Geneva: There will be no return to the “old normal” for the foreseeable future as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and too many countries were still headed in the wrong direction, the chief of the World Health Organization (WHO) warned.
“The virus remains public enemy number one, but the actions of many governments and people do not reflect this,” Xinhua news agency quoted WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus as saying in a regular briefing.
He noted that mixed messages from leaders are undermining trust, which is the most critical ingredient of any response, while the only aim of the virus is to find people to infect.
Things are going to “get worse and worse and worse”, he warned, unless governments communicate clearly with their citizens and roll out a comprehensive strategy focused on suppressing transmission and saving lives, while populations follow the basic public health principles of physical distancing, hand washing, wearing masks, coughing etiquette and staying home when sick.
According to Tedros, July 12 saw a record of 230,000 cases reported to WHO, of which almost 80 percent were from just 10 countries and about half from just two countries.
To control the disease and get on with people’s lives, Tedros said, three things are required. The first is to focus on reducing mortality and suppressing transmission; the second is to focus on an empowered, engaged community that takes individual behavior measures in the interest of each other.
And the third is a strong government leadership and coordination of comprehensive strategies that are communicated clearly and consistently.
On July 14, the number of global coronavirus cases crossed the 13 million mark, according to Johns Hopkins University.