- The head of the World Health Organisation said that “too many countries are headed in the wrong direction” in the fight against the coronavirus.
- Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said people are getting “mixed messages from leaders” and that, without basic measures being followed, the pandemic is “going to get worse and worse and worse.”
- The Americas are the new epicentre of the virus, with countries like the US currently seeing record cases, and India and South Africa are also surging.
- The WHO’s emergency response head said some places in the Americas may need local lockdowns to “suppress transmission in specific areas where transmission is frankly out of control.”
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The head of the World Health Organisation said that too many nations are going in the “wrong direction” in the fight against the coronavirus, warning the pandemic could keep getting worse if countries don’t take steps.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO director general, said on Monday: “Let me be blunt, too many countries are headed in the wrong direction, the virus remains public enemy number one.”
Tedros said measures such as social distancing, hand washing, and wearing masks in appropriate situations needed to be taken seriously, Time reported.
“If basics are not followed, the only way this pandemic is going to go – it is going to get worse and worse and worse.”
He said that public trust in efforts to control the outbreak was being undermined by “mixed messages from leaders.”
“The virus remains public enemy number one, but the actions of many governments and people do not reflect this,” he said.
More than 13 million people around the world have been recorded as infected with the coronavirus.
More than 570,000 people have died.
Tedros did not name any countries during his briefing in Geneva, Switzerland, but the Americas have become the new epicentre for the virus, as Asia and Europe appear to have their outbreaks largely under control, even as they monitor closely for a second wave.
The US and Brazil have been the worst-affected countries in terms of total cases and deaths.
The US repeatedly broke its own record for new daily cases in late June and early June, peaking on July 10 with more than 71,000 new cases recorded, and states are warning about new crises in hospitals.
Trump has taken the first steps to remove the US from the WHO, having criticised its response to the outbreak and claimed that the organisation is too close to and appeases China. Other countries have increased their funding to the organisation in response.
Brazil’s cases continued to rise throughout June and July, with the country often reporting more than 40,000 new deaths a day, though they appear to have been falling since July 11.
Mexico’s cases also reached their peak in July, with 7,280 new cases recorded on July 10.
Mike Ryan, the WHO’s emergency response head, said that some places in the Americas might need “limited or geographically focused lockdowns that suppress transmission in specific areas where transmission is frankly out of control.”
Cases are also peaking in India, where a record 29,108 cases were recorded on July 12, and in South Africa, where 13,674 cases were recorded on July 9.