandemic which is continuing to impact the country and has claimed over 16,231 lives globally.

"I want to encourage everyone to keep following our guidelines on social distancing, avoiding large gatherings, hand washing and all the other things that everybody knows they are supposed to be doing. Ultimately, the goal is to ease the guidelines and open things up to very large sections of our country as we near the end of our historic battle with the invisible enemy," the president said.

"I hope we can do this by Easter. I think that would be a great thing for our country and we are all working very hard to make that a reality. We will be meeting a lot of people to see if it can be done," he said and also hoped the Congress would soon vote on a USD 2 trillion bill that would deliver direct cash payments to struggling Americans.

(With PTI and ANI inputs)

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma