WHO worried by some countries lax response to COVID-19 outbreak

R.Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus,Director-General of the World Health Organization. (File Photo)
WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had been reluctant to call the outbreak a pandemic. /Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

The World Health Organization (WHO) says it is worried that some countries are not committed in the fight against COVID-19.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom expressed the concern in a press briefing on Thursday, saying that some countries were laxed in the war against the virus.

“Despite our frequent warnings, we are deeply concerned that some countries are not approaching this threat with the level of political commitment needed to control it,” he said. “Let me be clear: describing this as a pandemic does not mean that countries should give up. The idea that countries should shift from containment to mitigation is wrong and dangerous. On the contrary, we have to double down.”

Tedros noted that the pandemic was controllable, but countries that did not take it with the seriousness it deserved were at risk of bearing a bigger brunt.

“All countries must strike a fine balance between protecting health, preventing economic and social disruption, and respecting human rights. We urge all countries to take a comprehensive approach tailored to their circumstances – with containment as the central pillar,” he said.

The WHO chief’s warning comes as global COVID-19 cases rose to nearly 125,000 across 118 countries.

The health body says in the past two weeks the figures outside China have increased almost 13-fold.

Tedros laid out a four-pronged strategy in the fight; preparation and readiness; detection, prevention and treatment; reduction and suppression; innovation and improvement.

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