The World Health Organization on Monday said that India had tremendous capacity and had, in the past, helped the world in eliminating smallpox and polio. Michael Ryan, the executive director of WHO Health Emergencies Programme, urged India to be aggressive in its efforts to combat the virus.

“India, like China, is hugely populated and future of Covid-19 to a greater extent will be determined by what happens in densely populated large countries,” Ryan said during a media briefing. “It is really important that India continues to take aggressive action at the public health level.”

The international body’s chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus cautioned countries on Monday saying that the novel coronavirus was clearly “accelerating”, and added that it was still possible to “change the trajectory” of the outbreak. “It took 67 days from the first reported case to reach the first 1,00,000 cases, 11 days for the second 1,00,000 cases and just four days for the third 1,00,000 cases,” he added.

“Numbers matter, because they’re not just numbers,” Ghebreyesus said. “They’re people, whose lives and families have been turned upside down. To win, we need to attack the virus with aggressive and targeted tactics – testing every suspected case, isolating and caring for every confirmed case, and tracing and quarantining every close contact.”

Meanwhile, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres called for an immediate “global ceasefire in all corners of the world” in light of the pandemic, and said it was time to “put the armed conflict on lockdown and focus together”.

“Our world faces a common enemy: COVID-19,” the UN chief said. “The virus does not care about ethnicity or nationality, faction or faith. It attacks all, relentlessly. End the sickness of war and fight the disease that is ravaging our world.”

Guterres urged who he called “warring parties” to pull back from hostilities, set aside mistrust and animosity, and end all forms of armed conflict.

Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, has infected 3,81,293 people in the world, and killed 16,572, according to an estimate from Johns Hopkins University, which is live-tracking cases reported by the World Health Organization and additional sources. The virus has affected 168 countries so far.