With the rising number of coronavirus cases worldwide, the World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday warned that the pandemic has the potential to get far worse if all nations do not adhere to basic healthcare precautions. In a virtual briefing from WHO headquarters in Geneva, Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said too many countries are heading in the wrong direction and the "virus remains public enemy number one."
"If populations do not follow the basic public health principles of physical distancing, hand washing, wearing masks, coughing etiquette and staying at home when sick; If the basics aren’t followed, there is only one way this pandemic is going to go. It’s going to get worse and worse and worse," he said.
He further said that yesterday, 230,000 cases of COVID-19 were reported to WHO and almost 80 per cent of those cases were reported from just 10 countries, and 50 per cent come from just two countries. "Although the number of daily deaths remains relatively stable, there is a lot to be concerned about. All countries are at risk of the virus, as you know, but not all countries have been affected in the same way."
"Let me blunt, too many countries are headed in the wrong direction.The virus remains public enemy number one, but the actions of many governments and people do not reflect this.The only aim of the virus is to find people to infect," he added.
WHO said there will be no return to the “old normal” for the foreseeable future However there is a roadmap to a situation where the virus can be controlled. "This is going to require three things: First, a focus on reducing mortality and suppressing transmission. Second, an empowered, engaged community that takes individual behaviour measures in the interest of each other. And third, we need strong government leadership and coordination of comprehensive strategies that are communicated clearly and consistently."
Coronavirus cases rose above 13 million across the world on Monday, according to a Reuters tally, climbing by one million in just five days in a pandemic that has killed more than half a million people.