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  • WHO Director-General Dr.Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

    WHO Director-General Dr.Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus | Photo: AFP

Published 27 July 2020 (17 hours 27 minutes ago)
Opinion

"Remaining determined to stop the virus in its tracks is key to ending transmission, along with a willingness to make hard choices to keep ourselves and each other safe,” he said

WHO Director-General Dr.Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus noted on Monday that Thursday, July 30, marks six months since the UN agency declared COVID-19 a public health emergency of international concern when there were less than 100 cases outside of China and no deaths.

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During a virtual press conference at WHO headquarters in Geneva, Dr. Ghebreyesus said this was the sixth time a global health emergency has been declared under the International Health Regulations, “but it is easily the most severe,” he remarked.

Almost 16 million cases have now been reported to WHO, and more than 640,000 deaths, Dr. Ghebreyesus continued, noting that in the past six weeks, the total number of cases has roughly doubled.

"Remaining determined to stop the virus in its tracks is key to ending transmission, along with a willingness to make hard choices to keep ourselves and each other safe,” he said.

WHO Director-General cited Cambodia, New Zealand, Rwanda, Thailand, Viet Nam, and islands in the Pacific and Caribbean, as places that had prevented large-scale outbreaks by respecting transmission reduction measures “carefully and consistently”.  He also praised Canada, China, Germany and the Republic of Korea for bringing large outbreaks under control.

Dr. Ghebreyesus added that although COVID-19 has changed our world, the fundamental pillars of the response have not: political leadership, and informing, engaging and listening to communities.

And nor have the basic measures needed to suppress transmission and save lives: find, isolate, test and care for cases; and trace and quarantine their contacts.

Stressing that he is immensely proud of the organization and the efforts of its people, he remembered that over the past six months, WHO has worked tirelessly to support countries to prepare for and respond to this virus.

The WHO Director-General called on people to keep a distance from others, clean hands, avoid crowded and enclosed areas and wear a mask where recommended, affirming that where these measures are followed, cases go down and where they’re not, cases go up.

Dr. Ghebreyesus pointed out that after six months since the declaration of the global health emergency, the COVID-19 pandemic is illustrating that health is not a reward for development, it’s the foundation of social, economic and political stability.

‘’We are not prisoners of the pandemic. Every single one of us can make a difference. The future is in our hands’’, he said.

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