The UN agency’s director-general, Dr Tedros Adhanom, warned the pandemic won’t be stopped if officials don’t know who is infected.
The statements come as the World Health Organisation (WHO) criticized countries which have given up on routinely testing all suspected cases of coronavirus.
In a startling warning to the UK, which only tests patients in hospital, the director-general added: “You cannot fight a fire blindfolded.”
Almost 175,000 cases of the coronavirus have been recorded worldwide, with 6,500 deaths recorded on every continent except Antarctica.
The wrath of the WHO was prompted by Britain’s true coronavirus crisis being masked because authorities are no longer testing everyone who may have the life-threatening disease.
Instead, UK officials are restricting tests to patients who are seriously ill or already in hospital even though the virus has been spreading in the UK since late February.
Fewer than 1,600 cases have been confirmed in Britain – but the British government has already admitted the outbreak could be 16 times bigger.
A Downing Street adviser admitted the true number of cases could be as high as 10,000 last Thursday, when just 596 patients had been diagnosed.
If that ratio has stayed the same, it would be there may now be more than 25,000 people already infected on British soil.
The US authorities have also come under criticism because it is has significantly lagged behind other countries for a number of reasons with regards to testing.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sent out faulty test kits in February which significantly delayed testing. This was followed by a hold-up in sending replacement kits for several weeks.
Then, regulatory red tape slowed down private labs who wanted to develop their own tests.
Now, it’s clear the US has failed to ensure mass testing seen in countries across Asia.
The US government has been unable to confirm how many Americans have been tested because there is no central database. The true number of infected people, therefore, is also likely to be under reported.
More than 4,000 confirmed cases have been reported. But experts warn the US is on course to be severely effected by the coronavirus outbreak due its dysfunctional testing.