Worst of pandemic yet to come globally, cautions WHO chief
Tedros urges countries to test, track down social contacts, isolate and quarantine
Six months since the new coronavirus outbreak, the pandemic is still far from over, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said yesterday, warning that “the worst is yet to come”.
Reaching the half-year milestone just as the death toll surpassed 500,000 and the number of confirmed infections topped 10mn, the WHO said it was a moment to recommit to the fight to save lives.
“Six months ago, none of us could have imagined how our world — and our lives — would be thrown into turmoil by this new virus,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual briefing.
“We all want this to be over. We all want to get on with our lives. But the hard reality is this is not even close to being over.
“Although many countries have made some progress, globally the pandemic is actually speeding up.
“We’re all in this together, and we’re all in this for the long haul. We will need even greater stores of resilience, patience, humility and generosity in the months ahead. We have already lost so much — but we cannot lose hope.”
Tedros also said that the pandemic had brought out the best and worst humanity, citing acts of kindness and solidarity, but also misinformation and the politicisation of the virus.
In an atmosphere of global political division and fractures on a national level, “the worst is yet to come. I’m sorry to say that,” he said.
“With this kind of environment and condition, we fear the worst.”
The current level of the accelerating pandemic did not come by accident, he said, marking six months since the WHO learned about the original outbreak in Wuhan, China.
“This could have been prevented through the tools we have at hand,” Tedros said, urging countries to test, track down social contacts, isolate and quarantine.
In addition, lack of unity within countries and lack of solidarity between nations also allowed the virus to spread, he charged.
Unless this political problem is addressed, “the worst is yet to come,” he said, adding “that’s why we have to bring our acts together and fight this dangerous virus together.”
Workers convert the Koramangala indoor stadium into a Covid-19 coronavirus care centre with over 250 beds, in Bangalore, India, yesterday.