"The situation is evolving rapidly. We need to immediately scale up all efforts to prevent the virus from infecting more people," WHO official Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh said.
Eight of the 11 countries in WHO's south-east Asia region have confirmed coronavirus cases. Thailand has 177, Indonesia 134, India 125, Sri Lanka 19, Maldives 13, Bangladesh 5, Nepal and Bhutan one each. These numbers are increasing quickly, says WHO.
"More clusters of virus transmission are being confirmed. While this is an indication of an alert and effective surveillance, it also puts the spotlight on the need for more aggressive and whole of society efforts to prevent further spread of COVID-19. We clearly need to do more, and urgently," Singh said.
Singh says an assessment of the numbers suggests some countries are clearly heading towards community transmission of the virus.
"Of critical importance are continued efforts to detect, test, treat, isolate and trace contacts. Simple public health measures are critical. Practicing hand hygiene, covering your cough and sneeze, and practicing social distancing cannot be emphasised enough," Singh said.