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COVID-19 spread worsening, no return to old normal: WHO chief


Qatar Tribune


With COVID-19 cases globally going past the 13 million figure, the WHO warned on Monday that the spread of the virus was worsening in many countries.


WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told mediapersons in a virtual briefing, “Let me be blunt, too many countries are headed in the wrong direction; the virus remains public enemy number one."


“If the basics aren't followed, there is only one way this pandemic is going to go. It's going to get worse and worse and worse, he warned, adding "there will be no return to the old normal for the foreseeable future".


Tedros explained that of 230,000 new COVID-19 cases recorded on Sunday, 80 per cent were from 10 nations, and 50 per cent from just two countries: the US and Brazil.


Tedros also chastised political leaders for mixed messages about outbreaks that damage trust, without referring to any politicians by name. US President Donald Trump had been critical of the WHO's handling of the COVID-19 outbreak, alleging it had succumbed to pressure from China to suppress information. Trump has also announced a decision to pull the US out of the WHO.


Tedros asked countries to come up with comprehensive strategies to contain COVID-19, noting nearly half of all new COVID-19 cases were reported in the Americas (North, Latin and South America).


WHO emergencies head Mike Ryan was quoted by Reuters as saying some places in the Americas may need “limited or geographically focused lockdowns that suppress transmission in specific areas where transmission is frankly out of control”. Ryan also asked governments not to make reopening of schools a "political football", noting such institutions should reopen once the COVID-19 pandemic has been suppressed.


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