WHO head urges world not to let up on COVID battle

FILE PHOTO: Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a news conference on the situation of the coronavirus (COVID-2019), in Geneva, Switzerland, February 28, 2020. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

GENEVA (Reuters) – The World Health Organization (WHO) urged countries on Monday to press on with efforts to contain the novel coronovirus, noting the pandemic was worsening globally and had not peaked in central America.

“More than six months into the pandemic this is not the time for any country to take its foot off the pedal,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told an online briefing.

His top emergencies expert, Dr Mike Ryan, said cases of infection in central American countries were still on the rise.

“I think this is a time of great concern,” he said, calling for strong government leadership and international support for the region.

Maria van Kerkhove, a WHO epidemiologist, told the briefing a “comprehensive approach” was essential in South America.

Ryan said the need now was to focus on preventing second peaks of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus that has infected more than 7 million people and killed more than 400,000.

“This is far from over”, van Kerkhove said.

Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay and Emma Farge, Editing by Michael Shields

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