14.07.2020 Europe

WHO chief warns coronavirus crisis stands to get 'worse and worse and worse'

Fabrice Coffrini/Pool via REUTERS
LISTEN JUL 14, 2020
Fabrice Coffrini/Pool via REUTERS

The World Health Organization has warned the coronavirus pandemic may worsen still, with “too many countries headed in the wrong direction” as global infections near 13 million.

During a virtual briefing from Geneva, WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Covid-19 remained the public's No 1 enemy as it ripples through the Americas despite being brought under control in much of the Asia-Pacific and Europe.

Some 230,000 cases of Covid-19 were reported to WHO at the start of the week, 50 percent of which came from just two countries. Although the number of deaths remains relatively stable, the WHO says there is much to be concerned about.

“There will be no return to the old normal for the foreseeable future,” Dr Tedros said, slamming leaders for delivering "mixed messages" and calling on them to instead work towards a comprehensive strategy.

"If basics are not followed, the only way this pandemic is going to go, it is going to get worse and worse and worse … but it does not have to be this way,” Tedros said.

Figures from the Johns Hopkins University, which has been tracking the virus, show almost 13 million people around the world have been infected with Covid-19, and more than 570,000 have died.

With the United States and Brazil worst hit by the pandemic, the WHO has warned some places in the Americas may need “limited or geographically focused lockdowns”.

 With wires

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