Tedros also added that the WHO plans to convene a meeting this week to assess progress in research towards fighting the COVID-19 disease.
Geneva| World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in a briefing on Monday, said the COVID-19 pandemic is not even close to being over.
The WHO chief also noted that 6 months after China first alerted the WHO to a novel respiratory infection, the distant and miserable milestones of 10 million confirmed infections and 500,000 deaths had been reached.
Tedros said, “Most people remain susceptible, the virus still has a lot of room to move.”
“We all want this to be over. We all want to get on with our lives. But the hard reality is that this is not even close to being over. Although many countries have made some progress globally, the pandemic is actually speeding up.”
Mike Ryan, the head of the WHO’s emergencies programme, told reporters in the briefing that tremendous progress had been made towards finding a safe and effective vaccine to prevent infection, but there was still no guarantee the effort would succeed.
He said, in the meantime, countries could fight the spread of the disease by testing, isolating confirmed cases and tracking their contacts. Citing examples of Japan, South Korea and Germany, he highlighted their “comprehensive, sustained strategy” against the virus.
Tedros also added that the WHO plans to convene a meeting this week to assess progress in research towards fighting the disease.
On Sunday the death toll from coronavirus reached half a million people according to the Reuters tally, a grim milestone for the global pandemic that seems to be resurgent in some countries even as other regions are still grappling with the first wave.
The respiratory illness caused by the new coronavirus has been particularly dangerous for the elderly, although other adults and children are also among the 500,000 fatalities and more than 10 million reported cases.
While the overall rate of death has flattened in recent weeks, health experts have expressed concerns about record numbers of new cases in countries like the United States, India and Brazil, as well as new outbreaks in parts of Asia.