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Some countries lack will to tackle coronavirus: WHO

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Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

Rohit Shishodia
The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that some countries are not approaching the coronavirus threat with the level of political commitment that is required to control it.

This is one of the reasons that WHO had to declare coronavirus as a pandemic. The other reasons are speed and scale of transmission of the virus.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, WHO, said, “Almost 125,000 cases have now been reported to WHO, from 118 countries and territories. In the past two weeks, the number of cases reported outside China has increased almost 13-fold, and the number of affected countries has almost tripled,” added Dr Ghebreyesus.

“Despite our frequent warnings, we are deeply concerned that some countries are not approaching this threat with the level of political commitment needed to control it,” explained Dr Ghebreyesus.

Dr Ghebreyesus pointed out that describing coronavirus as a pandemic does not mean that countries should give up. The idea that countries should shift from containment to mitigation is wrong and dangerous. On the contrary, we have to double down, he added.

The WHO DG further said that coronavirus is a controllable pandemic. Countries that decide to give up on fundamental public health measures may end up with a larger problem, and a heavier burden on the health system that requires more severe measures to control, he added.

He advised that all countries must strike a fine balance between protecting health, preventing economic and social disruption, and respecting human rights.

“We urge all countries to take a comprehensive approach tailored to their circumstances – with containment as the central pillar. We are calling on countries to take a four-pronged strategy. First, prepare and be ready. Second, detect, prevent and treat. Third, reduce and suppress. And fourth, innovate and improve,” said Dr Ghebreyesus.

According to WHO, there are still 77 countries and territories with no reported cases, and 55 countries and territories that have reported 10 cases or less. And all countries with cases have unaffected areas.


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