The head of the World Health Organisation has issued a dire warning about the accelerating Covid-19 pandemic - and highlighted New Zealand's success in fighting the virus.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told media that Covid-19 is "easily the most severe" of all the crises WHO has navigated.
"Almost 16 million cases have now been reported to WHO, and more than 640,000 deaths. And the pandemic continues to accelerate," he said.
"In the past six weeks, the total number of cases has roughly doubled.
"When I declared a public health emergency of international concern on the 30th of January – the highest level of alarm under international law – there were less than 100 cases outside of China, and no deaths.
"Covid-19 has changed our world. It has brought people, communities and nations together, and driven them apart.
"It has shown what humans are capable of – positively and negatively.
"We have learned an enormous amount, and we're still learning."
Speaking about the need to uphold the "fundamental pillars" of the response to Covid-19, he praised New Zealand among nations who had performed well in the fight against the virus.
Ghebreyesus said: "Keep your distance from others, clean your hands, avoid crowded and enclosed areas and wear a mask where recommended. Where these measures are followed, cases go down. Where they're not, cases go up.
"Countries and communities that have followed this advice carefully and consistently have done well, either in preventing large-scale outbreaks – like Cambodia, New Zealand, Rwanda, Thailand, Vietnam and islands in the Pacific and Caribbean – or in bringing large outbreaks under control – like Canada, China, Germany and the Republic of Korea."
Ghebreyesus would be reconvening the WHO's Emergency Committee this week to re-evaluate the pandemic and advise on the next course of action.