WHO warns the coronavirus is ‘getting worse,’ continues to accelerate

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks throughout a press convention following an emergency talks over the new SARS-like virus spreading in China and different nations in Geneva on January 22, 2020.

Pierre Albouy | AFP | Getty Images

More than six months after the coronavirus emerged in Wuhan, China, the “once-in-a-century pandemic” continues to accelerate, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus mentioned Thursday.

“The virus can be brought under control,” he mentioned in his opening remarks to a member states mission briefing in Geneva. “But in most of the world, the virus is not under control; it’s getting worse.”

The new coronavirus, which emerged in Wuhan, China in late December, has contaminated greater than 12 million folks round the world and killed at the very least 550,300 folks to date, in accordance to information compiled by Johns Hopkins University. More than half of the world’s circumstances have been recognized in the Americas, in accordance to WHO’s newest scenario report.

“The pandemic is still accelerating,” Tedros added. “The total number of cases has doubled in the last six weeks.”

Countries which have efficiently prevented an outbreak or contained one did so utilizing elementary public well being measures resembling testing broadly for the virus, conducting aggressive contact tracing and isolating individuals who may need been uncovered, Tedros mentioned. He added that each poor and wealthy nations have faltered.

“The virus has upended health systems in some of the world’s wealthiest nations, while some countries that have mounted a successful response have been of modest means,” he mentioned.

The remarks come days after U.S. President Donald Trump‘s administration submitted its discover to the United Nations secretary-general to withdraw from the WHO. The discover to withdraw is simply the first step in a yearlong course of that can depend on a number of components outdoors of Trump’s management, together with cooperation from Congress and the president’s personal reelection in November.

Trump has often criticized the WHO’s administration of the world response to the pandemic amid scrutiny of the U.S. response. The U.S. has the largest coronavirus outbreak in the world and whereas lots of its allies in Europe and elsewhere have managed to convey every day new circumstances down to a manageable degree, the U.S. has failed to do the identical.

Tedros has repeatedly defended the WHO’s response, saying that the UN well being company warned nations early about the risk of the virus and has helped to coordinate world analysis efforts. However, he acknowledged Wednesday that there is room for enchancment in the world well being system and introduced a brand new panel to consider the world response, together with the WHO’s actions.

“For years, many of us warned that a catastrophic respiratory pandemic was inevitable,” he mentioned. “But still, despite all the warnings, the world was not ready. Our systems were not ready. Our communities were not ready. Our supply chains collapsed. It is time for a very honest reflection.”

The Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response might be co-chaired by the former prime minister of New Zealand Helen Clark and the former president of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. He mentioned the co-chairs will independently choose members of the panel. 

“I cannot imagine two more strong-minded, independent leaders to help guide us through this critical learning process,” Tedros mentioned, including that they had been chosen with broad session with member States and world consultants.

Tedros additionally proposed holding a particular session of the WHO government board in September to consider the progress of the panel, which can current an interim report on its findings in November. Even after the coronavirus pandemic subsides, he mentioned the world will proceed to face threats from new viruses and it is essential that the world proceed to evolve its world well being infrastructure.

Tedros referred to as for nationwide leaders to unite in collaboration in opposition to the virus and to be taught from the successes and failures of various nations, areas and cities. And he urged officers to separate the pandemic response from world or nationwide politics.

“The virus thrives on division but is thwarted when we unite,” he mentioned. “How is it difficult for humans to unite and fight a common enemy that is killing people indiscriminately? Are we unable to distinguish or identify the common enemy? Can’t we understand that the divisions and the cracks between us are an advantage for the virus.”

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