WHO Chief calls for end to COVID-19 discrimination

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a news conference on the novel coronavirus in Geneva, Switzerland, February 28, 2020. /Photo byDenis Balibouse/Reuters

The Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom has called for an end to prejudice amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

Tedros’ call comes following reports of discriminatory actions targeting people of Asian descent around the world.

“It’s appalling to see new reports of people being targeted due to their race, ethnicity or purported association with COVID-19. WHO once again calls for an end to stigmatization & discrimination at a time when solidarity and compassion must be paramount,” Tedros wrote on Twitter.

WHO has urged all countries to focus their efforts in containing the spread of the virus, which is currently reported to spread faster outside China than inside.

In the 24 hours leading to his remarks, China reported 120 more cases of COVID-19. Outside of China, 2,075 cases were reported in 35 countries, according to Tedros.

The WHO Director General called on all countries to make containment of COVID-19 the top priority.

He stressed that the novel coronavirus has serious impact on public health, the economy and social and political issues. Countries should be preparing for sustained community transmission, he added.

The COVID-19 outbreak has prompted various countries, especially in Europe, to take swift actions to stop its spread.

Italy on Wednesday announced a closure of all schools and universities until mid-March, while France closed about 120 schools in an area north of Paris where the main cluster of French cases had emerged.